This is the ORIGINAL homemade laundry detergent recipe, all others only imitate what you’ll find here.

This is a fun project that will save you money and help you rid your home of toxic chemical cleaners. When you’re done making this check out these other related articles:

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Note: No time or desire to make your own laundry detergent? You can always purchase a great natural brand like this.

When we first set out to make our own homemade laundry detergent we thought it would be difficult and time consuming – turns out it’s neither. Making your own laundry powder is fast, easy, and inexpensive.

We opt for powder over liquid in respect for opportunity cost, storage, and simplicity (the liquid variety takes longer to make, requires more storage space, and is more complicated). And now, years after making our first batch, thousands of others have tried it and loved the results.

This powdered detergent recipe requires just three simple ingredients and takes only a few minutes to make:

Note: This soap/detergent works in all HE front-load washers; read more below.

Detergent Recipe

Each batch yields approximately 32 ounces (between 32-64 loads based on how many Tbsp used per load).



Thoroughly stir together for several minutes and enjoy the results! You can take this a step further and blend the mixture in a blender or food processor to create a powder that will dissolve easily even in cold water. (Just be sure to let the dust settle before removing the lid of your blender or food processor so you don’t inhale the fine particles.) Store in a sealed container with a small scoop.

To Use

Use 1 Tbsp per small load (or 2-3 Tbsp for large or heavily soiled loads).

Homeade Laundry Ingredients

I purchased all these ingredients at my local grocery store:

  • 1 – 55 ounce box of Arm & Hammer® Super Washing Soda = $3.99
  • 1 – 76 ounce box of 20 Mule Team® Borax = $4.99
  • 1 – 10 pack of 4.5 ounce bars of Ivory® Bar Soap

Note on ingredients: use whatever ingredients you are comfortable with. Many people cannot afford natural soaps, while others make their own. Brands of commonly used bar soaps include Kirk’s Original Coco Castile®, Pure & Natural®, Fels-Naptha®, and/or ZOTE®. Both ZOTE® and Fels-Naptha® are made for and sold as a “laundry bar.” If you’re looking for a pure, natural solution you’ll need to go with a handcrafted soap so you can be sure of its ingredients.

All items can be found in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores. If you can’t find washing soda, you can learn to make your own here!

Continue reading pages 2 and 3 for the pictorial instructions, cost savings breakdown, notes on HE washers, septic tanks, and borax safety.

– Page 1 – Page 2Page 3

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DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Natural™ is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional. If you rely solely upon this advice you do so at your own risk. Read full Disclaimer & Disclosure statements here.


    • AJ says

      Personally I use one capful of softener in a 32 oz spray bottle and spray 5-10 times into dryer with clothing. Will spray more for towles and jeans due to weight of fabric or when you have heavier static problems like in the winter when the heat is on. I have yet to finish my bottle of softener and it’s been at least a year if not more and I have soft/static free clothing (minus the overbearing scents too!) and save mega money. Softeners used to be a real luxury for me and we often went without. Now, I don’t have to!!

      (edited to add)
      This is the same recipe I use for my liquid detergent only I don’t have to add all the water and melt down the bar shavings. I think I’m going to try this b/c although I like the liquid, it’s gels and separates so I have to shake before each use and my spouted super size container is way too heavy for me.

      • says

        I also make similar only in liquid form using Dr.Bronner’s bar soap instead of yucky Ivory. The soap I use already has essential oils in it as well- it’s 3.79 a bar and will do a 5 gallon bucket full of liquid.
        Here goes:
        -1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s Lavender, Citrus, Peppermint, Almond or Baby soap
        – 1 dry cup of Borax
        -1 dry cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
        -opt. a few drops of tea tree for disenfecting (esp. good for cloth diapering)

        *grate soap into sauce pan- add 2 cups of water- stir, dissolve.
        *into a five gallon bucket add Borax, washing soda and tea tree if using.
        *dump melted soap liquid into bucket and stir quickly
        *add water to about 3/4 of way to top- stir and put lid on.
        *set overnight- measure out 1/2 cup of liquid for light loads and 1 cup for normal.
        Yay- cheap liquid, eco, natural detergent!

        • Jen says


          Have you ever used Dr. Bronner’s bar soap to make a powder laundry detergent. I wonder if that would work? I only ask because I do not own a bucket big enough and would rather not buy one if I can avoid it.

          • Stef says

            I use the Dr. Bronner’s peppermint bar soap. It is wonderful. It doesn’t leave much scent after clothes are dry, but is easier to grate than Ivory if you are using a box grater.

          • Beckie says

            You can use pretty much any laundry or castile soap! I’ve used it before with Dr Bronner’s Almond bar, and the batch I just made, I used Kirk’s Castile. Other places talk about Fels-Naptha, because it’s so cheap and is a laundry soap, but I think it’s icky and may or may not still be a petroleum byproduct.

          • Erica says

            the buckets are only about $4 at walmart and are reusable! but you should be fine with any bar soap in powder form if thats what you prefer.

          • Scott says

            Cut your recipe down until it’s small enough to fit into whatever you have available. I made a batch small enough that it’ll fit into a pan on the stove. I heated mine up until the soap melted and then I dissolved the soda and Borax into that. Add more of your water after that to cool the mixture and pour into a jug of some kind. No bucket was needed.

        • Alaxi says

          @ Rachel, have you ever used Dr. Bonners liquid to make liquid laundry?
          @ whomever, I persoanlly have not used bar soap since probablly 1991, & was curious about DR. Bonners, So thank you Rachel for that!
          I read through everything, & one question I have is what about stain remover, like Shout, Spray n’Wash? what do you guys use for that
          I read some one uses wet FelsNapt… bar, I’m have to look up as never hear of it.
          I do & have used the dryer balls since 04, & before that used Tennis balls on towels, sheets & blankets. they cut down on drying time big time! I started using them ALL the time about 06! I have 4 blu dryer balls, & i tennis ball in my dryer 24 seven.

          WOW! White Vinegar? who knew!

          Overall do you prefer the dry soap, or Liquid?

          • says

            Hi Alaxi, I prefer the power/dry soap because it is SO much simpler to make yet does the same job. For stain treatment I sprinkle some detergent on, add some water, scrub to agitate, then let sit until I launder them. Works great – and yes… wetting and wiping with Fel Naptha would achieve similar results. God bless.

          • Alaxi says

            thanks Matt.
            guess I’ll go powder,
            I thought the liquid sounded as ez, except storage.
            thanks for spot remover tips too.
            I had gone to a natural laundry, plant based, non suds, SO2 I think its called in the summer because of some allergie free for one of my poochie kids, it works great, not too pricy, but for a laid-off kid its all expensive, so got to cut where I can & still maintai good naturtal quality.looking forward to making & trying it!
            send any tips you have my way.
            Merry Christmas & many blessings for your family.

          • says

            To use Fels Naptha, get the stain wet, rub Fels Naptha onto the stain and rub the fabric to lather it up. Let it set for a few minutes and throw into the wash.

            Fels Naptha is especially amazing on Ring around the Collar and I use it on all of my hubby’s dress shirts!

          • Sara says

            Hi Alaxi.
            The bar you are referring to is called Fels-Naptha. You can buy it at Krogers for $1.29; I actually had to buy some today. It is 5.5 oz. Depending on which recipe you use, 1 bar will give you 10 gallons of laundry detergent. The Duggars have a wonderful recipe for using Fels-Naptha.

        • Rachael says

          Will this work with HE washers as well Rachel?
          I worry about messing up my washer machines with homemade stuff, but I love knowing what is going in and out of my house and being able to make things from scratch!

          • Michele says

            As far as the HE Washers go, I know because I used to sell them that yes they do require less suds but one of the main reasons for the less suds is because your regular detergents WILL in FACT clog up the lines so this is the main reason for the HE Detergents that are less sudsing. The only ingredient in this recipe that I am concerned about is the bar soap. I’m not sure if over time if this will build up in the lines and trust me I used to keep in touch with our Service Dept and they are who informed me of this issue. Alot of people would use regular detergent even after telling them not to, even if they used a lesser amount this would not stop this line clogging problem. Anyway I just wanted to pass this info on but I am going to do more research before using it in my front load machines. If the lines clog it is a very expensive repair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Michele says

            Yes, soap can build up but if you keep a good maintenance routine on your machines and use either the white vinegar and even clorox it will keep it cleaned out. Also it is bad to build up with just cold water useage but if you use hot water it will help to disolve the soap build up and this happens mostly with hard water. Don’t get me wrong I am going to try this but I would just like to let others know about how you can prevent future line clogs. I am going to make some up as soon as I can find the ingredients. We are having a terrible time locating the borax and washing soda locally. I can find it online but the shipping is usually more than the products but I have a couple of other places that we are going to try before ordering offline.

          • says

            I had a hard time finding them too…I had to go to different grocery stores and eventually found them in one of the Walmarts in our town. Try a bigger grocery store.

          • Windsor says

            Michelle – I have read about this, and everything I have read says Borax should NOT be used on Cloth diapers, it wears out the elastic. also the soap may cause the diaper not not be as absorbant

          • Cindy says

            Vinegar also neutralizes the soap, which is why Dr. Bronner says on his website not to ever add vinegar to the wash. It will defeat the cleaning power of the soap. Check it out on his website.

            As a rinse, maybe, but not with the soap as some people have mentioned here.

          • colby says

            To make liquid laundry detergent, which goes further anyway, cut this recipe in half
            1/2 c bar soap grated
            1/2 c borax
            1/2 c washing soda
            boil 2 cups water, add the grated soap slowly to dissolve, turn the heat down you dont want the soapy water to boil.
            once completely dissolved add it to a large container, preferably a laundry container that holds at least 60 loads or more or a container with a wide mouth so you can stir, add the borax and washing soda. make sure there are no clumps of either of these two ingredients.
            add an additional 8 cups hot water to soapy mixture stir until all the powder is dissolved, let sit 24 hours, i like coming back every hour or so when im awake and stirring but you don’t have to. after the 24 hours the mixture will be very gelatinous, stir it really well, try to break up the clumps and get it to where its pour able.
            use about 1/4 cup for reg to large loads, 1/2 cup for heavily soiled loads
            this makes about 44 loads if you use only 1/4 cup and costs .63 cents a batch depending on how cheap the ingredients where for you, it cuts the above recipe in half, and still has about the same amount of washers so you can double the recipe making it the exact same as above and make 88 loads. the recipe above is only 60 at most.

            it works in cold water and doesn’t build up, lasts longer and is more cost efficient.

          • Nicole says

            Does the liquid detergent fade clothing? I would like to try this but if it is going to fade my nice new clothes then I don’t want to risk it. No one has been able to tell me if this recipe, powdered or liquid, will fade the clothing. Anything with optical brighteners will fade clothing, like Tide, or Zote soap. I am not sure which other chemicals will fade clothing. But I have recently started investing in my wardrobe, quality over quantity, and I do not want to damage them.
            Thanks for your input!

          • Maddie says

            I have not experienced any fading apart what happens naturally. I’ve been using Purex for years (Tide and other soaps being too expensive) and the DIY soap seems to work as well. I also use vinegar (about 1/2 cup for a large/super large load) as a softener. My cothes do not smell after using it and are soft and supple.

          • colby says

            No this doesn’t fade clothing, let me explain why, this is a safe and economical laundry soap, not detergent. detergent has a lot of chemicals in it making it harsher on cloths.
            Borax is actually non chlorine bleach, it doesn’t whiten cloths like bleach does but it, first boosts the ability to clean your laundry, then it acts as a color booster and stain fighter, like your commercial ones at the store.
            washing soda is actually baking soda that is cooked, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, when its heated it releases carbon dioxide and water vapor, turning it to sodium carbonate, which is washing soda, it works as a natural odor eliminator and laundry booster.
            the soap does about the same things as the others.
            i personally don’t use zote, i use lever 2000 aloe fresh, but you can use fels naptha, its marketed as a laundry pre treat stick, ive used the liquid recipe for years, and have never had to get rid of cloths due to fading or damage.
            your mileage might vary, try it on some cheap cloths if you have them to test it but i have never had a problem with it. the homemade liquid laundry soap is safe and gentle,

          • Maddie says

            Does the Lever 2000 suds up and how is it when you grate it? I used our food processor to get a more homogenous mixture of the washing soda, borax and fels. This worked really well. Is the Lever 2000 soft? Also, how does it make your laundry smell. I’m just concerned with it leaving white soap residue. Oh, also, is the measurment the same? I use 1 1/2 tablespoons for a super large load, 1 tbl for a large/med load and 1/2 tbl for a small or xtrasmall load. When you use Lever are the measurements the same?

          • colby says

            also, if you are using it on good quality cloths i suggest liquid because the dry needs heat to dissolve completely, ive had problems using store bought dry detergent, because i wash in cold water, it leaves white residue in the washer and sometimes can clump on your cloths which might ruin them, it can also clog the pipes.
            i don’t know about this dry recipe but if you make the liquid version it makes more, saves you a little more money and has less chance of doing the above damage.

          • says

            Colby, glad to hear you like a liquid detergent better. Since you don’t have any experience with this recipe let me share mine. We’ve been using it for 3 years with zero clogging problems and no ruined clothes. God bless.

          • Cindy says

            You are already using this detergent! Everyday! It’s the same ingredients as laundry soap. Look at the back of the store-bought detergent you are using.

          • Cindy says

            Seriously, I don’t understand why everyone thinks that borax and washing soda will do some sort of damage to your washing machine. For gods sake, you have already been using borax and sodium carbonate in your machines for years! It’s in all the detergents you buy from the store!

            Does no one read labels????????

          • Dayna Reidenouer says

            Replying to MIchelle – Would using white vinegar in the Downy ball help clean out the lines?

          • Michele says

            Dayna, Not sure if this will work or not. I might, I would just keep a close eye on it. Clorox may also break it down as well, I do use clorox on occasion. If the lines clog it will spill out in your floor, that is what concerns me. Some of the front load machines have a cleaning cycle for the machine itself and either vinegar or clorox may help with the line clogging problem. Actually I would put the vinegar in the clorox compartment in your drawer that pulls out because that is the area that the detergent actually goes thru first and nothing behind to wash it out. It is worth a try anyway. Thanks for the comment.

          • Kim says

            What would be the recommended amount to use in the front loader? Say 1Tbsp in the top loader, then less than that???

        • Amanda says

          I use this recipe too. It lasted 10 months!! And I’ve given a gallon away. It works great and I have a very messy 2yr old. I like the hemp-lavender Dr. Bronners and I’ll add some lavender essential oil, it smells great and it’s so cheap to make.

        • Stephanie says

          I tried making the liquid detergent following Rachel’s recipe (super easy). I could not find Dr. Bronner’s bar soap, so I used Yardley’s Almond and Oatmeal all natural bar soap (smelled so good). After letting it set overnight, it separated into two layers. The top layer was a thick foamy texture while the bottom layer was cloudy and watery. I am skeptical to use because it did not mix well, and I don’t want to ruin my clothes.

          Has anyone else ran into this problem, and if so, how did you remedy? Thanks!

          • sherri says

            I’ve read a few things now, and they suggest the day after you make it run it through your blenderto recombine and then it stays kind of creamy

        • Erica says

          you can also add oxi-clean to either of your dry or liquid formulas for extra stain fighting!

        • Cindy A says

          Actually, I don’t see the need for making this a big 5 gallon’s worth of liquid… If you are going to add it to the laundry anyway, why not just mix your dry ingredients and then add them by the TBSP to the laundry water? If the grated soap doesn’t dissolve well, then yes, still melt it with the 2 cups of water, add the other two ingredients, then just store that super-concentrated mix. Right?

          • colby says

            not really, there are 4 tbps in 1/4 c so if you must melted it in the 2 c. you would only get 32 loads. but you don’t need a 5 gallon bucket, i make a batch of about 44 loads, i reuse a couple of old detergent bottles that are about 60 loads each. my only concern is the ingredients not melting, ive never tried this powdered recipe and have heard it does, but never any confirmation if they wash in cold or hot water, i wash almost all my laundry in cold water and don’t want to fight things not dissolving or clogging up the pipes, which is a possibility with powdered detergents. but if you can make a 5 gallon batch you are set for the year.
            basically the recipe i use cuts this one in half
            1/2 c bar soap grated
            1/2 c borax
            1/2 c washing soda
            boil 2 cups water, add the grated soap slowly to dissolve, turn the heat down you dont want the soapy water to boil.
            once completely dissolved add it to a large container, preferably a laundry container that holds at least 60 loads or more or a container with a wide mouth so you can stir, add the borax and washing soda. make sure there are no clumps of either of these two ingredients.
            add an additional 8 cups hot water to soapy mixture stir until all the powder is dissolved, let sit 24 hours, i like coming back every hour or so when im awake and stirring but you don’t have to. after the 24 hours the mixture will be very gelatinous, stir it really well, try to break up the clumps and get it to where its pour able.
            use about 1/4 cup for reg to large loads, 1/2 cup for heavily soiled loads
            this makes about 44 loads if you use only 1/4 cup and costs .63 cents a batch depending on how cheap the ingredients where for you, so essentially if you where to double the batch you would get 88 loads rather then 60 loads out of the dry. im a big penny pincher and this really cuts corners, the powdered recipe was a big leap from buying store bought and now its just about fine tuning things, you can’t complain if your saving money

        • Cindy A says

          Also, another lady on Amazon said she just adds 1 TBSP of Washing Soda + 1 TBSP Borax + 1 TBSP Dr. Bronner’s Liquid to each load. You could pre-mix and store the two powders 1:1, I suppose, just to make it quicker.

          I would rather try to use the bars grated, as the carbon footprint of shipping a bar is less than shipping the big bottles of liquid (which is just shipping WATER)….. still, I wish I knew the concentration of the bar vs the liquid. Guess I should just email Dr Bronners’ to find out.

          Speaking of Dr. Bronner’s, I added some of the liquid soap to the wash the other day, and the Lavender scent nearly ran me out of the house! And I was using cold water! (bad, because kitties can die from smelling essential oils…builds up in their livers. Lavender is on the bad list for kitties, especially, so I was upset that my house was so full of the scent). Put the clothes in the dryer and feared the heat would make the scent worse, but surprisingly they came out of the dryer with practically no smell at all. Not sure why the whole house was filled with such STRONG lavender scent when just using with cold water. I only used 1/4 cup, which is the amount Dr. Bronner’s recommends.

        • Helen says

          What is so yucky about Ivory? It smells wonderfully fresh and clean and it’s only $1.24 for a 3 pack. Works great.

          • colby says

            the last time i used ivory it really stunk, im not sure why i had that soap for 10+ years that might have been my problem but i just know it did not smell good at all i ended up wasting a bottle of essential oil to cover up the smell, i use lever 2000 aloe fresh in my laundry soap and it smells amazing.

      • Liz says

        I just want to clarify, you use one cap full of softener in a 32oz bottle. Are you filling the rest of the bottle up with water?

      • Alicia H says

        I use any cheap liquid laundry softener. Pour it into a larger container and add water. The mixture should be equal parts water and softener. Then just cut a cheap sponge in half and soak in the mixture. squeeze it out and add it to the dryer just like any other dryer sheet. It works great for me and only costs about $3.00 for a 6 month supply.

        • Cindy A says

          If I may say, common fabric softeners are considered very bad for the environment and for people. They also contain phlatates. Phlatates (found in synthetic perfumes) have been shown to cause lots of neural harm to humans, including causing autistic children to function at a 30% lower level for a time after smelling phlatates.)

          Softeners deposit a film on your clothes and towels to make them soft, but which also makes them useless for absorption. It’s the reason water rolls off your towels instead of absorbing into them. Also, fabric softeners leave that same residue on your lint trap in your dryer, making for a fire hazard. To test this, just try to run water through your lint trap. When it beads off like water on a ducks back, you can see that nothing, including air can get through your lint trap very easily. I have read that you we should then wash the lint trap with soap and water to remove the film, until water can easily pass through it again.

          • Jackie says

            Good answer on fabric softeners, they are the 3rd most toxic item in our home. If you google the dangers you will see a lot about cancers. Also, I do use them in our camper to drive away mice. (haha) Read the label it has warnings about keeping away from children etc and we use them on their clothing, just an fyi :)

      • Kristin says

        Hey AJ, what type of softener do you use and you just spray right in the clothes and it doesn’t stain? Very neat idea!!

      • Lorraine says

        I’m getting ready to make this again. I learned the first time around to chunk up my bar soap and run it through my heavy duty blender.. It shortens the assembly time, and I like the finer texture. Plus, I don’t scrape my tender fingertips! ;-)

    • jinxie says

      I have a similar “homemade” dryer sheet. I have a spray bottle fabric softener diluted w/water. When I throw the clothes in the dryer, I spray an old dishtowel with the mixture and toss that in the dryer with the clothes.

      • Merry Weather says

        Fabric softener is toxic, so please avoid. You can just add some vinegar to your rinse cycle, and it helps out. The concept of “fabric softener” was a marketing gimmick when Proctor and Gamble and others realized that people complained about “stiff clothes” after using the specified detergent amount. Yes – they have detergent residue in their clothes because they use too much. I just wash our clothes in Charlies Soap (see Amazon for NO tax or shipping and great price), sometimes just vinegar or washing soda.

    • Jamie says

      I make my own dryer sheets by taking an old t-shirt of wash cloth and soaking my favorite fabric softener then letting them dry. And whala they work great for me. Good luck y’ll.

      • Karen says

        I was told a while ago that one only really needs to use dryer sheets if they are washing a fair amount of synthetic clothes. If you use mostly cotton type clothing, dryer sheets aren’t even needed! I am a cotton / natural fabric type of girl, so I dumped the dryer sheet all together, and haven’t missed it one bit! No static, no nothin’!

        • Merry Weather says

          Please – no one needs “dryer sheets.” They are a billion dollar business each year for large corporations, and totally unneccesary and toxic. Even the EPA discusses the toxic qualities, but unfortunately, have not worked with other agencies to ban them.
          Hang up your nylon stuff, or just run them in the dryer until almost dry. Static? Big deal. pull them out of the dryer and put them in your drawer.

        • Leonore says

          I’m old enough to remember when there were no dryer sheets. Some people used liquid fabric softener, but it was by no means universal. My mom tried the sheets, but I broke out in hives from them (it’s the ONLY thing I am allergic to). She stopped using them, and I never have (since the ’70s). One young woman looked at me like I had 2 heads when I told her I don’t use them – I know she was thinking I must beat my laundry on a rock.
          We may try the homemade detergent. We have a HE front loading machine, so I’m going to do a bit more reading to make sure we won’t mess up the machine.

          • Melinda says

            Hey Lenore, I found a great recipe for homemade softener.
            What You’ll Need:
            1 cup of hair conditioner
            1 1/2 cup of vinegar
            3 cups of warm water
            Whisk or wooden spoon
            Empty plastic bottle or glass jar
            Mix It Up:
            Step 1 – Pour hair conditioner into a large mixing bowl.
            Step 2 – Slowly add vinegar to hair conditioner and mix thoroughly. A whisk or wooden spoon works well.
            Step 4 – Add water and continue mixing until all of the ingredients are completely blended together.
            Step 5 – Pour into a container or bottle of your choice. An empty store bought fabric softener bottle is ideal especially if you depend on the cap for measuring purposes.
            To use, simply measure and add to your washer as you would any other fabric softener. In my case, my washer has a compartment that has a fill line. If you use the blue Downy ball, fill according to instructions.
            I usually double it so it lasts a while longer. I have 4 kids and I do a LOT of laundry. You can use any conditioner you like so the scents are limitless and no allergic reactions because you know what you’re putting into it. GOOD LUCK!!

          • Jann says

            I’ve been using homemade detergent in my front load machine for over a yr now and have no problems.. Hope this helps.

      • Wendy says

        I used to keep a few sponges in a storage bowl soaking in a diluted 5 to 1 softner and water, squeeze one out throw it in the dryer, when its done, just throw it back in the bowl and cover with a tight lid

        • Rhonda says

          i have used one bottle of fabric softener for a year because I dilute it so much and took my friends old dryer sheets and added them to the container of softener,then when I want to use one I wring it out and throw it in my dryer. Works great. Love the laundry powder with the fels-naphtha too,and so money saving too.

      • Merry Weather says

        More toxic “fabric softener.” They have toxic chemicals in these products, including VOCs that cause endocrine disruption and who knows what else (some speculation about fetal development and development disorders). They cause many of us to get nauseous just by being around you when you have this unnecessary toxin on your clothing. I get migraines also from it, and you stink with it on your clothing.
        PLEASE – avoid using scented laundry products, avoid “dryer sheets” and “fabric softener.” You are adding unnecessary and toxic chemicals to your clothing, so you actually dirty them.

        • Frankie says

          I’m sorry you find fabric softener so offesive, but I think it smells rather pleasant when not used in an abundant amount. Mixing it with water (about 10 parts water to 1 part softener) and spraying 2 or 3 spritzes on an old cloth works exceptionally well for static, but does not leave a HEAVY “odor” of fabric softener behind. And telling people to not care about static is just silly, because sometimes in your job, you need to look professional. Wrinkled, static-riddled clothes are not professional….. just sayin’

          • Raina says

            I’m so glad you said that Frankie. I was sitting here thinking not only what you said, but I must have a problem with static that Merry Weather is unfamiliar with. Some winters the only way I get relief from the constant static is to spray my clothes down fabric softener AFTER I’ve put them on. Its not a joke or just a convenience for some of us! Its not just static after you pull it out of the dryer kinda thing, its ALL the time.

          • BlogShag says

            I don’t think the other person was explanatory enough, as most people aren’t when they discuss things for some reason. When she said that fabric softeners is toxic, she meant that it’s not environmentally friendly, is probably made from synthetic petroleum derivates , etc. Vinegar is just the essence mixed with water of a distilled grain, usually corn. It will soften well, but it won’t leave a scent, for that you need essential oils which can be expensive.

            However, ultimately you’re going to use what you want to use, but please be aware of what you’re using, as these manufacturers don’t care about the environment or your health, they just want to make money, so they don’t disclose the dangers of using their products. They should be required to do this by law, but they’re not.

          • Jackie says

            please google the dangers of fabric softener. We put these chemicals next to our skin which warms it and it’s absorbed in our skin and they are toxic.
            If you use drier balls it will help with drying and if your clothes are staticy you have dried them too long. Cut back a bit on drying time :)

        • Andrea says

          Really no need to be rude about it. Your hypersensitivities don’t mean that someone else must “stink.” Grow up, walk away fromthe source of your paranoia and get over it.

    • Jo says

      If you are just looking to scent the clothes, simply add a drop or two of essential oil (no more) to a clean rag and toss it in the dryer. Lavender is wonderful.
      For the wash cycle: To soften clothes use 1/4 cup of white vinegar in a downy ball or the washer’s liquid softener cup. Vinegar dissolves soap residue which is what makes clothes stiff. Enjoy!

      • says

        My wife says the clothes will smell of vinegar… but she have the nose of a bloodhound so mere people might not notice :)

        • bronwyn says

          i used vinegar as a in wash fabric softener and my husband hates the smell of vinegar but can’t smell it after the clothes have dried.

        • Amy says

          I have recently been using white vinegar as a fabric softener and after going through the dryer there is absolutely no vinegar smell. Even delicate clothes that can not go into the dryer do not smell after they have dried. The smell of vinegar goes away once it dries. I use vinegar and water to mop my wood floors and the same is true. It does work as a fabric softener. I had heard of this, but was skeptical. I decided to try it one day when I was out of softener. It worked! Think I’ll try a spray bottle of water and lavender oil on a wash cloth for a dryer sheet. :)

          • Mary says

            I use vinegar to rinse my cloth diapers…you can never smell it and it really does help eliminate any odors! Great for stinky man shirts too!

        • HB says

          If you put the vinegar in at the beginning of the wash it will get cooked into the clothes and they will smell, but if you put it in the rinse, it will help rinse out the soap and should not make them smell. If you do not want to stand around and wait for the rinse light to come on, put the vinegar in a fabric softener ball and it will be released automatically. I fill mine about 1/2 way up for a top loader of diapers.

          Fabric softener, in addition, to being toxic, may also cause the fibers of your clothes to break down prematurely, and your clothes to wear out faster. There is absolutely no reason to use softener or dryer sheets. Here in sunny So Cal, I hang everything out almost 12 months of the year. I think I used the dryer 3 times this winter, and it was a particularly rainy one.

          • Rhonwyyn says

            We do the vinegar-filled softener ball, and our clothes still stink of vinegar. My husband does the laundry, and he’s told me that he’s cut the amount of vinegar down to between 1/4 and 1/2 cup (or ball, not sure). If we decrease it more, will we still get the benefits of using vinegar?

        • BlogShag says

          Then your wife has obviously never used vinegar as an additive to wash the clothes.

          My roommate has the nose of a bloodhound too and can’t smell the vinegar when the wash is done. If there is a scent of vinegar afterwards, then way too much vinegar was used. Not that much vinegar is needed.

          • Nicole says

            BlogShag, I use vinegar, a small amount, in my HE’s fabric softener receptacle (very small bin on top of machine), and even after using an extra rinse cycle my husband can still smell the vinegar. He abhors vinegar and doesn’t have the best nose of the family. I am the one who can smell a spore of mold a mile away…lol. So, if my husband can smell it, when only a small amount has been used, and rinsed out twice, then we probably are not the only ones. Vinegar does not always rinse away easily. I use it to clean my shower and even after rinsing the walls thoroughly, the smell will linger. You may not notice it if you get olfactory fatigue easily.

          • BlogShag says

            That may be true, but for me, the smell of the vinegar dissipates after awhile, which makes it worth it. I don’t have a very good nose, cause I have sinus problems. It seems to run in the family.

            Ever since discovering vinegar for cleaning purposes two years ago, I now buy it in bulk at those warehouse type retail stores.

            However, washing soda will have a similar effect, it just isn’t astringent like vinegar. Vinegar does for your laundry what toner does for your face when you use your facial skin care regimen

          • says

            I had clothes come out of the dryer smelling like vinegar 1 time. I just put them back in on the “freshen up” cycle which is low heat for 20 minutes on my dryer. When they came out that time, there was no smell left.

    • Cheryl says

      I use white vinegar in the wash (1/2 – 1 C depending on size of load) to soften; a 3″ strip of aluminum foil torn in 2 or 3 pieces in the dryer for static cling; and a damp cloth with a 3-5 drops of essential oils thrown in with the wash for a nice scent. Works wonderfully – nice smelling clothes, no static, soft – with no toxic chemicals. :)

      • Marlena says

        Wow, aluminum foil in the dryer, really? I never would have thought that would work for static cling. I will be trying this next laundry day! Thanks!

          • Rebecca says

            To eliminate static, I read elsewhere someone else suggested making a permanent “fabric sheet” out of a clean rag by attaching two safety pins. The metal get rid of the static charge. Put a drop or two of your favorite essential oil scent on the cloth for smell. This was following a 1/4 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle to get the soap off the clothes. That is what makes clothes stiff, the soap. Most people use too much of it then make it even worse by adding liquid softener.

      • BlogShag says


        Vinegar in the wash or rinse water seems to eliminate the need for fabric softener and prevents static cling for me.

        • Mary says

          Commercial fabric softeners will clog the lint screen in your dryer. You may not see it because it dries clear. This has caused a lot of fires. If you use commercial fabric softener, please scrub your lint screen as you wash it in very hot water or as you rinse it with white vinager. My family has never used it because it is not necessary. White vinegar does the job very well and you can use it for so many other things around the house. Just as some people flavor vinegar for salad dressing, you could add some essential oil or take a leg from a pair of pantyhose where the other leg has a run in it. Stick some sprigs of lavender in it and the close it up with a rubber band. Let it sit in a glass canning jar full of white vinegar for a week or so and then strain the vinegar through the other leg of the pantyhose. That way, you should not be bothered by a vinegar smell and in the meantime, you will be able to enjoy the scent of your home grown lavendar which you can use in satches or flower arrangements. As for static on your clothes etc. Take them out of the dryer before they are completely dry and hang them up. It might be that the air in your house is dry and that can add to the static also. Just spray the item with a gentle mist of room temperature water, or in the case of a skirt, spray your pantyhose or legs. You don’t need to get things really wet. Just enough so that it will air dry in a minute or two. Then you are set. Hope this helps.

    • TM says

      I use a washcloth soaked in fabric softener in place of a dryer sheet now. I read an article about it recently and stopped buying dryer sheets right away – as recommended I bought a small bottle of store brand fabric softener, soaked my cloth in it, and used it around 30 times to soften the clothes, prevent static, and leave a nice faint scent on the clothes. After about 30 loads I wash the cloth and start over. No more dryer sheets for me!

    • deb says

      Hi ! Does anyone have information on whether or not the homemade powdered laundry soap is good or harmful to farm folks like us who have a septic tank system ??? Thank you !!

      • jc says

        I have been making the liquid laundry detergent for 2 years now using the fels-naptha soap. My recipe calls for using 1/4 cup for top loaders and 1/8 cup for front loaders and it does as well or better than any of the store bought brands (even the most expensive). My family ranches and farms and believe me their laundry can be a smelly, stained challenge. The liquid works better on septic tanks as it doesn’t create a hard crust in the tank. Just shake the container to remix the laundry soap before using.

    • colby says

      Aj, what i found to work really well with the separation issue is adding All free and clear, detergent, i use about 4 cups, it helps keep combine the ingredients and keeps it from separated, also try getting a smaller bottle, adding the liquid extends the amount of loads you can do with the same cleaning power it also keeps your washer clean, using powdered in your washer is (not bad but not good) it clogs the tubes and can leave a powder residue on the inside of your wash, most washing machine manufacturer’s suggest you run your washer once a week with nothing in it if you use powder so you don’t save the money when you are wasting all the money on using the washer and water for nothing.

  1. says

    Awesome! I’m going to bookmark it and come back when my super sized Costco detergent runs out, which may be a few months! LOL

    My sister sent me a link for dishwasher detergent, maybe you can try that one next.

    Kelly’s last blog post..Don’t fear the reaper, plan now

  2. says

    scratch that earlier comment – apparently borax is not bad for teh environment at all – so this seems very green as well as saving you some green!

      • Amy says

        Just made this detergent today and have been using it all day. It seems to be working great! :) I used my food processor with the grating blade on to grate up the soap bar and it literally took about 2 minutes to mix up. It was great not to spend 20 bucks on laundry detergent at the store today! Easy, cheap and it works! Can’t beat that! :)

        • Georgetta says

          I have found that it’s quicker to use the thin shave blade on the soap, then remove that and put the chopping blade in, add the powders and then process for 20-30 seconds. Works great!

    • says

      That’s too bad! I’m sure the whole thing stinks & don’t blame you for not wanting to get into it! ;-)

      Check up in the post for a link to Trent Hamm’s (of The Simple Dollar fame) recipe for a similar liquid variety of this detergent…let me know if you make it & how it goes.

    • Amber says

      If you go to the Duggar family website they have a great recipe for home made liquid detergent.

    • says

      Ha ha…always the jokester! Although it’s not a bad idea. I could turn it into a yard game at parties. Some people play horse shoes, some play ladderball, and some play “roll the big 5 gallon bucket up & down the driveway”.

      • says

        I wasn’t actually kidding. I’d much rather make one giant batch rather than making up those little 16 ounce batches. Time is money, baby… You could ramp things up and save a lot more for the time invested. :)

        nickel’s last blog post..Tips for Hosting a Dinner Party

        • says

          I’m sure I will end up doing a big ole batch once we try out & exhaust this small initial batch.

          I’m going to be doing dish washer detergent next. Then window cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, & anything else I can save money on & make quickly.

          Do you or your wife make any of your own household products?

          • Rita says

            I’ve been using it for 6 months and have several other family members use it as well. Ivory soap is a softer soap than FelsNaphta and easier to grate. Use a cheese grater to make it small enough to dissolve. It’s quite easy and yes it is awesome soap. Very inexpensive. One tablespoon and I use a coffee scoop and keep it in a jar over my washer instead of keeping it in the bucket. Dollar Tree has $1.00 containers that will hold the soap and easy to use after it’s make. Good luck.

          • Erica says

            distilled white vinegar and water. equal parts or straight vinegar makes a great streak free window/glass cleaner. i also keep it in a spray bottle for counters because the acids in it are natural disinfectants. mop my floors with it too! very cheap

          • Erica says

            kyle, my husband worked with a friend doing lawn care yesterday and his white socks, shirt and boxers were filthy! washed my whites with the liquid version (using same ingredients) and they are clean! would never know how dirty they were yesterday! i actually have oxi-clean in my “recipe” too as a cleaning booster.

  3. says

    @Kyle: That is the true test & a good question!

    My wife & I did several loads today and she was very happy with it (she’s not easily satisfied…trust me! :-) )

    Plus, seeing as though it’s made out of soap & 2 other ingredients that were actually made for laundry…it’s not surprising really.

  4. Robby says

    Where can you find Arm & Hammer® Super Washing Soda? I can only find it in a few places on the web and shipping is ridiculous.
    I used to buy it from a locale store but nobody carries it anymore that I know of.

    • says

      In Michigan we have grocery stores named Meijer. Both the borax & the A&H washing soda are sold there.

      I would guess any large grocery store has both products, they are very common.

      Where do you live Robby?

      • Robby says

        I live in Memphis and I used to could find it a few years ago but no store I know of carries it around here

          • Jamie says

            We live in a small town and have both. Plus the phelnaptha. If they don’t have it then just ask them to order it for you. Most Grocery stores will.

          • Paul says

            Wal-Mart in Olive Branch sells Washing Soda. The Wal-Mart in Southaven does not, nor does Lowe’s or CVS. I just bought some today 7/23/2011

        • Michelle says

          Robby, I live in a large metropolitan area in northern California. I was also searching for A & H Washing Soda and couldn’t find it. I ended up at a local Ace Hardware and asked them to order some. The soda was there within 3 days, and I didn’t have to pay three times the price of the soda just to ship a box directly from the manufacturer. Good luck!

          • Tristan says

            If you can’t find Washing Soda, you can order it from Ace Hardware online. They will ship it to your local Ace Hardware store for free. They also sell Fels Naptha for those who use that as their bar soap instead of Ivory.

        • says

          You can get the washing soda at Wal Mart in the pool section or Home Depot in a larger pkg. called PH Plus.
          I also use 1 gal of the 11.5 Kangen Water into each wash.

        • Louisville says

          ACE Hardware sells it online and if you have an ACE close buy you can have it shipped to that store for free.

        • Katherine says

          Sometimes you can ask your local grocery to stock special products. We didn’t have washing soda here, but they ordered it for me!

    • leah says

      Borax costs 4.29 per box and Arm and Hammer Washing Powder costs 2.99 per box at and they have free shipping. The Ivory soap with Aloe (my preference) or without (4.5 oz bars, 10-pks) I get from

    • Chandra says

      You can also get the same thing at your pool supply stores. Ask for sodium carbonate or soda ash. It’s the same thing, and probably just about everyone has a pool supply store they can access!

    • Kay says

      You can get all the ingredients for this (Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and Fels-Naptha Bars) at your local ACE Hardware store. If they don’t carry it in stock they can special order it for you and you don’t have to pay shipping. I work at an ACE and we actually started carry all three ingredients because so many of our customers are into making this detergent, they all say it works great!!
      Hopefully you have an ACE near you, or a Hardware store that carries ACE products (they will have access to the ACE warehouses) Good Luck!

    • Nikki says

      I’m just starting out and havent bought/ordered anything yet, but my friend said she orders her ingredients at and they have free shipping. I priced Borax at $9.49 for a 76oz box, and Washing Soda at $7.49 for a 55 oz box, but I have seen people quote prices a lot cheaper, so that might not be a very good deal?

    • Nicole says

      Kroger sells it Robby. Ask the service desk people to order it for you if your particular store does not. Publix also will special order products for you. We live in North Alabama, so if we have it I am sure you’ll be able to get it soon.

    • Erica says

      i got mine at wal mart in the laundry aisle where the oxi-clean, fels-naphtha bar and other laundry boosters were.. just on the bottom shelf

    • melissa says

      If you can’t find Washing Soda, you can bake Baking Soda at 400 degrees for about 1 hour, after cooling completely you’ll have washing soda ready to go for the recipe.. The Baking Soda is cheaper where I shop and I just put it in the oven while I’m cooking something else. However, it should not be made more that a day or so ahead of time and should be kept in an air tight container.

    • MiaKiy79 says

      I work at a small Wal-Mart in Iowa and we carry both the Arm & Hammer and Borax as well as a couple other items made for laundry. So I would try at your local Wal-Mart.

    • BlogShag says


      I’ve only been able to find it at Walmart. Most people don’t seem to know what it is or don’t have any use for it, or prefer not to use it, so many stores don’t sell it. You can’t blame them for not stocking their shelves with something that won’t sell.


  5. says

    I’ve got my first load of laundry with this detergent going- I’m actually excited about it, can’t wait to see the results! If it works I think I’ll spend a sitcom grating soap and make a big batch. Thanks for posting!
    .-= Cat´s last blog ..Doctor =-.

    • CRitchie says

      Food Processer’s work great on grating the bar soap. Just make sure you clean all residue out, Dishwasher….

    • Jaime says

      I made a big batch up last week and it should last us over a month or two depending on how dirty the kids get their clothes! And yes, it works great! I get all my ingredients at Wal-mart too.

  6. Sarah says

    Do you think this works well using cold water? I wash everything in cold water (better for the environment and my budget) and would love your thoughts.

    • says

      My wife & I have drawn the conclusion that this detergent works just as well or better – in all conditions – than the store bought variety we were using in the past.

      Our results have been incredibly positive!

      • Jeanette says

        My experience has been the bar soap doesn’t dissolve in the water and I had to re-wash my clothes.

        • says

          What kind of soap are you using? We’ve done several hundred loads of laundry w/o those results and have used Ivory, Fels Naptha, and Zote successfully.

          • Jaime says

            I agree that the kind of soap matters! If using the Pure Ivory (99% soap) or one of the bars meant for laundry (felsnaptha or Zote) then they dissolve well. Others, not so sure!

  7. EE says

    What about for HE washing machines? Does it lather up a lot or is it light on the bubbles?

    • says

      Excellent question, I’m glad you asked. Reread the article because I just updated it with a section on using this detergent in HE front-load washing machines.

    • Jamie says

      The liquid hardly even sudds. Which made me very leary at first. But, my clothes came clean. Which was amazing. I have been making mine for over 3 months because a friend of mine told me about it. So , good luck!!

    • BlogShag says


      This recipe is great for HE machines, and contains ingredients that actually help clean the washer’s plumbing and tub clean. No need for Affresh.


  8. Sarah says

    Has anyone tried this with other types of soap? We use Dove for bathing due to I have really dry skin, but I wonder if the moisturizing cream component of Dove would dull the laundry. Currently I use Tide Free but would love to try making this detergent.

      • Jamie says

        In my last batch I used Zest because that was all I had. It worked. I just like using the FelsNaptha. Because it is also a great cleaning agent. If you have a spot or a stain you need to get out wet a bar of it and rub it in then wash it. So works great for both!

        • new mom says

          Fels Naptha should not be used as an overall body soap or regular laundry additive since it contains Stoddard solvent, a skin and eye irritant, and formerly used in dry cleaning.

          According to the “Chronic Health Effects” section of the National Institutes of Health’s MSDS for Fels Naptha:

          “Chronic toxicity testing has not been conducted on this product. However, the following effects have been reported on one of the product’s components. Stoddard solvent: Repeated or prolonged exposure to high concentrations has resulted in upper respiratory tract irritation, central and peripheral nervous system effects, and possibly hematopoetic, liver and kidney effects.

          Stoddard solvent is another name for mineral spirits, which are, like petroleum distillates, a mixture of multiple chemicals made from petroleum. Exposure to Stoddard solvent in the air can affect your nervous system and cause dizziness, headaches, or a prolonged reaction time. It can also cause eye, skin, or throat irritation.”

          • Carrie says

            I just bought the Fels-Naptha soap and the package clearly states that it “Contains no naphthalene.” Naphthalene is the solvent you are referring to.

          • Maven says

            I am an ex-Dial soap employee who worked at the factory making Fels. The Fels-Naptha currently made is basically rework of all their other soaps w/ a small amount of additional detergent thrown in.

            It’s normally made up mostly of Dial, Coast, or some of their other, smaller, brands.

    • Jes says

      I have made this recipe with adding baking soda and oxiclean. I used Ivory because like you we used tide-free because my husband has alergic reactions to the fragrance in detergents and softeners. It works very well and saves lots of money! Good Luck.

  9. Yogi says

    I’m loving this idea and will be trying this tonight. Thanks for another way to get out of consumer debt. $17,589 and shrinking…

  10. says

    To the commenter who couldn’t find washing soda and borax, you could also ask your local grocery story if they would do a special order for you — many stores will do that.

    I’m so glad to see a recipe for a powder. The Simple Dollar version turns into a gel, and the goopiness doesn’t work for me.
    .-= Cheap Like Me´s last blog ..DIY Natural Deodorant =-.

  11. says


    I know you already saw my blog post about this, but I wanted to comment for everyone else. I made this detergent and it works great. Makes my clothes feel nice and soft.

    I got the borax at Wal-Mart but had trouble finding the Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. I went to Wal-Mart, Target, and Walgreens before finally finding it at a grocery store (Fry’s–the Arizona version of Kroger). So you might want to just start your search at a grocery store.

    • BlogShag says


      Walmart does carry it, but for some reason this store chain lets many of their shelves go empty for long periods of time. So when you can’t find it there, it’s just out of stock.

      That’s why when I go there and do find it, I usually buy several boxes, cause I use washing soda for other cleaning recipes and for other household uses as well. It works just like baking soda but without the residues, however you can’t ingest it, like you can with baking soda.

  12. Anne O says

    Going to make some of this today. Bought a 3-pack of hypoallergenic Dial Basics bar soap for just $.99 and was pleasantly surprised to find the washing soda for only $1.69 and the borax for just $2.99. Doing my laundry is going to be so cheap! Thanks!

    • says

      Congrats Anne! We’re very happy with the soap, and the savings. :-)

      Stay tuned… I’ll soon be posting frugal & homemade automatic dishwasher detergent, and deodorant!

      • Kathy says

        We live in Florida , and the Borax & Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is located at our Publix grocery stores. So, for those who can’t find the items, they should just ask their grocers to order it. As for the homemade deodorant, coconut oil makes a wonderful deodorant. Just dab on a little & it doesn’t stain your clothes or leave them oily.

  13. jinxie says

    This is very similar to my laundry detergent recipe. I also make the powder kind, however, I make it all in the food processor, which grinds it to a very fine powder. I also found that the homemade laundry soap wasn’t deodorizing as well as I liked, so I added baking soda to the mixture. Now it’s perfect.

  14. Jamie says

    I make the liquid version. And i make it in a large amount so that I don’t have to make it that often because i have 6 people in my house.
    You use 1/2 cup Washing Soda, 1/2 Cup Borax, and a 1/3 Cup bar soap (GRATED).
    In a large pot, heat 6 cups of water. Add the grated bar soap and stir until melted.Then add the washing soda and boras. Stir until powder is dissolved, then remove from heat.
    In a 2 gallon clean pail, pour 4 cups of hot water and add the heated soap mixture. Top pail with cold water and stir well.
    Use 1/2 cup per load. Stirring soap before each use. It will gel. Thats normal.

    • Jamie says

      Oh yeah, I also like to use the phelnaptha. Because it is also a great cleaning agent.

    • carollblackledge says

      I have been making the liquid laundry detergent about about a year now. I like it but one issue that I have found, is that it does not remove all stains.

      I do always catch the stain before washing to pretreat.

      What do you do since you have a large family.


      • MRobertson says

        Rub the Fels Naptha on dampened stain, let sit for a while. This will usually take out stains.

  15. mike says

    i made up the same batch except i added 1 more thing to the mix—
    1/2 cup of oxyclean or sun oxygen cleaner(same stuff as oxiclean but cheaper;from dollar store,family dollar,big lots ect ect.


    for he washer add 1 to 2 tablespoons for load
    then fill softner compartment with vinegar to max line,BOUT 1/3 CUP.









    • Nalea says

      I also use vinigar its cheap and AWESOME…I don’t use dryer sheets, I use the dryer bars, they are awesome and I only have to replace it every 6 months.

  16. SanDance says

    My 76 year old mother has been using all these ingredients in her laundry since I was a kid. I also use vinegar in the rinse load instead of fabric softener – great for babies or sensitive skin. I am surprised that I am the first person to mention hang drying in this post about cost-effective and green laundry. I have a line in the basement and a line outside (though I do use the drier to fluff clothes and remove lint)

    • says

      I was just talking with Steve from about that. He just installed a clothes line and my wife & I are going to make our own out of scrap material around the house as soon as our back yard grows in (we just seeded it a few weeks ago).

      • SanDance says

        I think that many people don’t realize the damage the hot air drier does to their clothes. Therefore, besides being ‘green’ and cheap, hanging clothes to dry actually helps to keep clothes newer longer. (It also helps to add some moisture to my radiant heated home in the winter)

    • says

      I would love to line dry my clothing…..BUT…..I live in Kentucky in the mountains & my yard does not see sunlight before spring, also I don’t have the extra room inside my home to do one. :( I love the smell of line dried clothing, there is just something “fresh” about it.

  17. says

    Were you able to figure out how many loads each batch will do? I’ve been making the liquid detergent for quite a few years. I was told it costs .01 a load. I always put off making it until I’m almost out because I dread the process. I might have to give this a try even though it costs a few cents more per load. I was just curious how many loads one batch will do.

    Appreciate your site!
    .-= Georgene´s last blog ..Our 25th Anniversary and a SURPRISE! =-.

    • says

      We use 1 tbsp per load which affords us 64 loads per batch. Some people like to use more. I wouldn’t recommend ever using any more than 2 tbsp which would give you 32 loads per batch

  18. Meagan says

    So, I made this recipe as directed, and I was impressed with how well it got stains out (chocolate soymilk!!). However, I live in Texas, and it gets HOT in the summer. On my first load the detergent could not quite remove the stink from shirt armpits. They are definitely wearable (you gotta stick your nose right in the shirt’s armpit to detect a smell), but my old detergent had no problem beating armpit stink. Next weekend I’ll use a bit more detergent to see if that helps.

  19. Julie says

    I can’t for the life of me figure out how you reduce your grated soap (I used Fels-Naptha) to the consistency of a powder (photo #8). I’ve stirred and stirred, and mine looks like cheese shreds mixed with the borax and soda. No way will they combine to form a uniform mix.

    • says

      It may be because I am using Ivory soap in the recipe/photos. I plan on using Fels-Naptha when I run out of Ivory… I’ll try and remember to post an update.

      • Charlotte says

        Easiest way I’ve found to get the Fels to a powder is to let it dry out after grating. I spread it out on a cookie sheet to dry for a few days. I’m then able to just rub it between my hands & break it down to powder. Throwing it in the food processor after drying will get it to a powder more quickly (and you can add in the borax & washing soda, mixing it all).
        Zote soap will become a finer powder than Fels does, for some reason.
        Added bonus: set the cookie sheet with grated soap in a closet while drying and it will “freshen” the air!

      • Vanessa says

        I grated my Fels Naptha and got the consistency of cheese shreds as well so I then put it in my food processor and it went down to almost a fine powder. I am washing my first load now. This is a first for me and I hope it works great. I also made a batch of the liquid since I had another bar of soap but I decided to make the dry as well so that I could start using it immediatly while the other batch is “setting up” for 24 hours. Also want to compare the two. Anything to save a few dollars here and there.

        • says

          Awesome Vanessa. Congrats on making your first batch! You will love the powder variety because it not only works awesome, but it’s 10x easier than the liquid batch. :-) Cheers!

    • jarymo says

      Julie, use a finer grater, the one you would use to do Parmesan cheese, that would work!

    • Jarrett says

      My wife has been making the liquid soap for over a year. Recipe we use is 1 bar Fels Naptha, 1 cup of Washing Soda, 1 cup of Borox. Use a very large pot! Grate the Fels Naptha. The Fels Naptha must be very small, use the fine grater, followed by the metal chopper attachment. Melt in 4 cups of water. Add the Washing Soda dissolve. then the Borox, dissolve completely. Add to a 5 gallon pastic paint tub with lid. 2.50 at Lowes ask for FREE paint sticks. Use them to stir your soap. Add hot water to 1/2 way, mix completely. Add more to the top. Mix again. Cover let sit 24 hours. Take an old laundry soap container. Ours was 100 oz. so we added 50 oz of the soap followed by 50 oz of water. Shake well. We use 1/4 cup in our HE washer, with vin in the softener dispenser. This makes 620 loads. If you need to you can add bleach, or oxiclean, etc depending on what you are washing.
      We use the dry recipe to clean soap scum in tub & shower, sink, walls, etc. toilet etc. Can’t be beat.

  20. Janet says

    I live north of New Orleans and can no longer find Washing Soda in any grocery store. However, I found this information on the ThriftyFun website:

    Washing soda (sodium carbonate) is nowhere to be found in my small town, at least not in the soap and detergent sections. However, my local Wal-Mart has a pool supply section and they carry pH Plus which is sodium carbonate so this is what I use in my laundry in place of “washing soda”.

    • Amy says

      You can find washing soda (sodium carbonate) or soda ash in the pool supply section ,but it can be expensive there. We have a pool and have found the cheapest place to buy it is at the coop (farm supply store). We buy a 50 pound bag for about $18.00. That’s a lot of detergent, cheap. It also works great as a natural bleach. We use it in the pool to sanitize the water, so I use it in the wash for the same thing. Also I use extra in white loads just like you would bleach. Extra borax in colored loads works like clorox 2 for colors. If your coop doesn’t carry it maybe they can order it. But I bet they do..:)

    • Jarrett says

      If you have a target or an Ace hardware store, you can get it there. We found ours at the local supermarker, but you have to look to the top shelves. First time I missed it 6 times before I noticed it way up high.
      Target has the Borox for 2.99 for the 76oz box. Ace has the fels napha for 1.29 a bar, & the Washing Soda was 4.99 for the box.

  21. says

    Made my first batch over the weekend, and made a discovery. I had a bunch of pieces of Ivory soap left over from making Ivory soap boats for kids a while back, and they’d gotten thoroughly dried out because we use Dove soap for showering. When I grated up the dried Ivory, it grated as a powder, and made mixing it with the other powders MUCH easier. So I recommend that you take the bar of soap out of the wrapper and put it somewhere where it can get good and dry before you grate it for the laundry detergent.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..O wad some Power the giftie gie us — To see oursels as ithers see us! =-.

  22. says

    Holy wow! This DOES have a lot of hits! I think Laura and I will try this out in our fun green-domestic-women-household! Super easy. I wonder if there’s a natural, non-staining (i.e. not an essential oil) scent that could be added…


  23. Lara says

    Just made my first batch. I like a scented laundry detergent so I used some Irish Spring. lol (I love my Tide). The first load is in the washing machine now. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! I, like others, had problems finding washing soda, but took the advice of a previous poster and bought some ph plus in the pool section. $8, but the container will last forever, so still very worth it in the long run. Mixed it up in a food processor, and the longest part was gathering the ingredients and measuring them. lol Just cube the bar of soap and stick it in the processor with the washing soda and borax, and the blade will take care of the rest, no need to grate the soap too. :)

  24. Stephanie says

    I made my first batch of detergent with Fels Naptha about 3weeks ago and we have been using it in a front load washer. I put 1 tbs in per load. I’m noticing our clothes are suddenly having color fade and we have never had that problem before. Nothing else has changed in the laundry process except for the homemade detergent. Is the Fels Naptha too strong and maybe I should switch to Ivory in the recipe? Any thoughts.

    • Sarah says

      Borax is a bleaching agent in large amounts. Cut the amount of borax in half and make sure that the powder is thoroughly mixed prior to use – shake it up every time.

  25. Milk Maid says

    Have been using this recipe for a long time. Since our water is quite hard, I use one cup of Borax instead of one-half cup. I also purchased a used Presto Salad Shooter at a local thrift shop to use just for this purpose, along with any other homemade concoction that requires grating. This saves a lot of time and effort. I can’t find Fels Naptha soap locally and internet orders of this proved way too expensive so I found a 14 oz. soap bar called “Zote” in the laundry detergent aisle of my local grocery store for $.73 and have continued using this for years. By itself, Zote can be used for all types of washing purposes, including tub and shower bathing. But then I make homemade soap for that purpose so the Zote always goes into my laundry detergent. I’ve used homemade lye soap in my laundry soap before but don’t always have enough on hand so the Zote is a wonderful and cheap alternative.

      • Nicole says

        Zote has optical brighteners in it’s ingredient list. This reflect light and make clothes appear clean when they are not. Also, pretreating with something with optical brighteners can fade your clothing and make them spotty looking. I had this happen with liquid Tide. Their customer service rep said it was the optical brightness that ruined my 35 dollar shorts. So, I have been looking for something that cleans better than Tide, because Tide doesn’t clean like it used to at all! AND something that does not have any optical brighteners.
        Also, if you are washing for an active military person, do NOT use anything with optical brighteners. People doing night missions, or anything where they need to hide out from the enemy, do not need light reflecting off of their clothing! You do not want to risk their lives because of a bad detergent additive.

  26. mtnesty says

    I use the liquid version (same ingred., melted and stored in 5 gallon bucket, then mixed equally in jug…so 10 gal. from one bar of fels naptha!) I love it. I have a front loading washer. It gets the clothes clean and the vinegar takes away any soap or dirty-graying residue. Recently I did the laundry for a family who had a fire. Washed underwear to white table clothes…synthetics to sweatshirts…blankets and sheets…and lots of really black towels. Most had suffered smoke and water damage! 99% came out clean and smell GONE! If there is a bad stain, I rub the “glop” right in, wth my fingers. Great pretreater. I thought this might take some of the scariness away, if it worked on smokey laundry.

    • says

      Thank you for this incredible success story! I always find it funny when people are amazed that my homemade laundry soap actually works… I’m always thinking – “why wouldn’t it work”? :-)

  27. Lara says

    Just an update! This detergent is AWESOME! I’ve been washing my clothes in it all weekend, and have absolutely no complaints. My husband loves the smell (he should since I used Irish Spring, and that’s his favorite soap). I had an empty sun oxygen booster (Knock off Oxyclean) container, and this fits in there PERFECTLY and even has a scoop. I may experiment a little next time and add a bit more borax like another has suggested since our water is a little hard. I’m still using fabric softener, but I might try the vinegar with it and see how that does. I’ve also made the dishwasher detergent. Works pretty well for me, but I may have to tweak it a bit due to our water.

  28. Marie says

    My sister softens her bar of Fels naptha laundry soap in the microwave for a few seconds, then grates it using an electric grater or the food processor when she makes her own laundry soap. Quicker and easier on the hands, especially if you have carpal-tunnel or other hand and wrist problems. And it’s just soap so it’s ok to grate it with the same tools you use to grate food.

  29. Laura says

    Regarding dryer sheets, if the other options above aren’t working for you, I started using the dryer balls from Wal Mart a couple years ago. $5 a pair (I use four in my dryer) and they lasted two years with a family of six before needing replacing. Considering the 10 loads a week we average, that is less than $.01 per load. I’ve just started making all my scent free products on my own after shelling out the dough for the past several years (do to allergies), thanks for the recipe. I’m currently using a homemade liquid laundry detergent but will try this next.

    • Virginia says

      Dryer balls are a great way to go. They reduce creasing and drying time. I make my own felted wool dryer balls, so they are completely natural, no nasty plastics… just my preference. Plenty of how-to’s for these on the web. Dryer sheets and fabric softeners leave chemicals on your clothes. Vinegar as a rinse agent works wonderfully to soften and help control static cling, but it can take a while for the residue to break down in your washer and dryer so patience is necessary at first. Used in combination with the dryer balls, and your clothes will be fresh and soft. Oh, and your clothes will not smell like vinegar.

  30. Nicole says

    After reading your article about 2 weeks ago regarding your laundry detergent, I went right out and bought the ingredients. If people live in the Pacific Northwest and have a Fred Meyer in the area, that is where I finally found the washing soda.

    After I grated my soap, I went to add the washing soda and borax and decided ‘maybe I should read the box first’. According to the box, a 1/2 cup should be added per load as a booster. So, my question to you and your readers is has the 1-2 tbsps honestly been enough to get laundry clean when using the dry formula where there has been only a 1/2 cup of each product added for an entire batch?

    Sorry for the silly question, but I HATE doing laundry! I want to do my part for the environment, but if I have to wash these clothes a second time I will definitely cry! (just kidding :) )

    By the way, thanks for taking the time to share your experiences!

    • says

      Hey Nicole:

      My wife just told me that she uses 2 tbsps for large loads, 1 1/2 for medium loads, and 1 for small loads. She has been doing it for months & months that way & is very happy.

      Remember that the soap is low suds so while it may not “look” like it’s working while the wash is going… have no fear – it works very well. :-)

      • Pam W. says

        I searched today for the first time about homemade laundry detergent after overhearing a co-worker at the hospital talking about making her own. Sound like this will be a money saver and healthy change for us. We have a little one and another on the way and I can only assume that this mixture would be fine for babie also? Just wondered if you let me know before I try? And I look forward to looking further into your plans to help us save money!!! Thanks in advance for your recipe!! :)

        • says

          Yeah Pam, actually by making this detergent you are taking a step in the right direction. The ingredients in this detergent are all non-toxic… the same cannot be said for most of the commercial detergents sold in the market today.

          • nina says

            well, I went to walmart and checked out the ph balancer because I went to like 14 stores in my area EVEN after calling arm and hammer and being told they (smith’s) had the washing soda and they didn’t…but it (the ph balancer) was toxic. not sure if I was just looking at the wrong thing but it had all these warnings on it and I wasn’t comfortable getting that so…I just ordered a different washing soda (free shipping) from amazon…I am also going to get some biz as several people have said they like this better than oxyclean. I was using vinegar for my softener and while it does soften it does not relieve static cling so I’m putting half vinegar half softener in the downy ball now. thanks for this recipe though I had read the one on the other site and wasn’t interested in creating glop.

        • says

          Hey Nina…
          Not sure if this work because I have never tried it, but someone told me that putting a tennis ball in the dryer while running your clothes through will act as a fabric softener.
          If anyone has tried this, please let us know.

      • Maddie says

        We have a top loading extra large (or so it says) washing machine. I use 1/2 tablespoon for extra small loads, 1 tablespoon for small ./ medium loads and 1 1/2 tablespoons for Large and super large loads.

        I did our first loads tonight and the clothes came out smelling fresh. (I used Fels-Naptha). We have rather hard water so I’m hoping it is enough. I am hoping that it will not fade my clothes.

        And as far as low suds, I had no suds…lol.

    • Karen says

      I found all of the ingredients at Winco Foods. I live in the Boise Idaho area. I am trying Kirk’s Original Coco Castile soap…we will see how it turns out. I also just purchased 3 wool dryer balls from a farm in North Carolina that raises their own sheep. Looking forward to this new way of cleaning clothes! Thank you!

  31. Heather says

    I used this soap for years, then quit for a while, and now I’m back to making my own laundry detergent. This stuff definitely works–I even used it for my babies’ cloth diapers and they came out beautifully clean! I’m using again for both cloth diapers and regular laundry and I love knowing exactly what’s in my detergent and saving money. I also hang my laundry outside in the summer and on a (homemade) indoor triple line dryer hung near the ceiling above our woodstove–the house smells great when laundry’s hanging, it adds moisture to the air, and saves money–perfect! Can’t wait to try the dishwasher detergent! Thanks!

  32. Jennifer says

    So for the most part everyone is happy. There was a slight issue of odor remaining. I thought I noticed some “dissolving” of my clothes. Anyone else notice the same problem? My elastic clothing (sports clothes mostly) seemed less springy, almost eaten away in some cases. Any comments?

    • says

      If odor remains, use more detergent (2 Tbsp for heavy & soiled loads.) There were no tests performed to determine whether or not this detergent will deteriorate elastics… if anyone would like to perform such a test, it would be appreciated. Thanks.

      • Heather says

        Although not a “scientific” test, I did wash all our cloth diapers and cloth diaper covers in this detergent every other day (literally) for a couple of years and had no problems with the elastic in the covers breaking down. Diaper covers frequently end up with “shot” elastic, but I never had it happen once and even after all that washing in this detergent, the elastic in those covers is still fine (and being used on yet another little bum!).
        I did have an odor issue for a while and found that switching to a different bar soap solved the problem for us. I’m wondering if it had something to do with our water, maybe it reacted differently with the Ivory soap I started with than it did with the next type of bar soap I used. Either way, it was fine after that!

        • Amy says

          I have been using the liquid detergent for almost a year, and I have noticed a lot of our socks losing elasticity. I’ve had to replace some our sons’ socks. I am happy with the detergent otherwise and hate the thought of buying regular detergent again because of the cost, but it’s not really saving me anything if I’m replacing socks and other items all the time.

          • lara says

            No problems with elastic here. Could be they are drying faster in your load than other items and being overdried?

    • Barbara Thompson says

      Baking Soda is the only thing that takes out odors in clothes. Add some Baking Soda. I don’t know how much.

  33. Melanie says

    I’m loving this, but I didn’t like the stirring. So I tossed everything in my mini food chopper. About five pulses on high speed and it’s all mixed up and finely processed.

    The chopper had to go through 2 cycles in the dishwasher to get the soap film off though. But it doesn’t take up much space.

    • Keith says

      Hey Melanie,
      I know this is a response to an older post. But If you havnt found a solution to the soap film problem, you can just put a half cup distilled white vinegar in your dishwasher in the rinse cycle and you wont have to run them through twice.

  34. Sophia says

    Thanks for this recipe. I live in S. Florida with my hubby and 3 children. I found the Borax and Ivory soap in Walmart, and found the washing soda in Publix. It was so easy to make. I just did my first load and am interested to find out how it works. I am very optimistic. :) I found my ingredients for quite a lot less than what you listed yours for. Yippee!! Thanks again for sharing!

  35. Cathy says

    The link you gave for the A&H Washing Soda said that that product was no longer available. What else will work? I reeeally want to reduce our debt load, and making laundry soap would help. Please advise.

    • medo says

      we got our washingsoda at IGA and also if you have a dollar general near by they carry it, you can go to the arm and hammer website and they should tell you all of the places that carry it. we had to do that when we were in oregon for a vacation! LOL that was FUN!!! LOL i used to use your recipe, now i use a liquid only because i found that the dirt attracted to the bars of soap, that was purely by accident, i thought that my daughter had added the soap in and she didn’t, LOL i was adding in the other stuff and stirring, not really paying that much attention to her **grin** we make liquid soap. so after that we kinda altered it and left out the bars and it did really help, and we use vinegar in it also. and of course as the rinse agent. its mixed with a cup of the softner to a gal of vinegar. it still smells good and has the freshnes i like! **big smile** ~medo

      • Nicole says

        Do you make your detergent with a bar of soap or without, just using the borax and washing soda?

  36. SMBI says

    Personally we’ve been using XTRA laundry detergent for last several years. It works better than Tide (which we used to swear by) and is way cheaper. I get it for $3.99 at Rite Aid (or CVS / Longs) and it does 50 loads for that price. Works out to 0.08 per load … I’ll pony up the extra 3 cents each wash to not have to mix my own ingredients. Time is money besides we do about 6 loads of laundry a week so that works out to about $9.36 a year.

    It’s a few pennies cheaper at Ace Hardware but I rarely shop there so it’s not worth the trip to save 20-30 cents on the bottle.

    • medo says

      SMBI i can definately understand your point! **grin** i used to be that way, then my two kids started getting the itchies, so i had to come up with an idea of how to get them to stop, so i tried to cut down on the amount of how much i was putting in, then that didn’t work so i used to put in the baking soda, that didn’t work, so come to find out, they were allergic to the detergents in the soap, {tide, gain} i was using tide, then i had to switch to gain, then i switched to sun, then i believe xxtra or something like that, then i came across some homemade soap by accident, but in the meantime i had learned from an online friend about how much “stuff” companies put in soaps as fillers so they can sell their products, same with suntans lotions and such. so now i am very careful of what i buy, most things i make. some of them fillers can be harmful. bleach leaches into your skin and is harmful to you even though you don’t feel the effects. my doctor is always warning me of that. i’m HUGE on vinegar use for everything, apple cider vinegar for the inside of your body and white vinegar for the outside of your body!

      • Diana says

        My concern with commercial detergents is the phosphorus that ends up going down the drain and into the environment. I’m definitely trying this.

  37. Gena says

    For the cloth diaper users, you might want to omit the soap since it can cause build up on the dipes. Instead, you can replace it with OxyClean Free (dried hydrogen peroxide).

    Fels Naptha can cause fading and dingy whites. You can use other soaps that aren’t as stringent, like Dr. Bronners or Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap (both good for hypo-allergenic).

    As for scents, you can add essential oils (just a few drops) and stir it in. It doesn’t cause clumping or stains.

  38. Karen says

    I’ve been using this detergent for a few months now and and wanted to share a success story. A co-worker’s husband is a commercial fisherman, and I gave her enough of the liquid version to do 2 loads of laundry (I use the Fels-Naptha soap in the recipe). This is the first detergent ever to get ALL the fish smell out of his clothes (including his rain gear). She’s hooked now too! She’d been paying $25 for a 5 gallon bucket of commercially made detergent, and this recipe for me costs $1.71 for 5 gallons (160 loads)!!

  39. Clara says

    I found this receipe on another site and made both the liquid and powder laundry soap. I grated my bar soap in a food processor and then added the borax and washing soda to the grated soap and processed it some more.. It turned out not only very pretty in color–I used felsnaptha and Irish Spring bar soap but it actually got our even stinkiest clothes clean and smelling “GREAT”.. I have had to get used to the idea that it does not make suds but once you see the nice clean clothes you forget about the “suds”. I also rinse with the white vinegar and my towels even when line dried are nice and soft…
    I buy the washing soda at Publix
    Grocery store in lower alabama and the felnaptha at the health food store.
    Try it You will like it..

  40. says

    This is great! I am so tired of the exuberant prices of laundry soap that you have to deal with now. I have limited mobility and can not just run to the store all the time to buy laundry soap let alone afford it if it gets any more expensive. My friend just bought a front loading washer and in the directions it said she had to use the special laundry soap you discussed or she would ruin the machine. I knew this was a hoax. I was outraged and would not have purchased the washer but, not my problem. Anyway, I will be using this recipe and I will try passing on your post to her. Hopefully she will catch on. Thank you for the great post.
    .-= cafay1´s last blog ..Hunting Camp-One Week To Go =-.

  41. says

    Hi Matt, I just discovered your website and I had to say a great big THANKS. I’ve been on the debt-free trail for a while now, and it continues to be a challenge. Like so many of your readers, I am soooo tired of the money-grubbing, “sell your own grandma for a dime” type of mentality that is pervading our country.
    I am a retired school teacher, so making ends meet continues to be a challenge, but I am determined to live a simple, blissful, debt-free life. I have moved to the country and live on almost 7 acres; I do organic gardening, have read “America’s Cheapest Family” and “The Frugal Gazette” (both borrowed from the library, and I highly recommend both).
    I track all my spending, have budgeted for almost everything I need to buy, and am STOKED about making my own homemade laundry detergent. I love watching my savings grow and feeling good about life. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

  42. Erin says

    I learned that one dryer sheet cut in half is all a load really needs. So if you still want to buy them, but make them last longer, cut them in half.

  43. Bruce says

    Hey, great idea with the powdered detergent. I never tried the liquid method; it seems too messy and more trouble than it’s worth.

    I have made one batch so far and have done 2 loads. So far it seems okay although I haven’t washed anything that was heavily soiled yet. I use cold water and have noticed a few specks of something here and there on the finished laundry that I believe are bits of Ivory soap that did not dissolve.

    Has this happened to anyone else? The next batch of soap that I make, instead of running the Ivory through a kitchen grater, I will try putting it in the blender as has been suggested above.

    • kimberly says

      I had the specks of undissolved soap leftover after using cold water as well. Simply decrease the ratio of soap to powders until you find what works best for you. Every machine and area’s water are different so I recommend playing around with the recipe until you get it right. I use about one bar of soap to every 1 cup of each powder (instead of 1/2 cup as this recipe recommends).

  44. kimberly says

    I have been using this recipe for a couple years now, except when I moved recently and couldn’t find washing soda I decided to go ahead and use A&H baking soda instead (yes I know its of a different chemical make-up than washing soda) and you know what? It worked just as well, if not better, at getting out smells and stains. And it is cheaper than the washing soda if you buy the big box! I recommend NOT using any moisturizing soaps for grating as some of your readers have (such as dove). Not only are they more expensive, but they can leave a residue and dull your clothing. For dryer sheets, I buy a big box of store brand and cut them into thirds. I cannot stand the way my towels feel if I don’t use any softener so I allow myself this indulgence! One box has lasted me a couple of years.

  45. Paige says

    I am going to try this out when we use up what we currently have. I was buying Wind Fresh from Sam’s Club, but found that it did not get our clothes clean, we switched to the liquid Member’s Mark detergent they sell and it works great. I am not sure what the cost per load is, though. I would recommend adding a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to each load, if you have extra stinky clothes. :-)

  46. anna marie says

    I’ve tried it and it works great, my clothes came out clean, soft and white. I asked a friend to try it but she was skeptical because of the low suds factor. Most people think that if it’s low suds, it doesn’t clean well. I have a question though…for top loading washer, i use 4 scoops for low level water…is that too much?

  47. Sue says

    Silly question…I have always used liquid detergent in my HE washer. For powdered detergent, do I still put it in the detergent compartment, or do I just dump it into the drum with my clothes?

  48. Rena Suppah says

    Hello I just found your site. I am gonna try the laundry detergent. I am all for saving money. Also what I used to do for dryer sheet is use liquid softener on a wash rag. And then put it in the dryer. No paper waste, and I get a soft wash cloth. Just a suggestion. I also use the dryer balls, they work.

  49. Mo says

    I have a ditto to Sue’s question earlier, do folks put it in the drum with the clothes or in the dispenser? I know for oxyclean you have to put it into the drum before you add your clothes so I will try this method for now.

  50. Brad Gross says

    Question: Can I use any bar soap, or does it need to be a natural soap like Ivory or Dr. Bronners? I’d love to try Irish Spring….that would smell amazing!!!


    • Brad Gross says

      Ok, nevermind, just read an earlier comment where a person used Irish Spring soap! Can’t wait to try it!!

      • lara says

        Irish spring is awesome in this. Smells great, looks pretty, and cheap. :) It’s my hubby’s favorite soap, so he loves it on his clothes.

  51. Kimberly says

    I make all our household cleaners (except laundry detergent…until now) and have for over a year. I would be glad to share my recipes:
    Window cleaner: Mix 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water, add to spray bottle with a 5-10 drops of essential oil, shake well. Note – Yes, it does smell like vinegar, but after a few minutes all you smell is the fresh scent of the oil, also try using a sheet of old news paper to wipe the window with instead of a towel.
    All-purpose cleaner: Add 1 Tbsp baking soda and 1 Tbsp Borax to your spray bottle and fill with hot water from tap. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, shake well. Note – Only a few drops of Tea Tree oil and your cleaner will be anti-bacterial.
    Dusting Oil (“Pledge”): Fill a small bottle with olive oil and about 10 drops of essential lemon oil. Use a small amount on a towel for dusting or shining wood furniture.
    Linen spray: 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil to a spray bottle of water. If you would like to remove odor in fabrics add about 1/4c. vinegar to the spray bottle before filling with water, use just like Febreze.

    I’ve got lots more where that came from! :) Lots of recipes for natural diaper rash ointments, etc.

    • Ian J says

      Hi Kimberly,

      Can you provide some more insight into the “lots more where that came from” if possible please?

      I am interested in hearing what else I can change to for natural alternatives.


  52. Joni says

    Finally tried this. SO sorry I waited so long. Have done three loads today and love it. Used Simply Ivory aloe – just a very light, clean scent. Used vinegar for softener and 1/2 cheapest dryer sheet (for static). Even had an unidentified stain on a red, thermal shirt that had gone through dryer (old detergent :) Just wet it and rubbed a small amount of my new favorite detergent right onto fabric. Stain came out beautifuly. Laundry room smells so clean and not “detergenty” Thank you SOOOOO much for sharing this! FYI: Kroger here in mid-TN carries Borax (4.29/75 oz. and A&H washing soda for 2.79)

  53. Marcia says

    You don’t have to grate the Ivory soap. Put it in the microwave (on a plate) for 2 minutes. The soap expands and you can easily crush it into a powder with your hands. It’s fun for the kids to watch too!!

  54. 2msmommy says

    I cannot find washing soda in my town. I know I can order online but being the impatient one I am I don’t want to wait for shipping. I already have White King ultra Water Softener & Detergent Booster which has the sodium carbonate but also has sodium tripholyphosate. Has anyone used this instead of washing soda or is this a bad combo with the borax?

  55. Keith says

    I have a recipe for an all purpose cleaner if anyone needs it.
    1 tsp Borax
    2 tsp white distilled vinegar
    2 cups water
    1tsp liquid castile soap, or dishwashing liquid
    any essential or fragrance oil you like for fragrance
    add about 10 drops orange essential oil for extra cleaning ability
    Mix water and borax until dissolved.
    Mix the essential oils with the soap.
    Add the vinegar to the borax and water and mix well.
    Then add the soap-essential oil and mix well.
    Put in a spray bottle and use as needed.
    Cleans everything form counter tops to toilets and even mirrors.
    You may need to lightly shake before each use.
    I have not figured out the total cost of making it and for each use, but I know it is very inexpensive to make.
    Hope you like it

  56. Gabriela says

    This is great!! I just made a batch of my own soap (using olive oil and palm oil. Added some tea tree, antibacterial and eucalyptus, supposedly kills mites that live in bedding, E.O.’s) just so that I can try this recipe. Now I have to wait for my husband to get me the washing soda and borax and I can try it tomorrow. If the soap comes out alright. I can’t wait!! I recently had a baby and am trying to only use natural and/or homemade products at home. Hopefully in few months everything, well mostly everything, will be eco friendly, cheaper and free of all the crap in commercially bought products. I’ll write again after I put this soap through the ultimate cleaning test. My babies diapers!!!

  57. Amber P. says

    Just made a quadruple batch with my sister helping to grate soap. I used 3 bars of ivory and a dried out bar of irish springs. I will say it was way harder for whatever reason to grate the irish springs soap. I ordered the washing soda from my Ace hardware, everything else I found at Walmart. (I live in MN). I cant wait to try it out later!

    • lara says

      If you have a food processor, try using the grating blade. It works perfect. Then I just pour in the borax and washing soda and let it mix. No mess, and saves lots of time. I can do a whole batch in 2 minutes, tops.

  58. Jackie says

    I am from bangladesh.Your Borax ,Arm and hammar soda and all other
    sope cant be found in our contry.So if you can tell me the cammical
    name of those matterials it willbe my pleasure to try it.
    If I exchange the londry sope with dishwash shop, is it can be use to
    wash dish.
    Plz responce as soon as possible…
    I am waiting from the distance called “7 seas and 13 revers away”………………………………….

    • Nicole says


      Borax is “Sodium Tetraborate or Sodium Borate”. Washing Soda is “Sodium Carbonate”.

  59. Gabriela says

    Well, I tried the recipe without the borax. As where I am, Romania, it is very difficult to find. Just my homemade soap and washing soda (which, coincidentally I couldn’t find here either. My husbands mother owns a water treatment company and they gave me some of theirs). I added some bicarbonate since I didn’t have the borax and it worked great! Even the diapers were clean and the clothes smelled nice and clean. Today, my husband brought me some borax (25kg. ordered from a chemical company) and I added it to the dry mix but have yet to try it. But based on the results so far I have to say it’s great!!!

    Jackie: Arm and hammer doesn’t exist here either. Borax is this according to wikipedia: It has all the chemical names there. You don’t have to use dish soap. Just buy any bar soap you want to use (one that you use for your body). One that is not strong is better and without too much extra oils (extra moisturizing). You might be able to find borax and washing soda by buying by a chemical company, like I did. Although they will make you buy a lot. Although I heard you can substitute washing soda with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Hope that helps.

  60. Barbara says

    I just used this recipe for the first time and I love it! I almost think that the clothes feel and smell cleaner than when I use the store bought detergants. I am homemade from now on!

  61. Heidi says

    My husband is sensitive to smells so I was using “free” liquid. Got a new front loader (my 2nd one) and am trying powder to reduce the chances of mildew in the washer. Hard to find scent-free powdered detergent, and what’s out there is expensive.

    Just about have finished my first double batch of this detergent. I used Ivory soap. Other than having a hard time getting the soap into a fine enough powder, it was easy. Seems to work great! We’ll see how it goes after summer/outside stains start happening.

    I am making more today; think I will try microwaving the Ivory like someone recommended above.

  62. kelly says

    I have a HE, and it says to use liquid detergent in the dispenser only…where are you suppose to put the powdered detergent???

    • FrontLoader says

      Kelly (and all other FrontLoad Owners)

      Think about where the detergent goes in top loaders, right in with the clothes :)

      I’ve been doing this with store bought detergents since I bought my front loader.

      I’ve been using variations of the homemade laundry detergent for the last couple of months and I am SOLD!! :)

      The only thing I added to my front loader was the 9-pack of washer balls. It really did ramp up the cleaning power!! They are awesome. $3.99 at our local Aldi’s!!

      Thank you to everyone for posting about using white vinegar for softner. I was wondering what to do for that (when my store bought ran out)!!

      Love the money savings & much cleaner clothes!!

  63. says

    Thanks for this, and loved the pictures along with the instructions. I also sometimes use baking soda instead of the washing soda. Vinegar is great for a fabric softener too, as it clear out the detergent and softens them, and when they are dry the vinegar order is gone. Just add 1/2 to 1 cup to the final rinse. This is much safer then the terrible fabric soften sheets. They are loaded with chemicals which coats your clothing in gets into your body through your skin when you wear the clothes. Just google dangers of fabric softener to learn the truth. Please don’t use it on your clothes, and it’s especially bad for children. Keep toxins out of our children.

  64. says

    Thanks for this, and loved the pictures along with the instructions. I also sometimes use baking soda instead of the washing soda. Vinegar is great for a fabric softener too, as it clear out the detergent and softens them, and when they are dry the vinegar odor is gone. Just add 1/2 to 1 cup to the final rinse. This is much safer then the terrible fabric soften sheets. They are loaded with chemicals which coats your clothing in gets into your body through your skin, when you wear the clothes. Just google dangers of fabric softener to learn the truth. Please don’t use it on your clothes, and it’s especially bad for children. Keep toxins out of our children.

  65. Rebekah Wright says

    Thanks for the recipe! I read through all the replies and tips before I started, I have been using it for about 2 months now and this is what my recipe looks like:
    1/2 bar FelsNaptha and 1/2 bar of some other soap (Irish Spring today)
    1/2 Cup Borax
    1/2 Cup Washing Soda
    1/4 Cup Baking soda (for odor)
    4 TBS of Oxyclean (generic brand)

    I have absolutely LOVED it – and told all my friends! I am still on a hunt for the Zote, to save some bucks – wonder if it works as well as the Felsnaptha…? One thing…I was using the scoop that came with the oxyclean as my laundry scoop, and today discovered that it’s 2TBS!! so all this time I’ve been using double the detergent!! No suds problems with my front loading HE washer though, just extra clean clothes!

    Also, I tried the vinegar, but I’m just not a big fan. We have hard water and maybe that’s why, but the clothes came out feeling a little stiff and definitely NOT soft. So I began using the tiniest amount of downy, mixed with water about 1:4 (heavy on the water) and that works great – don’t even need a dryer sheet.
    So thank you so much for the recipe – I am very happy.
    Now I have to convince my Husband to string a line for drying!

    • Anne says

      You are actually doubling up your cleaning chemicals (overdoing). You really only need the bar soap, washing soda and borax. Oxyclean & baking soda are similar & part of same chemicals as washing soda :)

    • says

      Your clothes may have been stiff from using too much detergent. You said you were using 2 Tbsp instead of 1. Using too much detergent will make your clothes stiff and hard. try cutting down on your detergent and trying the vinegar only in the rinse cycle. Hopefully that helps.

      Also, fabric softener is not good for your clothes. It softens by putting a film on your clothes. If you use fabric softener go check your lint trap in your dryer. Clean the lint off and then pour a little water on it. Most likely it will bead off, which means it is coated with fabric softener. This also poses a fire hazard as fabric softener is flammable-dryers use heat to dry…..a hard lesson learned. If you don’t get good results from vinegar in the rinse, try an all natural dryer ball. 100% wool dryer balls. If made properly they reduce static, soften clothes and even cut drying times. You can find them easily on a place like But fabric softener is really very evil

  66. Angela says

    I love this recipe. It’s easier than the liquid concoction and works great on our cloth diapers and even on -drum roll please- our sons baseball pants!

  67. Tiffany says

    I love this recipe. I use my food processor to grate the soap, switch to the blade and add the borax and washing soda. It literally takes 3 minutes (although that does not include cleaning the fp afterward). My kids like helping and this way they can just push the button.

  68. says

    I have done this with great results.

    My daughter, who is a messy eater, dirtied up her bib for me to test. It came out white without bleach. There was only 1 stain that was set in and even Tide didn’t take it out. I will say I have varied the ingredients a little bit to make it work for me. I have a LG HE washer and this is great.

    My results

  69. Anne says

    A great way to eliminate the extra hassle.
    MICROWAVE your bar of soap for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes (depending on your microwave)
    1. Place your UNWRAPPED bar of soap on a paper plate (for ease of clean-removal & cleanup)
    2. Set your microwave time. WATCH IT CAREFULLY, you do not want to scorch the soap.
    3. Your bar soap will foam up and grow, when it looks like it’s fully expanded, take it out and let it set on counter to cool for a few minutes (the outside will cool immediately, but it is VERY hot inside)
    4. Once it is cool, you can crumble it by hand or in a baggie or in your blender, very quickly & easily.
    5. Now add your powdered soap to your laundry detergent mixture :)
    6. Works whether you are making liquid or dry!!

  70. Dannah says

    I am confused. I have an HE top loader, but it has the technology of a front loader…no powders is what it recommends. I saw earlier that someone responded to Kelly, but I am not understanding the answer…are you saying go ahead and put it in the dispenser or put it in directly with the clothes and skip the dispenser? I am eager to try!!!

    • Jennifer says

      I also have a top loading HE washer, and I put powdered detergent in the dispenser just like I would a liquid. If your washer (and any of the front loading HEs) works like mine, it actually mixes water with the detergent before distributing it evenly onto the clothes. So, yep! Put your powder right into the dispenser! :)

  71. Teresa says

    What size is considered a load? small?…med?…large?…xlarge? i can’t imagine an xlarge load is only 1-2 TB of detergent.

  72. amy says

    ok i am gonna try to put the powder in with the laundry in my front loader. my question is…i bought zote and it is a very large bar of soap, double size a regular bar. do i use it like a regular bar or do i double the other ingredients to match the double volume of soap?

  73. Jocelyn says

    Most of my family has extremely sensitive skin and we can’t use bar soap unless it’s a glycerin type bar that doesn’t have soap in it…what do you suggest? BTW we have a terrible time finding laundry detergent that doesn’t bother someones skin, so this could be a wonderful fix for us!

  74. says

    I used my food processor to grate the soap and then mix in the other two ingredients…much faster and the powdered soap is the perfect texture.

  75. Debra says

    Hey Stephanie,
    Thanks for letting me know about this neat website for making your own laundry soap and lots of other goodies too! =]

    We have hard water here so I am always looking for ways to soften our clothes and would love to hear from others who have been successful with this.

    I found the 20 Mule Team Borax at Target for only $2.99 when I was shopping yesterday. I already had the other ingredients at home because I use Baking Soda (and white vinegar) in our wash all the time. I am trying a very natural soap I had on hand called “Kirk’s Original Coco Castile” to see how that works.

    I purchased three 4 oz bars for $4.00 from Here’s the link if it is allowed on here:

    I know of some people who have great results with using Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil bar soap to make their homemade laundry detergent too. Here’s a link for a good price ( 8oz for $1.89) on I might try it next time since I order from Vitacost every month.

    Since I have found bar soap dulls my razor blades if I use it to shave my legs with, I am going to be careful on what I use to grate the soap with. What is everyone’s experience on this? Are your grater, blender, food processor blades holding up and not getting dull?

    I do have three blender blades so I might just reserve one of them just for grating the soap to a fine powder after I dry it out for a while.

    Thanks so much Matt for all your great recipes! Great job!

    By the way, when I was checking out at Target, the clerk remarked that all of a sudden she is seeing lots of people buying 20 Mule Team Borax lately. I mentioned about your homemade laundry soap recipe and that the word must be getting out, so I gave her your website address! She was delighted. =]

    • Nicole says


      Did the Kirk’s Coco Castile work well? Did it leave a residue on your clothes? Did it cause your elastics to weaken?
      I have been using that bar soap for our bodies off and on for ages. I really like Zum Bar soap, but it’s pricey to use for this purpose, but it smells really nice and it’s a goat’s milk soap. I wonder if anyone has used an all natural soap like Zum Bar.


  76. Teresa says

    I made this laundry soap today and tried it out. WOW! Great results in my new HE machine! Super cost savings and a great scent! Clean clothes! I used the vinegar in my rinse cycle. Awesome results! Thanks for the great recipe!

  77. Frugal says

    My first attempt at something of this nature and it works beautifully. After I grated my soap, I put all three ingredients in the food processor and it looks the same as powdered detergent.

  78. mikala says

    I make my own all-purpose cleaner by mixing dawn dish soap, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Sanitizes and cleans!

  79. Tracy says

    We have been making the liquid laundry detergent, but it is a pain because of the gelling. I made the powder today, to give that a try. Do you have to start the wash on warm water or can you start it cold? Also we wash diapers and right now I am doing a cold rinse with vinegar then a hot wash then another cold rinse (baby has sensitive skin). Anyone know if I can eliminate the first cold rinse? This seems like a lot of water used for one load of laundry! Thanks!

  80. Yvette says

    Have you tried adding Citric acid? We have hard water. Also, do you know how this does for those with sansitive skin? My family has to use Dreft. Thanks!

    • Mary says

      Just want to let you know that I think this is ok for people with sensitive skin. I used Zote and all the other specified ingrediants and I had my hands in it yesterday making my powder. I have very sensitive skin and I was fine. No itchies, no rash, ro redness. Of course you want to be careful and maybe just wash a few things and try it out and see how your family fares. So far we are all faring well and there are 3 of us who are pretty sensitive to additvies and perfumes in the detergents.

  81. Leo says

    I am not sure why but this did not work for me at all, my work clothes did not come very clean. Smelled ok, but the stains did not come out at all. I do have very hard water here. My neighbor tried it too with the same results.
    I had to go back to my old detergent to get my clothes clean.

  82. Elexsor says

    Nice post. Just one issue for users. If you use this be forewarned that you will in all probability start to see color fading in your clothing. The reason for this is that name brand detergents have additives that protect the color of the clothing. If the color fading is not a worry for you then have at it. If you want to protect the color then buy the name brands. The alternative is you will need to find a DIY color protection as well.

  83. MUTHURAMAN J says




  84. says

    Made this stuff last night and did 2 loads of laundry – AWESOME! The coolest part had to be watching the Ivory soap foam up in the microwave :)

  85. Mary says

    Ok…so I wasn’t going to write anything, but after today’s wash, I HAVE to! I am a cloth diapering mama. I have used almost every detergent out there to keep my son’s hiney clean, rash free and smelling like “roses”. I was once using Charlie’s Soap with good success, but when we moved out of the City and into the country, he started having rashes and after a month we figured out one rash was actually a chemical burn. I think it was how the soap was interacting with my well-water. I did research, I tried other soaps and landed on Nellies Soap. I love that soap, it is wonderful but it is so expensive. So once again, I found myself doing research, and after a try at soap nuts(those things are not cheap either!) I found info on homemade soap. I then landed on your site and holy moly! What a wonder it has been! I do many rinses on the hiney huggers, I just want to make sure they are clean and soap free. Today, one rinse cycle and the water was crystal clear!(I used to do 2 full cycles and 2 or 3 rinses) One! HOLY COW! I am so happy and also, I do have to say, I was/am a little worried about rashes, but today was the first day wearing the “fresh” ones. So far no rashes, with his super sensitive skin, I am sure they would have popped up already. So thank you. Thanks for the great recipe and thanks for putting this out for us. I made the dish detergent too and already I am in love. My husband is happy and my older kid’s can’t wait to help make it next time. Whooo hooo, family time just got fun!

    • diyNatural says

      Awesome Mary… thank you so much for letting us know – I’m very glad to have helped!

    • Jennifer says

      Thanks for the cloth-diapering-specific feedback! EXACTLY some of the same issues I’ve been having with my CDs, detergent choices, washing routines, and chemical burns! I’m headed to the grocery store shortly, and these ingredients are DEFINITELY going on my list!!

    • diyNatural says

      Who knows… probably because they were paid off by the powers that be. We have to remember that there is very little profit in borax and homemade detergents, and marketing campaigns don’t always follow the most strict, moral guide.

      The truth? Borax has the same toxicity as salt.

  86. Robert says

    It’s been over a year now since the original author posted this recipe. Could we get an update on how his clothes are doing? There have been some posters that claim our colors will fade over time, others saying everything looks OK. The author would have the longest usage history (since he was the first one to try this :) to refer back to.

    I have made my own batch, and so far so good. I would like to know what I’m getting in to 6,8,12 months from now.


    • diyNatural says

      Hi Robert, our clothes have not faded at all – we also put 1 cup white vinegar in during the rinse cycle as a softener/brightener. Whites get a little dingy looking over time if you don’t use bleach, so we use a pure oxygen whitener instead, which is a non-toxic bleach alternative that works great. You can buy it from the link in this comment, or just buy it in the laundry isle at your local grocery store.

    • Lara says

      I have been using this recipe for right at a year now. I will never go back to store bought. I have not noticed any real fading in clothes, and I do about 8 or 9 loads a week. I have used several different types of soap, and have not been disappointed yet. I really like that it works with cold water.

      I will say that whites do get a little dingy, but I too, use a bit of Oxi-clean. Actually, I buy the dollar store version. Works just as well. I’ve also started making my own pretreatment spray and fabric softener. I have probably made a years worth of detergent for half of the big jug of Tide I was buying every 6 weeks or so.

      • Beveggie says

        I have been making my own liquid/gel laundry detergent for years now. At first we had a top load regular washer but when it died we purchased a front load He washer. Bottom line – homemade laundry detergent really does work. We have never had issues with fading colors or elasticity wear-out. I am a huge fan of vinegar and have been adding to my wash for years. Not only does it work as a softener, deodorizer, cuts soap scum, removes “new clothes chemicals”, but also reduces static when used in the rinse cycle. It may not prevent static completely. One caveat, I would not use a commercial soap that isn’t “pure”. Just oils and lye – no additives. We have sensitive skin (eczema) as well as noses (sinus flare-ups around irritants). Never, never, never had any skin issues from homemade laundry detergent (that should answer the question about safely using on baby clothes and diapers). Adding a fabric softener or scented dryer sheet, just negates your efforts for a hypoallergenic detergent. They leave a residue and use perfumes.

        As for the question about armpit odors (or any odors), vinegar is also a wonderful deodorizer. I suggest spritzing, or pour a bit on the stinky section and throw it in the wash. Not only will the smell be gone, but the vinegar will help cut through the body oils holding the stink to the shirt. works for potty accidents as well.

        happy soaping!

  87. lovestherain says

    I like to use Zote bar soap in this recipe. This soap is made for laundry cleaning. My Mexican sister-in-law turned me on to it. She swears that nothing gets your whites whiter. Keep a piece on hand and use it to spot clean – it will get out any stain! Just wet the fabric, rub with the Zote, then rub or brush. I have a scrub brush I keep on hand for this purpose and it truly gets out any stain.

  88. Sandie Willey says

    One of my neighborly nay-sayers (you know, the ones who think you have to melt the soap and use the gel) says this will not work in cold water wash. Anyone with experience on this, or should I be the guinea pig?

    • Lara says

      This works just fine in cold water. I do start the water first and put in the soap before putting my clothes in, but I have always done that even with my store bought liquid detergent. You’ll be fine. :) I’ve been using this for a year now, and have had no complaints whatsoever. :)

  89. jmb says

    I made my first batch of homemade laundry powder last night. I’m so disappointed on the extremely strong smell of the Fels-Naptha bar soap. I can’t stand the smell and am reluctant to use it for fear the clothes will smell the same. Anyone else have experience with this issue? Any suggestions on another brand of bar soap to try that’s not fragranced?


    • Lara says

      Fels-naptha does smell a bit strong when mixed with the other things, but it’s not so much the soap, but the washing soda, etc. There is not much fragrance if any after washing. You should be fine. If you are really concerned about having an absolutely fragrance free soap, try either ivory free or any unscented bar soap that you can buy at the store. Soap is soap. I use Irish Spring more often than not, because it’s a soap that we use at home, so I don’t have to worry about any allergic reactions with our family.

  90. Shelley says

    Hello. Wonderful suggestions here.
    Is this detergent gentle on sensitive skin?
    Also, an easy and very effective window/mirror cleaner is white vinegar plus a little scent. I pour it into an empty lens solution bottle (having carefully re-labeled, of course!), squirt in big circles on the surface, and wipe. It’s very cheap and easier on my asthma than ammonia-based cleaners.
    It does leave a strong vinegar smell despite the scent.
    I used to clean my wood floors with diluted vinegar, though, so it’s the smell of clean to me!

    • JW says

      My daughters and I both have dry sensitive skin and have not seen any reaction to this soap. We’ve been using it for 3 weeks now, so I am sure there won’t be one.

  91. bronislawa blumschaefter says

    For an unscented blend, mix together the borax & washing soda as in the original recipe, but instead of grating up soap, just add about a tablespoon of unscented Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap per load, along with the prescribed amount of powder.

    I like vinegar and tennis balls as a fabric softener (vinegar in the water, 3 clean cheap tennis balls in the dryer – everything comes out soft, fluffy, and cleaner as a whistle.) Another option I have heard of, but not tried, is a teaspoon of inexpensive hair conditioner in the washer along w/the liquid soap.

    • colby says

      ive never heard of the hair conditioner in the washer, if you think about it a teaspoon = 1/3 of a tablepoon so in that concentration i really don’t think it would do anything especially in a top loader.

      i do you it to make my homemade fabric softener but that is also 1 c. to 8 c. water and 1c. vinegar but still in i higher concentration.

  92. Elzabeth says

    Thanks to all of you for the helpful information! Question: Matt Jabs, are you now called diyNatural? Also, if I don’t want colors to fade, what natural option can solve this? Also, are there chemical/toxin free washer and dryer balls? Thanks!

    • diyNatural says

      Hi Elzabeth. This is Matt Jabs, and diyNatural is my website devoted to diy, natural health, and homemade projects. I still write under Matt Jabs at quite often. In fact, I should switch my name on here back to Matt Jabs. Done.

  93. MrsBrooks says

    Good Morning! I do not normally make comments on blogs,etc.. BUT… OH MY Gosh! I think after I found this article last week my husband was skeptical.. but a penny pincher so off to the store we went.. (Kroger) I found that we paid $4.99 for Team Mule Borax, $3.99 for the Washing soda and $1.09 for Kroger brand 2pack soap (Will buy in bulk next time)… I multiplied the recipe by 6! Made almost a full Folgers container.. I still have half a box of Borax and soda left.. So my Folgers container cost approx $5.50.. We have 4 kids, 3 dogs and a lots of laundry daily. I used 1 heaping teaspoon of this in my HE washer.. Worked amazing.. Our youngest still has accidents and guess what.. 1 1/2 tsp of this and his bedding smelled clean and fresh! No lingering odor that I still had sometimes with our expensive Tide. Our tide is $16.99 a box and lasts maybe 2wks… I did 10 loads of laundry (all our bedding and clothes) yesterday and still have not made a dent in our bucket. Thank you SO much! God Bless you and yours Mrs. Brooks

    • says

      Hi Mrs. Brooks, I am so glad this is working well for you. We’ve been using it for over a year and have nothing but great things to say about it. God bless you too.

  94. says

    I started using this a couple of weeks ago and have been satisfied with the results, originally a little rough but added the vinegar and it’s softer now.

    Anyway, I read this online and wanted to share this from the WSJ,
    “Seventh Generation’s co-founder, Jeffrey Hollender, wonders why more people haven’t stumbled upon laundry’s big, dirty secret: “You don’t even need soap to wash most loads,” he says. The agitation of washing machines often does the job on its own.”

  95. Regina says

    Hey this is a bit off topic, but I have seen you ideas for Christmas decorations, love them and will be doing that this year with the kids, thanks so much for the suggestions. I was wondering if you had any suggestions on Halloween decorations that are cheap and can be made from things around the house? I did a Halloween party last year but was wanting to expand this year a little bit. I have currently only for 2 that would be viable online and I have been searching for hours.

  96. Zaichoosha says

    Mr. Jabs, thank you very much for sharing the recipe- this one is a keeper. I don’t usually post on web sites, but I had to share. I come from Russia where we did not have any fancy (or sometimes any) soaps or concepts like softener, so most of the stuff we used was natural and homemade. I was taught by my grandma to use lots of vinegar in a wash (hand wash in those days), especially for darks and reds, to prevent clothes from bleeding- works for me for years in both types of washers.

    As many posters said before, vinegar is a great natural softener- I use freely with all the colors and water temperatures.

    Regular white vinegar is also a great disinfectant- I read on some web site that during the scientific experiment vinegar killed 95% bacteria of many different types; it came up second after Clorox.

    In order to decrease or eliminate color fading and or bleeding, it’s a good idea to increase the amount of white vinegar during the cold wash, not only rinse. By the time rinse takes place, clothes already faded or bled, especially if the items are being washed for the first time. Just wing with the amount, try and see.

    Additional tips:
    Disinfect and kill the smell on a dish-washing sponge/cloth/fluffy thingy with white vinegar by leaving it covered in vinegar for at least 10 min. I usually leave mine in vinegar over night once a week. Do not use vinegar with the metal based sponges because they will rust.
    I disinfect my bath poof with the vinegar as well.
    To decrease the flu bacteria in the air during the flu season or when someone gets sick, I fill a small spray bottle (16 fl oz) with warm water from the tap, about 10 drops of tea tree essential oil and about 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. The scent is somewhat strong, but it kills the bacteria and opens up nasal passages. I also spray this stuff on all the door handles and wipe them with a cleaning towel. I usually perform this procedure in the morning due to scent.
    To make my home smell like roses or geraniums or other flowers and fruit, literally, I fill 16 fl oz bottle with warm water and about 20 drops of essential oil and spray everywhere. Safe for my lungs, doesn’t bother my pet, and good for the environment. It is also much cheaper than Febreze.
    To take an oily stain out of the clothes I put a dab of the regular dish-washing liquid before the wash on the spot and use an old tooth brush to rub it- works like magic.
    If I’m in a restaurant and don’t have access to the dish-washing liquid, I rub salt into the oily stain immediately. Salt supposedly breaks down or does something to the oil molecules and it is easier to wash the stain out later.
    My grandma used to use tooth powder to clean real silver. She would make thick paste out of the powder and rub the silver until it really shined. I haven’t seen the powder in the US, but it was the solution in Russia.

    I will post some more tips another time. I know lots more.

    Once again, thank you very much for the recipe!

    • Tracey says

      Thank you for your post. Very informative. I am trying to go back to the days of our elders, through necessity. I am actually having to use a wash board to wash my clothes by hand since I don’t have a washer and dryer and am hoping for one day to have a wringer. I remember when I was a kid, my 80+ yr old neighbor did her wash this way. Now, it’s me and I don’t mind. :o)

  97. Haas says

    So I am a little confused. I on your list of ingredients you show 1 cup of Borax and 1 Cup Washing Soda but yet in the descriptiona on the pictures you say you are using 1/2 Cup of each. So which one is correct?


  98. Haas says

    Second question. Are you all using 1tbsp in HE washers or Regular washers? I have a regular washer and am wondering how much to use.

  99. Justin says

    On the boxes of Borax and Washing Soda, they recommend using a half cup each in addition to regular laundry detergent. How did you come to decide a tbl spoon for all 3 ingredients?

  100. Chandra says

    So many people have posted about not finding Super Washing Soda, I thought I’d make my own comment to say what I said in reply to one person….Go to your pool supply store. Washing soda is sodium carbonate, commonly known as soda ash. You can get it at any pool supply store, it is used to regulate ph in swimming pools. :) I don’t use your recipe (I may try it one day), but I have been making laundry detergent for about 2 years now and I love the fact that I can wash clothes for myself and 4 children for about…$6 a year in detergent costs!

    Another tip for saving, though not very “green”, I suppose…Dollar Tree stores carries a product called L.A.’s Totally Awesome. They have a whole line of cleaners, but I purchase the all purpose cleaner and use it to pre-spot tough stains, and it is truly TOTALLY AWESOME! For $1, you can’t beat it.

    • L. Craig says

      Here is a tip from a friend, she said she makes her own washing
      soda by putting baking soda on a cookie sheet. And heating
      it in the oven just a little over 300 degrees, for about 1 hour.
      It now becomes becomes washing soda.
      This tip came from mrssurivial site

  101. Jean says

    On the home made laundry detergent powder…Do you add it before the clothes or after. Will it stain them if dumped on the clothes?

  102. Jennifer says

    Can ANYONE tell me if Borax has an odor? I can’t use powdered detergents because they seriously bother my lungs. This is mostly due to detergent scent being so much stronger in dry instead of liquid form. I would like to make my own detergent, but don’t know if I could use the Borax, and my mom wouldn’t use it, so it would go to waste if I couldn’t.
    (I’ve tried Googling what it smells like, and I’ve asked on Facebook, where I have 500 friends, and I have never found an answer.)

  103. Michelle says

    For years the only spot cleaner I’ve used is a “slime” I make by dropping a bar of Fels Naptha in to a few cups of hot tap water. I drop the WHOLE bar into a pitcher and leave it. Soap always “melts” in water. I just shake it a little before using. As I use up the slime I just add more water and eventually have to add another bar to the pitcher. It lasts forever! I always told my family when they take off their clothes, if they had a spot on something to loosely tie a knot with the item when they put it in the hamper and I’d know to pre-treat it on laundry day. I wet the spot with water, pour on the “slime”, and work it into the stain. Toss it in the washer. It even seems to take out missed stains I find after it’s gone through the dryer. (They don’t always remember to knot the garment.) When my son played baseball and wore those white nylon baseball pants, he was so-o good at sliding into base on orange clay! I’d slather his uniform with slime, put it in a bucket, and cover it with water. I left it sitting as I did laundry and ran that load last. His pants stayed white while the rest of the team bleached theirs. Bleach yellows nylon pants. Try it the easy way.

  104. Birdie says

    I love the idea of making by own detergent, and I especially love the idea of saving money and avoiding chemicals…however, I do not live in the US, and am a little stumped on the washing soda and borax. I am wondering if anyone knows if just plain old regular baking soda would work just as well or if it must be the washing soda. What is the difference between the two? And what exactly is Borax?

    • Annette says

      Hi…I’m from NZ, maybe you are too? Binn Inn sell borax (in some cities), Washing Soda is available here too (as Washing Soda Crystals) from Pak n Save, laundry isle or try Woolworths etc.

      Loving all these tips, just had my hours halved at work so the budget is tighter now. Made liquid hand soap last night…..1 bar of soap disolved in 2 1/2 litres water, easy as and works a treat.

  105. chris says

    I try to buy as little as I can at Walmart but they have a product called Sun Oxygen Cleaner. It is a cheaper version of Oxiclean and contains only two ingredients (see; sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate. These are two main ingredients in Oxiclean as well but Oxiclean contains other chemicals/fragrance. So the Sun product is actually a better product. Sodium carbonate = washing soda = soda ash. Sodium percarbonate = an adduct of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide.

    So I’m thinking one could use this product in place of washing soda. Especially for those of you having a hard time finding washing soda. It also might yield better results because of the addition of sodium percarbonate. Who knows. I’m curious if anyone has tried this in place of/in addition to washing soda and what the results were. I think I’m gonna try it after my box of washing soda runs out.

    Love the site btw. I used this recipe (using Fels Naptha) this weekend to make a batch of detergent and it’ working well. It didn’t seem to get my whites that clean though. That’s another reason I think the Sun Oxygen Cleaner might actually work better than the washing soda.

    disclaimer: I don’t not work for or have any affliation to Sun.

    • says

      Chris, I add the SUN cleaner to my detergent. I still use the washing soda & add the Sun as well. My fiance is a coal miner and his nasty work clothes come good as new. He also races motocross in his spare time & has some pretty funky smelling knee braces and race socks. I washed them in this soap and they are perfect, no smells at all :) .

      Before I started making this soap I was using Tide Sport, I could still smell the stale sweat from his gear bag.

      This stuff works miracles!

  106. JW says

    First, thanks for posting this recipe with the added info on front loaders. I love this mix. It cleans our clothes beautifully and even gets out rancid post-workout sweaty odor! I used the Fels-Naptha since I had it on hand planning also to eventually try the liquid version. To make this even easier, if you have a food processor with a shredding disc, you can mix it all in there. I used my shredding disc to grate the soap, then switched to the regular blade, added the borax and washing soda, and pulsed a few times to mix together. I give my container a shake before I use it. I make a double recipe each time and it lasts forever because it only takes 1 to 2 tbsp. THANKS AGAIN!

  107. says

    I have to say, THANK YOU for this recipe, I have tried to read through the comments to find the answer to this question, but there are a lot of commnets! Instead of a bar soap, can you used liquid castile soap? Has anyone tried this and can steer me in the right direction for amounts? Or has anyone tried using soap nuts powder for the soap?

  108. mom0f3boys says

    Do you have to adjust the amount of Borax & A & H Washing Soda in the recipe if you use a larger bar of soap? I tried the Zote and it worked really well but after reading several comments – I wanted to try Dr Bronner’s but the only size I could find is the 5oz Bar Soap – Thanks for the help.

  109. Nancy Adams says

    I make this with just the borax and washing soda, then add a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s rose, lavender, or almond liquid soap…haven’t quite gotten the amount down yet- it probably amounts to 1-2 tablespoons…works great cause I can’t grate the soap due to bad, sore hands…

  110. Leahann says

    Thank you for sharing this recipe and your quest to become self sustainable!! I used your recipe above opting for Dove (R) sensitive skin/unscented body soap in place of Ivory. (Simply because I had it on hand.) My family consists of several dogs and birds which when combined with our choice to refrain from using paper towels creates heavily soiled laundry. Thus, the ultimate test ensued. One SUPER soiled load of laundry and 1 tablespoon of your laundry detergent. The outcome was remarkable; I stuck my nose atop the freshly spun towels and to my surprise smelled clean linen! I will fall asleep tonight to the tumbling of my dryer and sleep peacefully knowing the environment and my wallet have been minimally impacted. Thank you, Again 8]

  111. Vicki says

    Thanks for posting the prices of the Washing soda and Borax! I almost paid over $10 a pop for them on Amazon, then noticed what you paid and decided to sniff them out locally instead.

  112. Sara J says

    I just have to say thank you for this site – I’m all over this detergent. With a potty-training toddler and a new baby in cloth diapers, this has been a HUGE wallet-saver!! And, for anyone questioning how this works on diapers; it is extremely effective. Very gentle (no rashes and my girls have SUPER sensitive skin) and yet strong enough to get newborn diaper stains clean :-)

    Also, anyone doing this absolutely should be making the dishwasher detergent as well… just one additional ingredient!

    Thanks again.

  113. KnoxMom says

    For those using this on cloth diapers, are you having to strip the diapers? If so, how often? From the research I’ve done, it sounds like using a true soap instead of a detergent causes build up and the need to strip. Perhaps you’re doing extra rinses? Thanks for any advice!
    I’ve been making my own soap for about a year, experimenting with different proportions (sometimes out of necessity if I’m out of something! :-) and was discouraged to think of having to use store bought detergent for my baby’s diapers.

  114. April says

    I have been using this recipe for about 6 months and I love it! I grate the ivory bars in my food processor then add the other ingredients until blended and it takes about 2 minutes. I usually do 4 or 5 batches at a time and it lasts forever! I started making my own because I have a toddler with eczema and needed something super gentle and this is so economical compared to any free and clear detergent. I have a front loader and was dealing with buildup in the detergent drawer, so I just started throwing the detergent in with the clothes and havent had a problem since! I try to make sure it’s sprinkled over the clothes without any pockets of detergent, so Idon’t end up with residue on the clothes.
    This recipe was so easy to make I decided to make the dish detergent too and I am loving it. I didn’t have any citric acid so I used it without and added the vinegar rinse.

    • says

      Hi Jackie – no, this will not negatively affect your septic, in fact, it is much less toxic than most all store bought chemical detergents.

  115. Jackie says

    Thank you, made my first batch this morning!! I am excited to try this, I have 4 kids and they can produce some dirty laundry! I am tired of spending a lot of money and not having a good detergent!

    Thanks again for posting this!!!

  116. Heather says

    Can someone confirm with me the amount of soap to use per load?
    I need to know for a regular washer and then for a HE washer.
    Thank You

    • says

      Hi Heather, the amounts can vary per person based on water quality, washer, size load, etc. My advice is to start with 1 Tbsp for small loads and 2 Tbsp for large loads – for both types of washers – try that and go from there. God bless.

    • Tricia says

      I just wanted to post an update. I have been using this detergent for about 4 months or so. It works great! I have 6 children so I do alot of laundry. I own a 7.5 cubic foot HE top load washer. I use about 2 1/2 tbsp of soap for a full load in this washer(which is like 2 reg loads). There are practically no visual suds while washing. Clothes come out clean and no overpowering fake perfume smells. I also want to add that my husband is a welder and his work clothes are nasty! Always covered in metal shavings and grinding dust which equals black clothes LOL I use about 3 tbsp in one full load of his work clothes and they are cleaner then i have ever seen them…even when I used TIDE on his clothes. SO glad that I finally found something that cleans EVERYONES clothes and cleans them well!!! Thanks again Matt and Betsy :)

  117. Linda says

    For those of you who can’t find washing soda. You can make your
    own. Put baking soda on a cookie sheet and bake it for about 1 hour.
    Oven temp. just a little over 300 degrees. This tip came from

    • Justin says

      Great input ^^ I would like to expand on that a little. Temp and time isn’t crucial. By baking, all you are doing is dehydrating the baking soda. I use this for raising alkalinity in my reef aquarium since washing soda isn’t packaged with food safety in mind (ie. contaminants)

  118. Charlene says

    Made this today and I am very excited to try it. It was very simple. I grated the Ivory soap with my food processor and it was slick as could be.
    I tried the white vinegar as the rinse agent in the dishwasher and it works great.
    Thanks for the information. I believe this is going to be a great cost saver with the bonus of helping the environment!

  119. says

    Hi There. I make my own powered laundry detergent, and it works great. I grate 2 bars of Ivory Soap. (I use this b/c this is what I use on my skin. I would prefer the all natural ones, however, very expensive.) Ivory isn’t really yucky anyway. I checked the ingredients and although drying to the skin, it will not kill us, make us sick or otherwise cause damage to our health other than the dry skin from bathing in it. Nothing some olive oil, cocoa butter and vitamin E won’t fix.
    So, I grate 2 bars ivory on a jelly roll pan and let it dry out for a day or two until it is nice and crumbly. I mix with 2 cups Washing Soda, 2 cups Borax and 1 cup of OxiClean. I have had great success with this recipe, and no longer use Bleach. I put it all in a metal coffeecan. I have a septic system, well water and an HE Samsung machine. I use an old soup spoon for a scoop and use 2 of those or 3 if really dirty farm clothes. It probably equals a Tablespoon. I use about a 1/4 to 1/3 cup of Vinegar for fabric softener and it works fantastic, my white towels come out white and soft and fluffy. If I have a static problem, I use a small square of tin foil and toss in dryer. I have been making my own deoderant too. First I did white vinegar. Worked Fabulously. Then I did Alcohol. Worked Fabulously as well. Stung a wee bit for about 2 seconds. (not great to have your body absorb alchol on a continuous basis.) Next, I am trying Tea Tree Oil and Water with a wee bit of Lemon Balm and Patchouli for a pleasant earthy/fruity perfume. I find I need to reapply twice during the day. I think I need to add more Tea tree Oil. I use a 2 oz mister bottle and put in about 20 drops of oil. Will double today and see how it works. The whole idea is to use something that has anti septic properties, that kills bacteria, as bacteria is what causes pit odor.
    Good Luck, I hope this helps someone.

    • says

      Awesome Stephanie, thanks for the tips. I currently use alcohol as deodorant but may give your tea tree oil recipe a try. I like the alcohol because it’s so cheap, maybe I’ll give white vinegar a try too. Thanks again and God bless.

  120. angela says

    Yay I’m very excited to try this, it sounds alot easier than what I’m doing.I also hope it cuts down on the fragrance smell for our Dear Bible study lady:)Thanks for sharing!

  121. Missi says

    Does anyone have any thoughts on soft water? I saw the post on hard water but was there anything different anyone found for soft water?

    • Stef says

      I have been using this recipe with soft water for about a month. I use one heaping tablespoon of the powder. It works great and my whites have never been white-er!

  122. Kari says

    I’d like to know if this detergent works well with dark clothes (I have 3 kids and most of their clothes are navy blue-colored & jeans). I live in Mexico and today I’ll go out and try to find the washing soda & borax. Really want to try this detergent as everyone says its wonderful!

  123. Adrienne says

    This recipe is GREAT! I used my great-big-honkin’ food processor to chop up the soap– even though they were not a powder, they’ve been working fine. I made a batch with a mixture of fels-naptha and other bar soaps that were around. The colors are kind of pretty– like confetti!

    I made a small batch for myself, my boyfriend, my aunt, and my coworker. My boyfriend loves it because it’s left no residue on his clothes. My aunt has an incontinent dog and her response: “It got the smell out of the pee-pee towels! They smell so clean and fresh!”. My coworker liked it because she’s super-frugal and has 3 kids.

    My tip: load your washer and add the detergent. Let the washer sit for a bit (15 minutes) as a pre-soak. This lets any of the larger soap flakes dissolve with no extra energy used. I use the shorter cycles but let it pre-soak with the detergent– all I have to do is leave the lid open. This soap is GREAT!!!

  124. KC says

    This is wonderful, thanks for putting this online! Now i want to go grocery shopping just to buy the ingredients for this soap.

    I saw people mentioning homemade dryer sheets and using tennis balls in the dryer- I use felted wool balls in my dryer to decrease drying time and reduce static (it may not reduce static completely, but I don’t have any problems with static in my clothes). If anyone is interested in wool dryer balls, please check out my etsy shop:
    My mom has a front load HE dryer and her drying time has decrease by about 15 to 20 minutes per load when she uses 6 balls. I live in an apartment building with old, crappy dryers, but my clothes actually come out dry now and I don’t use dryer sheets anymore.

  125. Leslie says

    This is what I used:
    1 cup borax/ 1 cup washing side
    1 bar Toms Lavendar bar soap

    My husband and I both love for our clothes to have a nice scent when they come out of the dryer. I love that this detergent is so cheap and works extremely well, but I was raised on that amazing smell in Tide soap so this recipe was a fragrant disappointment.
    I think next time I’ll try Dr. Bronners bar soap…I haven’t seen anyone use Toms before on the message boards and it was pretty expensive to boot.
    I am a PE teacher and my husband and I are very active and this works great on all our stinky clothes and our two year olds messy clothes. I love it and I’ll keep experimenting!

      • Leslie says

        This is true…I will look into it. Although the Toms lavender makes our laundry room fantastic even in the container.
        I just made a second batch…sooo much easier in the food processor! I am pretty sure Mary Todd Lincoln was the original owner of my cheese grater.

  126. Rach Merritt says

    I use one cup of baking soda in my hubby’s load. He works at a restaurant.. all his laundry smelled like it too! UNTIL.. I added baking soda. not only did it take away the smell.. Hubby said his clothes felt cleaner too.

  127. Valerie says

    Maybe somebody already answered this, but I couldn’t find it anywhere.

    I have a front-loading washer. Do I put the powdered detergent into the dispenser (like I currently do with the liquid), or put it in with the clothes directly? If the latter, how do you keep it from leaving powder residue on your clothes? That’s why I switched from powder to liquid way back when (when I still had a top loader). Thanks!

    • says

      Can anyone with a FL answer this question for Valerie? We have a top loading washer and put the powder in first, then the water, then add the clothes. Works like a charm.

    • Clair says

      I have an HE front-loading washer and have been using this recipe of laundry detergent for about a month now. In my dispenser it has a place for powder or liquid. I’ve never had any powder residue on my clothes or any issues with the dispenser not using all of the powder. It works perfectly and my clothes are very clean. The only thing I wish is that I did this sooner! :)

      On a sidenote, I sometimes add a drop or two of an essential oil (lemon or sweet orange, grapefruit, lemongrass) to the powder for a fresh scent (the powder is scent-free, obviously) and it also has disinfecting properties.

    • Janet says

      Yes, put the powder in the same dispenser cup as you had been putting your liquid. When we bought our front loader, the people at the store, from salesperson to repair tech., told us to only use powder detergent. The repair guy told me to never put my deteregent into the wash basket but that it always needs to go through the dispenser (becomes properly mixed?). It seems that the oils in commercial detergents can eventually gum up the inside parts of the washer and cause problems down the road. Hope that helps!

  128. Lori S says

    I made this today and I love it. But what I dont understand is, the box, (Borax and Soda) says add 1/2 c to laundry to boost your detergent. So why is it that we only use 2T per load?

    • says

      2 Tbsp is the max you need to get your clothes clean. It’s probably just a combination of 2 things:
      1. The manufacture tells you to use more than you need so you buy more frequently
      2. The mixture of ingredients if more effective than each on its own.

  129. Amy Wood says

    I am really excited! I made my own laundry detergent yesterday! What a great feeling of satisfaction! I have a couple questions:
    I saw another recipe that uses your same ingredients but also used baking soda in addition to the washing soda. Any idea on the added benefit of that?
    Also- if adding vinegar to a Downey ball for fabric softening purposes, is it recommended to fill the ball to the line w/ vinegar, just as you would with fabric softener?
    Finally, I noticed on one load some soap residue/tiny clumps (used finely grated Ivory in my batch). Wondering if the Ivory in the mixture did not dissolve due to having used cold water in the wash cycle? Anyone else have issues with this? I really want this to be successful!
    I appreciate any feedback. :)

    NOTE: great test of this detergent’s odor- fighting capabilities!! my 22-month old was sick last night… So had very stinky, pukey clothing & bedding to wash. Great news! Clothes & bedding came out clean and fresh, stink-free!!

    • says

      Hi Amy,
      Put the soap in the washer first, then let the water start and add the clothes once the water and soap have had time to mix/dissolve.

      • Amy Wood says

        Thanks — that works well. This is a fantastic recipe, Matt, and I thank you so much for sharing it. I’ve done several loads of laundry using it and our clothes are clean, and smell so fresh. I’ve raved about your laundry detergent to my friends and even my MIL, and they all want to try it! Thank you! Thank you!

  130. Amy Wood says

    Just one more question; an inquiry, really. Does anyone have a recipe and/or suggestion for a homemade hardwood floor cleaner? Thanks very much! :)

  131. says

    Another great way to have your own homemade laundry detergent is to use soap nuts. Soap nuts are an organic, chemical free substance used as an alternative for laundry soap. It has been used for centuries as a way to clean clothes and it has many other useful purposes, which may surprise you. Soap nuts create a “soaping effect” and it is used in many households for personal cleansing as well as other surprising usages. More information at the Green Leaf Goods blog.

  132. Doris Craig says


    I cannot tell you how much I love this. Made my first batch today. Had to drive for one side of town to another for the ingredients,but now that I know where to buy them, I will not mind. This laundry detergent is wonderful, cheap and gets your clothes much cleaner than store-bought detergent. I am hooked. I cannot thank you and your family enough for sharing this receipe with all of us. Please keep all the homemade “stuff” going. Not all of us are as creative as you seem to be. So, we rely on you for it. ahahahahaha. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY MATT!

  133. Barbara Thompson says

    Will Ivory Snow work in place of grated ivory bar soap? I tried the grating and the microwaving of ivory bar soap and they both work well. Good idea to use the food processor.

  134. Sharan says

    Hi Matt
    Thanks for recipe. I live in South Africa and am not sure what washing soda is. Also, I can get borax here in the cooking/pickling isle. Think it is the same thing?

  135. Allison says

    Do you use a heaping tablespoon or a level tablespoon?

    Also, does anyone know of an unscented or hypoallergenic bar soap that would work?

    • says

      Level. You can use homemade unscented soaps bought at your local farmers market or health food store – or make them yourself.

  136. Jo says

    Wow. Had mo idea so many are making their own.

    I quit using dryer sheets years ago. They leave a reside on lint filters that block proper air flow. Only used a half-dilution of liquid softener on certain things (never on towels) for a long time. Chucked that, too. I’m a white-vinegar-rinse only girl. (“girl” used loosely-I’m 57) 1 cup/load.

    I use a powdered soap, 4 cups ea. Borax and washing soda, 2 bars soap-Fels Naptha (like the fragrance!), Zote,, whatever I can find
    cheap. Sometimes add 2 cups Oxyclean. Use the scoop from Oxyclean in my laundry soap bucket. One scoop per reg. load. Also
    added the Magnetizer to our water lines. Worth it!

    In the process of making our own shower soap.

  137. Eileen says

    I have been using this basic recipe for a year now, experimenting with different bar soaps. personally, I like the sun light laundry bar as my family reacts to Ivory. i prefer the liquid version of the recipe, but…
    As for stain removal, keep an extra bar of soap on hand, wet the bar, rub on the stain, let sit then wash. I have also used Linda brand laundry bars for this purpose.
    today, as i type i wait for my new front load washer to be delivered. My husband had me run out and get laundry liquid meant for the HE machine, and I seriously HATED doing it! not to mention the nausea i felt at the till…
    Thankyou for letting me know that the powdered recipe will work in my new washer without damage to the system!
    Hey.. I see the truck now!! yipee!!

  138. says

    I love, love your site! We love saving money and helping the environment too! I’m making your homemade vanilla recipe as well as this laundry detergent, it just makes me happy to be able to make healthy, inexpensive replacements for toxic products we used to buy (although, I know store bought vanilla is probably ok, most of them contain added sugar).

    The first time I made your laundry detergent recipe, I used a zote bar that I shredded and it worked out ok, not great. This time I grated an Ivory Simply Ivory bar for the recipe and this one works perfectly, very happy with it…which is good since I bought a ten pack of bars :)!

    Thanks for all the information you put out there, I’m grateful for it!

  139. singingking4Him says

    Hey, all, I have five children, I homeschool, and things can get ~REALLY MESSY~… I’ve done homemade liquid detergent (so I could have lavender oil in it), but it was a lot of work :( I use Melaleuca products so I’ve been using their detergent… want to make my own again, though. Don’t like having to wait for it in the mail, and love saving the money :)
    I’ve done some research, and apparently a mixture of Borax & Soda Ash is a natural water softener. Which is awsome because we have terrible water!!!
    Ever since I first bought a bar of felts naptha, I have never been without one!!!…It takes out “EVERYTHING” as a stain treat, even things already washed and dried (with the stain)!!!

  140. Jessie says

    I made my first batch of this laundry soap today. I was buying homemade laundry soap from someone local but she quit making it. I’m so glad to find this site. This laundry soap is the only one that my oldest daughter doesn’t end up with an itchy back. Thank you for taking the time to put this online for the rest of us.

  141. bonnie says

    First: Fabric Softener & Dryer sheets
    I have been using about 1/8 cup of vinegar instead of fabric softener and tennis balls (or dryer balls) instead of dryer sheets. If you use tennis balls, there is a bit of rubber smell when you first open them, but it goes away after a few loads). Most posts that I have found say to use up to 1 cup of vinegar, but I am satisfied that 1/8 cup is able to help rinse any leftover soap out of the cloths. I take out any 100% synthetic items to hang dry. I am happy with this cost saving alternative. I am not adding unneeded chemicals to my family’s cloths and my sensitive skin is happy.
    Cost of vinegar: $2/gal / 128 loads/gal = $0.016/load
    @ 2 loads/day = $11.42/year

    Second: Laundry Detergent
    I have been using homemade liquid laundry soap for over 2 years and love it. I have to add a little more detergent to my husbands work cloths loads, but other than that, my cloths come out fresh and clean. Also, my sensitive skin is not irritated by this mix and have washed all of my baby’s cloths with it with no problems. The main reason that I chose to make a liquid version over a powdered one is due to the greater cost savings. The last batch that I made was from the Duggar Family website (using 5 gal less water than called for). It makes enough for 180 regular loads or 640 HE loads. I do not dilute it in the last step as called for, to cut down on the gel seperation and making it easier to handle. It uses 1 bar Fels Naptha, 1 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup of borax and 5-10 gallons of water (depending on if you dilute it at the end). The cost savings of this version is mind blowing for HE loads.
    Fels Naptha: $1.73/bar (less for Zote or other bar soaps)
    Borax: $0.16/batch
    Washing Soda: $0.61/batch
    Total: $2.50/batch
    Regular: 180 loads = $0.014/load
    HE: 640 loads = $0.004/load
    At two loads a day, I spent $2.50 on laundry soap last year and saved
    $75/year over the liquid soap listed in this post. Although powder would be
    easier, I am happy to do a little extra prep for this savings to help my family.

  142. Lizzy says

    I’ve been using this for MANY MANY years now. It is an old receipe that is similar to what the pioneers made. I always put in 4 TBS of Lavender essestial oils to mine. For my grated soap? I always use Kirks Castile Soap. And I always store mine in a glass container. Vinegar for a rinse, but rarely needed. For Diapers, a second rinse is always useful. Mother Earth News advises us to use this also. ……..Also to do more studies. Check out Soda washes and vinegar rinses for your hair :)

  143. says

    alternative…. if you prefer liquid. May be in the comments already but there were so many, I stopped reading… and great comments the ones I read.

    We use a liquid version of the detergent. Here is how to make close to two gallons.
    Need: Borax (12 Mules), A&H washing poweder, Fels-Naptha, 4 qt pan, 8 cups boiling water, 2 empty milk jugs with screw on caps/rinsed out.

    In 4 cups of boiling water add 1/3 a bar of Fels Naptha grated up. when it is melted (or semi- really hard to melt total) add 1 cup each of Borax and A&H washing powder. stir a few times, add other 4 cups of boiling water. Stir.

    in empty gallon milk jugs have 11 cups tap water (I use 8 cups of tap water because I like a concentrated mixture…we get dirty here). SPLIT the mixture in the 4 qt sauce pan between the two gallons. Let cool uncovered over night. Use a stick to stir every 20 minutes or so until it cools. Don’t be alarmed if mixture separates. give it a brisk shake (with cap on) before you use it. Less dirty people can use about 1/2 cup per washload and if you use the concentrated version use 1/2 to 1/4 cup per load.

    also, if you got greasy stains or grass stains? Sliver off some left over bar and rub vigorously over stain and toss in washer (i just use the bar, too lazy to cut it down).

    If you don’t like the smell of the Fels… add 20 drops of essential oil to each gallon of tap water (before adding boiled mixture) (I use fresh linen scent sold as a poured soap scent.) This smells good while washing but don’t stink the clothes up. In the rinse load I add a 1/4 cup witch hazel for fabric softener.

  144. says

    **Similar to Bonnie’s version only I make 2 gallons and use way less Fels.. LOL.

    Bonnie the vinegar also helps to whiten whites! I use a lot in place of bleach on colors.

  145. Katherine says

    Hi – I’ve seen this question but not the answer…. I bought a bar of Zote soap which is 15oz. Do I use the whole 15-oz. bar in the recipe? Or cut it in half? Thanks so much.

  146. Trisha says

    I keep hearing conflicting things…is the fels-naptha safe for cloth diapers? I recently made a small batch of powder using a bar of Kirk’s Castile soap and 1 cup each of borax and washing soda. It worked great – I wasn’t thrilled with the scent but it cleaned clothes very well. However, I was afraid to use it on my cloth diapers so I have been washing them with Charlie’s Soap or other CD friendly detergent. Does anyone have any advice for what is safe? I prefer to make a powdered detergent. Also, for anyone in west TN, I had a heck of time finding the ingredients for this! Forget Wal-Mart or ANY of the local grocery stores…I ended up finding all 3 of the ingredients I used at the Rural King in Martin. I didn’t want to have to pay a ton for shipping if I ordered online – that would defeat the whole purpose of saving money! ;-)

      • Trisha says

        thank you! I was so excited to find this blog – so very informative, and very much appreciated! :-)

    • says

      I can’t remember where, but I saw somewhere where people were making what they called “cloth diaper laundry soap” and it was the same recipe minus the grated soap. I’m sure if you used a mild Castile soap it would be fine. The reason why they said they were eliminating the soap in the recipe was because it would eventually leave a residue on the diapers and they would need to be stripped.

  147. says

    @ Trisha

    make a powder soap for the diapers like this
    1 c Borax
    1 c washing powder (arm and hammer)
    2 bars ivory soap (or a like soap)

    grate the Ivory soap and mix with other two things. Use 1/8 cup per load. Use Vinegar in the rinse cycle (1/4 cup) (if sheets use Witch Hazel in rinse cycle, but I don’t know if I would do that on baby diapers.)

    Make your own wipes. SUPER EASY. roll of paper towels cut in half. 1 cup baby lotion (we make our own lotion because I am anti-chemicals if I can help it) and 1 cup of either mineral oil or olive oil (we used olive oil because you can consume it and mineral oil is a petroleum by product) Combine the oil and lotion (if a thick lotion increase the oil 1/8 c at a time. When it is a good consistency do this… in a used baby wipe container (RECYCLE REUSE RE PURPOSE) remove the cardboard roll if possible for sheets that will be easier to to grab in an EMERGENCY… lol… or separate individual towels. I use ViVe (sp) by Kleenex because they are the most cloth like and I use the ones that are select a size. Pour 1/4 of lotion mixture in bottom of container and put half of the paper towels (if you removed the roll insert pour 1/2 mixture down the center and 1/4 on bottom and 1/4 on top) half of lotion mixture on paper towels and add the rest of paper towels and add the last of lotion. Let sit a day and flip container upside down. This should move the lotion product throughout the paper towels. I leave mine upside down at night and right side up at day. keeps them consistent in wetness. Why do this? SO YOU KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON YOUR BABY’s bottom!

    • Trisha says

      Thanks Jenny! I appreciate it! :-) I have heard of using vinegar in the rinse cycle but was hesitant to try it…we have been having a problem with ammonia buildup in our cloth diapers but it’s been frustrating as to how to solve it…I’m curious, do you ever have any issues with stains that won’t wash out or sun out, and if so, any solutions for that? And have you tried any soaps other than Ivory that have worked well for cloth diapers?

      And I’m totally on the same page with homemade wipes! I love saving money AND using ingredients that are SO much better for the baby! I found a homemade wipe solution on the internet, and I use homemade cloth wipes that I sewed, one side flannel, one side terry cloth. I just throw them right in with the cloth diapers in the wash. They are so soft…and I love finding cute material to make them out of! It’s definitely the way to go – so much better than store bought wipes! :-)

  148. Dayna Reidenouer says

    MIxed up my first batch today. Used Fels Naptha, OxyClean, Borax, and washing soda. All were available at my local Weis Markets.

    -Don’t inhale the Borax. The smell reminds me of bleach. I can’t imagine it’s good to inhale.
    -Roughly grate the Fels Naptha with a cheese grater, then put in the blender with the other ingredients.
    -The blender is your friend!
    -My Borax was very clumpy, almost one solid block. I put it in the blender to break it up. Be careful, though, when lifting the lid. Let it settle, or the dust will fly and get over everything.

    I’m really looking forward to trying this!

    • Tricia says

      I agree that the blender/food processor is the way to go. I used the fine side of the cheese grater and it must have created a lot of powder in the air because i couldn’t stop sneezing! People might want to use a mask if they grate it fine using a cheese grater.

    • Michele says

      We don’t have a Kroger or Publix anywhere close to us but we did try Wal Mart (actually every time we go in there) and they don’t have it. We are thinking that everyone saw it on our morning show not too long ago and everyone rushed out to get the ingredients. We are going to keep trying and also going to try Ace Hardware and even Lowe’s. I’ll make a post as to where I finally find it. Thanks for the help!!!!!

  149. LIZZY says

    I heard Walmart took Washing Soda completely off their shelves. Also Washing Soda ban be found at Feed Mills…I used my magic bullet to grind up my Kirks Castile soap if that helps anyone wondering on how to grate it..Those checking about grated soap? Please check out Kirks Coco Castile Soap. I have given so much laundry soap away over the last week–What a great feeling !!!!! I am grateful to know my Friends are on the right path on saving money, and making their laundry soaps the natural way :) Oh and Trisha,?????Loved the baby Wipes……. You Rock :)

    • Trisha says

      Thanks Lizzy! :-) Oh, I’ve been using Kirk’s Castile too and I love it! I grate mine up with a cheese grater – the kids think it’s pretty funny! LOL I did have a tough time finding all the ingredients for everything but discovered that for us, it can all be found at Rural King…our Wal-Mart and other grocery stores don’t carry ANYTHING other than the Borax. But in any case, it was worth the hunt – it IS a great feeling making your own natural soap and saving money! :-)

  150. Justine says

    I hope this isn’t a silly question, but is Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda really just Sodium Carbonate? If so could I just buy a tub of Sodium Carbonate (like the kind you can put in your pool to adjust the pH?) You can buy a 5lb tub for around $10. All this, because I am having a very difficult time finding the Arm & Hammer! Thanks for you help! I can’t wait to try this recipe for myself!

  151. Lynn says

    Hi ! I made this laundry soap a couple months ago and I love it. I only made half a batch because I wanted to see if i liked it. I even took it on vacation and used it in my sister’s washer. At home I have a large capacity front loader and I use 1 tablespoon per load. I also use white vinegar instead of fabric softener. I just made another batch today. Thanks a bunch!

  152. Laura says

    I made this recipe recently and have had less than great results. My clothes don’t smell clean at all, and looked less bright. My husbands black pants have white spots all over. Maybe I need to use more per load?

    • LIZZY says

      Hi Laura, Good Morning Maybe you are not smelling at the chemicals as in Laundry Detergent. Try some Essential Oil, Lavender in the soap. It will smell just as nice a year from now if sealed in a glass Jar.—-If you want a nice smell….Otherwise there is no smell….JUST CLEAN—-I only use ONE TBS of Soap per load.of Laundry…..The white spots? possibly you did not grate the soap really fine, As odd as this sounds. I take the ONE TBS in my hand and run it under the water coming out of the washer…..That way I know for sure there will be no white spots. Also I always turn my darks inside out, and Anything that has a logo on it…That way they stay Dark and new looking, and use the Vinegar, which keeps clothes from bleeding and fading….Just a suggestion :) My clothes are brighter than EVER….Never a white spot, Just turn your clothes inside out if they are dark. They will always look brand new :0) If I want to BOOST white clothes I just add Vinegar, aside from the rinse cycle…Hope this helps………

  153. Cheryl Higdon says

    I LOVE all of your recipes and advice! I have been making the soap for the past year, first I tried a liquid recipe, but when I found the powder, I will never go back! It is SO much easier! I recently purchased a top-load HE machine. The homemade soap works great in it! I choose to use the Fels-Naptha soap, and love the way it smells. It is so clean and fresh smelling, and is a tried and true laundry soap. Thanks, for all the ideas, and keep up the good work!

  154. Tom says

    Has anyone tried using small left over slivers of bar soap Dial, Irish Spring, Coast, etc in this recipe. I’ve got a bunch of them.

  155. Trysha says

    Here in japan we can not get arm & hammer washing soda so can i use either baking soda detergent or sodium bicarbonate instead ? citric acid is easy and inexpensive though.
    Thank you for any help you can give.


  156. says

    We made the homemade laundry soap and it works well. However, when we added white vinegar instead of softener, we ended up with clothes that smelled fresh and clean at first, but became sour smelling when worn in warm weather. Not a good thing in Georgia!

    • Lizzy says

      Hi Jan :) I used to live in South Carolina, OH, how I miss it…..How much Vinegar are you putting in the rinse cycle? I only put in about 1/4 of a cup of Vinegar but always have it mixed with water when I put it in the Rinse container.Maybe try that….Also maybe just try it in the wash cycle, but dilute it first, My experience I always add Vinegar to darks…It keeps them dark and stops them from fading……

  157. Michelle says

    Matt, Have been using your laundry soap recipe for several months. Wanted to share my solution to grating the bar of soap. I found a salad shooter in a second hand shop! Plug it in, drop in the bar, and presto – grated soap with no knuckle scrapes.

    • Lizzy says

      Hi Ellen, I always use Kirk’s White Coco Castile All Natural Bar Soap–It comes 3 to a pack…..I grate it in my Magic Bullet.. If you already have dry skin for sure don’t use Ivory…Also, in your homemade soap, Put some Lavender Essential oil in it. Just a few TBS’s..You will love the moisturizing effects and scent. I don’t know where you live, but in our stores, it is usually found in the Health and Beauty Aisles..(white wrapper, with black and red lettering) Kirks has been around since 1839, No animal by products, never tested on animals, it’s Hypoallergenic, biodegradable, and there are no synthetic detergents….

      • Ellen says

        Hi Lizzy,
        Thanks for the suggestion! I live in the organic world so appreciate that sort of soap. I’m in Minnesota and have plenty of access to Co-ops and a Whole Foods that will most likely have it.

      • Randy says

        Not sure why the addition of “lavender oil” is needed in the laundry. Trader Joe’s offers laundry soap with “lavender oil” and our friends stunk up their whole house with that horrible scent while doing laundry. If you want perfume, consider putting it on yourself instead of polluting the neighborhood.
        I agree with comments below that the action of the washer is the primary clothes cleaner, not all of these soaps. I routinely wash clothes by adding a little white vinegar, and occasionally a small amount of unscented laundry soap or dish detergent. No problem. If you are having “residue” from laundry soaps messing up your washer, then you are using the wrong compound or too much. Be careful because it indicates that you also have this chemical residue on your clothes.
        The point of “washing clothes” is to get them clean, not coated with soap and toxic materials.

  158. Gary says

    Does this really clean the clothes? I just made my first batch and have soft water at my house. No suds. Hmmmm. Does it really work?

    • Trisha says

      Hey Gary…just wanted to let you know that mine doesn’t suds up either. I don’t know what my water would be classified as – we have TN well water and we don’t need a water softener or anything. In any case, I don’t get suds but my clothes come out very clean, and with 5 sons who attract every particle of mud and dirt known to man, that says A LOT! If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! :-)

    • Lizzy says

      No suds is a good thing Gary :) It’s because the PH control system has been changed…(The sudsing surfactant)…..also making the rinse cycle PH change….It’s like a PEI suds collapser……

      The development of synthetic detergents by chemists was a great advantage for people with relatively hard tap water in their homes. The truth is, it’s the action of the agitator, not the chemicals, that gets most clothes clean. Thank goodness for MATT to put this blog out for everyone…Homemade SOAP is the best thing…:)

    • Randy says

      Not sure that you need to make this complicated “recipe” for washing clothing. You can just add a teaspoon or 2 or washing soda, and/or Borax to the wash. That is all that the old detergents used.
      For stains, I put on gloves and rub a little Borax and water on the stain, and throw in the wash. Occasionally spray some white vinegar on the stain and wash the item. No problems here, and no pollution or toxic residue.

  159. Connie says

    Thanks for the recipe Jabs! I came upon your posted recipe when I was searching for a homemade laundry soap recipe with the intention of doing it strictly to save money. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this soap is better than any of the store bought ones I’ve used. The more I use it the softer my clothes get, the whites are gradually getting whiter and the blacks are staying black. I guess residue from the store bought soaps is gradually being washed out. I use a cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle, no dryer sheets and find I have no static cling and everything is super soft. At this point even if it wasn’t cheaper to make I’d still use it because I like it that much. I don’t use any essential oils, just the soap and vinegar rinse, and everything comes out smelling fresh and clean in a natural way. I have been using small leftover bar soap bits (ivory and sunlight laundry bar) and I just chop it small and then whiz in the food processor till I have a fine enough powder. Learned the hard way though to wear a mask so I’m not breathing in the powder that does get into the air a bit. Thanks again!

    • Randy says

      Be careful about Ivory soap. The manufacturer, Proctor and Gamble, are adding scent to it. “99% pure”………they give no definition of “pure.” I would stick to a non-toxic soap that is unscented. Again, no reason for this complicated procedure. In addition to a tablespoon of washing soda and/or Borax, you can easily add a tsp. of unscented dish detergent. I use this procedure, and have perfectly clean clothing.

  160. Ellen says


    You are filling me inbox with plenty of negative comments at the moment which I do not appreciate.


  161. Alex says

    Once the bar of soap is shaved, about how many cups does it yield? I bought a bunch of soap a while back and grated it all, so I need measurements!
    Thank you for your help!

    • melody says

      my recipe calls for 2 cups soap
      1 cup borax
      1 cup washing soda
      use 1 tsp per wash

      I have found that 2 bars of ivory equals the 2 cups.

  162. Alex says

    About how many cups of soap does a bar yield? I grated a bunch of bars a while back, so there is no way for me to know how much soap to add to my detergent mixture. Thanks!!!!

  163. Brenda says

    Hello. I have been making my laundry soap but am wondering if anyone has tried the Octagon soap by colgate. If so did you like the results of using Octagon? Thank for your help.

    • Stef says

      I used the Octagon recently and I liked the results. I took some to my neighbor as a little thank you gift for collecting my mail and she has already made herself a 5 gallon tub using the Octagon. Since Octagon can be used to wash dishes it should be mild on sensitive skin.

  164. Victoria Vargas says

    Just turned 18 and moved on my own and laundry seems to be VERY EXPENSIVE!! spent around 5 dollars on one small box of detergent {i live in the country with only one gas station} they are very overpriced but have all of these items in their store for cheap prices {i guess noone buys that stuff around here} but I bought all of these products and a little more for $8.63 and one box of their powdered detergent costs $5.89 for 24 loads. i am bookmarking this page and thanks for saving me tons of money!!!!!

  165. Joy says

    The only reason I use fabric softener sheets is because of pet hair. Will try the aluminum foil!

  166. Bob says

    Hi I was wondering how much is 1 cup? If anyone could answer that would be great, thank you.

  167. andrea says

    I have an HE washer and the detergent costs the same as the regular (I buy Purex or whatever else is on sale, though, not Tide). That being said, this does seem like a more inexpensive alternative to traditional laundry detergent. I believe I will give it a try. Thanks for the recipe! Do you have any that work well for dish washers?

  168. Mick says

    1 cup Ammonia
    1 cup Dish Soap (make sure it does not contain bleach-b/c mixing bleach and ammonia=toxic)
    I pour ingredients into a bottle w/cap which allows release of small amount. Gently mix ingred. and use directly on stains. Let sit one minute, before putting in wash cycle.
    The recipe I got from my mom, yrs ago, said to add 1 c. water, I never have.
    Does not work on stains set from heat (dryer, ironing, etc)

    We have a septic so we cannot use bleach. Also, I’ve heard/read that using fabric softener on towels makes them less absorbent. I use vinegar in the ‘bleach’ cup of my front load washer and the amt gets rid of smells. I also hang to dry outside, as much as possible in OR, giving the towels the rough texture/drying ability I like.

  169. amanda says

    just mixed up my first batch of laundry detergent – i make my own soap too so had lots of shavings on hand. can’t believe i am actually excited about doing laundry – can’t wait to try it!

  170. Amy says

    I got the ingredients (borax and the washing soda) at Walmart. The total was about $6.25 with tax. Then I went and got a couple of bars of soap and made the dry version in the food processor. So easy. So far I have used it to wash towels and sheets (because that is all I had to wash) but I was very pleased with how it turned out. Thanks so much for posting this recipe!!

  171. Colette says

    If anyone is worried about stain removal, last night my 23 month oils decided to sit on his high chair tray . . . Right in a huge ring of his blackberries. He was in a whit shirt and khakis. I must have had a total brain lapse and didn’t put 2 and 2 together. Anyway, he had the juice stains ALL over! My husband wanted me to just throw the clothes out, but I’m stubborn and he’d just gotten them, so I refused. I grated a bit of Fels-Naptha and some Zote and let the shreds dissolve in the cold water and then soaked the clothes for an hour or so. Then I took more shreds and a nail scrubber brush and worked in the soap to a lather and then let it soak again. The stains ALL came out! Even on the graphic print on the white t-shirt! I’m still amazed! I can’t believe it took me this long to figure out what people have been telling me for a while now. I’m done with conventional detergents for good! :) Thanks for the recipe, by the way.

  172. Leslie says

    what a happy accident finding your site!! I’ve used washing soda and borax as a boost for regular laundry detergent for years! tried your soap making recipe this morning with a bar of Dr Bonners peppermint soap and I absolutely love it!! I used a planer to shave the soap and when it was all done it fit perfectly in a tall round ziplock container with the twist lid!! I will never go back to regular laundry soap again!!! Thanks for the recipe!!!

  173. Jess says

    Does anyone know how this is with sensitive skin? I’ve gone through half a dozen different types of detergents and still occationally have issues. We have 3 kids, 3,5, and 7 so we are constantly washing laundry! I’d love to try this out and save a few pennies :) Any feed back from those of you who have sensitive skin would be GREATLY appreaciated. Thanks!

  174. Sephia says

    To the first comment about dryer sheets.

    Favorite fabric softener
    5 Gallon Bucket
    Package of Sponges cut in half

    Empty fabric softener into bucket. Fill FS container up with water and dump into bucket. Repeat. (1 unit fabric softener to 2 units water)
    Add sponges to bucket.

    To use – pull out a sponge from the FS bucket and wring out loosely. Add to the dryer of wet laundry and run as usual.

    There you go – homemade “dryer sheets”.
    Apx $8 bottle of fabric soften will last you a good 3 months or more depending on amount of laundry you do.

    • paula says

      You know, I used to use fabric softener all the time until I started down the “going green” road. I simply won’t use it anymore….at all. I put vinegar in the downy ball now. Did you know that the primary ingredient of most commerical fabric softners is animal tallow and other by-products…thats right….if you use fabric softener, you are spreading a nice layer of chicken fat all your clothes!

  175. Stef says

    Has anyone used this powder on baby clothes? I would like to make some for a friend at work, but she is expecting and I want to make sure it is mild enough.

  176. Terri says

    Hi, I am trying to mix this up, but the shaved soap is staying shaved. what am i doing wrong??

  177. says

    This is almost exactly like my laundry detergent recipe – mine is liquid. I just put everything in a stock pot with 2 cups of water to dissolve it and add some essential oils. Once it’s dissolved, I add a gallon of water, stir and store it. But, I have been wanting a dry detergent so that I can teach the kids to do laundry without worrying about all of the detergent going in the washer (it gets lumpy sometimes), so I think I’ll do it your way when I run out. Thanks!

  178. Terri says

    Just wanted to let y’all know I have been using this for a little over a week now and I am sold! Actually, I gave away all my bottles of store bought detergent. I have an HE washer and it works wonderful in it. I also only wash in cold water. Have had no problems with this dissolving. Also, my daughter has a dog that has medical issues and sometimes the dog blankets get soaked with urine. I used this detergent and only vinegar in the final rinse. I no longer need a second washing (as I did with the other detergent and bleach). They come out as fresh smelling as the rest of my laundry. I am pleasantly pleased and have now passed on the recipe to several others who want me to demonstrate the making of it for them. Guess when I make my next batch I will be having “class” lol Thank you both for such a wonderful site.

  179. Tricia says

    Question…it says use 1 or 2 tablespoons for a load, or for heavily soiled use 1 or 2 scoops. How big is a scoop? Thanks!

  180. Anne says

    Regarding using/not using fabric softener:
    I “steam” my clothes for about 10-15 minutes minutes in the dryer to get rid of wrinkles and pet hair, then either hang them to finish drying inside on hangers or outside on the clothes line. Works for everything washable – career dress clothes to pet blankets. Cuts down on electrical usage, puts less heat into the house, and the clothes last longer, especially things with Lycra or elastics.

  181. says

    Alright I’m trying this today! I’ve made something similar before but I didn’t like the way it smelled because of the soap I used so we’ll try again. The recipe I used before called to microwave the soap until it got puffy and then it would be easy to crush into powder. It worked really well, except it made my microwave stink like the soap for weeks… not good thing. Trying it again with fels naptha and I’ll grate it with a grater.

    • Marlena says

      Hi Bethany,

      I used a manual cheese grater at first, until my husband put it in the food processor. It looked like grated cheese. Then he mixed in the other ingredients with the soap and pulsed it for several minutes and it came out looking like a coarse powder. When I wash, I put a heaping tbsp in and use an old measuring cup to further mix it with water just to make sure it doesn’t clump, then I put the clothes in. I also give it another stir/shake before scooping for the next load.

      I used Zote at first, its the cheapest I’ve found. My husband gets a lot of body acne and I thought this would help that. He says it seems to be helping a little bit. We are using the Fels now and I think it smells better than Zote. Its a little more expensive (99cents for 7oz bar as to Zote’s 47cents for the same size). At this particular store, 14 oz bars were also available, 88cents for the Zote, I forget what the Fels was. I wash 7 loads a week and one batch is lasting me about six weeks.

      I generally use a heaping tbsp and I’m washing everything in warm/cold except my brights. I used to wash most everything in cold, I just think the extra boost helps the homemade.

      I just bought a Downy ball and will be putting vinegar in it next week.

      Would love to hear other’s perspective on my process, since its still in the R&D stage :)

  182. clmosher says

    So did anyone ever follow up if this detergent clogs the lines in an HE washer? It’s the only thing holding me back.

  183. says

    Just wanted to let people know that both Zote and Fels Naptha contain Tallow, that’s animal fat. GROSS! I used Kirk’s castile soap in the soap isle at the grocery store right next to the Ivory. On sale for $2.29 for a 3 pack of 4oz bars. Put the bars in the freezer for about 10 min and they grated up nicely into a fine powder. This recipe works great and is very cost effective, but I would use the Kirk’s if the thought of using animal fat to wash your laundry in grosses you out. The labels on Zote and Fels Naptha don’t revile this yukkie little secret. I had to got to the company web site’s to find out this little tid-bit of information.

    • Lizzy says

      Hey Morgan, I am so glad u posted this. People would be REALLY shocked if they really knew what was in Fabric Softner. You know that soft feel you always get? That too is ANIMAL FAT….. hmmmm Go figure. Might as well just dump a Raw Chicken in the washing machine… LOL I only use Castile Soap also….. The only way to go. You Rock Morgan…..

    • Lisa Mille says

      The basic ingredient in soap manufacturing is Lard/Fat/Animal fat as you put it. It is the foundation for making soap. Soap Manufacturing101
      It is not a secret!!!! It is well known and has been for centuries….

      • Lizzy says

        You are right Lisa :) But then again, a lot of folks don’t understand that,. I’ve made soap with Lard, and Vegetable Oils….I like them both, yet so different. I guess If someone is vegetarian or vegan, they should use vegetable oil soaps, but if thy eat meat, they really can’t be opposed to soaps made with animal fats. The biggest issue is finding animals that were raised humanely. That’s where the controversy lies.

  184. Melissa says

    I was wondering if you had any issues with the super washing soda leaving white stains on clothing? I was told that it does that by someone who made their own laundry soap. Also, has anyone used this with cloth diapers? If so, does it seem to do a good job? Thanks for the input :)

    • Stef says


      I wear a lot of black and I always had issues with marks from my store-bought detergent. I have been using this recipe for months and have seen no black marks so far, plus my fabrics fade less with this formula.

  185. Lizzy says

    For anyone with skin allergies. Let me tell you a little story why I absolutely love our homemade soap… This soap in our experiences have not hurt our problems with Dermatitis and Eczema, but HELPED it. We use Matt’s receipe, We do the dry version, and when I put the soap in, I place my hand under the water coming out of the wash to disolve it. We use Castile Bar Soap and ALWAYS add Lavander Essential (Pure) Oils. We have passed this along to many many friends and family members. They too have noticed a HUGE difference……. I have spent many hours at a Cancer Clinic and Dermatologist for many reasons. And the information is overwhelming on what really effects our body. This is pretty much why I make everything. Nothing is store bought for us, Incluing Shampoo, cleaning products etc….Pass Matt’s Information along, especially if you know anyone wih any type of Skin Problems. You will be a Huge blessing to them. :0)

  186. Terri says

    I use the dry version of this detergent also and would like to know how to add the lavender essential oil for a nice scent. I use the vinegar in my softener tray on my HE washer. I also wash mostly in cold water. How would I know if my lines are getting clogged?

    • Chris in MS says

      To add the essential oils, if you have them in a droplet form, I would put a few drops into a gallon Ziplock bag and close the bag, rub the sides of the bag together to spread the oils onto the bag so it dosen’t just sit at the bottom which would cause a clump. Then add a batch of this detergent and shake shake shake, flip it, mix it, dance with it, the oils will be distributed through out the detergent. I hope this helps.

  187. Pat says

    We have extremely hard and very cold water as we are the first house off the borough well. I switched from hot/warm to cold/cold water in my washes. I have been making this homemade mix for years using Fels Naptha. After changing to cold I noticed that the bar soap was not completely dissolving to my satisfaction. My solution to this (a sort of time-consuming option) was to put the small scoop of mix in with HOT water in a small container and using an immersion blender to mix until the Fels Naptha dissolved. This was in an older top loader. I recently purchased a front loader and decided to find any info on using this as an HE product. It appears no one has had trouble yet especially if you use vinegar as a rinse agent. I think I read somewhere that the frontload machine heats the cold water to a certain temp before entering the machine so that the detergent works more optimally. I don’t know if this is true. I was concerned that this feature would use more electricity but would end my extra step. I think.

  188. Chris in MS says

    I just made my first batch. Found all the ingredients at our local Walmart. I used a 5.5 oz bar of fels naptha and a rotary hand grater I bought for $4.95 (worked well, ran soap thru it twice) and due to the size of fels bar i used 1.5 cups of soda and borax. I washed a load of towels in our HE front loader seemed to be clean, but did not have much of a smell so I added 2 more ounces of white dial I had on hand. This load came out smelling wonderful. I am going to pass out samples to our family so that they might try it as well. Thanks so much for the detailed posts and all of the wonderful ideas and feedback. Gonna try the dishwasher detergent soon.

  189. Carolyn says

    I am skeptical of using a powder detergent in my HE washer, but I found liquid Ecos laundry detergent (by Earth Friendly Products) at my Sam’s Club for only $0.06/load.

  190. Bonny says

    I’m on my 2nd batch of the powdered stuff now. I found Kirk’s Castille soap at a local Safeway and I love the scent as well as the cleanability factor. Dr. Bronner’s is great, too, but in my area it is quite pricey. I won’t use the Fels Naptha, Ivory, etc. because they all have some type of ingredient(s) that I do not want my family exposed to. Fels Naptha is derived from petroleum based products. One word: YUCK. Don’t care if it’s great with stains, who needs MORE petroleum products on our skin and in our clothes? And if a soapmaker only lists it as “fragrance,” nope, sorry, not going on my family’s skin! For those who have to have a scent to their freshly laundered clothes, use the idea of essential oil on a piece of cottony material and toss in your dryer. SO much better for not only you, but the rest of us around you who have to smell your laundry!

    I have found that these days, I can’t even go down the laundry aisle at our local stores without leaving with a headache. Too many fragrances and none of them good for me or my family.

    Sorry for the rant, I’m hopping off of my soapbox (HAHA!) now. :D

  191. Stef says

    Just made a big batch of this for my mom and dad. They are complete converts now. I have been using Kirk’s soap. It seems to work best in Ohio’s very hard water. I gave up on the box grater and have been using the grating blade on my food processor. This way you can make big batches without turning your arm into a noodle. I found that an empty and clean “Whale of a Pail” plastic ice cream container is the best for storage. It holds 5 batches perfectly. Just pour in all the ingredients, push the lid tight and give it a good shake or roll across the floor.

    • Tricia says

      I love the the idea of using the whale of pail! AndI will love hurrying to eat the ice cream too so i can use the container. : )

  192. Christa says

    Ive been using natural soap for over a year and I do not need fabric softener. Once your clothes get all the chemicals out they stop getting stiff. I think it took a few washings but it works! Its kinda gross how long the chemicals stay in your clothes.
    My recipe is exactly like Matt’s except I add one cup of baking soda for extra stain fighting.
    1 bar of Dr. Bronners (eucalyptus is good on stains, they also have an unscented for babies or sensitive skin)
    1 c Washing soda
    1 c Baking soda
    1 c Borax

  193. BJ Wittgren says

    I make my detergent in the food processor so the Ivory is powdered. This enables it to be used in cold water, dissolving completely. No dryer sheets needed as clothes come out static-free. If you haver trouble finding Washing Soda in your area – try Ace Hardware. I”m told they carry it because it is used somehow in taxidermy.

  194. Mark says

    Used it for two washings and it does a great job. Also I put 1 cup of white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser and it works great. I work out so my workout clothes were a great test to see how well it cleaned and it definitely did the job. Thanks!

  195. Nikki says

    I have an HE washing machine, and I am pretty sure that it also requires my detergent to be liquid. Can I dissolve this recipe in water to make a liquid solution (in other words, will this solution easily dissolve in water)?

  196. Casondra says

    Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I LOVE this recipe! I have even converted my mom and she now uses this to wash her laundry. She now pays for all the ingredients and I do the mixing! Your website actually got me on a roll and I now and trying so many new things homemade and natural. Thank you for all you do to help make this world a better place to live.

  197. Janet says

    I left a comment a year or so ago saying that I could no longer find washing soda in stores north of New Orleans. Recently, I went to a Walmart near Baton Rouge and found washing soda, then I went to the Walmart in Covington, LA, where I live and found the washing soda, borax, and fels-naptha all next to each other on the bottom shelf in the laundry section. I guess they finally got the message ! The Fels-naptha cost less than a dollar. I have tried Zote but didn’t like it – it was hard to grate gummed up the hand grater and the magic bullet. It also smelled bad to me (one of the reasons I make my own detergent is because I have problems with many perfumes). I have used Fels-Naptha, Kirks, Ivory, a laundry bar made by Colgate I think, and even old decorative soaps that had been in my bathroom for years to make this and it works with all of them. I also tried mixing just the borax and washing soda then adding a 1/2 tablespoon of that mixture and 1/2 tablespoon of liquid castille soap. It all works and I love being able to control the scent and paying less too. Sometimes I use vinegar in the rinse, but not always.

  198. Janet says

    I forgot to add that I also had a sample box of Ivory Snow powder which I mixed in equal parts with the borax and washing soda for one batch and that works well too. I don’t know what the cost difference would be for that, but if grating the soap is a problem for you the Ivory Snow or the liquid castille (Dr. Bronner’s) could be an option

  199. Tricia says

    Why does it only require 1 or 2 Tablespoons of the mix when the store bought detergent requires almost a cup per load? Is 1 or 2 Tablespoons really enough to clean and if so, why?
    Thank you!!

    • says

      The store mixes a lot of “junk” with their detergents to make you use more so that they make more $$. I wash a coal miners uniforms with this recipe & use 2 Tbsp and he says he can’t tell a difference.

  200. Joan says

    How much of the powder mix should I use with my front loading machine? Should I put it in the detergent slot or directly in with the clothes? Also, If I wanted to make a liquid detergent, instead of using a solid bar of soap could I use dr. Bonners liquid soap? And how much should I use?

  201. Nalea says

    I do have a question I made the powder Laundry detergent LOVE IT!!! I noticed as I was doing laundry that when I added the detergent the ivory soap that I used floats to the top, is that normal? I also follow up with vinigar as the fabric softener so we dont get residue on our clothes. Also what is your recipe for the liquid? I just want to try it.

  202. Nalea says

    You might already have this comment but I don’t see if showing up so I suscribe first.
    I made my first batch of Laundry Detergent and LOVE IT!!!! only question I have is I was doing a load of laundry I noticed when I added the laundry soap to the water that my ivory soap I used was floating to the top, is this normal? I usually follow up with vinigar so the soap does not leave a residue on our clothes.

    • Tricia says

      I went to the Ivory website and the reason ivory floats is because it has air whipped into their bar soap to make it easier to lather. But even so, i think just the fact it’s grated into fine pieces is part of why it floats until it dissolves in the water. If it’s real bad though, maybe start with some hot water to dissolve it. The Fels Naptha dissolves nicely though.

  203. says


    I’ve been using the liquid recipe from The Simple Dollar for several months – just went back to read comments to see if anyone had tips for melting the soap faster…it seems like I stand there stirring forEVER! One of the comments mentioned a powdered version, so off to Google I went. I found a few sites but yours is by far the best – and so many comments! I am SO excited to try this tonight…no more heating up the kitchen making soap! I look forward to spending more time browsing your site – I’m sure there is lots more to learn! Thanks for sharing your time and experience :)

  204. Tina says

    I am SO happy to have run across this site, I started with your base for the laundry detergent but had to change it a bit due to EXTREME hard water. All I did was double the amount of borax and washing soda and use a vinegar rinse with a downy ball and my clothes come out wonderful. Thanks again for this great Recipe!

  205. says

    I know this is a long shot to get an answer, but I am curious, can you use this with cold water? I use cold water most of the time unless I am bleaching whites. I am curious if this is harmful for my machine or will leave residue?

    THANKS !!

  206. Holly says

    I’ve read these comments about three times and it’s either not here or I don’t see it. What was the final verdict on HE front load washers? Does the powder go in the wash basin with the clothes or in the drawer where the liquid would normally go? Thanks everyone.

  207. Charlotte says

    WHERE do you put the soap? I just made it today with a bar of Fels Naptha ($.97 a bar from Wal-Mart…$1.67 for 32oz!) and made a triple batch. I have Electrolux front loading HE washers with the drawers. Do you put the powder on the clothes or in the same place you put the liquid…the cup in the drawer? And what about the white vinegar? How much per “normal” load and do you put that in it’s cup too?

    • says

      I used the powder in the washing machine’s soap dispenser. I have used the dissolved soap in there too when it was hot but don’t use the solution if it’s cold as it gels an will block the washing machine (remedy:add hot water slowly and poke with a straw until it flows through).

    • says

      I add my soap directly to the drum before I put the clothes in & I put the vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser. I just fill the dispenser as I would with downy (to the little fill line).

    • BlogShag says


      I would think it would be better just to put it directly in the tub before you put the clothes in the front loading washer, because this home made soap is quite chunky, and you don’t want to risk it gumming up or clogging the dispenser


      • Dave says

        We need an authoritative answer on this. Or at least I do, before I risk my HE washer trying it :) Some people have said they’ve loaded the powder normally without any problems, others are saying not to do that and to load the powder directly into the drum. Which is it??

  208. Janine says

    I am making my second batch of laundry soap. I used pink Zote for my grated bar soap. It weighs 14.25 oz. When I made it the first time I made a triple batch using 3 cups ea. of the washing soda and borax. Is this correct? It seemed to work fine but I want to make sure I am getting it right. Your recipe called for a 4.5 oz bar per 1 cup ea. of soda and borax…right? thanks!

  209. Mary says

    I am excited to try this detergent. I am curious about the amount used per load. The instructions say 1 tablespoon per load for normal wash (is this a small, medium or large load?) and a couple of scoops for heavily soiled. The directions on both the Washing Soap & Borax recommend to add a half cup per load in addition to normal detergent to “boost” the effectiveness of the detergent. Are they suggesting 1/2 cup to get us to use (buy) more than we really need?

  210. Sue says

    Hi everyone – I stumbled on this website last week and ordered Washing Soda and Borax (Both from – cheapest price ever and FREE shipping!!!) then bought Dr. Bronner’s soap (citrus) at Wholefoods. This was a great success and I ended up doing like 5 loads of laundry yesterday!! I love my homemade detergent!!! thank you so much for this great info!!!!! :)

  211. Vicki says

    “All items were found in the laundry isle.” Where do you shop???!!! I can’t seem to find the washing soda, or soaps you name anywhere. I’m forced online I guess.

  212. Julia says

    Thanks so much for this! I’ve been trying to find something to go with my homemade fabric softener (baking soda, vinegar & water). I used a 1oz bar of Dr Bronner’s to start with (as well as the 1 cup of each borax & washing soda). Clothes, sheets, towels all so far come out nice (with a hint of peppermint from the soap!). I will update when I get farther into it. Thanks so much OP :)

  213. says

    I ended up making my own laundry detergent and it works better (and is cheaper) than the others I’ve tried. As for poo stains- I take the diapers out of the washer and put them out in the sun (damp) for a couple hours stain-side up and the stains disappear.

  214. Sue says

    I’ve been enjoying my homemade detergent!! My first batch was with Dr. Bronner’s soap. I ordered Kirk’s Castle Soap from and will try another batch with that soap tonight! It’s fun :)

    I see a lot of comments up here about where to find Borax and Washing Soda. I frequently order household/bathroom stuff on the internet( or So far I found has the cheapest price (It was about 4-5 dollars..) ships FREE if you order 5 or more items. also has them but the price is like 8-9 dollars (not sure why they sell them expensively..).

    Try – I ordered some Seventh Generation bathroom cleaning stuff also along with Borax and Washing Soda to get free shipping – you just need 5 items regardless of their price..

    Hope this helps for the folks who can’t find them at a local grocery store.. :)

  215. Desir'ee W says

    I make homemade laundry detergent but it doesn’t work on grease and heavy dirt. Any suggestions on what to add to make my detergent more aggressive on these problems. I wash all my lightly soiled in homemade detergent, the rest get All detergent. I hate having two types of soap. Any suggestions

  216. says

    I love it! It works better than the all natural laundry soap i have been buying for $10 for 32 loads. it smells alot cleaner too :D thanks guys. cant wait to see what else you come up with.

  217. Shawna says

    I make this at home and love it; although I use the Fels-Naptha soap which smells amazing! A little tip I picked up that makes it easier to shave the soap. Put it in the microwave for 1-1/2 minutes. It will puff up and almost look like bread. Let it cool off and then I use a meat tenderizer and scrape it down the sides. It powders right up and is much easier to mix with the other ingredients:)

  218. Tasha Fernet says

    We make 10 gallons of liquid laundry detergent for 3 people (one in cloth diapers too). It lasts about a year, I don’t know the cost per load, but we spend about $3 per year on laundry detergent!!

  219. Racheal says

    I make a powder laundry detergent but want to add a fragrance oil to the wash. Is it okay to add it directly to in the washer when the water level is at maximum level? Or should I add it to the powder and mix it thoroughly? I just want that fresh smell to my clothes.


  220. says

    Jeff, another quick tip: I microwave my ivory soap bar for about 2:00 minutes and it makes a huge hot foam (cool science experiment, check it out) while I mix the other ingredients I let it cool completely and the cooled “foam” crumbles into a fine powder. I really like the consistency.

  221. Teri Z. says

    I was wondering if there is any way to prevent my aluminum box grater from getting rusted after I’ve used it for grating bars of soap. I have never washed the grater after each time I have grated the bars, so could that be the problem? Please let me know, because I have gone through a couple of these inexpensive aluminum box graters already and hate to have to waste them by needing to throw them away. I’m afraid of using a rusted grater, thinking the particles of rust will drop into the soap that I’m grating and then end up in my washing machine and onto the clothes somehow. Would love to get your opinion. Thanks.

    • says

      While Betsy and I love to save money, kitchen utensils is not one of the places we skimp. We view them as investments in our infrastructure. We do wash ours after each use but don’t think that’s why yours is rusting. I would suggest investing in a higher quality grater and washing after each use.

  222. Jessica says

    When you make the powder detergent, do you add it to the load or still in the top with a front loading washer? I’ve only used liquid since we bought our front loader & I don’t want to break it :)

    • Nicole says

      My HE machine is 3 years old and says to use powder for certain loads. I used the borax with the washing soda (without soap) in the top and just in the barrel with the clothes. I could not tell a difference. I have used powdered detergents in my HE for the entire 3+ years and never had a problem. I have never cleaned the lines out because of detergent either. The only time i had anything stuck in the lines was a part of a pen that came off in the washer and some sand from the beach. That was it.
      I just use soap on dirty stained areas, rub the bar on it with cold water, and don’t add it to the mixture at all. My clothes get as clean as regular detergent for the most part.

  223. Bri says

    I made this recipe the other night and love it! Man, this stuff lifts stains! My question, though, is to all those on the board who use Dr. Bronner’s in their recipes. Does the Dr. Bronner’s fade your clothes? It seems like I’ve heard this somewhere before and was hoping you could clear this up for me. I would love to incorporate Dr. Bronner’s bar soap in my recipe (I prefer the powdered version), but I’m leery of fading my clothes. Thanks in advance!

  224. Nalea says

    I don’t know about anybody else but I have used the laundry soap(with ivory) for going on a couple months at first I loved it but now, I am NOT LIKING it. My clothes seem more dingy. We went camping last week, I did laundry and after washing it once my laundry still stinks of campfire and the stains are still there, so I had to get a stain remover stick just to get my stains out of my clothes and rewash each load 3 times. I need some suggestion or I may just go back to using my tide that I have used for years.

    • Barbara says

      The same thing happened to me. It worked real good the first few months, then I found that it no longer cleaned my clothes and I had to return to Tide.

    • says

      Hi Nalea, try adding citric acid (or even Oxyclean if you don’t need it to be completely natural). Remember that you’re doing this for a reason and working to find a solution that works is part of the process, and part of the fun! Also remember you’re trying to use a natural solution; chemical detergents like Tide are NOT natural, so it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

    • says

      If you go to walmart and get the “SUN OXYGEN” off brand of oxyclean it is more natural than the name brand and it works wonders!! My fiancee is a Coal Miner and I wash his uniforms with this formula and the clothes are just as clean as when he has them sent out from the company. He was skeptical at first too but now he says he can’t tell a difference. If I have a really tough stain I just run the fabric under some water and rub some fels-naptha soap on the stain right before I put it in the washer & everything comes perfectly clean.

      Hope this helps :)

  225. Kate says

    Just wondering if anyone’s experienced any color fading with this recipe? My super-picky boyfriend is hesitant to try it because of this.

  226. Wendy W says

    I have read about so may people not able to find washing soda. I found this on eHow and thought I would share (I haven’t tried it, but will if I cannot find the washing soda):
    When baking soda is heated to a temperature above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, it will convert to washing soda. You can make washing soda from baking soda by heating it at 350-400 degrees for an hour or two. The baking will release water and carbon dioxide, converting the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to the chemical washing soda (sodium carbonate). After the “new” washing soda has cooled, store it in an airtight container to keep moisture from re-entering the powder.
    Read more: Washing Soda Substitute |

    I hope this helps!
    Also – I saw a question, but didn’t see an answer – how does the powder form compare to the liquid form financially? From what I understand, the same measurements used in the powder form are used in the liquid form, only with alot of water, making 10 gallons. But you use 1 cup per load vs 1 Tbsp.

    Thanks for your help!

  227. says

    Question: I’ve been using this home made laundry soap for a couple of years now and using white vinegar instead of softener but I find that many of our dark clothes (washed in cold water) get dark oily looking spots on them. Anyone know anything about this? I live in NYC and our water is really soft.

    I dissolve the powder in hot water first and then use that to wash. 3 tbs in 1-2 liters of water and then use 1 cup of the solution per load.

    • Laura says

      I’ve been getting these too!!! I have hard water, I don’t use vinegar, and I make the soap with Ivory soap, the washing soda, and borax. I was using the fabric softener + water mixture to spray my clothes in the dryer like someone suggested. I thought that was making the stains, but I was getting them on shirts I don’ put in the dryer. Ever since I started using this recipe I have had to throw out a few shirts because they were getting mysterious dark stains. I was trying to convince myself that I had dropped something on my shirts, but thats not it. Have you figured out how to remove the stains??

  228. JB says

    Just finished making up my first batch, and the first load is washing as I type! Looking forward to seeing the results. A couple thoughts… first, your recipe says to use 1 bar of soap, which you then indicate in your cost breakdown as 4.5 ounces. The ZOTE bar I bought this evening from the 99 cent store was actually 7 oz, so it may be worth clarifying. Secondly, your instructions say to stir and continue stirring thoroughly, presumably to break up the shavings of soap and combine well with the powdered ingredients. I was having difficulty achieving what I thought was an appropriate consistency, and so I employed both a whisk and a pastry blender to help it along… anyone else had this issue? All in all, thanks for posting this up! I’ve already tried your homemade dishwasher detergent with great success, so I’m very optimistic about the clothes in my washer now.

  229. Catie says

    I don’t know if someone’s mentioned it, but I add about 1/2 cup non-chlorine bleach (oxiclean or the off-brand) to my powder detergent and use only about 1/2 – 3/4 bar of Zote soap. What I’d really like to do is start making my own cold process castile soap. Maybe someday…

    I also like powder better because it requires no hot water and I can use a small ice cream bucket I got from my mother in-law to store a triple batch that lasts us 3-4 months instead of a giant 5 gallon bucket. The powder makes just about the same amount of detergent as well, since you use a lot less of it at once and you aren’t adding any water.

    Now I’m going to try making the dishwasher soap as well!

    • BlogShag says

      Nothing wrong with non -chlorine bleach. I use it too sometimes. I gave up on chlorine bleach years ago. It’s so toxic

  230. Sue says

    I found this website about a month ago and so far I have made my batches with Dr. Bronners soap, Kirk’s Castile soap(Fragrance free) and Kiss my face pure olive oil soap. They all were great success!!

    Dr. Bronners soap was about $4 per 4oz so I probably won’t use it again for laundry. Kirk’s Castile soap 4oz (fragrance free) was 97 cents on and Kiss my face pure olive oil soap 8oz(twice as big) was $2.39 on The price of the two are very similar but I prefer Kiss my face pure olive oil soap because my laundry smelled very good after washing them – well, I used fragrance free Kirk’s Castile soap so there’s no smell.

    Again, for those of you who can not find washing soda and borax, I order them on – I compared the prices on different online websites and found has them at the best price. Shipping is free if you order $25 or more stuff.

  231. Ashley says

    Hey! I just purchased my first cloth diapers, and am excited to start using them when the babies (yes twins!) get here in November. The place I am purchasing them from said to wash several times before use, to get the best absorbency from the diapers. Is this recipe what you would recommend to use even for this stage of the diapers? Thank you so much!!!

    • Nicole says

      Ashley, Congratulations!!!!! times 2!!!!
      I’d be hesitant to use this for newborn diapers. My son was very sensitive to soaps as a newborn. I could only use goat’s milk soap to wash him with and chlorine free wipes or cloth reusable wipes. Anything else irritated him. I found Tide powder to be the best with the cloth diapers on newborn skin. Make sure you use half the recommended amount for the smallest load and rinse extra to get all of it out. Any other detergent I tried on newborn bottoms did not work well. Of course you can experiment. You can use this. If it works well on the newborn diapers please email me and let me know how it goes! I want any input you have. nnb1978 at charter dot net

    • Deanna says

      I used cloth diapers & this soap on my twins born Nov. 2010. :-) Worked just fine for me. There were times that I waited too long to wash the diapers so I used “Odo-ban” from Sams in the rinse & it took care of the odor.

      Do not use fabric softener & hanging your cloth diapers out in the sun really makes a difference on them staying white!

        • Deanna says

          I used a regular washer that had some issues. My husband just got me a HE that I love. I do not use the homemade soap in it because of warranty issues, he wants me to use a soap they recommend. Using Tide, but only have to use 1Tbsp of liquid or 2 Tbsp for a heavy/large load & I have one of the biggest HE he could find! I have only done maybe a load or 2 of diapers in my HE, which it does great. But, all that to say that the regular washer was what I used the MOST.

          • Deanna says

            It is a NRV Steam Samsung WF350 & the Steam Dryer to match. I can probably do 2-2 1/2 x’s the size of load I could do in my other washer & it was a large top-loader. Love the steam in the dryer for refreshing/de-wrinkling when I am not able to get them out right away. :-)

  232. Anik says

    Did anyone tried to do this soap in a ultra-concentrated liquid formula ?
    Like reusing a empty 1 gallon jug… If so, what would be the amount used ?

    I always thought that liquid detergent was better since it was already disolved before adding it to washing machine with cold water (and since my washer is far for being the best one)
    Hate the thought of a 5-gallon bucket in my tiny apartment.

    Grated my first bar of soap today ! Can’t wait to see the resulf ! Thanks !!!

  233. says

    I love this soap-my clothes smell so clean-not perfumy, just clean and it does clean them. I actually like washing clothes now-it’s kinda fun-oh I didn’t say that!
    I have 2 ??
    Does anyone know exactly what fels-naptha is-like is it natural and safe?
    Also, I just used this to wash my shower curtain (plastic) and was really dissapointed. I had some soap scum on it that I was trying to clean off and after washing it, it was covered with a layer of cloud! So I rewashed it with the last bit of Tide I had not finished along with some baking soda and vinegar-which is how I usually wash it and it came it almost like new! I am not going to buy Tide just for my once a month wash of shower curtains so anyone got any suggestions on what happened and how to fix it next time-w/o Tide.

  234. Judy Bark says

    I purchased your new book the day it came out but have not heard anything nor have I recieved the book. Can you help me in this matter? Judy

  235. says

    I made up a batch of the home made laundry soap – first time. I used it on my own washing and I thought it great. Hubby is a handyman and his clothing gets a lot more dirty and stained than mine. I told him about the powder and seemed a bit doubtful. But he likes to do his own washing and he asked me if he could try some. After the wash he showed me a pair of his work trousers beige coloured that still had a black stain in them. I could see that the stain needed some extra treatment but I didnt say anything as hubby decided to rewash his pants in the commercial washing powder. He did say though that the rest of his washing looked good. After the second wash hubby returned looking a bit sheepish, the stain hadn’t changed. I just smiled to myself. We have some good laundry soap that will probably remove at least some of the stain.

  236. Lauren Schaeffer says

    PLEASE DO NOT USE TIDE ON YOUR BABIES DIAPERS! I read thru the comments and Tide is so awful! You aren’t even supposed to pour it outside! I love this recipe and have been using cloth diapers on my three youngest children! I am a mommy to six and it works wonderfully on them but I recommend using 3-4 drops tea tree oil for diapers because it is a safe natural disinfectant. Will be trying the vinegar in the rinse cycle when I go to the store tomorrow (have all the soap ingredients lol no vinegar) and thanks for the great recipe!

  237. Samantha says

    i made this last night and used it in a load of jeans and i LOVE IT !!
    i have a seven year old little boy who is very rough on his jeans and just as a test i tossed in a pair that had grassy knees and it all came out no pretreating
    so happy i found this and the best part of it all my clothes smell clean not chemically

  238. Allison says

    Hi, I’m just wondering how it’s “homemade” if a bar of commercial soap is being used in the mix?

    • Dave says

      That’s a really nitpicky comment, isn’t it? It’s obvious it’s “homemade” because you’re mixing ingredients at home, rather than buying off-the-shelf detergent at a store. And of course if you wanted to really nitpick, the other ingredients–not just the soap–aren’t “homemade” either. But clearly the “homemade” term refers to the overall product.

      • BlogShag says


        I don’t think it’s a nitpicky comment at all. It just happens to be a real comment. However, Matt’s recipe is much more homemade and earth friendly than what most people are buying in the stores. The stuff made in the stores is made from petrochemicals


        You can use those soaps that you get at fairs/festivals, farmer’s market ,that people make themselves and sell, or buy your soaps at health food stores. Those are “homemade”. Using Zote and Fels-Naptha is not an absolute. It’s just that those soaps seem to dominate the market. I really don’t see what’s so wonderful about Fels-Naptha. I tried it and was not impressed.

    • colby says

      that really is kind of nitpicky, if you look at it logically then people who sewed their own cloths couldn’t call it homemade because they bought the fabric at a store. people who make homemade cakes can’t call it homemade because the flower, sugar, vanilla, etc didn’t come from their garden.
      home made is pretty self explanatory, you, are making it at your house, using chemicals/ingredients you know about.

  239. Trina says

    My first load is in the wash now! I have a Kenmore Elite front loader. I previously tried the liquid version. Stupidly, I purchased the ingredients on EBay in a pack of 1/2 cup borax, 1/2 cup washing soda, and 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha for around $8. This particular recipe had me make 5 gallons. It was liquified, like soup. My washer kept shutting down when I would try it. It was so frustrating so I am glad I found this recipe which seems to be working great and much cheaper to buy ingredients at my local Kroger! ;)

  240. Samantha Russell says

    I was wondering if I can buy all this stuff at walmart lol..I know silly question but interested on trying this out thanks

  241. Jen says

    I’ve been using the homemade detergent for about 2 months now. At first, I loved it. But now I’m noticing that EVERYTHING is starting to smell moldy, including my washer. I have a front loader (approx 5 yrs old) and I do the suggested monthly cleaning w/bleach and vinegar and I always keep the door open to air it out after washes. I’ve never had a problem with a mold smell all these years until just recently, after starting to use the homemade detergent. I even tried boosting up the amount of borax in the mix, added baking soda as a deodorizer, and increased the amount of vinegar for the rinse. Even doing the bleach cleaning cycles doesn’t help either. I have to hang dry my husband’s clothes and he’s also commented about how his clothes smell really moldy after he puts them on. But even the clothes that are dried in the dryer have the same problem so I know its not a problem with hang drying the clothes. That’s another thing…you don’t smell the mold on the clothes right away…..only after you’ve had them on for a few minutes and your body heat “warms” up the clothes. But you can definitely smell it in the washer right away. I’ve tried going back to Tide to remove the smell in the clothing but it seems that it’s stuck in now. :-(

    Anyhow, I was wondering if anyone else is having/had this problem and how can we correct it?

    • Jen says

      Forgot to ask, on another note….I want to start making homemade body/face soap for acne prone skin. Any suggestions on where/how to start?

    • Tricia says

      Jen, I had a similar problem but it had nothing to do with my laundry soap brand. Are you possibly folding your clothes up while they are still even a little bit damp? I used to do that and they ended up smelling musty. Make sure your clothes are completely dry before folding or putting away in a drawer! Secondly, if clothes are too soapy (or not cleaned enough), and then not sufficiently rinsed, the drier will just bake it in and then could smell later. If you air dry, make sure they have air circulation so they don’t hang too damp for too long, especially in a basement. Try getting them outside in the sunlight for a short while to help remove some odors maybe. Hope one of these works!

      • Jen says

        At first I thought that was the problem too (folding too soon), but my dryer has a moisture sensor (pretty accurate) and I also tried drying through 2 cycles to make sure things were dry before putting them away. It’s actually kind of weird because I’ve never noticed my pants/shorts being smelly….just the shirts and my bras (maybe because they’re closest to my nose, lol). Usually, as soon as the dryer finishes, I pull the clothes out and hang them in the laundry room to cool before putting them away, that way I can tell if they’re still damp or not. I just did a load this morning and made a point of smelling everything before putting them in the dryer or hanging them up to air dry. I noticed that Hubby’s shirts smell right out of the washer, but mine and the kids’ don’t. I’m really starting to wonder if it’s hubby’s clothes making everything else smell when washed together? I try to wash his separately since he works in a power plant but there have been times that his stuff gets thrown in with everyone else’s by accident (or I just get tired of doing so many loads, lol). Even if it IS just his clothing causing the problem, why does my washer now smell horrible? And I can’t get rid of it and afraid it’s starting to make EVERYTHING smelly now. I even had a box of the Tide washing machine cleaner in my hand the other day but couldn’t bring myself to pay $8 for 1 teeny box. If I can’t figure this out soon, I’ll have to try it and see what happens. I’m in Florida and the humidity doesn’t help but maybe I’ll put up an outdoor line and try air drying in the sun, see if it helps at all.

        • Tricia says

          Jen, Sounds like you are doing everything right, which got me curious! So I google searched some things and I don’t know what brand of front loader you have but there was ALOT of complaints about LG front load washing machines having horrible odors and making their clothes smell. Maybe it’s the machine? Also it was mentioned that poor drainage from the washer may allow stagnant water to build and cause smells. A build-up of detergent scum (especially if one uses cold water or hard water) can be a problem, and they recommend a hot vinegar wash cycle to try and dissolve any build up that can really feed bacteria/mold growth. Here are a couple links:

        • says

          I have an LG washer and in my manual it says to clean the filter once a month. There is a little door on the front of the washer, you open it and drain the excess water out and wash the little plastic filter that is in there. Mine had a lot of build up on it and I have only had my machine since February. The guy who came and cleaned my dishwasher the other day said to make sure you use the cleaner in the front loaders once a month because the detergent build up will make it smell really bad. He also said that Electrolux is the worse brand for being smelly (my mom has Electrolux). Additionally, he suggested to leave the door completely open over night to make sure it dries out completely.

          I wonder if it would help anything if you ran lemon juice through the cycle? It is very acidic and an awesome cleaner…plus it smells great.

  242. Sharon says

    I think this stuff would work great. But you have to make sure and grind it down ALOT so its really smooth. Otherwise you will get little soap clumps on your clothes. I’m going to grind it down more and use it again. :-)

  243. Nicole says

    Hey guys…love the site!! Wondering if anyone knows if the laundry soap/vinegar rinse is safe for my cloth diapers? If anyone has any experience with this any info would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks :)

  244. says

    I just made my first batch and am washing a load with it right now. I modified it just a tad, I added some baking soda and oxyclean. I am excited to see how well it works. One thing is for sure, my house smells amazing from the fels-naptha.

    I do have one question though, I have a friend who has a recipe for all natural Castile based soap, could I use this instead of the fels-naptha?

    • colby says

      you can use it, not sure how well it will clean, you might not want to use baking powder, the washing soda is basically baking soda that has been backed for a certain amount of time in the oven, it works better then baking soda. ive heard oxyclean helps, but very little

  245. Pat says

    I have an HE washer and just made my third batch of powdered laundry detergent. I make powdered laundry detergent for my whites using Ivory, and I make a liquid form for my warm and cold water washing using Fels Naphta. I microwaved the Ivory and had a BALL watching it foam up and then gently breaking up the dried foam (it made tiny flakes). This would be a fun home school science project!!

  246. says

    I absolutely love this soap!! My mother & my in-law’s are getting me to make some for them as well. My mom has Lupus & Fibromyalgia and my cousin is a nurse, she informed me that a lot of the ingredients in store bought detergent can cause autoimmune diseases. I am thinking about making some all-natural soap and give it out as Christmas presents.

  247. BlogShag says

    Hey Mr and Mrs. Jabs-

    To make my powdered laundry soap, I use the food processor to grate the soap. It grates it in seconds and makes the process much easier. The nice thing about home made laundry soap is you can almost use any bar soap you want. Fels-Naptha and Zote are by no means, an absolute. There are more naturally based soaps out there, that may have a scent that is more to your liking.

    I’m a guy, and I discovered the joys of being able to make my own laundry soap several months ago. At the time I couldn’t figure out why someone would want to do that, until I tried it.

    First of all, the home made stuff is a soap, it’s not a detergent. There’s a difference. Commercially available detergent is harsher on your clothes, causes more fading, and is usually made of non-earth friendly ingredients, usually some kind of petroleum base. It’s also not appropriate for gentle clothes.

    Now, I no longer get scum build up in the washer, my allergies have decreased, and it seems like it costs next to nothing to get laundry detergent now, unlike it used to cost. It also works well, and unlike the pre-made stuff you buy at the store, it removes odors. It also doesn’t create all these stupid suds like the commercially available stuff does. Why do big companies put foaming agents in their laundry detergents? It does nothing but cause problems.

    The vinegar acts as an astringent for your clothes and washer. It softens and gets rid of residues and odors.

    Homemade laundry soap is also excellent for High-Efficency machines. It helps prevent build up of residues and scum.

    A vinegar and baking soda combination does wonders on cotton whites. No harmful and annoying chlorine bleach needed. After getting sinusitis from using chlorine bleach several months ago, that was the last time I used it, and I’ve never looked back.

    Thanks. I can’t wait to try the dishwasher detergent. Wish you were my neighbors.

  248. Wendy W says

    We have made several batches of soap using Irish Spring. Whenever we have tried to use a processor, it gums up, or grates it into small balls instead of a powder. Do you not need it to be powder small? It just seems too moist to work in the processor. What are we doing wrong? We really like the soap – just are having a hard time with the “5 minute” shredding process! Even with a cheese grater, the soap gets warm and starts to gum up. We use the small holes to made a powder, also, not the larger gratings.

    • BlogShag says


      That’s just the nature of the beast. You do have to clean the processor periodically. Also, Irish Spring is a more hardened soap than others out there. I had the same problem with Fels-Naptha. That soap is supposed to be so wonderful for this purpose, but I went back to using Zote soap, cause it dissolves better and gives the clothes a better scent.

    • says

      I had this problem at first. Now when I buy my soaps I take them out of the package and let them dry out. Now they never gum up. And it makes your laundry room smell fantastic.

  249. Jean says

    I have the ingredients,but haven’t made my detergent yet…..can essential oils be added to the dry recipe & if…& how much??
    thank you

  250. Little Red says

    I like to wash silk shirts and other clothes in cold water in the delicate cycle. Any experience with more delicate fabrics such as silk?

  251. says

    thanks for the recipe. When i first looked several days ago, i thought you had reposted that you cut back the amount of bar soap you used, but today, couldn’t find that info. Do you mind confirming that or am i losing my mind?

  252. Joanna says

    Okay – Im new to all of this, but am excited to try it… Qucik question though – what about “HE” washers – they make such a big deal about only using “HE” soaps – has anyone had any issue with using these homemade soaps?

    • BlogShag says

      Joanna- These home made soaps are excellent for HE washers. Because they are very low sudsing and de-ionizing, they may actually be better for HE washers , than the stuff you can buy at stores. Remember, most of the stuff you are getting at the stores is detergent. The stuff you’re making at home is a soap. There’s a big difference.

  253. michael says

    where do i store my homemade laundry detergent? should i keep it inside for winter? advice would be nice

    • BlogShag says

      You should store it in a cool dry place. Keep it away from damp spaces and other sources of moisture if it is the dry type of soap. For the liquid type, it doesn’t matter where you store it, as long as it’s not a sauna, or oven or kiln, etc…

  254. Kathi Bourg says

    Just an update…been using the liquid verison of the laundry soap recipe for almost 2 months. I modified by using 1 cup of Borax instead of 1/2, and because it didn’t gel at all, I used 2 bars of Kirk’s Castile soap instead of just one. I then diluted it in half with tap water (we have well water, so I don’t know if it’s hard or soft). I fill the softener cup in the washer with straight white vinegar. My clothes and towels are clean every time. My sweetie doesn’t seem to think it gets his work clothes clean (machine shop crud), but when I wash his clothes, I use my homemade detergent & he really can’t tell the difference! I have most of a 5 gallon bucket left, so I won’t need to make any more for a while, but the next batch, I’d like to try using Ivory soap, just to see if there’s a difference. Also, I have been using the homemade dishwasher detergent with similar, excellent results. I used my homemade liquid castile soap as a base for the dish soap, but I’m not liking that too well, as some of my handwashed dishes still feel a bit greasy. I am going to make a liquid Ivory based soap to use for that and see how it works, as well as adding much more lemon juice (I’ll start with a 1/4 cup rather than 1 tbsp). BTW, my recipe for liquid castile soap is 2 grated bars of Kirk’s castile melted on the stove in 4 cups of water. When the soap is fully melted (don’t let the water boil and stir often!) add 2 tbsp of glycerin. Mix to combine. I store mine in an old milk bottle in the bathroom pantry. Sometimes, especially in the colder months, the soap will resolidify, but I just set the bottle in a pan of really hot water (in the sink, not on the stove) and let it remelt. I then use it for a facial cleanser recipe, and now for the dish soap recipe. I’ll be trying it with Ivory soap today, which will be used only for cleaning rather than body use.

    • colby says

      i personally don’t like the ivory, i made a batch of liquid laundry detergent with it and for some reason it smelled really bad, i threw it out and made a different batch with lever 2000 aloe fresh,

  255. michael says

    hey folks, i was reading the ingredients and recipe that is used and then i read
    “Note: you only need to use 1 tablespoon of this homemade detergent per load, although you can use 1 – 2 scoops for heavily soiled loads)”
    i haven’t gone through and read many posts b/c of time issues, but this doesn’t seem like enough. the clothes washed with no problems but there was no scent to them. i also made used the same recipe as above (fels-naptha soap) and made the gel. i don’t want to add oils to the mix for scent. suggestions for amount per load and a fresh scent would be awesome.

    • BlogShag says


      If you live in a hard water area, you are definitely going to have to use more soap per load than what Matt suggests. People tend to forget about those of us that live in hard water areas for some reason.

      I’m not really understanding your refusal to use essential oils. Many people expect the clothes to smell like something after they are laundered, because that’s what they are used to, when it comes to using the conventional cleaning agents, which have strong cheap petroleum based perfumes in them. This homemade soap doesn’t leave a scent on clothes, ’cause it doesn’t have perfuming agents in them. As a matter of fact this soap recipe contains powerful odor destroying agents. Aside from using essential oils, I don’t know how to solve your quandry if you want scented clothes. Essential oils are just naturally based perfume liquids. You could spray some fabric softener in a mist or whatever scented liquid you like in the dryer before you start it with the clothes in its tub. Using conventional fabric softener (Downy, Snuggle, etc.) negates the efforts of having naturally based detergent.

  256. Lisa says

    Hi. So can you use the homemade laundry detergent in an HE washer?? I have made some and love the recipe but wondering if it will even work in my washer. And if so do you put in the machine or in the compartment? Thanks much!

    • says

      I use it in my HE washer. No suds so no problem. I just replaced fabric softener with white vinegar as an added precaution & it works just as well + it keep the machine squeaky clean! I put my detergent directly into the drum because I had to use a cheese grater for the soap and it is pretty lumpy.

  257. Dave says

    Hi all, I’m just getting ready to try the powder version of this homemade detergent, and just made my first batch of it. It seemed like there were many points at which the borax and/or washing soda and/or the mixture as I was mixing everything with the spoon, all went up in the air in a very fine particulate form that was easy to inhale. Is this unsafe? I mean, I’ve read that you’re supposed to use gloves to handle the washing soda because it’s quite caustic…surely that can’t be good to inhale, then? Should I be using a dust mask when prepping this stuff?

    • says

      Hannah, I have an HE washer and have used the soap both ways, putting it in the dispenser as well as placing it directly into the drum. I have had no problems with clothing coming clean either way. I feel more comfortable putting the soap directly into the drum however, because the soap shavings can be pretty large depending on the brand you use.

      Hope this helps :)

  258. Melea Pulley says

    This may be a silly question, but does it matter how small the bar of soap is shaved? My soap pieces are kind of large! I’m going to wash some laundry with this batch, and hopefully the soap will dissolve.

  259. Bianca Walker says

    I have been doing the homemade washing powder for bout 3 months now and love it. But one thing I use Zote and seems as if my clothes are not coming out as clean. Can anybody recommend a different brand of soap that will clean a lot better than Zote?

  260. Bianca Walker says

    Just to let you all know I use my MAGIC BULLET to make my Detergent. What I do is I put my soap in the freezer for about an hour. It hardens it up to make it easier to cut. I then cut up my soap. I take the soap and the Borax and Washing Soap and put it in my MAGIC BULLET and it comes out like powder. I suggest if you can to invest in a MAGIC BULLET. I’ve had mine for years and it is still going strong. Walmart sells them.

  261. says

    I quit grating the soap after I rubbed a few knuckles:) Now I just chop with a large knife and mix it all together in my ninja(souped up blender) when I’m done it’s fine like a store bought detergent. I also add a scoop of oxiclean to my recipe. I’ve been using this recipe for 2 yrs and I’ll never go back.

  262. Jen says

    I’m about to make my second batch but I have a question first….Did anyone else find that this didn’t clean grease/oil very well? The kids’ and my clothes turned out fine, but I noticed that hubby’s clothes had what looked like oil spots all over them (he’s a messy but wonderful cook and works in a power plant so often comes in contact w/ various types of oil/grease). I never noticed the spots before putting the clothes in the wash, but they would come out spotty after the dry cycle. I’ve resorted back to Tide and Tide spot remover for his clothes, but would like to see if anyone else had any success with this on grimey clothes. BTW – I used Fels Naptha in my first batch. I have some Kirk’s drying out that I’d like to use in my next batch, but I’ve read that “natural” detergents are missing some crucial ingredient that cuts through grease/oil so they normally don’t work very well on “working mens” clothes. Anyhoooo…suggestions?

    • Jen says

      One more thing….Is Kirk’s safe for HE washers? I read that it lathers up quite a bit, so I’m hesitant to use it. If Kirk’s is ruled out (and I’ve already tried Fels), any other suggestion for greasy clothes?

      • Jen says

        UPDATE ~ After doing a bit of research on my smelly HE frontloader, I found out this is a VERY common problem despite all my precautions (leaving door open, doing monthly bleach cleaning, etc). I got adventurous and decided to take my washer apart a little. Lo and behold, there’s a trap under the washer drum that catches all little those pocket items (pennies, paperclips, etc). There was quite a bit of moldy film on it and I had to soak it in vinegar for about an hour then cleaned it, and also pulled the hose that lead to the trap and emptied all the stagnant water in there. YUCK! I also pulled out my detergent drawer. OMG, DOUBLE YUCK! The drawer itself was clean, but once I took the drawer completely out and looked into the recess, there was tons of black mold in there! All the water going into my tub was running over the mold, into the detergent drawer, and down into the tub with the clothes. So basically I was washing my clothes with moldy water! I grabbed my spray bottle filled with vinegar, sprayed liberally, let it soak a few minutes, then scrubbed like heck with a toothbrush. Rinsed again with the vinegar spray. Vomit-worthy. So in all reality, those monthly bleach cleanings are somewhat useless. It cleans the drawer and tub, but doesn’t touch the areas where the water enters the drawer. So anyone with a smelly washer….CHECK THE DRAWER COMPARTMENT! The only good thing that is coming out of this is that I get to buy all new bath towels, since it seems those are ruined beyond repair. The kids can use them for car washes. ;-)

        As for the detergent, I decided not to use Kirk’s since it lathers too much (tested by slicing off a piece and using it to wash dishes/hands). I went ahead and made another batch using Fels again and added 1/2 c baking soda. Washing a load now and can’t wait to smell some fresh clothes.

    • Tracie says

      citrasolv, citrasolv, citrasolv. This stuff is great. I am a massage therapist and this gets the oil out of my sheets. It is called a “natural cleaner and degreaser concentrate”. I just squeeze some in the load but would be great to apply right to the spots. It has an amazing orange smell. Everyone loves the smell of my house when I do laundry…which is constantly.

      It is a little hard to find. It is always at my natural food store, sometimes at the grocery store I shop at. I don’t think I have seen it at larger chain stores.

    • Hanah says

      My husbands clothes have the same spots on them… and he works in an office. It’s interesting though, because mine and kids clothes seem fine. hmm

  263. Maddie says

    It’s DIY Friday here at my house. Laundry soap was on the menu and do I made it. After grating the Naptha and putting the other two ingredients together I was not happy that they didn’t really mix well so I put them all in the food process and blended it until it all came together. No separation. Looking forward to using it now! Oh, and I purchased all three products at Walmart for the grand total of $6.19!

  264. Kathleen E Bourg says

    been using the liquid version made with Kirk’s castile for about 3 months& really like it. Some folks have mentioned adding oxyclean to the recipe and i would like to know the amounts.

  265. lesr says

    Hi! I just started making my own laundry soap. Can I add dried basil to laundry soap? Will it ruin my machine???


    • Maddie says

      Interesting question. I don’t think that adding basil would harm your clothes, but it might harm your washing machine. Remember, the basil is not going to dissolve leaving you with flecks of leftover basil in your washing machine and on your clothes.

      My guess is (though I have never done it) is that perhaps you could make your own basil oil by taking something like glycerin or mineral oil and soaking basil in it, imparting the basil essence, then adding a couple of drops to the water. Your mileage may vary.

        • Kelly J says

          If you are wanting to make a ‘scented batch’ have any of you considered melting the bar of Fels Naptha that you are using, and adding a few drops of essential oil or fragrance oil? I would think that if you used a double boiler, and melted a chopped bar, that you may be able to add some scent that way, since if you add the drops to the mix it will only affect the small amount of powder that it lands on… It’s just a thought, since the scent of the detergent comes from the soap that is used…

      • Jackie<