The Original Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Homemade 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. Making your own laundry powder is fast, easy, and inexpensive.

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

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

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

Note: This 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

I purchased all these ingredients at my local grocery store:

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

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

Pictorial Instructions

For visual leaners, 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:

Homemade Laundry Detergent 2

3. My shaved bar looked like this:

Homemade Laundry Detergent 3

4. Add 1 cup of borax:

Homemade Laundry Detergent 4

5. Add 1 cup of washing soda:

Homemade Laundry Detergent 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 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

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

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

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

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

        • Rachel,

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

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

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

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

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

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

          WOW! White Vinegar? who knew!

          Overall do you prefer the dry soap, or Liquid?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Cheryl-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  2. I’ve been wanting to try this for a while. I’ve seen other recipes that use liquid detergent, but the compact size of this looks promising. Thanks for sharing!

    Corporate Barbarian’s last blog post..Scotts EZ Seed Progress Update, Week 5

  3. I, like Kelly, am going to try this when my super size enviro-friendly version runs out (although this is probably less environmentally friendly…). But – its cheap! And I like cheap =)

    Heather’s last blog post..Bristol Tickets Open to Public: Good for the Economy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Where do you live Robby?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Robby-

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


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

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

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

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

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

      Our results have been incredibly positive!

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • EE-

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  13. Matt,

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

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

    • Cara-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      I do always catch the stain before washing to pretreat.

      What do you do since you have a large family.


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

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


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









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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hey Nicole:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  36. I just made up a double batch. My yield was 3-1/2 cups – making 56 loads at about 2.5 cents per load! I was able to find a couple of the ingredients for even less, driving the cost way down. This is a keeper :)
    .-= Nicki at Domestic Cents´s last blog ..Fleece Fringe Scarf =-.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  40. This is GREAT! I’m looking for ways to save in 2010 and I’m adding this to the list. Thanks Matt!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    • Hi Kimberly,

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Jackie,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Kelly (and all other FrontLoad Owners)

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

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

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

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

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

      Love the money savings & much cleaner clothes!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  72. I have done this with great results.

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

    My results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Debra,

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  87. I would say try using just baking soda in place of washing soda, or try adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to the recipe above.

  88. DEAR Mr.JACS,



  89. Hi! I LOVE this recipe! Would you mind if I included it in my blog, “The HomeMaid Mom” at [email protected]? I will link to this page for the great picture tutorial! Thanks! -Sarah

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

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

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

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

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

      The truth? Borax has the same toxicity as salt.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

        happy soaping!

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Once again, thank you very much for the recipe!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      This stuff works miracles!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks again.

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

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

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

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

    Thanks again for posting this!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  138. Matt,

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

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

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

  141. Do you use a heaping tablespoon or a level tablespoon?

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

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

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

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

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

    In the process of making our own shower soap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  153. @ Trisha

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I’m really looking forward to trying this!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  166. Randy,

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  173. I started making my own laundry detergent last year and was impressed with how long it lasted but felt the Fels Naptha was a little expensive…glad to see other bars of soap work too!

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

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

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

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

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

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

  179. what a happy accident finding your site!! I’ve used washing soda and borax as a boost for regular laundry detergent for years! tried your soap making recipe this morning with a bar of Dr Bonners peppermint soap and I absolutely love it!! I used a planer to shave the soap and when