Homemade Laundry Soap
- By: Hallee
- 62 Comments
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Last reply was 08 Mar 2012
have you used this before? I made it and used it, felt so good about using it, but it just did not get my clothes clean. I was very disappointed. I will be curious to hear how it works for you, or what your tips are to make it work
hmm I know i have the bar and the borax.. how does it smell? Can you add a fragrance?
I have seen this method before with mixed reviews, especially with an HE machine. Curious as to how well it actually cleans the clothes?
I have been using this recipe for three years now and am still using the same box of borax and the same box of washing soda. I use a whole bar of fels- naptha,instead of a half. No it does not get my husband work clothes sparkling clean (he is in construction) but neither did Tide or anything else. I have no younger children anymore but my clothes and husband’s other clothes come out clean. Yes you can use an essential oil if you like. I also fill up the bucket to have 5 gallons of water in it not 3. One bucket of this last one entire year for 2 people averaging 4 loads a week. We have front loading washer bought new and it has always had this recipe used in it and I have never had trouble with my washer. I love this stuff, it saves a ton of money and it does not hurt the environment. You can pre treat with this as well.
The Fels-Naptha has a really strong, clean fragrance. I wouldn’t add to it. I don’t think it would need it.
Hi there! I’ve been making my own soap for over 18 months now and LOVE it! I use Zoat instead of the yellow FelsNaptha (I prefer how it smells and cleans!) I also take out the “liquid” step and just combine the entire box of both borax, washing soda and grated bar of Zoat. It’s a powder detergent that comes out to about .03 cents a load and gets the clothes from my family of five clean and fresh! I only have to make it about once a year as well! Gotta love the savings of both time and money!!!
Amy, How much powder do you put in one load? :)
Been using these ingredients going on I think 2 years straight. Wouldn’t go back to commercial boxed or jugged every again. I’d say it’s costing us around 4 cents per load.
Gals, this recipe is flexible. I’ve not had to adjust the one I follow but you can up the borax and / or washing soda. Everyone’s water is different. In the summer with so much garden / yard work going on with the heat our clothes get extra dirty…for those loads I’ll put in the 1/2 cup plus add some extra borax to hit the dirt better.
You also can use more fels naphta in the recipe.
Hallee – here’s a link to a recent updated posting of mine on making your own http://seedsofnutrition.com/?p=6449
Does anyone find that it puts more wear on your clothes? I’m finding that some of our knits are getting pilled much sooner than when I was using store bought detergent.
I suppose you need a gentler detergent for knits, like you’d do with a store bought one. I wash all the knits by hand with some mild grated soap.
Anyway, the recipe is great, I used to add some tea tree EO for the diapers and baby stuff, it’s a good natural disinfectant.
I use the same recipe and I love it! I have an HE machine too. It is safe because all of the ingredients are LOW sudsing and that is why HE machines need special detergent.
My grandmother says she used to use a bar of Fels-Naptha as a treatment for stains, just rub the bar right on the clothing. This is good stuff. I also heard it is great for cleaning hands if exposed to Poison Ivy!
My only complaint is that it is messy. After time the soap solidifies slightly and I have to really stir/mix it before adding to machine.
The best part about it- COST. I use one batch almost 3 months for our family of 5 (3 kids age 3, 5, & 7) and it costs me less than $4 for that batch!! I haven’t noticed more wear on our clothes, but the are definately CLEAN and I use cold water too!
Great post! I’ll refer your post when I tell my friends how I make it!
I wash my knits inside out on the gentle cycle and haven’t noticed anything different. Been using homemade for the last 2 yrs. Love it.
This is my second time making it but the grated bar soap (ZOTE brand) solidifies overnight. Any recommendations to make it liquid again besides heating it up all the time. Thanks so much!
I don’t know the answer to that. I used Fels-Naptha, and haven’t had a problem with solidifying. I also did a search for using Zote and didn’t find any similar complaints. I did see that Zote’s bar is much much bigger than Fels-Naptha – so maybe you’re using too much soap?
Looking at ingredients list, it looks like Zote has more natural ingredients. I’ll look for that the next time I make it.
Very frugal. Thanks for linking up!
I have made many batches of this. I would alternate your laundry with a store bought detergent. After using this for a while our clothes started to smell. It just isn’t strong enough to clean them really well.
I have been using this for over a year now with a family of 6. I love it. I do use Zote instead of Fels Naptha. I like the smell better. I put hot water in a 3 1/2 gallon bucket. (I cup of each dry) and melt the Zote in water and pour into bucket and fill bucket up with hot and stir until borax and washing soda dissolve. It does get gel like. I just grab something and stir it up. You can fill up an old laundry bottle and shake it up and use that that. I never have though.
I also always put vinegar in the softener holder (or use a downy ball). It works to get rid of smells, soften the clothes and ph balance the water so it helps with fading.
We like a smell on our clothes. So I cut sponges in half and put in a bowl with one part downey and 3 parts water. I wring a couple out and throw in the water. A bottle of downy will easily last a year.
Should have proof read better. I throw the sponges in the dryer….not water!!!
I’ve been afraid to use homemade soap because of concerns posted above :(
Hi Amy – Just been researching homemade detergeant and like the powder idea…How much powder do you use per load? Also, is there a particular size box borax and washing powder? Large?
I use a one-to-one-to-one recipe.
1 bar of Ivory soap (grated)
1 cup of washing soda
1 cup of borax
a few drops of essential oil (optional)
Stir it all together, voila. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load. I haven’t been disappointed. It gets my clothes really clean in my HE washer. This is a powder soap, not a liquid, maybe that helps?
That seems like a much simpler recipe. I wonder what the difference is in my breaking the soaps down with heat and you not.
I find using dove bar soap helps with people with sensitive skin. I was able to wash my babies clothes with it instead of using the store brand of baby soap. The dove makes everything softer too, as I have used several different kinds of soap to see what was best.
I simply love using my homemade laundry soap I have used it for about two years now and it is exactly the same recipe as Hallee’s it’s saved me tons of money and I can’t wait to use the fabric softener.
I put some of the soap in a Pampered Chef Stir and Pour pitcher. When I am ready to use it I just pump up and down a couple of times to blend it all together and it is nice to pour from this into my washing machine dispenser. Now I need to purchase another one for drinks LOL…..
That’s a brilliant idea!
Add Ivory soap to the mix! It will help. You also may need to tweak the amount of Borax and washing soda… Hope u get it figured out!
Do you add Ivory with the Fels Naptha, or instead of?
I did both one time and it was my best batch, I think.
I use a 2.5 gallon drink dispenser that they sell in the summer for picnics! Perfect pour valve and when i need to shake it its completely sealed! like this one (but I paid $3.99 for mine at Aldi’s) http://www.walmart.com/ip/Arrow-H2O-2.5-Gal-Slimline-Beverage-Dispenser-Blue/15915151
I’ve been using this recipe for five years plus. I have NEVER had a problem with it not getting stuff clean or pilling items unduly. I got the recipe from a friend who teaches chemistry and pharmacology at our local med school. She didn’t like the potential carcinogenic ingredients she found in even our “natural food co-op”‘s bulk brand.
I make mine in an old maple syrup gallon jug. I add about 10 drops of geranium essential oil. I picked that fragrance because it is said to have anti-depressant properties and housework always depresses me.
My kids think it is SO COOL that I make our laundry detergent. Honestly? I do too:) It makes me feel very Little House on the Prairie-ish:)
I just made my first batch and I can hardly wait to use it. My batch became pretty solid after it cooled off. Should I add more water to make it thinner? Or should I buy a gravy shaker to mix it up before using? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
I use a whisk to break it up before dipping the 1/2 cup out. There are solid chunks of hard gel within the liquid, but that doesn’t seem to affect how well it works. Someone else here said their’s turned out solid. I’ve never had that happen – it could be water quality or environment.
i think it becomes too solid if you add too much borax or washing soda
I’ve been using this recipe for about 2 years. I started using it when my baby got a chemical burn from the soap we were using for her cloth diapers. We loved it for the diapers and then started using it for clothes too. You can add some essential oil for better smell. And use white vinegar in the rinse cycle if you find your clothes coming out rough.
Is it wrong that I got that excited seeing this recipe? Laundry soap should not make a gal this happy. It’s a mental illness, isn’t it? ;)
I will be trying this in the next month or so.
And if you wanted to post a tutorial on how to make dishwasher detergent, well….
I am very interested in making this because of the money-saving aspect of it, but my son has severe eczema and I have to buy the free & clear detergent. Has anyone that has sensitive skin used this? I would hate to make up a batch and not be able to use it. Thanks!
Here’s powdered dishwasher detergent. :-)
In the comments, people have said you can use Dove for sensitive skin in lieu of Fels Naptha. I have also heard that Ivory soap works great. I haven’t tried either one of them, so I can’t say.
The powder version is SO much easier and works great.
I’ve used this recipe and also the powdered version and they work well but after a couple batches I have to do a box/bottle of tide because our clothes get dingy. We have well water which I always blamed on the dinginess. I use either fels naptha or a bar of castile soap.
I always let mine sit overnight in the pot that I made it in, then the next morning…I use my electric mixter to mix it up well so it will be smooth again! Works great!
I like the dry recipe (1 to 1 to 1 – using Dove soap) but also add 1 cup of oxyclean powder and my clothes are phenomenally clean and bright. Not sure how much $$ this adds to the recipe cost.
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda
1 bar of any soap ( I use the green olive soap)
Grate the bar of soap and mix them all together in a bowl
Use 1 spoon (believe me it is enough) of the powder for every wash load. If your clothes are too dirty use 2 spoons for every wash load.
I use this recipe to wash my clothes in the wasging machine and I am very pleased with it.
If you use one Tablespoon per load — that is just over 64 loads for this recipe. The cost will be about $1.80 — depending on the cost of the soap. Still UBER economical.
Maybe next time? I will actually do a search of your site before asking for something….Duh. ;) I blame my loss of mental capacity on my kids. ;)
Thanks again! Can’t wait to use this and replace the products that eat up so much of our budget.
Now, if you just had a recipe for a self-cleaning house…..
When you find one, let me know. HAHA
I thought Borax is toxic? Any thoughts on this?
Love your site.
It is not toxic. When Kaylee was little, she ate a small amount. I called poison control, and they told me not to worry about it.
about the powdered variety, in an HE machine where i put the liquid in, is that also where i would put the powder or directly in with the load?? sorry if this question is obvious lol.
I think so. I’ve only ever used an HE machine in Kuwait, and I had powder. But, the instructions were in Arabic and I just guessed.