10 Homemade Laundry Soap Detergent Recipes

Here is a nice stack of different recipes for making homemade laundry detergent that I’ve collected over the years. Do they work? Yes, I’ve had good luck with them. At the time I was using them, we had a relative who was in trade school living with us. Every day he was mechanic grease from head to toe–the clothes still cleaned up nice!

Homemade Laundry Detergent In Powdered Form & Liquid Gel Bottle

As with making all DIY household cleaning products for the home, this is a discipline when done on a regular basis and it’s not for everyone…but the loss of convenience definitely shaves money off the budget, sometimes just costing pennies a load!

Update 2023: Congratulations! You have found the original homemade laundry detergent tutorial and reference guide that’s been online since 2007. This page has been referred to millions of times by DIYers over the past 15+ years!

There are all kinds of tips, tricks and ingredient ratios to be found here, including a growing FAQ section packed with more helpful information. Enjoy!

Before getting started, here are a few tips:

  • For the bar soaps required, you could try Fels-Naptha, Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile, and Zote.
    • Avoid using heavily perfumed varieties.
  • Washing Soda and Borax can normally be found locally in the laundry and cleaning aisles or bought online at places such as Amazon.
  • Some people with really hard or well water may have to adjust the ingredients if the clothes look dingy.
  • Although several of the detergent recipes have the same ingredients, the measurements are different–some contain a higher soap to water ratio.
    • Test and see which works best for your needs.
  • You can make huge pails of this at once, or smaller quantities.
    • If you can get your hands on a few empty liquid detergent bottles, they work great for storing large batches. Just whip up a big batch and pour in bottles, cap then shake before each use.
  • Some batches need large amounts of water. Check with a local restaurant to see if they have any empty large pails from deep fryer oil–that’s how many restaurants buy the oil.
    • See if you can have one or two of the pails after they’ve emptied it–just wash them out really well before using. They’re big, heavy plastic and very sturdy when stirring.

How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Here Are 10 Easy Recipes You Can Try

You’ll also find a very useful

Frequently Asked Questions section at the bottom of this page

Lots of info here to get you started, good luck!

Recipe #1

1 quart Water (boiling)

2 cups Bar soap (grated)

2 cups Borax

2 cups Washing Soda

  • Add finely grated bar to the boiling water and stir until it is all melted. Keep on low heat until this happens.
  • Pour the mixture into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and W.S. Stir well until all is dissolved.
  • Add 2 gallons of water, blend until well combined.
  • Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir each time you measure (will gel).

Recipe #2

1 cup Washing Soda

1/2 cup Borax

1 Soap bar

  • Grate the bar and add to a large saucepan with hot water to cover. Whisk over medium-low heat until it dissolves and is melted.
  • Fill a 10 gallon pail half full of hot water. Add the mixture, Borax and W.S., stir well until all powder is dissolved. Top the pail up with more hot water.
  • Use 1 cup per load, stirring first (will gel).

Recipe #3

1/2 cup Washing Soda

1/2 cup Borax

1/3 bar Soap

  • In a large pot, heat 3 pints of water. Add the grated bar and whisk until melted. Then add the W.S. and borax. Stir until powder is dissolved, then remove from heat.
  • In a 2 gallon clean pail, pour 1 quart of hot water and add the heated mixture.
  • Top pail with cold water and combine well.
  • Use 1/2 cup per load, stirring first (will gel).

Powdered – Recipe #4

2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (finely grated – you could also try the other bars listed at the top)

1 cup Washing Soda

1 cup Borax

  • Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.
  • 2 tablespoons powder per full load.

Recipe #5

1 bar (4.5 oz) Ivory – grated

1 cup Washing Soda

  • In a large saucepan add grated soap and enough hot water to cover. Heat over medium-low and stir until dissolved.
  • Fill a large pail with 2.5 gallons of hot water, add hot mixture. Stir until combined well.
  • Then add the W.S., again stirring well.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • 1/2 cup per full load, stirring thoroughly first (will gel)

Recipe #6

2.5 gallons Water (hot)

1 Bar soap (grated)

3/4 cup Washing Soda

3/4 cup Borax

2 TBS Glycerin

  • Melt soap over medium-low heat topped with water, stir until dissolved.
  • In a large pail, pour 2.5 gallons of hot water, add hot mixture, W.S., borax and glycerin. Mix well.
  • 1/2 cup per full load.

Recipe #7

2 cups Bar soap

2 cups Washing Soda

2 – 2.5 gallons hot water

  • Melt grated bar in saucepan with water to cover. Heat over medium-low heat and stir until dissolved.
  • Pour hot water in large pail, add hot mixture and W.S. Stir very well.
  • 1 cup per full load.

Recipe # 8

2 gallons Water (hot)

1 bar Soap (grated)

2 cups Baking soda (yes, baking soda this time–not washing soda)

  • Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until melted.
  • In a large pail, pour 2 gallons hot water. Add mixture, stir well.
  • Then add the baking soda, stir well again.
  • 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup if very soiled.

Powdered – Recipe #9

12 cups Borax

8 cups Baking Soda

8 cups Washing Soda

8 cups Bar soap (grated)

  • Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in a sealed tub.
  • 1/8 cup of powder per full load.

#10 – (Powdered)

1 cup Vinegar (white)

1 cup Baking Soda

1 cup Washing Soda

1/4 cup liquid castile soap

  • Mix well and store in sealed container.
  • I find it easiest to pour the liquid castile into the bowl first, stirred in the W.S., then baking soda, then added the vinegar in small amounts at a time (the batch foams up at first).
    • The mixture is a thick paste at first that will break down into a heavy powdered detergent, just keep stirring.
    • There may be some hard lumps, try to break them down when stirring (it really helps to make sure the baking soda isn’t clumpy when first adding).
    • I used 1/2 cup per full load with great results.

*Admin Update: clarified instructions for #10 and liquid detergent notes.

Quick Tips & Notes

*If you can’t find Fels-Naptha locally, you can buy it online (check Amazon).

Liquid Versions:

  • This will be lumpy, goopy and gel-like which is normal. Just give it a good churn before using.
  • Make sure to keep covered with a tight lid when not in use.
  • Another good option is to pour the mixture in old (and cleaned) plastic detergent bottles, cap tightly and shake well before each use.

Optional Fragrance:

  • You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to give it a nice scent.
    • Add once the batch has cooled to room temperature. Stir well and cover.
    • Essential oil suggestions: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil

Frequently Asked Questions

Update: I first published the above recipes in 2007 and this post has been one of the most popular articles posted here on Tipnut.

Grated Bar Of Soap, Borax & Water In A Bucket

I’m proud to say it’s one of the most informative resources available for learning how to make your own laundry detergent (but maybe I’m biased 😉 ), and it’s about to get even better with this compiled FAQ sheet.

With several hundred comments, many of them packed with helpful info, I’m finding that many of the questions posted in the comments area or sent to me through the contact form have been asked and answered several times, and that’s understandable since who can possibly keep track of all the information shared!

I’ve decided to gather together all the frequently asked questions into one handy information sheet so people can refer to it and find answers more easily.

Where Do You Buy Washing Soda?

  • The brand I’m most familiar with is Arm & Hammer.
  • Look in the laundry aisle of your grocery store or Walmart, that’s where I find it.
  • You can order it online quite easily, just do a search for it on Amazon or Google.
  • It’s apparently also known as Soda Ash and can be found at art supply stores, JoAnn Fabrics, and other places that sell textile products.
  • Try asking your local grocer to order it for you if they don’t carry it. The UPC code is 33200-03020 or 033200-030201.
  • You can try calling Church & Dwight the suppliers/makers for Arm & Hammer…1-800-524-1328…give them a UPC # 33200-03020 and they can direct you on where to find it locally or purchase it through them over the phone. You can also contact them via their website here: Church & Dwight – Arm & Hammer.

Where Can I Buy Fels Naptha?

  • Check the laundry aisle in your local grocery store or Walmart.
  • Fels Naptha is part of Summit Brands. You can check their website to locate the nearest store that carries it: Summit Brands – Store Location. Select “Zout” in the Brand pull down menu and then you can select Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar & Stain Remover.
  • You can order it online at Amazon.

Help! It’s Too Thick, Too Loose, Too Chunky, It Separated, It’s A Solid Mass, It Doesn’t Look Like I Think It Should!

  • Making your own laundry detergent is not an exact science. If it turns out differently than expected, still give it a try since the ingredients are all there. I can’t tell you what you did wrong or why a batch turned out differently than expected.
  • If you followed directions to a “T” (combined really well, used hot water, measured correctly, etc.), then the likely culprit is the brand of soap.
  • If the mixture gelled into a solid mass, try mixing in more hot water. If it’s too thin, try adding more soap or Borax or Washing Soda.

It Doesn’t Look Like Commercial Brands, It Looks Like Goopy Glop!

  • Congrats! That’s how it’s supposed to look.

Will My Favorite Brand Of Soap Work?

  • You’ll have to experiment by making a batch first to know for sure. I would cut batches in half (or even less) when first experimenting. This way there won’t be as much waste if it turns out poorly.
  • You don’t want anything heavy with perfumes or oils since this may transfer to your clothing (stains). They may also cause a chemical reaction with the other ingredients.
  • From the comments area: Any brand is okay that lists sodium palmate, sodium cocoate, sodium tallowate, etc.
    • Just be sure you are using real soap and not beauty bars with added free oils. (i.e. dove, etc).
  • I wouldn’t incorporate beauty bars or shower gels or body wash.

Are There Alternatives For People Who Have Allergies Or Sensitive Skin?

  • Try brands that you know you’re not allergic to, but watch the ingredients in the bar to make sure it won’t react with the rest of ingredients. The only way to know for sure is to try it.

How Do You Grate The Bars?

  • I do this on a handheld cheese grater but you can also use a food processor (just make sure you clean it well afterwards). Grate the bar first before tossing into a food processor then chop until fine.

Is Liquid OK Instead Of Grating A Bar?

  • Again, this is not an exact science–there’s lots of room for experimentation. For liquid varieties, I myself have not tried using liquid soap instead of a bar. I think Liquid Castile would be ok, you might want to dilute it with water first (no, I don’t have a dilution ratio to suggest). If you do try it, let us know how you made out in the comments area below.

What Is The Difference Between Washing Soda And Baking Soda?

  • Washing soda is Sodium Carbonate Decahydrate. Baking Soda is Sodium Bicarbonate. No they are not interchangeable and results will vary if substituting one for the other.

How Long Can It Be Stored For?

  • The powdered version seems to last forever, but I have no exact expiry date to advise. The liquid varieties also last quite awhile, but will thicken up over time. It was also suggested in the comments area that bacteria may grow in the detergent if it’s stored too long–what too long actually is, I can’t answer.

Is This Safe For A High Efficiency Washer (HE Machine)?

  • I have no experience with this but there are lots of comments that say it’s fine. Be aware that using anything other than what your machine manufacturer recommends may void your warranty.
  • Go through the comments and you will find several suggestions for HE machines.
  • Homemade detergent is low sudsing which is important for HE machines.

Can You Use It In a Front Loading Machine?

  • I have no experience with this but there are lots of comments that say it’s fine to use. Be aware that using anything other than what your machine manufacturer recommends may void your warranty.

I Have Hard Water & My Clothes Don’t Come Out That Clean, Suggestions?

  • Try incorporating baking soda or oxyclean or vinegar as laundry boosters, suggestions for baking soda are to start with 1/2 cup per load.

Aren’t These Ingredients Caustic? Poisonous? Are They Safe To Handle?

  • As with all cleaners, common sense is needed when handling cleaning agents and products. Going against dire, dire warnings about how dangerous Borax and Washing Soda are to the skin, I handled all ingredients with bare hands and experienced no burns and all flesh is still intact. If I had small cuts or scrapes on my skin, my experience may have been different. To be safe you may wish to wear rubber gloves.
  • Avoid breathing in any of the powders and ingredients. I imagine breathing in a mouthful of commercial laundry products, or getting it in my eyes or up my nose, would be very uncomfortable and unwise for health reasons, the same goes for homemade detergent ingredients.
  • It goes without saying: Don’t eat it to find out if it’s poisonous or not. And of course: Keep this out of reach of kiddos just like you would for any other household cleaning product.

Can It Be Used With Cold Water Instead Of Hot?

  • Sure it can. If you notice clothes don’t come out as clean as you’d like, try a laundry booster such as vinegar or oxyclean.

Can It Be Used For Laundering Baby Clothes & Diapers?

  • This question is asked for two reasons: Will it irritate baby’s skin and will it be strong enough to clean nasty diapers. Although I’ve never tried homemade detergents for this purpose myself, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Martha Stewart recommends both Washing Soda and Borax as boosters when laundering diapers.
  • The instructions on the box for Arm & Hammer suggest as a diaper soak.
  • Many have affirmed that baby items clean up nicely with no ill effects.

How Fine Do You Have To Grate The Bar?

  • Grating the bar first is done so that it melts faster when heated or dissolves better in the wash. The finer it is, the quicker it melts.

Will It Fade Dark Colored Clothing?

  • I have noticed no fading or damage to clothing. I’ve laundered work clothes, everyday clothes and office attire.

Freshly Laundered Clothes Smell Like Nothing! Can You Add Essential Oils For Fragrance? If So, How Much?

  • You bet! Essential oils are a nice touch (freshly laundered clothes really don’t have any nice or noticeable scent with homemade detergent). How much you add depends on how strong the fragrance is that you’ve chosen and what recipe you are using. Experiment for yourself to see what you like best.
  • For starters you can try these two suggestions as guidelines: Recipe #4 (Powdered) I’d start with 5 drops, mixed in very well. For #9 (Powdered) I’d start with 20 to 25 drops, mixed in very well. Also noted in the original post: Try between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons).

Can Bleach Be Added?

  • Bleach has been used by myself successfully with no harmful effects. You will want to watch the ingredients in your laundry soap items though (make sure the bar you use can be mixed with bleach safely), bleach will react negatively with vinegar for example.

Is There A Residue On Clothes After Laundering?

  • I haven’t noticed it but if you do, here are a couple things you can try: Increase the water amount, decrease the load size or decrease the detergent used per wash. You can also try a vinegar rinse by using a Downy ball or during the rinse cycle.

Can I Safely Use the Gray Water In My Garden?

  • I have no idea, sorry.

Are These Safe For Septic Tanks?

  • I have no idea, sorry.

Why Aren’t There Any Suds Forming?

  • Homemade detergents are low sudsing, you won’t see many suds in the wash. No worries, this is normal and your clothes will still come out clean.

After Mixing Ingredients Together, The Mixture Smells Really Strong & Foul–What’s Wrong?

  • The brand of soap is likely causing a chemical reaction with the other ingredients. Throw out the batch (don’t get it on your skin or breathe it in) and try a different brand.

It Isn’t Completely Dissolving, Why?

  • If you’re having problems with chunks of detergent not dissolving, try mixing it in some hot water before adding to the load.
  • If you are using the powdered version, try grating soap into finer pieces.

Any Ideas Of What I Can Use For Storing The Liquid Version In?

  • Pails made from heavy plastic, make sure there’s a lid or cap to keep it sealed. I found some big heavy pails through a restaurant, if you know someone working in a restaurant, see if they can help you out.
  • Comments have suggested empty plastic vinegar jugs.
  • Comments have suggested large plastic kitty litter containers.

Is This Stuff Safe For The Environment? I’m Trying To Find An Eco-Friendly Solution!

  • According to the Environmental Working Group, Arm & Hammer’s washing soda is rated “low concern” for environment impact: ewg.org.
  • Borax is an ingredient included in many natural “Green” recipes.
  • I would guess that it’s better than most regular commercial products.

How Much Is Needed Per Load?

  • Read the instructions for the particular recipe you’re working with, each of them have suggested amounts to use. Feel free to adjust as needed.

Ugh! This Stuff Didn’t Clean My Clothes At All!

  • It could be one of two things: because not enough detergent was added to loads or the brand of bar soap utilized. Experiment with the amounts, you should discover the necessary amount.
  • The suggested amounts may not be right in your case since the brand of bar soap incorporated might not be as effective a cleaner as others.

Is It Really Worthwhile Making Your Own?

  • The powdered varieties are the easiest to manage in my opinion (for both mixing and storing). It doesn’t cost that much to give it a shot and see how you like it. If you do find it works well for you–imagine the money you’ll save over time!

Increasing Some Antiseptic Quality

This is a great tip sent in by Susan and I think it should be added to this main section so it doesn’t get missed (thank you Susan!)…

  • For readers who were worried about bacteria surviving in the wash using cold water they could try using Dr. Bronner’s teatree soap or adding teatree oil to their detergent for it’s antiseptic properties. I’ve had some success with this. I used this on my son when his winter eczyma became irritated and resulted in a bad skin infection. It cleared up in about half the amount of time his pediatrician predicted. Also, adding vinegar to the fabric softener cup on the washer will help to keep things more sanitary by breaking up leftover residues.

I’ll add to this list as questions arise. If you have any advice to offer, feel free to do so in the comments area below, and thanks again to everyone who shared their knowledge!

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    • Lori

    I have been using homemade laundry soap for a while now and my family loves it. It leaves no odor on your clothes and rinses clean. I put 1/2 cup white vinegar in my downy ball and use for fab. softener. It works GREAT!!!

      • Char

      Vinegar is great for rinsing and sanitizes. All my reading indicates that it should only be used in the rinse cycle because if used with soap they cancel each other out.

        • Denise

        Put vinegar in the softener cycle or softener dispenser. It is a natural fabric softener. And yes I promise your clothes will NOT smell like vinegar after they are dried. It is a natural deodorizer. It is also just as effective if not more at killing bacteria in the wash cycle as well as in your washing machine instead of those very strong bleach and expensive washing machine cleaners.

      • Stephanie

      If, for some reason, you DO want a fresh smell (like for towels or linens), I’ve tried Unstoppables or Gain fragrance enhancers. I think Purex makes them too. I just put half a cap into each of the laundry jugs and shake, shake, shake! I know the fragrance enhancers are a little expensive, but considering the overall savings of doing this yourself, it’s awesome (plus I use coupons all the time:).

        • RRaikes

        Keep in mind that if you are using sent boosters, they are made with formaldehyde. Some people don’t care about this but it’s not good if you have kids with sensitive skin or are trying to be more Eco friendly. Essential oils are a great fragrance booster also as long as you are using good quality oils. Cheap oils may not be as pure and might change smell or stain clothes.

        • Lori Kay

        Tried both of these and febreze in wash odor remover as well, is costly, but serves two purposes at once……kills horrible odors and adds a fresh scent! Have 8 children…. 6 of wich are boys, trust me….gym shoes have never smelled so fresh as with adding this! Lol

        • kim Carswell

        where did you find fragrance enhancers

          • Billie Yocky

          Consider that you are so used to laundry smelling UBER chemically that you just think that means it’s cleaner or fresher? I would not add chemicals to these recipes, it defeats the whole purpose, does it not? I add essential oils, and my favorite is lemongrass…. not super costly, but very fresh and lasts a while, too. Just please think about it.

        • LD

        This defies the whole point of natural detergent.

      • Stiny

      Here are some tips to get the finest grate:
      Unwrap and let the soap bar dry for a few weeks.
      Grate on the 2nd finest side of a box grater.
      Put into a gallon zip bag and use a rolling pin to really get a fine powder.
      It will be as fine as store bought detergent!

    • Melissa

    I want to make my own laundry detergent preferably the powder. I have an infant, a 4 year old with eczema and coconut allergy and trying to avoid xenoestrogens. I usually use the Nature Clean, but is is expensive and backordered! I’ve heard contradicting opinions on the safety of Borax. And a lot of the bar soaps have coconut in them. DR. Bronners liquid castile also has coconut. Question: Can I use something like grated Kiss My Face which is 100% olive oil soap?

      • Chris

      You could make your own soap using a recipe that excludes coconut which is only added for it’s sudsing action. There are lots of soap recipes online. Or ask a local soap-crafter to make you a special batch. You could try kiss-my-face, but I think it may not be a hard enough soap and may not rinse well from clothing and I would be concerned about staining from the soap. You could experiment by mixing a partial batch and testing on different fabric types to see if it works well.

      See if you can find some coconut-free goat milk soap for cleansing your son’s skin. (If he is not allergic to milk of course.)


        • Becky Brickman

        I used the Kiss My Face Olive Oil soap to make my first batch, and it works GREAT! We use cloth diapers, and have great clean results. (I also put vinegar in the rinse cycle.)

          • Mirroria

          Which Recipe did you use?

            • Laura

            Since you use vinegar… I am curious. Do you use any essential or fragrance oils. I understand vinegar is used to kill odors, so does it counter the detergents scents?

        • Sonia

        Hi. Maybe try to do your own bar soap with olive oil, or filtered recycled oil. It takes 1 month but you’ll get an oil controlled soap.

      • Erin

      I have not checked the ingredients myself, but is Ivory bar soap a safe brand for you? I have used it in recipe #4 for a while now and it works well also.

        • Robin

        I used the Ivory bar in the shower for years because I considered it to be more natural but it left a terrible residue

      • Kelsey

      My 17 month old has slight eczema and I think my boy(almost 3) might have a little bit too, I’ve made homemade soap for a little while now and they both seem to be fine with it. My recipe is 1 bar grated sunlight bar soap melted into 1 gallon water, add 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda and 1 more gallon cold water. Mix and it will gel when cooled. It has even gotten out some poop stains! Hope this helps.

    • Sheryllyn

    Yes, but where do you get washing soda? I’ve never been able to find it!

      • WifeofBrian

      Amaze by Sunlight is the same as washing soda.

      • LIZ

      washing soda is made by arm&hammer.. contact them by phone or the web to find out where to find it in your area.. here in florida.. we have it at publix.. its great.. good luck.

        • Doris

        You can get Fels- Naptha, washing soda, and Borax at Walmart. Usually they are all together in the laundry isle.

      • Susan

      This question (where do you get washing soda) is repeated many times.

      Just a thought.

      Washing soda is sodium carbonate.

      All fabric powder bleach contains sodium carbonate, inorganic salts, sodium percarbonate (the bleaching agent), nonionic surfactant, brightening agents. (This is very similar to oxyclean.)

      Has anyone tried substituting the all fabric bleach for washing soda? You might need to add somewhat more of it than the amount of washing soda called for in your recipe…

        • Tiffany

        Putting baking soda is the oven to cook for a bit will make washing soda. I am not sure of temps or times but you can google making washing soda I suppose.

          • chandra

          If you put it in the oven at 400 degrees for.roughly an hour it will turn it into washing soda

            • Dee

            Thank you for this tip on baking baking soda (pun intended)My son is allergic to Arm & Hammer.

          • Clarissa

          Has anyone used Zote powder instead of bar in recipe. If so how much?

      • Chauntel

      Walmart for just over $3. I bought a box just 2 days ago. On the same aisle as other laundry items.

        • Kristine

        Either on the top shelve or hidden on the bottom shelve

          • DebraOH

          Stir frequently. 🙂

      • TrishWA

      Check Amazon for everything and anything

      • Sarrahann

      We found fels naptha, washing soda and borax at Ace Hardware and American Hardware. They were even helpful with making the soap.

      • Kristy

      I read online that you can use baking soda to make washing soda. You put it in the oven at 400 degrees. It changes the chemical compound. You want it to look more dull and finer grade. It took me about 45 min. to an hour to get it there.

      • Carla S.

      Any kroger should have it.

      • Stephanie

      I buy my washing soda at Walmart. The brand I buy is Arm and Hammer and is on the laundry aisle with the Borax and Fels Naptha soap. Don’t know where you live but I have also seen it in the only grocery store in my small town in Virginia, Martin’s/Giant. I have also seen it in Target and K-Mart. Each time and in every store I have seen and/or bought it, it’s been on the laundry aisle with Borax, etc.

        • Sarah M

        Just made my first batch of dry laundry detergent using recipe number 4. I immediately ran two loads of laundry, and am extremely pleased with the clean, soft results! I’m hooked!! Makes me wish we had more dirty laundry to be done, and that’s a first!!!

      • Dana

      If you can’t find the washing soda at a grocery store, you can find it anywhere that sells pool supplies. It is called soda ash and it is used for balancing the pH in a pool. I saw it at Home Depot.

      • Tami

      I had no problem finding washing soda in both the laundry aisle in my grocery store AND in hardware stores! Smaller hardware stores like Ace are better sources for this type of thing.

      • Jackie

      wal mart and foodlion both carry it its made by arm n hammer you could check on line to see were else it may be carried near you.

      • Jennifer

      I just bought Arm & Hammer Washing Soda at Wal-Mart, I found it on the laundry isle beside Borax.

      • John of NC

      It is also in the pool cleaning section.

      • Mike


      • cindy

      I buy mine in the laundry detergent aisle at Wal Mart

      • Elvera Bullis

      Washing soda can be bought at Walmart, and I use Fels Naptha in my batches. This is amazing because for the last 3 months my cost has been about $2.00 total. Love saving money.

      • dotti

      hi sheryllyn you say you have had trouble finding washing soda , you can make it very easily. chemistry lesson coming up lol place baking soda on a oven tray and bake it until you see the powder change from grainy to smooth hey presto you have washing soda. best regards dotti uk

      • sheila farmer

      i used biz powder instead of washing soda and got the same results came out smelling great. i wouldn’t do the liquid biz. but experiment, washing soda is best, but biz is fine and it worked. it is buy the laudry boosters father on down. and fels naptha came out best but i used zote also both worked. thanks

        • Helenah

        The reason for making homemade laundry detergent is to stay AWAY from chemicals which are also in Biz Powder. These chemicals are cancer causing, etc.

      • RachelleNavyWife

      For the military readers –
      We live in VA. I have not been able to find washing soda at the Commissary or Farm Fresh, but I did find it at Harris Teeter – the Arm and Hammer brand. Borax and Fels-Naptha are available at the Commissary!

      • Paul

      Walmart has everything:

      Washing soda
      Large box of Natural baking soda
      Fragrance enhancers

        • Tonya

        I couldn’t find the fragrance enhancers. Where would I find those?

      • ani

      Try Ace Hardware for washing soda and castile soap.

      • June Gordon

      Sheryllyn, Washing Soda is found in the laundry aisle at grocery stores, WalMart, Target. It looks just like the Arm & Hammer Baking Soda box, but it’s washing soda. It’s usually near the boosters – Borax, Oxiclean, etc.

      • RRaikes

      Walmart sells all of the basic ingredients required to make home made laundry detergent. At my Walmart, they are located in the same isle as all the other laundry and fabric care items.

      • Natalie

      I don’t know how old this question is but… My local Walmart carries everything you need to make your own laundry soap in the laundry isle. The Borax and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda are located between the stain removers and the bleach on the very bottom of the shelf. And the Fels Napfa or Zote is located on the top shelf on the opposite end from the high priced soaps such as Tide or Gain. Kroger has the ingredients too (actually before Walmart carried them) if you live in a Kroger area. I’ve also heard that Ace Hardware carries some of the ingredients but you would have to call them to check. You can also try Walmart.com and search nearby stores if your location doesn’t have it. Good luck 🙂

      • Millie

      Your can also make your own washing soda using regular
      backing soda. You pour onto a cookie sheet and bake it in
      the oven. You can find the exact temp and time on the internet.
      ” make your own washing soda”

    • Melissa

    Washing soda can be found pretty much at all grocery stores, Wal-Mart, etc. It’s in the powdered laundry detergent area. I think the common name brand is Arm and Hammer (be sure not to buy Arm and Hammer detergent). It will say washing soda.

    • TipNut

    Melissa I’m not familiar with that soap, but it sounds like a beauty/moisturizing bar to me. I’m wondering if it wouldn’t leave a residue on fabrics? (I read the Amazon reviews). Does the Ivory bar soap cause problems for your son?

    Sheryllyn Melissa’s right–it’s found in the laundry aisle (at least that’s where I’ve always seen it). Walmart definitely has it, and yes, it’s Arm & Hammer Washing Soda that I’ve used.

    • Donna

    Fels Naptha soap, Arm and Hammer Washing Soda and Borax is sold at Kroger Grocery stores in Tennesse

      • Marlene

      I used Fels Naptha, I placed the bar in my microwave for 2 minutes on high, and it doubled it’s size and I cut it very easy. I then placed pieces of the bar in my food processor and in less than 30 seconds I have a very fine soap. Great ides!!!!!

    • Julia

    Our Walmart does not have Washing Soda!
    But I have tried recipe #6 with sucess.

      • Sharon

      At our Walmart it’s not with the laundry stuff but down at the end with misc. cleaners like wood oils and such. Maybe that will help someone. Because I looked all up and down in the laundry area and it wasn’t there.

        • Sam

        For anyone looking for washing soda, it can also be witthe pool chemicals as pH plus.

    • Charity

    I make my own cold process soap and use it to make laundry soap. However, to anyone asking what soaps you can use? You can use any soap that lists sodium palmate, sodium cocoate, sodium tallowate, etc. Just be sure you are using real soap and not detergent beauty bars with added free oils. (i.e. dove, etc)

    You can use anything like Ivory, Dial, Irish Spring, Lever, etc.

    I find that the homemade laundry soap does work, but be sure to use some vinegar in a downy ball to ensure it rinses clean from not only your clothing but from building up over time with soap scum inside your washer and hoses.

    • Rachel

    I am also trying to avoid xenoestrogens so the only soap I use for my skin is Naturally Clear, which is pure glycerin soap. can I use that in the laundry soap recipes? right now I just use equal parts of Borax and washing soda in my laundry.

    • Lori

    Hi, I just made my laundry soap for the first time and I absolutely love it!!!!! It got my clothes so clean, and it was so easy to make!!! I gave my mom some and she also thought it was the best!!! No more buying laundry soap for me, I’m making my own!!! Thanks for the recipes!! I think I’m going to try the homeade febreeze next!!!

      • Jakcie

      Lori, what recipe did you use?

        • Jackie

        Sorry thats Jackie no Jakcie.

          • Lori

          Using the one that makes the 10 gallons and adding febreze to the total amount before bottleing it.

    • Andrea

    For recipe #10, it doesn’t say how much to use for each load. Any suggestions?

      • Rachel

      It is hard to find ,but it says at the end of the recipe to use 1/2 cup per load!

    • Abbey

    Does anyone know the difference between washing soda & baking soda, and why it makes a difference? I’m having trouble finding the washing soda locally all of a sudden, and was hoping I could use some of this big BUCKET of baking soda I happen to have…


      • Andrea

      Its the arm and hammer soda on the laundry soap aisle. In my store it’s located next to the borax.

      • Tiffany

      Look up making washing soda. I read a blog about it that talked about the differences and how you can cook baking soda in the oven to make washing soda. I did not commit any of it to memory.

      • sharon

      bake your regular baking soda in oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour and it will turn into washing soda.

      • Shawnee

      The ph is higher with wash soda like 2 points higher if I’m not mistaken- the high ph is what gets the clothes clean☺️

    • Cheryl

    I don’t like the smell or stickiness of bar soap. Can I substitute liquid soap and how much? Help! Also, I can’t find washing soda, so I’m substituting same amout of Oxyclean. Seems to work.

      • Carol

      I used your tip about subbing Oxyclean for washing soda. Thanks a bunch!!

    • TipNut

    Abbey why not try recipe #8 if you have no washing soda, it’s just calls for baking soda. I think for the other recipes you could try and see what results you get, maybe add a bit more soap to make up for the missing washing soda.

    Andrea, sorry I missed your question. I went through my notes and don’t see any suggested amount to use. I’d start with 1/2 cup per load and work up or down if needed on the next load.

    • Heidi P.

    Washing soda is Sodium Carbonate Decahydrate. Baking Soda is sodium Bicarbonate. If you can’t find the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, I’ve heard you can buy Sodium Carbonate Decahydrate at any store that sells pools supplies.

    For those with coconut allergies, as far as I know the fels naptha does not contain any coconut based products, but if you are still leary you can buy lye soap in bulk on the net for pretty cheap and it works great too. Just make sure that you inquire from the manufacturer of the lye soap that it is lard based and not vegetable based. Most vegetable based lye soaps usually have coconut oil in them.

    I’ve been using the powder recipe for my laundry and it has been working great. I plan on trying one of the liquid recipes next. I also use fels naptha, lye soap or ivory as pre treaters with great results.

      • Lavonne H.

      Hi, I have been using Fels Naptha bar soap as a stain fighter for 30 years, Works better than anything else I have ever tried!

      • Scotia

      Fels Naptha does contain coconut products. ALL true soaps are made with LYE. Lard and Tallow soaps often contain coconut as well, coconut is the ingredient that makes suds most efficiently.

    • Astrid Beenken

    Hi there, I am so excited to have found this page with receipes for home-made laundry detergents:-) I have to avoid all xenestrogens and it was recommended to me to use “Nature Clean” laundry detergent (which we don’t seem to have in the U.K.) or alternatively Trisodium Phosphate (which is not exactly friendly to the environment).

    On the practical side of home made laundry detergents: What is the easiest way to grate soap bars? Do you just use an ordinary cheese grater?
    Also, how long can home made detergent be kept for? Is there any time limit?

      • esther

      A lady I learned to make laundry soap from used Ivory bar soap. She would microwave it for 90 seconds to 2 minutes,depending on the microwave being used, and than crumble it in a bag as it tends to become airborne. It will puff up so don’t be frightened. Let it cool before crumbling, and I suggest using gloves to protect your hands if you find it harsh on your skin.

        • MommaLilMan

        I also microwave my bar soap, SO MUCH FASTER!! And easier on the hands, you can then grate it or food process it =)

      • Char

      Powdered detergent in an airtight container will last 1 yr or more.
      I grate my soap for powder in the food processor. First I use the cheese grating (carrot shredding)blade that sits at the top of the processor bowl. And then I switch to the puree blade which is placed in the bottom of the bowl. This makes a super-fine grated soap that dissolves easily and completely.

    • TipNut

    Hi Astrid, yes just use a cheese grater for grating the soap.

    I’m not sure how long the homemade detergents can be kept for. I’ve never had a problem with it, usually using up whatever batches I’ve made within a few weeks.

    Hope this helps :).

      • Paula

      To grate soap really finely in a food processor, mix a bit of the super dry Arm & Hammer washing soda. Suddenly the soap get light and is able to break into much finer particles quickly.

    • Melissa

    Can you use these recipes with a high effiency washer. I just got one this year and I dont want to mess it up.

      • Paula

      I have used it in my HE washer for about four months and will never use anything else, now! I also use vinegar in the rinse cup…

        • NannyB

        When I needed a new washing machine, I decided to get a front loader. All the literature says to use HE soap. I asked what it was and the sales person told me it was a soap that does not make lots of suds. Seems that suds are the enemy of any front loader. BTW…anyone using Oxyclean must be careful about colors. It will spot or bleach. I always dilute it in cool water and put it into the place where you would add liquid bleach. That way a rush of water runs through that channel and goes into the already wet laundry and avoids discoloring color clothing. I also use less than one scoop for colored wash and a little more than one scoop for whites. Happy laundry!!! Great web site!!!

    • TipNut

    I can’t say for sure Melissa, does the washer you have come with restrictions on the type of soap or detergent used?

    • Melissa

    Of course they want you to use the really expensive H/E only soaps. I will have to get the book out to see what it says about it.

    • RL

    Baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) slowly turns into washing soda (Sodium Carbonate, a.k.a. soda ash) when heated above 140 degrees F. The carbon dioxide released is what makes things rise. If you heat baking soda to 350-400 degrees, it’ll turn into washing soda fairly quickly.

    Washing soda is also sold in pool supply stores as “soda ash”, and is used to raise the pH of the water. (Read the label to make sure it is 100% Sodium Carbonate).

      • Ann-Marie

      I too, use this method of converting a certain amount of my baking soda into washing soda. This method is safe and easy and it’s very obvious when the chemical reaction has happened (which simply means the texture has physically and visually changed, because the moisture content of the baking soda has evaporated). I bake the baking soda on a cookie sheet at 400* for 45-60 minutes making sure my exhaust fan is running the entire time as washing soda is a bit more caustic to handle than baking soda.

        • Lisa

        I also change baking soda to washing soda not hard really easy love it

    • Marilyn

    I had the same problem finding washing soda, aka soda ash and sodium carbonate. Yes,sodium carbonate is used in pools to increase the pH. The best place I have found to get it is at intheswim.com; choose “more” under pool chemicals. (pH Increaser is soda ash) it comes in sizes up to 50lb bag. My girlfriend and I went in on 100 lb with free shipping so it was a deal. If you get on their email list they send out notices when they have free shipping.
    Wal-mart and others have this in the pool supplies but is more expensive.
    Also, this works GREAT in front loading washers! I use my own cold process soap instead of bar soap.

      • Lisa

      Baking soda is washing soda except you cook a cup or 2 in oven for 15 min then stir do a another 15 and you have washing soda just need to cook off the shine on soda I use it to make liquid

    • Laura

    My daughter has sensitive skin so I wanted to use her body wash that she uses to make her some detergent. She didn’t have enough so I used the White Rain that I had to make the liquid. I dissolved the body wash with the heated water and everything was going great until I added the Borax and the Washing Soda. It immediately started to stink up my kitchen. You know that awful smell at the beauty parlor when someone is having the hair dyed/treated? :>(
    That is what it smelled like. I had to quickly dump it out.

    Does anyone have any idea what might have happened?

      • Rose

      There was a chemical reaction. All previous posts suggest using a different soap. The white rain caused a chemical reaction and all you can do is try another soap. You were right to dump it since it changed the chemical make up.

    • TipNut

    I’d say there’s an ingredient in the body wash that reacts with the Borax and the two should not be mixed together.

    • Nitza

    Iam so glad I found these tips. I ‘ve been wanting to find the right recipe to homemade laundry detergent. Please help, I have tried several recipes but my clothes comes out dirty. I know we have hard water, how would I adjust the recipe to compensate. Thanks for your advise.

      • Angie

      I use baking soda along with the borax and washing soda. You don’t want to use too much because it will cause fading after a while. It seems to work well with hard water….just use 1/2 cup if you’re using 1 cup of the other ingredients. Vinegar as a softener helps with hard water also. (I wash in cold, and they come out very clean)

      • Becca

      I have more luck if I use Zoot for the bar soap.
      Grate the whole bar of Zoot (it’s a large bar)
      Melt in a large pot with 1 gallon of water
      When it is all melted add 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda and bring to a boil. Pour 1 gallon of cold water in a bucket then add the melted soap mixture. Mix well and pour in your container. I usually have to add more water to keep it from getting to thick. You just have to play around with the amount of extra water. I think I add close to a gallon extra or maybe a little more.
      I use a cup per load. With the Zoot my cloths are bright and clean. I don’t have much luck with the Fels Naptha soap. My cloths don’t look as clean when I use the Fels Naptha.

        • Lisa

        What is “Zoot” and where do you get it? Thanks.

          • Cara

          It is Zote”, not “Zoot”. It is on the top shelf of our Wally World, in the laundry aisle, with the Dreft and other baby-friendly soaps and detergents. It is very mild.

    • TipNut

    Nitza I don’t have any more advice than what I have up above. Maybe someone reading this can add their notes and what worked for them to beat the hard water problem.

    • Charity

    To Laura above

    It had a reaction probably because the white rain is not a soap but a surfactant based product. You need real soap and not a surfactant based product. Most body washes and shampoo products are surfactant based. Just get some solid soap and grate it up. If you really want to use liquid soap something like Dr. Bronners liquid soap will work as that is soap based and not surfactant based. It is a liquid soap because instead of using sodium hydroxide to make the soap they use potassium hydroxide which results in liquid soap.

    I am getting ready to make another batch of laundry detergent and will be using the powdered recipe above. I will be making some cp lard and coconut soap and grating that up. I made some of the liquid laundry soap recipes listed above, and while they do work I am not crazy about dealing with a 5 gallon pail of glop.

    • TipNut

    Nice info Charity, thanks for sharing…and glop is the perfect word! lol!

    • Lori S.


    Have you tried adding 1/2 cup of baking soda per washload to help soften your water (on top of the soda in the soap)? We have a mill near us (where they sell animal foods) and baking soda is sold in 50 pound bags for under $10.00. This is “animal grade” soda so I would not use it for baking as I do not know what the “purity” factor is like.

    • Lori S.


    Instead of making a “5 gallon pail of glop”, why don’t you use empty gallon vinegar bottles? These are easy to handle.
    The recipe I have (before finding this page) is to melt 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha in 6 cups of hot water over steady heat (do not boil). I usually pour hot water into my 6 quart pot, turn on the heat, add grated soap, then bring just to under a boil. Stir, then turn off heat and allow to sit for about 10-15 minutes. The soap will be melted and you haven’t had to babysit it. Then I add the washing soda and borax, stirring well to dissolve, then I divide equally into two empty vinegar jugs (1 gallon size).
    I use a basic 2 cup size measuring cup. I think you get approximately 3 1/3 cups per jug. Then I add 2 cups very hot tap water, put lid on tight, give a few vigorous shakes, release lid slowly (the heat will cause pressure in jug). Then I add another 2-3 cups of hot water and repeat the shake, then add remaining water to about 2″ from top. You may have to allow suds to settle some before adding the last cup or two. Give one last shake to mix all ingredients. Allow soap to sit in jugs unlidded until cool. Then replace lid and store in laundry room. No more 5 gallon pail problems!
    This makes a nice gift for others, too. I made several gallons in empty vinegar jugs for gift giving, along with a card that had directions, as Christmas gifts. You use 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup per load, depending on size and filth of load.

    Lori S.

      • Marlene

      I understand the process but did not get the amounts of the soda & borax. Can’t wait to make the smaller batches, have a bunch of gallon milk jugs. Thanks!!

        • Marlene

        I found out that if you place your Fels Naptha (unwrapped)in the microwave for 2 minutes, it doubles it’s size and is very soft. I then cut chunks into my food processor and within 30 seconds I had a very fine soap. Too Cool!!!!!for

    • Lori S.

    Instead of using a cheese grater, I use a paring knife on the Fels Naptha soap as the soap will come off in small powdery pieces that melt more quickly. You will still get a few larger pieces, but the melt time is much faster. It only takes about 2-3 minutes to pare a 1/3 bar of soap. I can have a batch of 2 jugs of soap done in less than 1/2 hour (this is with melting time).

    • Shannon

    I buy (from the $ store) the laundry booster (Oxyclean) and it makes your laundry even whiter! I love this stuff!

      • Lori

      Did you know you can get the off store brand of oxy from the Dollar tree and works just as great as the name brand….but only cost $1.07 tax an all!?!?!

    • Charity

    To Lori S.

    I use my own handmade soap and I blended it with a stick blender into the water. Since I am using my own cold process soap, I noticed that the solution ended up being too thick to put in pour spout bottles. (Or bottles of any kind) I ended up having to scoop it out and use it that way. Plus, I am just a bit worried about storing anything liquid without a preservative system in place as bacteria can build up in it. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. (this concern comes from all my research and development and 14 years of making handmade soaps and lotions). I find that making the powdered soap works just fine by grating then grinding it all up in my food processor. I have a 5 gallon bucket of the powder that I made and I only need 1/8 of a cup. I really like the powder better. But your mileage may vary according to your preference to liquids over powders. My powder is such a fine powder that it all dissolves perfectly in the washing machine. I figure my 5 gallon bucket of powder will last a good 4-5 years. It cost me with making my own cold process soap along with the other ingredients about $10 for the huge bucket full. I think I am set for a long time before I need to worry about making more 🙂

      • Jackie

      What recipe do you use for your powdered soap?

      • MJ

      You took the words out of my mouth, as a natural skincare formulator, I agree that it either needs preservative or to be anhydrous.

      • Char

      Just a thought– if you are worried about the powder not dissolving– try this test. Place the 2-3 Tb powdered recipe (amount needed for 1 load)in a coffee filter you folded in 1/2, then in 1/2 again (forms a cone shape). Open one of the outside “pockets” place detergent inside and then seal the top hand sewing OR pinch together top and wrap a rubber band around it tightly. Toss that in with a load of clothes & wash. Once the clothes are done, dissect the filter & see if it all dissolved. I now make my own laundry “pods” for my college son. A faster way to do it is to buy a “staple-less” stapler (online at thinkgeek.com )for about $5. These make great gifts, especially to laundry mat users and college students. No huge bottles to lug.

    • sherif taha

    hi all
    thanks alot about your work for helping us in making more and more detergent and soap
    i want to participate in giving information and in getting answer about my ?

    • Colleen

    I read on another site that Washing soda is very caustic and you should wear gloves to use it. In the recipe that uses 8 cups baking soda and 8 cups Washing soda, could you use all baking soda? I was wondering because it says that the baking soda is basically the same, but not as caustic.

    • TipNut

    Colleen I can’t guarantee the results since I haven’t tried it, but I would say split the washing soda amount between the baking soda and borax (4 cups of each).

    • cristy

    Has anyone used recipe #5? I did some research on borax and was shocked to see it is concidered a poison. Should this be used in our clothes. Fels naphta also had some toxic effects. I wanted to start making my own soaps for safety reasons, yet in my search I’m finding some of these soaps to be just as toxic.

    • TipNut

    Hi Cristy, here’s some info on Borax: Wikipedia – Borax, it’s used widely in detergents.

    Soaps, cleaners and laundry cleaners are harmful if consumed, Borax is no different.

    • Carla

    Can these detergents be used with cold water?? I am also trying to save on my electric bill 🙂

    • TipNut

    Hi Carla, it should be no problem but I’ve been doing some reading about laundry and I hesitate to recommend cold water laundry. Here’s an article: Scientist At Work: Charles Gerba, quote (bolding mine)…

    But Dr. Gerba’s latest project is the laundry, a task he believes Americans regard with not nearly enough caution or diligence. He is preparing his latest paper for presentation this spring at the meeting of the American Society of Microbiology. His study, survival of microbial pathogens during laundry, examines how fecal bacteria infiltrate washing machines.

    Focusing on four-person families in Tucson, Dr. Gerba’s team randomly visited 60 homes and washed a sterile washcloth in their machines. One-fifth of the machines contained E. coli, while a quarter were contaminated with fecal matter.

    The laundry, Dr. Gerba contends, is becoming less clean. Fewer Americans wash clothes in hot water, and only 5 percent use bleach, he said. Wash cycles are only 20 minutes, while the average drying time is only 28 minutes. Dr. Gerba found that some salmonella and hepatitis A survive through laundry — including the dry cycle — and remain on clothes. “We have no idea how well we clean clothes,” he said.

      • Taylor

      I was just wondering how well they might dissolve in cold water, particularly the powder. Now I’m thinking I need to wash in hot water, anyways!! I figure I’ll save as much on laundry detergent as I spend on natural gas to heat the water to get my clothes clean enough.

    • cristy

    Thanks for the info on borax. I am looking forward to trying these soaps.

    • Bladerunner

    I’m interested in people’s experiences with homemade soap in HE machines too. I’m all for homemade, less-toxic laundry soap. I’ve had issues in the past with using non-HE soaps in my washer, and having to run everything through an extra rinse cycle or two. I’d like to avoid that if I can, and to be sure the soap will dissolve in the first place as well (Powdered would be much easier for me to make and store, though I’ll do gel if I have to).

      • NannyB

      HE, I am told, simply means less suds which is dangerous to front loader machines. They do not wash out as easily and can clog the exit pipes.

      • June Gordon

      I have been making my soap for 4 years now and actually sell it to friends. I have about 40 customers and most have HE washing machines (myself included). We have never had a problem with the soap. Our recipe calls for 1/2 c/load but most of us don’t have really soiled clothing, so I only use 1/4 c. I used 1/2 cup for towels and whites or more heavily soiled clothing.

      I make it in 5 gallon homer buckets (the orange 5 gal. buckets you get at Home Depot) and then while it’s still hot, pour into 1 gallon jugs. I love the Iced Tea jugs (like Arizona or Tradewinds) because they are a heavy plastic. They store nicely and are easy to pour from.

      I’ve been wanting to try a powdered version 🙂

        • Melissa

        It sounds like you have used this long enough to find a good recipe. Which version do you use to make your homemade detergent?

    • Mikki

    Hi! Can you use any of these recipes in a he washer? Thanks!

    • Brandi

    Anyone use this for infants?

      • tina

      yes i use #2 and she has had problems with other soaps but seems to work great i use Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap

    • doug evans

    hello,i made my own recipe,i used dawn ultra concitrated dish liquid and amonia.6 ounces of dawn,and 2 cups of amonia 2 gallons of water.i had 2 dollars ivestment in the dawn and amonia and it made 4 gallons of liquid detergent for just 2 dollars ,then i just used it like i would any liquid detergent.if you try this let me know how it worked for you ,i like it and its cheap ,i bought my stuff at the dollar store.

      • Crystal

      How well did this laundry soap work for you?

      • Deborah

      Washing machines these days come with a warning to never put ammonia in them!!!

      • Deborah

      Additionally, Dawn (like most dish detergents) is exceptionally high foaming. That isn’t just death to HE washers but will negatively effect the performance of top loaders.

      • DARRELL


      • Rhonda Corbett

      Hi Doug
      Just make sure you NEVER use bleach with your recipe for laundry soap. Bleach & Ammonia react together foaming a toxic gas that can KILL you.

    • Troy

    Hello Everyone,

    For the last year, I have been using the following Mix for my Sears Kenmore HE front loader:

    3 bars Fels Naptha
    3 cups Borax
    3 cups Arm and Hammer Washing Soda.

    Grate the Fels Naptha, then put in a food processor with a chopping blade and chop until fine.

    Pour into a large bowl with the Borax and Washing Soda and stir until combined.

    Use 1/4 cup in a HE front loader, use 1/2 cup in a top loader. In my HE front loader, it dissolves perfectly

    I use Vinegar as the fabric softener and add Mrs. White’s Liquid Bluing for the Whites load. The whites come out wonderful, the colors are bright and clean., and best of all, it is better for the environment.

      • Maddie

      Where did you find the bluing? Havent been able to find it anywhere?

      • Virginia

      This is the recipe I made for my front loader. I added about 10 – 15 drops of lavender essential oil as well. I use hot water, use a longer cycle, and some of the clothes still come out with an odor. ( I can still smell my husband’s deodarant on his undershirts.) I have added oxyclean and still seem to have the problem. We have very hard well water, but also have a water softner. I’m not sure if the water softner has little to no effect on the powdered detergent. Does anyone have any ideas? I love the savings of making my own soap, I just want it to be worth the effort and still have clean clothes!

        • Tonya

        Where do u find the oils for scent?

      • Cc

      Troy big thank you darling ..did try #1 it worked out ok ..but found it hard to get old fashion laundry soap (yes even in London) so I got hold of this Jamacian blue soap and it works well with that… But will put some Lavender oil into the batch I made as teens smell there clothes…And I also have dogs… And like to keep things smelling nice and not a doggy smell… But overall get recipe… And the savings.. Great!!

      • Tellma

      Is this a powder mix?

    • TipNut

    Wow Troy, thanks very much for sharing your recipe and info for the HE detergent, a few people were wanting more details on that. Very much appreciated, thanks :).

    • Beverly King

    In articles I’ve read on the web sites diaperpin.com, wisegeek.com and wikipedia.com Washing soda is listed as an extremely caustic agent and all advised wearing gloves when using it. In fact, diaperpin.com advises against it’s use in homemade laundry detergents at all. Wisegeek.com advises that it can cause severe skin burns. I don’t feel like this is a safe ingredient to be using in these recipes; however, “that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong” (Dennis Miller).

      • June Gordon

      I have my hands in the borax/washing soda/FelsNaptha solution all the time. Never had a problem with it. I make about 70 gallons at a time, as I sell it by the gallon. I’ve been making and using it for 4 years – have about 40+ customers – and never had a problem.

    • TipNut

    Hi Beverly, I decided to pull out all my boxes and make some notes and comparisons, I think your concerns are the same as some others may be thinking–so I’m glad you shared them here :).

    Here’s a breakdown of Washing Soda, Borax and 2 ready-made commercial laundry detergents (Tide and Ultra).

    Arm & Hammer So Clean Super Washing Soda:

    Environmentally Sound Household Cleaning Alternative

    Tough on stains – use with your detergent. To boost cleaning simply add Arm & Hammer So Clean with your detergent – Especially heavily soiled loads.

    Helps muscle out hard to remove laundry stains such as: perspiration, collar & cuff, mustard, even motor oil.

    Safe to use on all washable fabrics & colours.

    Helpful Hints: Effective Diaper Soak: dissolve 1/4 cup (50 mL) in hot water, add to pail of cold water.

    Caution: Harmful if swallowed, eye irritant. If swallowed, give a glassful of water or milk. Call a physician. In case of eye contact, flush with water. Call a physician. Keep out of reach of children.

    My note:
    There is no caustic or corrosive symbol on the box anywhere. In the directions part it does say to wear gloves when using it to clean (scrubbing with washing soda & water), but there’s nothing about that in the caution area at all.

    Borax – 20 Mule Team

    Natural deodorizer, detergent booster, stain remover.

    Caution: Eye irritant, may be harmful if swallowed.

    20 Mule Team Borax is most often used as a laundry booster, but it is extremely versatile and effective as a household cleaner.

    Diapers/Babywear – For all babywear, wash with detergent and 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax following the manufacturer’s care instructions. Presoak extra tough stains in 1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax per diaper pail for at least 30 minutes before washing.

    May Irritate Eyes. Do not get in eyes. Do not breathe dust. Keep out of reach of children. First aid Treatment: Contains borax. If swallowed, call a Poison Control Center or doctor. Do not induce vomiting. If in eyes, rinse with water.

    Tide Original (powdered detergent)

    Caution: May Irritate Eyes. Do not get in eyes. Keep out of reach of children. May be harmful if swallowed. First Aid Treatment: Contains biodegradable anionic surfactants and enzymes. If swallowed, give a glassful of water or milk and call a Poison Control Center or doctor immediately. Do not induce vomiting. If in eyes, rinse them well with water for 15 minutes.

    Ultra Liquid Laundry Detergent

    Eye Irritant

    May be harmful if swallowed

    Caution on back label reads: Do not get in eyes. Do not take internally. First Aid: Eyes – Flush with water 10 to 15 minutes. If irritation persists, call a physician. Internally: Give large amounts of water or milk. Call a physician. Keep out of reach of children.

    Soaps and detergents, whether they’re homemade or commercially produced, shouldn’t be consumed, inhaled, splashed in eyes, what have you. They are pretty harsh actually, even liquid hand soap or bubble bath shouldn’t be consumed and would probably require a call to the Poison Control Center.

    Both the Borax and the Washing Soda are produced and marketed as laundry boosters and that they can safely be used as additives to detergents (specifically states so on both boxes).

    No matter which laundry detergent you buy, not matter how mild, I don’t think there’s one on the market that is safe to consume, inhale, or splash in eyes. I could be wrong–I haven’t checked every label for every detergent.

    • Natasha

    Hi Tip Nut!

    I have been making my own laundry soap for a couple of months now. I started out making it with regular bar soaps I had on hand, but got Zote and Fels Naptha and love them. I make the powdered version, 1 cup soap, 1/2 cup Borax and washing soda.

    Two questions: 1)how fine do you have to grate the soap? I use a cheese grater and it grates the soap into tiny curls and it’s worked fine so far. I haven’t had problems with it not dissolving, not that I know of. One bar of soap would roughly make 2 cups grated.
    When I measure the grated soap, should I pack it into the measuring cup, thus calling for more soap?

    Or should I be grinding it up more, like into a powder?

    I had 1 cup of soap that was grated from the cheese grater, put it into a ziplock bag, sealed it, went over it with rolling pin and made it into a powder. That one cup, now powdered, equaled 1/2 cup. with my regular recipe, I’d need double the amount. Which makes me wonder if I’m using enough soap.

    So should I be grating this into a powder or packing the grated soap down into the cup more?

      • Jackie

      chop your Fels Naptha bar into 8ths and place into a food processor with a few tablespoons of baking soda or washing soda and process. With the added powder, it is able to grate it finer without clumping up. I find that Zote does not grate very fine, no matter what I do to it.

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