Coconut Laundry Soap & Stain Stick {+ laundry detergent recipe}

Learn to make a homemade laundry soap and stain stick using just three ingredients. Also included is my easy recipe for laundry detergent.

bars of homemade laundry soap with grater and a turquoise bowl of grated coconut laundry soap

Unlike my other natural soap recipes, this one is intended for laundry purposes only. It has no extra oils or fats in it, making it better suited for cleaning tough stains on clothes rather than using on your skin.

You can turn it into homemade laundry detergent, and/or cut it into stain sticks. I detail both methods below.

I usually leave the recipe unscented, but you could add 18 to 20 g (about 2 tablespoons) of lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, or your favorite essential oil blend to the recipe, stirring it in at trace.

 

This recipe was first shared in my bestselling book, 101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home.

For even more natural soap recipes, be sure to check out my second print book, Simple & Natural Soapmaking. Both can be found on Amazon, or check with your favorite book seller about ordering it!

blue stoneware bowl with grated laundry soap and DIY stain stick bars

Ingredients for DIY Coconut Laundry Soap

  • 10 oz (283 g) distilled water
  • 5.15 oz (146 g) sodium hydroxide (lye)
  • 28 oz (794 g) coconut oil
  • optional: 18 to 20 g (abt 2 TBSP) essential oil, for scent

You’ll also need a loaf style mold. I use Crafter’s Choice Regular Silicone Loaf Mold – 1501, from Amazon.

Brands of lye that I use and recommend include: Red Crown High Test Lye, ComStar & Essential Depot Food Grade Lye – all can be found on Amazon.

Coconut oil can be ordered online, or is usually carried in the oils or baking section of local grocery stores. (Both virgin and refined coconut oil will work.)

Check the bottled water section of local stores for distilled water, or you could also use deionized or RO water.

Yield: 8 bars of laundry soap, or 16 stain sticks.

Important Note: Please notice that unlike regular soap recipes that require 24 hours in the mold, coconut laundry soap should be removed from the mold and sliced into bars as soon as it’s hard enough to do so. Waiting even 24 hours will likely make your soap too hard to cut into bars. Since the lye could still be active after just a few hours in the mold, be sure to wear your gloves while cutting.

 

Directions to Make the Laundry Soap

This is an abbreviated overview. Please see my more in-depth article, Soapmaking 101, if you’ve never made soap before.

  1. Place the water in a heatproof container.
  2. Put on your gloves and goggles.
  3. Pour the lye into the water and stir well.
  4. Avoid breathing in the temporary strong fumes.
  5. Set the mixture aside to cool for 30 to 40 minutes, or until around 100 to 110°F (38 to 43°C).
  6. While the lye cools, warm the coconut oil to around 90 to 100°F (32 to 38°C).
  7. Pour the lye solution into the warm coconut oil and stir by hand briefly.
  8. Use the immersion blender sparingly, to bring the soap to trace.
  9. Pour soap into loaf mold.
  10. Check in 2 to 3 hours. If firm enough, slice into bars, while wearing your gloves.
  11. Set the bars on sheets of wax paper.
  12. If grating for laundry detergent purposes, do so before the soap turns too hard. (Anywhere from 2 hours to a couple of days.)
  13. If making stain sticks, cut into stick shapes, then cure about 2 weeks before using.

 

Directions to Make & Use the Stain Remover Stick

After slicing the soap into bars, slice each bar again into halves, to create easy-to-hold stick-shaped pieces. Let cure for around 2 weeks.

Wet the soiled garment with plain water and rub the soap directly on it until a lather forms. Launder as usual. These stain sticks should work on most machine-washable clothing, but always do a spot test first to be certain.

 

red bowl of laundry detergent

Directions to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

I keep my laundry recipe really simple. It’s worked great for my family for many years!

Please note that I have hard well water and wash most of my laundry with warm water in a top load washer. I know several people who use this for their HE machines with no problem.

Your mileage may vary.

In the past, I could buy super washing soda locally, but that’s no longer the case. Instead, I now buy it from Amazon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups grated coconut laundry soap (abt 1 bar, or 2 sticks, from the recipe above)
  • 1 1/2 cups super washing soda
  • optional: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon essential oils, such as lavender, lemon, peppermint, etc.

Add the grated soap and super washing soda to a food processor. Pulse the mixture until it’s completely mixed, with no visible flakes of soap remaining. Stir in the essential oil, if using.

If the soap is very fresh and still warm, spread the mixture out in a shallow dish or pan to cool before storing in a jar or container.

The amounts given in the recipe above yield roughly 2 1/2 cups washing powder.

Use 2 to 3 tablespoons per load of laundry.

 

If you enjoyed this article, let’s keep in touch!

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You may also enjoy:

15+ Silicone Molds | Fresh Aloe Soap | Dandelion Soap

variety-of-soap-designs    

 

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8 Responses to Coconut Laundry Soap & Stain Stick {+ laundry detergent recipe}

  1. Anne Evans says:

    Can you make laundry soap/detergent with other oils? I once used coconut oil on my face and it broke out as a result I don’t even want to try mixing it with anything else to use as a moisturiser. And because of the breakout I’m thinking perhaps it would irritate my skin after washing clothes with the coconut oil detergent – I don’t want to make a whole batch to try it out.

    Anne

    • Hi Anne! That’s a great question! I’ve seen some tallow laundry soaps before, but coconut oil still might be a great option for you! Coconut oil applied directly on your face, is going to be a lot different than coconut oil that’s transformed by lye and turned to soap. It shouldn’t have any residue that would linger on your clothes so shouldn’t cause a breakout any more than any other detergent would. I hope that helps! :)

  2. Aide Mancera says:

    Hello Jan, first of all, thank you so much for share with us your amazing recipes and tips, It helps a lot…. Sorry about my ignorance, does washing soda is the same as baking soda? can we youse baking soda al laundry soap instead of washing soda? Thanks, Send you regards from Mexico.

  3. Llyvonne Barber says:

    Love your books – Just thought I would add a tip. I find it easier to peel the soap rather than grate it. Peeling works even better when the bar is really hard as it make the soap into a fine powder. I used to keep my soap in the hot water cupboard to harden for that very purpose.

  4. Maureen Sanderson says:

    Hi Jan, thank you very much for the recipe. That’s very nice of you. I was just wondering if you do a water discount or do you keep it at 38% and do you do a superfat? Have you heard of adding some Borax to the recipe, or is only coconut oil great for removing stains? Thank you so much.
    Maureen

    • Hi Maureen! Yes, I do some water discount with almost all of my soaps and for this one, it works out to about 36%. (However, to calculate the water amount in this case, I just used a rounded amount of twice as much water as lye.) The superfat for this one is at 0% since you don’t want any extra oils on your laundry. I’ve also heard of some recipes that include Borax & I definitely want to try that out some time, but I haven’t yet. I’ve always had good results with this combination, so have been a little lazy on trying something new. :)

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