The Original Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

Making homemade laundry detergent is easy, inexpensive, and effective in regular and HE washers. Save money and avoid chemicals with DIY laundry detergent.

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:

Note: No time or desire to make homemade 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. Further, making your own laundry powder is fast, easy, and inexpensive.

Why Powdered DIY Laundry Detergent?

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

Moreover, this powdered DIY laundry detergent recipe requires just three simple ingredients and takes only a few minutes to make.

To illustrate, the instructions and pictorial instructions follow, along with the cost savings breakdown, notes on HE washers, septic tanks, and borax safety.

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

Homemade Laundry Detergent



Yield 32 ounces



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.


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

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

Homemade Laundry Ingredients

Generally, you can purchase all these DIY laundry detergent ingredients at your local grocery store:

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

Note on ingredients: use whatever ingredients you are comfortable with. To explain, some people are comfortable with popular brands that are not totally natural, while others prefer to make their own.

Some commonly used bar soap brands include Kirk’s Original Coco Castile®, Pure & Natural®, Fels-Naptha®, and/or ZOTE®. Also, both ZOTE® and Fels-Naptha® are made for and sold as a “laundry bar.”

In contrast, 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. Also, you can purchase a natural bar of soap. Because everyone is on a different level we encourage everyone to do what they’re comfortable with.

As previously mentioned, all items can be found in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores. However, if you cannot find washing soda, you can learn to make your own here!

Homemade Laundry Detergent Pictorial Instructions

For visual learners, like myself, enjoy these pictorial instructions.

1. Start with these ingredients and utensils:

Homemade Laundry Detergent 1

2. Shave 1 bar of soap. I used a simple hand grater:

Photo 2

3. My shaved bar looked like this:

Photo 3

4. Add 14 ounces of borax:

Photo 4

5. Add 14 ounces of washing soda:

Photo 5

6. Stir thoroughly:

Homemade Laundry Detergent 6

7. Stirring is complete when you have a powder like this:

Homemade Laundry Detergent 7

8. Store your detergent in an airtight container and enjoy!

Homemade Laundry Detergent 8

Use 1 Tbsp per small load or 2 -3 Tbsp for large or heavily soiled loads. If you have really hard water, you may need to use even more.

You can blend the mixture in a blender or food processor to get a fine powder that will dissolve easily in cold water loads. If you don’t want to do this extra step, you can also just dissolve the detergent in a pint of warm water before adding it to the washing machine.

There you have it folks – simple, easy, fast, and efficient homemade laundry detergent!

When you’re done making this check out our article on homemade fabric softener/dryer sheets!

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

Cost Savings Breakdown

Prior to making our own, we were using Arm & Hammer liquid detergent.  Here is the breakdown in cost analysis:

Use 1 Tbsp per load, or 2 -3 Tbsp for large or heavily soiled loads.

  • Arm & Hammer® liquid 100 ounce detergent – $6.79 – 32 loads = $0.21 per load
  • Tide® with Bleach powder 267 ounce detergent – $20.32 – 95 loads = $0.21 per load
  • Jabs Homemade powder 32 ounce detergent – $2.98 – 64 loads = $0.05 per load

As you can see, whether I compare against traditional store bought liquid or powder, I am saving $0.16 per load!

High Efficiency (HE) Washers

HE front-load washers require “special soap” for one reason alone – low suds. Because they use less water, they require soap that is less sudsy. The good news is this homemade detergent is VERY low suds. The “special” HE detergent is just another advertising mechanism to push consumers to buy “special soap” for unnecessarily high prices.

Regardless of your washer type, just make your own in confidence.

Safe for Septic Tanks and Fields

This is the best laundry soap to use with septic tanks because it contains zero phosphates and zero fillers (like montmorillonite clay) that cause commercial powder detergents to clog lines. It is also completely non-toxic so it will not harm necessary septic bacteria like toxic detergents and antibacterial soaps. Use with confidence.

Is Borax In Homemade Laundry Detergent Toxic?

After thorough research, I have concluded borax is only as toxic as baking soda or table salt; if you ingest it in high quantities, it may make you sick. If you use it as described in our recipes, it poses no toxic threat.

Just make sure you don’t confuse borax with boric acid, the two are NOT the same. Use borax (I recommend 20 Mule Team brand), and steer clear of boric acid.

For those of you who want more info, read this excellent Crunchy Betty article where she expounds the toxicity levels of borax; I couldn’t have said it better myself – thanks, Crunchy Betty.

At the end of the day, decide for yourself to use it or not, and afford others the same courtesy.

What are you waiting for? Go get the ingredients and make your homemade laundry detergent today!


References and Resources

Matt Jabs

About Matt Jabs

Matt loves to inspire others to save money and live more sustainably. He is passionate about eating local, living simply, and doing more things himself. He also writes about Personal Finance at Debt Free Adventure. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and his +Matt Jabs Google profile.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for us to support our website activities, we may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this website.

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.


  1. Mischa says

    I tried this and it didnt clean a lot of the clothes. So researched online and adjusted the recipe to 8oz bar soap, 2 cups borax and 2 cups baking soda wash. Then it called for 1/8-1/4 cup per load. This seems to work well. The soap doesnt seem to dissolve before I put the clothes in but I never had chunks left on them when its done. Maybe it dissolves as the clothes are swished around. We have really hard water, which may be why I had to increase the recipe and use more. I added 1/2 cup vinegar with lavender oil to my downy ball. Not sure if it made a difference or not.

  2. Colleen R says

    Our machine has the tray on the outside of the machine at the top left. It slides out for adding detergent and fabric softener and then slides back in before you start the machine. I would say that it should work if it has a place for both. I would think the machine would separate the input of the detergent and the fabric softener as one is used in the wash cycle and one is for the rinse cycle. Our machine is a Maytag HE machine that we bought in 2006 (we are in Canada).
    Matt, thanks and blessings on you and your family as well.

  3. Mike says

    Hi Colleen,
    Thanks for that ! The machine we have has one tray towards the rear inside of the machine with a divider. The left section is for liquid fabric softener while the right section is for liquid detergent. In the front left corner of the machine there is a receptacle for powdered detergent. I mention that only to clarify what may have been a confusing earlier post. Would I still be able to utilize both if using powdered detergent in the front along with only liquid fabric softener in the rear tray ? I happily admit to having zero in the way of mechanical aptitude so not sure if it really matters.

  4. Mike says

    Hi Matt,
    I’ve been looking for exactly this for our new HE machine but I do have what may be a dumb question. We’ve been using liquid detergent as well as liquid fabric softener since we purchased the new machine. There is one ” tray or drawer ” inside the machine with two compartments into which you pour both, shut the tray door, and let the machine do its thing. If I switch over to your powder detergent using the powder receptacle in the machine would I still be able to simultaneously pour the liquid fabric softener into the liquid receptacle without problems ?

    • Colleen R says

      Our HE machine also has one tray with separate sections for detergent (that has a divider to set it for liquid detergent or powdered) and fabric softener as well as one for bleach. We use this recipe for powdered detergent and liquid fabric softener (or vinegar sometimes) all the time with no problems. We do have to take the tray out now and then to clean it but we did this when we used store bought laundry soap as well. PS: there is no such thing as a dumb question. 🙂

  5. Angela says

    I love the laundry soap recipe and have made it a few times. I am though having trouble with the ivory soap. I have been grating it and then mixing it in but see little chunks of it on my clothes when I pull them out of the washer. How can I prevent this? Thank you

      • Angela says

        Matt, I just grated it, and then put some of the washing soda/borax mix in my food processor along with the grated soap. Took some extra time, but worked nicely! Do you have a recipe for some sort of dryer sheet? I was thinking a mixture that you could use along with a wash cloth (reusable) Thank you & blessings back!

          • Zi says

            I’m still microwaving the soap until it puffs up, then dropping it into the blender or food processor until it’s a ground up to the size of coffee grinds. After that mix everything together using whatever method you prefer.

            However another contributor (Sandy maybe?), suggested cutting soap into 4 or 6 pieces, and freezing it, which makes it easier to grind or grate.

            One tool I haven’t heard anyone mention are those hand graters in a jar, which operate by pressing down on the lid… has anyone used them for soap?

  6. Shelista says

    So I tried the laundry detergent today pretty easy to make and seemed to work fine for me. No residue was left and I washed some pretty nasty stuff with only using 1 tbsp. thanks for sharing!

  7. Sharon says

    I have made and used this soap recipe. I washed my washable floor cleaner pads and they just didn’t come out clean, I had to wash them twice. I don’t have hard water but I’m thinking of grating another bar of hard soap into the mix. What do you think?

  8. Joy says

    I have been using this recipe for several months. Our laundry is never heavily soiled. I have found that on sheets there is a white residue left from time to time and the fragrance of deoderant is left in t-shirts.

    I have started using a 1/4 of the amount of liquid laundry detergent that I used to use and 2 tablespoons of this recipe to boost. That seems to help.

    • Nicole says

      I have begun using 2 parts hydrogen peroxide to 1 part Dawn dish soap mixed in a spray bottle. I spray it on the armpit area of tshirts, and the smell is gone. (Be careful not to breathe it in.)

  9. carol d says

    i am using the little slivers and leftover pieces of bath soap. how much measure wise of grated soap should i have/ one cup, two cups, a half cup?

  10. PM says

    Just found your recipe for home made laundry soap and love it, made two batches now and find that it works really well. The only thing I am not sure of is how much to use in a regular sized top loader machine? We have very soft water so I am thinking not much, but it must be more than two tablespoons?

  11. Cheryl says

    Thank you Zi, I just made a batch and am trying it right now.! 🙂 Hope it works out okay, with a family of 5 we are always looking for ways to save money and live as natural as possible.

  12. Zi says

    Hi Cheryl,

    In my laundry soap recipe, I use 1/2 the borax to 1 bar of soap and i cup of washing soda. Then I always add at least 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Not only does vinegar disinfect equally as well as clorox, but it dissolves mineral deposits in hard water, and removes any soap residue on the clothing.

    Please note, this recipe is extremely concentrated. The recommended amount per load is 1-2 tablespoons, since it has no additives. So you could make a small batch: an ounce of flaked Ivory or Kirk’s Castile (the others have too many harsh chemicals) plus an ounce of washing soda and 1/2 ounce of borax.

    Even if your kid’s skin has a bad reaction, these same ingredients will make great household cleaners. I wish you success.

    I know No-One who has skin as sensitive as mine, and this recipe has saved me. Why not try a very small load just to see if the recipe works for your children?

  13. Cheryl says

    My kids all have sensitive skin and we have always had to keep everything unscented. I was wondering if anyone knows if the laundry soap is okay for sensitive skin. I bought all the ingredients the other day to make it, I can’t find anywhere on the boxes that say they are scented. I also can’t seem to find a recipient for homemade fabric softener without fragrance.

      • Colleen R says

        My husband has sensitive skin with eczema. This soap doesn’t bother his skin. We live in Canada so I use Sunlight bar soap as we don’t seem to have fels naphtha or zote.

  14. Steven says


    Boric acid solutions used as an eye wash or on abraded skin are known to be particularly toxic to infants, especially after repeated use, because of the slow elimination rate. [22]

    Borax was added to the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list on 16 December 2010. The SVHC candidate list is part of the EU Regulations on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals 2006 (REACH), and the addition was based on the revised classification of Borax as toxic for reproduction category 1B under the CLP Regulations. Substances and mixtures imported into the EU which contain Borax are now required to be labelled with the warnings “May damage fertility” and “May damage the unborn child”. [23]

    • Zi says

      I went online to search for Borax substitutes, and ended up becoming convinced that it was safe for laundry detergent, particularly since I rinse with white vinegar (as a water softener) as well as set my clothes-washer for an extra rinse (my skin is wildly sensitive; that’s why I went looking for an hypo-allergenic DIY laundry soap in the first place).

      Not only did I learn from many different sites that the toxicity is pretty much the same as table salt, but also that many, many people ingest a very small quantity daily as a remedy for arthritis, lupus, rosacea, hormone-balancing, candida, and osteoporosis, to name a few.

      Below are links and some excerpts from my afternoon’s research.

      The European Chemicals Agency gave as reason for their reclassification of boron products (paraphrased):
      ‘The available data do not indicate major differences between laboratory animals and humans, therefore it must be assumed that the effects seen in animals could occur in humans as epidemiological studies in humans are insufficient to demonstrate the absence of an adverse effect of inorganic borates on fertility. 17.5 mg boron/kg/day was derived as a NOAEL (no event level) for male and female fertility. For the rat decreased foetal weight occurred at 13.7 mg boron/kg/day, and a safe limit of 9.6 mg/kg/day has been derived.’ (22)

      What they are really saying is this: ‘While we have no human data, animal studies suggest that for adult reproductive functions a daily ingestion of about 2 teaspoons of borax is safe. But to be absolutely sure that no-one is harmed, we will ban it totally.’ Importantly, this ruling is not related to borax in foods or supplements where it is already banned, but only for general use as in laundry or cleaning products or as insecticides.

      Because borax is not readily inhaled or absorbed through intact skin, it is difficult to see how even a few milligrams daily could get into the body with the conventional use. If the same standard would apply to other chemicals, there would be none left.

      The key study in this assessment was published in 1972. Why is this being dug up now to justify banning borax when it was of no concern for the past 40 years? It does not make any scientific sense, especially if you consider that the main chemical in the new borax substitute, sodium percarbonate, is about three times more toxic than borax.

      Acute oral LD50 values for animals are from 1034 to 2200 mg/kg/day (23). Even the commonly used sodium bicarbonate, with an animal LD50 of 3360 mg/kg, is nearly twice as toxic as borax (24). Both of these chemicals have not been tested for long-term reproductive toxicity at the high doses that caused fertility problems in rats and mice.

      The same applies to washing powders [laundry detergents], it has been stated that no toxicity is expected if used in the approved way, or that reproductive tests have not been done. Ingredients in these products are more toxic than borax, why can they be used in the approved way but not borax? And how about really toxic items such as caustic soda and hydrochloric acid? Why do they remain available to the public when one of the safest household chemicals is banned despite the fact that it is absolutely impossible to cause any reproductive harm with the approved use?

      Regardless of the lack of any scientific credibility, the stage has been set for borax and boric acid to be globally removed from public sale at short or no notice. Even low-level and less effective boron tablets are now tightly controlled by the pharmaceutical industry, and may be restricted at any time through Codex Alimentarius regulations. With this, the medical-pharmaceutical system has safely defused any potential danger that borax may have posed to its profitability and survival.
      Looking through the ToxNet studies on the NIH website, I see very few that are concerning for any major danger (unless ingested in high quantities). In addition, the Material Safety Data Sheet lists borax as a health hazard of 1, the same as baking soda and salt.

      Here’s one more bit of info for you:
      Boron is an essential mineral that the body needs for bone building, immune function, and brain function. Plants need it to grow. But, like anything, it’s needed in small moderation. Much like salt.
      Boron is found aplenty in borax. People even take borax as a supplement and swear by it (I am NOT recommending you do this). That’s a little extreme, but I use it as a gauge as to how harmful borax really is.

      I’m putting to rest my late-night concerns about whether – all along – I’ve been using some kind of dangerous(!), toxic(!) poison(!).
      For me – and this is my personal determination after months of searching, wondering, and compiling information – borax is just fine to use in my household cleaning routine. ESPECIALLY as a laundry detergent. It’s also fine to use, occasionally, as a hair treatment … or even in a lotion.

      I’ll just be keeping it out of the reach of kids and my two cats. Not that any of those beings would want to eat it anyway. Ick.

      Whether borax is safe or not appears to be the dosage. Let’s see, flouride is at least ten times more toxic than borax, but yet many people use it everyday in toothpaste. How can you explain that? Its toxicity is a bit less toxic than cyanide, and arsenic toxicity is close to flouride. Not only is fluoride NOT an essential mineral, but yet boron or borax IS an essential mineral. Take for instance drinking water in Israel, is several milligrams per liter of water. Most fruits are about 1 mg/liter of borax.

      Also — and not said sarcastically, but seriously wanting to know…..anyone know what the real deal is with Borax? I keep seeing people say its toxic if ingested….but I wasn’t planning on eating it, I was just planning to wash my dishes with it. I imagine drinking the soap I use to handwash my dishes would probably be toxic if I drank enough of it, too….but I still use it to wash my dishes! Anyone try eating washing soda??? It says on the side that if ingested, you should start drinking milk or water and contact a physician. Just wondering if Borax is getting an unnecessarily bad reputation — when it would be MUCH cheaper to use. Anyone with a chemistry or medical degree that can shine some light on this??

      Reply, February 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm
      As I previously said, add vinegar to the final rinse. That will eliminate the haze left by the alkaline components of your wash mix. The haze is left behind because the alkaline ingredients are not as soluble in tap water that contains high concentrations of minerals and is most likely slightly alkaline itself. Acidifying the rinse water with vinegar will dissolve the alkaline ingredients and they will drain away with the rinse water.

      Cleaning Tip: To remove rust stains from garments, wet the rusty area with lemon juice, rub area with table salt (no it doesn’t matter what kind), and place in direct sunlight. The magic of photochemistry will cause the reduction of the oxidized Iron and the rust stain will be gone.

      DIY Dishwasher Detergent without Borax!
      by Amanda on October 17, 2011
      I’ve been playing around with a dishwasher detergent recipe for a while now, and finally worked out one that leaves my glasses clear and does not use borax.  I am happy to use borax in my laundry detergent, but I feel that using it on my dishes is probably not the best choice.
      For some time now I’ve been stuck using uneco-freindly options, mostly.  I’ve been using Cascade packs with Lemi-Shine.  It was the only thing that cleaned my dished and left my glasses clear from film and yuck.  I have been using this DIY recipe with success.  It used Lemi-Shine, which is completely safe and eco-friendly.  The only thing I wish is that I could buy it in tubs.  I simply will not do a load of dishes without it.

      1 1/2 Cups Lemi-Shine (They come in 12 oz containers, so this is a full one)
1 1/2 Cups Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Sea Salt (any will do I’m sure)
      Use 2 Tablespoons per load and if you like, vinegar can be added as the rinse agent in the event that you have any cloudiness.

      A nice Sunday jaunt through the web. Cheers!

      • Steve says

        Well put Zi.
        I know this is the laundry detergent site, but because you quoted Amanda and she mentioned Cascade, I thought I’d toss this in. If you look at the ingredients in Cascade liquid, the #1 ingredient is sodium carbonate (washing soda), next is sodium hydroxide (lye), next is sodium silicate, and then the kicker is chlorine bleach and this is to clean the plates and flatware we eat off.

        • Nicole says

          As for the Cascade remarks wouldn’t you think it’s not such a big deal since it’s all rinsed off before we eat from the dishes? Especially when I consider restaurant dishes, none of those ingredients scare me. It makes me feel safer. 🙂 I mean consider that most people swim in chlorine bleach that goes in their eyes and ears and occasionally their mouths. And doesn’t tap water have tiny amounts of bleach?

  15. Eddie says

    I have been using the base recipe for laundry detergent for many months now and am very happy with the results. I use an Ivory Soap bar shaved on a smaller grater which makes it easier to mix with the Soda and Borax. I know some of you like to do this with your food processor, but I simply spend a few minutes blending everything with my potato masher! Those extra few minutes of hand-blending are worth everything to me knowing that I am saving lots of money in the long run. And, my clothes are just as clean as they ever were with commercial products.

    I do add a small amount of bleach to the wash for my white towels. And I presoak some heavily-stained items, just as I would do for any load when I was previously using commercial detergents. For anything particularly “smelly” I add 1/4 cup of baking soda to the load and that takes care of it.

    I will also add that my laundry is noticebly softer…(particularly my towels), without even using fabric softener or dryer sheets.

  16. Lisa says

    So far, so LOVE! I experimented with a batch of the powder…Kirk’s Castile bar soap is wonderful, but boy does it take forever to grate! I’m hoping the Vitamix will work without making too much of a clean-up nightmare! I use it with the Borax and washing soda and just love the results…fresh, clean, bright. Thanks to all for sharing!

    • Sandie says

      Try cutting the soap in some pieces and freeze for a few hours before putting in the Vitamix – or a regular food processor.

  17. Lisa says

    Angie – do you do anything else besides cut up the soap bar before blending in the Vitamix? How difficult is it to clean the blender after? Thanks!

  18. vicki says

    After doing some research on the laundry soap thing, which I had made a batch just like everyone else, fels naptha, washing soda AND BORAX, it’s almost time to make another, well after looking at the clothes closley they just didn’t seem to be as bright as I wanted, then the researce began, I found out that Borax does no good at all in Cold water wash UMM……it does however work when used in hot then it releases it’s cleaning power, glad I found that info, so when making soap I’m going to try replacing the borax with Biz, just thought I’d let you ladies who wash in cold water know this.

  19. Steve says

    I tried the mixture using the Ivory bar (3.1 ounces vs the 5.5 ounce Fels Naptha bar) and although I didn’t do a rigourus comparison the results were as good or better than the larger Fels Naptha bar.

  20. Angie says

    I’ve been making this laundry soap for almost two years and haven’t looked back. I use the Fels Naptha bars. I bought a case (I think it was 24 bars) and still have 13 left! Of course, there are only two of us in the house, but the savings is incredible. By the way, I use my Vitamix blender to blend it up. I break up 1/2 bar or so at a time into pieces, then pulverize it! I add the soda and borax and mix it all up. Love it!

    I found the site and the book about a week ago. Waiting on my essential oils to come in to go with the other ingredients I just bought to make more cleaning products!

  21. Ken says

    I use Murphy’s oil soap or any old fashioned bar laudry soap and cold water. It works well for most delicate clothing, and for things that are not very dirty or smelly.

    If I need to clean someting dirty or smelly, I bring out the Tide (or equivilant).

    This way, my clothes get clean, not just clean-ish.


  22. Zi says

    Hi Everyone,

    Thank you all for your great and informative comments.

    I’ve been using this recipe with Kirk’s Coconut Castile (Soap Bar) for at least 3 years. Another website whose link I’ve lost, suggested putting the bar on a plate in the microwave. It puffs up and becomes crumbly (once it cools)–easy to put in blender or food processor then. I can’t remember how long to zap it, so I’ve been checking it at 1-minute increments until it’s done. My one BIG suggestion is to do this when you can air out the house and microwave for an hour or so afterwards; it smells great but very strong. By the way, decades ago we used Kirk’s for washing when we camped. It is so non-toxic that minnows would swim up in droves and nibble away at the suds.

    Oxyclean doesn’t bleach clothing unless you soak them in it for a few days (know from experience). My choice on tough sweat smells is to spray the offending fabric area with rubbing alcohol, or even ammonia, and let set for 15-30 minutes, then wash.

    If I have a questionable load, then I’ll drop in some hydrogen peroxide or a few drops of health-food store ‘liquid/food grade oxygen’ which is more-or-less a concentrated version of oxyclean or peroxide. I’ve been using the same bottle for years, so the cost, under $10, is no big deal. Just be very careful to keep this away from children and others with poor judgment. Add this in with the very first washing cycle.

    For folks wondering about cold water washes and whether the DIY recipe will leave a film, may I suggest using less of it? Or using white vinegar as a rinse agent?

    Victoria, why do you use the salt do in your laundry soap recipe?

    Re deodorants: After years of being allergic to commercial brands, and failing embarrassingly with most health-food store brands, I have fallen in love with ‘Tom’s’ deodorant stick. It works fantastically!

    • Sandie says

      Hi Zi – thanks for all the great tips! I’d like to offer one – instead of microwaving your soap bars – cut them in small squares, freeze for several hours and then put them in the food processor with other ingredients. This works even better than microwaving.

  23. Steve says

    I’ve been using the Fels Naptha soap and the bars are 5.5 ounces per bar, but I want to try the Ivory soap and the bars are 3.1 ounces, should I use a bar and a half of Ivory or will one bar be enough? Thanks

  24. Belinda says

    This recipe sounds great – I am wondering about an Australian equivalent brand of soap – am I looking for 100% natural soap bar? I think our “Sunlight” soap might be similar.
    I was also wondering about essential oils, have noticed a few people have asked already – I think you could add a couple of drops to the mix without making it damp. I often use pure eucalyptus oil in my wash to freshen the loads, a capful as it’s not oily like essential oils and it works wonderfully 🙂

  25. Lisa says

    I used Kirk’s Castile soap and so far, so good!! I haven’t washed in COLD yet, but did wash in COOL and all dissolved and really washed better than the environmentally friendly liquid I had been using. I’ll let you know how it goes in cold!

  26. Jennifer says

    A friend rec’d this site because I was looking to make my own laundry detergent so I’m going to give the powder a try (i prefer liquid, but we’ll see). I was researching the different soaps listed, thankfully, because Zote has cocount oil and my son is allergic to coconut. Just a reminder to everyone to check ingredients of products, just in case!

  27. bessie says

    I have a family of 12 and have tried this laundry soap and wouldnt use any other this product cleans our cloths well deoderizes perfectly and we are greatly satisfied with a family this large it have save 40.00$ per month and laundry soap alone and our clothes look , smell and work fine even with some allergies most of the family have thanks greatfully

  28. Colleen R says

    We have been using his for several months now. I don’t add oxi clean or anything else. We have a front load HE washer. I put the powder in the dispenser and start the washer. I have never dissolved the soap in any temperature of wash water and we have no problems with film or residue. . Our clothes are clean and smell great.

  29. Ruth says

    I use this in cold water all the time and never have a problem. Maybe it has more to do with the water. My water is fairly hard. I also haven’t noticed any problems with fading and I do use the Oxi-Clean.

  30. Lisa says

    Thank you, Sandie! Mine does as well (both liquid & powder), but I guess I need to dissolve the soap in warm water first because I do most of my washing in cold…as warm or hot is unnecessary, wears out clothes faster, and costs more $.
    Thanks again!

  31. Sandie says

    Hi Lisa – No, I don’t have an HE washer. Others with an HE washer might be better able to advise you, but I would think if there is a liquid soap dispenser, you could use that. My daughter has an HE washer that has both a liquid soap dispenser and a powdered soap dispenser.

  32. Lisa says

    Do you have an HE washer? And if so, do you put the dissolved soap directly into the washer bin or in the liquid soap dispenser?

  33. Eileen Clifton says

    Hi Sandie-

    Unfortunately I cannot use oxiclean in the wash as my husband reacts to it. I do already use vinegar in my rinse cycle. I have tried Fels Naptha, White Zote Soap, and am currently trying the pink Zote Soap. I do not have any Ivory. I suppose I could try that next, but I have not been successful yet. Perhaps it is the addition of the Oxiclean that helps with fading and such. I have not had issues with film on my clothes since I started dissolving the detergent in warm water. I just want people to be aware of the fact that you can’t throw the detergent in with cold water. It needs to be dissolved in warm first. Thanks.

    • Sandie says

      I’m sorry you can’t use oxi-clean. I prefer the ivory soap so far. It’s so easy to cut up, freeze and then put in my food processor. Adding vinegar to your rinse will also help with any residue.

  34. Patti G says

    This has probably been asked and answered previously.

    Does the oxi-clean tend to fade clothing? Do you use it with colors as well as whites? What about delicates?

    Thanks for your help.

    • Sandie says

      Hi Patti – I use the oxi-clean in every wash and for all clothing types. I haven’t noticed any fading from it.

  35. Eileen Clifton says

    I have to respectfully disagree with Matt’s comments that the laundry detergent works well in cold water. It left a film all over my clothes and I had to rewash them in warm water. I have been using hot or warm water at first to melt or dissolve the soaps in the water, before turning the washer to cold. I like the smell of the detergent, it doesn’t have that chemical smell. However, it seems that it is fading my clothes and my daughter’s clothes, even when washing them in cold water. I have changed to baking soda instead of washing soda, and changed to the pink Zote soap for whitenessin the hopes of having better success. I have been using about 2 tblspns per load in my top loading washer. I will see what happens. I have not been 100% pleased with this unfortunately, and I really wanted to be. I hate the smell of chemicals, but gotta have a detergent that cleans well, gets the smells out, and does not fade my clothes.

    • Sandie says

      Hi Eileen – I’ve been using this powdered formula for many months now and I’ve had no problems with it in cold water. I dissolve it in warm to hot water in a cup first then put it into the wash with cold water. I use vinegar in my final rinse and have had no residue or unusual fading problems at all. I’ve used both Ivory soap and Fels-Naptha, both of which seem to work equally well, although I prefer the Ivory. I also add about 1/4 cup of Oxi-Clean to each wash load.

        • Victoria says

          I have to say also that I experience no problems and I generally wash in cold too. I was dissolving it in hot water prior to putting it in but have recently got lazy and just thrown it in (1st thing into the machine as the water is starting, then the clothes) and I see no difference, no film on the clothes at all and the come out nice fresh and clean 🙂 I have also added 1/8c fine sea salt and 1/4-1/2c baking soda to my mix and I love it! I add 1/3c vinegar to my softener dispenser and I use 5 wool dryer balls in the dryer afterwards, such a difference in our clothes! The only thing I notice once in a while is deodorant stains on my husbands shirts but I have found remedies on the net of how to pre-treat these (havent tried any yet though!!) 😀

    • dawn says

      i agree. if u wind up having to buy new clothing or add a bunch of other ingredients to get your desired effect, it isn’t much of a bargain. i have 5 boys and am probably going to have to switch back to my tide w/ bleach. if i have to rewash the extra stinkys and soak it gets less cost effective and too time consuming. of course i was never worried about chemicals. i just wanted to save some money.

  36. Lisa says

    For me, I’d rather buy an environmentally friendly soap if I’m forced to wash in warm or hot, which isn’t necessary for most laundry items and is costly. Please advise if the dry mix can be used – successfully – in cold water. Thanks!

  37. Jen says

    I was going to try this recipe, but then remembered a bag of similar “earth friendly” detergent that I bought years ago, which has been lurking in the back of my cupboard ever since since it didn’t work very well. It is made in Victoria, BC and contains borax, washing soda and “50% recovered soap powder” which means it uses discarded hotel room soaps that have been recovered & processed into laundry detergent (kinda icky I know). It suggests using 1/4-1/2 cup per load. I recall it left clumps of what I presume are soap bits on the clothes. Mind you, the instructions recommend warm or hot water & since I usually only wash in cold I didn’t heed the advice. Does your recipe require warm/hot water? If not, do you think the poor performance is due to higher ratio of soap vs borax/washing soda? I’m thinking of trying it again, cutting it with more borax & washing soda.

  38. ashley says

    hi, i just made this using the ZOTE brand soap and it doesnt get super fine when stirring, will this cause any problems?

  39. Janet says

    I can tell you I used the Sports Suds over the weekend on all our gym shirts. I went to the gym today and worked up a good sweat. Happy to report that smelling the shirt after my workout it did not have that awful smell I usually find. A small container that does 32 loads for top load – 64 HE front loads is approx $20.00 (depending on where you buy) – more then I would normally spend but it is cheaper then buying all new dry wick shirts. Google Sport Suds and check out reviews – I was impressed and my initial results are good. I would love an alternative but I would rather spend a bit extra and not be so self-conscious working out if I can’t find a home made alternative.

  40. Ruth says

    I’m interested in this subject too as I had a horrible problem over the summer with my clothes retaining the body odors even after washing. So if anyone comes up with a good solution, please let me know. I’d prefer not to try and save money on homemade laundry detergent only to have to spend extra money to make up for what it doesn’t do.

  41. Janet says

    Thanks Doris – Soaking for me did not work. I did break down and buy the commercial stuff called Sport Suds – felt not too bad after reading this on their website – but wish it was not soo expensive – but cheaper then buying new clothes-
    Earth and People Friendly
    Sport Suds is made from natural ingrediants. It does NOT contain dyes, phosphates, UV brighteners, bleach or perfumes.� It is hypo-allergenic and ideal for infants and others with sensitive skin.� It is safe for septic systems, highly biodegradable and certified safe for use in small lakes and streams (OECD 301A).�Sport Suds has not been tested on animals. A

  42. Doris says

    Ive noticed my boyfriends workout clothes really smell bad but only on his “dry fit” type of clothing (and just a few t-shirts, some of his other performance gear must be made differently). What I like to do is soak it in vinegar/water mixture for at least 30minutes before I wash them. The only reason I don’t boil it is because it’s synthetic and says it needs to be washed in cold water.

  43. Kat says

    I was just wondering, can you add any kind of fragrance to the detergent? I have so many bottles of fragrance oils and was wondering if those would work.

    • Shawn says

      I have been adding vinegar to my fabric softener compartment on my HE front loader, I also add about 20 drops of fragrance oils to the vinegar. My clothes come out smelling SOOOOO good! I am currently using a crisp linen scent. For the past dozen loads I haven’t had any issues. =)

  44. Nicole says

    Lol, Ginny. People sweat all over and when you workout hard, your clothes get soaked with perspiration. Deodorant won’t solve that problem. Better advice would be to stop working out. 😉

    • Ginny says

      LOL. I guess I don’t know any better. 1) I don’t work out, and 2) I don’t really sweat much. I just starting using home-made deodorant (1 part corn starch and 1 part coconut oil) and was wondering what I would do if I perspired too much, but there was not much perspiration, just barely moist at times – mostly at night. I guess I’m not one to give advice. Thanks for being so sweet about it. I did think it was a funny comment, though. Made me laugh. Hehe.

  45. Janet says

    I have been making my own laundry detergent for the last year or so and have no issue except for our gym clothes. The smell of prespiration is making some of the tops unwearable. I have found a product with great reviews that claims it will remove the smell but the price is high. We work out 5 days a week and I really don’t want to have to buy all new tops but that is what it is coming down to. I have tried soaking the clothes in a mixture of vinegar and washing soda and then washing (in a front load HE machine). When I take out of the washer and (always) hang to dry, they smell fine but as soon as I put them back on and start to prespire, the smell returns. Any suggestions or tried and true method would be greatly appreciated.

    • Nicole says

      I have the same issue with my husband’s clothes. I wish I had a tried and true method but I don’t. I just thought I’d suggest regular baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. From what I understand, hp breaks down proteins like blood. I would think it’d have the same effect on sweat. If you notice the problem more in the armpit area, I’ve seen Dawn dish soap mixed with hydrogen peroxide sprayed onto the area then scrubbed with baking soda. Good luck.

        • Nicole says

          You know, that’s a good question because now that I think of it, I’ve only used it to brighten my whites, not in color loads. I have used it on single colored items with no bleaching but I couldn’t tell you for certain the effects it would have on a full load. I know the hydrogen peroxide in the medicine cabinet (and my laundry cupboard) is not the strength of the peroxide that is used for bleaching and dyeing hair. I’m sorry I suggested something that could actually be less than helpful. I assumed when I put it in my white loads that it was releasing the protein stains like dirt, blood and sweat, not bleaching them. That still might be what it’s doing but I am definitely unsure.

          • Nicole says

            Thanks, Pam. Since my last post I’ve been using peroxide and Dawn to treat armpit sweat on shirts of all colors and have seen that no bleaching whatsoever takes place. I had no idea that it’s what makes bleach alternative work though.

      • Fareedah says

        I have three sons. Two play football and one does cross country track and JROTC. I use apple cider vinegar in the wash to combat the odor causing bacteria on their clothes.
        It works well for us.

      • Thera says

        I use 6-8oz amonia. I start my washer add the amonia & soap let the water run for a few min. then add clothes. If you have to add the amonia after the clothes mix it with a little water first, straight on clothes can cause fading. The amonia helps with odors & grease/grime.

    • Bekah says

      Janet, try a 1/4 cup white vinegar in the rinse cycle, or mix it with your fabric softener in the proper compartment. It sounds strange, but vinegar is a natural deodorizer and antiseptic. It also seems to help with stains and static. And don’t worry about the smell, once it dries you can’t smell any vinegar at all!

      • Janet says

        Thank Bekah – I do use vinegar as by rinse agent/fabric softener but does not help with this issue. Something in the fabric of the dryweave clothing just hangs on to the odour – but is great for working out in so have to combat this issue. We work out 5 or 6 days a week so we have a lot of money invested in these clothes

    • Velvet says

      my friend has the same problem w/ her gym clothes and her son’s sport uniforms… she adds 1 c. of baking soda to the load and loves it

    • Cory says

      Hi Janet,
      You need to try RLR laundry treatment. I use cloth diapers and the same thing happens to the diapers only much worse. I have done a lot of experimenting and it will work. Positively. I couldnt afford new diapers and ammonia build up will actually burn the skin if it becomes bad enough.

  46. Velvet says

    I bought the ingredients listed to make the laundry soap. Shaved the bar and mixed the Washing Soap and Borax together. After I took a better look at the box and saw that my friends box was different, I noticed that mine is the Boraxo Hand Soap… What is the difference between the 20 Mule Team Borax and the Boraxo Hand Soap (besides the obvious) and should I dump the batches I made? Wondering if it will hurt or discolor my laundry.

  47. DragonFleyes says

    I’m on my second batch of this and LOVE it. In addition to the original recipe (1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda & 1 bar of Ivory), I have found the BEST thing is to use the above recipe (1/8 cup per load for HE), with an additional scoup (1/8 cup) of OxyClean. Then for “scents” I’ve been using the Purex Crystals, and just use about the same amount, 1/8 of a cup or so, added into the same soap dispensing cup my washer has. I just put all three items in and start the wash. I use a fragrance free dryer sheet to help reduce static. Oh and also, after I pre-measure out the original recipe, I then use my large food processor and add all three ingredients in and let it swirl around for about 30 seconds. This reduces the size of particles of each ingredient, to make a finer “powder”.

  48. Nicole says

    I put it in the compartment for detergent. Water goes through there (at least on my HE Maytag) and releases it into the drum. You can also just add it to the drum before adding your clothes. From what I understand about HE washers is that they need low sudsing soap so dry detergent is perfect.

  49. Dawn Parks says

    I was Just checking…I just made some with this recipe exactly and bought some 4.5 cup containers and only one batch fits. 4 cups equals 32 ounces. Above, you say 2 batches fit in the 32 oz yogurt container…. how? Was just wondering if the above recipe was actually 2 batches? Appreciate your reply. :0) I just wanted to give these as Christmas gifts and planned to fill the containers, but only one batch actually fills it. Thanks!

  50. Dana says

    I have never used homemade cleaners before but am looking foward to giving them a try. I don’t have a HE washer though, do I still use just 1 or 2 tablespoons per load? I run large loads typically, and although this version seems more concentrated than liquid versions of the same recipe, there is a lot more water to dilute it than in a HE washer.

  51. Sandie says

    Hi Deborah – I do the same thing. Soda ash is the same thing as the washing soda and so much less expensive…

  52. deborah says

    When i make my laundry detergent i use soda ash that is used in swimming pools, in place of the soda wash. It is far less expensive especially in the summer months, and can be found year round at home depot or lowes, I have had great luck with it!

  53. Jennifer says

    I have been researching DIY laundry soaps. They seem to all call for a bar of laundry soap whatever brand and then equal parts of borax and washing soda from 1 cup each to 3 cups each. One liquid recipe said to melt bar on stove in water and dissolve powders (1 cup each) in hot water, then mix together and add additional water to make a 5 gallon batch. I am just wondering how much without being overkill?

    • Nicole says

      I’m not sure if you’re asking how much water to add? I think the soap is better not diluted by too much water since there will be plenty of water in the washing machine to do the job. Honestly, you’re better off just leaving it in its dry form. If you don’t have a food processor to grate the soap, I think lots of people do it by hand. The cooking method takes lots of time so grating is probably still quicker and less cumbersome. From what I’ve read, the fumes from cooking the bar soap are pretty strong too.

      • Amy H says

        I have an easier way to “grate” your soap. If you use Ivory, put it in the microwave for a couple minutes. It will puff up into a soap cloud. I then take the soap cloud and smash it into pieces. (Truthfully, I let my four year old enjoy the smashing and squishing the soap. She is happy because she gets to help.) This way is easier to me than all the grating.

  54. Chuck says

    My daughter-in-law just introduced me to this new way of making laundry soap. It sounds great. I am a bit concerned about how well it stores after it is made. There is a lot of water mixed with the soap ingredients. Over time does the “soapy” water go bad and start to stink, or turn bad? Does anybody know how long a person can store the finished product?

    • Nicole says

      This particular recipe is a dry recipe. I personally have made the liquid recipe as well and the water didn’t “go bad”. In my personal opinion I like the dry recipe better. It seems more effective than the watered down one.

  55. Chris says

    Any feeling for whether or not you can use liquid hand soap and skip the grating and melting of the bar soap?

    • Nicole says

      There’s liquid recipes you can try. I’ve tried one that called for Dawn dish washing soap. I didn’t love it and have since moved on to the dry recipe above but I might revisit it witha few changes in the future since I bought a rather large bottle of Dawn.

      • Amber W says

        I know this is kind of unrelated b/c it does not apply to laundry detergent. However, it does apply to using the Dawn dish detergent. I also have a large bottle of the Dawn. To make it last, I use a foaming hand detergent bottle – fill it almost to the top with water – and then add a small amount of the Dawn liquid dish soap (I don’t measure – but it’s probably about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Dawn). Then when I wash a few dishes by hand I use the foaming soap to wash my dishes. I do not have to fill a whole sink full of water and then add the detergent (thus wasting a lot). I just add that foam to my sponge or cloth, wash my dishes and rinse. It works very well! And I have had this bottle for over a year! I just wanted to share b/c it is an economical way to use Dish soap.

        • Nicole says

          Hey, thanks! I do this with liquid handsoap because my kids use too much otherwise but it never occurred to me to do it with dish soap. Great idea!

    • Nicole says

      Sorry, I just realized I didn’t exactly answer your question. I think it would become a paste if you mixed liquid hand soap with the 2 powders, which wouldn’t be so easy to add to your wash. That is why I suggested the liquid recipe (if you preferred to not deal with grating) which would then call for you to use hot water to dissolve the powders.

  56. Joshua says

    Can anyone tell me how we get a 32 oz batch yield from 1 cup, 1 cup and 4.5 oz? I just made my first batch and am super excited about it but the batch yields about 21 oz not 32oz. That would seem to throw off the budget scale substantially… Insight?

  57. Sandie says

    I’ve used both Ivory and Fels-Naptha and both seem to work about the same as far as I can tell. Even better than microwaving the Ivory, cut it into 8 pieces and freeze for a few hours, then put it all in your food processor. Works great!!

    • Patti G says

      Do you have to have the “grater” disk for your food processor or do you just use the regular blades?

      Thanks for your help.

      • Sandie says

        After I freeze the soap, I just use the regular blades – I put the soap in with some of the powdered ingredients…whiz it up well then add the rest of the powders to it.

  58. Patti G says

    Would someone please tell me if the Ivory works as well as the Fels-Naptha or the Zote. I would love to just be able to microwave the soap and from what I have read the others don’t microwave as well.

    Thanks for any and all help.

    Love the recipes. I have purchased the PDF file and put it on my Kindle. I really like the ideas found in the book.

  59. Opinionated One says

    I just made your recipe yesterday and though mine is not nearly as powdery, so far it is working fine. I am hoping to eventually replace more of my cleaning products and appreciate your website as a great resource. I posted a link to your laundry recipe on my new blog. Thanks for all the work you do and mostly for passing the info on to those of us that are too lazy to figure it out ourselves!

  60. Andrea Gonzalez says

    HELP!! I have been using my homemade soap for a while now and find that the clothes still come out dirty and the shirts have a very noticable stale sweat smell in the armpit area that I never had with commercial detergent. I’ve tried doubling the amount of soap per load and switching between zote and fels naptha bars but neither seem to help….ideas??

  61. Melinda Coss says

    I love your site but I was concerned to see that you have included ‘Borax’ in your laundry detergent. If you check out my site you will see I am a soap maker with a wee bit of street cred :-).
    I realise that most of your guys are in the US but under European cosmetic legislation we are not permitted to use Borax in our soaps as it has been proven to be a very strong irritant particularly for babies and young children in some cases causing terrible rashes and sores. You could argue that your laundry wash is not a cosmetic product but the above laundry soap should not be used to wash nappies or baby towels/linen.

  62. Jen says

    Okay, this might sound silly, but I’m sure it’s happened to several of us at some point…
    I asked my husband to pick up the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda for me. I thanked him, and made the solution, only to recognize (too late!) that it was actually the detergent. Did this hurt the recipe, or can I continue to make the recipe this way, until we run out?
    For those who can’t find the Washing Soda, I did run across directions on making it, which is way easy — you basically bake baking soda! (Don’t do this unless you’re reading the instructions!) So if I *need* to change the recipe immediately, I will. I’m just wondering, though, since I’ve got the laundry bar and Borax mixed together with the Laundry Detergent, won’t that simply boost its effectiveness? (It won’t help the cost, obviously, but then again, it’s already bought.)
    Please, if someone knows, let me know as soon as possible! Thanks!

  63. Jennifer says

    Hi, excited to try your recipes!! Found your site when looking for a natural dishwasher detergent. My question is:

    I have a really sensitive kiddo, everything makes him break out into a rash, but my current detergent isn’t getting hubby’s clothes clean enough. He’s started washing his own with tide, but to me it just chemically covers up, and not that well if you ask me.


    Anyways, would Dr. Bronner’s bar soap work!?!

  64. fia says

    Curious is there a vegan substitute for soap that is affordable that you would recommend? Could I use some liquid castile soap (if yes how much) or would it mess up the mixture or should i stick with a bar?

    Thank you very much in advance

  65. lisa says

    I have a HE front loading machine I never have an issue w cold water loads. There isn’t any reason to dissolve powder beforehand. I use a tablespoon per load and clothes are clean.

  66. Trish says

    Quick question, will this homemade detergent work if you only use cold water? OR do the ingredients work better in hot water loads only?

  67. Chrisie DeWitt says

    I do not see the pictorial tutorial for making the laundry soap. I am excited to learn how. Do I need to purchase the book to learn? Thanks for this great information.

  68. Bill says

    I’m new to making laundry detergent. I understand why it contains washing soda and borax. I would like to know why is a bar of soap needed? Sorry, I’m an engineer and always need to know why.
    If the bar of ground up soap is needed, then why not use a liquid hand or dish soap?

    • Matt Jabs says

      No worries Bill. Soap is a surfactant capable of dispersing one liquid into another immiscible liquid. This means that while oil (which attracts dirt) doesn’t naturally mix with water, soap can suspend oil/dirt in such a way that it can be removed. This recipe is for powder so liquid soaps do not work.

  69. Lisa says

    I don’t have the grater attachment for my food processor. Do you think it would grind up ok with the blade attachment?

    • Ginny says

      I don’t think it would work that well. I would grate it by hand then, and then put everything in the food processor together (maybe half at a time) to get them completely incorporated.

    • Sandie says

      You can cut it up into about 8 pieces, freeze it for a few hours and then it will grind up just fine with the blade attachment. That’s the way I do it all the time now…I’ve done it with both the Ivory and the Fels-Naptha.

    • Colleen says

      I just grate mine by hand with the box grater and then mix it in the food processor with the borax and washing soda as others have said. Works really well.

      • Sandie says

        Hi Colleen – If you cut up and freeze the soap for a few hours, you can just put it in your food processor without grating it.

        • Colleen says

          You know, I have tried that and I’m not sure if its because I use Sunlight laundry bars (haven’t found fels naphtha or zote here in Alberta Canada) or its my food processor but It didn’t work well for me. So far grating it on a box grater and then combining everything in the processor with the normal blade is what works best for me. It doesn’t take long to grate a couple bars at all. I just keep reminding myself of all the money I’m saving!

          • Sandie says

            I’ve never used anything but either Ivory or Fels-Naptha, so I can’t tell you anything about Sunlight laundry bars. It’s definitely worth grating for all the money we are saving…LOL ☺

  70. kelly barnes says

    A lady at my kids school gave us samples of homemade laundry detergent. I tried it and liked it so now I make my was 1 box borax 1 box of washing soda 1 box of baking soda 1 jar of oxi clean 3 bars of fels naphtha and Pyrex crystals for scent. Its about $15 but makes a bunch of detergent.

    • Patti says

      Kelly, what size of boxes do you use? Do you grate your fels naphtha? About how much does this make? Thank you.

  71. Sue says

    It’s always good to get away from as many chemicals as possible. Have you ever tried soap nuts? They grow on trees & are a completely organic laundry detergent.

  72. Barbara says

    I used a regular cheese grater and thought the smallest holes would be fine. Even after stirring much and using a stick blender my Fels Naptha was still significant larger than “powder” size. (Smells wonderful, however!) I did read about the microwave and freezer trick — afterward. So, I threw caution to the wind and went for it.

    Since I needed to do a cold load, I mixed the powder with hot water, hoping the soap chips would dissolve. Nope. The nice buttery chunks floated to the top. Oh, well. Threw in the clothes in and hoped for the best. They came out spectacular! Even the pits on hubby’s under armor work-out shirts smelled clean, and often I have to wash them twice. Ah-mazing!

    The next load was hot. My HE does not have a niche for laundry powder. For years I have just placed my clothes in and sprinkled commercial powder right on top of them. Never had any problem. Did the same with this laundry soap and worked great, again. Hope this inspires someone else to take the leap!

  73. Nina says

    Hello! I have seen a recipe for a liquid form of this detergent (same ingredients). Have you tried that before? And you say you can use any soap. Literally ANY soap? Ivory, Dial, …? How about Olive soap? Questions over questions

    • Sandie says

      Hi Lisa – Yes. First cut the soap into about 8 pieces and freeze for a few hours. Then put it into the food processor with the Borax and Washing Soda (soda ash). It works great.

    • Ginny says

      I grate mine using the grating disc on my food processor with the small holes and it came out Perfect!!! (And tiny.)

  74. Christy says

    Okay, I did my first load of laundry and there really is not a smell, but the clothes don’t have any odor in them. My husband and boys work construction so for there not to be the smell of sweat and dirt makes me happy. I’m going to start working on a liquid fabric softener today, because I LOVE SCENT in my clothes. I will let you know what I come up with. If anyone has some suggestions of how to get those clothes really smelling good let me know.


    • Ginny says

      How about using Purex Crystals. I am going to buy some at Target or Walgreens this week. I read that it has great scent without the softener. Plus, you put it in at the beginning of the wash cycle with your detergent.

    • Christy says

      Rory, my clothes do not have any odor or bad smell, but it is not fragranced. Although, when you walk out into my laundry room it smells real good. I used some peppermint oil and followed the directions that Matt gave in his recipe. I’m looking to find a way to get those clothes scented though. I think it will have to be in the softener.


  75. Christy says

    Well, I did it !! Just like you said and it is wonderful!! Nice and smooth. Also, today I mixed some peppermint essential oil with distilled water to make air freshner. All I can say is my house smells so clean and fresh. Thanks so much for awesome advice and all the great recipes.


  76. Christy says

    Yes, I want to make my own powdered laundry soap. I was wondering if anyone out there has used essential oils to scent the laundry soap? If so, how do you get it to mix in without clumping.

  77. Allison says

    I’m sure this has been answered somewhere, but there are so many comments posted here I can’t seem to find it! Do you have to store this in a sealed container, or could you store it in an old laundry detergent box? Do you think humidity would adversely affect the mix?

  78. Sye Luiz says

    im living here in the Philippines now,,just wanna ask if all the ingredients needed in making laundry soap and diswashing detergent soap are available here in the Philippines?

  79. Sye Luiz says

    i really appreciated nowaday’s poverty is very alarming so we need to be practical, needly to save more money..thanks glad to knew all your knowlegde about homemade detergent soap and detergent dishwasher…it’s a great help to my family..maybe in the near future be fit to business..

  80. Nina says

    Hello! I have seen a recipe for a liquid form of this detergent (same ingredients). Have you tried that before? And you say you can use any soap. Literally ANY soap? Ivory, Dial, …? How about Olive soap? Questions over questions 🙂

  81. mrs.p says

    Ivory brand soap is microwaveable! This piece of information WILL save your sanity. No more grating soap by hand. You’re welcome!

  82. Emily says

    I always have a problem with this dissolving so I turned it into a liquid solution. Melt the soap in four cups of water and remove from heat. Add twelve more cups of warm but not cold water to cool it down. Then add the borax and baking soda. The baking soda will react to hotter temperatures but the soap will re-solidify if you let it get too cold before all the water is added. It’s not the consistency of regular detergent because you’d need more water but I wanted it to fit in an old detergent (7th generation) bottle. You’d have to add a lot more water to get it to that consistency; the issue is just that it’s still not enough water for all the borax and washing soda to dissolve so you get a thicker, white liquid instead of thin and clear. I was having problems with the soap dissolving in my washing so I only care about having that dissolved ahead of time.

  83. Dorene says

    Hi, just made a double batch of this laundry soap (excited to do a load of laundry now) and was wondering if it matters whether you need to use hot or cold water when you wash the laundry? Thanks!

  84. julie says

    holes in clothing can be caused by many things from low quality tread to over uses BUT Bleach will cause them and so will fabric softer. SURPRISE!
    Fabric softer is not recommended to be used on bathing suits compression garments like under armour anything high in elastic or nylon softer causes the thread to relax and actually stretch out rib t shirts are the worst to give softer to they will actually lose there shape. So sometimes soap and bleach is NOT the issue Downey is…….

  85. Kim says

    Did you get holes in your clothes before, and now with homemade soap you do not?
    Please comment, struggling with holes 🙁
    K. Sitarski

  86. Lynn says

    I’m new at this diy natural living stuff. Slowing trying to replace one thing at a time in my personal care and cleaning regimen. Thanks for recipe on homemade detergent. I’m excited to try it! Question: How does it affect delicate fabrics and will it fade colors over time more than commercial detergents?

    • Katie says

      We’ve been using this recipe for about 6 months and haven’t had any problems with clothes fading. The only issue I have is my whites are not as white as I’d like them to be (but they werent before). I bought some oxiclean and mixed about a scoop and a half in with my latest batch. So far so good!

      Also as far as delicates goes I havent had any problems. They wash up nice & clean. I do use vinegar in a Downey ball and I love that it makes my clothes soft but not greasy like I felt the conventional fabric softener did after several uses.

      • Matt Jabs says

        If you already have soft water, try replacing the washing soda in the recipe with baking soda. I believe I’ve nailed the dingy whites to the use of the washing soda.

      • Nicole says

        I’ve had good results adding a half cup of hydrogen peroxide and a half cup of washing soda to whiten. If Matt thinks the washing soda is what’s responsible for the dinginess, I’m not quite sure what to think. Perhaps something else added with the hydrogen peroxide would deliver even better results! Another idea that I haven’t tried yet but have the soap ready for my next batch is a whitening bar that Zote makes.

  87. Bree says

    Does anyone have recommendations for soaps other than Ivory, Fels-Naptha, or Zote? The reason is that they all have fragrance in them and it makes me break out in hives, just like Tide! I saw a few suggestions for Dr. Bronner’s, I’m just not sure what other non-liquid soaps out there would be suitable substitutes. Thanks!

  88. Kourtney says

    I have a front loading machine…Where do I put the powdered detergent? In the top tray or directly into the drum?

  89. Norm says

    I couldn’t find the laundry soap here in the UK, but whilst I was looking for borax online (borax substitute is relatively easy to find here, but expensive) I found a fab website that sells bulk quantities of all I need to make DIY cleaningmaterials and toiletries. (I was even struggling to find vinegar in any quantity, and ended up getting that off the net – this stuff used to be cheap and easy to find!).

    So I got some pure vegetable soap flakes at a very good price (I also got some reasonably priced generic castille, which I actually prefer to the much more expensive Dr Bronner’s). The soap flakes ‘Contains no phosphates, bleaches, fragrance, enzymes or any harsh chemicals. Not tested on animals.

    ‘Ingredients: Sodium palmate, Sodium palm kernalate or sodium cocoate, aqua.’

    My only concern now is the source of the palm as it can be a major player in deforestation. One step at a time though – that’s the next battle!

    P.S. Let me know if you’d like me to post the link to the website for the UK supplies for any of your UK readers.

    • jo kitch says

      You can get oliva soap from holand and barret made from only olive oil ,water amd mineral salts. I use 1 bar grated finely,which makes 2 cups of soap,2 cups soda crystals,2 cups of baking soda and a few drops of essential oil for a nice scent.Works really well.

  90. Colleen says

    The other thing to try is putting this batch in a larger container with a tight lid and roll it back and forth to mix it well. Use vinegar in the rinse to get rid of any residue on the clothes. My husband has eczema and the homemade soap doesn’t seem to bother his skin so far. Good for you for trying this!

    • cathyleo says

      Thanks Colleen and Matt! I remembered I had a little pulse blender for my protein drinks. So I used that a little at a time and it worked a treat!! Now as soon as my dishwasher quits running(with the DIY ingredients)I’ll do a load of laundry. Feels good to accomplish stuff like this.


  91. cathyleo says

    Help please! I’ve just made a batch with the Fels-Naptha but my grater wasn’t small enough. I’ve stirred and stirred and nothing. I even tried to use the mixer because I don’t own a food processer. Is there anyway to fix this or do I just ditch this mix and try with the Ivory soap. The Fels-Naptha is way too strong smelling and I have eczema so I think the Ivory soap will work better for that. Thanks for any feedback. I’m new to the DIY lifestyle but I’m trying lots of new stuff and just don’t want to get discouraged.

      • cathyleo says

        Lol sorry Matt I don’t have a blender either. I gave it away because I got in a mood to get rid of the stuff I wasn’t using. I think I will just try the ivory soap in the microwave trick. Or maybe borrow a blender. Thanks for this site! It’s wonderful to try and save money and think that maybe I’m helping the environment and avoiding so many chemicals that have invaded our lives everyday.


        • Matt Jabs says

          Yeah, borrow a blender or something, try not to waste the batch. Thanks for the kind words, getting started in DIY Natural is awesome! 🙂

    • mrs.p says

      If you use Ivory soap, you can actually microwave it. It expands tremendously, but doesn’t change the chemical properties of the soap. This makes it so much easier to grate into a powder.

  92. john says

    I am curious how you use the powdered laundry soap in a HE washer, the detergent fill area seems to be made for liquid.
    Thanks John

    • Ginny says

      Either put it in the bottom of the washer first, before water and clothing, or take off the top part of the deterrent fill area.

  93. Amanda says

    And for those of you into cloth diapering, this is cloth diaper safe! Not sure about when you use Ivory, but Dr. Bronners castille soap is cloth diaper safe 🙂

  94. Valerie Petschulat says

    I got Zote soap at a hispanic grocery store. The bars are large, though; 14 oz. Do you use the whole bar for a batch? Mine ended up still looking like coconut after I stirred, so next time I will freeze and run through blender before mixing. Can’t wait to try it on my next load of laundry. Thanks, Matt and Betsy, for all the great ideas!

    • Busy Mommy says

      Hey Matt, I wonder about this too. It doesn’t look like Valarie Petschulat’s question got answered. The Zote bar is 14oz while Fels Naptha is 5.5oz…and while both bars are for laundry, they are very different from each other in ingredients and texture. How does one know HOW MUCH soap to use?
      On that note, WHERE did this recipe come from anyway? Do you know? HOW were the amounts of each ingredient figured out? It baffles me to see liquid recipes using so much water…it seems like it would be such a weak cleaning solution after adding 10 gallons of water.

  95. Colleen says

    We live in Red Deer, AB. About an hour and a half north of Calgary. I will have to check the health food stores here. I didn’t even think of checking there! We have a Once Upon A Child here too. Thanks!

  96. Colleen says

    Good to hear Jenn! We only have Sunlight laundry bars here in Canada. I’d love to try the fels naphtha some time though.

  97. Colleen says

    Good to hear Jenn! I’m in Canada and we don’t have the fels naphtha here or the zote. I’ve just used sunlight laundry bars. I would love to try the fels naphtha sometime though.

    • Victoria says

      Where abouts in Canada are you Colleen? I’m in Barrie, Ontario and we have Fels Naphtha here, and I know my friend out in Calgary, Alberta has it there too! 🙂 Try your local Health food store, I know thats a great place to find it for sure and I know the Once Upon a Child near me sells it too.

  98. Colleen says

    Jenn, does your HE machine have a different ‘section’ for liquid and for powdered detergent in the actual dispenser? Our machine has a plastic piece that can be slid down in one slot for liquid and another for powder. When I first tried this detergent, I too found a lot of the soap left in the dispenser. Once I changed the plastic piece to where it showed for powder, the leftover soap was not a problem. Hope it helps!

    • Jenn says

      Thanks Coleen when I took the soap dispenser part out to clean it,( it had stamped on it ” remove when using powder” LOL I have always used liquid. I am sold on the Naptha bar. I had a pillow sham that was dingy looking in my downstairs bedroom we always seem to lay on that side of the bed. I had washed it before but it still looked the same , even moved it to the other side of the bed to even them out 🙂 I rubbed it with the Naptha bar and let it soak a little then threw the other in with it didn’t rub the other one cause it looked ok. When they came out of the wash I was comparing them and thought well it still looks dingy but this one is nice and white , then I realized the dingy one was the one I had not rubbed with the Naptha, it now looked bad next to the other. The laundry detergent is Great now!!

  99. Jenn says

    Ok I was so excited to try this…Here is what I got clothes looked ok smelled fresh , actually smelled like Naptha but the problem is most of the Naptha is still sitting in the soap dispenser ( I have an HE machine)

  100. Jo says

    I see that this works great for High Efficiency front-loading machines as well as regular machines… but I happen to have a HE top-loader. Any difference?

    • Ginny says

      That’s what I have too. Personally, I don’t like them. Not enough water for my taste! And it seems the top article of clothing doesn’t get washed very well. Anyway, there’s no difference on which machine you have.

  101. Patti says

    I have been wondering about the adding of the Oxi-Clean agent. Does it fade out your color clothing? Has anyone added a bluing agent for whites?

    Just wondering.

    • Ginny says

      This is the first time I have used the Oxi Clean. Some people have suggested it, so I decided to try it. Some people have used Baking Soda too, but have found that it has bleached their clothes somewhat in spots. Next time I will just stick to the three main ingredients.

  102. Ginny says

    I just made a batch and all I did was use the shredding disc on my Cuisinart, and grated the Fels Naptha soap, then took off the disc and put in the regular blade, and mixed the grated soap with the washing powder and borax. Worked perfectly! I also added Oxi Clean, so I will use 2 TBs in my wash.

  103. Rebekah says

    Oh one more question! Has anyone tried using a meat grinder to chop up the soap? I have a grinder on my kitchen aid mixer and was curious if that might work…

    • Jess says

      I have 4 kids and hubby builds lawn mowers and other equipment ( lots of grease) so I typically make a tripple batch. My container isnt air tight and I have never had problems.
      As for the grinder, I use my food processor. I cut the bar of soap into chinks and freeze it for a few.hours. Works great. Let us know how the grinder works! Good luck 🙂

  104. Rebekah says

    Can you make up as much as you want at a time? I thought it would be nice to make a a few batches at one time and throw it all in together. Is it okay to do that with this? Will it stay fresh as long as it is in a sealed container?

  105. Nicole says

    I love this recipe! I haven’t used it yet but I just made some. Walmart didnt have any washing soap so I used unscented hypoallergenic dove soap with moisturizer. The hand grate I had was small enough but it took wayyy too long so I ended up taking a metal spoon and scraping the soap. I got longer but thinner pieces and it still ended up powdery. I can’t wait to try this out!

    • Jess says

      I have heard the moisturizer leaves build up. Walmart normally carries Zote or Fels Namptha in the laundry isle. The build up from dove can make things look dingy. I would make sure to put vinegar in the rinse to help remove the residue. Good luck!

    • Sandie says

      Hi Nicole – I agree with Jess regarding the moisturizer leaving a build up on your clothing. Fels Naptha is even available at my grocery stores here and normally at Walmart & Target as well.

      Also, rather than grating your soap (whichever you use), first cut it into about 8 squares, freeze for a few hours and then put in a food processor if you have one. Sure saves a lot of time.

  106. Toni says

    I’ve been using Dr. Bonner’s, with success. Just don’t try the microwave method of drying out the soap. It doesn’t work because of the oil in it. Others have used Kirk’s Castile with success.

    • Sandie says

      Hi Toni – you might try cutting the bar into 8 pieces, freezing for a few hours and then putting it in the food processor. I’ve had amazing luck doing it this way. No grating and no need to use the microwave.

  107. Ashley D says

    I was wondering if you can use any bar soap, or if it has to only be 1 of the 3 that was mentioned? My sons skin is highly sensitive, and therefore he cannot use Ivory at all. Thanks!

  108. Wanda says

    Quick question??? We have a 5lb tub of soda ash we use in out pool is that the same thing as washing soda? Can I use it (I have an bunches) instead of buying more Washing Soda? I Love this stuff and I use straight vinegar in the rinse cycle our clothes look, smell and wear much better without all the extra additives. I use to use Downey like crazy but now I would NEVER use it in the rinse for my Ella’s (18mth old granddaughter) clothes.
    THANK YOU for this site. I use many of your recipes and I love love LOVE the all purpose cleaner using the everclear. I had never heard of everclear until I signed up for your updates.

    • Sandie says

      Hi Wanda…We purchased a large tub of soda ash and that is what I’ve been using. It is the same as the washing soda and so very much less expensive. Like you, I use the straight white vinegar in the rinse cycle and love the results. It removes any residues that might be left from washing.

  109. Kate says

    I have been doing some research so I can begin making my own homemade laundry detergent. I am concerned to see so many recipes include Borax which is considered a toxic poison…..why isn’t anyone else on this site worried about using this product?

    • Patti says

      If you read previous comments you will see that this has been cussed and discussed earlier.

      There are varying thoughts on the subject so you will need to read Matt’s comments and decide for yourself.

      • julie says

        Ok people stop using google you can find nothing but negative stuff if you google . So this is not met to sound rude but probably will. Borax is a salt that is used in boriac acid now boriac acid is a nasty one BUT it is one of the best antifungals out there mix it and soak you toes in it it works way better then taking a pill the dr gives you that will kill your liver.
        Everything has good and bad sided to it .
        Do you eat cucumbers?? did you know that you can use the peel of a cucumber to rid your house of ants and other insects?? it is VERY toxic to them but not to humans unless u r allergic then that is a different subject.
        Sometimes you have to take the lessor of the evils Borax is safe enough for cancer centers to use around cancer patients. and as a cancer survivor I must tell you I would much weather watch my clothing in this then use a store bought product if ya really wanna scare yourself google them ingredients!
        The amounts of Borax used is very little and with a vinegar rinse you get rid of the build up it can cause try getting rid of a build up on clothing from Tide! Tide I loved it used it put its ingredients pollute our waters and if you have a septic tank OUCH
        There are lost of stuff we eat and drink daily that can be toxic to others
        I have a dog who has seizures from chemicals I would not sprinkle borax on the carpet to rid it of fleas with him but I have and if ya have bed bugs this will kill them too
        even all natural products have toxic issues i nature the cure grown next to the cause in out over used to chemicals to rid the world of the cause we have killed the cure Poison ivy with in 3 feet of it you should find the plant to cure it but we have killed it with the use of chemicals this is one reason why saving rain forest is important so we can go and replant the cures .
        BUT even the cure for ivy has issues of it own and what it will kill.
        So you have to weigh the good and the bad and make informed decision based upon facts and not google web sits. or even this web sit and what we say. the finial choice is up to you. are you going to stop eating cucumbers cus it kills insects? now but you use this knowledge to plant crops betters and to rid your house of them pesky insects .
        There are a lot of “green” people out there who do not know what green is.
        So the only option that counts os what is right for you and your family weight all the options yourself and then you decied.

  110. Robin says

    Forgot to say this: Any suggestions for how to improve this recipe naturally would be great. Thanks!

    • Steve says

      I add 1 cup of sodium percarbonate/sodium carbonate, which is the same thing as OxiClean, but costs about 0.05/ounce versus 0.20/ounce for OxiClean. I have very hard water, my Mother in Law tried it and found no difference, but she has soft water. I also use vinegar in the rinse cycle, which gets out any residual soap.

  111. Kelly says

    I have a question and am kind of confused. If the liquid recipe is the same as the powder with the exception of 2-1/2 gallons of water, and you use about the same amount, wouldn’t a tablespoon or 2 of powder be too much. Just wondering. I want to be sure I am understanding this correctly. I have an older model front loader, (HATE it) but until something happens this is what it is, and yes, it get’s musty smell. (told the new ones don’t) ~ appreciate any answers or comments ~ powder would be easier in my laundry area, but if it is cheaper/better for liquid I will do that. My family has sensitive skin issues so I have to be very careful as well. Thank you!!!

  112. jose Coelho says

    From Brazil I make your model . Fantastic, It is cheap and natural. Congratulations !

  113. Ashley says

    I was wondering how it works only using 1 tbsp. On both the washing soda and borax it calls for adding a 1/2 cup to enhance cleaning of laundry. I am starting to make all my stuff but an skeptical of it’s cleaning ability on a full load.

  114. adhaincroi says

    We use what you call HE washers in the UK exclusively and have only had side load washers or many years (a top loader is considered old school lol) and for the whole of my childhood in the (70’s and some of the 80’s) we only had powdered detergent or soap. I personally think this is yet another area where the repairmen are pulling your leg…you do need less powder than the horrid liquid…but considering side load HE low water washers have been around before liquid detergent was marketed to us..I would say its likely a crock…here goes the big corporations tied in with Tide making sure you cant do the green economical route

  115. Colleen says

    Our HE washer has different sections in the dispenser for liquid soap or powdered soap so it must depend on the brand of machine. I’ve made two batches of this soap with borax, washing soda and sunlight bar soap ( they don’t sell fels naphtha or zone here in Alberta Canada ). We have several bars of Ivory soap so I will try that next to use them up. The first batch I tried microwaving the soap with not wonderful results. The next batch I grated the soap first, then put it in the food processor with the other ingredients to blend it well and found it mixed well.

  116. Renee' McCullough says

    My co-worker makes her own powder detergent and was using it in her HE washer for about a year, it broke down the repairman came out and told her that she cannot use this in her HE that it will void the warranty. That he sees this problem all the time. The HE washer instructions specifically say not to use powder detergents.

    • chuck says

      OK my Personnalphshlizemn it say like this../. its the bubbles that soap creates ,,the inflimas soap. /.make’t ‘do’t try it ?
      can’t breck it if it’;s allready. broke??? works for me i also make a spray and wash? but because washers are not as it seems .they way your clothes. yea they do which i make of hair clip .BUT that will be an xxxtra /`100.00 $ buy low cost the same FIX confussiss say???????????????????????????

  117. wendy says

    I finally submitted to making the recipe but instead of making it a powder, I make it a liquid by using the same recipe but adding 3 gallons of water to the mix. I initially started using Zest bar soap, it was ok but not a fresh enough smell. So my next batch I tried Dove bar. Not a good idea as I had everyone in the household complaining of a stinky smell, not a fresh smell. So I went to a local Big Lots store and bought the Big pink bar soap Zote. This is an actual laundry soap bar that is soft and glycerine like. It had a pleasant smell and was easy to cut up and melt on the stove. I added the water and within 5 hours it solidified to a soft form. Oops. Well, I should have guessed that. BUT, all I needed to do was add more water to the bucket and stir it up. It had the best smell, very clean and fresh. Amazing. $.90 cents for the bar and I can get 10 gallons from one bar. My first load came out smelling so wonderful. I cant believe it took me three batches to figure it out, but has been very fun making it. I have told everyone in the laundry isle at wallmart how to make this. I wish I had this recipe when my kids were little. But never to late to learn.

  118. Cherri Gullickson says

    I have been making the liquid version of the homemade laundry soap and using is in my HE front loader. My last batch, I doubled the soda and borax, and for some reason I had a solid form on the top of the bucket about an inch thick. I tried mixing it in, but hard to break up. Today my washer was oozing water, I checked and the soap has not been dissolving and left all the chunks in the top of the washer. Has anyone ever had their soap do this, and how can I prevent it. I do not want to waste ingredients and ruin another batch. Any suggestions???????/ Thanks

  119. ANGELA says

    Hi, I just wanted to comment. I have been using this laundry detergent recipe for several months now and I LOVE it!!! I make it in large quantities to last longer and I add a bottle of the Purex Crystals just for scent. Also, a little trick I learned about the Ivory soap ( and this only works with Ivory as far as I know) If you put it on a paper plate in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds it will expand (it looks like a science experiment) but take it out and let it cool. after it cools it will crumble into a powder. This makes it perfect to add to your laundry detergent. No shredding! I love that! Hope this helps.

  120. charity says

    I must say that I am surprised that the vinegar doesnt leave a smell. I washed and dried my first load. However I still had a little static when they were dry…am I maybe not using enough vinegar or do you still use a fabric sheet?

    • Sandie says

      Hi Charity. I don’t use softener or dryer sheets anymore. The vinegar seems to take care of the static most of the time. However, here’s a trick I read about that I’m going to try. Put a ball of aluminum foil in with the wet load and it’s supposed to take care of any and all static. Just leave it in the dryer all the time.

  121. Julie says

    Sorry in a hurry when I posted fabric softener destroys
    Electric and high nylon content like swim suit
    Compression garments like body armour pure soap like ivory
    Will destroy on children’s sleep wear the fire retardemcy that is put in the
    Clothing the vinegar actually help preserve clothing
    Longer cus it pulls out let over soap and other chemicals that r on our clothing

  122. Jessica says

    Has anyone tried a different bar soap such as Dial? It is an antibacterial soap. I have never made the detergent before just thought if there is a musty smell problem if this would help:) I clean my front loader regularly by running a bleach cycle. It seems to help just a little bleach does the job.

    • Sandie says

      I understand from others with front loaders that using vinegar (about 1 cup) in a cycle will get rid of the musty odors that can accumulate. Also, it is better to leave the door ajar after finished washing. I do this with my top loader as well to avoid moisture retention in the machine.

    • Jess says

      I have used the “Dial Naturals” soap with no problems. My sensitive so thats what I use in the shower too. Kirks is my favorite though 🙂

  123. charity says

    Thanks Sandie very helpful. One more question…How much do you put in the downy ball?

    • Sandie says

      I don’t use a Downey ball. I fill the softener dispenser on my machine, so I’m guessing 1/3-1/2 cup. I would fill the Downey ball with whatever amount it holds. I also use the 2nd rinse option on my machine.

    • Sandie says

      Hi Charity – I think the vinegar is both cost effective and better to use. It removes any residue that might remain and softens as well.

  124. Julie says

    Works great on my under armoire if u use ivory soap then they only issue u will is any pure soap will get ride of the fire retatdency that is put on children’s clothing and also fabric softener will actually kill the elestiac on stuff but worst if all bathing suits and any compression garment like under armour

    • Patti says

      Please help me with what was said about swimming wear and under armour type gear.

      I make this laundry soap recipe with Fels-Naptha. I also use vinegar as my fabric softener.

      Did I understand the comment from Julie to mean it is damaging on swim wear, etc. unless you use Ivory?

      Just need some clarification. Thank you.

  125. Sabrina says

    Does anyone know if this type of laundry soap can be used on Lululemon and Under Armour (workout) clothing without ruining them or the wicking ability?

  126. Audrey says

    I have a question. I am going to use a borax free detergent because I am doing cloth diapers and I am currently pregnant. But can I add a soap to a detergent that is Washing Soda, baking soda, and oxygen cleaner? Or is it even necessary? I am new to this, but I just can pass up the savings and how much better it will be for my kids.

    • Jess says

      I use this recipe, borax and all with my cloth diapers and have no problems at all. I used it all while I was preggers and just as with anything, dont breathe it in when you mix it ( I still try not to).
      Occationally to strip the diapers I add a tsp of Dawn dish detergent instead of bleach. Good luck!!

  127. Rachel says

    I have a question and I’m not sure how long this post has been here so I’m not sure if anyone will answer, but can I use different bar soaps? I bought several different kinds and was wondering if the color would mess anything up or should I stick with the white or pink colored ones. I was really looking for more of a fragrance to my laundry since we don’t have any allergies in my household.

    • jackie says

      It has to be true soap. Make sure it says that on the label. A lot of what you see in the stores will say ‘bar’ instead of ‘soap’ and the bar won’t work.

  128. Alina says

    Hi there!

    I started making my own laundry detergent a couple of years ago with almost the same exact recipe you have above, and, in time, I had people approach me/let me know that since Ivory was meant for skin, it contained oils that you don’t necessarily want on your clothes. It doesn’t do much harm, but your best bet is to go with Fels Naptha, since it’s formulated specifically for laundry (and it’s a natural stain treater, too). After that, I also had someone share this tip with me: place your bar of soap (regardless of what kind) on a plate and put it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes (all microwaves are different, so just watch it). The bar of soap will expand 3-4 times its normal size. Leave it to cool in the microwave or place it in a ziploc and set it aside to cool (you won’t just want to leave it on the counter, the smell will be STRONG). Once it’s cool, you can crumble it into pieces with your hands and then throw it into a blender with all of the other dry ingredients. Not only have you saved yourself the time you would’ve spent grating the soap, but you also have a true powder detergent. Now you can run the washer with cold water (saving energy!) and not have to worry about pieces of grated soap sticking to and melting on your clothes in the dryer!

    Those two tips improved my detergent and I LOVE it. Love you blog–keep up the good work!

    • Sandie says

      Great tips. Even better than using the microwave on the soap, cut the bar into about 8 pieces, freeze for a couple of hours (or more) and then put into a food processor. This works great!

  129. Victoria says

    It doesnt mention if this is good to use with Cold water wash, so I was wondering if you knew if it would do the same job in cold or warm washes, as I usually wash in cold water to save $$ 🙂

    • Sandie says

      Hi Victoria – It works great in cold water – just dissolve the powder in a cup or so of warm water first, then add to washer.

      • Victoria says

        Thats fabulous and thanks for the tip, I cannot wait to try this! My sister-in-law has used it for a while and loves it, so I’m excited to give it a go 🙂

        • Sandie says

          I’m sure you’ll love it too. I’m having a hard time convincing my mother to try it – she can’t get used to the idea of no suds…LOL. I’ve almost got her convinced, though. My daughter loves it!

  130. Kimberly says

    Has anyone tried this with lye soap? My mother makes her own lye soap and has been for years. We are wondering if she did a bar with scent but no colour if it could be grated and used? We have already been using the soap as a stain remover…better than anything on the market truth be told…so thinking it might be good. Any thoughts?

  131. MBeth says

    I didn’t read all the comments so this may have been mentioned but if you microwave a bar of ivory soap it turns into a “cloud”. You can break that up and it turns into very fine flakes. It perfect to use instead of grating! And kids love to watch the “cloud” form and break into flakes!!! Only microwave half a bar at a time if you have a smaller microwave!!!

    • Sandie says

      The ivory soap “cloud” has been mentioned…I used that method on my first several batches, then decided to cut the ivory bar into 8 squares, freeze it for a couple of hours and then put it into my food processor…sooooo much easier. Definitely worth trying if you have a food processor.

  132. Carol says

    I use only 1 Tbsp. in very hard water and it works fine. Can’t tell any difference in the storebought liquid I used to use and 1 Tbsp. of this recipe. I use the Fels soap. Somehow, at least in my mind, that would work better than just plain bathsoap. But, I’m no chemist! 🙂

  133. Julie says

    I have a top loader super size I can wash a king size quit in it so I use 2 Tb spoons in a front loader u use less as u have less water then a top loader

  134. cr harland says

    Just wondering if only a Tbs really works for ordinary laundry? I have tried the liquid or gel’d soap and have found that on the really dirty laundry I have to use more soap or an additive (Oxyclean) to really get them clean. Caudia

  135. Sandie says

    Oh my! I just made a double batch of this laundry powder in a matter of moments. I took 2 bars of Ivory soap, cut into 8 squares each bar and froze them all for an hour or so. I tossed that into my food processor with 2 cups of Soda Ash to start and it whizzed up so quickly and easily. I then added the 2 cups of Borax and pulsed for a few seconds to blend that in. I can’t believe how much easier this is than using the microwave on the ivory first! Another user posted that they had frozen the fels-naptha and that had worked well, so I gave it a try. Thanks for the tip!!!

    • Sandie says

      Actually, it was probably more like 2 hours that I froze them. Next single batch I made I only froze them for just under an hour and, while it worked, it worked better and faster frozen longer.

  136. Patti G says

    My parents have a front loader and all their towels and clothing have a musty smell and they do not use this recipe. It is their washer. I agree, you have to get it cleaned up and get rid of the mold that is growing in your machine and leave the door cracked so it can air out and dry properly.

    I use this recipe with a top loader and have had no problems either.

    • susan says


      I had this problem too. thought it was my machine but found that I was using Gain. When I switched back to Tide the smell went away. And the smell was in all of my clothes. It really made me sick.


  137. Julie says

    It is from ur washer you need to add 2 cup vinegar to hot water run empty load then add 2 cup vin to the rinse this should clear up the issue also on a top loader u should always keep the lid open my friend keeps her front loader door cracked open too for they get smells real fast

  138. Kate says

    I’ve use this formula because of my allergies and to save money. I also ran into the musty smell problem that just wouldn’t go away no matter how many times I washed my clothes with this soap. This issue is that this recipe is soap only. It will get the clothes clean, but it won’t remove some of the bacteria that produces the smell. That’s actually what detergents are for. Vinegar will also do that to a point, but you can’t use it on rayon or any other delicate fabric. What I’ve done to solve the problem is to use detergent once a month on all my laundry while I use this soap formula the other three weeks of the month. It still comes out cheaper and the smell problem is gone.

    • Matt Jabs says

      That’s weird, we’ve been using this recipe for the better part of four years and never had a single problem with musty smells.

    • Kim says

      Thank you! I have the musty smell too & stopped doing this. I will try your suggestion 🙂

    • Holly says

      It has taken me years to train my family to leave the washer lid open anytime the washer isn’t running. My OCD husband used to close it every time he passed by, and our clothes started smelling bad. Finally, I just posted a sign on the lid that had an angry emoticon on it that said “Open me!” and it reminded everyone to keep it open long enough to make it a habit. Never have had another smell problem.

  139. Jess says

    Yes! I just have to make sure I do an extra rinse if I use vinegar ory little one gets a little rash. Ive used Dawn to strip them and it worms great. My favorite soap is Kirks Castile. I cut it into thirds, freeze it for about a half hour, then pulse it in my food processor. Works like a charm!

    • Janie says

      When my sons were small, I would rinse the diapers twice. I would add one cup of apple cider vinegar to the final rinse. They never had diaper rash.

    • Minta says

      Yep, I washed my son’s diapers using this detergent. I used 2 TBS of detergent and vinegar for the rinse. They always smelled clean. Other than having to sun bleach some bm stains (gonna happen…) I never had any issues with stains or smells.

      • Sandra says

        Thanks! I saw another recipe that involved boiling the soap so I’m glad to have this alternative. FYI one suggestion made on the other site was to use regular old school Dawn liquid to strip diapers when needed.

  140. emily says

    if anyone is interested i order alot of my natural soaps and ingredients to make my own natural products off…..i searched for awhile for an online company to get good quality products at a reasonable price…if u spend 20 bucks the 3-8 day shipping is free and if u spend 40 bucks the 1-3 day shipping is free, can’t beat that…they also have really good prices on Now Foods essential oils…hope this helps out

  141. Carol Christian says

    Can soneone tell me where to find these items?? I went to 5 stores yesterday and no one had Borax, Zote, OR washing soda. I want to try this, but I cant waste days and gas looking for this stuff. And I won’t order off line. Thanks.

    • Patti G says

      I get mine at WalMart also. I’m in NE Oklahoma. I can find the Zote but not the Zote flakes there (so far anyway).

    • Sandie says

      I found 20 Mule Team Borax, Ivory and Fels-Naptha at my local Albertson’s market – I had trouble finding the super Washing Soda, but have since realized that it is just “soda ash” which can be purchased at any local pool supply. Our local Walmart also carries Zote (but not the flakes here either). I live in Anaheim, CA

    • emily says

      depending on where u live…walmart and target in my hometown sell the borax and super washing suds in the laundry isle…each r under 3 bucks for a big box

    • Amy says

      I got borax at target, Zote at the .99 cent only store
      And washing soda at ace hardware.

    • Wanda says

      Save a lot has it all. I use the Zotes I like the smell of it over another. However, you smell nothing after the vinegar rinse.

    • Holly says

      Try any Ace Hardware for the washing soda. I got all the other stuff at my local grocery store.

  142. Karyn says

    I have tried this recipe before and my husband asked that i stop using it because he could still smell old body odors/clothes did not feel fresh. Any suggestions on what to add to up the fresh ness?

    • emily says

      try using straight vinegar as a fabric softener along with this recipe….the vinegar smell goes away after the clothes r done in the dryer and the vinegar is wonderful at taking away stains and brightening colors too…

    • jackie says

      Have not made this soap yet but have added 20 Mule Team Borax to laundry to get body odor smells out of clothes.

    • Liz says

      I use Yardley lavender or lemon verbena, no complaints from the hubby so far on the smell! You could try that:)

      • Patti says

        Liz or Matt,

        Do you think the Yardley lavender or lemon verbena work well to clean the clothes? As well as the Fels-Naptha? Just wondering. Thanks.

        • Liz says

          I have only ever used the Yardley soaps, so I have no basis for comparison, but I haven’t had any complaints yet!

    • Tabatha says

      It probably doesn’t wash as well because you have harder water. You can try using more washing soda in the mixture, that should help. When I use this recipe I usually just use more detergent, but the next time I make it I’m going to add more washing soda.

    • T says

      There are some different recipes out there. I do a liquid recipe using the same ingredients. It’s my first time using it, and it seems to be working well. There are no to low suds, so it’s safe for HE machines.
      Grate 1/3 (2 cups) of a bar of your choice laundry soap.
      Dissolve grated soap in 4 cups water in pan over medium heat on stove.
      I use a “mop” bucket for the next part…
      put 2 cups WASHING soda, 2 cups Borax, the 4 cups dissolved laundry bar liquid & 16 cups warm water into the bucket. Stir until washing soda and borax are dissolved. Mixture will begin to gel quickly.
      I then use a funnel to pour the laundry detergent into two empty detergent containers (this recipe makes 2 gallons of detergent – perfect for two empty detergent containers). I put the lids on after the mixture cools. You can add essential oils after it cools if you want more scent. You will need to shake the mixture before each use. It resembles a sort of “egg soup” consistency. I think the liquid might work better than the powder because it doesn’t have to dissolve in the wash. Just my opinion.

    • Wanda says

      Hey you may have your answers already but what I do is grind it all together in my little processer for about 10 mins or more. Seems like the longer you grind the better the bar soap becomes covered in the washing soda and borax. I use Zotes I got at save-a-lot grocery store it was 99c for a huge bar. I band ivory soap from my house years ago because it was to drying for our skin. Happy washing. Oh an important thing to remember is to use straight vinegar to the rinse for a reall clean chemical free laundry.

  143. Janine says

    Hi! I just tried this for the first time and WOW! I used it to hand wash some hum, hum, unmentionables and I can’t believe how clean they are! I usually just use some detergent but everything usually feels kinda residuey (not a word but it should be;)) I actually had to do a few more washes than usual cause it got out more dirt than the other stuff too!
    My only problem is that I can’t get the soap to incorporate into the powders like you did. I stirred a whole lot more than 5 minutes and even got in there with my fingers to squish it up. I cam back to the article and it looks like you may have a smaller size grater than I do. I used the smallest holes but maybe they weren’t small enough? Maybe next time I’ll try to zest my soap. Either way it still works wonderfully chunks or soap or not!

    • Sandie says

      You might want to try mixing it all together in either a food processor or a Ninja blender…makes the particles all very fine.

      • Ginny says

        I agree. I first used my food processor to shred the cheese – err, soap, using the shredding disc. Then poured it into a bowl with the other powders, and put in the regular blade and poured everything back in and ground it for about a minute or less until it all turned into minuscule pieces.
        Worked great – no need for freezing, microwaving, or grating by hand. Actually, the clean up took longer than the actual making of the washing machine soap.

  144. Tracy Garrison says

    Ok, A few helpful hints when making this detergent:

    1. you CAN blow up the ivory soap in the microwave!
    2. Wear a mask when blending it all up (bad for asthma)
    3. The Fels-Naptha bar smells like Pine Sol! (yuk) ~ who wants their laundry to smell like that??

  145. Sheila says

    Hi, I was checking out your laundry powder recipe and would love to give it a try, I have also read all the comments but still have a few question. I am not as concerned about going “green” or “all natural” as I am about saving money but I really love the smell of Downy and how soft it leaves my clothes and therefore was wondering if Downy can be used in the rinse when using this homemade laundry powder? If not could anyone please let me know of a good alternative to Downy that will keep my clothes soft and static free? My last question is about Clorox bleach, can it be used with this recipe and if not what suggestions does anyone have for getting and keeping whites clean & bright?
    Many thanks!!

    • emily says

      i have been making this for a while and LOVE it…between the borax and the super washing suds they do a great job of brightening my whites without using bleach….i use straight vinegar as a fabric softener, and it also helps brighten colors….there is no vinegar smell once the clothes come out of the dryer, and my towels have never been softer…word of caution tho, if u use vinegar u can’t use bleach because when the two mix they can create toxic fumes….good luck

  146. Toni says

    I was wondering if anyone has tried microwaving Dr. Bonner’s or other castile soap? My concern is the oil content won’t allow the same results as with Ivory or Fels Naptha. I hate to waste a bar of soap if someone else has already experimented. 🙂

  147. Leanne says

    I would think if you used a soap that you knew he wasnt allergic to it would be worth a little try…you never know how people will react to certain things though so maybe make a small batch and give it a go on one of his tshirts…I am allergic to all kinds of weird things but I can do this as long as I use a soap I am not sensitive to…I use kirks coco castille its unscented…good luck

    • Tanya says

      Thank you. I went and got all of the ingredients today. Except the castile soap i’snt unscented. : ( We’ll see what happens.
      Thanks again.

  148. Tanya says

    Hi! I am so excited to try this detergent recipe BUT, I have one question. My husband breaks out from detergents that aren’t “free & clear”. Would I need to use the all natural bar soap to avoid the perfumes?

  149. Kristian says

    How do you get 32oz in your comparison?

    1 cup borax
    1 cup A and H powder
    4.5oz bar of soap

    oz is for liquid weight firstly. But, besides that even if you were to use your dry weight from tablespoons to oz it would still be very off. Even with the increase of air displacement from shredding the soap.

    1 cup = 8oz (liquid)

    2 cups + 4.5oz = 20.5oz

    Where is this extra 11.5oz coming from?

  150. Jess says

    I have been using this with Kirks Castile soap on cloth diapers and have had no problems with absorbancy. I do use vinegar in the rinse cycle, and about every 2-3 weeks I add a few drops of Dawn detergent to the second/hot wash to strip them. ( wash first in cold then once in hot)I havent had any problems with smell either 🙂
    I use:
    1 cup borax
    1 cup washing soda
    1 bar Kirks Castile ( I cut it in chunks then put it in my food processor a little at a time)
    I add 1/4-1/2 scoop of Sun oxi-cleaner to each load of diapers for a small load ( and a full scoop on full loads of hubbys work clothes) but I dont use oxi in each load regular laundry since I have found it doesnt need it.
    1/4-1/2 cup white vinegar in the rinse cycle.
    So far I have had no problems with absorbancy or smell!

    Ps to Matt and Betsy: Thank you for posting this recipie on your site. It made cloth diapering even MORE affordable ( I have only purchased 2 packs of disposables, when she was too small for thw cloth ones still) and on top of the cost benefit I dont have to worry about what is in my detergent. I do have sensitive skin myself and had tried everything comercially available…with little luck. I have had no reaction to this at all!
    Sorry for the rant….hope it helps someone who uses or is considering cloth diapers 🙂

  151. Leanne says

    Someone earlier mentioned oxyclean…I do know you shouldn’t use this soap mixture on cloth diapers as the soap part of the mixture builds up and makes the diapers lose their ability to soak up liquids…so in that case many cloth diaper users use the recipe below.

    Cloth Diaper Detergent (soap free)
    1cup of oxiclean,
    1cup of borax
    1cup of washing soda
    2 tablespoons for an average load gets them super clean.

    Did anyone ever microwave the fels naptha…I might have to go try that

    • Steve says

      I microwave the Fels Naptha for about a minute and then in smaller segments to get it to puff up as the water is driven off. After that I run the whole mix through a food processor to blend all the ingredients and get a more uniform mix. You might want to look for a generic brand of OxiClean. OxiClean around here runs about 20 cents/ounce, and the generic brand is around 5 or 6 cents an ounce.

  152. Magen T. says

    Guys, for those wondering about the grated bar soap (dry detergent) dissolving completely in cold water here’s your solution. Microwave a bar of soap for 90 seconds in a glass bowl.. it turns into a complete cloud of fluff. Once you remove from micorwave it will cool and then crumble into a fine powder if you just mash with a fork… add to your other powdered ingredients and voila! No mo worries about those cold wash loads 🙂

      • Carol says

        I microwaved the Fels-Naptha and caution against it. I left it in too long (1 minute) and it burned to a literal, black crisp and filled the house with a horrible, noxious cloud of fumes. The weather here was hot that day and we had the ACs running. Even so we were forced to open the doors and let out all our cool air just to get relief from the terrible fumes. I had to set the burnt soap plate outside too until the odor went away so I could bring it in to wash. Learned that lesson the hard way!

        However, I have since learned to open the Fels, let it sit out a few days to dry out and run it throught the food processor. When the soap is not as moist (like when it’s new) it will grind up into a fine powder pretty quickly in the food processor. Then, of course, the processor gets thouroughly cleaned.

        • Patti G says

          Good to know. I was going to try it myself.

          Do you think the Ivory soap cleans as well as the Fels?

  153. Valerie says

    I’m on my 4th batch of the laundry detergent and love it! My man has moderate to severe psoriasis, and this detergent does NOT irritate his skin (Hallelujah!) It does get all of our clothes very clean (even the very active 7 yo boy clothes!) After the first full batch, I bought the Kindle version of the DIY Natural Cleaners book and am so happy to have a chemical free, super clean house that smells great! Thanks Matt and Betsy!

  154. Jennifer says

    I use the homemade washing power in my front loader with vineger in the bleach section and my clothes have never been cleaner!! Love it thanks so much for sharing and helping the environment!

  155. emily says

    i made this the other day, and LOVE it… easy and cheap….plus it cleaned my clothes and left no residue like some commercial powder soaps….i love your website, so many wonderful recipes and tips on here…..i went all green and chemical free a few months ago…the one downfall to that is the price for the all natural commercial products, this lets me make my own all natural products at a small fraction of the cost…..thank you

  156. Julie says

    Ivory had perfume in it so that could be an issue but my daughter has senestive skin and as long ad I add vinugar to the rinse it gets rid of said and perfume residue but u can by soaps with no fragrance in it make sure it is soap and not a beauty bar like dove it had cream in it

  157. Aimee says

    If anyone is ever going to present a challenge, it’s me lol: there is one in the house with horrible skin allergies. And she is the only one who seems to be reacting to this recipe. I have (so far) only tried Ivory. Does anyone know if the other soaps mentioned are known to be better on sensitive skin? For now, I’ve had to go buy a separate bottle of detergent, which sort of defeats the purpose. I mean, I guess it could be the Borax too? I don’t know what it is. Any suggestions or ideas?

    • emily says

      my kids have sensitive skin too….i made this the other day and have done quite a few loads already, so far no bad reactions…i used kirk’s original coca castile bar is 100% all natural, and very good for sensitive skin…i found it at my local walmart, u can also order it online…i also recently made homemade liquid hand soap using nubian heritage brand all natural soap, very easy on the skin also…maybe you need an all natural soap to avoid skin reactions….good luck

      • Aimee says

        Thanks Emily & Julie, for the tips & suggestions. I will definitely need to try the coca castile. I really want to stick with the natural products…but it hardly seems worth it when you have one member of the family looking like she’s been hit by a plague 🙁

  158. cassie wadley says

    Beth, I do use the entire fels naptha bar, and it works wonderfully (love the smelll) My husband works on cars etc and my daughter is messy with her chocolate, so I wouldn’t skimp on it. Can’t say enough good things about the recipe, it’s saved me so much money, and I consider it a superior product compared to regular laundry soaps. Happy Tuesday, Cassie

    • Beth says

      Thanks Cassie,
      I find the Fels-Naptha very strong and it’s a little over powering for me when I open my container. I actually had to take the bar outside to grate it! I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t using too much.

  159. Dee says

    This recipe is PERFECT! My clothes came out clean and fresh. I loved the results. THANKS! You changed my life! Lol

  160. Beth says

    Do you use the entire bar of Fels-naptha for this recipe? Just curious because it seems much bigger and stronger than a bar of Ivory.

  161. Sandie says

    Hi Cassie – let us know if the microwave trick works with the Fels-Naptha. I’ve been using Ivory and have had great results with that in the laundry. Great ideas here on this site as well as in their book, “diy Natural Household Cleaners.”

  162. cassie wadley says

    Oh, also I do disolve mine in hot water first then add into the tub and then add the clothes, that’s for when I’m washing in cold water. But there’s this whole experiment that works with Ivory soap, where you put the bar of soap in the microwave and it turns into a fluffy cloud that you can just crumble, then you don’t need to grate it. I’ll be trying that with the fels naptha next time, then if it does the same thing as the ivory, i won’t have to grate it or disolve in hot water first for a cold water load. By the way, you’ve got to check out this sites other diy things. I love that I’m becoming more self reliant everytime i use one of their tips. Not to mention, I’m saving a ton of money in the process!

  163. cassie wadley says

    Lori, I’ve made mine with fels naptha soap and zote,they both have great results, I’ve never used ivory, just because I love the wonderful clean smell of the fels naptha (both fels naptha and zote are in the laundry section with the borax and washing soda) hope this helps, Cassie

  164. Lori Nelson says

    Hello All I just came across this tonight ans was wanderign if you can use any bar soap or just the IVORY? there are tons of bar soaps out there that smell great but I sure sont wanna try something and mess anything up with it. Also how do you use the powder in an HE washer? do you put it in where the liquid would normally go or in the tub part with the clothes? Do you disove it first? Sorry I am just full of questions. I am very excited to try this I just wanna be sure I do it right. THANKS!

  165. Tracy Spenst says

    This stuff is great! I have a lot of rust in my water, so I wasn’t sure how it would clean, but it does just as well as the SA8 I’ve been using except much cheaper. BTW, I used Fels Naptha soap and it grates like cheese giving longer shreds. So, when I made my next batch I ran it through my food processor and it’s nice and fine now. I’m so excited! I’ve been praying for practical ways to save money and do things more naturally. This is just what I’ve been looking for! Thanks!

  166. SteveR says

    For anyone having trouble finding Sodium Carbonate/Soda Ash/Washing Soda check the pool supply sections of the hardware stores/dept stores. Most ‘ph up’ products are sodium carbonate.

  167. glenna says

    I guess I need to complete my sentence, I do not know how much of the liguid to use in my he washer? I have read 2 spoonfuls or 1 cup?

    • Dana says

      The homemade liquid laundry detergent, have always used 1/2 cup. Homemade powdered detergent, 2 tablespoons. 🙂 That’s just me and I have soft water. I don’t know if that makes a difference.

  168. glenna says

    I am getting ready to make the he soap, the liguid, but I do not know how much to use.

  169. Kathy says

    I use this recipe and it works really well. I however have issues with course powdered detergents so I put it in the blender and made it a fine powder which dissolves in hot or cold water with no problems at all. Smells awesome going in and the clothes are not perfumed they just have a really nice fresh clean scent!

  170. Mandi says

    I made the homemade liquid laundry soap and I love it so far. However, for some reason I still have little bits of soap in the detergent. It dissolves fine out of my dispenser, but I’m scared that it may block up the washing machine if its building up somewhere I can’t see.
    Has anyone been able to get the liquid detergent completely liquid with no soap pieces? I thought I had the soap shaved pretty fine, maybe I need to make it even more fine???
    Thanks so much for this site, I’m fixin on trying the homemade dishwasher detergent here tonight.

  171. Jaime Burbano says

    Does anyone know the (dry weight) # of grams in 1 TBS of the finished product?



  172. Amber says

    I made the detergent in January and am still using it! My recipe makes 10 gallons of the liquid version of the recipe. Because it lasts so long, I don’t mind that it takes a little bit longer to make. I am thinking of halfing the recipe next time so that I don’t have to create storage space for 10 gallons of the stuff. I have to boil the bar of soap in water on the stove, add to a 5 gallon tote with the powder ingredients and add copious amounts of water to the tote. It does gel up nearly solid. From that concoction, I dip out 2 quarts of the gel and pour into the gallon jugs and finish filling those up with water. So in all it creates 10 gallons.
    I also experience the pit stains to my husband’s undershirts. A solution I found to that was I keep vinegar in a spray bottle at my washer and spray the entire underarm area. Works like a charm to neutralize the smell and also seems to work great as a fabric softener. So, I no longer purchase fabric softeners anymore! If you go to the Duggar family website, there is recipes for fabric softeners, dish detergent, and wash detergent.

  173. Aimee says

    Wow, Shannon, you remind me of my grandma! She was raised through the Depression Era, and that lady was my hero. She had tricks up her sleeve for EVERYTHING! That’s awesome that you’ve learned how to do so much with so little. People like you make living with less so much easier 🙂 Great tips, thanks!

    • Shannon says

      Thanks Aimee. You’d be surprised at how many things I’ve had to learn “work-arounds” for since moving here. It’s definitely preparing me to be more self-reliant, that’s for sure.

  174. Shannon says

    I use baking soda as an alternative to borax because I live in Greece and you can’t get it here. You also can’t get washing powder here, but that’s easy enough to make on your own by baking the baking soda in the oven for awhile.

    • Nikki says

      Do you find it works as well? And do you use the same amount of baking soda as you would borax?

  175. Channahs says

    I’ve been using this mix for laundry for a couple of months now, and I have no complaints. It even seems to make my clothes softer, especially the jeans. However when I started using this, I mixed with Oxy-Clean as was in the original recipe. I’ve been back 3 pages and can’t find when or why this was taken out of the mix. Is it not necessary or might it be harmful?

    • Matt Jabs says

      Hi Channahs, glad you’re enjoying the information. We never included OxiClean in the recipe, but some folks use it as a whitener/brightener. God bless.

    • Dana says


      I am curious about the Oxi-Clean. How much do you put into the mixture? I’m guessing you put it into the original mixture and not into each load? Thank you! Dana

      • Steve says

        I use a cup of Oxi, along with a cup each of borax and washing soda and the Fels Naptha. However, around here Oxi-Clean is about 20 cents an ounce, so I checked the shelves and the generic version I got was about 5 cents an ounce. The ingredients are the same as Oxi-Clean. I have pretty hard water here and it helps. My Mother In Law has soft water and say’s it doesn’t seem to make a difference.

  176. Patti G says

    I have been reading about putting Ivory in the microwave for 2 minutes to create flakes instead of having to grate it.

    Will this work for Fels-Naptha also?

    Thank you for your assistance.

      • Julie says

        Patti and Matt,

        Not sure how long it’s been since this comment, but I do place my Fels-Naptha in the microwave on 90 seconds. After it cools it breaks apart into fine particles then I go the extra mile place it in a ziplock baggie, roll it with a rolling pin into a powder. Blends very well with my other ingredients.

  177. Amber says

    I have the same question. I have only used the Fels-Naptha soap and I want to try Ivory, since it is cheaper. I wandered if anyone has compared the effectiveness of the two and seen any difference. By the way, I use the dry mix and have never had any “armpit smell” problems; it seems to clean adequately.

  178. Dana says

    I’ve made this detergent just recently but I made the liquid kind. Same ingredients, just used boiling water and melted my soap. I used Dove soap. I have 2 questions. One is I notice that the smell in the armpit area is still there after washing, kind of the deodarent smell. Any suggestions on what to do? So I am wondering if my clothes are actually clean. I use 1/2 cup for each load. Second question: Do the “laundry soaps” you mentioned make the clothes cleaner than Dove or Ivory? Thanks!

  179. Aimee says

    To Dewana: As I said before, I use more than called for (partly because I also add Downy Unstoppables for freshness…I know, not exactly “green”). But I did see some fading when added right away…so I put in my clothes then fill the washer with water first before adding the detergent. Since then, no problems. And the pastels REALLY sprung back to life 🙂

  180. Terri says

    I made this for the first time last week and it works great in our HE washer. I did try one other suggestion that worked great and is fun to boot. I put the ivory soap in the microwave for about 2 minutes on high. It poofs up like cotton candy and when it cools it flakes apart. It’s so much easier than shredding and in my online research it does not change the soap chemically at all and results in a finer product. This is so much easier than shredding and no nicked knuckles 😉

  181. Dewana says

    I’d like to try this but am concerned about fading bright colors and blacks. How to dark colors hold up?

    • Valerie says

      Dewana, I haven’t noticed any fading at all, on our older clothes or the new summer clothes (reds, blues etc). However, I do use white vinegar in my Downy ball in every load. It removes any soap residue, softens AND sets the dyes.

  182. tammy says

    have made washing powder havent used it yet wonering if can us other soap beside ivory and where can u find the esste oils at

    • Matt Jabs says

      Use whatever soap you’re comfortable with. Essential oil starter kit can be purchased here. Or you can pick up a few bottles at your local health food store, although they’re MUCH more expensive there.

  183. Aimee says

    In reference to the dingy, yellow whites: a friend of mine gave me some detergent she had made (the first I’d ever heard of people making their own). Only for some reason she only made hers with Ivory and Borax…but I would put about 1/8-1/4 cup in per load and I was astounded at how white my whites were, and how bright my colors were. It was like it woke up the old fabrics…with or without bleach. This is the first I’ve heard of using the Arm & Hammer too. I guess you learn something new every day 🙂

  184. beka says

    instead of grating, cut a bar of ivory in 1/2, put it on a plate and microwave for 3 mins. let cool completely and it will crumble into a powder in your hands.

  185. cassie wadley says

    I too wash mostly in cold water, but have found that I have to rewash once in a while because the fels naptha is stuck to the clothes. What I’ve done to prevent this is let the tub fill on the lowest level with hot water and aggitate a bit, then switch it to cold and put on high, once it starts filling again, then I add the clothes, kind of a pain, but I will try just dissolving it in a cup of hot water first (why didn’t I think of that, lol!!!) Great info here, love your site, and always look forward to more ways to become more self reliant and save money, have a great day, Cassie

    • Amber says

      I agree with you Cassie. I have gotten a lot of wonderful ideas on this site. As we in the South say it, “Thanks y’all!”

      • Matt Jabs says

        Thanks so much Cassie and Amber… your support and encouragement are more helpful than you can imagine! We really appreciate y’all taking the time to say such nice things. God bless!

    • Wanda says

      I mix it a cup of hot water then add after the tub fills and right before I put the clothes in. Works well for me but I use the Zotes I got at Save a Lot for $1.00 for 2 huge bars.

  186. Lotus says

    I made the liquid version using Fels-naptha instead of ivory and ended up having to add more hot water to it because it was jelled almost solid. Otherwise it works great! I love that I am saving a ton of money and that it is better for the environment. Thank you so much for posting this recipe!!!

  187. julie says

    I love this soap I have bad skin issues and this stuff is awesome BUT i do not have an HE washer so how much soap should I be using? also yellowing of my whites i know to much bleach makes them yellow and dingy and I try to avoid bleach as I am a cancer survivor what ideas do you have for dingy yellow whites? i poured a whole bottle of hydrogen proxide in one day nothing.

    • Matt Jabs says

      Those with top loaders can use the amounts in the recipe.

      On dinginess, it’s important to know that most commercial detergents contain chemical “brighteners” that prevent the natural dinginess that occurs with most water sources. We found that in Michigan our whites became dingier with time, but in North Carolina our water doesn’t do that to the whites. You can try adding citric acid and or baking soda (experiment with amounts) but we’re still unable to nail down a solution that works for all water types.

      • p-- says

        i think that depends on what part of NC you are in. i’m near charlotte, and our stuff definitely gets dingier with time, even with optical brighteners in the detergent.

  188. Lisa Quenon says

    Thanks! I appreciate the further digging for facts. I’ve always made my own laundry detergent and was a little alarmed at the thought that I was using something extremely toxic. Onward with corrected information!

    • Matt Jabs says

      They list it as a 5-6 (on a scale to 10) because they make no differentiation between borax and boric acid; the two are NOT the same. The MSDS lists borax as a 1 (on a scale to 4) which they define as “may be irritating.” The MSDS also rate salt and baking soda at a 1.

    • Amber says

      It’s used to kill roaches b/c the particles scratch and dry out their exoskeletons… same as fleas! They don’t ingest it and die from its toxicity.

  189. Sara says

    How does the dry version work washing in cold water? I have made the liquid but dont like melting the soap. I would rather use this dry version but wash almost all myi loathes in cold.

    • Sandie says

      Hi Sara – I use cold water a lot of the time and I just dissolve the powder in a cup or so of hot water, then add to washer.

    • Valerie says

      Hi Sara! I start the load with warm water and add the detergent. When it appears to be dissolved, I switch to back to cold. Also, I do run the mix thru the food processor when I’m making it…the significantly smaller soap particles dissolve much more quickly, even in cold water.

  190. Adam says

    I know this thread is probably old, but I’m just now getting into the homemade detergent world. I used a bar of fels naptha with the borax and washing soda, and even though it never totally powdered, I stir a little before I scoop and it works great! The soap shreds dissolve just fine in the hard water I have, and the laundry comes out smelling just clean, no heavy perfume smell, that, and it can sit in the washer for a day or two and not get the mildewy smell I used to get after an overnight with my other detergent. Thank you!

  191. Kathie says

    Do you know how many ounces the bar soap should be? I’ve noticed different brands vary in the weight. I’m currently wanting to use Kirk’s Castile bar soap for this and it’s only 4 oz. I looked up Fels and it’s 5.5 oz.


  192. Faith says

    Please please be extremely cautious with this if you have small children in the house. Borax is extremely toxic. Use gloves when mixing this as it can cause contact dermatitus and can be dangerous if it gets into an open wound or cur…..and keep far away from small children. One teaspoon ingested if enough to be fatal.

  193. Lisa Quenon says

    Does Borax do what OxyClean powder does? I’m not certain yet would like to find out. For yellowing of fabric or rust stains or any stain that has been in for a very long time (e.g. 30 or 40 years + or -), I’ve always soaked in OxyClean for about 24 hours (usually in the machine or a bucket and agitating every few hours). Pretty much 100% of the time, the set in stain is completely removed. For the extra stubborn stains, sometimes I apply a paste directly for a bit. I would love to learn an alternative because OxyClean is certainly not cheap. Yet it really does work. I was given many (as in over 100) fine antique linens and they were all yellowed. This trick did it over any other tricks I was taught (lemon in sunlight, salt, etc.). I would love to learn of something else. Thank you.

    • Sandie says

      I checked the box of OxiClean that I still have and did a little research online. It is made up of Sodium Carbonate, also known as Washing Soda or Soda Ash, and Sodium Percarbonate, which is a powdered form of Hydrogen Peroxide, derived from mixing Sodium Carbonate and Hydrogen Peroxide. Also learned in my research that Sodium Percarbonate should never be mixed with chlorine bleach or ammonia. I used to add it in my laundry even when I was using chlorine bleach. Glad I checked this out.

      • Matt Jabs says

        Great job doing the research Sandie! As a society we need to be more tuned into the products so we can better decide if they’re safe to use.

  194. Sandie says

    Hi Kristina – I’m sure we all need to do a little more research. I’ve certainly learned a lot here at this blog and it’s made me do a little more research for sure. There are so many great people who post new and creative ideas and it’s always good to get different opinions.

  195. Kathleen E Bourg says

    Sorry Matt… I’m a realist and have done enough research on my own to get what you & Betsy are trying to accomplish here. We are are all intelligent folks here are know the definitions of natural and homemade. Your information is always helpful & well researched, and I thank you for that. But one of the best parts about this blog is the additional info my fellow readers bring to the party – different spins on your initial ideas.

    • Matt Jabs says

      Don’t apologize Kathleen, I know that you and me and Kristina all mean the best, and that we probably agree on more than we disagree on! I know you have all done your research and are intelligent, that’s why you’re visiting our blog! 🙂 I love y’all and am so glad to have such a great community. Like you said, the community grows the information, which is the only way to go.

  196. Matt Jabs says

    Kristina, I’ll paste here what I replied to you on your facebook post:
    “Hi Kristina, I know your motivated by love so thanks for bringing this up. We updated the article to better expound on the ingredients, it was one of our first and was written to be “Homemade Laundry Detergent” not “Natural Laundry Detergent” with a focus on saving money not being all-natural. Since all readers are in a different place let’s all work hard to facilitate a spirit of encouragement and education. God bless.”
    Please understand there are over 1,000 comments on this thread – it’s really tough to get replies out to everyone so thanks for you patience.

    • Kristina says

      Thanks for the reply Matt, I just assumed since your blog is titled DIY Natural that everything on here would be natural. It might be a good idea to put in a side note if it’s not, a lot of people just take information without thinking or researching and are not aware that there are many common products out there that are harmful. It would be easy enough to make this into a natural detergent by using an all natural, non toxic soap, maybe a tad bit more expensive (not much really) but I think most people are willing to pay a little extra to keep the toxins out of their lives. That’s what this blog is all about right? Getting back to the basics and keeping out the toxins? I think this is a great blog and don’t mean to ruffle any feathers, but we do need to be educated correctly!! Thanks again for responding!

      • Matt Jabs says

        Agreed Kristina, and your comment prompted us to update the article with better info, so thanks again. Here’s what we added:
        Note on ingredients: use whatever ingredients you are comfortable with. Many people cannot afford natural soaps, while others make their own. Whatever you do, never judge others for not being where you are – instead work to facilitate a spirit of encouragement and education to help further all our knowledge together. Brands of commonly used bar soaps include Pure & Natural®, Fels-Naptha® and/or ZOTE®. Both ZOTE® and Fels-Naptha® are made for and sold as “laundry bar soap.” 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.”

        • Kristina says

          Thanks Matt! Sorry to be a pest, I didn’t mean to sound judgmental either, I just want people to have good information which you provide a lot of, I do enjoy your blog and thank you for your time!!

      • Faith says

        You would also need to remove borax from the recipe, as borax is highly toxic and even fatal if ingested

  197. Kathleen E Bourg says

    I’ve been following this thread for nearly a year as well as using this recipe . It’s cheap, easy to make, and it works. What is the definition of natural? Yes washing soda, borax & soap have chemicals – they are chemicals. But they still are less toxic, when used properly, than most of the crap that is currently on store shelves. If you really insist on all natural & absolutely no chemicals, go pound your clothes on a rock! Matt & Betsy, thanks so much for this website! I learn something new & useful every day from ya’all!

    • Kristina says

      Borax and washing soda are minerals, natural occurring salts and minerals from the earth. Not man made chemicals. Look up what is in “Fragrance” and “dyes” it is toxic.

      • Kristina says

        I like cheap and easy too, but I have a child and refuse to introduce any more toxins into her body/life than necessary, when I look up a recipe to do just that and find someone giving false information, well it rankles me a bit. I’ll do it the hard way ie pound my clothes on a rock if that’s what it takes to keep myself and my family healthy and happy.

    • Faith says

      Borax is extremely toxic. It can cause contact dermatitis if handled without gloves, and can be fatal if as little as one teaspoon is ingested.

  198. Sue Ruddy says

    I made a double batch using 2 different bars of soap ivory and fels-naptha. I have been using this for over a week and I love it! My clothes are so clean and the best part is the odor that I have been having in my front loading washer is gone!!! Odor in the front loaders is common and I have not been able to get rid of it, I tried the special cleaners, bleach, lemon juice, vinegar and none of them worked. I am so excited about this soap I am going to start making fabric softner and dish washer detergeant! Thanks so much for this recipe!!!

  199. Eileen Clifton says

    Okay, so I used this for the first time over the weekend on a load of whites in hot water. I used 1/2 bar of Zote soap, 1 cup borax, and 1 cup washing soda mixed in a food processor. I used two tablespoons of the powder mix for the load. It did not bubble @ all, there was no foam at all! Is this right? Also, my socks were dirty @ the top from running on a dirt path, and the dirt DID NOT come out. So, did I not use enough detergent or what? I was really disappointed in the way the clothes came out.

    • Matt Jabs says

      Keep trying Eileen. Experiment with different soaps. DIY is all about finding what works, and all water supplies are different, which make the results unique in each place. As a whole, the given recipe tends to work great. Hope this helps.

  200. Judy says

    I use the liquid form of this and to scent it I add 2 cups of downy. It smells great and works great!

  201. Kristina says

    I find it disconcerting that you do not address the comments on the fact that the soaps you are using are not natural at all. You should not be claiming that you are giving people an all natural way to clean their clothes when this recipe obviously is not natural. Dyes and fragrances are toxic.

    • Suss says

      The site for Zote soap lists all natural ingredients, they offer the bar in white which would be dye free.

      • Ashley says

        Just a heads up…while the Zote site doesn’t list all ingredients it does say perfume. That word is a catch all word in the beauty/cleaning industry that could be any number if 1000’s of different chemicals.

        So it’s not actually a ‘natural’ product.

        • Suss says

          I missed perfume in the listing, I did see essence oils, thanks, I will look again. Someone mentioned also that the natural oils could trap dirt over time, any thoughts on this? I’m thinking the boosters would overcome that problem but I was not good in chemistry…

  202. Amber says

    The Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is hard to find. However, there is a way to find out what local stores carry the product. In my internet search I found the following helpful information: If you have trouble locating the washing soda in your area, you can call 1-800-524-1328. This is a consumer products number.. You must have the UPC code too when you call. It’s 33200-03020. Please note that when you call there is some kind of message about poison control …just continue on with the call and you will be able to reach an operator for other issues. When I called I was able to locate stores in my area that carry the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. Kroger and Harris Teeter were the stores they said they shipped to in Durham, NC. Tonight, I also found it at the Wal-Mart at Brier Creek in Raleigh, NC.

  203. Joanne says

    I’ve read all the comments and have two questions: 1) If Oxyclean/Sun Oxygen is sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate, would adding grated soap and borax to it equal the same thing? 2) Does the borax in water become a strong enough disinfectant to negate using tea tree oil?

  204. Kristina says

    Not sure if anyone mentioned this but I wouldn’t consider Ivory soap “natural”. It contains fragrance which is toxic. If you use the unscented kind that would be better. Also you say use any soap you like but it would need to be an all natural pure soap to keep the “natural” aspect of this detergent. I use an equal mixture of borax and washing soda and it works lovely.

    • Kristina says

      Zote and Fels-Naptha both have dyes and perfumes in them, so they are not natural either.

  205. Sandie says

    I made my first batch of this and have done two loads of laundry this morning – white towels and white bathroom rugs. Everything came out clean and the towels smell clean are so soft!! I am impressed and have ordered 2 of the DIY Natural Household Cleaners book – one for me and another for my daughter. I’m anxious to try other recipes now. I was only able to find 3 oz bars of ivory soap, so only used one in this batch. If it doesn’t clean as well on other items, maybe I’ll use 1-1/2 bars next time.

  206. Charli Beyma says

    I was thinking of making some using Dial antibacterial to make a detergent for washing bedding and clothes after an illness. Do you think it would work?

  207. Steve says

    My washing machine had an electrical problem, so I had to take my clothes to the laundromat. From what I saw, people were using double or triple the recommended amount of detergent, plus fabric softeners and bleach. I felt a little strange coming in with a Mason jar and a tablespoon. There was one person there who brought in a coffee can of detergent, so I asked him what he was using. He said it was commercial detergent, plus TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) that he got at a hardware store. Needless to say I was a bit shocked.

  208. Eileen Clifton says

    Hi. I would like to try this, but have a question. There is a noticeable difference in size between ivory, Fels Naptha, and Zote bars. How do you compensate for this? Would you use say half a bar of the Zote because it’s so big? I’m concerned about having too much soap. Thanks for any input.

  209. Chad says

    Just made are first batch of this last night, and can’t wait to try it this weekend in our HE washers. I shaved the bar of soap down and I noticed that it tends to be long strands, is that a concern when using in HE washers? Is there a better way to shave the soap down?

  210. Wallace Hardin JR says

    We have been using this dry recipe with Ivory soap for over a month now and we love it. It gets the clothes clean and smelling fresh. The wife likes the ivory smell as well. We have had no problem with it dissolving at all. Oh yeah, the money saved is awesome too.

  211. kim says

    I have sensitive skin and am allergic to many things. The only detergent I can use is Dreft…I want to try this and want to know is it safe for people with sensitive skin?
    I read somewhere online that the Arm & hammer washing soda can also be used to clean bathroo, floors, etc..but it said to use gloves with it as it may irritate the skin so if thats the case then it may cause a skin reaction when used as a detergent???

    • Jennifer says

      My daughter and I both suffer from eczema, and we have not yet had a problem with this detergent causing any type of irritation to our skin!

        • April says

          I have very sensitive skin. This is the reason I started making my own detergent because everything would break my skin out. Ever since I’ve only broken out once (with Octagon bar laundry soap), every other bar soap so far has worked great! I also add lavender essential oil to my recipe:)

  212. Sandie says

    Several questioned whether this mix will work well in a top loader using COLD water. I may have missed it, but I didn’t see a response. Does it work well in cold water?

    I currently use Tide for Cold Water and would love to try your recipe for homemade laundry detergent instead.

      • Carol says

        Sandie, I use a glass pyrex liquid measuring cup. Put one cup tap water into the cup. Microwave on high for 3-4 min. until almost boiling. Stir in one tablespoon of mixed DIY detergent, stir and let dissolve for a short time. Pour into washer filled with any temp. of water (no clothes yet). I use cold all the time. Add clothes and let ‘er rip!

  213. Nikki says

    Just an FYI-
    You can also put a bar of Ivory soap in the microwave to make a “soap cloud” (we do it with the kiddos …,just pop a bar of Ivory in the microwave for a minute or so.) After you take it out if the microwave it will break up in your hand to a fine powder. No need to grate and super fast.

    • Sandie says

      Thanks for this tip, Nikki – I tried it and, although it didn’t break up quite the same way, It was so easy to add it with the other ingredients to the Ninja blender…mixed together very quickly.

    • Patti G says

      Do you think this trick will work with the other brands of bar soap? I have used the Fels-Naptha and grated it and worn my hands out.

      Thank you.

  214. chrystalm says

    apparently the makers of Zote laundry soap has caught on to the diy laundry soap craze. They now make Zote laundry flakes so no more grading! It cost about $2.20 a box at Walmart. I used this in the recipe and it worked great. No more blending/grateing.

  215. Daphne says

    This is great! So quick, easy and cheap. Just one quesiton, though, can you use it in a top loader in cold water?

  216. Missi White says

    I just made my first patch and had some problem grating my soap. So i pulled out my food processor and it worked great! I have a very sick child and this sight was a great find!!!!! I can’t wait to start making other homemade items as well!!!!

  217. Carrie says

    I’m really excited to start doing this! Thank you. Just a FYI, the link for the washing soda costs $8.90, not $3.99, and the Borax is up to $6.90.

    • Amber says

      The Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is hard to find. However, there is a way to find out what local stores carry the product. In my search I found the following helpful information: If you have trouble locating the washing soda in your area, you can call 1-800-524-1328. This is a consumer products number.. You must have the UPC code too when you call. It’s 33200-03020. Please note that when you call there is some kind of message about poison control …just continue on with the call and you will be able to reach an operator for other issues. When I called I was able to locate stores in my area that carry the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. Kroger and Harris Teeter were the stores they said they shipped to in Durham, NC. Tonight, I also found it at the Wal-Mart at Brier Creek in Raleigh, NC.

      • Sanie says

        If all else fails, the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is available at as well.

        • Amber says

          I was able to purchase the washing soda for 3.29+ tax in the store. Amazon sells it at a higher price + you must pay shipping costs. If you can find it in a store, you get a better deal.

          • Sandie says

            Thanks, Amber. I’ve checked all our local stores, including Walmart & Target and also called the 1-800-5224-1328 number you provided. They were very helpful, however, the only store that carries it is an Albertson’s in Long Beach, CA that is 23 miles from where we live. By the time I pay for gas, I might as well pay the extra from, since I get free shipping. I might check with the manager of one of our local grocery stores to see if they would order and carry it.

  218. Jami says

    I know it’s not safe for women who are nursing to use tea tree oil, but is it safe to wash your clothes with tea tree oil? I just bought some Dr. Bronner’s soap with tea tree extract to make some detergent, and then it dawned on me that it might not be safe. Would an extra rinse help or should I just hold off and use a different soap for now?

  219. Adam says

    Just curious… The description says that this laundry soap contains no sodium. I’m pretty sure that the Washing Soda is Sodium Carbonate. Doesn’t that count?

  220. Nina says

    OK, love the soap but having a devil of a time getting my soap “shaved”. I’m wondering if I need a different grater……I’m using a box grater and using the side with the little holes but the soap cakes up between the teeth coming out of the holes….is this more of a zester than a grater? If so, where do I find the small hole grater?

    • amber says

      I have heard of people actually making it in a blender after grating the soap…put all ingedients in a blender and it made a fine powder. I havent tried it yet myself, but it may work?

      • Jessie says

        I just tried the blender now – it works wonderfully. Just try not to let it go too long because it will get hot & the soap will start to melt & cake.

        • Amy says

          I put all of the ingredients in the food processor and seconds later it was powdery and perfect! 🙂

  221. Kerrie Ribble says

    Just wanted to thank you for this recipe. I have been using this for about 2 mos. I love the fact that I made it myself & it works great! I have also made the spot remover & it has taken out grass stains from baseball pants & chocolate milk out of a white shirt. I have shared this with my older children, who are on very tight budgets. This has been a blessing to help in being more frugal with our environment & our budgets. I am looking forward to trying the dishwasher soap as soon as I use up my xyz brand. I also love bypassing the cleaning aisle at the store. No more $$$ being wasted there : ) Thanks again & God bless!!!

  222. MichaelCaribbean says

    Nice article. I made some up, but instead of Fels-Naptha I used already grated Candao, a laundrysoap flake from Dominican Replublic.
    My question is, will this recipe work in cold water?

    Doesn’t things get hot when you add borax to water?

      • Ericka says

        Hi Matt

        I wanted to let you know that I love your site, I bought your book, and can’t wait until I get it (by the way it takes a looooong time). but my question is. What happen if you use cold water?

        • Matt Jabs says

          Hi Ericka, thanks so much for your support. Melt the soap in a quart of hot water, then just add it to the cold loads, works like a charm. Sorry the book is taking so long to arrive, where do you live?

  223. Charli Beyma says

    I finally got to use this recipe and I LOVE it. What I love most is that I don’t need to use fabric softener! Not only do I save with the laundry soap itself, I also save with not having to buy fabric softener. I don’t have to wash my towels separately anymore. They turn out soft AND absorbent. It works great for hand washing too, rinses out well. And clothes are soft even line dried. Can’t go wrong with this formula. I will definitively be passing this on.

  224. Lauren says

    Thank you very much for your recipe. Had used it for two weeks with the ivory soap… The laundry came out perfect and soft. Also remove stain very well. Mild scent…Ooooh and so simple…

  225. Kelly says

    Thank you so much! I love making every thing I can homemade. This is great. I will never go back to store detergent again. I’m trying to get all my friends and family to try it.

    • Suss says

      I filled jelly canning jars with the detergent and handed it out to my family. Carefully labeled of course!

  226. Verag says

    One question – why is it necessary to buy one 10-pack of Ivory, etc., if I’m using only one bar per batch of soap?


  227. Amory says

    I cannot wait to start making/using my own laundry soap. We do tons of laundry and it is a significant expense! Just a tip I got from someone else who makes their own: They put the bar soap in a food processor and then add the other ingredients. Apparently blends everything perfectly. Thanks for this awesome site! Loving it!

    • Nina says

      This could be the answer to my dilemma – I am having trouble grating my soap so will definitely give this a try. Not only caking up on the grater but arthritis is restrictive in how long I can grate.
      Thanks for the tip.

      • Amber says

        If grating the soap by hand is too difficult, you can try using a food processor. That works great and much less manual labor.

  228. Carol says

    I use 1 Tbsp. stirred 5 min. into almost boiling water (1 cup). Using Fels, soda and borax. Top loading machine. Hard water. Works fine.

    Wondering what you all use for stain remover. When it is in the right spot I can wet the fabric and scrub Fels into the stain. When it is hard to get at, like shoe polish along the bottom hem of pants let) I still resort to spray. Any ideas?

    • amber says

      The best spot remover is dawn soap mixed with peroxcide. I used it on a shirt that was covered in blood and it took it completely out. Found it on pinterest. It didn’t have exact measurements, but I just mixed it about 1 part dawn to 2 parts peroxcide.

      • Sandie says

        Just a note of caution when using peroxide – it can and will bleach colors out, so I would only use on whites.

        • Sherry says

          I have used Hydrogen Peroxide the normal I think 3 % strength for years to get blood and other organic stains out of scrubs for years and so have my co workers. It has never bleach our colors out.
          Is there a different peroxide you are speaking of?

          • Sandie says

            Hi Sherry – I think Peroxide is probably only a problem on some new clothing items. Some colors will bleach out with Peroxide, so best to just test in case..

          • Ericka says

            Hi Sherry.
            My niece is in college, and needs to clean her white scrubs, How do you use the Peroxide, Do you pour it directly into the blood stains? Or you pour it into the Machine?

  229. Elizabeth says

    Someone may have already asked this question, but there are so many comments that I didn’t have time to go through every one. My question is: Instructions are 1-2 tbsp per load, but is that the same measurement you use for top-load washers? Top-load washers usually take more. I’m thinking for top load, it’ll be about 1/4 or 1/2 cup. I’m pressing for time, as I have already sent a message to diy natural earlier on Fb and have not heard back, so I think tonight I’ll use 3 tbsp, just b/c I’m not sure at this point and we need our laundry done for the morning. Goodnight and thanks for a great recipe! I hope someone can answer my question.

  230. Becky says

    I have been using a version of this recipe for almost 6 months now. The only difference is that I use Fels-Naptha. I have a HE washer/dryer and this has worked wonderfully! And, it got the wierd moldy smell out of my towels! I recommed this to everyone. We haven’t had any allergic reaction, but I still use baby soap for my baby. I also put in my fabric softner because I like the smell.

  231. Ruth says

    Has anyone else had problems with this detergent causing itchy skin? My family is struggling with my change to this soap. Is that any particular ingredient that may be harsh that I could substitute another ingredient for. I also added (per someone’s suggestion) a box of OxyClean. Could this be the problem? Thanks for any ideas or help.

    • Sharon says

      I think oxyclean is the same as the borax with 2x the price. Maybe try an additional rinse?

      • Amory says

        I’ve heard to use 1/2-1 cup white vinegar in your Downy ball as a softener AND rinse agent. They said it will not make your clothes smell bad, just line dried. And removes old detergent build-up as well. I haven’t tried it myself, but I will! We use vinegar for everything. Good luck… Can’t have itchy kiddos!

    • Michelle says

      I, myself, got itchy when I used IVORY as a child, so I suggest trying one of the other brands of solid soaps listed. I like fels napha personally. Good luck

  232. tweetybird says

    I have tried this recipe and used Ivory soap, but the soap does not disolve and floats on top of the water. I stored it in a plastic coffee can, could it be that it is not air tight enough. The soap felt really hard and I could not even mash it between my fingers. Could I possible have gotten old soap?

    • Sharon says

      I cook my ingredients making liquid instead… for the same reason. I think it will not dissolve because of your hard water. I found out that the water (4 cups) recommended to cook and dissolve the powders needed to be increased to 8 cups and the temp. needed to be increased to almost a rolling boil. I found that if the water was not hot enough it did not melt the pdrs and the soap. I used the Zote bar and love it. When it sat over night and gelled up, I stirred it again filled my storage containers 1/2 with water and 1/2 with my soap concentrate. Add your favorite scent oils shake and bamm, wash! Patchouli oil is absolutely the BEST scent oil out there!

  233. Tish says

    I have a friend who made this for me but it was in liquid form and it was great. I used it and now I looking for the ingredients and found it on your website. Thanks~~

  234. Lolly says

    I’m not arguing whether this is safe for septic systems or not – i would think that it is – but how can you say it contains zero sodium? That’s what Borax and washing SODA are – sodium.

    • QuarterSwede says

      Borax is known to be septic system safe but it definitely contains sodium. It can be called: sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate. I’d like to know why they claim this myself.

    • colby says

      who said it contained zero sodium, and why is that bad that it contains sodium

      • tweetybird says


  235. stephanie says

    Do you put the detergent in the detergent dispenser on the washer even though it’s powder??? Or do you just put it in the drum???

    • Darcie says

      I have an HE front loading washer, it has a cup to use for liquid detergent. When you use powder detergent you just take the cup out and put the detergent directly into the slot where the cup was. I’ve been using this powder formula for about a month and it works GREAT!!!

      • QuarterSwede says

        We’ve been doing the same with out top loading HE washer (pouring the powder down the same liquid chute). Apparently on a Maytag Bravos (love it) the manual calls for that when using powder.

  236. Carol says

    Hi all,
    I was just thinking. So if we are buying 3 laundry items at the store and mixing them together, is this really homemade? Well, yes it is. But, I’m thinking why not just use the washing soda? Is it that the borax and Fels make the washing soda clean better? Do they make it cheaper overall?

    Thanks for the conversation,

      • Marti says

        I just love your idynatural website. I have learned a lot and love some of the humor along with it… “Peter Pan” peanut butter….lol. I love your homemade HE washing machine soap…. works wonderful…… thanks….. 🙂
        Things are tough out there and I feel for the younger folks. It was tough for me living on my own and later being married with raising young kids.I did learn a lot from my grandparents on saving and reuse. Now my kids are on their own and take any advice on saving tips, so I share your website with everyone. We all thank you both for putting up this wonderful site.

      • Anne says

        Okay I have been on several sites I really like this one. One thing i can say is when you get your bar soap. leave it out in the open to dry out that way when you grate it will be easier to work with i also did this after i grated it

  237. holly says

    what temp do use hot or cold cause i wash everything in cold i would like to use the powder one ???

    • john says

      if you use powder make sure its hot so it will dissolve well but you can switch too warm or cold after. I used warm first time didn’t fair too well plus i used way too much thinking a tablespoon wouldn’t be enough, it is believe me.

  238. john says

    Matt<first time making your recipe,and i used the Fels Naptha,and i only used about two cups shaved and the 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda and i also used the vinegar as fabric softener and i will say the wash turned out great… although i had one blue shirt had a white ring around the front so my question is did i use too much detergent or vinegar?when i put the soap in i used about a cup is that too much for a medium size load of wash?weening off of the liquid thanks sincerely John Birchfield

  239. Megan says

    I’m amazed no one has asked this yet, so I will. What about the toxic “fragrance” in ivory soap? Doesn’t it defeat the entire purpose of natural and safe laundry soaps??
    I just can’t wrap my head around why on Earth you would use it.

  240. Tiffany says

    First of all thank you for a wonderful site, I have really enjoyed learning!
    I am new to this “natural” thing. Started out in trying to improve the quality
    & choices of food in our home, & it has of course gotten me to think about what I use in my home & on my body. My question is about borax. I have seen many comments on other sites questioning the safety of it. Didn’t know if you had any thoughts on this. Thank you!

    • Matt Jabs says

      It’s as toxic as salt, so if you ingest huge amounts it will make you sick. Using it sparingly in cleaning products is non-toxic.

      • Kat says

        Actually, borax is pretty toxic if ingested, more toxic than salt. I’ve read many websites saying it’s not as “green” as some would hope. But, the biggest warning I’ve read is that if you use it for cleaning, keep it away from the kitchen area. I’m guessing that since it’s rinsed out and not left on like a cleaning spray might be, and we don’t eat our clothes, it’s safe for laundry.

        • Holly says

          Actually Borax has been used in dish washing detergent(to wash dishes that we EAT off of ) and also it is used in many recipes for household cleaners. It is only toxic if ingested in large amounts, and nowhere near as toxic as most detergents and cleaners used in a home( such as bleach, Lysol, 409, even cascade & finish)

        • colby says

          looks like both of our post got deleted so i will post here, your article from the cdc doesn’t take into account the chemical reaction of borax, see when borax aka Na2B4O7 • 10H2O combines with h2O what happens is it shares an extra O molecule (oxygen) turning the water into a 3% hydrogen peroxide mixture which is one of the best disinfectants out there, this reaction happens best in warm water which is why the box suggest you dissolve the borax in a bucket of warm water.. So by itself no it isn’t a disinfectant but once you add water it becomes one. The CDC didn’t look at a solution of borax to h2o or any other liquids they essentially just poured the powder in a agros gell dish and after a given time removed the powder and checked bacterial growth, ( this is something i do for a living so i know) they don’t add a water based mixture to the gell because it will curve the results but once you balance the molecular properties it forms a mixture of boric acid and hydrogen peroxide

          Second it has a 9.5 ph level meaning that it will boost other cleaners like bleach.

          third, it inhibits the metabolism of organisms or bacteria which kills them.

          MSDS, first when it says not available that doesn’t mean there is no research into it, if you look at salts MSDS it says the exact same thing and they know the chronic risk of salt is hypertension etc… it just means that the research they did on borax found that it by itself doesn’t harm you, not applicable is there way of saying our tests and studies say its safe but we have to cover our butts so we cant be sued.

  241. Teresa says

    I just pulled out my Zote bar after being in storage for 2 years. It melted right through the knife and turned to powder. I took the larger pieces and placed them in my vitamix and blended on high. I think more ended up in the air when I opened the lid then in the container. I would suggest keeping the lid on for a minute or two to help settle the particles. I then mixed it with the 4 cups of each ingredient listed above. It cleaned my clothes wonderfully. The Zote powder was baby fine and easy to mix. Buy some and store for awhile.

  242. Shari says

    I have been making my own laundry soap for 7 months now, and I love it. Today I needed to get more ingredients, in my area washing soda is so hard to find. I see this box of “BIZ”, check out the ingredients and what do I find?! Sodium Percarbonate (oxiclean), and Sodium Carbonate (washing soda) , some fabric brighteners and enzymes. So Im wondering, why dont we use this in our laundry soap?? I was buying these ingredients seperate, and they are all in this nice little cardboard box, so here I am thinking I need to tell more people about this.
    Im very hopefull this will make my brewing of the laundry soap a wee bit easier as this is abundantly found in my area.
    It is also safe for HE machines and Septic systems!

    • Matt says

      You can make your own washing soda (sodium carbonate) from baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) by baking the baking soda in a glass pan in a 400F oven for about 20 to 30 minutes and stirring it every 5 to 10 minutes. This works best if you sift the baking soda first. Baking soda is much cheaper (13.5lb bag at Sam’s for $6.68) than washing soda and also much easier to find. I’ve heard that some farm supply stores have 50lb bags of baking soda for around $9.

  243. samantha says

    I found your site just yesterday and made the powdered laundry soap and have already washed 3 loads of laundry in my front load washer and so far no clogs. The recipe is super easy to make which I like. My husband and I LOVE it! Now I’m off to buy ingrediants for several other recipes I found here.
    Thank You all sooo much.

  244. Diane says

    I love this recipe and have been using it for about a year now. I use Zote soap, and because the bar is so large, I can get 3 batches from each one. 1/3 bar Zote, and 1 cup each of borax and washing soda. I grate my soap with my “Salad Shooter”, and put it in the freezer for 5 minutes to harden. Then I run the whole recipe through my food processor to mix it thoroughly.

  245. Eileen Clifton says

    Does this soap work in regular washing machines (top loaders, not HE)? Also, how does this dissolve in cold water? I have not had success using powders because of dissolving issues. There would be big clumps of detergent left on the clothes when washed in cold water.

    • Matt Jabs says

      Works great in any washer. For best dissolving blend ingredients using a food processor.

  246. Lauren says

    I have been using the recipe with the Ivory for a couple of weeks. I love, love, love the smell but the problem I am having is that a lot of my toddler’s clothes are coming out still dirty. It mostly looks like oily stains and I am pre-treating with Seventh Generation dish soap. Any other suggestions to get food stains out better? I’m probably gonna try the Fels-Naptha for the next batch and see if that helps.

    • Matt Jabs says

      This is the best laundry soap to use with septic tanks because it contains zero sodium and zero fillers (like montmorillonite clay) that cause commercial powder detergents to clog lines. It is also completely non-toxic so it will not harm necessary septic bacteria like toxic detergents and antibacterial soaps. Use with confidence.

  247. Mom says

    One of my friends in Northern Michigan who helped me promote your book on her Facebook page started making a 5 gallon batch of your detergent melting the Fels Naptha soap and making a liquid version. Then she started selling it to her Facebook friends! She is quite an entrepreneur!

  248. Michelle Renee says

    I made this detergent about a month ago and love it but recently saw something about either the washing soda or borax (I dont remember which one) that it breaks down the elastic in clothes after a while. has anyone had any problems with that or heard the same thing?

  249. Heather :) :) :) says

    I’ve been making my own homemade laundry powder for a few years now. It’s great stuff, cleans wonderfully and is just pennies per load. I agree with you about the HE machines. It’s all a gimmick when you have to buy special “HE” formula laundry detergents. Yuck… In any case, I like my version because I know exactly what is going into the product I”m using to clean my clothes. Greetings from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

  250. Mona says

    I was making this recipe for over a year and loved it! However, we started noticing a dingy appearance to our clothes. I ran out of homemade soap and we bought some detergent and noticed a distinct difference in our clothes…the dinginess was gone. HELP! I hate buying detergent but I also hate the dingy appearance. Any suggestions??

  251. Evy MacPhee says

    Which one for top loading machines, please?

    Thank you!

    I am going to make it.

  252. pamela says

    I have to be honest, my husband and I used this for six months, and we weren’t happy. I really wanted it to work, since I invested in the materials, and it was better for the environment, etc., etc., but it made our clothes all splotchy. It was especially bad with our “reds”, and we wear red shirts to work everyday. So we looked awful. I used Felz-Naptha. Maybe that was the problem? Sometimes the soap looked like it never dissolved in the wash. It would be caked in clumps on our jeans. We moved and just bought our first washer and dryer (we were using a laundromat with HE washers before), and I am too scared to put this through my expensive washing machine, so we went back to Seventh Generation. Costly, but our reds come out like they are supposed to. Thanks for the recipe, but it’s not for me.

    • Matt Jabs says

      If you want to try I have two suggestions: 1) use different soap, like maybe Ivory 2) blend soap shavings into powder with other ingredients using a food processor.

    • colby says

      sorry to hear about that, i have heard a couple of people have that issue, i recommend trying the liquid version, it takes a little more time but less chance of issues.
      1/2 c. grated soap
      1/2 c. borax
      1/2 c. washing soda
      10-12 c. soap

      so take 2 c, of water and boil it on the stove, slowly add in the grated soap, lower the temperature so that the soap doesn’t rapidly boil just a slow simmer like boil. once soap is dissolved move into a container, preferably one big enough to stir like a stock pot,
      once in container add the washing soda, borax and remaining water, mix really well, try to smash any clumps from the powders before hand.
      Let sit over night it will be extremely gelatinous and almost jello like. mix really well with a wire whisk or a mixer, you can usually get it smooth almost cream-like but there will be little clumps throughout the mixture, use 1\4 c. for normal to large loads and 1/2 for extra large and heavily soiled. you can use whatever water temp, (you have to use hot to dissolve the powder from of this recipe)

      you never have an issue with undissolved soap and it does extend the amount. this recipe will make around 35-50 loads. Ps. Fels naptha shouldn’t have an issue in this recipe, i prefer it because of the smell and the cleaning ability. i have used this recipe for 5+ years and have never ever been disappointed, actually i converted my aunt who was a tide freak. she never ever ever used anything other then tide.

      also this should be fine in any HE washer, the borax and washing soda are HE compatible and the amount of soap is negligible and if it does bubble it doesn’t last 30 sec, i have used this with normal and he and haven’t had an issue yet

    • Maren says

      We haven’t had success with it either. The first few weeks I felt like it worked great, but lately our clothes have a really weird smell. I washed them with regular detergent and it went away, but as soon as I started using the homemade detergent the smell came back. Anyone know what is causing this?? I would love to go back to the homemade kind?

  253. Amanda says

    I’ve been using/making this for years ~ except I boil mine for liquid detergent. Works fabulous, and has helped with allergies. It’s a wonder laundry soap companies are still in business! Thank you for sharing.

    • colby says

      i know right, ive made this for 5+ years and also make a liquid version, and it will take an Apocalypse to make me go back to store bought, and even then we might not live to see that so im content as of right now. i love my detergent

    • Vicki Burns says

      The same recipe? I’ve been using the dry for 6 mos. and have suddenly started getting allergic reactions. Must change something immediately!

    • Vicki Burns says

      How much water to how much powder?
      I’ve been using this dry for 6 mos. and just started with rashes. Maybe the “liquid” version would be better. Getting desperate!

  254. Kimberly says

    I used the Fels-Naptha and have been stirring what seems like forever!!! Does the bar soap have to be completely broken down into a powder for this to work? It just doesn’t seem to be breaking down all that great!!

    • Steve says

      Check out Christine’s post above. If you microwave it at a low power it’ll drive the water off without melting the FN and it will practically crumble into a fine powder.

  255. Carol says

    Working on making my first batch of the powdered version. I really appreciate the recipe and all the helpful comments.

    I do have to say that “around 5 minutes to create” is a bit of an exaggeration though. It took me almost 10 just to grate the (Fels) soap with a hand grater. Not that 10 minutes is horrible. But, if you grate for 5, and stir for 5 then you can’t make it is 5.

    That aside, I’m glad to find this site and all the helpful things you put on it!


  256. joanne says

    My family and I have eczema.I looked up Felsnaptha and it lists fragrance. I will look up zote. since Ivory was listed can I just go ahead and use ,my dove soap?? thanks

    • colby says

      you could definatly give it a try. What type do you make the liquid version or the powdered version. From what i understand the liquid version is better for eczema.

      So make a smaller batch of this and try it, i don’t know how well it will clean if you use dove, they have more moisturizers in their soap, that means less cleaners, also you can try dr bonners soap, you essentially can use any soap you can buy at the store, but fels naptha i feel is the nest for cleaning.

      tell us if the dove works.

    • Amber says

      I don’t think I would use Dove because it has a lot of moisturizers in it. It may leave oil stains on your clothes. You can leave the soap out all together if you would like. Also, using a vinegar rinse will strip any remaining residue out of the cloth so the fragrance shouldn’t be a problem.

    • Jen says

      I don’t know how those soaps will work for you, but I’ve heard great things about using Kirk’s castille for people with eczema, psoriasis, and skin allergies.

      My hubby is sensitive to fragrances and certain detergents and he loves Kirk’s and olive oil soaps.

  257. Kristi says

    I have been using this for about a month or so and like it, but noticed the clothes my son urinates in (has nightime accidents) still smells like urine. What can I do to get the smell out? Thanks!

    • Amber says

      I have a son who has frequent accidents and don’t have this problem. I use Fels-Naptha and I also add an equal part of SUN brand oxygen cleaner. I also use a vinegar rinse. Hope this helps. 🙂

      • Kristi says

        I also use Fels Naptha and have now tried the oxi-clean. I also use vinegar as the fabric softener. Everything washed with the urine saturated clothes is still coming out smelling like urine! I don’t know what else to try!

        • Jen says

          I had the same problem (I have a special needs dog with incontinence problems). I ended up having to go back to Tide/Arm & Hammer (w/bleach for whites, oxiclean for colors) to get the smell out. I also had to run a “clean” cycle in my washer to remove the odor completely and keep it from setting into other loads of laundry.

          You might also try doubling the baking soda, see if that helps at all. It didn’t for me, but it may for you depending on your water quality.

  258. Christine says

    Another good tip is to put the bar of soap in the microwave. Watch it carefully because it will quadruple in size. When it comes out it will be drier, then throw it in the food processor. Comes out dry and powdery.

    • Steve says

      Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. My mother-in-law has arthritis in her hands and has to call her son or grandson to come over and grate the Fels Naptha for her (she lives 600 miles away or I’d grate it for her). I tried it here and will share this with her. I put a bar on a soup plate and heated it at 50% power for 30 seconds and kept repeating the process until the soap expanded, then used a hand chopper to turn it into a fine powder.

      • Jessica says

        Jennifer, yes. I do an experiment with my students with Ivory soap. It will look like sand hit my lightening if you get it right. Sand turns to crystal when heated hot enough-incase you didn’t know.

  259. Lisa says

    Thank you sooo much for the easy to follow recipe for laundry soap! I am using the dry version with Zote….beautiful results and wonderful aroma! Can’t thank you enough!

  260. Steve says

    I’ve been using this recipe for 5 months now and the results are great. I gave the recipe to my mother-in-law 3 months ago and she’s been telling me that the wash is cleaner than it’s ever been. I added an equal part of sodium percarbonate (the main ingredient in Oxi-Clean) to the mix which helped whiten things a little more for me. My MIL tried adding the sodium percarbonate and it didn’t make any difference. It’s probably the water.

    Thanks for your recipe.

  261. Anne says

    Since one of the main ingredients of Dr. Bonner’s bar soap is coconut oil I guess Elaine’s info answers my question! Thank you

  262. Louise Baker says

    Elaine, do you have a link or a recipe for that home made soap? What are the proportions of lard to coconut oil? It sounds great!

  263. Elaine says

    I make my own laundry soap using a combination of lard and coconut oil. Also, if you add your ingredients (inckuding the shaved soap) into a food processor and pulse for a few seconds, it makes a really fine powder. I also find adding vinegar with a splash of range essential oil works wonders–my laundry is super soft.

  264. Anne says

    Can I use “Dr. Bonner’s” bar soap in place of the Ivory soap? It has many natural scents.

  265. Angela says

    @ Cyndi, I have a lot of luck finding it at Ace Hardware. If this is an option for you I would check it out.

  266. Cyndi says

    Ok so it appears that everyone is making their own laundry detergent these days and that’s a good thing! Maybe the big names will take note and get real.

    However…my dilemma is: I cannot EVER find Fels Naptha! It’s .97 a bar in our local Walmart, and it’s never-ever there! People are buying every bar off the shelf as it’s stocked. 10-12 bars at a time! So I went online and sure enough it’s on Amazon and Ebay at double the cost plus shipping and handling. This just pisses me to pieces! Kinda defeats the purpose of making your own.

    • Elaine says

      If you have an Ace hardware near you, try there. That’s where I gotmine and it was less than$1

    • Jessica says

      If you live in texas you can request HEB to get you things, and hold certain amounts of them for you. I think kroger and randalls does as well. When in doubt- ask. on amazon- look for prime shipping. If you have a student email acct its free shiping.

  267. Ashley says

    Ok, I have a HE washer and I have a stupid do you put the powder in with the clothes…or do I put it in the release box at the top? I have always just used liquid soap and put it in the release box…

    • Cynthia says

      Not stupid at all, Ashley! I put mine in with the clothes, so it doesn’t get caked up in the top.

    • Michelle says

      I was wondering the same thing? Look in your owners manual. I found that my machine’s soap dispenser adjusts to a different setting for dry soap vs liquid. Good luck!

  268. Nancy Young says

    I have been using the homemade laundry soap for several weeks now. It cleans as well as Arm & Hammer, plus, I was adding borax/washing soda to it. I cleans my husband’s really dirty clothes just as well. I was so happy to find Zote at my local grocery. I used Ivory for the first batch. I live in a rural area and do not have access to lots of things. Thanks!

  269. Kim says

    Oh and make sure you grate the soap first … i tried cutting it up and doing it but my blender couldn’t handle it .. crappy 10.00 blender … burnt it out … oh well back to hand mixing sigh