Homemade Laundry Soap {picture tutorial}

5 / 5 (1 review)

Hey Y’all! Marji here with a way to save BIG money on laundry soap. I have been using this homemade laundry soap for a year and I LOVE it!  I learned how to make it at a church meeting. The person who taught us got the recipe from the Duggars (the family with 19 kids)! One batch of it has lasted me a whole year, that is almost $200 in savings for my family. We were going through a large thing of laundry soap a month. With 4 little kids we do lots of laundry and have lots of dirt and stains. This soap is awesome!! We have a HE machine and it works great in it and you use less than in a top loading machine.

Here is what you need to make it:


I found all the ingredients at my local Kroger Store. I have also seen borax and the washing soda at Wal-Mart. I bought them a year ago and don’t remember the total cost for all 3, but I’m pretty sure it was under $6 for everything and you will get multiple batches from the borax and washing soda. They sell them all on Amazon, but they are cheaper at your local store. Here is how you make it:


grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with 4 cups of water.


Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted

melted soap

Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water, I have a nice big kitchen sink that it fit in, if you don’t have a big enough sink, use your bathtub.


Add melted soap


washing soda


and Borax


Stir well until all the powder is dissolved.


Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.


After it has thickened overnight you can put it in the dispenser of your choice. It is very thick and gel like, use a big spoon to stir it.  I use a measuring cup and funnel to put equal parts of soap and hot water into the old detergent bottle, shake it up and you are ready to go!

DSC_0062 DSC_0063DSC_0064 DSC_0065

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

Try it and you’ll love it! It smells really good, but doesn’t leave a scent on your clothes. You can add essential oils to the soap after it is cooled, but I haven’t tried that so I’m not much help there. I have used Downy Unstopables for linens and other things that I enjoy a good scent on. I hope you enjoy saving so much money on laundry soap as I do!

Here is an adorable jar to put it all in:

glass jar

Glass Jar 1 Gallon

See how I make homemade fabric softener!

Homemade Laundry Soap {picture tutorial}

5 / 5 (1 review)
Yield: 10 gallons


  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha Soap (other options Ivory for sensitive skin or Pink Zote)
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda!)
  • 5 gallon bucket and lid


  1. Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with 4 cups of water.
  2. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted
  3. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water, I have a nice big kitchen sink that it fit in, if you don’t have a big enough sink, use your bathtub.
  4. Add melted soap,washing soda, and Borax. Stir well until all the powder is dissolved
  5. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken
  6. After it has thickened overnight you can put it in the dispenser of your choice. It is very thick and gel like, use a big spoon to stir it. I use a measuring cup and funnel to put equal parts of soap and hot water into the old detergent bottle, shake it up and you are ready to go!


Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads) Front Load Machine- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

Comments & Reviews

  • Jennifer

    I have been anxiously waiting to run out of detergent so can make my own and never buy it again! I wanted to add that if scent is important try steeping some lavender or other dried flower in the hot water like you would tea before adding the soap. (Lavender promotes restfulness in children too!) Also if you put vinegar in the rinse water there is (supposedly) no need for fabric softener. Thanks for the recipe!!

  • Heather

    I first saw this recipe in the Duggar family’s first book. I’be been using this since last May and had to make my second “batch” 3 weeks ago! I love it!

  • gerbilmom

    WOW cant wait ot try!!!

  • Victoria

    Do you know if you can use this in place of the HE stuff. I was told to only put that in my washer?

  • Rhonda

    After the grated soap melts, I add in the Borax and the washing soda and allow it to dissolve in the pot. The powders will scratch a non-stick pan, though, so be careful.


  • Sarah h

    I am so going to try this!!! I’ve seen other “recipes” that recommend using essential oils for scent!

  • Corey

    You can also leave in the bucket and scoop it out each time you do laundry. No diluting into bottles necessary, and it lasts for months. I prefer to use 1c. each washing soda and borax, and will sometimes mix in a cheaper liquid detergent (something blue) to counteract the yellow from the Naptha soap. I find it keeps whites whiter longer (instead of yellowing), but YMMV.

    I picked up a $5 paint stirrer from Lowe’s, and use my husband’s cordless drill (with the stirrer) to mix up the gelled detergent.

    Also, if you like essential oils, you can add a few drops when the mixture is still hot to give it a nice scent.

    And as for HE use, it does not foam up a lot at all when being used, so it may be okay. Check around, though, and see what other HE users are saying.

  • FurgalMT

    I have a HE and only use homemade dry laundry detergent. I like really dry soap, w I also make my own soap though and it takes for ever for it to get dry enough to grate down to the consistency l like – but I love it once it gets there.

    1 Cup Grated Soap – Nel’s Naptha
    1/2 cup borax
    1/2 cup washing soda

    Finely grate soap, combine with borax and washing soda. I mix mine in a food processor, use 1 Tablespoon per load – will last up to 30 loads

    My mom used it to take mechanic grease out of her white carpet – she rubbed the soap in to the grease and vacummed up. Wish I had pictures of before and after – she doesn’t have a digital camera, so it’s her word. My sister, BIL & dad say she’s telling the truth, and dad couldn’t believe how well it worked – he’s a skeptic for sure.

    • Jess

      could i use ivory soap for the dry recipe, too? (just trying to use out of my stockpile vs picking up something else) Thank You! … were talking about making a batch of both, the liquid and the powder 🙂

      • FurgalMT

        i’m sure you can as long as its not a moisturizing bar, use any soap you want. The moisturizing soaps have extra oils in them, which can leave a residue.

      • sue

        yes you can use the plain ivory bar just make sure it is not a moistening bar. make sure you use at least 4ozs you can use a 3oz and half of a another bar. I just put everything in my blender about 1 cup at a time and make a fine powder. After I grate the soap up.

    • thriftyqueen

      I have been using this homemade soap for over 3 yrs. I use to melt it into a liquid and boy what a mess. Now, I just use the food processor and grate 6 bars and combine the other ingreds and use it dry. I use about arnd a Tablespoon in my old top load extra large washer. I do 2-3 loads per week and it last me 8-9 months. I LOVE THIS STUFF!!!! I have found it is less harmful on the colors because it does not contain the detergents and other chem that store bought soap has. Everyone should try it!! Cost arnd .30 a load.

    • January

      If you are trying to get a finer consistency on the Fels Naptha, I read another blog from a lady that makes the powdered version. She puts the bar of soap in the microwave for 30-60 seconds which softens it, then cuts it into cubes. You can then put it in a blender/mixer (the small ones that you can get at Walmart are great and inexpensive – easy clean up). Then you blend up the soap with washing soda and then add the borax and blend until it’s a fine powder. You should find this is much easier. Hope this helps 🙂

      • ChristalE

        Just made the dried version I trippled the ingredients and used one bar of the Fels-nada soap and 2 white zotes. I grated first using the medium and large sections on my old cheese grater along with a 22 oz bottle of Purex Crystals (they are the laundry sent boosters for about $4.89 at Wal-mart). Then I blended everything together in my food processor for about 10min. It was like blue and white powder kinda reminded me of tied BUT smelled WAY BETTER! And I cleaned my whites and colors amazingly! I’M IN LOVE!!! <3

        • Jen

          Learned a couple tricks…
          Cut in half. 2-3 minutes in the microwave, and it looks like Jabba the Hut. Let it set to dry out. When it’s cool, it will literally crumble. If you continue to let it crumble, it will crush like powder.
          If you have a favorite laundry soap, you can use this to extend it. Two ways: (1) If you choose to go with the liquid version, simply add the brand name one to the finished product. It will take on the smell of the name brand detergent and last much longer. (2) If you choose the dry version, use about 1/4 the recommended amount of brand name and 1/2 the recommended amount of the homemade dry detergent. It will come out great!
          For those who were talking about dinginess, regardless of what you use, if you use too much, it will become too dingy…
          Use cold water. Use half of what name brand tells you to use. Make sure clothes are rinsed well. I love white vinegar, because it doesn’t stink afterwards, but if does help rid the clothes of the suds.

  • Robyn Lawrence

    I don’t want to be a negative nellie but has anyone else found that this fades your clothes? I wonder if I left the Borax out if it wouldn’t fade things as much? Thoughts?

    • Kathy

      I have been using this for a year now and have not found it to fade the clothing … ???

    • Marji

      I haven’t noticed any fading on my clothes and I have been using it for a year. When you consider how much borax is actually in each load, it is pretty minuscule (1/2 cup for the whole batch).

    • Leanna

      I have found this does not fade clothes as compared to regular detergent that does.

    • Amber

      I have noticed fading and a slight build up in our machine. I am going to try using ivory in our next batch to see if it makes any difference. I also use vinegar in my rinse when I wash a load of towels to counteract the build up.

    • Stephanie H.

      My neighbor saw I purchased an HE front loader and made the comment that she hated the unit because it faded her clothes. I haven’t had any fading issues, in fact our clothes are beautiful when they come out compared to before (horrible top loader memories). I wonder if the type of machine is affecting your clothes? Or even your water type?

    • Michelle

      I have too noticed fading to my clothes… wondering if there is another recipe that would not fade clothes.

    • laura

      I’ve been using this recipe for over a year now and it works great but it does seem like my black and navy clothes don’t keep their color like they did when I used Tide.

    • Kristie

      I used a bucketful—-I just noticed my whites got grayer and grayer

      • Jacque

        I read on another site that sometimes when you switch to the homemade soap, there is a build up of gunk inside your washer from using commercial soap. This starts coming off (due to the switch) and gets onto your clothes. They recommended running an empty wash cycle with the homemade soap before you start washing clothes with it.

  • fatima

    That is so cool!!! never thought you can make your own laundry detergent. I will definitely try it !!!! Thank you for sharing.

  • Sara Bateman

    IT works great. I will NEVER buy laundry soap again.

  • Danielle

    Works great makes a ton and I’ve even given a couple bottles away to friends.

    You can also set the bucket on the counter and use the spray nozzle to fill from the kitchen sink.

    I have also made the dishwasher detergent and my dishes are also sparkly clean. Check check, never have to buy those 2 things again!

  • kate

    You can also use Ivory soap as the soap base for your laundry detergent, we found that our daughter was allergic to something in the nel soap. You can also experiment with different kinds of basic soaps bars. I would not try dove or anything like that . This is really fun to play around with. I have been making my own laundry soap and cleaner for about 3-4 years because of my daughters allergies and excema.

    • melissa

      how do i make it step by step bc i got two small children and one has really bad excema and i dont want him to break out any more than he is. please and thank you.

  • Monica Dixon

    I use the Duggars powdered detergent and we love it! I do not like the smell of the fels-naptha soap, plus we have kids with eczema, so we use Ivory soap.

    I quarter one bar into my food processor and give it a whirl until its broken up and then add 1C washing soda and 1/2 C borax. I have a HE machine and use 1T per load. I have not noticed any fading. 🙂 Love it and it saves $$! 🙂

    • Marji

      i didn’t know you could use the powder in the HE machine, i might have to try that next time!

    • Tiffany Simmons

      I’ve been making the soap now for almost a year (the dry soap), and when I make it I double up and use a bar of fels naptha and a bar of ivory, I found it really helps the clothes to do both. I’m actually making a big batch today n a 5 gallon bucket bc just ran out. I have really sensitive skin, my husband has psoriasis and i have 2 young kids so try and watch what I use and have found this is the best for our skin and don’t make any of us itchy. This soap last the longest for us bc always a lot of clothes to wash bc live with my parents. Really helps with my dad’s clothes bc they get lots of grease and oil on them especially asphalt oil (he hauls asphalt oil).

  • Leanna

    We use ping ZOTE instead of the Fels Naptha.

  • Leanna

    that would be pink 🙂

  • Fatima

    @ Danielle, do you mind sharing how to make the dishwasher detergent ??

  • I’ve been trying to find the Washing Soda to try and make dish detergent. Does anybody know where to find it in the Seattle area? I’ve found it on Amazon for $8.26 (55 oz) but the comments said that this was a super high price; is that a good price or should I keep looking?

  • mj

    I have been using this for about a year now and it is the only thing that I have found to get the grease out of my husbands clothes, my kids also would get rashes from other laundry soaps but when i switched to using this they cleared right up. But I use about half the water that the recipe calls for. I have a top loader and only use about a half cup per large load. I have found the condensed version cuts grease better. And I add lemon essential oil to mine just a few drops it smells so good. You can also use white vinegar in place of fabric softener and it helps keep the colors from fading i hear. 2 gal. of vinegar at Costco is around $3-$4. If you line dry in the summer it also helps the clothes not get that cardboard feeling.

  • Sarah

    I make this all the time but I use a different washing bar that I found at walmart. I don’t remember the name….the package is white with pink writing or white with blue. Blue is the dedicates soap variety. I just made the soap and the wrapper is in the dumpster otherwise I would go look for the name. Also I don’t grate the bar. I just cut it up in think strips. The bar I use is softer then the fels-naptha and it smells a lot better in my opinion and the bar is twice the size for the same price.

    I just leave the soap in the bucket and have a big ladle with a line marked at 1/3 of a cup…that is how much I use. I can stir it up with the ladle then scoop the correct amount.

  • Slyn

    I used this for a while but it made my whites very dingy, and made me feel that the clothes were not getting clean if my whites were so gross. Any suggestions?

    • Emily B

      Try adding Oxi clean to the mixture. I use a dry mix and add equal parts of all ingredient and Oxi clean.

  • @Slyn I did this for a while too and found that using 7th Generation’s Free & Clear bleach kicked the grey out of my whites. I add it to most of my loads- just about 1/4 a cup for each white and it works on colors too.

  • coupon_mt

    I have a question about the consistency. I’d like to try this but my hubs is a bit of a brand snob so I’d have to be pretty good to sneak this past him. I’m wondering if I put it in our tide container and he used it without knowning it would he guess the minute he poured some? Does it come out lumpy or runny?

    • Marji

      he just might notice because it isn’t the same color…is tide blue or clear? this is kind of a pale yellow color, but depending on what type of soap you use to make it the color changes.

      • coupon_mt

        Marj – Tide is blue but I read somewhere about adding a small bottle of blue Dawn to the load to help fight grease and change the color. I could always tell him that it’s a more expensive line of tide of the color is slightly off but I won’t be able to convince him if it comes out in chunks…lol!

        • thriftyqueen

          There is a blue die from with the laundry stuff that you can add a few drops to your white loads. It’s an old fashioned bottle called Grandma’s whites or something like that. It is a blue die so be careful when you add it to your wash. It really seems to work.

  • Nanette

    I used this for a while but it left a “film” on the rubber gasket of my front of my machine. I did not want the “film” getting on mu\y clothes so I never made a second batch.

  • Michele

    What a timely post!!!

    I’ve had the Duggar receipe for 6 months now, as I’ve been waiting to run out of my store bought stuff. I feel so much more confident hearing everyone’s replies.

    I did some research on different laundry soap recipes online and it was SO frustrating because the quantities on the ingredients varied tremendously. It appeared this Duggar recipe had the most positive comments.

    I did some research also on the homemade dishwasher detergent, and decided against it because there were some negative findings on residue from the borax & washing soda. Ingestion of these were not good… So, I decided to keep using the 7th Generation stuff and hope for more coupons from them!!!!

    Thanks for posting this!

    • candice

      go finsh web site on facebook and hit like you can find coupons there finsh tabs i love using them and love finding coupons for them! hope this helps and have blessed week!
      candice burgess!

  • Sarah h

    I have an HE front loader, is it safe for my machine? Would I put it in the dispenser like normal laundry detergent?

  • mrsfeist

    This is what I use and love it my cloths ar so much softer and I am saving a ton of money. I recommend it to anyone.

  • where is the dugger recepit at not sue which one it is in the comments on the site also would like to get the dugger book they are talking about if you can let me knoe i would like it thank you sandi

  • Racheal

    I am getting ready to make this laundry detergent and was curious if it is safe for septic systems. I myself am not on septic but I have friends that are. This would be ideal for the ones that live out of town.

  • Lori

    Just a couple of things..I have been using the detergent (liquid), dishwasher soap(powder), and fabric softner for a few months now. I have not found that it fades or greys my clothes. My mother says her clothes are duller, but honestly I dont think she would have noticed if I hadnt been so excited and showed her what I had done. Her and my sister are big time brand snobs. SO I keep her bottle of $7 detergent on the top shelf.:) The one thing with the liquid detergent..first its low suds.. so it may not look like its working, but dont worry..it is. Second with the detergent, I invested in a paint stirrer that attaches to my husbands drill.. it was fantastic! I purchased a water tab container-the kind that goes in your refridgerator and has a little spout on it. I use so little (quntity) soap however, it does begin to re-seperate. So sometimes you just have to pull it off the shelf and re-shake it up. But it looks like fabric softner to me, when it comes out..kind of “milky appearance” so would be hard to switch without someone knowing. Plus the smell is WAY different than Tide. But I love it and I wont buy another bottle of detergent again!

    The fabric softner. Although I like it, and the clothes are softer, I HAVE noticed a difference between cheaper conditioners and spending a little more as far as static cling goes. Not sure why. Plus even with essential oil, the smell doesnt seem to stay on the clothes. It could be that my brain is rebelling:)

    Solution: First for static cling.. get a loose ball of tin foil (about the size of your fist) and toss in the dryer. Its the most bizzare thing, but it works like a charm!

    Dishwasher powder detergent. I didnt have Kosher salt at the time, so I used sea salt. I wanted to see if the finer texture salt would have the same scrubbing action. It works great! Be very careful not to breathe it in though.. its bad for you:) Viniger in the rinse cycle works fantastic! And if you feel your dishes are getting a type of buildup, its most likely from minerals and additives they put in the water.

    Solution for that:! Run a hot water pots/pans load. In the soap dispenser, put 1/2 pack of canning pectin. Guarenteed your DW will semll nice and clean when its done!

    • Kathy

      I have been using homemade laundry detergent for over a year and will never switch back … As for fabric softener, try using white vinegar to rinse your clothes instead of regular fabric softener … clothes come out soft and smelling fresh and not like vinegar at all … will never go back to using store bought fabric softener …

  • natalie

    I think the math is off for the top load machines. It should be 256 loads (10 gallons = 160 cups, 160 cups / 0.625 (5/8) cup per load = 256 loads). If you wash an average of 5 loads per week in a top load machine, this detergent will last you a few days short of a year. 🙂

  • Sherie

    I made the homemade laundry detergent and mine does not look as thick as the picture shown. I did use ivory soap…will that make a difference in the consistency?

  • connie

    i just made this yesterday, but mine did not get thick at all,, i followed the directions exactly.. so why did mine not gel or get thick.. is there something wrong with it???
    thanks ,, connie

    • thriftyqueen

      It thickens after a few days. I commented above that I LOVE to use it dry instead of melting it to a liquid. It is so much easier to use.

    • Marji

      It doesn’t gel until it sits over night…did it end up gelling for you?

      • Kevin

        I was wondering the same thing. I made a batch and let it sit in the garage for a few days ad it thickened up nice. However, when I went back to it about 2 weeks later it had separated and it mixed it back together, but it was really runny/liquidy, and the when I put it into the old detergent bottle and added more water , it was like using colored water…very very runny. Is it suppose to be like this?

        • Lori

          If its mixed really well together, then it should be the consistency between a thin gel and a little thicker than water.. but not syrupy. Its kind of difficult to explain. I have read the temperature its stored, humidity, ect can make small differences. But as long as it is mixed, and you use the same proportions of ingredients, it should all clean the same.

  • Annett

    One quick question…

    I got all the ingredients but opted for the Pink Zote instead of the Fels Naptha Soap.

    Now the Pink Zote bar is about twice the size….do I still use the whole bar?

    Any ideas?

    Thanks! 🙂

  • Cheryl

    Im confused… You say to mix it all together in a five gallon container, yet the recipe yeilds 10 gallons… Which is it??

  • Kevin

    Cheryl – Not sure if you’re talking to me or not, but I did make up a batch, and filled up a 5 gallon bucket. The recipe said to dilute it again once you put it into an another detergent container (1/2 soap 1/2 water). This resulted in very very runny mixture…not like a gel at all. I’ve since stopped mixing it and just use it straight. However, I feel like I’m not doing something right with the recipe. Any thoughts?

  • Lori

    You mix it in a five gallon bucket. But when you use it, you only use 1part soap mixture to 1 part water. SO if you are takin git from the bucket and reusing a previous container, mix it with water. Example 1/2 bottle soap misture to 1/2 bottle water.

    Mine continued to thicken over the next few days. But from what I have read, alot of things determine the consistency. Altitude, temperature its stored at, humidity, all these. As long as the ingredient amounts are correct and its mixed up, everything is fine.

    Although I have not used the Pink Zote (our store was out at the time) I have read several recipies that use it (because they prefer the scent) and they all use the entire bar as well.

    I also have read that when using different types of soaps (Ivory, and others) that the consistency can be a bit thinner. It has to do with the percentage of Glycerin and additives in the soap.

    Mine did look gloppy like the above picture, but once I mixed it really REALLY well with the paint mixer attachment it was more like a smooth gel, rather than gloppy.

    • Lori

      And I just have to say, I haven’t purchased laundry detergent for several months now. And I can’t tell you how rewarding it is, and a stress reliever, to go to the store and watch others load up on detergent, knowing I still have a bucket full of detergent at home. The laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and foaming hand soap, have literally been the most satisfying of my DIY experiences!

      • Tami

        Foaming Hand Soap?? can you tell me more about that–where to find that recipe? Thanks!

        • Erin

          I make my own foaming hand soap by picking whatever hand soap refill scent I feel like at the time or a great one to use is the Johnson & Johnson’s baby wash (it comes in a big pink bottle with a pump). I have the original Dial foaming hand soap bottles I bought a few years ago and I just put about 10 – 15 pumps from the baby wash bottle or if I am using hand soap refills I put in about 1/4 ” – 1/2″ of soap at the bottle of the bottle and then fill it up about 2/3 full with hot water and shake. Saves a ton of money and goes a long way!

          • Yianna

            what a great idea is the johnsons baby soap inexpensive and does it go a long way?
            thanks for the idea…

            • Erin

              I usually get the Johnson’s head to toe at Costco & a big bottle is about $7 -$8. Sometime they don’t have it at the Costco I go to so I end up getting it at Walmart & their big bottle is around $5. It usually last quite a while, not sure exactly how long because not only do I use it for the foaming hand soap, but also for my two little kids. I have just gotten the big refill bottles of handsoap & use it to make the foaming soap & those bottles usually last for about 6 months for my family of 7. You can always save a little more by buying the generic versions as well.

  • tiffani

    can you add something to make it smell good or no

    • Marji

      You can add essential oils to it. I prefer to use Downy Unstoppables, about a tablespoon is all you need to add to the load for a good scent in your .

  • Lori

    Foaming handsoap was by far the one that is a “slap on the forehead moment”! I found a post online that said all you have to do is get one of the soap foam pumps and use the soap from it. I bought a really nice Dial, because they are clear plastic and always look “clean”. Then take regular liquid soap, refill the bottle halfway, fill the rest with water. Gently mix and wha-lah! Foaming hand soap! no need to stock up when they go on sale for 0.99 now, because I only need a few on hand! Still using the homemade laundry soap and the homemade softener. I have went through a lot of testing as far as essential oil combinations go. Mainly I have found, if you like your clothes to smell nice and remain smelling nice, it pays to just spend a few extra dollars and get the higher quality oil. There is a definite difference scent potency and how much seems to rinse away in the rinse cycle.

    • Yianna

      i dont know what people mean by essential oils to scent things. where in the grocery store do i find these oils and how much can i use in the foaming hand soap and in the laundry soap when i make it?

      thank you

  • nadya

    Washing soda is (sodium carbonate) I buy it very cheaply at the local pool supply place

  • Emily B

    I have been making laundry soap for a year now. I use this recipe…1 bar finely grated fels nappa, 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup oxi clean. smells great, lasts forever, no faded colors and my whites stay bright. 1T a load.

    • Valerie

      This is just not accurate. It will dingey those whites! and fade blacks to a dark gray. I found out the hard (and expensive)way after a year.

    • Kathy Achuff

      Hi Emily,
      The one tablespoon amount you are using per laundry load, is that for top or front load machine?

  • Kristen Y

    I just made a batch yesterday and I realized that I added 1 cup of Borax instead of just a half cup. Will this make a big difference in the finished detergent? It seemed to turn out well. It gelled up overnight and today I am going to blend it and add to a dispensing containter. Just want to know if I made a big error or if the detergent will be ok. THanks!!! 🙂

  • Samantha

    I’ve been using these three ingredients for over a year now, but learned a much faster method, using them as a powder rather than a liquid. (Forgive me if this has already been posted – lots of responses!)

    If you have a Blendtec or heavy-duty blender, chop the Fels into 8 pieces. Blend the heck out of the bar (With my Blentec, I use the “smoothie” button) and remove. (If no heavy duty blender, use a cheese grater and skip next step) Add 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup Borax, then re-add the blended Fels, in that order so the concotion will blend appropriately. Again, blend the heck out of it (with the smoothie button on the Blendtec.) –aaand, you’re done!

    Use 1 heaping Tbsp of detergent per load in HE, 1.5-2 Tbsp per load in top loader using hot (or at least warm) water. Make friends with Shout Color Catchers at your local store for mixed loads.

    I’ve been using this recipe for over a year in both an HE and top loading washer (we switched machines half-way through the year) It’s not as labor intensive as the Duggar’s method, works WAY better than Tide or commercial detergent (which mainly covers up odors, I’ve noticed), and this is with three stinky boys, one stinky husband, and one stinky cat in our household. This concoction takes out ALL the odors and I’ve had no problems with fading. I’ll never, never, never buy detergent again 🙂

  • Deanne

    Hi, my mixture didn’t gel or thicken.I did use Ivory soap instead of the Fels-napthda. Is that a problem?

  • Gaylene

    I am very interested in making my own laundry soap, but I have never heard of fels naptha soap before. I am from Canada, and maybe it isn’t available here? I am wondering if the Ivory soap everyone is mentioning, is the body soap? Also, I have seen tide bar soap and also sunlight bar soap for laundry. Would I be able to use this instead? Thanks 🙂

  • Linda

    This is the second time I have made this, this time it didn’t gel, is this normal. The temp here is 105* do you think that had anything to do with it. And also do you think it will still work. Thanks Linda

  • This is such a great idea. Do you have any suggestions on which products to use that would be more environmentally friendly?

  • Carla

    Does anyone have a recipe for home made carpet cleaner I can use in the Rug Doctor? I had a cat that peed frequently and want that smell gone, but prefer not to load up my home with chemicals when I can avoid it. Be smart. Be conscious to how many chemicals you are living with in your environment for your sake and your family’s. I am dealing with cancer now, and know I have not helped my immune system over the years breathing in cleaners that literally left me choking and gasping.

  • Alicia

    This is a GREAT recipe! I have been using it since last year, when a friend gave it to me. At first my other friends thought I was insane for trying it, but after seeing my clothes and how much I spent on ten gallons worth of soap, suddenly they have changed their minds. LOL I tried it on my towels the first time, just because I was nervous, but now it gets used on all the laundry. Saves you SO much money!

  • Savanah

    I made this last night and this morning it turned out thick but not ‘gloppy’. I put half detergent half water in a 1 gallon container and used 1 cup for my top load washer. It didn’t wash my clothes right, they still smelled…dirty. I used Ivory soap instead of Fels, maybe this is a problem but it seems like other have tried it no problem 🙁

  • Stephanie H.

    I love this recipe, but I like to add 1/2 cup of the hair conditioner our family uses, and 1/2 cup oxy clean. I love this detergent! It doesn’t foam so its safe on our new expensive HE top side loaders. I love the hair conditioner, it doesn’t add much smell, but our clothes come out super soft as if I had used fabric softener, but without the starchy feeling. Our toddler would also often get rashes from practically every laundry detergent I would use, but this stuff doesn’t seem to irritate her at all. I also have seasonal skin rashes and dry skin and so far I haven’t had any irritation; I wasn’t even suspecting my clothing detergent was the culprit of my skin irritation because it seemed seasonal. The oxy clean seems to get everything out. The first batch I made I put too much water and it separated all of the time to where I had to always shake the bottle. I finally got so frustrated shaking the bottle several times a week that I just used whatever came out (which seemed almost all water) and I was surprised that it cleaned just the same. I read one post a long time ago saying that in Canada Fels-Naptha is called something else, but what I don’t know. I don’t recommend using regular bars of soap because it doesn’t clean as well and, from what I have read, suds up more, can irritate, or the detergent doesn’t come out just right; but again, I haven’t experienced with other soaps.

  • Valerie

    Hmm, this is the exact posting I put on my blog 3-1/2 yrs ago…hope you all have better long-term luck than I did. In theory, it “cleans”, but over time, it will turn whites gray and severely fade black/darks. I only used it for 1 yr, and had to throw it out. It wasnt work saving a couple of bucks to ruin all my clothing!

  • Carolee

    I am so excited to try this! Just wanted to add that I also use vinegar in the fabric softener compartment of my washer. It’s great for getting out urine odors when your little ones are potty training. =) It’s supposed to act as a natural fabric softener and help darks fade less (use it in the wash cycle for that one).

  • holly

    I havent tried this yet. I would love to use powder but i’ve always used liquid because i wash everything in cold water. Does anyone know if the powder form disolves well in cold water? Also someone wrote that Pink Zote is better than Fels Naptha but I think i am going to use the Ivory for the first batch if not that the white zote, i am not sure. Does Ivory really work and get clothes clean? Any tips would be wonderful. thanks

  • Lindsay

    i was wondering is this sensitive enough to use on an infant’s clothes? also does anyone know if it works well with cloth diapers? Im trying it out myself but i wanted to share it with my cousin who is about to have another baby. any info you can give me would be appreciated.

  • Molly Turner

    I just made my first batch this morning, my husband and i think it smells so good.
    I used an old wire hanger to stir it. I’m o excited to use it tomorrow on three weeks of laundry.

  • Erin

    What are the pros/cons of liquid versus dry powder form? I lean towards the powder form for ease of making and because it would be more concentrated so I could fit more “servings” into a bottle, but I want to add a lavender scent and it seems that would be harder to add to the dry powder form. Thanks!

    • Jen

      For dry powder soaps, you can add Epsom salts mixed with essential oils to give a nice scent. For every cup of Epsom salts you add, use about 10 drops of your favorite scent of essential oils (give or take, depending on how strong you want the scent)

  • Michele

    I use lavendar scented dr bronners bar soap. Sometimes I mix with the citrus scent too. On the powdered versions of course.

  • Momma2eleven

    I have been doing this for about a year. I have just made my third batch – and I do more laundry than anyone I know! We use an empty old liquid laundry detergent container and the measuring cap works great. I also had bought Purex fragance crystals – which are too expensive used as directed – but I used about a nickel sized sprinkle per load. This last batch I added the Purex Crystals (1/2 cup to the batch) as I mixed in the extra water because I didn’t know what would happen if i boiled it. LOVING this.

  • Grammieo28

    Has anyone had any problems with your septic system since using this homemade laundry or dishwasher detergent?

  • Ashley

    My soap didn’t thicken:( I don’t know what to do!

    • Erin

      Ashley, did you use the Fels-Naptha or the Pink Zote? When I made this recipe the first time I used the Pink Zote and had no issues with the soap thickening, but the second batch I made I used the Fels-Naptha and it did not thicken. I bought another bar of the Fels-Naptha, grated it,took 4 cups of the soap mixture I already had (so I didn’t add more water to it) and repeated step 1 and then mixed it into the mixture I had. The next day it was thickened up like the first batch I made. I figured it was because the Pink Zote bar is twice as big as the Fels-Naptha bar. I am a little disappointed with this batch because I do not think the Fels-Naptha works as good at the Pink Zote, just my opinion. I am getting ready to make another batch and I will definitely be switching back to the Pink Zote! Overall I can’t complain too much because I have made 2 batches and it has lasted 10 months for my family of 6 (2 potty training toddlers!) If you haven’t tried it already I also recommend the homemade fabric softener recipe! Just by changing these two things I have saved about $400 dollars this year in laundry supplies! Good luck!

  • rachel

    I have been using a recipe similar to this since last spring and i have cut my laundry bill from 20$ a month or more to 20$ a year… we have a large 7 person 1 saint bernard family and do LOTS of laundry… i couldnt be happier the recipe i have turns into a paste in the end i use it for pretreating with ease too. i recomend finding the right recipe for your needs… mine is a very concentrated one… good luck with the soap making everyone 🙂

  • megan

    Where can I buy essential oils?

  • i use for several months now try to find out what make it turn color like tide and gain do u have any i deal in live in knox co ky and i can’t find the pink zote soap here at all would like to hear back from u asp

  • Sandi Hall

    I’ve used this for TWO years now and LOVE it! To make it easier, I add the Borax and Washing Soda to the 5 gallon bucket first, then add the boiling soap water to it- it helps it to blend faster. Then when it’s all mixed, I add cool tap water up to the 5 gallon mark, cover and let sit over night. In the morning I mix well and pour it into smaller containers that I can easily shake before I measure 1/4 cup for my old washing machine load. Lasts me about 9 months! Costs $3 and change for 5 gallons!

  • Kristie

    I used this –a whole 5 gallon bucket of it–I wish I could say I love it and that I still use it—but I can`t!!! It was cheap—but I noticed my whites got grayer and grayer–so it wasn`t worth it for me

  • Hi I found a recipe that is soooooo easy, no boiling, shaving etc. pretty much no manual labor. You use the same powders but instead of Fels you use liquid Dawn. I use an old large laundry soap jug just for this, add the dry mix, the Dawn and hot water, Let sit til cool. Keep shaking a little while cooling to mix. (I also add a little oxi-clean (about 2 TBL) type powder just because it feels right, and because I like the smell of Tide I buy one small jug and add just a little for my soap to have that particular scent, the Tide will last forever. I do the Duggars softener. Large tub (I use the pretzel one from Aldi’s, pour in your favorite, (not cheapest because it too will last forever) anyway, pour it in and throw in some sponges. When you need one, squeeze a sponge out (I use latex a glove to do that part, the smell although pleasant, stays with you too long.) Hint” Buy a smaller bottle, you just don’t go through it fast enough to warrant a large one. I keep the powders mixed and in a container. So for 1 gallon of Laundry Soap I put 1/4 C of the blended powder to about 2-3 TBl Dawn, and hot water from the tap and ummm, that’s it.The word “forever” came up a few times….

  • Angela

    So I finally got the supplies to make this for my family of 6
    I have been wanting to try it for a long time. I see people.have left comments abt adding oxyiclean & vinegar & dawn. I need my whites to.stay white :). I already use the homemade stain remover which I love but should I just add vinegar to the load to kill germs & add oxiclean to the wash load. I also couldnt find the the.pink zote or napa so im making this w ivory, so I hope it goes well, im also adding some essential oils so the clothes smell better
    Any input is great

    • Angela

      Also what is 5/8cp close or equivalent to
      Trying to mark off my cup for the detergent

      • Anthony

        If anyone needs an easy way to figure 5/8 cup, just remember that 4/8 is the same thing as 1/2.
        This means that 5/8 is the same as 1/2 plus 1/8. So just use a 1/2 cup plus an 1/8 cup and thatll give you 5/8.

  • Nicole

    Hi! Just tried this but it gelled so well overnight that I can’t stir it at all. I tried to take some out and add water but it is still sooo thick and solid. Not good. I store it n my garage and it gets pretty cold. It is 30 degrees outsode today. 🙂 Could that be the problem?

  • sam

    Is the Ivory soap the regular bar soap for your body?

  • Tess Eaton

    Hi everyone!
    I live in the UK and we don’t have that sort of laundry bar soap anymore (but then we don’t have a lot of super awesome stuff that you have)…. Sure I could buy it online, but getting anything posted ramps up the price…. We do have this stuff http://www.amazon.co.uk/Astonish-Stain-Remover-Bar/dp/B002SPFG86
    It says it’s a stain remover (pretreatment) bar, I can get them at the pound shop, I like to think they would so the job but as i’ve never physically used this fels-naptha stuff or any of the other brands… I just don’t know how to compare it… Do you guys think that this would be the same?

  • I’ve been using a homemade soap similar to this. For a household of 2 it has lasted forever. I’m down to my last two containers of it. Getting ready to make another batch. I love this soap!

    My question though is, How does it work with odor control on cloth diapers? We are expecting first baby in July and I have lots of cloth diapers already. The manufactures’ (Mother ease) washing recommendations and instructions mention a couple of commercial detergents that work well on their cloth diapers. They say the only time they get complaints about odors and staining from customers are from those who use homemade detergents. I notice a few people commented about adding vinegar.
    Just wondering if anyone who uses this soap has washed cloth diapers with it and how well it works by itself.

  • Michelle

    My recipes makes 2 gallons and I use my old ice cream buckets to store it in. Been making it for 4 years now and have saved hundreds on soap. Loving it!! 🙂

  • Marlene P.

    I love this and it’s so easy! Smells awesome! A couple tips………when you purchase the super washing soda and borax put them in their own airtight containers. Apparently our house has a lot of humidity (90 degrees and 75% humidity outside……you think?) and the powder will clump up and it’s hard to get out of the boxes. Also, put your bucket out of the way until somebody can move it (if you’re like me and can’t pick it up due to recent spine surgery)…….it’s heavy! There’s so much in there it lasts forever!

  • Your current posts always include much of really up to date info. Where do you come up with this? Ju

  • Vic Maison

    Instead of using fels naphtha bar soap, my wife uses Dove bar soap and then you don’t need softener. Try it. You’ll like it.

  • Kim T.

    I found your site and this recipe on Pinterest. I can’t wait to make a batch. 🙂 I remember seeing the Duggar woman making her own soap years ago. I’m going to use the exact ingredients above. It felt confusing at first with a 5 gal pal recipes that ends up making 10 gallons. Wish this Tide/Gain lover luck!

  • I have been using a very similar recipe for several years now and love it. Thanks for all the great ideas and recipes you share. I can’t wait to try your Fabric softener.

  • Pat

    I read all the comments about the whites becoming dingy, but I never saw where anyone used bleach or color safe clorox. Do any of you have ideas as to not turn the dark colors to gray? I wear a lot of BLACK dress pants, and want to keep them BLACK………..thanks!

    • I always thought fading colors could be avoided by line drying your clothes instead of putting them in the dryer. And washing them in cold. Maybe I’m wrong on that?

  • Kim Wilder

    How much essential oil do I add to a batch of detergent? Thanks!

  • Kim Gilbert

    Hey all, Not to be one of THOSE moms…but….do you know if this is gluten free? We have to use Gain because all of their products are gluten free and my son really, really can’t have gluten.

  • Kindra

    I did the liquid form and it only made 4 gallons using the 1 part detergent 1 part hot water and it was gel like until I put into jugs is this normal? Also how much should I be using per load?

    • Hi Kindra,
      So, just double checking:

      You put the melted soap and other ingredients in the 5 gallon bucket and adding water to fill it.
      Then you did the equal parts soap to water, right?
      It makes SO SO SO MUCH!
      Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
      Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

  • Rita

    I just use my salad shooter to grate the soap. I can’t remember if I put the soap in the microwave before grating last time.

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