$10 Per Year for Laundry Detergent – Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

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Making your own homemade laundry detergent (soap) with this recipe is quick & easy, inexpensive, and works great in in both regular and HE washing machines.

I have discovered that people either love or hate homemade laundry detergent. Try this recipe and see what you think.

$10 Per Year for Laundry Detergent - Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Homemade Laundry Detergent

1/3 bar Fels Naptha Laundry Soap, grated
6 cups water
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax

To make homemade laundry detergent, heat 6 cups water and soap in a large pan until dissolved. Stir in washing soda and Borax. Mix and heat until dissolved. Boil 15 minutes. Remove from heat. (It will have the consistency of honey.*) In a 3 or 5 gallon bucket, add 1 quart of hot water, then add the soap mixture. Mix. Add enough cold water to make a 2 gallon mixture. Mix until well blended. Let sit 24 hours. The soap will gel*. Use 1/2 cup for each load.

Makes 2 gallons. (Approximately $ .40 per gallon)

*If the homemade laundry detergent doesn’t gel or reach honey consistency it will still work.


Stir before each use as this homemade laundry detergent does separate. Detergent can be stored in a liquid detergent bottle. Just shake it up each time you use it.

This detergent will not suds up in the washer, but it is still getting your clothes clean.

If you have extra hard water the soap may not clean as well. Add 1/2 cup borax or washing soda to the load and that may help.

If you do not like this laundry soap, you can still use the Fels Naptha bar for spot cleaning and to rub on stains. The Borax and Washing Soda are great to add to your regular detergent for extra cleaning.

You can use this in HE washers.


For more money saving cleaning tips check out our Keeping It Clean E-book Series

Watch Our How To make Homemade Laundry Detergent Video Here:


Also check out these articles on other laundry questions.

Can You Save Money Making your Own Laundry Detergent?

Demystifying The Laundry Detergent Dilemma

What is Washing Soda?

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Click here to get the Dining On A Dime Cookbook, with tasty recipes and great tips to make your life easier and save you money!


  1. Angela says

    I’ve been making this homemade laundry soap for years….the water measurement doesn’t have to be exact. We are a family of 7 so I make mine up in a 5 gallon bucket I got from a fast food restaurant. This way I don’t have to make it so often. I use 2 bars of Ivory soap melted into 12 C. of water, 1 1/2 C. of washing soda, and 1 1/2 C. of Borax. Follow the same directions as above. Pour the mixture into the bucket, fill with cold water, stir and your done! (I also stir in some “clean linen” fragrance oil to mine…you can get it at Wal Mart) You can then ladle out enough of the soap mixture to fill a laundry detergent bottle and keep the bucket in a closet with the lid on it…refill the detergent bottle as needed. Be sure to stir the soap in the bucket each time you refill you bottle! I like this simply because it is all soap…most laundry soap in the store that are inexpensive are 90% water and fillers which don’t clean anything, and often are toxic. Even at $3 a bottle that’s alot of wasted money for colored,scented water…not to mention the toxic chemicals.

    • says

      Hi Angela,
      Enjoyed your comments. How much scented oil do you use for your 5 gal. batch? I would adjust for the above recipe of course. Thank you

      • says

        Cindy it depends. People like more or less scent in many things. Start with a small amount and keep adding until you get the amount you want. Different scents are stronger then others too that is why it is hard to say.

      • says

        Washing soda is usually found in with the laundry detergents or in with the cleaning products. It isn’t the same as regular baking soda. It it used in most laundry detergents to help fight stains and is really good if you have a problems because of hard water because it helps with mineral build up. It can also be used in household cleaning for getting rid of mineral build up in things like coffee pots or removing wax from floors.

    • says

      I make this soap but with less water. Mine is like butter. I use 10 bars Nap, 1 box borax and 1 box washing Soda. I grate the soap and put into a large container. I just cover with water. I mix daily and keep adding water but keep it a thick consistency. I mix the borax and soda and enough water to be able to mix these. Then cover and let set until the soap is ready. When the soap is all melted put into a large container and add the borax and soda. Use a mixer like the house husband uses on the end of a drill. And mix until it is like butter. Then put into covered containers. I love this stuff.

  2. says

    About the hard water – I put white vinegar in a liquid fabric softener ball instead of fabric softener, as it helps rinse out the detergent as well as softening clothes.

  3. Alisa says

    You should note that if you have a septic system, you should not use the home made detergent the soap flakes will clog it.

    • says

      I’m not sure this is true. All the ingredients are what you use to do normal laundry – washing soda, borax etc. so there shouldn’t be any kind of a problem. Has anyone else had a problem with their septic system?

      • Elizabeth says

        I really want to make homemade laundry detergent but I am scared because of our septic system. Does anyone know if this mixture is safe to use?

        • says

          Tawra had a septic system and used it with no problem and many of our readers have liked it better for their septic system. You can read the comments and see many do like it.

          • Genea says

            I have a septic and have had no problems using this homemade laundry soap. I in fact love this recipe! :-)

        • Judy Pope says

          I have used this for 5 years now and I have a septic and never had any issues at all and further more there are no dye or parfumes that can be harfull to the environment or my family

      • Susan Groover says

        No problems with septic system. Have been using dry recipe of 2 parts fels naptha, 1 part borax, and 1 part washing soda for 5+ years. I, also, put yeast down the toliet about every six months to keep the septic system happy!

          • says

            Just shave everything and mix. Don’t add the water. Then put 1 tsp.-1 Tbsp. in your load depending on how hard your water is.

          • Janet says

            Here is my recipe for dry laundry soap. Not really mine but found it “somewhere” on the internet.

            Powdered Homemade Laundry Soap (From: Diana)

            2 bars Fels Naptha Laundry Soap, finely grated (by hand or in a food processor)
            3 cups washing soda (not baking soda)
            3 cups of borax
            2 cups baking soda (makes everything smell really clean)(I skip this ingredient)

            Mix ingredients together thoroughly and store in an airtight container. Add 2 Tablespoons for light soil. Add 3 tablespoons or 1/4 cup for a heavy soiled load.

            This works great in those new washing machines as it produces no suds. It cleans well without the mess and eliminates the time required to mix a liquid. It is great in cold water too. Just fill the machine, add soap and let it mix before putting in the clothes.

            Note from Janet: I do not add the baking soda. I do not add soap before the clothes. I use it in both hot and cold water. I could not find Fels Naptha at the store the other day so next time I am going to try Zote bar soap. (Laundry aisle)

      • Tina says

        If you use white vinegar as a fabric softener, it should resolve any problems in the washer with homemade laundry detergent!

    • Mary says

      I have had a septic system all my life (50+ years) . We have always bathed with bar soap (same as flaked soap in recipe) and it hasn’t clogged our septic .

    • Lori says

      I don’t see how that would be true. It would disolve in the water just like bar soap does in your bath. also, if you are making liquid detergent you are disolving the flakes before you mix the ingredients.

    • Laurie says

      This is safe for septic tanks… I have used it. Also, using Ivory soap bars- cuts down on the oils and chemicals in Fels Naptha bar.

      I have also used just borax and water for shampoo- wicked clean!! Its about a 1/8 cup of borax to a gallon- or you put some into a small jar and shake it- as it settles use the water. Refill with cold water and shake so it will sit before you need it again.

    • Linda G. says

      I have used a very similar recipe for about 5 years with a septic system and never experiences any problems. The previous tenants also used the same homemade laundry soap before I moved in. If you melt the soap there aren’t any flakes anyways to clog up the system.

  4. Brenna says

    What I have found, is that if anything it dissolves “better” than store bought detergent. Also rinses cleaner, too.

    • says

      Cathy washing soda isn’t the same as baking soda or washing powder. Washing powder is basically a soap for your clothes. Washing soda affects the ph balance in your laundry water. It bonds to the minerals and things in hard water so your laundry detergent can work better. It helps with stains and it helps get rid of residue build up. Since residue build up is often the cause of dingy clothes it helps make your clothes look brighter. Pretty much it gives your clothes a laundry boost.

      It is sold right with the laundry detergent but on a higher or lower shelf. Arm and Hammer has a washing soda (don’t confuse with arm and hammer detergent or soda) or you can by Borax which is not exactly washing soda but works on the same principle.

      I have covered in detail all these different types of things have many homemade recipes, and step by step on how to do laundry starting with getting your family to put the things in the hamper to start out with in our Laundry e book if any one needs more info.

      • Maria Horvath says

        You can go to a local pool supply store and purchase sodium carbonate(washing soda)if you cannot find it in the store.

      • Melissa O says

        THANK YOU!!!! Thank you for posting the link to the washing soda recipe!!! We are stationed in Germany and cannot find washing soda!! There is a German equivilant, but it doesnt seem to work quite as well as the American version…I will be making it this weekend to see if it works :) THANKS AGAIN!!!

  5. Christy says

    Hello, I’m just doing some research on the homemade laundry soap and I have a question. I have a frontload washer and my manual states that I have to use High Efficient detergent only. Would this homemade product work or could it damage my washer? I’m thinking they probably say you have to use that product just to get you to purchase it so they can make more money! Let me know your thoughts!


    • says

      Yes you can Christy. One reason they tell you to use certain detergents is because they want you to use low sudsing ones which the homemade is. As a matter of fact it has almost no sudsing at all. We have used it before and many of our readers just fine. Now you might check your warranty and because sometimes they say if you don’ use the soap they say it is canceled. I decided I wasn’t going to worry about it on mine and have used something different and had no problem for years.

    • cc says

      I have been using front loading washing machines for almost 40 years now. I also was wondering why the newer one I purchased said to use only “HE” detergent, so I asked a repair man. He told me that other types of detergent will burn out the water pump on the machine. well, duh….I don’t know how many water pumps I had to replace over the years, so the light bulb came on. I haven’t had to replace another water pump after I started using HE detergent. Sometimes there is actually a good reason for what the manufacturer says we should do, other than just trying to push an expensive product.

      I don’t know about home-made soap, but the front loaders use so little per load, I am not sure it is worth the trouble…I will spend my time trying to save money somewhere else, like maybe putting more insulation in my house or growing a garden.

  6. rose says

    jill i know u had mentioned b4 what the purpose of the borax is for .. and in ur opinion (and tawra’s too), if you added oxy powder to the ingredients, would that make the borax not clean as well (or is it the washing soda with the deep cleaning action?) ..
    sorry .. very confused here …
    last nite, i saw ur video and then i decided to go to you tube and look up more recipes and some used the oxy with theirs and some didnt even use the borax .. and some used more of the washing soda and borax than they did the soap.. which made this really confusing …
    i guess the best thing to do is try one and see how it works for you (right?) …
    i did tell my daughter of what i did last nite (poor tawra and you! .. i hope you really didnt get that message i sent.. i am not sure if it was sent bc i dont see it on the website and i am hoping it didnt) ..
    my daughter said to make sure i follow tawra’s recipe to the T! .. i promised her i would .. hopefully i wont have another fiasco like the last time .. 😀 ..

    • says

      Rose almost any product with the word oxy on is just hydrogen peroxide. Oxy powder is a mix of hydrogen peroxide and washing soda. That is why the oxy things can remove stains because so does hydrogen peroxide. I use it on my counter and some clothing to get out stains all the time.I even use it with 1/2 water as a mouth wash to whiten my teeth. But I use just the peroxide in the bottle because it is cheaper and I have it on hand.

      They make this stuff so confusing that is why I wrote my Laundry e book because I went into great detail to explain and try to simplify all of these things. Bottom line is if you have hard water and your clothes don’t get rinsed well they will be dingy and the stains will not come out as well with just detergent so you use something that will soften the water and rinse the clothes well. You can add washing soda, Borax, Calogen or something like that if you need a boost but you don’t need to add all of them. You could also instead just add vinegar to your last rinse water which will help.

      Unless you have really hard water you don’t need to do this every time either. I will add them to my wash a couple of times and then not use it for a month or so until I think maybe things need to be brighten.

      That is why some love certain recipes for homemade detergent because it has all the things which make for the right chemical reaction to soften the water and rinse well. Like our recipe calls for washing soda and Borax. If you added either or both along with your regular detergent you would probably get the same results. They both cause the minerals (that’s what causes hard water) to cling to them allowing the soap or detergent to foam and wash the clothes better.

  7. rose says

    and since this is low sudsing i dont think this would hurt our septic … (altho i have my washer set in a way with a hose that the water goes out of the machine on top of the ground but bc of the suds, no one really notices .. and if they do, no one says anything .. our septic is over 30 yrs old (its the original septic that was built with the house so i am very very careful in taking care of it!) ..
    i know this isnt right but i cant take a chance and have suds going down in the septic (regular detergent) and the fact that this is money saving, that is why i want to make this detergent …

    • Amy says


      There is NOTHING wrong with dumping your gray water on the ground. There are laws about black water (sewage/human waste) but in the “old days” all of the sink, shower, bath and laundry water went into a dry well where it perked into the ground. It is only water with human waste in it that is dangerous (bacteria, etc). They are combined into one waste piping system for convenience these days. I save my gray water in times of drought to water my gardens without any problems.

  8. rose says

    i need to get ur laundry e-book … as soon as i can i will .. thanks for helping me jill .. i appreciate it ..

    ps i went to the store to price the borax and the washing soda.. did u know the borax comes in a smaller box now? and its roughly the same price as b4? .. the washing soda seemed a bit lower in price .. just wanted to share ..

    • says

      I’m not surprised Rose. That is why I tell people all the time to really check the prices and things because often by the time you buy the ingredients for homemade then do the work to make it isn’t always that much cheaper and sometimes you can save just as much by using less boughten.

      Of course if you just are doing it for fun or like in your case for a good laugh (I was thinking of your garbage men) then I say go for it. :) :)

  9. Lisa says

    I just had to let you know how much I love your site! I’ve been using the laundry soap for about 6 months. I have a septic and a front loader. It hasn’t caused any problems with either. In fact when speaking to the manufacturer help desk on an unrelated problem, I told them about the soap and they said that was the best they’d heard and told me it would be great in my machine.

    About my laundry, WOW! My oldest son competes in a show/concert choir. They have their own tuxes which “have to be dry cleaned”. I paid to have the entire suit including his shirt cleaned. The shirt looked awful. He sweats a lot because of all the dancing under hot lights so we had ring around the collar. Disgusted with getting the shirt back gross, I took it home rubbed some of the soap on the collar, tossed it in with my other whites and that sucker came out perfectly white.

    Keep up the good work. I recommend this site all the time and use lots of the tips. God bless.

  10. Erin says

    If you have a high efficiency washing machine should you use 1/2 c of the homemade laundry detergent as directed in the recipe above, or is there a different amount for HE machines?

  11. cindy says

    I already use the phel-napa as a hand type soap to remove stain and use it for handwahing clothes when camping I have hard water might give this a shot to see if it works here in my area where I live thanks.

  12. deborah says

    Just a side note…we used to have regular bouts with poison oak and one of our remedies for the itch, prescribed by our mountain doctor was to bathe with felds naptha bar soap! It really helped!

    • says

      Good tip Deborah. I have never heard that before but after checking it out I found that that was one of the main uses for it when it was originally invented. Don’t forget to you can use it like a stain removal stick to get out things like grass, mud stains and other things. Make shavings out of it and make into a paste to put on the stain or dissolve shavings in hot water then soak the item in it.

  13. says

    one good idea for getting rid of ring around the collar is to rub into it shampoo.
    The ring is caused by the oil in your hair and neck so shampoo is made to get rid of the oil.
    It really works.

    • says

      This is true grandma. In my laundry e book I tell everyone to think about the stain and what it is which will help you remove it. For example if you have a make up stain on a shirt use the same cleanser you use on your face to remove make up for that stain. If it is body oil use shampoo etc.

  14. says

    my grandmother told me this tip for grass stains.
    use a brush toothbrush is fine to rub and scrub some tooth paste into the stain and then wash as usual.
    it has to be paste not the gel type.
    got out every stain my 2 boys got and living where we did they got a lot of them.
    wonder who was the first mother who tried it though. Must have been pure desperation.

  15. rose says

    jill .. do u remember my fiasco of making the soap? .. well i had forgotten that i actually made 2 batches of this soap .. the first one i made was with the zote soap (powder) and the other was with ivory (liquid) ..
    well, i had forgotten i had given the powdered form of the detergent to test on my daughter and son in law .. and my daughter just told me her fiance just ran out of “his” socks soap and where can he buy more.. (he is like a younger version of felix unger with his socks, but if u could see his socks, you would say “wow”! .. they are old but they look brand new) ..
    so my daughter calls me and says she will buy the stuff so i can make a double batch for him bc he has been driving her crazy all morning .. i then informed her that i do have all the stuff except the zote soap and i will pick up another bar this week at walmart… and that i had a huge surprise for her .. and she said “what is it mom?” .. and i told her that i was going to try to do the liquid version again … and she was like “mom! .. why???!!!” .. i told her that i had u and tawra to help me .. and she asked if i was going to ur house, tawra’s house or were the 2 of you coming to my house for this “experiment”.. i told her neither bc you both lived in kansas (she didnt realize ur name bc i whenever i talk about u i tell her my lady friends that have the website where i can save money) .. and she asked me if i would be taking a plane trip and who was going to watch dad and etc etc etc .. i then informed her that i had the video and its alot better than the other video i looked at the last time .. so i will be fine .. (mind u, i know my daughter and when she groans and huffs i know she is rolling her eyes and thinking what she will have to do to make sure i dont get into any trouble) .. she then informed me that she will be here later this week to make sure nothing goes down the toilet or sinks and the garbage men dont get a “surprise” again this time …
    thhhehehehe 😀 ..
    i think we have 2 more readers of the website bc i told her that she and jeff (her fiance) will learn alot too .. and she said she will check it out and bc he needs to help save money he will definitely have to become a member of this website ..
    i agreed .. 😀 ..

  16. rose says

    just to let u know .. we love our son in law and we think its cute that he is like a younger version of felix and she is well like oscar (well not that bad) but its funny .. he prefers to cook and clean and she has the business sense .. 😀

  17. Angie M. says

    I forget where I originally read this tip but it may have very well been in the comments of this blog…

    Dawn dishwashing detergent is great at removing oily based stains from clothing…even some set-in ones.

    I have had several grease spots on clothes that I thought were ruined. I remembered reading about the Dawn somewhere and tried it. It really worked!!!

    I have even tried the Dawn for removing other set-in, non-greasy stains on clothing. This has worked for me probably 95% of the time.

    Angie M.

  18. Roxanne Parks Garrett says

    Several of the ladies have asked about getting rid of “ring around the collar” on various clothes..I tell people to use dishwashing soap or shampoo on not only collars, but hard to remove stains..both products are the best degreasers, last a long time when being used just for laundry stain removal and they work great! I use my local Dollar Store to buy bar soap cheaply to make the laundry detergent recipe..I also save all small pieces of soap in the bathroom to put into the mixture..I made up my own recipe for laundry soap 45 yrs. ago when I was trying to finish college and raise a child alone..At that time there was no “fragrance” to add to the mixture (except Pine-Sol” which can be overwhelming, but now you can buy large bottles of liquid incense at the Dollar Store, so I use 1 whole 1/2 qt. bottle of Vanilla to ea. mixture of soap..I figure my laundry soap costs me about 2.00 a month now that the children are gone..
    Roxanne Parks Garrett
    Associate Scientist, EPA (retired)

    • nina says

      I went to the dollar store last night and the “big bottles” were labelled as “liquid potporri” (spelling?)
      There were various fragrances including vanilla and clean linen. I avoided the black cherry and the apple cinnamon as the dye in these bottles was reddish tinged and was concenred this might affect the wash. I hope the liquid potporri is the same as the liquid incense. This weekend will be lauching my “maiden voyage” into the realm of homemade laundry detergent.

      Jill: I can understand the easy of using an E-book. I would like to get it however I use my employer’s computer and downloading an e-book would be against policy. Do you have a hard copy or could you make one? I think having access to a hard copy would be helpful to others as well.

      Thank you for your time.

      • says

        The liquid potpourri may not work as well as the essential oils. They usually have a different oil base to them and may make your clothes oily or leave a residue. I’m sorry but we won’t be able to put out the e-books into print. The cost is just too high so the only way for us to make the information affordable is to put it into an e-book.

  19. Sandra says

    I use homemade laundry detergent all the time. I also have a septic system and in the years of use I have never had a problem. There are about as many recipes for soap as there are people who make it. It costs me $ 0.40/ gallon to make and cleans as well as commercial detergent. The main cost is initially purchasing the supplies. Once bought a box of borax and washing soda will make many batches as you are only using 1 cup per batch and 5 gal. of detergent lasts a long time. It takes about 20 min. start to finish and sure is a lot cheaper than 7.99 for 64 oz of commercial detergent.

    There is no reason to be overly concerned about the safety of the ingredients for your clothes or yourself or the exact amount differing in the different recipes. Go by how the product cleans for you. Obviously if you have only business type clothing that needs freshening more that actual cleaning you can get away with a much milder solution that someone who’s husband is a mechanic or farmer with clothes saturated with grease and dirt. You can adjust the ingredients as needed, There is a wide margin of safety. Both washing soda and borax have been used for many years. My mother used them as an additive to her laundry in much larger amounts than most soap recipes. I am 65 yrs old so people have been using it for a long, long time with no adverse effects.

    Someone asked about washing soda. The chemical name is Sodium Carbonate and can either be bought under the Arm and Hammer washing soda name at some grocery stores or on line as well as at swimming pool supply stores where it is known as pH up. It is the stuff you put in your pool to keep the water from burning your eyes and to help keep the pool water clear.

  20. Lisa says

    It’s good to know so many tips for stains. For my HE washer I use 1/4 c. Today I became a happy camper. I had forgotten I’d gotten spaghetti sauce on my favorite pink sweater. (My youngest son has had some serious medical issues this week) I didn’t even think about it being in the wash until I took it out of the dryer. (kids sorted laundry) When I saw it I nearly cried, then I checked for the spot and it was gone!

    A local store is now carrying Fels Naptha for under a dollar. I used to have to drive 20 miles to get it and now I only drive a couple of miles. I make all the laundry soap I need for our family of 5 for the year for under $10. I have 3 really active kids and this stuff is great.

  21. rose says

    this week i made a batch of the powdered version of the soap … 1 bar of zote soap, 1 1/4 cup washing soda, 1 1/4 cup borax and 2 tablespoons of oxy …
    my daughter and son in law were thrilled .. they told me this is even better than the first batch (the first batch i just grated the zote soap but with this batch i used my food processor to make it a finer powder) .. and i gave them a spoon from wendy’s for a measuring spoon (they kept losing their spoon so if they lose this one they can always get another one) ..
    i havent made my detergent for my house yet .. i am using up all of what i have first …
    but my son went to his sister’s house to do his laundry and well, his clothes smelled so fresh and clean … and seemed to brighten up his whites really nice (i usually use bleach for the whites but this time he didnt) .. he just washed his clothes twice and in the rinse cycle they used the vinegar …
    the zote soap has a really nice fragrance to it …
    i told my sister i am going to make her some too .. she likes powder instead of liquid and cant wait to try this .. and i told her of the savings too .. she is really excited about that too (they are on such a tight budget with all of his meds and dr bills) ..
    thanks for sharing this recipe with us tawra and jill .. 😀

  22. says

    I use the dry form of this laundry soap, been doing it for years, I just grate one bar of soap (I prefer a castile soap or Ivory), then eyeball an equal amount of borax and washing soda, (if you have 1 cup of grated soap, then you use 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda). I add about 2-3 tablespoons per laundry load, it works great! I don’t take the extra step to make it into a liquid. I might start doing that though, I am using a manual washing machine now and the grated soap doesn’t dissolve as well because I’m using cold water and I don’t agitate as long as a powered washer does. We live 100% off grid, have lived this way since Dec ’07.

    One thing though, if you use your gray water on any plants, garden or lawn, then you will need to omit the borax, it will kill your plants, just omit the borax, your laundry will come out just as clean.


  23. rose says

    i was telling my sister that i would be sending her some soap and well, she prefers the liquid type instead of the powdered type .. she asked if she could take the tablespoon of detergent and put it in a a cup with some water to dissolve it and then put that into the machine and i told her i didnt see why not .. it was going to be dissolved one way or another anyway …
    just wanted to share this with everyone ..

  24. Seanette says

    Anyone have a good recipe for a powdered version? I’d rather not be lugging bottles of liquid laundry detergent from apartment to laundry room and back, and would have to buy a bottle to have a suitable one on hand.

    • Fay says

      (60 loads)use 1 TB/load (its a concentrate)
      1 ½ C Borax(.35/cup = .52)
      1 ½ C washing soda (.58/cup= .87)
      1 bar Fels Naptha $1/bar
      Cost to make 2.39 Cost/Load .04
      I grate the bar soap, with my food processor shredding blade; change to the puree blade, add the rest of ingred & blend to mix and cut soap even finer.
      Saves money, quick to make, environmentally friendly, no fillers so you use less & takes up less storage space than liquids. I use in cold water an HE machine with no woes.

      • mary jane says

        I also use the powdered version of the detergent–much easier to make and store.
        I cut the fels naptha and then put it through my old osterizer in small batches. Then I add in the borax and washing soda. I found a great buy for washing soda online through Ebates at drugstore.com, I think, for 3.99 a box; I bought a few boxes and got free shipping that way, too. and cash back from Ebates.com.

  25. rose says

    this is what i made for my daughter and she seems happy with it ..
    1 bar zote soap
    1 1/4 cup washing soda
    1 1/4 cup borax
    2 tablespoons of the oxy powder(actually is the $1 store brand of the oxy) ..
    then i mixed it up in my food processor to make it a fine powder ..
    that is what i did ..
    tawra/jill have a wonderful recipe too ..
    also, bc of the size of the bar (its 14.5 oz) i am sure i could add a bit more of the washing soda and borax to give me more detergent…
    and to wash i told my daughter to use 1-3 tablespoons depending on the size of the loads and how soiled and etc the loads were ..

  26. says

    I make the powdered laundry soap with the zote soap too. It works great. I use 2 cups of washing soda and borax to one bar of zote soap.
    I tried the Ivory soap powdered and liquid and the stuff would float to the top of the water. I have very hard water. I was concerned about the septic too, since the stuff floated.
    Anyway I tried it again with the zote and I just love it.

  27. rose says

    nana .. that is what i am going to do for my own personal recipe at my house .. my son is very hard on his clothes and well the zote soap is alot larger than the other bars in the other recipes .. (esp the ivory) ..
    so i will be doing the recipe like u do .. 2 cups washing soda, 2 cups borax, 1 zote soap bar and 2 scoops of the oxy (which will equal 4 tablespoons) ..
    my daughter and son in law are not hard on their clothes and they dont sweat or get dirty like my son does ..
    i also made homemade dish detergent with the zote soap . it came out really nice but since my daughter wanted me to make that for her i did . ..

    • Kelly says

      Can you please share your dish detergent recipe? I just made liquid wash detergent with zote…thanks so much!!

      • says

        Kelly you can make your own by just dissolving a 4 oz. bar of shaved castile soap in about 4 cups of hot water – stirring until dissolved. There are all kinds of recipes out there where you can add a tablespoon of vinegar or washing soda and essential oils and all. You can use other bar soaps but they often don’t do quite as good a job. If you are making it to save money you need to be careful and check out the price of the ingredients and all. Castile soap can be expensive and if you start adding essential oil that too can be expensive.

        Basically what you are doing is just using bar soap but dissolving it into a liquid.

          • says

            The laundry detergent does gel up after it sits usually but if for some reason it doesn’t it makes no difference in the cleaning power and you can still use it.

          • says

            I’m not sure but I think it will thicken some. If you want it thicker then add a tablespoon or so more of the shaved soap. If you want it thinner add m more water. It really doesn’t matter too much how much you add it will still work the same. One thing though usually homemade doesn’t suds or cut the grease quite like the store bought. You can add some vinegar to the dish water or the soap if you need more grease cutting.

  28. Amy says

    I LOVE this laundry soap. I noticed when I started using it that a residue was left behind from store bought detergents and this took it away leaving my laundry brighter and softer feeling. I have a septic and have had no problems.

  29. rose says

    hehehee .. oh jill .. guess what my daughter asked me to do ? .. hehehehe .. make her some liquid homemade detergent ..
    well.. hehehehe 😀 .. i told her that i would be using the recipe from here so not to make any mistakes ..
    but here is the funny part.. she wants me to make it with the zote soap instead .. she likes the smell of it more than the fels soap ..
    so tomorrow i will be making this and i will let u know of the outcome ..
    hopefully the garbage men wont get another surprise .. 😀 😀 ..
    thought this might tickle ur funnybone when u r drinking ur coffee/tea in the am .. hehehee 😀 ..

  30. rose says

    i am not sure what will happen but i think if i use a half bar of the zote soap it should be close to what the 1/3 to half bar of the fels soap .. and just add more of the washing soda and borax to even it out ..
    i think i should be ok .. but i will let u know of the outcome ..
    she is enjoying the homemade dish detergent i made her .. and my hands are still very soft from trying this out on my own dishes …
    if u would like i can share the recipe of what i used and did .. just let me know ..

    • says

      Sure Rose we would love to have your dish detergent recipe. I see you have been busy this morning on the blog. HA!HA! Sorry I missed answering you right away. I had Baby Jack this morning to give Tawra a break. She has been killing herself having to get the house spotless to show over and over which is a good thing but does wear a person out especially with a toddler.

    • Audra Curtis says

      It’s my understanding that Zote is for baby clothes and gentle cleaning while Fels is for more heavily stained/normal washing. I usually use the Fels simple because I have 2 teenage boys who are VERY active.

  31. rose says

    just to clarify something .. when i posted about one sister preferring the powdered soap that is my sister in nj .. my other sister in fl likes liquid soap ..
    sorry if anyone thought i was talking about the same person .. i should have clarified this .. 😀

  32. rose says

    i bet u had fun with baby jack to day . and it was nice u gave tawra a break .. yes its true .. toddler’s give a person a great workout with all of their energy .. hehehe 😀 ..
    yes i will share my recipe .. i actually found several on the internet but bc they had used reg size bars of soap and i used the zote soap i actually played around with the recipe and i must say it came out wonderfully (my daughter told me this too) ..

  33. rose says

    sorry .. u all had to wait for the recipe .. i got busy last nite and then when i was able to come back to the website i couldnt find my recipe i had written down ..
    but now i found it .. here it is ..

    1/2 bar zote soap grated finely (i grated but then i put it in my food processor to get it even smaller) …
    then, put in a large bowl .. then add 2 1/2 cups boiling water (what i used) or super hot water from tap .. cover and let sit for 24 hrs … (actually, what i did is check it after 8 hrs and “whipped” it with a fork to break down the clumps *there were a few here and there*) ..
    and bc of the next day we went to melbourne (which is 2 hrs from my house) and bc we got home late that nite i didnt re-check it until the following morning (it was fine, just really gooey like .. nice scent tho) ..
    at that time i added 3/4 of white vinegar..
    i made 2 bottles .. one was for 25 oz and the other was for 16 oz ..
    then i tested it .. it was ok but bc i love suds i decided to add 3 tablespoons of dish detergent (ajax) to the 25 oz bottle and 2 tablespoons of the dish detergent to the 16 oz ..
    then next time i make this i will cut the water to 2 1/4 cups … add 1/4 vinegar more (making it a full cup of vinegar) and double the tablespoons of the dish detergent (only bc i think it could be more sudsy) ..
    but i have to share with u .. my daughter does love it .. and if u wash ur dishes by hand, it will leave ur hands incredibly soft! ..
    it was alot of fun making the dish soap .. and they make nice gifts .. esp for the holidays (which this is what i am giving this yr .. all homemade cleaners as gifts) ..
    i am just testing out the recipe i did find that i liked but i tweaked it to my own specifications ..
    here is where i found the recipe:
    how to make your own dish soap DYI life
    enjoy! 😀 ..

  34. rose says

    thats DIY life not DYI .. hehehe sorry about that ..
    also i used the last recipe that was posted ..
    and to be quite honest, i did enjoy making the dish soap and my daughter is very happy with it .. and yes i will make it one more time with the newer recipe that i just posted .. but just to share .. i am not sure how cost effective it is to make this ..
    a yr ago i did an experiment .. walmart sells these huge bottles of dawn of palmolive for $5.. well last jan 1st i bought one.. (it was supposedly on sale, that is what the person stocking the shelf told me.. but now they sell these all of the time) .. i had filled up my empty bottle half full and didnt add any water .. a week went by and i decided i could add water to what was left and stretch out my dish soap .. well then after using that all up i decided to put 2/3 water to 1/3 dish soap in the container .. i found that the huge bottle lasted me until the end of march (it was actually april 1st when i finally went back and bought a small bottle of dish soap, i remember the date bc my kids kept pranking me bc of april fools day) ..
    all in all it cost me roughly 40 cents a week but i found something else .. i went to the dollar store in our area and lo and behold .. they sell those same big bottles at the dollar store for $3.00 … and after i do the calculations (if i am correct here) and depending on the size of the empty bottle (either 16 oz or 12 oz) and depending the ratio of how much water to how much soap i prefer, the dish soap this way could only cost me about 15 to 20 cents/week! ..
    and after all of this, i am not sure if making the soap homemade is actually the cheaper way to go (even if i do like the way it turns out) ..
    just wanted to share this ..
    oh and jill . i will be making the liquid version of the laundry detergent today and will let u know how it turns out .. …

    • says

      Rose I am so glad you know to do the figuring on the dish soap. So often people make the mistake of assuming because something is homemade whether cleaning supplies or food recipes, that it is cheaper and it always isn’t. For example I get brownies mixes which are way cheaper then making them from scratch and they taste really good. That happens with many things. So thanks for a heads up.

  35. rose says

    oh ur welcome jill .. and u r right .. esp on some of those mixes .. esp when a store has the buy one get one free specials ..

    i am currently making the liquid detergent soap .. that zote soap is such a pretty pink and it does smell nice .. i forgot to turn on the fan b4 i started so i will run it on high for a bit ..
    i will keep u posted on this too .. thank goodness i have the video from the website .. this is alot different than when i made it b4 .. and my son commented that the soap looks different too ..

  36. rose says

    well i made my homemade liquid laundry detergent and it came out perfect! ..
    thanks so much for the video and advice jill and tawra ..
    i tested on a load of my son’s clothes ..
    and since i am wanting to give a sample of this as xmas gifts (along with other homemade cleaning items) i needed to make sure my son’s clothes were super dirty and grimy .. i have one nephew who is a mechanic, one is a plumber, 3 are electricians and 1 does solar stuff (works outside) .. so their clothes are grimy, greasy , yucky .. dirtly ..
    my poor son hehehehe .. he is sooo lovable .. he made sure his clothes were terribly dirty and smelly .. hehehehe 😀 ..
    i must say .. i washed them and rinsed with the vinegar and they came out very very clean!!! .. and smelled wonderfully! ..
    i actually washed them twice and rinsed twice .. which i know i didnt have to .. but i did … even after 1 wash his clothes were fine and nice and clean .. but i wanted to make sure i will give my nieces (the girls are married to my nephews) and let them decide for themselves how many times to wash the nephews work clothes ..
    oh and by the way .. i did add 1 pair of shorts and 1 blouse of mine to the load .. so i can give a testimony on my clothes too ..
    so thank you so much for helping me with this .. 😀 .. i really do appreciate it ..
    i did use more than what u had suggested but his clothes were so bad they could have stood up and walked away if u can catch what i am trying to say! .. hehehehehee 😀 ..
    i know the powder version works wonderfully too .. my son in law’s socks (they are old but look brand new.. thats how white they are!) … he wants to try the liquid version to see which one he prefers ..
    thank u so much .. it was actually alot of fun making htis .. 😀 ..

  37. rose says

    and the detergent did smell nice and it was a lovely pink shade ..
    it wasnt too jelloey but still worked fine .. and that is all that mattered ..
    thanks again 😀

  38. Noelle says

    I am looking forward to trying this out, though I was wondering if adding some essential oil would effect the recipe at all? My family is a sucker for lavendar and I was wondering if you ever tried adding it? I do love your website!

  39. Fran D. says

    I’m with you Noelle. I do a lot of laundry and this would be a huge savings on detergent.
    Thanks for the tip Tawra!

  40. Michelle says

    I make my own and leave it power form … I make one batch last lasts 1 year … 2 boxes of Borax > 2 boxes of Washing Soda and 4 bars of Fels Naptha or Ivory and 2 boxes of baking soda Mix it all together in a WELL washed Cat litter container and I mix before each time I use .. 1 tblsp per load and also I use 1/4 cup vinegar for Fabric Softener > I use spray bottle with a mixture of 1/2 liquid fabric softener and 1/2 water for the dryer > 4 squirts does thd trick … in the winter I use the dryer sheets as well but cut them in 1/4 and use 1 in the dryer.. The laundry soap lasts 12 months and the fabric softener lasts abut 5 months .. we have bought stain remover for really tough stains but normally take 1/2 tsp of the powder and add water to make paste works great.. Love the page … Interesting reading

    • Karin L. says

      I now only use dryer balls in our dryer and have had No problems. I have used 4 dryer balls, but one tore up after like 8 years,so now I have 3 in dryer.. I always use vinegar as fabric softener in our washer.

  41. Pam says

    I have used and love your detergent recipe. The problem is finding washing soda. I couldn’t find it locally, so I ordered it online. By the time I paid shipping, it doesn’t make my detergent so frugal anymore. Any suggestions?

  42. says

    I went to 2 stores belonging to the same chain. I asked the Manager if he carryed washing soda and he did. He also stated in the higher price neighorbood they don’t.
    So I called y cousin and told her that for the past 35 yrs she has been high class.What fun.

  43. says

    Hello ladies, I was wondering if anyone has a front loading washer and would care to share their experiences with it. I made some of the liquid laundry soap and gave to a friend who has one. She said there was some trouble with it staying lumpy in her machine and not going into the wash water. She did shake it up first in the bottle. Thanks

    • says

      I have one but haven’t used the homemade soap in it. I would think if the soap was liquid it would do just fine. Maybe she just needs to add it to some hot water to make sure it dissolved before putting it in there.

      • PA Bishop says

        Hello Tawra: I dissolve my homemade laundry soap in hot water before adding to washing machine. I really enjoy your site. PattyB

  44. says

    lol that’s what I suggested to her. Hindsight being what it is… :) Thanks for all the great stuff here btw. Still trying to figure out a dishwasher solution that works. I’m kinda new to all this but lovin it.

  45. Patty Walker says

    I’ve been using the liquid homemade soap recipe for several months along with white vinegar in the rinse cycle. My machine agitator has a film of “grunge” on it that it’s never had before. Has anyone else had this happen?

  46. Patty W says

    “Simple Green” works well to remove stains from clothes, but make sure you buy the “Simple Green” out of the Automotive Department.

  47. Teresa says

    Can someone tell me where you get washing soda for making the laundry soap? sorry if I missed this from the other blogs :)

    • says

      Teresa most major grocery stores or places like wal mart have it in with the laundry detergent. Usually it is on a higher or lower shelf by it.

  48. says

    Teresa, I live in a large city with no Walmarts in sight. I found my washing soda at a hardware store. Good luck finding it. I keep my soap in powder form…I don’t know why, but I like it that way. I also will use an equivalent of the Zote soap that I find at the dollar store. Have fun zesting the soap :-)

    • says

      Sofia so glad you mentioned this. Some people do have a hard time finding washing soda when they don’t live in a large town. I love hardware stores anyway. Small town hardware stores are really good and have a treasure trove of neat things you wouldn’t think about especially when it comes to kitchen items and household things.

  49. Kathy says

    My grandmother used Fels Naptha soap and borax to do the laundry and hung it in the sun to dry even though she had a top of the line washer and dryer – you have never seen clothes so fresh and clean. She obtained her college degree in home economics, and taught me well how to run a good and frugal household. You can get washing soda at a hardware store or order online – I get mine at Ace Hardware. Thanks for posting this recipe for homemade detergent.

  50. Kathy says

    Are the homemade laundry detergents safe to use if you have a septic system? Would love to try them but don’t want my attempts to save money to cause other issues. Thank you!

    • Sandy says

      In regard to septic, powder or liquid it’s all the same ingredients in this case. All commercial liquids contain polymers, liquid plastics, that are there to prevent spoilage and keep liquids flowing. They never biodegrade. Commercial powder detergents don’t have them. I’ve never had a problem using powder in our septic. If your septic is working properly you won’t either. As for animal fat, it will break down quickly. The idea that fat is worse for a septic than a nondegradable substance is silly. In this case your question is whether it is better to add the water before or during the use of the detergent.

  51. Valerie says

    Lived with septic tanks my entire life. You absolutely should not use the powder, especially with the animal fat. I can clog up all of the pipes. Seen it before, and costs a heck of alot of money to replace. It’s the soap flakes, and they are like cement when they build up. They can also clog the bed, and takes years. Can always use castille soaps instead. We use homemade, but we use Dr. Bronner’s for our soap (stock up on sales), and make the liquid version. Also, if you are concerned about septic issues. Bio Pac products has a 5 gal bucket you can buy for $51. Prices at the worst are 7 cents/load for HE and 15 cents/load for TL. Mine is 10 cents/load for TL because I have soft water. However, the glitch in this is that if you do not have a store that carries it, it is not worth it. My local HF store carries it, and orders it for me. Voila, no s/h :-). Oh, for my soft water/TL I only need 1 oz/load.

  52. Valerie says

    Sorry, forgot to clarify, as it is late. I make my own in the summer months here, as I am not working 14-16 hours days, but in the winter, I just order the 5gal bucket. We do ALOT of laundry here, so the 5 is good for the season. Besides. Dr. Bronner’s, or other castille soaps, just smell so nice ;-).

  53. Kathy says

    Wait, Valerie – I’m confused. The recipe I have calls for washing soda, Borax, a bar of cheap grated hand soap, and water. Do any of those ingredients have the animal fat I need to avoid, or does this recipe sound like it would be OK? The Borax says right on the box that it’s safe for septic systems, but I couldn’t find any such wording on the washing soda. And I can’t imagine that hand soap would be a problem when you already use it every day…? Thank you so much for sharing your info!

    • says

      Kathy I think you are ok using those things. I figure if you can use all of those separately you can put them together to use them and no there isn’t any animal fat in those. Plus both washing soda and borax say you can use with septic tanks.

  54. val says

    Actually, dry is not good because of the fact it is in soap flake form. Even when it is a fine grate, you cannot guarantee they will completely dissolve during washing. Yes, we do use these in the shower, but when you use a bar of soap, you are rubbing it to get suds and soap, not grating it. When u mix the ingredients together, make absolutely sure that everyrhing is dissolved. Borax and baking soda dissolve easier than soap. ALL soap is made from some kind of fat, and unless it states it is a vegetable base it is an animal fat base unless proven otherwise. Soap that does not completely dissolve can adhere to the pipes, then each other, and cause a “clot” per say. Oh, my mom did inform me yesterday that she buys the basic melt and pour veggie soap base at a craft store when it on sale. She said the basic, with nothing added, like Shea butter, and will pay $4-$5 for a 2# block. I know prices vary per geographical location, but it could be worth it for some. She laughed at me for buying Bronner’s, I love my mom. Hope That helps:-). Oh, I am not sure anyone mentioned this, but if anyone is having a hard time finding the washing soda, try a local pool store. It is the same ingredient as Ph up.

  55. Ronda Kaufman says

    I was told by the septic tank guy that we should never use powder in a septic tank. I always use liquid but the former owner must not have and the gunk that the powder leaves is awful. He aso said to use the cheap toilet paper because it disolves faster. We don’t like it so we use Angel soft or Northern..

  56. Suzanne says

    Where do I find Fels Naptha to purchase for the homemade laundry soap? I live in a small town & would Wal-Mart carry this product?

    • says

      Suzanne Wal Mart usually does carry it. It is either on a top shelf or bottom shelf by the laundry detergent or it is in with the hand soap. Some small hardware stores (like Ace) carry it and a lot of grocery stores.

  57. says

    I had heard about this way of making your own laundry detergent before, but the dish soap mentioned in the comments was a new version for me.

    I have also used so called “soap nuts” in my washing machine. Since they can be used multiple times that is an affordable method as well. However, they are rather mild so you may need to use stronger stuff from time to time.

  58. Suzanne says

    Our hardware store can’t get the washing soda, but, I am going to try Wal-Mart. On the other hand, the hardware store carries the Fels Naptha Soap Bars. Thank You for your help, Jill!

  59. val says

    Suzanne, if you still cannot font it, ask your hardware store if they can get PH up. Or, if there is a local pool store in the area. It is the same exact ingredient. There is nothing else added in PH Up either.

  60. Suzanne says

    Hi Val,
    We don’t have a pool store, we live in a smaller town. But our town does have a Wal-Mart! :)

    I appreciate your help!

  61. Janet Avery says

    I just wanted to give some insight on the liquid laundry detergent. The Fels-Naptha soap was a little expensive where we live, so I started using Octagon soap the same way. It is a degreaser soap and works well with greasy clothes. It doesn’t have that faint lemony smell that Fels-Naptha has but it gets the clothes real clean. My recipe makes about 8-9 gallons and I add 10 drops of lavender oil to each gallon that makes it smell really nice.

  62. Sandra says

    I have been making my own laundry detergent for years. There are probably as many recipes as there are sites posting them but the all are basically the same method
    ( boiling water to dissolve the grated bar soap then add the washing soda and borax, stir and add more hot water in a bucket to make 2-5 gal batches etc ). That is basically how I was taught therefore how I always did it. Recently I was sick and out of detergent, not a good combo. I decided to take a desperation shortcut and low and behold it worked beautifully.
    Instead of grating the fels naptha soap, I coursly chopped 1/3 bar with my cleaver, added it to my blender filled 1/3 full with hot tap water, added 1/3 cup borax, 1/3 cup washing soda and blended the mixture for about 3 minutes. I then added the mixture to 1 gal of hot tap water in my bucket and wisked it for about a minute to blend well, then immediately poured it into liquid laundry detergent bottles and put them on the shelf. Start to finish less than 10 minutes, no boiling water, no sitting and cooling, less mess to clean up. and it works just as well and a reasonable amount ( 3 detergent bottles ) of liquid detergent. As far as I can see when you shake it up and use it as before there is no difference in the texture or cleaning.

    • says

      That makes sense Sandra. It is like when people do the extra step to make simple syrup for lemonade to dissolve the sugar. I just mix is all together and let it set for just a bit and it is ready to go saving a step. Good thinking.

  63. a friend says

    I have been making my own laundry soap for a few years now. I use the fels naptha version. My family is very sensitive to chemicals and this soap does not cause reactions. I have a septic tank and have not had any problems with it. We use the liquit form. Saves loads of money and makes us feel good about making our own stuff. Fels naptha is usually .99 at our Jay C or kroger store. I live in a small town 45 min away from walmart. Our local store orders it for us.

  64. Suzie. says

    I have been a loyal user of a commercial brand of laundry soap for over 40 years and got fed up with not only their price but the lack of cleaning it did. I found this recipe and on a whim made it. LOVED the smell and how it brightened up my laundry. My whites are whiter, and colors stay true. No longer does my front loading machine have to be cleaned monthly for that awful musty smell. Nor do I have to use a softener. It did not take long at all before my group of followers and family started making their own and LOVING it. It costs 40 cents a gallon to make and nothing at the store can touch its cleaning power. I haved used it in my dishwaher in a pinch and it worked very well indeed. Also works well to clean white woodwork. This stuff cannot be beat !

  65. says

    I didn’t find Fels Naptha at Walmart but I saw a “Zote” washing bar. Is this the same thing? Does anyone know if you can use this instead?

  66. Michele Crone says

    I have been looking for a laundry soap that I can use for my son who has eczema. The Fels Naptha has a strong fragrance. Is there another option that doesn’t have dyes or fragrance in it?

  67. Debbie says

    I use a variation of this recipe and love it. I didn’t read through all the posts so don’t know if these questions were answered yet. 1. Most Meijers carry all of these soaps, but I’ve also found them cheaper at Walmart. 2. I use the recipe from the Duggar Family website. This calls for an entire bar of fels-naptha and also fills the entire 5 gal bucket. And then you fill your laundry container 1/2 full with this and fill the rest with more water (cutting it in half again). You must shake it before adding to the machine and I haven’t had any problems with it not getting into my front load machine. This recipe yields 10 gallons, costs $2.00 per batch and only .01 cent per load! I haven’t had any problems yet and I’m a die hard tide user!

  68. Bev says

    I follow this recipe each time and yet it cakes up on the top of the bucket. I add hot water to try and break it up but even though we shake it before using have found clumps of soap in the washer (like cement).

  69. rose says

    my liquid recipe is still not coming out right .. not sure of what i am doing wrong . ugh .. either too watery or well odd clumpy/cementy like .. its hard to explain .. soooo .. since the powder version seems to be the easiest for me .. what i am resolved to doing, is make up the powder version and then when i am using it in the machine, i take the scoops, put it in a little bowl and mix in hot water until it dissolves .. i know this is an extra step but bc i prefer liquid to powder and my liquid comes out funky-like (i cant explain it but it does.. and why? i have no clue.. but it has been a hilarious conversation for my family and aunt rosie’s “soap” hehheeee) ..

  70. rose says

    michele crone: i was curious on this .. so i looked online (yahoo.com) .. and i found “dr. bronner’s magic soap all-one!” http://www.drbronner.com ..
    and they have an faq’s section there .. not sure if this can help u .. but go ahead and look .. and experiment .. that would be fun ..
    just sharing 😀

  71. Nicole says

    Ladies, There is also an even easier way to make your own soap that lasts a long time. It’s great for clothes and cloth diaper safe. 1 cup borax , 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup oxyclean and mix all together. Use 2 tablespoons per load.

    • Jackee says

      Thanks Nicole, I am going to try this laundry detergent. This will be my first time making my own detergent.

  72. Tricia says

    I made a batch of this laundry soap yesterday, and just have a few comments. When boiling the soap mixture for 15 minutes, be careful, it will BOIL OVER! (My stove hasn’t been this clean in years haha) This morning it was all glops of gel and liquid, I guess I need to stir it real good. I used it this morning (we have a HE front loader)- my clothes were clean, and one thing I noticed is that the clothes dried a lot quicker. Not sure if this has anything to do with the soap. Thanks for a great web-site!!

  73. Mitch says

    If anyone is having trouble finding washing soda you can make your own. Just spread a generous amount of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) on a baking sheet and put it in the oven (300 F for about an hour, just don’t let it burn!). The reaction mechanism is as follows:

    2 NaHCO3(s) –> CO2(g) + H2O(g) + Na2CO3(s)

    So it will lose CO2 and H2O in the process and the resulting sodium carbonate will weigh less. This conversion begins taking place starting at about 210 F and complete conversion will occur at 400 F.

    I would stay away from the higher temperature as you don’t want a pan full of burned powder, but you could probaby get away with 350 for a half hour or so. If you want to experiment just weigh the material periodically on a kitchen scale, when it stops losing weight the reaction is complete.

    In case you were wondering, sodium carbonate works better in the laundry as it has a higher pH than sodium bicarbonate. So it is worth the hassle of doing the conversion in the oven. You can buy sodium bicarbonate in bulk at many stores to save even more money and not drive 30 miles to find washing soda.

    For more info on the conversion:


    • says

      Yes Rena you can put it in any kind of container. We just mention the detergent bottle only because it has the label on it and everyone would know what was in it.

  74. rose says

    thats the washing soda and/or borax and/or the fels (or zote) soap .. thats what i meant to say .. that u can order these from amazon if the stores closest to you do not carry them .. (responding to mitch’s idea of making our own) .. 😀
    thanks for the idea of making that mitch .. very informative 😀

    • Mitch says

      You are absolutely correct about buying online. My only caveat is cost, buying online with shipping you are spending $8 for a 55 Oz box at Amazon (15 cents/Oz). I can buy that same box in the store for $2.98 plus tax (almost 6 cents/Oz). On the other hand I can buy a 13.5 lb bag of baking soda at Sam’s Club for $6 and make my own sodium carbonate for about 3 cents/Oz.

      If I make a large batch or make it while baking something else in the oven the electric cost will not be much. Certainly not enough to make up for the difference in cost or traveling 60 miles roundtrip to purchase washing soda. On top of that I can use the baking soda for so many other things!

      Just looking for ways to make all natural detergent for even less money! :-)

      • says

        If you live some where where you can shop at a Sam’s Club you must be near a larger town so I would check maybe some other stores (don’t forget hardware stores too) and they should carry washing soda for those of you who don’t want to make your own.

        • Lori says

          I found all 3 ingredients side by side on the shelf at WalMart in the laundry aisle. I guess they figured out what we were doing!

  75. says

    Does anyone use this and wash clothes in cold water? I’ve been washing in cold water and wondering if this homemade soap works as well as the so-called “cold water” detergent. I use regular detergent but it would be great if this worked better, even in cold water. (Uses less energy). :-)

    • says

      You can use it in cold water. It is just like regular detergent. Now I will say with any laundry detergent whether it is this or store bought I think some detergents work differently with the water in different areas but like I said it really is no different if any thing it might work better.

  76. Amanda says

    Love using homemade detergent. My friend and I have a laundry service from our homes and use it for every load!
    Thanks for sharing!

  77. liz says

    I guess I am lucky that I live in a city (Columbus Ohio)where these 3 ingredients are cheap and easy to find. I made 5 gallons for $.78 and I LOVE it. Its better than Tide

  78. Tracey Maus says

    Today I purchased everything to make the liquid laundry soap. I figured I will be saving about $200.00 a year if this works. I am so excited and can’t wait to use it tomorrow. In the past I have made my own soap and I am hoping to be able to use that in the future.

  79. Sandra says

    I don’t like the Fels Naptha and though I could use an Ivory bar instead I decided to go one step further and save myself the hassle of grating and simmering by buying 2 – 24 oz. Ivory Ultra Dishwashing Liquids and using them. It is the exact same as far as ingredients and liquid ounces except for the talc, Acid Orange (CI 20170) and Acid yellow 73 (ci43350) that are in the Fels Naptha. As far as cost goes, I stock up when it is on sale and my store does double coupons so it ends up costing me less in the long run too. I also don’t have the clumping problem some people are experiencing. I use 1/4 cup per load for my front loading washer and 1/2 cup per load for my top loading washer. No problems with my septic system so far.

    • says

      Jennifer they are a little hard to find. you can sometimes get them at farm auctions, estate sales and antique stores. You might also try just googling (sp) wringer washers. There are some retro places which are reproducing things like that now too.

  80. Erika says

    Google Lehmans.com They carry everything old hardware stores used to carry. Have an amazing collection of non-electrical items. They ship pretty well everywhere and have an A-one reputation.

  81. annie says

    When using the 2 24oz. Ivory Ultra Dishwashing Liquid do I just add 1/2 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup borax, and 6 cups water to both of the dish washing liquids? Also, would it mix up better with hot water instead of cold water?

    • says

      I’m not sure which recipe you are talking about on this Annie. Did you see it on one of the comments because ours doesn’t call for dishwashing liquid. I may have over looked something. sorry.

  82. annie says

    I’m sorry Jill that I didn’t mention that the comment was from Sandra just up above. Guess it’s just been one of those days for me. LOL. She mentioned using the Ivory Ultra Dishwashing Liquid instead of using bar soap. I just wasn’t sure of the amount of dishwashing liquid to use with 1/2 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup borax, and 6 cups of water. I’m trying to figure out how to make things easier for me on days that I don’t feel too well. Again, sorry for the confusion.

    • says

      That’s fine Annie. Believe you me I have those days too. I’m not positive but I think she meant that the Ivory soap will replace the fels napha and the water both so that you just add the washing soda and the borax. If you will notice 2-24 oz of Ivory is equal to 6 cups of liquid so that is why I’m pretty sure it replaces the water and fels napha.

  83. annie says

    Just wanted to say Thank You Jill for your help. It’s nice to make things quick and easy plus save money at the same time. Have a great day.

  84. kristi says

    Lots of posts! I didn’t read through them all so I’m sorry if this is repetitive and I think the answer is yes but I’m going to ask anyway: does anyone know if this is a safe “recipe” for cloth diapers? buying special detergent every 6 weeks or so is not very budget friendly (about $12-$15, depending on brand). do you have any other tips for laundering cloth diapers? I vaguely remember a post about using cloth from when y’alls kiddos were in diapers…my daughter keeps getting a yeast rash. i’ve tried feeding her yogurt, lathering on creams, at one point she was given a prescription. it seems to be under control but her poor little tush is always so red! Anyway, not to get off topic but I’m wondring if the irritation/rash is being caused by the detergent i’m using.

    • says

      Kristi it is funny you should mention this because I was just getting ready to re post the cloth diaper article in a couple of weeks. Here it is if you need more info Cloth Diaper Hints. Plus yes you can use this on cloth diapers. We did with no problem. My son had pretty sensitive skin but I didn’t ever buy special detergent because he always did fine. On the other hand I had a bunch of trouble with my daughter and using cloth diapers (it was the diapers not the detergent) so I ended up having to change over to disposables and that is finally what helped her.

    • Tammy says

      try extra virgin coconut oil, it’s works wonders, you can get the organic at a health food store or GNC, which smells like coconut, or refined coconut oil at the grocery story which has no odor. the coconut oil is in a jar and will be in a solid form, however, it will become melt. if it is cold, you can put a little in a container and place it in hot tap water to get to a liquid state, once cooled it will solidify again. this is a wonderful skin conditioner and works wonders on a baby’s skin, don’t worry about it staining, because it is a natural oil it washes out.

    • says

      Rena is is perfectly fine to use. Every once in awhile it just doesn’t gel but that makes not difference in it’s effectiveness and works just fine anyway.

  85. rose says

    oh wow .. this seems awesome … so u just add the washing soda and the borax to the dishwashing soap? .. no water? .. i wonder if u could do that with any kind of dishwashing soap then? .. and does it have to be ultra kind? ..
    i ask bc i use the generic palmolive (its that green color.. the original palmolive) dish soap … so i was just wondering if that was ok too …
    i now use era detergent on our clothes .. but its getting to be summertime here and son works outside .. and we will have to do laundry more often .. i moved to an apt so i dont have my own washer like i did at the old house .. and trying to come up with something to save on the clothes soap costs ..
    washing and drying is $1/machine .. which is a big savings as per the reg laundromat ..
    i will have to try this .. …
    thanks for sharing 😀

    • says

      Rose just so you will know the recipe with just the baking soda and Borax is for dishwashers and not for hand washing. You use it in place of the powdeed soap that you use in a dish washer.

  86. rose says

    oh ! .. hehehehe .. i thought it was a new variation of the clothes soap that i was looking at .. hehehee 😀 .. and i was going to try it too .. eheehhhe ..
    altho there was times i did soak mom’s uniforms in dish detergent when she came home from work (she was nurse and had to have literally sparkling white uniforms!.. this was b4 they were allowed to wear the colored tops and bottoms) ..
    and i was telling my daughter i was going to try this out ..
    do u think i should? .. i could make a small batch and see what happens? .. and let u know .. we do laundry 2-3 times a week now that i am in the apt ..
    this will be fun .. i will try it and see what happens .. it cant hurt and if we dont like it .. i can always use the mixture on the dishes .. cant hurt there either .. 😀 ..

  87. Rebecca says

    I have researched oxy clean and found, as referenced earlier in the comments, that the main ingredients for the extra cleaning are hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. However, I cannot find references to amounts to use in my washing machine. I have experimented, but have no idea what amounts are appropriate/best. Any suggestions?

    • says

      You use 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup of peroxide. Put the peroxide into the bleach dispenser of your machine or if you add it straight to the wash you need to let it fill with water first ans swoosh a little while adding. Be careful peroxide can bleach some things in the same way bleach does so if you are unsure be sure to test a hidden spot. I personally would only use peroxide on my whites and some light clothes to be on the safe side.

    • says

      I get it for $.99 a 16 oz bottle. I myself don’t use many of the homemade things because to me they can get more expensive if you aren’t careful. The same way I don’t always find cooking everything from scratch always saves me either. You need to check in your area, your prices and your situation. We have so many people asking for “homemade” products on everything that we try to help them out. Many aren’t using homemade to save either but for other reasons. I personally am in such a situation that I can not financially afford to worry about what is in a product or those types of things so I just use what is the cheapest for me and make do. Whether it is homemade or store bought I have to buy the cheapest.

  88. rose says

    i think u r right jill .. so last nite i made a fresh batch of the soap .. my daughter and son in law ran out of it a while ago and with me moving and getting settled in and etc, i havent had time to make some .. i just used the reg soap recipe (zote soap, washing soda and borax) .. i changed it a bit (the recipe) .. i put 2 bars of the zote soap, 3 cups of borax, 3 cups washing soda and 3 scoops oxy clean….

  89. Lydia says

    This sounds great! I saw a recipe for a cup of Dawn, a cup of Borax, and a cup of washing soda. But is this for a gallon? Or 5 gallons? And would Dial or Dove bars work just as well as the zote or fels. Naptha?

  90. says

    I noticed that Zote works best for me because of the really hard water here in south Texas. Ivory leaves a residue and so does Pure and Natural. I like Pure and Natural to wash my body with. I can get it at the 99 cent store or the dollar store.

    At Walmart, I found Zote flakes. One box=two bars of Zote. It was the white Zote too. If I remember right, it was $2.98 per box.


  91. says

    Made my soap yesterday with the Zote flakes. I just mixed a box of flakes (17.6 oz) 2 cups Borax, 2 cups Washing Soda in a bucket.

    I think I will grate my own bars next time. I got a few flakes in my towels. But I mixed it with hot water before adding it the next time and didn’t have that problem.

    I used 1/4 cup in my regular washer.

    I am going to scent my vinegar as the clothes didn’t have a smell. Fresh and clean, but not really a smell. Worked wonders on my hubby’s nasty socks. I bought EO yesterday and can’t wait until I get it in the mail. I chose Rose Gerainum. I have a handmade bar of soap from a friend that has that scent and it is wonderful. Not overpowering, but old fashioned.

  92. rose says

    amy, what is EO? .. just curious ..
    i like the zote soap too .. and that would be awesome to have it already flaked .. wish they sold that here and $2.98 for a box isnt too bad .. the zote soap is $1.25/bar .. so, for me, i wouldnt mind paying the little bit of extra to get the flakes .. less time consuming ..
    and then when i am done mixing every thing up .. i have a small (very) food processor that i grate the soap even finer ..
    i use about a 1/4 cup too … but on my son’s clothes (he works outside), bc they are much more grimier than ours, i use 1/2 cup sometimes more .. depends on how smelly and filthy his clothes are ..
    will u be putting the rose geranium scent in the water? .. or do u make ur soap in the liquid form? .. i couldnt tell by ur answer .. and i was just curious …

  93. says

    Essential Oil.

    I am going to scent the vinegar that I use for the laundry. But it would also scent anything I use this bottle of vinegar for.

    My hubby’s clothes are nasty. He works in the oil/gas industry. It works wonders.

  94. Robin says

    I’ve made the detergent and I find it cleans really well. I use double the amount for my husband’s mechanic uniforms and his clothes come out fine. I also added several drops of eucalyptus oil to kill dust mites….and a couple of caps of lavender oil…however I don’t really notice any nice smell when the clothes are done. I’ve used the recipe fo the homemade fabric/wrinkle release and I just don’t get the nice smells I got with the commercial stuff. How much scent should I add to the bucket? I want to save money but I also want my family to enjoy their nice smelling clothes too.

    • says

      Hum. I’m not sure if you’re not smelling it. I guess I would just start adding until you notice it. Maybe it’s just getting rinsed really well. You might try to use the scent in the dyer instead.

    • says

      Mary you pretty much use it just as you would your regular soap. If you use less with regular soap then use less of the homemade. The only thing different you will really see is the homemade does not suds up as much as regular so don’t panic if you don’t see a bunch of bubbles. That doesn’t mean it is not working.

  95. Julie Henderson says

    I read the previous comments regarding Zote. Do you all think it cleans as well as Fels Naptha? I too have been making my own homemade laundry soap, with the very standard recipe, & I too have a septic system, plus a well & hard water…I have it all! 😉

  96. Tracey says

    I was just recently turned on to home made laundry soap and I do like it so far definitely cheaper…But I love a good lingering scent on my freshly washed towels and linens so I added patchouli oil to mine. I can smell the patchouli, Its not as strong as I was hoping, but i can smell it. Now I haven’t used the vinegar because I hate vinegar smell so does that smell stay on the clothes? Scared to try that one? I have just been using: Dry form…Baking soda, borax, zote, and 4 tbsp of patchouli oil…That just happened to be the recipe I found and tried, minus the patchouli oil they used lavender, but I’m a sucker for patchouli.

    • says

      Tracey many people are afraid to use vinegar for that reason too but whether you use it in your laundry or on your hair there is absolutely no smell at all left in it.

  97. LeeAnn says

    I use this formula and grate the Fels Naptha mix with the other dry ingredients and use as you would any dry laundry soap. Works just fine without the cooking mess.

  98. Chris says

    I’m think I may be in the minority .. .. .. I tried homemade detergent for a few months and wasn’t satisfied with the results.

    Our clothing did not seem to be as clean and bright as they get with my regular detergent(Tide) – which I’ve gone back to. Our town supplied water is hard, perhaps that makes a difference.

    • says

      In our Keepin it Clean e books we explain in detail about how hard water really makes a difference on how your clothes turn out if you need more info about different laundry detergents. Even things like they type of machine you have can make a difference. I have used many different types over the years and usually I have had to change my detergent from where I live to what machine I have. Try it and if it doesn’t work then try something else next time until you find what works for you.

  99. Robin says

    This is my 4th batch of soap and I have noticed a slight difference in my whites, they seem a little dingy….I added about 1/2 c bleach in my water, filled the washer full and agitated it to get the bleach all mixed in because some of the white stuff shouldn’t be bleached…anyway, they came out great….I was wondering though….couldn’t I just use more Borax? Right on the box it says it’s nature’s way for color safe bleach…..it also says to put it in the bottom of the dishwasher to keep spots away…..I’ve made a powder version of dishwasher soap with koolaid lemonade packets(8 packets), 1/2 c of borax, 1/2 c of washing soda and 1/4 c salt(kosher is what the recipe calls for but I’ve had success with regular salt)….anyway – my dishwasher seems cleaner and the dishes less spotty…Do you think adding extra borax to this mixture might help that too?….also, what types of oils are good for making a nice smell to your clothes…I’ve used lavendar and Eucalyptus(for dust mites), but they hardly leave a smell….
    and p.s. – for those who haven’t tried making this laundry soap yet – be sure to keep an eye on your pan while it’s boiling…..stirring almost constantly….I’ve had a couple of boil overs! :)

    • says

      Robin I always use bleach on my whites no matter what detergent I use. I have yet to find anything else that whitens like that and I have tried almost everything including all the homemade or store bought things. Bleach is the only thing for me that really whitens. You can try to use more borax that might help and another thing is to make sure you do an extra rinse with vinegar, water softener or borax. Dingy clothes is usually a sign of some kind of build on the clothes and often happens from mineral build up from hard water or things not getting rinsed well enough. I always run my clothes through a second rinse each time I wash them.

  100. rose says

    thank u so much for the new e-book .. i really do appreciate it .. that is soooo sweet of you to offer this to all of us .. 😀 ..
    i hope all is well with u and the family .. fall is here .. we love this time of year! .. we can finally feel a bit of a cooler weather here in central florida . which is a treat for us .. hopefully it will get even cooler soon .. oh yes! .. 😀 .. love it .. 😀

  101. Deb Vaughn says

    I have an HE washer AND a septic system and my washer repairman AND my septic guy told me the worst thing to use was liquid soaps. So I make the homemade powder soap and only use 1 Tablespoon per load.I also have hard water and the powder just does better. ?? The soap lasts forever. My septic guy said homemade is great for septic, less petroleum ingredients that can clog septic. Oh, by the way, homemade must be catching on, my little town is out of both washing soda and Borax!

  102. Julie says

    Yes, it is true that you should not use powdered laundry or or dishwasher detergents if you have a septic tank system. We had to have ours replaced. The owner of the company said that is one of the reasons why the system will fail. The problem is that the powders bind with any grease that is present and clogs everything up. However since you dissolving the powders before they are used in the machine you should have no problem.

  103. Amy says

    I have decided to try this and I’m a little nervous. My big concerns are:
    1.) Front Loading washier, I have read on other sites that homemade can hurt the seal.
    2.) Smell, that there will be an odor that gets on the clothes.
    3.) Lastly, will this cause things to fade fast or for colored clothes to come out bleached?

    Sorry for the questions…just not wanting to mess things up.

    • says

      It is suppose to be better for front loaders because it doesn’t have much sudsing and things like that. I used it in front loaders and had no problems. As far as it hurting the seal I’m not sure what they are talking about. I guess it could be a problem but things like that go wrong when you use regular washers and detergents and has nothing to do with the detergent.

      Our clothes always had a nice fresh smell to them. Smell the ingredients and I think you will see they don’t have a bad smell at all. I have tried many different products over the years and there have only been two things that I have found that leaves a bad smell and that is if the clothes have been left in the washer and not dried right away. They start mildewing and that smell can stay on clothes even through other washes. The second thing is sometimes men’s clothes covered in car oil or something similar can smell.

      Homemade detergent isn’t quite as harsh as other detergents and it doesn’t strip the color out of the clothes like regular detergents. If you are still worried make up a small batch and use it on some work clothes or old clothes and see what you think.

      Hope this helps. Holler if you have more questions.

  104. rose says

    my daughter and son-in-law use the powdered form of the soap all the time .. and they always use a bit of vinegar in each and every load of the rinse cycle .. and once a week she runs her machine on hot water with just vinegar .. just to keep her hoses clean .. they are on city sewer and water so she doesnt have to worry about a septic but she does this so she wont have any kind of backup in her drains …
    and her clothes always come out smelling nice and fresh ,,, and his socks look brand new! .. i kid u not! .. they are over 3 yrs old and they are still white as new socks are ..

  105. HSmom says

    Thanks for posting this recipe! The first time I made it, I measured with water 2 gallons in a bucket so I could see how much volume that would be–so later, when I followed the recipe I could add the volume to the right level without having to measure when everything was hot. This recipe works great. I use 1/2 cup of soap flakes plus the other ingredients. I’ve only had one batch which didn’t “gel” but like you said, it still works great at cleaning. One batch lasts our family all month. It now costs about $2 a year to do laundry, detergent wise. The scent is wonderful. I never have static cling. It cleans well–even stains. I can store the ingredients to make our soap very inexpensively so no mater what else happens, we’ll have cleaning power!

  106. rose says

    my duaghter and son in law like the powedered version of the homemade soap detergent but since there was a huge fiasco from one of the apts in the complex where they live (it seems one of the tenants had such a backup of powdered soap, not sure if they did the homemade soap or if it was the kind u buy in the store) and they poured grease down the drain, (who does that in this day?) .. anyway .. the new rule there is that no powdered soap allowed to be used on the property .. only liquid soap ..
    so .. bc of that .. my daughter and son in law asked me to make the soap in liquid form .. thats fine.. except for one thing .. every time i make it, something happens (remember the garbagemen jill?)…
    so i went on the website (here) and found the recipe and then i went on you tube and looked for zote soap recipes bc we only use the zote soap .. you tube has sevreral videos listed using the zote soap ..
    i told my duaghter i would use ur recipe from the video bc it seems easier to follow but i would use the zote soap ..
    they only like the zote soap ..
    i did try to get her to try the fels soap but after picking it up and smelling it, we noticed i seemed to have what looked like a burn on my nose (odd, i know) .. but i do have sensitive skin and i know my son in law does too .. (just wanted to share, in case anyone else has sensitive skin) ..
    but i guess after u water the soap down its probably ok ..
    so .. that is my new project for the month .. they were using a liquid from the store .. but she said their clothes dont seem to be as clean as when i made the soap for them ..
    so .. hoping that all goes well with this .. i will keep u updated if anything funny or weird happens .. normally it does .. hehee 😀 ..

  107. says

    Hi Jill,
    I would like to know if I can add fragrance oil to the soap and if so how much. Thanks so much for this site. Living on Social Security is
    hard and every penny saved is a plus.

  108. Jessica says

    I made this soap for the first time last night. It gelled uneaven. Its watery but gelled in chuncks. Will it still work?

  109. Lori says

    what is the purpose of letting it sit overnight and gel. Have you tried mixing it with water and putting it in the containers right away? I had a hard time getting the gel to not have large globs when mixing with the water. Which made putting it in the containers a challenge since I have misplaced my funnel!

  110. Len Matson says

    Having had a septic tank pumped and watching the worker using a rod to break up the huge clump of soap I immediately switched to liquid soap. It seems there is always a small amount of powder that does not dissolve and clumps together in the tank, over a twenty year period it became a problem for us. I am planing on making up one of these soap mixes to try, I have already started using the peroxide and vinegar to replace the softener and bleach.

  111. Jeanne says

    I use Kirk’s Castile bar soap which I buy at Kroger’s. It does cost more than the Fels Naptha bar BUT there are no skin “itchies” in this bar.

  112. susan says

    My daughters mother-in-law shared her recipe for liquid laundry detergent. The recipe she shared was 1 box of borax, 1 box of washing soda, 1 sm container of oxyclean, 3 bars of reis neptha (grated) , 1-2 boxes of scent crystals, my question is do 1 have to cook this or can 1 just mix it up and use less (1 Tb per load) as a power? I suffer from COPD and perfums and cleaning products etc. take my breath and make it hard to breath, any insight would be greatly appriciated.

      • susan says

        My questions was…my daughters mother in law shared her recipe for homemade laundry detergent..1-2 containers scent crystals, 1 box of washing soda, 1 box borax, 1 small container of oxi clean, 3 bars of reis neptha grated, sent crystals and oxi are optional , how ever she said to cook it but could i not just mix it up use it as a powder ( 1 tbsp)..i suffer from copd and perfume etc. takes my breath away or makes it hard to breath , any input would be appriciated.

          • says

            You can use it powdered without cooking it. The reason we cook it is because the water in older washers didn’t get hot enough to dissolve it but in the newer washers it works fine. If you have an older washer you can just dissolve it in some hot water before you pour it in.

    • says

      You use this detergent like regular detergent so if you normally use softener you might want to still use. I would try a load or two with out it and see what you think because sometimes the Borax or washing soda used in this can often soften hard water and will make things feel softer with out the softener. I just always used softener because I love the smell of it and I have my clothes out so it helps with wrinkles some.

  113. Kim Tabol says

    I have a well and a water softner…can I still use this laundry soap.Also HE washer…Thanks Kim
    Love this sight

  114. JAMES R. says

    About the Q as to weather this homemade laundry soap is safe for septic systems….

    Washing soda is water soluble, as is Borax…the Fels Naptha soap is also water soluble, so having said that, I fail to see how this homemade detergent could plug the drainage holes that are in every septic tank. If you have a leach field of some kind, then there would be even LESS chance of the system getting plugged & backing up into your home or yard.

    Yeast will cure almost any septic system problem you may have…just flush it down the commode.

  115. Mel says

    My liquid laundry soap is still liquids didn’t gel up. I used a Castile soap that had coconut oil. Could that be the problem?

  116. Joyce says

    I’m on a septic system and have used this for years. I use Fels Naptha not Ivory soap. Never have problems with my septic, there are worse things that go down there.

  117. Amanda says

    This is my new favorite website! Love all of the ideas… I have been looking for a recipe to make my own laundry soap… and the Fels Naptha soap listed here actually helps when exposed to poison ivy and oak…which I always get at least 5 times a year. So maybe this will help the oil get off my clothes and skin. Thanks so much!

  118. Linda says

    I am about to shampoo my rug and one carpet, can this laundry soap be used for a carpet shampoo. Does anyone have a recipe for carpet shampoo. Thank you for getting back to me

    • says

      Yes you could use this but the important thing is to dilute it down with about a quart of water to a couple of tablespoons of detergent. The thing is you can even use a couple of teaspoons of dish detergent diluted down. We have a couple of recipes in Dining on a Dime that you could use too. Most homemade cleaners for anything consists of a couple of tablespoons of vinegar, ammonia, dish detergent mixed and diluted with water. Me I keep things simple and find that a little dish detergent and water for anything does a pretty good job.
      For putting it in a machine the main thing is to dilute what ever you use down quite a bit with water. You may have to experiment a little because different machines work differently.

  119. Cindy says

    Hi, we are now making our own laundy soap from “Zote” and washing soda, LOVE IT. I have a front end loader and septic system, No problem with either. As has been said there is no suds so no trouble with my washer other then it smells nice and clean, I have well water and everything comes out clean and fresh smelling (even the wash cloths) Our soap is simple, 1 box washing soda and 1 bar grated Zote(comes as a bar twice the size of fel-naptha about 90-97cents at big lots or wal-mart) mix the 2 in a ice cream bucket, I put about 1/4C in side my front end loader and it works great. note:if you put it into the soap dispenser I think that would be where you might have trouble. I won’t go back to store bought soap! Hears another food for thought, they are putting ingreadents in laundry soap now that are nothing more then harmons that our kids don’t need.

  120. MaryK says

    I loved making my own laundry soap I used Zote soap( found at walmart $.97) instead ( I liked the smell), and it came out great. I used my old laundry bottle to store it. My son works at a restaurant and I could never wash them enough to get the greasy smell out but with the first washing all was fresh and clean. I used 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water in my fabric softener compartment and no static cling. Amazing stuff

      • says

        When ever you use vinegar and then rinse it you don’t really have any smell at all. Many people are afraid to use it as a rinse for clothes or hair etc. thinking it will smell but it doesn’t smell at all.

  121. Marie Lawrenz says

    The recipe I use for a gallon of liquid laundry soap I use calls for 4 tablespoons washing soda, 4 tablespoon Borax, 4 tablespoon of Oxyclean & 4 tablespoon of Dawn. It seems to do a good job. Does this recipe seem efficient & seems like it would work ok?

  122. Lacy says

    Would this be doable with kiss my face olive oil soap or is that too waxy? Just developed a coconut and possibly palm oil allergy, so I’m looking for something to use without throwing my sensitive skin baby and myself into a rashy, coughing mess. :)

  123. Robin says

    Hi, I just made my second batch of laundry detergent yesterday, I made a double batch, this time (4 kids and a husband). I am really happy with it, I have seen recipes in the past and some of the directions were vague and it made me feel unsure about the whole thing, like it said to keep adding water, eventually, there wouldn’t be much soap there and also no directions about how much to use for each load. With your recipe I feel confident, I added some fragrance, and my whole family is happy. Next I will try the homemade dish washer detergent. Thank you so much, I really enjoy your web site, emails and books.

  124. Shell says

    I have seen so many recipes for homemade laundry soap. Thing is I want to make it but my husband is severely allergic to Borax and Fels Naptha Laundry Soap. His allergies are so bad that he almost cannot wear the clothing on his back unless they are 100% cotton and nothing more. Any other suggestions on how to make homemade laundry soap without these 2 ingredients? I am all about cheap but not when it comes to the allergy part, health is #1 in my boo.

    • says

      My son is allergic to it too. I haven’t tried it yet but you can try other soaps like Ivory or Zote but he may have a reaction to it also.

    • says

      Shell you can use some other kind of bar soap that doesn’t bother him to replace the Fels Naptha and you can leave out the Borax and maybe add just a little extra washing soda and use some vinegar in the rinse.

  125. Willette says

    I have been using a variation of the liquid detergent and occasionally make dry with ZOTE Soap or Fels-Naptha. It has been one of the most frugal choices made for my family budget. I was spending a fortune on detergents, fabric softeners and cleaning supplies. I feel very fortunate to have found “The Duggar’s Homemade Laundry Detergent (19 Kids and Counting Mom) recipe online and tried it…It’s been 2 or more years, and I still use it. My kids are converting slowly. I do add some Original Gain Fireworks in-wash scent booster about 1 cup to each 5 gallon bucket plus I use boiling water to make it.
    Blessings to all today!

  126. Debra says

    I used this laundry detergent for years. I loved it! However, I discovered soap nuts and ever since then I use nothing else! Just put them in a muslin bag and they will do about 6-8 loads! No softener needed. Nothing else works like these and I am very happy with them.

  127. Linda says

    I’ve been making this for years. Fels is a little strong if you have anyone with sensitive skin so I grate 1 1/2 bars of Ivory Soap for each batch. I also use the small broken piece that get left in the soap dish. I tried the flakes and they don’t work.

    • says

      It doesn’t need to be that fine. I just grate mine on a regular hand held grater. I have not used a food processor but maybe some of our readers have. It probably depend too on how heavy duty of one you have but like I said I just use a hand grater.

  128. Audrey says

    I have very hard water and instead of using vinegar in the water I mix 1 cup of Epson Salts in my dry laundry soap mixture. It works good for me. I have not made the liquid soap recipe so I can not comment oh how it works. I would think it would be ok. As far as using it with a septic system we have had no problems in the 5 or so years since we switched to home made laundry soap.

  129. Kriss says

    I’ll be honest and admit that I did not read all the comments here but was wondering if anyone using the laundry soap has sensitive skin? I have to use “All” free and clear detergent as my daughter is allergic to something in the regular detergents. Would love to try this but do not want to jeopardize her health!! Any suggestions…..?

  130. Kim says

    Ok, so silly question….
    Where do I get the washing soda?
    My hubby and I are going to make laundry soap this weekend. trying to cut down on expenses and waste :)

  131. says

    You can get washing soda at almost any grocery store or place like Wal Mart. In very small towns hardware stores carry it too. It is in with the laundry detergent and usually is on a higher or lower shelf. It is pretty easy to find. If you need to ask a clerk for help I would go with an older person because many young people have never heard of it before.

  132. armyguardmom says

    I buy it at Walmart for under $4 a box and it will make a lot of laundry soap. Another website said you can use a pool product to regulate the alkalinity of the water since they are both the same. But don’t use that. I tried it and my soap separated out, leaving the soap on the top and all the water on the bottom. The soap hardened so it was almost useless. Stay with the washing soda.

  133. Janb says

    WalMart carries it. When I make mine i do not add the water. I use one bar of Fels napa bar soap grated 1 cup each washing soda and 20 team mule team borax. I put it in my blender to get the Fels finer. I use 1 tablespoon to add to my wash. Clothes are nice and clean.

  134. Tiffaney says

    That happened because it wasn’t stirred often enough when it was cooling. I stir mine every 15 minutes for a couple hours and then I can leave it overnight and it won’t have that hard layer on top. You just have to keep it stirred while it cools, otherwise it separates and cools into a hard piece.

    To fix that, put some water and the hard piece on stove and melt again, then keep stirring after it is put back into the bucket. Again, just stir every so often for a few hours and it will keep it from doing that again.


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