High Efficiency (HE) Laundry Soap With Household Ingredients!

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Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 0 mins

This recipe only uses baking soda, vinegar and castille soap. Not all will have castille soap in the cupboard but some already rely upon it for other things. I have been using this regularly so I feel comfortable posting it. I only use 1/8 to 1/4 cup and have no issues with the laundry at all. According to the original source http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/make-high-efficiency-detergent-20282.html "this recipe yields very few suds because it lacks the chemical-based emulsifying surfactants that are found in mainstream detergents."

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 14 cup liquid castille soap (I use scented!)
  • 1 cup washing soda (see directions... you can make your own with baking soda)
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • essential oil (optional)


  1. Make washing soda: You can create the chemical reaction needed to change baking soda into washing soda simply by baking it at 400F (200C) for about 30 minutes. Once you get the hang of it, you might find that it actually changes sooner than that. Use a shallow pan with sides (aka a jelly roll pan) and spread 1 to 2 cups of baking soda out in a thin layer. After about 10 minutes, stir it around. http://naturesnurtureblog.com/2012/05/08/ttt-turn-baking-soda-into-washing-soda/ has a step-by-step tutorial with a good picture that shows what the washing soda will look like when done. Once you have made it once, you will be able to tell. Mainly it is in the "powderiness". Baking soda clumps together but washing soda is like really powdery snow that would not make a snowball. Measure out 1 cup of washing soda and continue on to step 2.
  2. Put washing soda into a large bowl. Slowly add the castille soap in a steady stream while whisking to incorporate it well.
  3. Now add 1 cup of baking soda. You may want to use a spoon to work out the lumps. It won't be possible to get rid of them entirely though.
  4. Now the fun part! Slowly add the cup of vinegar. It will foam up so that is why you need a large bowl. Stir it rapidly and the foam will dissipate. You may need to use the spoon again to break up the clumps to the best of your ability. Each time it seems to be different, if you find it is too "stiff", add some more vinegar until it is the texture of toothpaste.
  5. If you used unscented castille soap, you can now add 2-3 drops of essential oils of your choice. My first castille soap was pomegranate and the newest one was almond and they both smell divine.
  6. Put into a sealed container. After expermenting, I've found a recycled tub such as whipped topping comes in works the best. I also use a spoon and then rest the spoon in the tray where the water will run over it to rinse it. (Note: Works well with hot or warm water but with cold water, stir it up separately with hot water to dissolve before adding to the washer.) The original instructions say to use 1/4 to 1/2 cup per load. At 1/2 cup this would only last 4 loads so I have only used 1/4 or less and have not had any trouble.
  7. Important note: DO NOT double this. If you want to make a double batch -- make them separately and then combine them. The chemical reaction doesn't work right and it ends up with too much liquid which separates.
  8. I did some quick math and estimated cost at $2 per batch (25c per load). The highest cost is the castille soap. I get baking soda and vinegar from my big box warehouse store but wasn't able to get there this time around so it might be a little cheaper. At the very least, you know what is going into it and it is more environmentally friendly that what you could buy already prepared.