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!

Liquid BottleMaking your own is a discipline and it’s not for everyone, but it definitely saves money–sometimes just costing pennies a load! Before you get started, here are a few tips:

  • For the bar soaps required in the recipes, you could try Fels-Naptha, Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile, and Zote. Avoid using heavily perfumed soaps.
  • Washing Soda and Borax can normally be found in the laundry and cleaning aisles.
  • Some people with really hard water or well water may have to adjust the ingredients if the clothes look dingy.
  • Although several of the 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. Also if you can get your hands on a few empty liquid detergent bottles, they work great for storing large batches. Just make a big batch and pour in bottles, cap then use as needed–shake before use.
  • Some of the recipes call for 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 the soap and hot water.

Here are ten different recipes you can try, I’ve also added a very useful Frequently Asked Questions section at the bottom of the page. Lots of info here to get you started, good luck!


1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda

  • Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until melted.
  • Pour the soapy water mixture into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.
  • Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.
  • Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).


Hot water
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1 Soap bar

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


Hot water
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1/3 bar Soap (grated)

  • In a large pot, heat 3 pints of water. Add the grated bar and stir until melted. Then add the washing soda 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 stir well.
  • Use 1/2 cup per load, stirring before each use (will gel).

Powdered – Recipe #4

Scoop2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (finely grated – you could also try the other bar soaps listed at the top)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax

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


Hot water
1 bar (4.5 oz) Ivory Soap – grated
1 cup Washing Soda

  • In a large saucepan add grated soap and enough hot water to cover. Heat over medium-low heat and stir until melted.
  • Fill a large pail with 2.5 gallons of hot water, add hot mixture. Stir until well mixed.
  • Then add the washing soda, again stirring until well mixed.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • Use 1/2 cup per full load, stirring well before each use (will gel)


2.5 gallons Water (hot)
1 Bar soap (grated)
3/4 cup Washing Soda
3/4 cup Borax
2 TBS Glycerin

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


2 cups Bar soap (grated)
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 washing soda. Stir very well.
  • Use 1 cup per full load.


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 melted mixture, stir well.
  • Then add the baking soda, stir well again.
  • Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.

Powdered – Recipe #9

Scoop12 cups Borax
8 cups Baking Soda
8 cups Washing Soda
8 cups Bar soap (grated)

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

#10 – (Powdered)

Scoop1 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 soap into the bowl first, stirred in the washing soda, then baking soda, then added the vinegar in small batches at a time (the recipe 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.

Note For Liquid Versions: This will be lumpy, goopy and gel-like. This is normal. Just give it a good stir before using. Make sure to keep covered with a lid when not in use. You could also pour the mixture in old (and cleaned) detergent bottles and shake well before each use.

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

Optional: You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade detergent. Add once the soap has cooled to room temperature. Stir well and cover. Essential oil ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil

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

Frequently Asked Questions

ScoopsUpdate: I published the above recipes in 2007 and this post has been one of the most popular articles posted here on Tipnut. I’m proud to say it’s one of the most informative resources available on the net for making homemade detergent (but maybe I’m biased ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), 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 of washing soda 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, do a search for “Arm & Hammer Washing Soda”.
  • 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 Washing Soda…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 made by The Dial Corp. You can check this website to locate the nearest store that carries this soap: Henkel North America – Store Location.
  • You can order it online at Amazon.

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

  • Making homemade 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” (stirred really well, used hot water, measured correctly, etc.), then the likely culprit is the brand of soap used. 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.

I Want To Use My Favorite Brand Of Soap In The Detergent, Can I?

  • 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 with a soap. This way there won’t be as much waste if it turns out poorly.
  • You don’t want to use 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: 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).
  • I wouldn’t use beauty bars or shower gels or body wash.

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

  • Try soaps 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 of the detergent. The only way to know for sure is to try it.

How Do You Grate The Bars?

  • I use a handheld cheese grater but you can also use a food processor (just make sure you clean it well after use). Grate the soap first before adding to a food processor and chop until fine.

Can I Use Liquid Instead Of Grating A Bar?

  • Again, making homemade detergent 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 bar soap. 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 detergent also lasts 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.

Can You Safely Use It With A High Efficiency Washer (HE 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.
  • Go through the comments in the original post and you will also find several recipes offered and recommended 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 adding baking soda or oxyclean or vinegar as laundry boosters, suggestions for baking soda are to start with 1/2 cup per load.

Aren’t Washing Soda & Borax Caustic? Poisonous? Are They Safe To Handle?

  • As with all cleaners, common sense is needed when handling soaps and detergents. 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 use rubber gloves. Avoid breathing in any of the powders and ingredients. I imagine breathing in a mouthful of commercial laundry detergent, or getting it in my eyes or up my nose, would be very uncomfortable and unwise, 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 cleaner, detergent or soap.

Can It Be Used In 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 Washing 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 used homemade detergents for this purpose myself, I don’t see why it couldn’t be used. Martha Stewart recommends both Washing Soda and Borax as laundry boosters when washing diapers. The instructions on the box for Arm & Hammer suggest it be used as a diaper soak. Many have affirmed that baby items wash up nicely with no ill effects.

How Fine Do You Have To Grate The Bar?

  • Grating the bar soap 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 in homemade detergents.

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

  • You bet! Essential oils are a nice touch to homemade detergents (freshly laundered clothes really don’t have any nice fragrance added 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) Iโ€™d start with 5 drops, mixed in very well. Recipe #9 (Powdered) Iโ€™d start with 20 to 25 drops, mixed in very well. Also noted in the original post: You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade laundry detergent.

Can I Still Use Bleach?

  • Bleach has been used by myself successfully with no harmful effects. You will want to watch the ingredients in your 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 Washing?

  • 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 add vinegar 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 In The Water?

  • 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 you used 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 use a different brand.

It Isn’t Completely Dissolving In The Water, 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 your soap into finer pieces.

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

  • Use 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 using empty plastic vinegar jugs.
  • Comments have suggested using the large plastic kitty litter containers.

Is Borax or Washing Soda Safe For The Environment? I’m Trying To Find An Eco-Friendly Solution!

  • According to this website, washing soda is environmentally friendly: Root-cn.com.
  • Borax is an ingredient included in many “Green” recipes.
  • I would guess that it’s not the most environmentally friendly option out there, but it would be better than most regular commercial detergents.

How Much Should I Use Per Load Of Wash?

  • Read the instructions for the particular recipe you’re using, 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: not enough detergent used in the load or the brand of bar soap used in the recipe. Experiment with the amount of detergent you use in the wash, you should discover the needed amount. The suggested amounts to use per load may not be right in your case since the brand of bar soap you used might not be as good a cleaner as others.

Is It Really Worthwhile Making Your Own?

  • The powdered laundry detergents 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!

Adding 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 soap 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 wash 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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What Readers Are Saying: 868 Comments
  1. Lori says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

        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 says:

        where did you find fragrance enhancers

        • Billie Yocky says:

          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.

    • Stiny says:

      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!

  2. Melissa says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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.)

    • Erin says:

      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.

    • Kelsey says:

      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.

  3. Sheryllyn says:

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

    • WifeofBrian says:

      Amaze by Sunlight is the same as washing soda.

    • LIZ says:

      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.

    • Susan says:

      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 says:

        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.

    • Chauntel says:

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

    • TrishWA says:

      Check Amazon for everything and anything

    • Sarrahann says:

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

    • Kristy says:

      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. says:

      Any kroger should have it.

    • Stephanie says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

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

    • John of NC says:

      It is also in the pool cleaning section.

    • cindy says:

      I buy mine in the laundry detergent aisle at Wal Mart

    • Elvera Bullis says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

      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 says:

      Walmart has everything:

      Washing soda
      Large box of Natural baking soda
      Fragrance enhancers

    • ani says:

      Try Ace Hardware for washing soda and castile soap.

    • June Gordon says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

      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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Millie says:

      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”

  4. Melissa says:

    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.

  5. TipNut says:

    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.

  6. Donna says:

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

    • Marlene says:

      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!!!!!

  7. Julia says:

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

    • Sharon says:

      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.

  8. Charity says:

    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.

  9. Rachel says:

    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.

  10. Lori says:

    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!!!

  11. Andrea says:

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

  12. Abbey says:

    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 says:

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

    • Tiffany says:

      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 says:

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

  13. Cheryl says:

    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.

  14. TipNut says:

    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.

  15. Heidi P. says:

    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. says:

      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 says:

      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.

  16. Astrid Beenken says:

    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 says:

      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.

    • Char says:

      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.

  17. TipNut says:

    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 says:

      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.

  18. Melissa says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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!!!

  19. TipNut says:

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

  20. Melissa says:

    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.

  21. RL says:

    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 says:

      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.

  22. Marilyn says:

    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 says:

      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

  23. Laura says:

    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 says:

      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.

  24. TipNut says:

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

  25. Nitza says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

      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.

  26. TipNut says:

    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.

  27. Charity says:

    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.

  28. TipNut says:

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

  29. Lori S. says:


    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.

  30. Lori S. says:


    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 says:

      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 says:

        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

  31. Lori S. says:

    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).

  32. Shannon says:

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

    • Lori says:

      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!?!?!

  33. Charity says:

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jackie says:

      What recipe do you use for your powdered soap?

    • MJ says:

      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 says:

      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.

  34. sherif taha says:

    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 ?

  35. Colleen says:

    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.

  36. TipNut says:

    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).

  37. cristy says:

    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.

  38. TipNut says:

    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.

  39. Carla says:

    Can these detergents be used with cold water?? I am also trying to save on my electric bill ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. TipNut says:

    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 says:

      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.

  41. cristy says:

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

  42. Bladerunner says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

      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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Mikki says:

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

  44. Brandi says:

    Anyone use this for infants?

  45. doug evans says:

    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.

  46. Troy says:

    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 says:

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

    • Virginia says:

      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!

    • Cc says:

      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 says:

      Is this a powder mix?

  47. TipNut says:

    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 :).

  48. Beverly King says:

    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 says:

      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.

  49. TipNut says:

    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.

  50. Natasha says:

    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 says:

      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.

  51. TipNut says:

    Hi Natasha ๐Ÿ™‚

    If the grated soap is working out (both in terms of cleaning your clothes and dissolving properly) I’d continue as you have been. The recipes were intending a fine grate (using the smaller holes on the grater). The washing soda and the Borax help clean too, so I think you’re covered as-is (since your results are good).

    • Pam says:

      I use a lay good lemon zester plane and it grates the soap to an incredible fine (almost powder like) consistency. This has made the melting process so effortless. I am also going to add the tea tree oil for the anti-bacterial properties; not sure how much is enough–if you have any suggestions, I’d like to know–my recipe batch makes 5 gallons. My grandmother and mother have made their own soap, as well as other household products for years, so I am so glad to see this trend to going back to our roots coming about. I am almost 50 yrs old and am just sorting to make my own products—i sense this is really what it must be like to be a ‘homemaker’ and I love it! Makes me feel a bit proud to make my own and love the money I save. A suggestion for those who must work full time and feel that they are unable to do this, but would like to save the money and try it—partner with a part-timer or a stay at home mom/wife and offer to buy the ingredients and split the detergent with them for their time. I know if someone approached and would ask me, I’d be happy to partner with them—-the ingredients or so cheap to buy for the outside home worker and the at home mom/wife saves even more (virtually free product) to make and share :o) Thanks Tipnut for this website—I am so enjoying it–it’s great, BUT addictive!

  52. Beverly King says:

    I wasn’t specifically referring to consuming, or splashing in the eyes, but ALL powders are inhaled to some degree when used. Also, even though the boxes of wasing soda don’t have a caustic labeling on them, the websites I mentioned in my previous post all found it to be very caustic and in particular unsafe to use when washing baby items. I also speak to the effect this product would have on the environment. The reason we turn to alternative household products are to cut down/eliminate the damage to the environment commercial products cause. I feel like washing soda is a damaging product and should not be included in the recipe; however, to each his own. People need to do their own research and judge for themselves. I wasn’t attempting to discredit the detergent recipes listed here by any means, but rather to enlighten the readers of this site concerning something that could be of harm to them, their families and the environment. Other than that one item I think the recipes are wonderful and really enjoy reading the ideas on this site.

    • Kelli Goode says:

      From all my reading on acids and caustic materials, they all refer to the PH of a product. Caustic means it is Alkaline, which is the opposite end of acid. While both can cause burns and should be handled with care, so much of the environment is tainted with acids, and bacteria and most fungi and the sources of most disease can only survive in acidic environments. H2O2 is also Alkaline and the 35% food grade is very caustic, yet super natural and very good for environment, septic tanks and all. It breaks down to oxegen and water. So, just because it says it is caustic – it doesnt mean it is bad for people or the enviroment, it is simply a rating of PH and an indication that caution should be used along with an awareness of the elements, and what they break down into.

    • Albert Mortensen says:

      Although PH is a measurement, it’s kind of general, most important is really the the total of them. Just because some thing has a high or low PH doesn’t mean it will burn you.

  53. TipNut says:

    Beverly you’ve presented washing soda here as something very dangerous and that it needs every precaution to prevent skin burns based on what you’ve read elsewhere. You have those concerns and I appreciate that, but I feel we’re comparing apples to apples–detergents and soaps are harsh or contain harsh ingredients.

    I decided to test how caustic Washing Soda is and sat here for a full minute with my hand sitting in a bowl of powdered Washing Soda. I didn’t get burned and my skin is still intact. I had no fear because if it really was that caustic, it would have to have symbols and warnings on the box (by law, I live in Canada), just like laundry bleach has.

    Next I mixed a 50/50 ratio of water and Washing Soda and dipped my fingers in, moved them around the bowl for close to a minute. Again, I have no burns, experienced no discomfort and the skin is still on my fingers.

    Washing soda has the same care needs as all soaps and detergents, you shouldn’t consume it, breathe it or splash it in your eyes.

    If you’re concerned about environmentally friendly detergents, you’re right, this isn’t the most earth friendly detergent available (along with the rest of the laundry detergents on the market). If it’s a specialty laundry detergent (certified green and earth friendly), these aren’t the recipes for you and I realize that they may be hard to find locally, but shopping online for “organic laundry detergent” or “green environmentally safe laundry detergent” may bring some results.

    • Myrna says:

      Tip Nuts,

      I have very sensitive skin. I once used a dish detergent which had bleach in it, from the tips of my fingers to my armpits and shoulders turned into one big red rash. Tide makes me itchy I have to rinse my cloths twice in the washer.

      Today for the first time I used Washing soda and Borax without using my rubber gloves and guess what?

      I did not have a reaction and I hand washed a load of Whites using a wash board.

      I canโ€™t speak for anyone else but I canโ€™t do this with Tide.

      I make my own soap and use washing soda and Borax with vinegar in the rinse cycle.

      I have clean cloths and no skin problems.

      Thanks for the Laundry Tips

      • Alfred says:

        Myrna, What is your recipe for making your own soap? I would love to make my own soap too. Thank so much, Alfred

  54. amanda says:

    i tried recipe 1 mine did not gel or look like thick goop …..it looks clabbered (like clabbered milk) or slightly curdled.I did everything the direction said …i don’t know where i went wrong.May be i should try the dry recipe after this batch is gone …i dunno

    • Cc says:

      Amanda ..when you leave your batch of soap ,and it goes all goopy like.. Get a stick blender and give it a blast.. It does thin it out a bit…but always shake the bottle before you use the laundry soap… And guys I am lovin this site.. And the comments …could read them all day..How boring am I … But honestly I am lovin it…. Thanks for the ideas…

  55. TipNut says:

    This batch will still work Amanda, it’s hard to say why it isn’t goopy for you. How fresh is the batch? It will take a couple days to get thicker, just make sure to stir it up well so the soap doesn’t settle at the bottom.

  56. Melinda says:

    I just today stumbled onto this idea of making one’s own laundry soap, while I was looking for some cute reusable grocery bags. How interesting! I really like the idea of the powdered type, as it sounds so easy to make as well as less expensive than commercial laundry soaps.

    After reading lots of information and everyone’s tips here on this site, I do still have a couple of questions…

    I really don’t want to have to start using warm/hot water in my laundry, not only because of the increased electric bill but because I don’t want to shrink or damage my clothing. How successful has cold water been (for those who have used it) in really getting the laundry clean?

    How harsh are these products (Borax, Washing Soap, Vinegar) on fabrics? I worry that they won’t be gentle enough for my nicer clothes. I’m worried about fading of my dark slacks, my black fabrics, my sweaters, etc. ???

    Other than these two concerns, I really like the idea of making my own detergent, and would go in search of the products today!

  57. TipNut says:

    Hi Melinda, I’ve had no problems using homemade detergent for the same items that commercial brands can be used for. I noticed no issues with fading.

    For laundry temperatures, I agree that a lot of things just can’t be washed in hot water. Laundry comes out visibly clean in cold water, but I linked to that article to show how cold water laundry doesn’t kill or fully remove all invisible nasties (that was for any detergent). I decided things like bedding, towels, underwear, cleaning cloths & sponges should really be washed in hot water or at least given a good length of time in the dryer and/or a glug of laundry bleach in the wash if possible. It’s nice to be able to save money/energy or be more environmentally friendly, but E. coli and salmonella are nothing to be fooled with IMO.

    • Carol says:

      As far as the nasty germs go, get you some Certified Pure Therapudic Grade essential oils like DoTerra brand. Use 15 or so drops of Melaluca (tea tree) oil, lavender, lemon, cinnamon or the like that are antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal ect and mix with the detergent or add directly to the wash load. It will kill all the pathogens and make your clothes smell nice too. Cinnamon especially has been proven to kill 100% of bacterial and viruses it’s exposed to. And it helps keep blood sugar down for diabetics ๐Ÿ™‚ I wash in cold water all the time, have for years, and never knew about the germs left in the wash. I will be adding cinnamon to my next batch of laundry and see what happens.

  58. Melinda says:

    Thanks for the response, Tipnut. I actually do wash “things like bedding, towels, underwear, cleaning cloths” in hot water. I agree with you there. It’s my clothes that I wash in cold water, so they don’t shrink or fade. But, you don’t have any problems with the homemade detergent in cleaning your clothing? You find it gentle enough for nicer clothes? That’s good to know!

    Thanks again!

  59. TipNut says:

    That’s right Melinda, I experienced no problems at all with any of my nicer clothing items. I did use Ivory soap bars in my recipes, but I don’t think any of the other bars would cause problems.

  60. amanda says:

    it is now 3 days old …
    granules(it looks like ) are on top and colored water on bottom.
    it looks like it has seperated.I am am stiriing well and using it any way .

  61. Melinda says:

    Just got back from Krogers, where they had the Fels Naptha, Borax, and A&H Super Washing Soda! Yes! I also got a bottle of white vinegar & a Downy ball. I’m all set, and off to grate some soap and try my 1st load!

    Oh, and BTW…told Dh all about it, and how much money it will save, so of course he’s all for it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  62. L.Haim says:

    I’ve been making my homemade laundry detergent for a few years and it won’t gel or get goopy very well unless the soap has been mixed really really good when you first make it and the water is still hot. Its still good to use though even if it isn’t thick. I use Fels Naptha as the bar soap and the clothes come out just as clean as store bought soap. Washing soda doesn’t burn or I’d be blistered from head to toe by now.

  63. Dee says:

    I love that I found this site! I want to try one of the powdered recipes, but I was wondering if you can add essential oils to the dry recipes? If so, what kind of oil ratio would you use?

  64. Melinda says:

    Dee, I made and am using the powdered laundry detergent, as well as using white vinegar in a Downy ball for a softner/final rinse. Very happy with the results!

    But, I have the same question as you re: essential oils…can I use an essential oil with my vinegar, and if so, how much of the EO do I add to the 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar?

  65. Diane says:

    I have used these recipes for several years now and add essential oil.
    I have a front loader washing machine and I have halved the water amount to make a extra concentrate solution and use halve the amount in my washer.
    I use bleach with whites when needed and always add baking soda for that extra boost. I have just found old fashioned bluing and will try that.

    You may wash your clothing in the hottest water, but ecoli and salmonella have to be ingested to get sick.

    • Lori says:

      I am use in the one that makes 10 gallons, I have 8 children so you can imagine why! Lol, have been thinking about half in my water amount, but have been worried it may come out way to thick doing that, I use 1 or 2 cups per load, so it would be great for storage space and make ing multiple batches at a time if I can find out how! I have been going through 10 gallons in right at 2 weeks. With 13 total in our home ……I do 6 to 8 loads EVERY day! Most people don’t believe me, as crazy as it sounds, make ing my own soap has been a Huge money saving blessing for me!,

  66. TipNut says:

    For the vinegar rinse, I would make a big batch at once, about 10 drops per gallon or so of vinegar.

    For the powdered laundry detergent, I don’t have anything specific for adding essential oils so you’ll have to wing it (but sure, you can add EO to the dry version). If you start small and work a drop or two up, you’ll find the right mix for you. If I were to try, I’d start with this:

    Recipe #4 (Powdered)

    I’d start with 5 drops, mixed in very well.

    Reipe #9 (Powdered)

    I’d start with 20 to 25 drops, mixed in very well.

    The amounts of essential oil given (above and in the original post) are just suggestions. You could add more or less to accomodate your personal preference.

    If anyone has some tried & true amounts of adding EO, please feel free to add your tips :).

  67. Robert says:

    The reaction between the White Rain product and the alkali (borax and/or washing soda) was almost certainly production of ammonia gas from an ammonium salt in the White Rain product. For instance, ammonium lauryl sulfate is a common ingredient of shampoos.

  68. amanda says:

    ok i tried another small batch of #1 this time i got colored water on the bottom and a thick (reminded me of that thick slime you could buy for kids to play with) on top LMAO i give up . maybe it was just not meant to be for me to make detergent hahaha ..nah i am gonna make the powder and hopefully i will have better luck.in the mean time my family is haveing fun laughing at me for my efforts .

  69. TipNut says:

    What color is the water Amanda and what bar of soap are you using? If you’re mixing things well, I’m at a loss as to why things are separating like that. Things are pretty busy right now for me, but when I get a chance I’d like to mix up the batch and try to reproduce those results you’re getting just to see why it’s happening for you.

    • Kelli Goode says:

      My efforts at the liquid soap were similar. One batch would be super gelly and the next perfect and then yet another would totally separate. They all washed great, some just needed more shaking in the bottle before use (which is kinda a pian in the butt). So I switched to the powdered version (made with exactly the same ingredients as my liquid minus the h20) and it is perfect!!!!!! I use a 1/4 cup in each load, grate my fels naptha with small side of my cheese grater (got one just for laundry so I dont have to keep washing soap off of it) and sometimes add oxiclean. It has saved me hundreds of dollars. Always works great! I have two boys in football and baseball – and I just make a paste of the same stuff to pre-treat big ugly stains and it works perfect!

  70. Marie says:

    I haven’t tried making my own laundry powder yet, but for folks concerned about the laundry powder dissolving in cold and/or hard water I have a tip. Dissolve the powder in a 1-2 gallon bucket of hot water and then pour into the washer. We used this method to dissolve Borax before adding to a cold wash and it seemed to do the trick.

  71. Dawn says:

    I just made recipe #6.
    How thick or gel like is this supposed to be. Once it cooled down
    I am shocked at how THICK it actually is…I put it into an empty Tide container, so now not sure how I will mix it before I use it. Will it be fine if I just shake it with all my might? LOL! Thanks, Dawn

  72. TipNut says:

    Hi Dawn, it should be easy enough to pour, it’s pretty gloppy but not so thick it won’t pour. If you want to thin it out a bit you can add about 1 cup of boiling water to the batch and shake/stir like crazy. That should make it less thick without reducing too much the amount of soap per load.

  73. Shelly says:

    I’ve made the powdered version #4 mentioned above. So far so good. I have a question however. I usually add liquid clorox bleach to my whites. Can I still use clorox with this recipe?


  74. TipNut says:

    Shelly I used a splash of bleach in my whites with no problem. I double checked the boxes on Borax and the washing soda and there’s nothing on them that says not to use with bleach.

  75. Merrill F. says:

    I have a friend who makes goat’s milk soap and I have used that for my soap in my homemade detergent. I have also used Zote, which is a pink bar laundry detergent I found at a local store. I am not too crazy about the scent though.

    If you can locate a soap maker near you, you might be able to get seconds or chips for next to nothing. They might also be the coconut free variety if they are doing the lard stuff (which my friend does).

  76. Becky says:

    I found this link from typing in Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda: thelaundrybasket.com

    At that link it gave me this information:

    “We offer Super Washing Soda in a 55-ounce carton. If you are having trouble locating this product, you may want to ask your local store manager to order it for you. It may be helpful to provide the UPC number: 33200-03020.”

    I went to my local grocery store and told them the UPC and they ordered it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Just thought that you might find this helpful to use where you live.

    ๐Ÿ™‚ ~B

    Admin Edit: fixed link

  77. TipNut says:

    Great tip Becky, Thanks for sharing that :).

  78. Melinda says:

    Just wanted to say that I’ve been using recipe #4, but we have hard water, so I’m wondering if something in the recipe should be adjusted? More soap? More Borax or A&H? Anyone know?

    Also, for dirtier clothes (Dh gets sweaty, greasy, and grungy when working on his cars) does adding a scoop of Oxyclean really help?


  79. Teresa says:

    Hi everyone. My mom and I have been making homemade liquid laundry soap for a few months. We often get samples of laundry detergent in the mail. One weekend while cleaning house, I decided to mix a Tide sample with the gloppy homemade laundry detergent. I shook it up and when I went to start my next load, it wasn’t gloppy! So, if the “gloppyness” of the homemade laundry detergent, bothers you, try adding a cup or so of a store bought laundry detergent to your liquid soap mix and shake. It pours out of the used laundry detergent bottles easily and helps keep the glop and water from seperating. There must be something in the store bought detergent to resolve this problem. I use a generic bradn so that it doesn’t add alot of cost to the homemade detergent.

    As for the toxicity of the detergents discussed above, have you ever seen a fly or any other bug on a bar of soap? and if so, survive? This is true of even the most gentle soaps. That is kinda the point.

  80. Elsie Keaton says:

    My mother is allergic to Quaternium-15, formaldehyde and the nearly 30 compounds that might have them. I need to make laundry detergent for her. My problem is the soap that you add. I need to know if any of these ingrediance are there. How do I find this information?

    • John says:

      Hi Elsie I was wondering if you found a soap for your mother. My wife has the same problem.

      • Barbara Richard says:

        I am chemically sensitive. I just use washing soda for laundry, sometimes add a little baking soda or borax powder for extra cleaning power. I pretreat stains with shampoo or dishwashing liquid. A problem I have had is that they usually sell washing soda in the detergent isle and it absorbs some of the obnoxious fragrances from the other detergents. I have solved this by putting a little of the washing soda at a time in a separate box and adding a little baking soda and letting it sit a few days. I read the recipes for making washing soda from baking soda and will try it. Thanks! I use vinegar if softening is needed but usually don’t bother.

  81. Elsie Keaton says:

    Can I use soap base? My mother is sencetive to smells. This seems perfect, but I have to get confirmation from someone.

  82. TipNut says:

    Elsie try a search online for the product name and Material Safety Data Sheet…you should be able to find the ingredients that way. For example, search for:

    Ivory soap Material Safety Data Sheet

    I haven’t tried making the laundry detergent with just a soap base, I think it would work but I really don’t know.

  83. Elsie Keaton says:

    Thanks for the info. I just found this morning the web site householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/product.htl

    You can find almost everything manufactured there.

  84. Teresa says:

    as for the toxicity of nuclear waste, have you ever seen a fly or
    germs survive that stuff? using my brilliant logic, that should make an excellent soap, and it might even get rid of gloppyness, which is a big concern.

  85. Meredith says:

    I’m so glad I came across this site. I’ve been making my own detergent for a little over a year now, and I’m very pleased so far with the results. I started out using a liquid recipe, but I found a dry powder to be much simpler to make. I like to add tea tree and lavender oils to the mix (about half a dropperful of each, then mix well). I like the scent it adds, and tea tree oil has natural cleansing properties as well. I’ve used a bit of patchouli as well, but my husband isn’t so crazy about the scent, so I don’t use it anymore.

    If you have trouble finding washing soda, you can ask your grocer to special order it for you, or you can google it and order it online. I’ve done both.

    I do have one question regarding recipe #10 – would this be safe to wash newborn or infant clothes in instead of using a traditional baby laundry detergent, like Dreft or Ivory Snow? Would any changes need to be made to make extra sure that it would be gentle enough? Thanks.

  86. TipNut says:

    Meredith there’s been some debate here about Washing Soda, but Arm & Hammer has it printed right on the box that it’s useful as a diaper soak.

    Martha Stewart also suggests adding some Washing Soda in her Baby Laundry Article, see Baby Laundry 101.

    I think Liquid Castile would be ok, an alternative would be a switch to a grated bar of Ivory Soap (to make 1/4 cup, first melted down in a bit of water).

  87. Dawn says:

    Update….so far so good!
    I am happy with my laundry results.
    Clean clothes with a fresh scent.
    I do have another question….
    I had a very difficult time melting the soap, is this something that gets better with practice and does anyone have any other tips and tricks.
    It seemed to take FOREVER!

    Brenna!!! Thank you very much for the craft store tip for soda ash….that price sounds very reasonable!


  88. MICHELE says:

    Just a word of caution, if you are planning to add vinegar to your rinse water, please DO NOT use chlorine bleach in the wash. The combination produces a deadly gas and can kill. Even tho it’s down the drain, it’s still in the clothes and it’s lurking in the drain. Please be careful when rinsing with vinegar and washing with chlorine bleach.

    I’ve been making a recipe using the Fels, borax and washing soda – both wet and dry. If I’m washing something in cold water I will take hot or boiling water and put it in a recycled cool whip container and mix until disolved (I do with both types, wet or dry), then add to washer and use as usual. Never had a problem not dissolving.

    I love adding drops of citrus – lemon, orange, grapefruit essential oils. When I wash sheets, I mix a batch using lavander oil.

  89. moses says:

    I learned of Homemade detergents a few years ago but it clicked in my mind today that it realy works even better than industrial ones.
    I now want to get the exact recipes for the dertegents so that i can try them out and experience the goodness of the new technology.
    can someone please come to my aid.

  90. TipNut says:

    Hi moses, there are 10 recipes at the top of the page you can try.

  91. Julie says:

    http://www.chemistrystore.com carries most of the ingredients

  92. Melinda says:

    Another question…is it the borax that is actually doing the cleaning? I just noticed that recipe #9 has a lot more borax than the other ingredients in the recipe, and also that there is baking soda, compared to recipe #4. Does anyone have any experience with one recipe cleaning better than the other (just between recipes 4 & 9)? I’ve been using #4 for a couple of weeks now, and I’m still not sure I’m happy with the results. Sometimes, once they’re dry, I notice they don’t smell clean.

    Any thoughts?

  93. Emily says:

    A few questions…
    1. If you use the powdered versions of the laundry detergent, must you wash in hot water?
    2. Has anyone had experience using this for cloth diapers?
    3. I am a little concerned about soap residue. I know that vinegar in the downy ball was recommended. Can you also put white vinegar in the fabric softener spot (in the center spinner thing- are you following- lol!)?
    I was THRILLED to find borax, washing soap, and FEls Naptha in HYVEE grocery store today. I actually cheered in the laundry isle and got strange looks from people. Can’t wait to try the recipes…!!!

  94. TipNut says:

    Hi Melinda, all the items contribute to cleaning. I don’t know if Borax is a stronger cleaner than the rest though. When you say your laundry doesn’t smell clean sometimes, is it that they stink or have lingering odors from not being fully cleaned, or is it that you’re missing a fragrance normally found in commercial detergents? If it’s that they aren’t coming out clean, you can try increasing the amount of detergent used. If it’s that you’re missing the commercial fragrance, you can try adding some essential oils to the mix, see if that helps.

    Emily, you don’t have to wash in hot water. I haven’t tried using this for cloth diapers (haven’t washed diapers in YEARS, lol) but some of the products do recommend themselves as diaper cleaners. Both Borax and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda recommend themselves to be used as a diaper/baby clothes wash. Yes you can try replacing fabric softener with vinegar.

  95. Melinda says:

    I think the clothes that were smelling not so clean were my husband’s clothes he wears when working on the cars (his toys). I’m going to try increasing the amount of detergent for those clothes.

    Thanks Tipnut!

  96. Stacey says:

    We have a vegetable garden for the first time this year and being that last summer, we were in a serious drought in our area, I am worried about watering our garden. Does anyone know if the “gray water” from our washing machines rinse cycle would be safe to water garden if we use recipe #9, the powered detergent? I am worried about phosphates and the affecting of our plants.


  97. TipNut says:

    Stacey I don’t know enough about that to say for sure, hopefully someone reading this can give some advice because I think that would be a great idea if it’s safe to do.

    • Linda says:

      To Stacey: Regarding watering your garden with the washer’s “gray water”, you might want to check with your local County Extension Office. They usually can offer some great suggestions to my problems and questions.

  98. Melinda E. says:

    This is the recipe I have been using for years. And yes, I have a HE washer ann dryer.

    Homemade Laundry Detergent-Powdered

    2/3 bar Laundry Soap (equivalent of 1 cup grated) (any soap will work but Fels or Zote better for stains)*
    ยฝ Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
    ยฝ Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda.
    Container large enough to hold 2 cups of laundry detergent

    Grate the Fels Naptha laundry soap with a grater or use a food processor. Approximately 2/3 of a bar of soap will make 1 cup of grated soap.
    Add the ยฝ cup of Borax and ยฝ cup of washing soda to the grated soap.
    Shake and/or mix well

    One tablespoon of detergent is sufficient per load of wash. If you have a high-efficiency machine, you might want to experiment with using a little less detergent for normal loads. If your clothes come out feeling stiff, lower the amount of detergent. For clothes that are heavily soiled, add a teaspoon more of the detergent..

    The recipe yields 2 cups of laundry detergent. If you use 1 tablespoon per load, you will be able to wash 32 loads of clothes.
    20 Mule Team Borax: $2.50 for 70 oz. – Cost per batch: .14 (4 oz needed for recipe)
    Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda: $2.50 for 55 oz. Cost per batch .18.(4 oz needed for recipe)
    Fels Naphtha: $1.24 per bar. Cost per batch: .83 (2/3 bar of soap needed for recipe) *
    Total cost to make: $1.15 Yields 2 cups which translates to 3.5 cents per load.

    *Chop into chunks w/ a knife and throw it in the food processor. Then put it in a roasting pan for a day or two to dry out, then into the food processor again to make a very fine powder. (Fels you donโ€™t have to let it dry out) Actually the powder is so fine that I put a damp kitchen towel over the food processor while blending, and let it settle for a minute or so before opening so I don’t breathe in soap powder. This extra is just personal preference, and not necessary-many folks just use it grated up and mix the powder well before measuring out each load.

    • Rebecca says:

      I made the recipe of 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda and 1 bar soap (I used Kirks coco bar) and made it EXACTLY the way the recipe said. It did not “set up” so I made a small pot of hot water, 1/2 cup borax and 1/2 cup washing soda and added it to the mix and stirred well. I let it sit overnight AGAIN and it STILL wasn’t gel. I repeated this TWICE MORE! So I now have a 5 gallon bucket with “soap water” in it and almost 2 1/2 cups borax and 2 1/2 cups washing soda, lemon essential oil and 1 bar of kirks soap. The bar soap seems to have separated and is almost a haze in the water. The only way to describe it is “snot in water” how the snot gets liquidy but doesn’t dissolve.

      Anyway, I just washed a load of blankets to see if it will have the same effect as if it were gloppy.

      I do have a HE washer and I do use vinegar in my fabric softener resevoir. I NEVER use bleach anymore (bad bad bad for you and the environment!). If I need to brighten colors or whites, I add half a cup lemon juice to the liquid soap resivouir and it works well.

      I used Tide Clear and Gentle and the vinegar and my clothes were clean and came out with NO smell, even my towels!

      My question is if I make the powder, how do I use it in the HE washer? Mind you, I have 4 kids so I’m looking for something that’s EASY to use! I usually wash 3-7 loads PER DAY! So I really don’t have the extra 10 minutes per load to get the detergent “ready” to wash with.


  99. FixItMom says:

    I do like all of these ideas and will try some of them soon! I am concerned though. My husband is a pipe & tank welder and works in a refinery. My old top loader has finally quit. We used to wash repeatedly to get a minimal amount of cleaning done to his clothes. We also have a front loader and since the top loader has died we recently purchased another front loader. I would love to have his clothes come lots cleaner. Plus I would like to preclean his clothes before I put them in the front loader, whch of course uses less water. I have used lots of things in trying to clean the smells and nasty oily gunk off his clothes. Oxi-Clean works nice (& best so far) but still doesn’t completely do the job. I hate that they still look dirty and smell horried after I wash and wash and wash them. What can I do differently? Please help! Thank you!!

    • WifeofBrian says:

      A friend of mine always washes her husbands dirty clothes with ammonia and she says it gets all of the smells out. I am not sure what it’s reaction would be to the other detergents. But you could try a wash in ammonia and then another with the homemade detergent.

    • Amy Morgan says:

      My hubby is in the oil/gas industry and he comes home filthy. I use Purex or Arm and Hammer tablets and a scoop of Sun Oxy. I get both from Wal mart. Even Tide didn’t do anything. I would think the homemade would work, but I am going to add baking soda to the load also. I think that is the key. It neutralizes the odors and the chemicals.

      Good luck.

      • peg says:

        Amy my grandson spilled gas on swimming clothes and a blanket. I tried everything and nothing worked to get rid of the smell! made this stuff liquid version. took the smell out completely. i was so impressed! still using this for all my laundry!

    • redhed83402 says:

      My husband did a lot of chainsaw carving for years, & as a result always had chainsaw oil in his pants ~ heavily! I used one can of coke or pepsi, and my home-made laundry detergent & his jeans always came out looking new, with no chainsaw oil or saw dust or anything else in them. If one can doesn’t work, use two ~ it completely cleans the oils up! I have never had to use more than 2 cans of coke or pepsi for a load of 6 – 8 pairs of jeans, & almost always only used 1 can. That stuff will also clean any oil stains or vehicle leaks off of your driveway cement, too! Just pour it on. let it sit for an hour, & rinse it off ~ it breaks down the oils & gas stains ~ good stuff…. but I wouldn’t drink it!! ;-D

    • GrannyX7 says:

      Hi FixItMom:

      Here’s a trick I use, I also have a front loader as well, to help clean your husbands clothes, and the one I used that has worked well. Use Dissolvo you can find it at your local laundry mat for about .75 a box, first wash his clothes with that, and use vinegar as the softener to help remove residues from the washer, do not add homemade soap to this wash load, then rewash the clothes with your homemade laundry detergent as normal. This has worked for me in the past and I hope this works out for you as well.

      Please let me know how you made out.

  100. TipNut says:

    Thank you Melinda, lots of folks will be interested in that recipe :).

    FixItMom: I don’t think you can do anything more than allow a period for pre-soak, then a full laundry cycle. You can try extra soap and some vinegar in the rinse cycle. See if that helps :).

  101. Sara says:

    vinegar in the center fabric softer port of your washer should be okay, I just started using homemad soap (love it), but have been using vinegar for some time for fabric softner, it seems to work.
    I have found that my towels sometimes stink like vinegar, I have put a cheap essential oil in the vinegar bottle, and the smell of the oil does not come through, but the vinegar smell in my towels is gone! (I use an old softener container, and i just pour vinegar into it, and then about 10-20 drops of essential oil, so it lasts a long time!)

  102. Sara says:

    Fix it- My hubby gets greasy at his job too, I wash in hot water, use the homemade soap, plus dawn dishsoap, I don’t know howmuch, I just squirt it into the wash, aprox 1/8 cup, I know its allot, but his clothes come clean. I also double rinse his clothing, to ensure they are clean! I’ve put the dishsoap directly on larger greese stains, the stain generally remains, however, the greesy feel is gone.

  103. Lisa Lucia-Hayden says:

    HELP! I need feedback!

    I made the dry laundry detergent (recipe #4). Two questions, if anyone has used this recipe…

    While the bar soap Fels-Naptha is 5.1 oz, when I grated the entire bar, I almost had 3 cups (24 oz.), as I did not pack it down. So, I used that as the required “2 cups” of Fels soap. Should I have packed it down and used two BARS of soap? I ask this because….

    I just used the 2 TABLESPOONS for a full load as the directions indicate. Not only is there absolutely no suds, but even after I added another 2 TBSPS to the machine, there were still no suds. Is this correct????

    Thanks, Lisa

    • Liza says:

      I have been making recipe 4 for about 4 years now. it wont sud. it does clean. We love it. I just made 25 pounds of it between today and yesterday. The suds are not what cleans. I wanted to add a little oxy clean but it is irritating to my skin. For white yes add some oxy clean. but this works just fine. My husband who was a skeptic at first but let me try anyway, now doesnt want to buy detergent. LOL. Experiment with the bars. I am currently liking Lirio, but I am a soap maker and the next time will use my own bars.

      • Myrna says:

        Have you tried making your own Oxy Clean?

        1 cup water
        1/2 cup Hydrogen Peroxide
        1/2 cup Baking Soda

        Mix and add to wash.

        This works for me.

  104. TipNut says:

    Hi Lisa, there won’t be suds so don’t worry about that :). The grated soap does not need to be firmly packed in.

    Sara thanks very much for sharing your tips :).

  105. Lola Lewis says:

    I have made one of the recipes and i like it. Although i have not tried the vinegar in the downy ball yet. I couldnt find the washing soda anywhere so i called Arm & Hammer and asked where in my area i could find it. It could be found at only one store. Its still only about $3 for a big box. Happy washing all.

  106. Andrea says:

    question for DH who is utterly paranoid about his new HE frontloader “babies”

    i see that some people have used homemades in their HEs, but does anyone have comments on it long-term? i keep mentioning that these ingredients are sold in the LAUNDRY AISLE but he keeps grumping that he doesn’t want his warranty voided because we were washing with “twigs and berries.”

    • Carol says:

      “twigs and berries”….LOL! That sounds like something my husband would say..:-)

    • Lisa says:

      I’ve been using a homemade laundry soap for one year now (powder version, similar to recipe #9 above) and I will say that just last night I noticed what I believe to be soap scum buildup on the back of my washer drum. Additionally, I have not been happy with my laundry lately as I think my clothes are getting dingy : ( hence my visiting this site. I used Fels Naptha in my first batch of laundry soap and I used ZOTE in my second batch. I feel the Fels did a better job but really, I’m not sure if the ding I’m seeing is accumulated over time or simply a result of using the ZOTE. As for the soap scum buildup, I’m going to attempt to clean the washer and then I think I will use vinegar in my rinse cycle. One more thing, I do have hard water so perhaps that is a factor in my dinge and soap scum build up. I really like the idea of using homemade laundry soap so I hope I can solve these problems. Any suggestions from others with these same experiences? Thanks so much, Lisa

  107. David says:

    Question 1: Does anyone have any experience doubling the amount of water in recipe 1 (or any of the liquid recipes) and then just doubling the amount in the machine so you don’t have to stir it before each load. That way it would be more like the store bought which would add legitimacy that this is a real laundry detergent for my wife. For some people perception is reality.

    I’m sure a double the amount of a diluted mixture would work fine, I jUst wouldn’t go through the hassle if it still congealed into glop and the soap separated out.

    Question 2: do you use half the amount per load in a front loader? Thanks! David

  108. Endee Mac says:

    For other sensitive folk
    I am a new soapmaker from Australia and found an allergy free soft soap recipe in Alan Hayes book It’s So Natural, see itssonatural.com. It starts with making lye, the start of all soaps, including those grated in the recipes above. It was a bit more complicated than grating the soap, but I know it contains nothing I will react to. I used 250 grams of caustic soda from the cleaning section in our supermarkets in 3 cups of distilled water (because our bore water is hard) for the lye, and when that became lukewarm I added 3 cups of sunflower oil because I had no history of allergies with sunflowers and it was cheap. I used a stick mixer for a few minutes, left it overnight in a bowl covered with a plate. Then into a 5 litre lidded bucket I put 1.1/2 cups of soft soap, 1/4 cup of borax, 1/4 cup washing soda, 1 capful of eucalyptus oil for extra cleaning power, disinfectant and deodoriser and topped it up with warm water, used the stick mixer again. When cool I poured some into a 1.1/2 litre juice bottle which is light to handle – it glugs out freely. I have been using 3/4 cup in my small twin tub for softer clothes and towels and a cleaner wash to the point where some old stains left by my HE low allergy powder have already gone and older, darker ones are fading. I now have an untried front loader and will try a smaller amount with the vinegar rinse. The book gives instructions on making the lye, it boils, and is corrosive, so follow instructions carefully. This took longer than the grating recipes, but for me it has been very successful both for my sensitive skin and my clothing.

  109. Hanukkah says:

    I just made my first batch of detergent (from recipe #4) and the wash cycle is on!!!
    First, I’d like to say I also had a very hard time finding the washing soda. I found a number online to call 1-800-524-1328 and you can give them your zip code and they will tell you where you can buy the product in your area. In the Portland, OR area, Fred Meyer is the only place apparently.
    2nd, I’d like to comment about the dangers (health and environmental) brought up about washing soda in previous comments…I went to look at the ingredients in my other detergents I have in the house, brands Planet and Seventh Generation (both reputable for being environmentally friendly). Well, they both contain Soda Ash – which is another term for Washing Soda from what I’ve read. If it’s in those products, I feel it’s pretty safe for including in a home made recipe, especially compared to most other commercial products out there and the ingredients in those which are mostly all petrolium based as well.
    I too plan on using a home made detergent to launder cloth diapers and while I feel the recipe is safe for me, I’m not sure how it will be for sensitive baby skin…any one else used these recipes and laundered cloth diapers? Or have a different recipe specific for cloth diapers?
    Thank you TipNut for the great info!

    • Sue says:

      Washing soda is also at Winco and Walmart in the Portland area. You find it in the laundry soap aisle. I shop at the Walmart on 238th and Sandy and the Winco on 122nd off Halsey.

  110. TipNut says:

    Thanks again to those adding their extra tips and info, very very helpful for everyone :)!

    For the HE questions and the diaper/baby laundry, I can’t add anything more since I don’t have first hand experience with those areas. Feel free to jump in with your tips if you do :).

    David, re: Question 1, I haven’t tried that and I’ve spent a bit thinking about it. I think you would still need to give it a good stir even though you’re increasing the water. I guess the only way to know for sure is to give it a shot, but maybe someone reading this will have more info.

  111. Pat Richardson says:

    I’m 74 years old. Oh, how I wish
    I had had all this information when having a house full of kids.
    Have sent this site to my 4 adult
    kids, (total of 11 great grand
    children still). I pray they use it because all are low on cash ….isn’t everyone? I am going
    to try the powder form myself.
    God bless you for your site.

  112. Angela says:

    I have been using Homemade Laundry Soap for 2 years now

    I was not every able to find Washing Soda anywhere nearby

    So, I modified… here is mine

    I have tried it powdered & liked the results better with the liquid form, especially in this water that is extremely hard

    I have given it to everyone I know by pouring it into smaller portions in re-used apple juice containers

    I like to use 1/4 cup Vinegar in a Downy Ball as a rinse agent, not necessary but a little softer fabric when Line-Dried

    I line-dry my clothes year-round (part of my save-the-earth commitments)

    1 cup grated soap (I have used Zote, FelsNaptha, Octagon, and Ivory… I like Octagone & FelsNaptha the best)

    4 cups water

    1/3 cup Baking Soda
    1/3 cup OxiClean (I use the generic sold at WalMart)
    1/3 cup Borax

    Boiling Pot
    5 gallon cleaned, recycled paint bucket

    Place water in boiler pot
    Place grated soap in water

    bring to boil & then turn down to low simmer… simmer until all soap is melted

    Keeping heat on low, add dry ingredients… stir

    continue stiring until mixture thickens & then turn off heat

    Pour about 4 cups hot tap water into paint bucket

    pour mixture into water that is in paint bucket, stir

    allow to settle overnight

    Use 1/4 cup for washload & if needed soak load overnight

    for extremely greasy clothes:
    add 1/4 cup Borax
    soak overnight in the hottest water safe for the fabric

    for very smelly clothes (excellent for removing pet odors or urine odors), do as for greasy clothes

    for blood, catsup, etc:
    add 1 scoop of OxiClean (use the scoop that came with the product, then soak overnight in cold water

    This particular mix (with 1/4 cup added borax & overnight hot water soak) is the only thing I have ever seen that gets “hot-mud” out of clothes (my boyfriend is a painter/drywall finisher)

    I have been able to remove old stains (except rust stains, use Rust-Out)

    The Borax & the Baking Soda & the Oxyclean are all Alkaline

    The Vinegar is a light acid

    The alkalinity softens hard water… the Vinegar reverses the alkalinity & this helps with the rinse being clean

    • Carol says:

      Thanks for mentioning Octagon soap, I found this right next to the Borax in my local grocery store and was wondering how/if it would do.

  113. margaret lyons says:

    WOW!!! I’m going to try some of these recipes in my new HE front loader. i’m a little nervous, so like the idea of periodically cleaning out any residue – should this be bleach? or vinegar?
    also, what’s a “downy ball”? can i just put vinegar for rinse in the machine’s container that says “fabric softener”?
    thanks so much everyone!

  114. Christine says:

    I was wondering, does anyone know if Borax will fade out colors? Can I safely add it to whites and darks? Thanks!

  115. jen says:

    I too have a HE washer and I add the vinegar in my washers fabric softner container and everything works just fine!

  116. Megan says:

    Hi, I’d like to make the powdered detergent but I can’t find washing soda anywhere! Any advice on where to find it? In the meantime, I will substitute baking soda, though I know it’s not quite as heavy duty.

  117. Megan says:

    I went and read some comments, did some research and found a pool supply site that always has free shipping, and has very competitive prices. It’s called saveonpool.com. And, as someone above noted, you’re looking for a pH increaser with only Soda Ash in the ingredients list. This is what washing soda is. Since I can’t find it locally, this seems like the best deal for me.

  118. Stephanie says:

    I see that people are adding Oxyclean too. That is great but I can save you money just put in a 1/2 cup of 3% Hydrogen peroxide. The stuff in the brown bottle. It is a great disinfectant too.

    I wash produce with 3% hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar solution. It washes away every thing and does not leave a taste.

    • Lynn says:

      Hi Stephanie.

      I have a question. Do you put the hydrogen peroxide in the container with your liquid laundry soap? If so, 1/2 cup for how much laundry soap?


  119. Tammy says:

    I am really excited to find this website. I have just recently gotten into making my own cleaning supplies and liked the idea of making my own laundry detergent.
    I made up recipe #8, but I added 1 cup of borax to it. I was going to use it today but when I took the lid off the bucket there was a lot of foam on the top and underneath the foam it was a milky looking water. So i put the whole batch back on the stove and reheated it. Do not know if this was the right thing to do but I did it. I was just wondering if it is still really watery will it still work correctly.

    The other question I have is can this be used with cold water. I wash pretty much every thing in cold water.

    Thanks in advance for any help

  120. Gloria says:

    You mentioned that if you have very hard water or well water you may have to adjust the recipes. What needs to be adjusted? What are the amounts to use? I have well water and I am wanting to try making my own laundry soap. We do not have a water softner either.
    I am so excited about trying one to the recipes. Looking foward to your reply.
    Thanks, Gloria

  121. tina says:

    any one looking for soda wash on a well ? check with the local water filteration guys for Soda Ash… after looking all over the laundry isles I found out my hubby who fixes pumps and installs water systems had it right on the shelf in the shop!!! boy he got a good giggle but hey who knew, for a year now I have used baking Soda because I just couldn’t find the wash. Oh well the reason I started making my own soap was because we moved to land covered in poision oak and I am really alergic. Hubby can roll in the stuff and the dogs are always out so using the fels-napa soap has kept me from getting any tranfer oils from washing his clothes and then mine. Dr said the fels nappa one of the few soaps that keep the oils from spreading. yea for me finding this great life saver!!!!

  122. Gloria says:

    I haven’t made any of the soaps yet, but I saw where trying to find soda, and someone mentioned Soda Ash. Well I just realized my DH works with the stuff all the time and I was his clothes which are caked in it. He works at a Chemical Plant, and people come in and purchase chemicals for there pools, water supplies, etc. So if you have access to a chemical plant or has someone that buys pools supplies in bulk maybe you can order Soda Ash also.
    I can just see DH when I tell him I want a big ole bag of Soda Ash! LOL

  123. shannon says:

    Which of these recipes would be best for washing cloth diapers? Anyone had any particularly good or bad luck doing so?

  124. mary says:

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I have done the one with borax and Washing soda in it and the one with just washing soda in it. My clothes are cleaner (Recently I washed a pair of pants with bike grease on the leg and it came out beautifully), My skin itches less and it’s money saving while good for the enviroment.

    Also some things I have learned by doing this recipe:

    1.) Washing soda can also be found at some natural health food stores. I was very fortunate to find mine at a independent dealer.

    2.) WM and some other big box stores sell borax.

    3.) You don’t need to buy expensive soaps for this recipe. I have scored a bunch of them this through walgreens (their store brand soap) and through yard sales.

    4) If you have no luck in finding washing soda, put some baking soda in a cup (the measurement required in the recipes) and heat it on high in your microwave. I would recommend about ten minutes, maybe less than that. when you are done, the baking soda will look like ash, which means it’s now washing soda.

    5) Other excellent container ideas are:
    Tidy Kats or any other cat litter company containers, old 2 liter soda pop bottles and milk jugs (rinse them out good so the liquid det. doesn’t stink), You may also want to keep a couple of small water bottles or travel size containers, if you plan on doing laundry when you are out of town, state or country.

    Lastly I have a question, does anyone of a good laundry stain remover that you can make? I don’t mind using waterless hand cleaner for the stains but I would like to make a stain remover from scratch.

    Thanks for the recipe, the replies to my questions and for this site.

  125. momma says:

    Shannon, I have used recipe #4, the powdered detergent, for my cloth diapers, and they turn out just fine. Just as well, if not better than the store detergent I was using before. When I soak them in my washer, I do add just a little bit of it, and drain it, and then I add a little bit more when I run the wash cycle. The diapers actually have come out cleaner than they did before, less stains, etc.

  126. momma says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot to add that I also put vinegar in the downy ball with the diapers to make sure there is no soap residue left on them!

  127. Oddria says:

    Thanx for the great ideas. I found a website (sorry don’t remember the address) for recipes for pretreatment of stains and found this recipe

    1/2 cup ammonia
    1/2 cup white vinegar
    2 Tablespoons laundry detergent
    2 quarts warm water

    I hope this helps.

  128. ClassicsQueen says:

    Hi! I just made my first batch of laundry soap. It turned out well. To answer Melissa’s question (from 2007), Kiss My Face 100% Olive Oil Soap works for receipe 8. I used vinegar instead fabric softener and my laundry came out clean and soft. And, once the laundry dried completely, the laundry did NOT smell like vinegar. One more thing, if you’re looking for a nice container in which to store your homemade laundry soap, try a cleaned 40 pound plastic kitty litter container. It has a lid, a handle, and is very sturdy. I think it holds about four gallons.

  129. ClassicsQueen says:

    Oh – I nearly forgot. Some people have claimed that washing soda is dangerous. If baking soda changes to washing soda at high tempuratures, why is baking soda safe for baking? (I’m an amateur classist, not a chemist!) ๐Ÿ™‚

  130. mary says:

    Thanks for the tip about the stain remover.

    I have also tried the neutrogena bar soap for this recipe and it has no oils in it, rinses out very well, is easy to melt on the stovetop and it comes unscented. The only downfall is the price. I have been fortunate to score the bars off ebay, at yard sales and thrift shops. Time to time, Nuetrogena will send out coupons or samples to you or have them in magazines, so that way the bars are a bit cheaper for people to buy. I have bought them with my coupons and they end up being cheaper than the store brand bar soap.

    BBW Glycerin soap is also excellent, very cheap (My store will sell the bars at the semi annual sales for a $1 each). These are fragnant but they leave no oil on the clothes afterwards.

    Also If you can’t find washing soda, You can use a little more soap to make up for the Washing soda.

  131. heza says:

    I just tried recipe#4. A couple of questions:
    #1 I have a ‘large-load’ top-loader Maytag. Is 2 TBSP enough for a big load?

    #2 I did a dark load and many of the black/navy items came out with residue on them. More detergent needed? I ended up rinsing again.

    Before trying this homemade recipe, I had been using 1/2 cup Borax and 1/8 cup Tide liquid detergent,pre-mixed with warm water. Very pleasing results with little or no residue. But would like to switch to the homemade stuff permanently.

    Would appreciate any tips.

  132. TipNut says:

    Hi heza, I wonder if you had the laundry machine packed too full (for the residue problem)? There shouldn’t be any residue. Also you might want to try running the water in the washing machine first, add the soap and let it dissolve a bit before adding the laundry (like you normally would with powdered detergents). If you aren’t filling the loads to full and the powdered detergent is given a chance to dissolve before adding laundry and you’re still having problems with residue, try reducing the amount of detergent per load.

    2 TBS should be enough for a full load, if you find it isn’t getting your clothes clean you can up the amount.

  133. shannon says:

    I’m mixing up powdered recipe (#4) as I type, and I have a ?? about amounts. We have to use the laundromat, and we usually use the huge front loaders (you know, the ones that cost $4 a load vs. the regular machines that are $1.75 a load) How much soap should I throw in? Thanks!

  134. TipNut says:

    I can’t say for sure shannon, I’d start with 3 TBS and see how the clothes turn out, adjusting as needed.

  135. mary says:

    2 I did a dark load and many of the black/navy items came out with residue on them. More detergent needed? I ended up rinsing again.

    do a couple of tbls of vinegar in the rinse cycle and this should get rid of the soap mess. Good luck

  136. Mandy says:

    I was wondering if anyone had tried adding Calgon water softener to their powdered laundry soap recipe to prevent soap residue. I don’t know how cost effective it would be, but I am making some soap to sell and thought it might be a good substitute for the vinegar rinse.

  137. sandy says:

    Excellent advice, and wonderfully helpful people!!

    I’ll add – for a stain remover – just take the bar of Fels Naptha and rub on stains (esp good for the ‘ring around the color’) before throwing into the laundry! (my grandma gave me that tip – years ago, always found it to be much more effective than the Shout it out stuffs )

    Also I want to add once again – do not combine vinegar and bleach!!

    Vinegar rinse helps get out the soap – perfect – I’m sure you could probably google to find more reinforcement of this as well as – –

    with towels, you dont need any fabric softner to them…

    Thanks again, I havent tried the homemade soap, just found the site… and I agree with above posters the washing soda isnt as caustic as say… Oxyclean (dont be putting your bare hands in a mix of that without knowing it will hurt!!)

    Loved the tip way at the top about cleaning diapers with the mix according to box directions and Martha Stewart… I used borax for lots of things when the kids were young… cant remember all of them now tho!)

  138. Beth says:

    Hi, I’ve not tried any of these recipes yet but intend to very soon.

    I see some people cite environmental and safety concerns about washing soda. Calcium carbonate is a natural product, taken from certain dried lake beds, burnt seaweed (where it gets the name soda ASH)and is now made from table salt.

    It is used in food (E500)as an anti-caking agent, a flavouring in ramen noodles and in sherbet.

    If anyone wants to follow this up I got all this info from wikipedia and a few other sites by just googling ‘washing soda’.

    I have a tub of Vanish stain remover and when I looked at the ingredients found it mainly contains washing soda – at 3 times the price! I know what I’m using in future!

  139. SHirley says:

    I made recipe #4 for powdered laundry soap. It is the easiest thing in the world to make but 2 tablespoons of the soap is nowhere near enough to clean a load of laundry. I used 1/2 cup and could use more. It doesnt clean my dishtowels at ALL. I used Ivory soap. Next time I’ll try a different soap. The recipe is so easy to follow I cant imagine what I could be doing wrong. DO the clothes need to be soaked first?

    • Liza says:

      ivory is awful I think for clothes. I will explain this further. When you make soap for the body there is something called superfatt. For the body you leave 5-8 percent superfat meaning oil which is not turned to soap left for the skin as a conditioner. You dont want oils in your clothes. laundry soap is 0 supefat meaning you cant wash your hands but it is good for clothes no extra oils remaining. If you dont have skin issues this is great.

  140. Lisa says:

    I don’t like Ivory soap for my body, not surprised it doesn’t seem to wotk as well for the laundry soap. I just bought all of my ingredients at WM for #9 and got fels naptha (3 bars to be exact). Thet didn’t have washing soda, but a 4lb box of baking soda that I will be throwing in the microwave shortly.. thanks so much for that tip!
    I can’t wait to make this and make my new house budget stretch farther!

  141. shannon says:

    I made powdered detergent #4 with Fels Naptha and used it today for the first time. Everything seemed to turn out really well. I used a little extra washing soda in the bin to help things out and used white vinegar in the rinse and there seems to be no issue. Anyone know if you can add a fragrance to the powdered detergent? My husband misses the smell of the fabric softener. I think the clothes smell fine, but is there any way to add essential oils or something to the powdered soaps? Thanks!

  142. Fleur says:

    Just an FYI on Fels Naptha bar laundry soap. It IS made with petrochemicals and is not a ‘green’ option and should not be used in grey water collection or septic systems.
    The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) on the product states:
    INCOMPATIBILITIES: Strong oxidizers, acids, bases, chlorine.
    I don’t know if this would cause problems with OxyClean or other additives.
    Using soap (a animal or vegetable fat by product) will leave residues on your clothes and in your washer. To avoid this, use 1/2 cup vinegar per load of laundry (in a Downy Ball or fabric softener dispenser) as a rinse agent and fabric softener.
    Also, sodium lauryl sulfate is a common ingredient in soaps and body products of all types. It is a foaming agent among other things (and often contains coconut ingredients). SLS is what normally causes irritation in a lot of people and if you can find a soap to use in these recipes that does not contain it, the recipe will be better suited for an HE washing machine as well as your skin.

    • Carol says:

      I looked up the MSDS for Colgate’s Octagon soap. I was surprised and pleased to see Sodium Carobonate (washing soda) as one of the ingredients. My local grocery store has a lot of it, so I bought 6 bars and made up a 1/2 batch of # 4, substituting oxyclean for the washing soda. Thank you for the idea to check the MSDS sheet for the soap!!

  143. Karen says:

    I have been making/using and loving one of the powdered detergent recipes, but am almost out and do not have any bar soap left in the house to use in this tonight, so I thought I would try one of the liquid recipes:

    Recipe #10

    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.
    Soap will be lumpy, goopy and gel-like. This is normal. Just give it a good stir before using. Make sure soap is covered with a lid when not in use. You could also pour the homemade soap in old (and cleaned) laundry detergent bottles and shake well before each use.

    Please help! This is a disaster! I know from grade school that mixing vinegar and baking soda makes a nice volcano, so I decided to “dilute” the vinegar by adding it first and the baking soda last. No matter, I did not get a volcano, but I did get some sort of chemical reaction. My old reused container that I mixed it in started heating up in my hand, then I realized that the mixture was not turning to gel, but something more like cement! I tried adding about a cup of hot water to soften it all up, but, didn’t really help, so now I am just afraid that this concoction is going to eat through a table and blow up! : – )

    Anyone know what is wrong with this recipe or do you have another no-cook recipe using liquid castile soap???

  144. TipNut says:

    Hi Karen, that is definitely not how it should turn out, the smell is a chemical reaction. The only thing I can think is that the soap you used was not pure liquid castille. Is there an additive maybe in the bottle you used?

    Also I see a blooper, the note about liquid detergent is for all the recipes, not #10. Number 10 is actually a powder.

    Karen this is a quick recipe to try so I will mix up a batch today and post the results in here. I do recall that the vinegar will foam so I mixed things slowly. I will clarify the recipe instructions after I whip up a batch.

    I did a quick search online and found this alternate recipe for you (for liquid castille):

    The Green Guide:


    Laundry Detergent
    1 oz. liquid castile soap
    1/2 cup washing soda
    1/2 cup borax
    1/4 cup baking soda or 1/4 cup white vinegar

    Using the liquid castile soap as a base, combine with washing soda, borax (for stains and bleaching), and either baking soda (reduces static and softens fabrics) or white vinegar (softens fabrics, reduces static and bleaches clothes). If you feel like your clothes aren’t clean enough, play around with the amount of liquid castile soap, using from 1 oz. to 1 cup.

    My notes:

    1 oz is about 3 TBS.

    This recipe is different in that it uses borax and it’s either vinegar OR baking soda. But it sounds like a nice one to try.

    I’ll post my results in here later today regarding recipe #10 as well as clarify the instructions a bit so that there’s no confusion about the liquid/powder results.

  145. TipNut says:

    Ok I made two batches of the #10 recipe using these ingredients:

    -Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
    Peppermint Hemp Pure-Castile Soap
    -Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
    -Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

    I poured the liquid soap into the bowl first, stirred in the washing soda, then baking soda, then added the vinegar in small batches at a time (the recipe foams up at first).

    There were no problems, the mixture is like a thick powder detergent, smells minty fresh (because of the castile soap I used) and soapy from the washing soda. I even put my fingers in the dish to break up some of the hard clumps, no burning at all on the hands.

    The second batch I made up I reversed the order of ingredients to be similar to Karen’s method:

    -Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
    -Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
    Peppermint Hemp Pure-Castile Soap
    -Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

    I found it a little harder to mix but not hard like cement.

    Both batches were slightly warm, not hot, I think that’s just the activity from the baking soda & vinegar. It wasn’t uncomfortable at all to the touch and I spent some time crushing the lumps into powder, so I did use pressure with my bare hands.

    I did find the smell to be minty & soapy from the washing soda, but not stinky like a chemical reaction would (I somehow got the idea that Karen’s smelled, but she didn’t say that).

    I did two loads of laundry with this mix, first tossing in 1/2 cup of all the hard lumps that I didn’t break down. I let them sit in water for a few minutes, swishing around and breaking the lumps in the water (they are quite hard).

    The second load I used 1/2 cup of the powdery stuff.

    Both loads turned out clean and the lumps from the first load were reduced in the wash and didn’t show up on the clothes after drying.

    **This is a powder detergent, not a gel or liquid. I’ll fix the blooper so there’s no more confusion.

  146. Leslie says:

    I wonder if I can use a variation of this recipe for body wash. Using say ivory, baking soda (which I use instead of washing powder as finding it in my area is rare) vegetable glycerin, and maybe something like jojoba oil?

  147. mary says:

    I have a bunch of essential oils that I purchased on ebay and decided to use them up in the HMLD. This smells nicely (light scent) and it still leaves my clothes really clean and with no oil stains. You may want to try very little oil so it’s not strong smelling and it doesn’t leave oil stains on the clothes.

  148. mary says:

    You can probably use body wash for this, leslie, but I would not recommend it being cooked on the stovetop. One poster on here did that and ended up with a big mess.

    For those who want to try castile soap but are scared of the prices, try store brand castile soap (trader joe’s has an excellent store brand soap, small but cheap. If you want a bigger quantity, they have the dr. bronners there for 8.99-50% cheaper than other stores) or try the dr bronner’s castile soap in a bar (the bars are 2.00 to 5.00 each, depending on where you live). TJ’s doesn’t have the dr. bronner’s bar soap but most places such as target and walgreens have them.

  149. Jen says:

    I made my first batch of laundry soap and I can’t say I was impressed and not impressed. I am a person who believes clean comes in a smell and since the homemade version tends not to have a “perfume” odor I panic thinking my laundry isn’t clean. So I started using the 1/2 cup of home made and 1/2 a cap full of the store bought. This has helped with my need for scent.

    I store my homemade in an unlided bucket. It looks like a pickle bucket and I bought it at Home Depot. I read on here that there is a possibility of bacteria if the stuff isn’t preserved properly. Am I potentially exposing my family to unseen bacteria? I also have been using cold water thinking this was saving me and getting my stuff just as clean, but from I read this is also bad. So I will make it a point to wash out my machine with a hot water bleach bath I guess.

    I am now going to try the softener recipe for the first time and I am also a bit nervous about this. I hate the smell of vinegar and worry this will be my new scent.

  150. mary says:

    I am wondering if I can add leftover oil from my reed defuser in this, along with perfume oil and body splash?

    I am asking this because the reed defuser is a mixture of essential oil and rubbing alcohol.


  151. TipNut says:

    Mary I’m not sure about the rubbing alcohol and whether or not there would be a reaction with the washing soda or borax. The body splash might also contain an ingredient that would react badly.

    As an experiment I did make up one of the powder detergents using liquid dish soap instead of liquid castille (recipe #10) and there was a nasty reaction–so I stay away from soaps that aren’t listed above (castile, ivory, etc.). Also there was a comment up above somewhere that someone had a bad reaction from using a liquid shower gel.

  152. Becky says:

    Hi TipNut! Thanks so much for your site. I’ve just made a second batch of Recipe #3. I have 2 issues: I find the clothes have a residue left on them, and the heavier soiled items do not get fully clean (I live in a very dusty/sandy area). Would you recommend vinegar for the residue, and if so at what point do I add it?

  153. TipNut says:

    Hi Becky :). I wonder if you’re packing the load too full with clothes? The soap should wash away without leaving a residue. I would try the vinegar rinse to help wash the soap residue away. If you’re not packing the laundry too full, are you adding the soap to the water (as its running) to dilute the soap first before adding laundry? That will help too.

  154. Becky says:

    Thanks, it’s quite a possibility that the machine’s packed too full! I also noticed that the soap doesn’t completely dissolve in the water, there are little curd-like bits floating around still. Is that ok?

  155. Jen says:

    Hello Tipnut,

    My husband and I make our own soap and I wondered if any of these recipes have been tested with handmade soap? We would love to use our own products to make an all-natural laundry soap.

  156. kelli says:

    i was wondering if you could make one of the liquid recipes with liquid castille soap instead of bar soap. If so, how much dr. bronner’s should i use?

  157. Jennifer says:

    THANK GOD FOR THIS POSTING! I have been trying for weeks to locate washing soda to no avail. I live in a VERY small town & hated driving an hour just for washing soda-kind of defeats the purpose of making it homemade to save on the $$$$. Anyway, I’ll be sure to turn my baking soda into washing soda so I can get started on my detergent! And Thanks for the reminder to not mix vinegar $ bleach since I use it on occassion!

  158. Heather says:

    Hi, I was wondering if anyone can tell me if borax is okay to use on cloth diapers. I tried using oxi clean on them, and it gave my daughter a horrible blistery diaper rash, so I’m hesitant to use harsh cleaners. I have tried recipe #8, which doesn’t call for borax, but I just thought I might try a different one.

  159. Michelene says:


    All 4 of my kids have been in cloth diapers, and I have used Borax as a soaking agent in my diaper pail, and add it to my wash. I’ve never had a problem with it affecting their skin, so I would say it is perfectly safe. I also have no problem with diaper pail smell ( as long as you rinse your diapers before adding them to the pail)

    I’m going to start making my own laundry soap. I was inspired by saop I purchased (Moonworks.org) They add essential oils to their powdered laundry soap, so I know it can be done)

  160. Heather says:

    Thanks for the tips… I’ll give the borax a go and if it doesn’t work, I’ll just use that soap for our regular clothes.

  161. Kathy says:

    I have read all I could on line regarding ‘homemade laundry detergent’, finally made my first batch and have done several loads with it.

    Points I would make:

    I grated soap with microplaner which went fairly fast and produced a fine product which I wanted. I made the powder version and added 8 oz of Oxiclean. I have been using 2 tablespoons of this to a load and clothes have looked and felt great. You cannot use bleach with this mixture with Oxiclean. Plan to make another batch w/o Oxiclean to use w/ bleach loads.

    I made a special batch of CP soap because I superfat my other (as most people do – so be careful when buying say goats milk soap to use). Superfatted soap will leave residue on clothes per other postings, which makes sense. It is also harder to dissolve and leaves reside in pipes, etc. Love it for my skin – but not a good thing for laundry. Lye soap is going to be your only truly ‘green’ option if you are trying to get away from ‘detergent’. Most commercial castile soaps are petro based as well.

    I put my powder in and run hot water in washer a minute then switch to cold. That is enough to dissolve it so far.

  162. Sophie says:


    Love the tips, but am in need of some help with recipe #10! I mixed it all up per instructions, but was left with a thinish liquid (it looked very much like when you mix icing sugar and powder) even after stirring for over an hour!

    Wondering if it was not drying up because it was a bit lumpy, I ran it through the blender – I now have a (very beautiful!) thick, white, fluffy cream…but it’s definitely not turning to powder.

    I used:

    1 cup bicarbonate of soda (same thing, right?)
    1 cup washing soda
    1 cup white vinegar
    1/4 cup Dr Bronner’s unscented castille (the ‘baby’ version)

    I did notice that after I had mixed the washing soda and castille, there was nowhere near enough liquid to absorb the baking soda – that only happened when I added the vinegar. I’d love to use this recipe – can anyone suggest what might be wrong? Pretty please?

  163. Dale says:

    Is any of these recipes safe for septic tanks? I want to make my own laundry soap, but cant afford to ruin the 50yr old septic system!!

  164. TipNut says:

    Hi Sophie, it’s definitely a heavy, crumbly powder for me. I really don’t know why there’s a difference for you? Did you mix it in the order that I did? Maybe that affects the results? You should still be fine using the mixture in your laundry though since the ingredients are the same.

    Dale I can’t say for sure, I’m sorry. Maybe someone else knows for certain and can pop a comment in here?

  165. chris says:

    Thanks for posting these recipes – I tried making one of the powdered recipes and it works great!

    I want to share a couple of things that I disovered:

    1. When I started reading these recipes, I wanted an exact recipe and worried about making even minor modifications. I was wrong and I’ll explain why.

    2. The soap used in these recipes serves as the laundry soap, no more no less. Soap is simply a chemical compound with an affinity for oil that is also water soluble. Choose a plain soap without a lot of additives. The extra oil or lanolin or whatever, that makes the soap nice for your skin will just be deposited on your clothes.

    3. I didn’t really want gallons and gallons of goop, so I made powdered detergent. I shredded the bar soap using the fine section on a cheese grater (I assume a food processor would work even better). Remember that large lumps of soap won’t dissolve as quickly in your washer as a fine powder. If you don’t want to grate the soap to a fine powder, make one of the liquid versions.

    4. Washing Soda serves as a water softener as well as a laundry booster. Use more Washing Soda if you have extra hard water; use less if you have a soft water.

    5. Borax is a laundry booster. As Americans, we tend to believe that “if some is good, more must be better.” Don’t go crazy with the Borax. If you’re not getting the cleaning you desire, try a little more Borax, but remember it’s a booster, not a soap.

    6. Add some Baking Soda if you have extra stinky clothes. Both Borax and Washing Soda have deordorizing properties, but a little Baking Soda won’t hurt anything.

    7. As another poster mentioned, adding vinegar to the rinse (a Downy ball with 1/2 cup of white vinegar) is great. All of the detergent ingredients are alkalai, vinegar is acidic and will help restore the pH balance of your wash load. Your clothes WILL NOT smell like vinegar.

    7. As noted by previous posters, DO NOT use vinegar with chlorine bleach.

    Again, thank you for these recipes and for all of the helpful additional posts. I hope that these notes may be of value to anyone who is unsure of trying these recipes.

  166. Chris says:

    When looking for a large pail to store the homemade soap in, my SIL gave me his cleaned pails that he gets at his construction site. The grout he uses comes in these and he says that these are thrown away because they end up with so many of them! The have lids and a handle! I love them!

  167. Amy says:

    Hello everyone! I just made my first batch (recipe #4) and my laundry’s washing as I type. One issue… I used about 6 tablespoons instead of 2. It’s hard to kick the habit of just dumping in a big scoopful of Tide.

    I just wanted to share my happiness. I sat down and did the math and it turns out that to do a large load of laundry it will cost about .06 cents!
    So congrats to all of us for saving money and being greenies!

  168. Harriette Hammonds says:

    I have always had to live frugally. Just found your web-site today–this is wonderful! It will help to live even more frugally. I am interested in the oxyclean and one person said it brightened her clothing. Do they add it to the detergent when mixing up a batch, or as they do the laundry? Also, do you have a recipe for dishwash (not dishwasher) detergent, too.

  169. Dinah says:

    Hi, I have skin allergies, and can only use Tide Free, which is hard to find these days. Do you recommend these for sensitive skin?

    • Liza says:

      try kirks castille for your soap. Make recipe 4. I recommend it highly.But again each person is different NO IVORY.

  170. Erin says:

    I am loving all the new things I am learning on this site. But I do have a question. I made recipe # 8 and it is very watery, not a gel like. Did I do something wrong.

  171. TipNut says:

    Sorry your comments got approved so late Dina & Erin–it’s a problem on my end, not your comments!

    Dinah I really hesitate to say yes or no, I’m not sure how you’ll react to the ingredients. If you tried a gentle soap bar and made a small batch using one of the recipes, and then once the detergent is made, apply a bit on the inside of your arm and just see what happens.

    Erin if I remember correctly that recipe won’t be a heavy gel or glop. What kind of soap did you use? Have you tried a load of laundry?

  172. Erin says:

    I used dial soap. Yes I did a load, it came out ok. There was one stain that I noticed that did not come out.

  173. Dinah says:

    Hey, I just posted yesterday, so not late at all! I can use Caress and Dove unscented, so I may try those. Have to see if I can get the ingredients first, and if it’s cost effective for me to make my own. Thanks for the site! I’ve learned a lot since I found it.

  174. Michael says:

    Hi I have been using the recipe for soap #4 plus a few cups of oxiclean since april and i just love it! If i want my dress shirts a little whiter i just add some more oxiclean..its great and lasts forever

  175. Ron says:

    I tried a recipe almost the same as #3 and for some reason it didn’t gel. The soap all congealled on the top (about 1/2 of an inch) and the rest stayed as soapy water. I thought I followed all the directions. I used 1/2 bar finely grated ivory soap bar, let it melt at medium heat in 3 pints of water and added 1/2 cup of Borax and Washing Soda (both authentic bought just for this purpose). Cooked it for about 40 minutes stirring it constantly (my recipe said to cook it until it was as thick as honey but I gave up). Anyway I put it into a bucket with 1 quart of hot water and stirred it for 2 minutes then covered it overnight. First, any idea why it didn’t gel? I didn’t fill it with cold water but I’m unclear as why adding a bunch more water would have turn it to gel.
    Also is there something I can use what I’ve got for – such as reheating the soap scum, melting it and trying again with the extra water?
    Anyway thanks, in advance, for any time you spend on this.

  176. TipNut says:

    Hi ron, sorry for the late reply! Hmmm, I’m not familiar with that technique (cooking till it’s thick like honey), but I think you should still have had a more gel-like result. Homemade laundry detergent is more like “glop” rather than a thick gel. If you keep stirring it before each use and keep the container sealed, you should see some thickening up. I’d still use your batch.

  177. Frances says:

    i was wondering if anyone has used recipe with
    baking soda
    washing soda
    bar soap

    I wanted to know if you could use soap flakes with this recipe.

    and if anyone knows if it works iwth sentive skin or baby skin.

  178. stephanie says:

    I’ve gotten ph balancer for the swimming pool to use in recipe #9.98% sodium carbonate..2%inert ingred. is this product correct.also warnings a bit frightening.thank you.-s

  179. Tyler says:

    Hey everyone. I discovered this homemade detergent two days ago and decided to give it a try. To all the talk about not finding washing soda i have a soluion. I used oxy-clean as a substitute. I also used Fels-Naptha Heavy Duty Laundry Bar Soap. this is for treating stains so it worked really well. i used 2 cups borax, 2 cups of bar soap, and 2 cups oxy-clean. and it worked excelent and it had a smell that wasnt too strong. the oxy-clean worked great so for people wondering give that a try and let me know if it worked for you.

  180. Julie says:

    I stumbled up on this site when I was researching how to make eco friendly laundry detergent. I made the powdered version #4 and did about 4 loads of laundry with it already. Probably took about 15 minutes to make. I just used a cheese grater to grate the soap (Zote). It was easy. The soap was soft so it made it easy. I mixed the powder to the soap and let it sit for a while, then I went back and crushed the soap some more now that it was drier and thus easier to break up into smaller pieces.

    The first load was dirty rags and I couldn’t believe how clean my rags were. I also tried the 1/2 c of vinegar in the softener dispenser and the rags came out clean and soft and not smelly at all! The stuff melted in the water pretty well. I didn’t have soap residue on my clothes. I lined dried the rags and they were soft, not like when I use fabric softener which makes my towels look like a cardboard.

    I’m sold! Never going to buy expensive detergent anymore. Telling all my friends and family about it. Thank you.

  181. margie says:

    Hi. I just heard about making laundry detergent and am anxious to make my first batch. I went to the store and tried to find the fels naptha. i have not heard of this before. what is it and what section of the store do you find it in?

  182. TipNut says:

    It’s soap Margie, if you can’t find it locally, try amazon (you can search for it there to see what it looks like too if you want to keep trying locally).

  183. Lea says:

    I started making the liquid detergent about a year ago and I am really happy with it. It is NOT an exact science, there are MANY recipes, but they all call for basically the same 3 ingredients.

    I have even seen people use bar soap like Zest, Dial and more. But the reason I am writing today is that if you decide to make the powdered version, you need to be VERY careful about grinding up the bar soap. When I used the mini Cuisinart today to do so, it was the right powder like consistency, but would also float in the air when the lid was opened to the processor. People who have respiratory problems, asthma, etc may want to stick to the liquid or use a face mask when grinding up the soap powder. My lungs have been burning all day after making a batch of the powder.

    That being said, the recipe I use is one part bar soap – I have used ZOTE and Fels Naptha; ground to a powder to 2 parts Borax and washing soda each and I only have to use 1 TBS of mix on normal loads and 2 TBS on heavily soiled. I also use Oxyclean on whites. With 4 boys and a grimy hubby, it works wonderful and lasts me for months. Once you buy the 3 ingredients, you should easily be able to make a year’s worth or longer depending on how much you use..one whole year on less than $12 of supplies!

    I switched to the powdered just to save storage space and time. I recently ran out and purchased a bottle of detergent for about $3 and I barely used it for a week!

    If you want to save and use more natural products, this is the way to go, and YOU CAN change the formula up a little bit to suit your liking and water hardness…again, this is NOT an exact science!

  184. Sally says:

    I have tried making the liquid detergent and it works great except that the clothes come out smelling like nothing. I can’t use fabric softner as they irritate my young sons skin. Any suggestions on how to correct this? I was told to add potpouri oil or essential oils but won’t that leave a residue on the clothes or cause spots? How much do I add? The recipe I use is :

    1 bar of soap dissolved in 1 quart of water
    1 cup washing soda
    1/2 cup borax
    3 gallons hot water

    I use a potato peeler to grate my soap. It works great. I have a almost 4 year old boy and a 11 week old baby girl and this detergent even gets red popsicle out of clothing!

    • Valerie says:

      I have been making my own laundry soap for awhile now and I have discovered there is no way at all to make scent stick to the clothes. I use lavender eo in the recipe I use (liquid). The clothes smell great coming out of the washing machine but by the time they are don drying the lavender scent is gone. Line drying seems to hold the scent a little better. Fragrance oils stick better, but I won’t use those. you can try making lavender sachets for the dryer. Which is on my to do list.

  185. Shonna says:

    Hi, I have been making my own laundry soap for a year now. We live on a farm (lots of mud) I find my whites are not so white anymore plus a gas dryer does not help that. but anyway to the question…. Can I add powdered bleach to my laundry soap when I make it to help my whites? my recipe is 1 bar lye soap, 1/2 cup borax, 1/2 cup baking soda 5gal water. (Clorox2 color safe is what I was wanting to add.) Thanks

  186. Cristina says:

    Hi Everybody,

    Has anybody just added ingredients right into their wash or does it have to be added to hot water and put in a bottle?
    This is what I have done for the past 3 loads and it seems to work fine. One large top loading washer full of warm water gets:
    1/3 cup washing soda
    1/3 cup borax
    1/3 Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Liquid Soap

    I was wondering if I can use less since many of the recipes above are using significantly less per load.

  187. othermother says:

    I thing we are missinng something to have this be powdered?
    Recipe #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 soap into the bowl first, stirred in the washing soda, then baking soda, then added the vinegar in small batches at a time (the recipe 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 isnโ€™t clumpy when first adding).

  188. TipNut says:

    Hi othermother, it does turn out to be a powdered mix. It may have something to do with the order it’s mixed in though since someone mentioned above that it didn’t turn out for them. I made a fresh batch recently and it turned out great (following the order I gave).

  189. othermother says:

    never mind… i read it all …

  190. Marina L says:

    To make hard water softer use more baking soda.

  191. Dawn says:

    I am going to try the powdered version – #4
    You say to use 2 tbs for each load, but what size load does that take care of? Sorry if you already answered this question, this is a long post! thanks!

  192. Caty says:

    Has anyone figured out how much to use for recipe #10?

    Also is there a substitute for powder detergents that are without washing soda AND borax? ( maybe using just baking soda……

    By the way, regarding safeness, oddly enough, i looked up seventh generations ingredients detergent and it was the same ingredients as alot of these on this recipe forum…they “claim” they are not toxic to humans and the environment….also the msds listed none of these as carcinogenic, but mainly irritants……. i guess we must pick the healthiest of it all……

  193. TipNut says:

    Dawn the load size would be for a full load.

    Caty I used 1/2 cup for #10 and everything turned out well, I hadn’t tried reducing so you may find good results with a lesser amount too.

  194. Mickie says:

    I have a questions about using the detergents.

    Can you use them in a front loader washer?

    I have a front loader and very sensative skin and I would like to make my our laundry detergent, but don’t want to damage my washer.

    Can you help with a good receipe. I prefer liquid detergen.

    I also need a good fabric softener without perfumes and dyes.

    Thank you,


  195. Sherry says:

    These responses are great, Im getting into making CP, HP and M&P soaps along with sprays for body and home.

    I do have one question. Is there a recipe out there anywhere for a Eco-friendly laundry soap?

    I like the idea that one lady has enough soap to last for 5 or so years.. WOW.


    The reason I want to make my own soap is cause I can not pronounce all the ingredients on the back of the bars plus I’m looking to make a few bucks on some bath and body and more products. When I first started reading how to make soap, I almost threw the towel in cause I had to use “lye” I thought if that stuff is that bad I do not want to put it in my soap. After finding out, I HAVE to use lye to make soap I did more and more research about precautions and how to handle it. I to am worried about “dangerous” products in my soaps of all kinds. If you happen to find a recipe for an eco-friendly soap could you post it here.. I would love to try it as I am as green as I can be, but you know we all need room to grow.

    Soapers: On using the CP soaps which bar worked the best for you? Or will the results be the same.

    Cool site THANKS!!

  196. Jennifer says:

    My skin objects to Ivory & Fels Naptha (big time–ever feel like you’ve been rubbed raw?). Does anyone have a suggestion for a milder soap to use? Obviously, I will be using one of the recipes without Borax. Most likely to protect my frustratingly sensitive skin, I will be using the one with baking soda, rather than washing soda. The laundry detergents I have to buy to avoid skin reactions are all *much* expensive, so I would like to try this if possible. I just really need a different soap alternative.


  197. Sam says:


    I tried Recipe #3 with success, using Zote soap. I made a few modifications myself, out of a wish to be frugal with limited accommodations.

    I followed the recipe to the dot, up to after I had melted all the ingredients. Then I added one quart of cold water. I emptied the pot into a cleaned 2 qt bottle of laundry detergent. It’s pretty much super concentrated. So I use less than the recipe suggested amount when washing.

    The mixture gels something solid, so it’s a good idea to place it into a pliable bottle, a bottle you could squeeze with ease. 2-liter bottles, detergent bottles are great for this. You could squirt it into a measuring cup, or if your sight is measured, directly into the washing machine.

    Another tip for dealing with thick gels: add the soap and run the water first, before adding clothes. Stir it around with your hand or a piece of cloth, or a stick. That way you can ensure that the gel dissolves completely and with equal distribution.

    Thank you for the recipe.

  198. Carla says:

    I was able to call Church & Dwight the suppliers/makers for Arm & Hammer Washing Soda…1800-524-1328…gave them a UPC # 33200-03020. They told me the closest store to purchase it…still an hour away. They told me I could order it directly from them…$3.99 plus shipping, at this time it is $6.39 to ship. BUT…they told me if I bought 4 boxes from them I will get free shipping. $15.96plus tax .96 cents =total $16.92 for 4 boxes This will probably last me the rest of my live since you use so litle at a time.

  199. gloria says:

    Hey , you can add a few barbles to the soap container then shake, it will mix quicker…

  200. kathy says:

    I made the recipe that produces a gel-like detergent (used fels soap that I grated and borax and washing soda). As my (top loading) washer fills with water I dump in a half cup of the “glop” and wait for it to dissolve before adding the clothes but the glop never dissolves!! I put in the clothes to be washed and when the entire cycle ends there is no glop left in the bottom of the machine so it goes somewhere!! But does anyone else notice this? Shouldn’t it dissolve as the machine fills with water??

  201. gloria says:

    marbles sorry for the mistake.. Allso I grate Zote and naptha and just us that if I do not have the other stuff…

  202. JenniferS says:

    Ok so I am looking for a recipe that has these ingredients and you would use a tablespoon of it for a large load in a top loader (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Carbonate, Oxygen Cleaner). I am also looking for a recipe with these ingredients that uses 1 tablespoon of it for a large load top loader (Soil and Stain Removers in the form of soap, sodium bicarbonate, sodium carbonate, sodium borate, oxygen cleaner). The first one is for cloth diapers and the other is for regular laundry. I am assuming that the “oxygen cleaner” is just oxyclean? I would really like to know what the “store names” (so I can find it in a store) of these are and if anyone knows the amounts to use to make a batch. I live with my inlaws and I don’t have space or energy to )or the patience of those around me) to just try different recipes until I get it right. If I can start saving us enough money we can move out!!!!!! So please help! Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  203. Patti says:

    I am going back to making my own detergent to save $. To answer a few questions others had:

    1) These soaps are excellent for front loaders because that are low sudsing. Start with a small amount and work your way up.
    2) TIP: I have found with my new front loader it is important to PRETREAT stains either with a commercial products or use fels naptha to rub on stains.

  204. Susan says:

    I also live on a farm with a septic and well. I am most concerned about using detergents that are safe for septic and cause build up in the pipes over long time use. Could someone please respond. WE are all chemically sensitive and walking around in stained dirty looking clothes. My children, husband and my little biological buddies in the ground would really appreciate a response. ps I’ve got a big old bar of lye soap just waiting to jump in my food processor. thanks.

    • Grace says:

      Hello ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a lot of experience with septic tanks and can tell you that we have had no problems with any type of laundry detergents in them. (I also only use a fourth of what the manufacturer calls for.)

      The homemade soaps are definitely better and break down easier but if you are adding enzymes to the tank via the toilet bowl every month or so, as suggested on the “RidX” box, you are ok.

      Some things bad for the tank are bleach, paint, harsh toilet cleaners/cleaners and flushable baby diapers. (whoever put flushable should be shot) ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope this helps.

  205. TipNut says:

    Hi Susan, I have no experience with septic tanks so I can’t offer any advice. Maybe someone reading this can advise.

  206. Grace says:

    Can someone tell me if I add vinegar or regular baking soda will it bleach my clothes, and how does vinegar work as a fabric softener? Thank you!

  207. Leah says:

    I have soft well water. What suggestions do you have?

  208. Leah says:

    For a scent can I place a towle with eo on it in the dryer? Use the same towle every time.

  209. CrimsonToll says:

    Hello i just want to thank “Tip nut” for this sight and taking the time to respond to all comments made here! Very helpful. I am going to try #4… Will share the results later ๐Ÿ™‚

  210. Geof says:

    Does any one know if you can use these recipies in a High efficiency front loading washer??? the one I have has a dispenser that you pour the detergent in. Should I be worried about clogging it or should I just pour the detergent in to the wash like aI would with a top loader?

    Thanks all


  211. Karli says:

    Making your own Homemade Laundry Soap is very inexpensive and a good choice for those concerned about quality, health related benefits, the environment & living frugal. Itโ€™s good to first understand the difference between the words Soap & Detergent. Virtually all laundry โ€œsoapโ€ on the market today is a petroleum-based detergent (which is a cheap and synthetic copy of real soap) and the vast majorities contain dyes and perfumes that can irritate or fade clothes & they also contain optical brighteners that make you think your clothes are clean. Detergent was created during World War I when a shortage of fats (main ingredient in soap- either animal or vegetable derived) occurred and as an alternative; companies developed the first synthetic version of soap called detergentโ€ฆ much like margarine was chemically created to mimic butter. You can make better & less expensive soap for your clothes right at home and cut your costs down dramaticallyโ€ฆ one person spent $12 and made enough Homemade Laundry Soap to last her an entire year!!
    There are lots of different combinations & recipes for Homemade Laundry Soap, but there are 4 common ingredients among them all: soap, washing soda, borax & vinegar. If you have a HE (high efficiency) washing machine please know that homemade laundry soaps are naturally low in suds which should accommodate these machines well. Trial & error will most likely be the case- as with anyone making their own customized laundry soap. Below is a description of each ingredient found in most Homemade Laundry Soap recipes. This should help you understand how to tweak your laundry soap based on whether your water is hard or soft in order to give you the best outcome. For those that wash in cold water, it is best to put your homemade laundry soap in with the washerโ€™s hot water for a minute so it correctly dissolves, then turn the water to cold & begin adding clothes.
    1. Soap: Use soap bars marketed for laundry such as Zote, Fels Naptha or Castile soaps or you can also use regular body bars as well as homemade soap bars too! Just choose plain bars of soap without a lot of additives. Beauty & deodorant bars (which contain extra oil, perfumes & moisturizers) are great for your skin but not for clothes or machines! If youโ€™re searching for eco-friendly or more gentle & natural homemade laundry soap I would suggest something like Castile soap. It is perhaps one of the gentlest soaps to date- a fact that makes it the choice of many mothers when choosing a first soap for their babies. It’s made with 100% pure olive oil (which is one way to tell whether or not it’s a true Castile soap) and is naturally very mild. Also look for Dr. Bronnerโ€™s All-One Hemp Unscented Baby-Mild Pure Castile Soaps.
    2. Washing Soda: Not the same as Baking Soda. Environmentally safe household cleaning product that helps to remove laundry stains such as: perspiration, collar & cuff, mustard & even motor oil. It also serves as a water softener as well as a laundry booster. Use more Washing Soda if you have extra hard water; use less if you have a soft water. Safe to use on all washable fabrics & colors. FYI: brands Planet and Seventh Generation (reputable for being environmentally friendly) both contain Soda Ash
    3. Borax: A natural deodorizer, detergent booster & stain remover. Donโ€™t go crazy with the Boraxโ€ฆ more is not better in the case of Borax.. If youโ€™re not getting the cleaning you desire, try just a little more Borax, but remember itโ€™s a booster, not a soap. Borax, baking soda & oxyclean are all alkaline which also soften hard water.
    4. Vinegar: The ingredients in Homemade Laundry Soap are considered alkali. Vinegar is an acid and will help restore the pH balance of your wash load so that your clothes, your machine & pipes rinse clean & do not build up with soap residue much like what happens in with soap scum in showers. Vinegar also works as a great alternative to fabric softener! Your clothes WILL NOT smell like vinegar. Add ยฝ cup of distilled vinegar to the โ€œfabric softenerโ€ part of your washer or put in a Downy ball. Some have also suggested putting a few drops of essential oil in with the vinegar to give clothes a scent (rumor has it that Bergamot essential oil gives the Mountain Fresh scent). DO NOT use vinegar with chlorine bleach!
    Add Mrs. Whiteโ€™s Liquid Bluing or oxyclean to your Homemade Laundry Soap as a safer & less expensive alternative to bleach. The whites come out wonderful, the colors are bright and clean and best of all, it is better for the environment. You may also find the need for a spot treatment and there are several recipes & ideas for homemade ones as well or you can use any store bought brand.

    The following recipes are for either powder or liquid Homemade Laundry Soap. If you do not want to bother with the melting of soap and having gallons and gallons of goop (not like store bought liquid- more like egg drop soup) then the powder recipes are best. Just make sure to shred your soap using the fine section on a cheese grater or food processor for the powdered recipesโ€ฆ large lumps of soap will not dissolve quickly in your washer. If you decide you like the โ€œliquidโ€ version best but are concerned with bacterial growth or spoilage then you may consider adding Grapefruit Seed Extract. It is a natural preservative that contains powerful anti-oxidants such as vitamin A, E and C!

    Powder Laundry Soap
    3 bars of Soap
    3 cups Borax
    3 cups Washing Soda
    Put chopped soap in food processor until fine.
    Pour into a large bowl with the Borax and Washing Soda and stir until combined.
    Use 1/4 cup (same as 2 TBSP) in HE front loader, use 1/2 cup in a top loader.

    Liquid Laundry Soap
    1 cup grated soap
    4 cups water
    1/3 cup Baking Soda
    1/3 cup OxiClean
    1/3 cup Borax
    Boiling Pot
    5 gallon cleaned, recycled paint bucket
    Place water in boiler pot
    Place grated soap in water
    bring to boil & then turn down to low simmerโ€ฆ simmer until all soap is melted
    Keeping heat on low, add dry ingredientsโ€ฆ stir
    continue stiring until mixture thickens & then turn off heat
    Pour about 4 cups hot tap water into paint bucket
    pour mixture into water that is in paint bucket, stir
    allow to settle overnight
    Use 1/4 cup for washload & if needed soak load overnight
    Spot Treatment & Stains
    for extremely greasy or very smelly clothes (excellent for removing pet odors or urine odors) clothes:
    add 1/4 cup Borax
    soak overnight in the hottest water safe for the fabric
    for blood, catsup, etc:
    add 1 scoop of OxiClean (use the scoop that came with the product, then soak overnight in cold water)
    mud: 1/4 cup added borax & overnight hot water soak

  212. Tammy says:

    I made recipe #1 awhile back and it turned out great. This time I used the same recipe but added an extra cup of soda and borax. Now the soap is in a semi solid mass on the top with the soapy water underneath it. I reboiled the soap and it was very smooth but this morning no gel and its all clumpy again.

    Any idea what going on and can I still use this batch?

    I added the extra borax/soda because my whites and colors were getting a little dingy.

  213. buslady says:

    I have not tried making the soap yet a friend and i are going to do it together cant wait but for whitening i have a son that plays football and baseball and was tolled a long time ago to use powedered dish washer soap walmart cheap which works great usually i just need to swish it around and maybe some elbow grease and they come out looking brand new. Could you add the powder to the soap recipe when you start making it?

  214. Helga says:

    Hi, I’ve just made my first batch of liquid soap (recipe #7) because I can’t find any borax that is reasonably priced where I live (New Zealand). I ended up with a a semi-solid gel which I put into two liter icecream containers for storage. Can I now just mix a cup of that glop with hot water to make it liquid and more easily dissolvable in the wash?
    Also, are there any powdered recipes that do not require borax?

  215. Darlene says:

    Could some one tell me how much of recipe #10 do I use for each load? Someone told me the whole batch, but that seems like a lot. Also is there a recipe for a liquid detergent that has white vinegar, washing soda, baking soda and castile soap? One that can be made ahead and ok to put in the dispenser of a front loader. Thanks!

  216. Alan says:

    Hi, TipNut!
    I have not tried making any of the soaps yet since I still have not found a source of Washing Soda here(Philippines). Arm and Hammer Brand Washing Soda is unknown here. and none of the drug stores and supermarkets here even know what Washing soda is. I have a few questions about the recipes.
    1. When you mention 1/2 Cup for a full load of laundry, how big is a full load? There are several different sizes of washing machines on the market (10.5Kg, 8Kg, 6Kg., etc.) being sold here, which one is the full load you mention. I have a 10.5Kg washing machine (Speed Queen Brand),is 10.5Kg the standard load there in the U.S.? Someone in an earlier post mentioned using a $4 dollar load instead of the $1++ load sized washer in her laundromat. Can you give me an estimate of how much of the soaps to use per Kg of laundry? I know in the end I will have to do trial and error for the amount of soap to use, but it would be nice to have a good starting point.

    2. Here in the Philippines, hand washing all our laundry is still king and therefore, we have a plethora of laundry detergent bars sold in the market. Will laundry detergent bars do (Mr. Clean, White Cat, Superwheel) instead of bath soap bars, because laundry bars are more affordable than bath soap bars? Fels Nephta and Zote are unknown brands here. Tide Brand laundry bar is also available here, will that do?

    3. Aside from white vinegar is there anything else that would make a great fabric softener?

    Thank you so much for this wonderful site and blog. I await your speedy reply.

  217. Lindsay says:

    I was reading some of the comments and wanted to know, do I need to put the downy ball with vinegar in the rinse cycle of the wash? And how much vinegar do I use?

  218. Kym says:

    I just made Powdered Recipe #4 and I have to admit I was very skeptical. I have a front loader HE machine and didn’t know how it would work. I pulled some of the dirtiest clothes out of my laundry pile and put the detergent to the test. My son’s sweat pants with ground in mud and my husband’s work clothes were among the worst offenders. The clothes came out absolutely clean. I even threw in a shirt that I had with a large coffee stain. I didn’t pretreat it and the stain came out. I used 2T of detergent. Whoever made the comment about the benefit of a low sudzing soap for front loaders is right. I’ve had a lot of problems with that using conventional detergents. I’m going to give the vinegar a try. When I did the laundry I didn’t have white vinegar, but I had red wine vinegar. Worked OK but I thought I could smell it. I’ll try plain white vinegar next time.

  219. Teena says:

    I’ve been using the powdered recipe #4 for over a month now. I wanted to test it out before I commented, and I have to say that I love it! I’ve made a few adjustments, however. I’ve never been a fan of cold water wash, so I use mine in warm water for most loads, and hot water for towels, sheets, and whites. I’m still a believer in a little bleach for some white loads occasionally. My clothes have still come out very clean and fresh. I haven’t noticed any graying whites, or stale smells, or stains not coming out.
    I also don’t have to worry about family skin problems or allergies, so I have used Irish Spring soap (one bar grates up to equal 2 cups) because I love the scent. I buy the Borax in Walmart, but I have to go to the grocery store to get the washing soda, as our Walmart does not carry it. After grating the soap, I put the three ingredients in my food processor. I like how it gets blended together better and the soap is very fine. It looks just like brand name detergent. One other adjustment — I was not comfortable using only 1/8 cup. Both the Borax and washing soda instructions say to add 1/2 cup of their product to a load of wash to boost the cleaning power. If they recommend 1/2 cup, I don’t think I want to cut it down quite so much, so I use 1/4 cup in a large load of laundry. Even using that amount, it is still a huge money saver. I store my powder in those great plastic coffee containers. They’re just the right size for a triple batch.
    Thanks for this great website!

  220. Melisa S. says:

    I’ve been using recipe #4 for almost a year now. I love it. I have a HE front loader. I use Ivory as the bar soap, borax, and washing soda. I also pour vinegar into the “fabric softener” location. My clothes do not come out smelling like vinegar. Depending on the clothes, I wash in all temperatures. I have not had any problems with residue or soap not dissolving. I always set our washer for the Extra Rinse.

    The results:
    WONDERFUL!!!! Everything comes clean. I rarely pretreat, spaghetti sauce would be an exception. I haven’t noticed fading or dingyness. And we all have one set of white sheets!

    I have three young, messy, active, sports-playing children. Their clothes look great. From uniforms to delicate church clothes. I also use microfiber rags for cleaning instead of sponges or paper towels. I find this detergent to work great getting these clean.

    Allergy issues:
    My daughter has severe eczema. This is what got us started on making our own cleaners. She does fine with this detergent (again powder #4 using Ivory). We can’t use Ivory on her in the bath, so I’m guessing that the vinegar and the extra rinse helps remove any soap residue.

    Detergent Side effect:
    I’m finding dirt build-up in the door lining of my washing machine. This did not happen when I was using store-bought detergents. I personally would like to attribute this to better cleaning of the clothes. I’ve had my front loader about 3 1/2 years and haven’t had this happen before. Though if someone knows differently, I’d sure appreciate the information.

    Thank you TipNut for taking your time to run this site. Your work is appreciated!

  221. TipNut says:

    To answer the latest questions:

    Vinegar as a rinse has not affected my clothes (fading, etc.). You do not have to use a downy ball, just pour some vinegar in the rinse cycle. No your clothes will not smell like vinegar. Use regular white household vinegar.

    How big exactly is a full load? Gosh, I don’t know, lol! As mentioned by someone above, this isn’t an exact science. Experiment with your measurements to see what amounts work best with you, but for me my full load is 3.5 cu/ ft capacity.

    Yes you can use laundry soap bars in these recipes.

    Recipe #10 amount–I used 1/2 cup with success.

    If your liquid detergent is too thick, sure you can first mix it with hot water to liquify it more. You probably won’t need to use the full soap amount since the soap is so concentrated, try reducing it a bit and see if your clothes come out clean.

    Yes I still use bleach for whites, no problem.

    Tammy can you stir the glop up to mix each time? I’m sure you can still use your batch. Maybe add some water to the soap first to dissolve the detergent better then add to water.

    Thanks to everyone offering notes of their experience and suggestions for alternatives, great stuff and it benefits everyone!

  222. sonia says:

    I bought all three ingredients (Fels Naptha, Borax,& Washing soda) at Publix today. I am looking forward to making my laundry soap.

  223. Julieanne says:

    I made recipe #1 everything was looking great until I went to use the first time there was a ‘thick’ (about 3 inches) of gel on top followed with mostly water and aa crystal hard bottom. What did I do wrong and can I still use it?
    I also read baking soda if heated to 350 – 400 degrees quickly turns into washing soda. Is this true?

  224. Patricia says:

    I just happened to come across this site and it is very interesting. I have been a Tide addict for a long time. I wanted to make #4 but after going to 7 different places I still could not find Washing Soda. It was actually annoying the amount of times I had to repeat “washing soda not baking soda” because they thought I was crazy. I did try heating the baking soda in the microwave to convert the baking soda to washing soda only to have the microwave glass bowl burst in the microwave.(?) I then put it into the oven for awhile and then mixed it with the other ingredients. The first thing my husband said was “it’s not working, there are no suds”. I am glad that I was able to show him all the info on your site to back up no suds. I have to say that I do like the way the clothes look and feel and I will make more detergent when I find the washing soda. I had converted to using vinegar along time ago due to costs but was glad to read about essential oils. Thank you for a great site..

  225. Liz says:

    I’ve been using homemade powdered detergent (like #4) and it cleans better than store bought. I add baking soda to soften the water and oxybrite for whitening. I also use vinegar in the DOwney ball.

    The biggest suprise I found is that this is the BEST toilet bowl cleaner. I threw some in one day while doing laundry (our machines our in our bathroom) and LOVED the results.

  226. Amy says:

    Hi, I have been using this recipe and love it but wondered about those using it on cloth diapers?
    Are you using it on the cloth diapers with the PUL outer like a Fuzzi Bunz or BumGenius or are you washing the prefolds and terry cloth type?
    Any info would be appreciated.
    Thanks, Amy

  227. Robert says:

    Do not attempt recipe #10 or any other that involves mixing vinegar with borax, or especially with baking soda or washing soda!!! The only cleaning use for mixing vinegar with baking or washing soda is to pour them SEPARATELY into a drain to generate gas as they mix in the drain to unclog it.

    Vinegar is acid, those other ingredients are alkali — THEY COUNTERACT EACH OTHER! There are recipes out there like #10 that were written by people who had no idea what they were doing. Mixing vinegar with baking or washing soda is worse than with borax, because not only do they counteract, they also generate fizz that makes a mess.

    Expanding what I wrote here a few months earlier, if you mix a liquid product whose ingredients include “ammonium [anything]” with alkali, you will generate ammonia gas. That’s what happened with the person who mixed White Rain body wash with some alkali. It stinks, but it’s not too dangerous when you consider that ammonia is commonly used as a household cleaner.

    The reason baking soda doesn’t turn to soda ash in baking is because the dough also contains acids. However, an excess of baking or even washing soda is commonly used in making pretzels to form a glazed crust of soda ash.

  228. TipNut says:

    Hi Robert, there are so many volumes of recipes both on the web and in books that include mixing borax and vinegar, baking soda and vinegar but I’ll just link to sources here that are reputable (people who know what they’re talking about):

    Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality

    Farmers Almanac

    Book Excerpt: Creating A Safe & Healthy Home

    Kitsap County – less toxic alternatives

    Metro – Kitchen cleaners

    Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District

    Consumer Reports Greener Choices

    I could list sources a mile long. If vinegar and baking soda released a poisonous gas when mixed, we’d never be allowed to experiment with it at school for science projects nor advised to pour it down our drains with us hovering over the sink.

    There are also plenty of recipes mixing borax with lemon juice (an acid). I haven’t searched for those.

    I’ve used #10 effectively with no problems at all, I know what a bad reaction smells like–it stinks bad! I’ve made it several times now and not a bad smell at all.

    • Susan says:

      Baking soda is a base. Vinegar is an acid. When you add them together, you have a neutralizing reaction. That means your results are carbon dioxide (the fizz) and water. It makes no sense to add both, since you add up with a solution that is neutral — neither acid nor base, unless you have one or the other in excess. (I have a BS in Chemistry.)

      • Denise says:

        I’m not trying to say that I know more about chemistry than you, because I don’t, but this is what I was told about adding washing soda, your alkaline substance and your vinegar your acidic substance together in the laundry when i use to do cloth diapers.

        Because using only vinegar in the wash can SOMETIMES, not always, leave the clothes too acidic and mess with the ph balance of the clothes, the way you can balance them out to have the neutral or correct ph balance is to add washing soda.

        Also the bubbling effect of them combined also is helpful in removing stains from clothing sort of like oxy clean. Washing soda and also baking soda although different chemical makeups, have a brightening effect, and vinegar since used in the rinse cycle usually has a fabric softening effect, removal of smell, and a whitening effect, I still think it is probably good to use both. Especially since you are first using one in the wash, then following with the vinegar in the rinse cycle to balance the clothes.
        Just my opinion though!

  229. Joey Perez says:

    Hey, thanks for all the facts. But i have one question. To make my clothes smell good, i spray them with laundry detergent..is that a bad thing and could it damage my clothes? I mean it does make my clothes smell really good, and i do dilute it with a lot of water. So is it okay if i keep doing it?

    • Endee Mac says:

      Several readers have mentioned wanting a fragrance on their washing. All the liquid and powder detergents benefit from mixing with hot water before adding clothes. I mix in a large jug or small bucket and it is easy to add a few drops of essential oil to the mix. I like a few drops of eucalyptus for a clean, fresh fragrance and also for its anti-bacterial protection. I pour this mix into the bottom of my front loader. I also use white vinegar in the fabric softener with good results and no vinegary smell, just nice soft fabric.

  230. Maria says:

    did anyonr find success with recipe #8?

  231. Jherek says:

    Hi All,

    I whipped up a batch of #3 a week or so ago. It works so well, and is so cheap that it almost feels like stealing! All my clothes, et cetera, come out perfectly clean and very fresh smelling, without a nasty perfume scent. Fortunatly, I had 5 or so empty liquid detergent bottles laying around waiting to be recycled, as they make perfect containers. I reckon the bottles themselves will last for many, many years. What a great way to cut down on the amount of plastic we buy.

    Spread this little secret around, everyone! This is a great money and planet saver.



  232. Allie says:

    I made laundry detergent #1 and something went wrong. I was reading the posts and Amanda and Tammy both have had the same problem as I…my laundry detergent has not turned into a gel. It is soapy opaque water at the bottom and on top is a white, soap layer, maybe 1/2 inch thick at most. I stir it and it breaks apart but I end up with soapy water with chunks of white soap floating in it. I am going to use this anyway. I couldn’t wait to get up this morning and look in my bucket and see my “slime”, instead I got seperated soap and water.
    I had considered doing what Tammy did and that is boiling the mixture…I thought that maybe my soap wasn’t completely disolved. But it still didn’t work for her, so I am unsure what else to do except switch to another recipe. Is the measurement off for #1? I would not advise anyone to use #1. Its kinda discouraging since this is my first time making it and it didn’t end up like it was supposed to. But I will say….I having the time of my life learning about and making my own cleaning supplies, air fresheners, etc… ๐Ÿ™‚ Even my whole family has become involved.

  233. TipNut says:

    I’m not sure what the problem is Allie, it’s hard to say. If you notice, Tammy said she made one batch of #1 and it turned out fine. The second batch didn’t after she adjusted the measurements. You’ll also see a couple links above to “miserable bliss”, those are from a blogger talking about her experience with recipe #1 and it was good.

    I wonder if the problem is the bar soap used?

  234. Stephanie says:

    I was wondering if I can still use store bought fabric softener in the Downy ball while using the powder form detergent.

  235. TipNut says:

    Yes you can Stephanie :).

  236. Rachel says:

    I have been making my own detergent for a couple months now. I use a recipe which uses 1 bar of soap, 1 c washing soda, 1 c borax, 5 gal hot water. Mine has gelled well although once I shake it up or stir it turnes into a lumpy liquid and never goes back to that gel state that I first had. None of that matters, if all your ingredients are in there and were melted and mixed well it will still work the same.
    I do have to add about 1 Tbs regular detergent to each load to get the quality of clean that I desire but I still save a great deal of money anyway and will continue to use it. My loads are very large and I have four children so I probally would need a laundry boost anyway.
    The question I have is, dose it make any diffrence if I pour it into my detergent containers while it is still warm (before the gel process) or do I need to let it set overnight and gel first. Pouring it while warm is much easier for me.
    Also dose anyone have any idea where i can get something to stir it with that is as long as a 5 gal bucket is tall? Thanks!

  237. Sandi says:

    I made recipe number one but with five gallons.I poured it my saved detergent containers (while it was still warm). I added just a tad bit of regular detergent to one of the bottles and it kept it from gooping. I washed for the first time with it and my goodness!I almost couldnt see straight for the brightness and cleaness of the clothes! What a difference! Our socks(the kids sometimes wear them outside) were bright and white and even my 20 year old son noticed!(so it had to be good huh?)I dont think I even used more than a quarter cup in each super load. I have a family of farm boys and two sweet angels. So we have lots of down and dirty clothes! My only problem is while mixing up the hot soap I splashed some on my shirt and I didnt wear gloves while mixing it so my shirt has white spots now and my finger tips are a little dry.But this effect was only because of the heat, I think. I add the soap to the water, then fill, then add the clothes and our clothes havent faded. They brightened up! I opened the lid after it agitated a little bit and I could not believe how filthy the water was in a load of my daughter’s clothes(and believe me honey she ain’t gonna work to sweat or get dirty) so I was really amazed!A box of borax, a box of washing soda, and two bars of fels-napths cost me about eleven dollars and makes fourteen containers of soap. That’s $140 if I used tide or $70 if I used xtra(which I have been).That’s a lot of money saved!And the clothes are so much cleaner!So if you are wondering if this is for you…….try it! I added Ocean breeze fragrance oil to mine.

  238. Liz says:

    I love the recipe for the powdered laundry soap. I use my food processors shredding blade to finely grate the fels naptha, and it is wonderful. That way, I can make a huge batch of it and forget about it. I am from Michigan and I find the fels naptha in meijer along with the borax, but I have to get the washing soda from Borax. My question is, how can I make sure the clothes arent dingy. We have really hard water and our softener is acting up. Is there something I could add to the wash or to the detergent to keep things bright and not yellow? Thank you

  239. Allie says:

    Just a little update on number #1…I decided to use it instead of throwing it out, and can honestly say that it is working fine. First load I washed still had a “dirty clothes” smell so I re-washed and added more detergent. My detergent is still watery with soap chunks floating around in it (Oh, by the way, I used Ivory bar soap) but the chunks dissolve and my clothes come out clen and smelling beautiful! I am no longer complaining because when I add up how much money I am saving my family, it brings me joy!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  240. Bwenda says:

    I would like to switch to homemade laundry soap, however I currently use store bought soap for dark clothes to prevent fading. What adjustments do I need to make to ensure that the dark navy colored clothes that my work buys once a year stays dark navy for the entire year being washed weekly?

  241. Anna says:

    I made recipe #2 it turned out like egg whites. I split mine between 2 five gallon buckets, then I fill 1 gallon detergent jugs as I need them. I took 4 20oz water bottles to my friends @ work. They have all tried it and liked it. My daughter made some even though I didn’t give her a sample of it, haven’t heard back from her on it yet. My friends at work all say they are going to try it.

    We have used 2 gallons of it so far and have no complaints.

  242. Shonna says:

    Hi everyone,
    I was wondering why would I have to use baking soda and washing soda in laundry soap if they both do the same thing? Isn’t the idea of using them to raise the ph? or is there more to it? and does anyone know if I can use powdered bleach in any of the recipes?Thanks

  243. abbyb says:

    I have been making recipe #4 for about 6 months and have loved the results. I haven’t noticed any graying or dingy whites, but I also wouldn’t say I have noticed them getting brighter. I am going to try using a bluing agent to the wash to see if that helps any. My question is about the soap dissolving in the washer. I rent so when I first started trying the recipe out I had a front loader. Nothing fancy, I am renting remember. I had no troubles with the laundry detergent that I made and I never noticed that it didn’t dissolve. Now that I moved I have a top loader. Personally, I feel like the washing machine itself doesn’t even work. I am still using my second batch that I made (I made a big one after I decided I like recipe #4) and I feel like the stains are not coming out as good as they did. My other problem is that I am finding that the soap is not dissolving completely unless I use hot water. I have tried the warm cycle and mixing the water and detergent together at the beginning of the cycle before adding the clothes. I have noticed that the water that comes out on the warm cycle is still very cold. I did use the cold cycle on my old machine and didn’t notice a problem. WHY do you think I would be having a problem now? Is there something I can add more of to help it dissolve better?
    I can try dissolving it in hot water first and then switching over to warm/cold, but I just don’t understand why I didn’t have this problem on my first machine. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

    • Valerie says:

      I suggest you get a bottle of “washing machine cleaner” and follow the instructions to rid the machine of years of buildup. you really can’t evaluate your new homemade product without taking this step. I had to run this cleaner through my machine 3 times in a row before it stopped sudsing like crazy!

      For hot water, try turning on the sink tap and running it til the water runs hot, then turn you machine on.

  244. Kris says:

    I’d like to try #10, but I have a question. It says “Mix well and store in sealed container”. Should I wait until it’s dry to seal it, or seal it while it’s wet? I would imagine with all the liquid ingredients it would take a while to dry. Thanks for the great site, btw!

  245. linda says:

    i have borax and washing soda. Is there any way to substute a liquid soap like bronners or aubrey which is like the all purpuse dr bronners instead of the bar?

  246. linda says:

    ok, sorry everyone. i just tried #10 using washing soda instead of baking soda, I hop that is allright. It mixed up smoothly and smells out of this world. I used a liquid aubrey all purpose that I got from the internet, next time I will use Dr. bronners.
    One more thing, recipe # 10 said use a half cup. Is that considering that I have a front loader?

  247. Nicole says:

    Thank you for this! I plan on using recipe #8 (or #5 or #7 if I can find washing soda in the stores.) I have a few questions:

    Are these recipes okay for front-loading machines?

    I am assuming that 1 drop of essential oil is 1 mL, am I correct?

    I cannot have a washer or dryer at home, so I must go to the laundromat. Should I not use vinegar (either in a detergent or fabric softener), since others use bleach in their laundry? I don’t want to cause damage to my (or anyone else’s clothes) or myself or anyone else. Also, I have previously bleached my whites. Should I not use vinegar at all in the future?

    The cost to run washers and dryers (as well as bleach, detergents, softeners, etc) is getting higher and higher but unfortunately my income isn’t, so I must cut corners and I was hoping to do so by making my own detergent and softener but I am very concerned with the vinegar/bleach issue.

  248. Kris says:

    For those of you having a hard time finding washing soda, they have it at Meijer. If you don’t have a meijer near you, they sell it through their website as well.

  249. Katie says:

    Hi! I am teetering on the idea of making my own detergent, I am very excited about the idea…However, I would really like to know how the smell is of the laundry…I use Tide and I like the clean smell it has…can anyone describe the smell to me or does anyone work with oils in their detergent,etc???

  250. Thomas says:

    Question To Lori, Which Recipe did you like best ? I want to use the for family . My son was the one that told us about making homemade soap to use for our laundry. So for him I would like your favorite recipe. OK?

  251. Kris says:

    Hi, for recipe #4 it says “Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container”. Can I use a glass jar with lid, or does it have to be plastic? I am making homemade cleaning products as gifts & I have some nice glass jars i’d like to put it in.
    Also it says “Use 2 tablespoons per full load”… i’m assuming this is for top load? Is it any different for front load? I apologize if these questions have already been asked, but there’s a lot of questions & comments to read through!

  252. Jennifer says:

    I use recipe #9 and it’s my favorite detergent ever! And so cheap! We have three messy, dirty kids, including two stinky boys and one toddler girl who gets all kinds of food on her clothes. This detergent has worked great for us.

  253. eric says:

    I just wanted to put in my 2cents on the issue of washing soda/borax being caustic. I dye textiles where i use the stuff all the time and using common sense safety precautions like wearing a dust mask while you are mixing the stuff up and I also lay down newspaper over my work area and beyond its amazing how far dust can travel and you never see it, spray the newspaper down with plain water when the dust settles it attaches to the paper so you don’t continue to stir it up into the air as you work. These are chemicals and can be very caustic to mucous membranes and your eyes if you get the dust in them, breathing can cause hypersensitivity to it w/ long term exposure, can also be more irritating to people w/ sensitive skin. the amounts used in a typical load of laundry diluted as they are should be fine to most people if you notice skin irritation from items washed discontinue use of course and/or make another batch w/ less of the soda/borax.

  254. Catrina says:

    Is homemade laundry detergent safe for septic tanks? Any advice.

  255. pam says:

    i read all the letters but no one said anything on lint removeble from clothes. i do not own a dryers for well over 20 years. the really only time it shows up good on is dark clothes any suggestions . pam

  256. Wickad says:


    I was wondering if I could use Soap Flakes instead of grating a bar of soap. If so, is there a difference in the amount needed?


  257. Cindy says:

    I see no reason that this would not be safe on septic systems,if all of the ingredients are septic safe.

  258. Kathie says:

    Where do you find washing soap at I have looked at Safeway as well as Wal-Mart they don’t have them. Please Help!!

  259. Lee says:

    Products that can use to eliminate the vinegar smell:

    Scented Vinegar: Add 50 drops of eucalyptus oil, 75
    drops of lavender, or 75 drops of tea tree oil to a
    gallon of white vinegar. Dilute as required in any
    cleaning recipe. Enjoy the smell, the cleaning, the
    anti-bacterial, the anti-fungal, and the insecticide
    benefits of the herbs! I am sure you could experiment
    with other herbs such as mints as well.

    Or you can make use of your citrus rinds this way:

    Cut your choice of citrus rinds into small pieces &
    put them in a jar. Cover rinds with vinegar. Let brew
    for 4 weeks. Strain. Use your citrus vinegar in any
    of your cleaning recipes, or dilute in water for a
    great floor cleaner, window washer, laundry
    freshener/whitener, etc.


    You can buy concentrated citrus oil at any
    organic store. It has many uses including a great
    natural insecticide. Use one teaspoon of concentrate
    to one or two teaspoons per gallon of water. It will
    actually dissolve the exo-skeleton of the insects. If
    you have scorpions, use a 50/50 mixture on
    them; it’s lethal.

    Citrus oil also makes a great furniture polish at the
    right concentration.

    Most of all, anything made from citrus, is
    environmentally friendly.

  260. Anita says:

    I have a question………….what is “washing soda?” I have been looking at home made laundry detergents, and they all call for washing soda. Thanks for any help!

  261. karen says:

    does anybody have the recipe for the homemade febreeze? how about homemade dish soap? thank you!

  262. Nettacow says:

    Whew, what a post of excellent tips! As a lifelong lover of Tide detergent, I mix borax and washing soda in a 1:1 ratio, and use a tablespoon of that with a drizzle of my Tide (double both for husband’s farm clothes). It’s worked quite well for me.

    A note about washing diapers – I use pocket diapers lined with PUL and while this is by no means a scientific study, it seems that the borax/ws combo might be a bit hard on the fabric. Since I’ve been using it, I’ve noticed some small places where the fabric is worn away and only the PUL remains, which does NOT alter the functionality of the diaper in any way. It also could be because my little one was in one particular size for eight months and being washed every other day for that period of time would be hard on anything. Before I began using this combo method, it seemed no matter what I did, I’d still get too much Tide and then be rinsing forever. This really helps control that problem.

    • SensitiveSon says:

      Has anyone tried recipe #10? I just ordered liquid olive oil based castile soap and was wondering if that would work. This is all new to me, but having tried a coconut based “green” detergent, I would like to try something for sensitive skin that is not coconut based.

  263. Misti says:

    Hi, I just wanted to share my experience with homemade laundry detergent. On Novemeber, 25, 2008, I made my first batch of detergent, using recipe #1. I love this detergent. My husband and 5 year old son, have some sensitivities to laundry detergents with a lot of chemicals and fragrances. I also wanted to cut our detergent budget. I have a family of 4 and I do several loads of laundry per week.

    As mentioned above, I made my first batch in November the week of Thanksgiving. I have poured it into a couple of milk jugs, a 5 gallon ice cream bucket and a 78 oz. recycled detergent bottle. I store the batch in all of the others and just refill the detergent bottle. I have a small see-thru plastic cup that I have marked with the measurements per recipe #1 instructions.

    I re-filled my container on December 18, 2008. As of today, I have a small amount left in my container; maybe a cup or two left. So basically, I use 78 oz or less in a months time. I still have about 1/2 of the 5 gallon ice cream bucket left over. I think this should get me through all of February. If I can make a batch and it lasts me approximately 3 months, then it is worth it. I did a cost breakdown on my blog and it came to about $2.50 per batch($0.02 per load). That is $2.50 for 3 months worth of laundry detergent.

    Thanks TipNut!

  264. Rachel says:

    Thank you so much for posting all of these great laundry tips!

    I just wanted to address washing cloth diapers in homemade detergent- Washing Soda and Borax are absolutely safe and recommended, but grated bar soaps ARE NOT recommended as they can cause build up and absorbency issues over time.

    One of the most popular recipes for diaper detergent is: 1 cup Washing Soda, 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax, and 1 cup Oxyclean Free; Mix it well and Combine in a sealed container. Use 2 tablespoons for a small load, 1/4 cup for a large load.
    Sun Oxygen cleaner is cheaper and can be used in place of the Oxyclean.

    Thanks again TipNut!

  265. Char says:

    I have been using recipe #1 for about 5 months and I love it. I have used Ivory and Fels Naphs both work fine. I mix the detergent in a recycled kitty liter container once it gels pour into milk jugs, 2-liter soda bottles, whatever you have. It’s a great feeling not to pay ridiculous amounts of money for laundry detergent.

  266. danielle rice says:

    I store my liquid homemade laundry detergent in a Steralite 5 gallon garbage pail. Origionally I stored my son’s soiled fabric diapers in it, because it has a lid. Then, after I started making the detergent, I started using it for my laundry detergent. It works wonderfully. To make dispensing it easier, I pour some of it into a 1 gallon plastic pitcher with a lid, and a spout. I think is is also made by Steralite. I just keep a measuring cup by my pitcher and pour it up. The pitcher is empty so I can see when it needs a little shake.(Also, I keep a large wooden spoon handy to stir the big bucket up when I am transfering it to the pitcher.) This stuff has been a lifesaver on our budget! I wash at least 1 load of fabric diapers per day, and probably 2 other loads as well of regular clothes, so it is a huge savings!

  267. Lisa says:

    I had no idea you could make this! Thanks for the how to tips and recipes, I’m going to try this as soon as I can find all the ingredients. I think I will start with the powdered detergent as you suggested Tipnut. I do like my liquid Tide but hey, why not see how this dry recipe works out. I also have a few 5 gallon pails in storage that I could use for the liquid detergents if I want to go that route, I knew I was saving them for something! Thanks again for showing us how to make our own detergents, cool cool tip!!!

  268. Deanne says:

    Several of our family members have asthma and sensitive skin, which are both agitated by perfumes and additives. I was so excited to read the tip on making Home made detergents, shampoo, soaps, and cleaning supplies. Our local Dollar Tree carries gallon size plastic containers with wide mouths and screw on lids. These are the perfect size to mix the powdered detergent and store a 1/8 cup measuring scoop. Our clothes are softer and we haven’t had any itching complaints due to laundry soap.

    It did take a bit to find the ingredients as we live in a small town, but a trip up the road to WinCo Foods proved beneficial. Washing soda, borax, and Fels Naptha soap were all there, easy to find, and at the right price. I love TipNut.com. Every single day I pick up a new recipe, idea, pattern, or….tip to try! Thank you for adding good things to our lives!

  269. Amanda says:

    I started making my own laundry detergent after seeing it done on the TLC show “17 Children and Counting”. I run a state licensed daycare out of my home and I have two toddlers of my own. If I had to guess, I’d say I do about 14-16 loads of laundry or more per week. At first I figured if nothing else it would be a cheaper way to wash daycare bedding, but now I use it for all of our laundry. We have hard water, so I added more Borax and our clothing has never been softer. With a house full of “potty trainers” urine smell is also a big concern. Homemade laundry detergent seems to get the pee smell out every bit as well (if not better!) than the Purex I had been using. LOVE IT!

    • Tomma says:

      We also have hard water and the first load of whites that I washed with my new soap mixture came out terribly grey. I read in your comments that you used more Borax per load to help solve your hard water problem. Can you please tell me how much of the laudry soap you used and how much Borax you added to the loads. I am very excited about making and using the homemade soap but I need to do some tweeking on it!! Any advise you can give will be greatly appreciated.

      • Eunice says:

        I also have really hard water and I’ve found that whatever the amount of borax the recipe calls for I double and it works just fine.

        • Kelly says:

          I apparently have hard water also, because I have noticed that most of my whites are now dingy. I DO NOT like dingy whites, lol!!! I have been making the soap recipe that calls for the fels naptha bar and 2 cups each of borax and washing soda. Years ago I found a whitener and brightner sold at Wal-mart and have since become a huge fan of it. It is made by RIT, the makers of fabric dyes, and can be found on the laundry isle. It does increase the overall cost of the laundry soap a little, but I no longer have the problem of dingy whites. I usually add just 2 boxes when I am making a batch of soap and it works fine. I am making a new batch of soap later today and plan on using 3 boxes this time to see if that works any better. It does not affect the consistency of the liquid soap only adds a green tinge to the color of it.

          • Lisa in OKlahoma says:

            You might try Mrs.Stewarts Bluing, you can find this in most grocery stores near the bleach or stain removers. This stuff is fantastic on white clothes! You just use a very small amount, mix it with water BEFORE you add any clothes to your washing machine, let the water agitate then place your white clothes into the machine. I usually use a
            small amount of bleach if the clothes are heavily soiled but most of the time I stick to just the Bluing. You will be so amazed how sparkling white your clothes will be! And it doesn’t wear the fabric out like lots of bleaching tends to do. Be careful not to get any of the full strength Bluing on your clothing as it stains. If somehow you get too much into a load and your white clothes turn a little blue it can be removed by rewashing the stained items with some regular Ammonia in the wash. I will never wash white clothes again without using Mrs. Stewarts Bluing!

  270. Traci Moshier says:

    Thank you for compiling this list!! That post was wonderful and I appreciate everyone’s comments, but I have to say–I was overwhelmed with it. I have never made my own detergent but I want to. I didn’t know where to start after reading most of that. You have made it simpler and saved time for me by putting it all together.
    Thank you again!!

  271. Kat says:

    I would not use washing soda in a situation where the “waste” water was going to either a greywater oasis nor direct to ground. Too much sodium. Fels Naptha no longer contains actual naphthalene, but it still contains one or two toxic ingredients ( I can’t recall what they were ) I suggest getting the ingredients list for Fels Naptha and doing an online search. I just recall making a note to myself never to have it anywhere near my home. I try to avoid petrochemicals.
    Old timers used Fels Naptha for most everything, including as an insecticide for the garden. I don’t know about borax – However I wouldn’t chance it as I would guess it could also be bad news for gound water and cause soil contamination.
    Anyone know about soap nuts, or another plant; soap wort?

    • Beckie Parker says:

      Did you know any soap can be used as an insecticide in the garden . Most women used it to water the flowers after they finished washing and it did two things the soap kept the bugs away and the water of course watered the plants. I remember my babysitter using hers in this way and she used tide.

      • Marie says:

        Whether or not you can safely use the resulting grey water, or some diluted homemade detergent, in the garden for watering or pest control depends on the ingredients in the original bar of soap, and how much of the washing soda you used. The antibacterial ingredients and other additives in many bar soaps such as regular Dial may harm or kill plants. The washing soda contains sodium which can actually keep the plants from absorbing enough water.

        • guysmiley00 says:

          @Marie – Pure soap and washing soda shouldn’t be a problem for plants. Having worked for a number of years in the horicultural industry, I can tell you that we often recommend using soapy water on particularly dried-out soils, as it breaks up the surface tension of the water and allows more of it to bind to soil particles and remain in the root zone rather than just run straight through and into the groundwater. Pure soap is also used as an insecticide for any soft-bodied insects, with the only danger to mature plants coming from the possibility of soap bubbles on the leaves focussing a strong afternoon sun to a high-enough intensity to cause burn spots. Soap itself, as well as washing soda, are not inherently dangerous to plant life, and make up the main ingredients of many commercial “biodegradable” detergents.

          Having said that, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when using greywater for plants. First, it’s going to be alkaline (due to the alkalinity of soap), so watch it around acid-loving plants like blueberries or rhododendrons. Second, using exclusively greywater in an area without any other irrigation can lead to a build-up of salts in the soil, but this can be fairly easily remedied by the periodic use of fresh water, as this will help “flush” the salts down out of the rootzone.

          Finally, a word on borax. I’m no chemist, but as far as I have read, borax can be and is used as a fertilizer in many areas where the soil has a boron deficiency. HOWEVER (and this is a very important point), boron is one of those micronutrients where a little goes a very long way, and even levels just slightly above the bare minimum can quickly become toxic. It would seem that if you’re going to use borax in your detergent, you’d be well-advised not to use the greywater on plants.

    • new nom says:

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

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

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

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

      Not *any* soap should be used in the garden. Detergents are not the same as soap and can damage plants. You should always make sure the soap container actually says “soap” on the label before using it in the garden.

  272. LuvGdss611 says:

    Just some clarification for those of you asking about washing soda and borax and the safety of handling them. Borax is harmless to the skin and is non-toxic if swallowed-HOWEVER borax is a violent laxative if ingested. that means violent on both ends. You should try to avoid breathing it in as it will irritate the respiratory tract. Borax is a common ingredient in children’s “slime” and putty like toys (allows for gelling). Washing soda (ash) is irritating to the skin and should not be handled exessively without wearing some simple household gloves. When mixed with water if produces carbonic acid which can cause mild burns on some people’s skin. Contrary to what some have said it is not the same as baking soda and is not safe to be ingested. Washing soda may irritate the respiratory tract considerably if the powder is inhaled. Just because ingredients are naturally occuring (which both borax and soda are) does not make them harmelss (a classic example being poison ivy).

    The main sudsing ingredient in store deterents is sodium lauryl sulfate. As a powder it is extremely caustic and if inhaled will damage the respiratory tract as it kills live cells and splits open thier membranes. It is more toxic than both borax and washing soda and yet we rub it all over our bodies every day in shampoos, soaps and detergents.

    Handle the ingredients with the caution that you would any houshold cleaner and keep them out of reach of small children and pets. Keep in mind that people were washing their clothes by hand using these ingredients for centuries before commercial detergent was even invented. When in doubt, wear gloves!

    I am a materials scientist and I work for a pharmaceuticals company. I hope this helps clarify the issue for those of you who were asking!

  273. meredith says:

    I am really stuck on what to do about making my own soap. I like the idea of having washing soda, borax and grated soap, but grating the soap simply isn’t working for me. Are there any alternatives that are still relatively green and inexpensive?

    • TipNut says:

      Hi Meredith, what do you mean by grating the soap isn’t working for you? Recipe #10 is a powdered version and it uses liquid castille soap instead of grating bar soap. It’s the recipe I use now and it’s super easy to put together.

    • Erin says:

      I grated the soap in the food processor using the cheese grating wheel. Then whirled it with the chopping blade. It does create some dust so make certain that you have proper ventilation – I tossed a wet towel over the processor while processing, but for my bionic nose it wasn’t enough precaution!! Hope this is helpful to you =)

    • Steve T says:

      Hi Meredith,

      My wife and I use recipe #4 (the powdered detergent) and it works great for us! We use Ivory bar soap, borax and washing soda. The secret for us it to freeze the Ivory till it is really solid and grate it with a chesse grater on the smallest setting possible. Before the soap was always too thick and had large pieces in it. (The soap didn’t always dissolve.) For us it has the consistancy of parm cheese and melts really well in the wash. The bar soap is the key to good results. w/b with any questions…Good luck!

      • Tara says:

        Hey! I was grating some soap today and noticed that the Ivory and Castile turns in to mini beads. I love the freezer trick. thanks for the tip Steve T.!

      • Judy says:

        When you purchase your bar soap, unwrap it and let it dry out for a while (weeks). Grate using a microplane grater (like a carpenter’s rasp). This gives a very fine powder.

    • sue vandee says:

      I hand grated 3 bars of ivory soap in about 3 minutes just use an old metal grater.

      in all it took about 5 minutes to make a gallon of powder soap .

    • housemaid says:

      I used a cheap potato peeler on Ivory soap bars. It was quick and actually fun. Then I just ran my fingers through the peelings and they broke up as if grated. I don’t know why anyone wants to bother with liquid soaps. They are messy, take more space, and grow bacteria.

      I used commercial liquid detergents for 2 years. My clothes kept coming out stinky and I couldn’t figure out why. I switched brands and added a lot of different extra ingredients, including Borax, vinegar, and baking soda, trying to get rid of the sour smell. Then I read online that liquid detergents were the cause. I went back to powder again and the smell problem was over with at once. Now I can even leave my washed clothes in the machine for a day or two with no odor developing. When using liquid detergent, my laundry would get stinky overnight and I started wondering if it was my machine’s fault.

      Now, I have not tried this homemade detergent yet in either dry or liquid form, so I don’t know if I will have a smell problem. I made the powder form and will try it as soon as I use up my hopefully last little $11 box of Tide HE. Really sick of consumer products shrinking while prices go up!

  274. Keta says:

    This is for those who have made recipe #1 and ended up with water on the bottom and very thick glop at the top.

    I made recipe #1 and had the same problem. I thought maybe I hadn’t heated it enough, so I started another batch. After the soap melted I added the glop and let it dissolve. When it had cooled somewhat, I poured it into a 2 gallon kitty liter jug. I figured I had it right this time. Wrong again. When it cooled I had the same problem as before.

    Early this morning (6ish) I put a mixer blade in my drill. Determined to make the detergent usable, I gave the jug several viscous shakes to break up the thick stuff and went to work with the drill.

    It is now almost 6pm and although there is a little separation it hasn’t ended up like it did before. It can be poured now, I don’t have to cut a chunk off.

    Hopefully I didn’t miss a post that already had a remedy for the problem and that this helps.


    • Tina says:

      I have made my first liquid laundry soap, it did become very thick on top. I used a wire wisk to stir it. I did this twice before I poured it into gallon jugs. It seems to work fine.

    • Grace says:

      I have been using recipe #1 for 6 months now. This last batch I made I did ONE thing different which was the ONLY time I had the problem with the one piece glob on top… I made it with 2 gallons of HOT water. Today I am making another batch and am going to just use cold water as before. I am willing to bet it won’t become one solid glob. Will see…..

      • Grace says:

        OK… I think I made the PERFECT batch this time!! Wow!!! I used my purified, ionized water… COLD. I also added in to the batch 1 1/2 cups of white distilled vinegar. AND using a wire whisk for the first time proved ESSENTIAL! So happy right about now … =o).

  275. jim chapman says:

    One thing i do with the liquid laundry soap is filter it.
    Here’s how its done,
    when you have your soap stock ready (before you delute it with the rest of your water) use an old coffee maker, place 2 paper filters in the basket add just enough to fill the compartment when that lot is done add more from your pot till it’s all finished.
    At this point you can throw it into your mixing bucket and add your water.
    If you want to scent your laundry soap use 1/4 tsp tea tree oil for some added disenfectant along with 2 tsp lavender essential oil.
    you want to add these to the stock while still warm to because essential oils have a harder time mixing into a cold product and you might end up with them floating at the top of the finished product.
    So the top smells great but the middle and bottom will have very little scent.
    I hope this information helps.

  276. jim chapman says:

    Oops i forgot to add-
    One of the reasons the product gels up is because of the impurities you get from mixing your ingredients.
    Another problem is temprature while mixing the stock,you should ty to maintain around 140 degrees for 15 minutes to cook off unseen bacteria.
    Also try adding 1 ounce of distilled white vinegar per 2 pounds of stock.
    I find this too helps keep the “gloping” to a minimum when filtered.

  277. Pam says:

    These recipies seem more complicated than they need to be…

    Am I missing something if I just think I can put in a 1/4 teaspoon each of (1)borax, (2) washing soda and (3) liquid castile soap (or finely grated other soap) into the washing machine and add clothes?

    What is the value of the melting, mixing, diluting etc? Won’t they dissolve and mix together during the washing? Is there some sort of chemical reaction that would be skipped if I just throw in the ingredients each wash round?

  278. Erin W says:

    I was wondering if anyone has ever added a bit of downy softener to any of these recipes? I want to try one of the liquid recipes. My friend, who I’d be making it with, really enjoys that downy scent in her and her family’s clothing.

  279. Hilary says:

    As a pediatric RN, PLEASE remember to keep laundry detergent out of kids reach. Especially when storing it in drink containers. I use juice bottles to store my laundry detergent, but I label them with “SOAP” in marker and keep them high and out of reach. I see many kids who have drank chemicals when they have been stored in soda bottles, cups, etc.

  280. Amanda T says:

    I have a small tip that i just tried when making a very small amount of detergent for my mom to try. I could not give her some of mine because I added about 1/4 of a jug of ALL to mine in order to empty out the ALL container and that changed the consistency (but it still works fine.) My mom wanted to try the homemade, not homemade with store-bought added to it, so I made a tiny batch for her using the dry ingredients I already had grated and prepared. If you are in hurry and have some ice to spare you can speed up the cooling process by adding ice directly to the HOT detergent stock. It worked great and the detergent was ready to pour directly into a thin plastic container without having to wait for cooling or gelling. I used that 1/2c of leftover quick method detergent in a load of our clothes and it worked great.

  281. Becca says:

    The proportions of borax, grated soap, and washing soda vary in different recipes. It would be nice to know what factors to consider in creating the optimal mix for my purposes/situation.

  282. Priscilla says:

    Is there anyways that dark clothing colouring can be added to the soap to help black clothes retain there darkness? or is that too much? and can fabric softener be added also?

    • Flossie says:

      vinegar will keep your dark clothing, dark and it will act as a fabric softener too ๐Ÿ™‚ i usually use 1/4 cup in my fabric softener dispenser.

  283. Vivian C says:

    I am also an avid Downy person like Erin W. Before I discovered Homemade Laundry Detergent, I used unscented detergent so I could smell the “White Lilac” scent better. Now that I have made my homemade laundry detergent, it doesn’t smell all that great. Does anyone know of a high-quality fabric softener that smells good with these recipes?

  284. Sue says:

    I recalculated laundry det recipe #1 for an empty 3 qt. Clorox bottle. Use 2 qts. Water total, and 1/2 cup each of shredded soap, Borax and Washing soda. When dissolving the shredded soap, use about a cup of the water and add soap by the pinch until it is disolved before adding another pinch. This amount will fit into a 3 qt Clorox bottle with lots of room to shake vigorously.

  285. Tammy says:

    great site. does anyone know if it is safe to use active oxygen liquid bleach (hydrogen peroxide) with vinegar in the rinse? i’ve seen comments regarding chlorine bleach, but nothing on hydrogen peroxide bleach. I’m using the PC Green Ultra Active Oxygen Bleach. many thanks.

  286. Laz says:

    My Mother and wife have this thing about seeing Suds..How can i make more suds..and should i use Sodium Lauryl Sulfate..thanks

    • amanda says:

      I like suds too. I tried recipes 8 liquid recipe and 9 powder. I like the powder better than the liquid i seemed to get more suds that way. I found the washing soda at Jewel grocery store. As for fabric softener I use the clean breeze. I also used ivory soap which I didnt like so much and zote soap which i really liked and has a really nice smell. My walmart and target do not have washing soda but they do have the borax. Although I like the ideas of making laundry soaps I spent about 9 dollars on all the ingredients and while I do not mind taking the time to make it I think I will stick to store bought laundry detergent. I switched from tide which was about 22 dollars for 120 loads to purex naturals which is about 8 dollars for 100 loads. Thanks for the recipes though I had fun doing them but I perfer Store bought.

      • Debbie says:

        I have always used Ivory bar soap for the powdered detergent. I have been reading so many great remarks about Zote soap, that I want to try it. Unfortunately, I have not found it here in Central Missouri. Is it sold nation-wide or is sold in southern states?

  287. eddy says:

    I made the powder recipe and wash some white clothes. It come out gray. Please help will my clothes stay gray? What can I do to fix my clothes and recipe?

  288. Cecilia says:

    There is a problem with recipe #10. Vinegar should not be added as an ingredient to the laundry detergent. It should only be used as a rinsing agent (in lieu of commercial fabric softener). Vinegar and baking soda, when combined, react to produce carbon dioxide and water. If you add the vinegar, you’re just spending extra money to create plain old water and CO2. The recipe will still work, because it still contains soap and washing soda. However, adding vinegar to the recipe is just a waste of useful vinegar.

    • Megan says:

      Thank you, Cecilia! Exactly what I was thinking! Vinegar is for cutting soaps and detergents in the rinse, and will be counterproductive in the wash.

      For those still washing diapers, vinegar is also wonderful for cutting the ammonia buildup you sometimes get from concentrated urine. If vinegar isn’t doing it, you will have to boil them. I know this from age-old advice, and personal experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

  289. Deb says:

    My husband is highly allergic to laundry detergents with soda in them, he even has scars because I kept trying to elimanate other things thinking the soda was a ‘natural’ thing and couldn’t be the cause until it was the last thing left. Are there any recipies that don’t contain soda? Or is there that big of a difference between washing soda and baking soda that I could try the one with baking soda? I just know that it’s the Arm & Hammer laundry detergent that scarred him, I assume it has washing soda in it, not baking soda.

    • crunchyard says:

      Hmmm…many times, I have done laundry by sprinkling about 2 TBSP baking soda and a wee dash of Ivory…and instead of bleach, I have used a cap of hydrogen peroxide. Maybe you could just play around and see what works.

    • Susan says:

      Do an extra rinse or two to remove the laundry detergent. Many years ago, I received a free sample of Surf detergent. I broke out all over. I took my clothes and put them back in the washer, ran them through the cycle again with plain water and that took care of the problem.

  290. Preston says:

    I made my first batch last night and I washing the first load of towels. I have a solution to the container problem. We were given laundry soap container with a dispenser built in and we used to refill it with whatever ever detergent we bought. I am putting the homemade laundry soap in the dispenser. Ask your friends & family if they have one or two they could save for you.

    In recipe #6, Glycerin is used. Anyone know what it does?

    • Kate says:

      I use recipe #3, but also make my own fabric softner out of vinegar, vegetable glycerin & essential oil. At least in the way I’m using it, the glycerin is supposed to help with static, and the bottle recommends it as a moisturizer for dry skin.

  291. Tonya says:

    We use the recipe that uses baking soda and add an equal amount of borax. The problem is that the soap ALWAYS seperates and floats back to the top requiring lots of stirring before it could be used.. No matter WHAT we do but I accidently found a way to stop that. I had about 1 cup of store bought det left in my bottle and dumped it into the soap pail. No more seperation. I have done this 2 times now AFTER the soap seperated and it solved the problem. I figure I can either buy the cheap det when it is on sale and add it or use thos free samples I keep getting in the mail for this. Hope this helps others.

  292. ladeedah says:

    I noticed that one of the recipes calls for glycerin. I don’t use that in the one I make. What does it do, and what are the advantages of adding glycerin?

    • Sam Orez says:

      Soap is made by reacting a fatty acid triglyceride with a strong basic compound (as opposed to an acidic compound) with a high ph. The basic compound most commonly used is sodium hydroxide, otherwise kbnown as lye. The fatty acid triglyceride is basically any kind of fat, animal fat such as lard or suet, or vegetable fat from coconuts, soy beans, corn, olives, safflower, to name a few. Fats are called triglycerides because they are composed of three long-chain fat molecules connected at one end by a glycerine molecule. the lye severs the chemical bond between the long-chain fat molecules and the glycerine. All nayural soap has glycerine in it unless it has been removed.

  293. Sandy says:

    I had several bars of Ivory soap that someone gave me several years ago. Even still being in their wrappers, they were pretty dried out–they grated amazingly! I used the finest grater on my box grater, and I got very fine powder. So buy your soap ahead, and remove the wrappers to let them dry before using for your homemade laundry detergent.

  294. Joey says:


    I have noticed that when I try to grind/chop/grate Ivory soap, it comes out looking like white hamburger meat… An easy solution I found is cut the bar in sixths (or smaller) then put on a 9″ dinner plate and microwave on high for ~1:00… It will form like a cloud (in fast motion!) and if it starts to fall off the plate, stop it and fold it on the plate… You will know when it is done microwaving when it stops growing….. After that, break it into small chunks and put into a mini-chopper or a food processor that has the blade in the bottom of the bowl (not the top)… It becomes really fine powder (like flour)…

    That is what I do for powdered soaps, and the soap dust melts FAST (or break the cloud into small chunks and boil, that works too…)

    • Abby says:

      Joey, thanks for your advice! I have been making the #4 powdered recipe for a year now. Last summer, I tried just making a batch at a time and never felt that I had any trouble with dust from the grated soap. My recent batches, I have made several at one time to have a large supply on hand, but the dust that is created from grating/chopping the Ivory soap is awful! It fills the whole kitchen and living room up and we can’t stop coughing. I have tried leaving the soap out for weeks on end to get it to dry out. I also tried hand grating it and then putting it in the oven.

      I am anxious to try out the suggestion you have gave with the microwave. I was confused by the last part of your suggestion, when do you boil it? And does that cause it to melt? I guess I will experiment, but if you wouldn’t mind going into a little more detail after you microwave, I would really appreciate it.

      And now, I must get back to my laundry.

    • Teressa says:

      I recommend not trying to microwave 2 bars of cut-up soap at once. It grows quite a bit! And be sure to let it cool before trying to make it into powder. This is fun to do…thanks for the tips!

    • Robert says:

      The microwaving method is similar to the original process used to make soap powder. When soap was flaked onto a hot surface, the moisture in it rapidly boiled it into tiny bubbles that popped into “beads” with holes.

  295. Joey says:

    I forgot to mention that Clorox Oxi-Magic is also a OxiClean ‘clone’ and that it is pretty much washing soda (check ingredients: Sodium Chloride…)

    • Corrie says:

      My first 2 batches of detergent was made using the Clorox OxyClean as a substitute for the Washing Soda. Yes, it is basically the same but there is a different reaction. Those batches were messy and foamed up. It expanded in the detergent bottles and made quite a mess. Not a good first experience. When I finally made it with plain washing soda it was amazing at how much cleaner and easier the process was. So be careful with the other because it doesn’t quite react the same. As it foams it literally doubles in size.

    • Elvis says:

      Everyone should be aware check the labels on commercial laundry detergent the first listing is quite often sodium Chloride which is..unless I am forgetting my high school chemistry plain old table salt! (WHAT A RIP OFF!)

  296. shelia says:

    has anyone tried recipe #8 and does it work?

  297. crystal says:

    I have not made any soap yet,but I am debating between powdered and liquid.Which is better? Has anyone made both and which do you prefer? I’m not sure why you would go through all the bother of adding water,boiling,etc. if the powdered works just as well. Any comments would be appreciated! Thanks!

    • TipNut says:

      Crystal I’ve tried both and now I stick with making powdered/dry detergent, it’s just less hastle for me. I don’t see a difference at all between the cleaning abilities.

      • crystal says:

        Ok. Thankyou! That’s kinda what I was hoping to hear ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait to try one of your recipes!Great informative website!

    • Corrie says:

      I have made both but prefer the liquid. It really depends on what you currently use and what kind of washer you have. I have a front loader and find the liquid is a little easier. I also prefer it because everything is melted and I don’t worry about the soap not disolving when I wash in cold. It’s all about personal preference.

  298. Rebecca Sue says:

    I have been making my own laundry soap for a few years now. I prefer it in powder form. I add a tablespoon to each load along with OxyClean and baking soda (hard water). I have loved it from the very beginning. I feel that my clothes are cleaner and it is certainly less expensive that anything from the store. I also use the “blue dryer balls” instead of dryer sheets. Again, I feel they work very, very well. In the winter I might use a dryer sheet if I am concerned about static cling or just want the load to have a fragrance.

    I spend about 2 hours about twice a year grating Fels Naptha bar soap. I store it in an (semi) airtight container and mix in the other ingredients as needed and store in yet another (semi) airtight container. I have 30-40 half cup(?) containers and I fill them maybe every 8-12 weeks with they dry laundry soap and OxyClean. (I’m single with no kids.)

    Again, I am loving the money I save and I feel I’m getting a great clean with no fillers and no allergic reactions.

  299. Lana says:

    I have been making the home made detergent for about a year now.I LOVE it!!!! I have found that the easiest way to stir it (I make 5 gallons at a time) is to use a metal paint stirrer with my cordless drill. It looks somewhat like a huge whisk, can be found at Walmart or any hardware or paint store.Makes quick work of the mixing,and the detergent doesn’t “glop” up later like when I stirred by hand.

  300. Azuka! says:

    My comment relates to the issue about how differently the soap can turn out even if you follow it to a T. We used to use Ivory soap because it is free from most additives. And our stuff would work well, but it had a tendency to have clumpy masses of curdles or something. We have since gone to the actual Fels Naptha soap. The first time, we used an entire bar rather than 1/3…. it just didn’t look like enough. And we ended up with a huge container of laundry soap with a jello-like consistency…. VERY THICK Jello.

    We diluted it and all was well. But anyway, I think that your tap water can make a big difference. Our water is very hard which forces us to use more detergent when washing, but also, I think hard water makes the recipe tend to curdle a bit. The softer the water, the better the results.

  301. pam from brooksville says:

    i was readins when i saw that you use washing soda, and when not available to try soda ash. you can find soda ash at a local pool store or in the pool isle of home centers. good luck.

  302. Christine Bergbigler says:

    I have been making my own laundry detergent for about 6 months now and I love the savings, but we do have well water and my clothes are getting really dingy. I don’t want to have to go back to buying detergent again. You say that you may have to adjust the recipe if you have well or hard water, but you didn’t say how, and I don’t see that topic covered in any of the comments or FAQ. Please tell me how I can fix this. I use the recipe that uses 1 bar of Fels Naptha, borax and soda ash. I have a front load machine, if that makes any difference. Thanks, Christine

    • AmyB says:

      Baking Soda (the same kind you use to bake with) is used to soften hard water. I use about a quarter-cup per load, but I haven’t started making my own detergent yet. I have to use up what I already have here on hand! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Robert says:

        Baking soda is a very inefficient way to “soften” water. Only a small amount what you add of it will react with “hardness” minerals, unless you add some other more alkaline material. Washing soda will react completely with “hardness” minerals.

      • Echo Marie says:

        Western Family brand Extra Coarse Water Softening Salt may help and is fairly inexpensive. Not sure what the amount needed would be or how to add it in (i.e. directly to water or as an additive to the detergent). Hope Robert might have some ideas on this? Or at least can recommend another site with the pertinent information.

  303. Pamela Dort says:

    Many have asked about the toxicity of Borax.
    Here is a site for an October 2003 health risk study done on Borax


    Here is the inform from section 3 (Hazards Identification) from the study:

    Borax pentahydrate is a white odourless, powdered substance that is not flammable, combustible, or explosive, and has low acute oral and dermal toxicity.

    Inhalation is the most significant route of exposure in occupational and other settings. Dermal exposure is not usually a concern because borax pentahydrate is poorly absorbed through intact skin.

    Occasional mild irritation effects to nose and throat may occur from inhalation of borax pentahydrate dusts at levels greater than 10 mg/m3.

    Borax pentahydrate is a mild eye irritant.

    Borax pentahydrate does not cause irritation to intact skin.

    Products containing borax pentahydrate are notintended for ingestion. Borax pentahydrate has low acute toxicity. Small amounts (e.g. a teaspoonful) swallowed accidentally are not likely to cause effects; swallowing amounts larger than that may cause gastrointestinal symptoms.

    Animal ingestion studies in several species, at high doses, indicate that borates cause reproductive and developmental effects. A human study of occupational exposure to borate dust showed no adverse effect on reproduction.

    Large amounts of borax pentahydrate can be harmful to plants and other species. Therefore releases to the environment should be minimised.

    Symptoms of accidental over-exposure to borax pentahydrate have been associated with ingestion or absorption through large areas of damaged skin. These may include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, with delayed effects of skin redness and peeling (see section 11).

  304. tabadaba says:

    wow there are so many great tips here. I think i’m going to try the powdered this weekend

  305. Shellei Walker says:

    I use recipe #10 with the following variation- 1 cup each powdered ingredients ( washing soda, baking soda and I add borax) mixed up with 1 cup Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile- once mixed I add 1 cup white vinegar. After foam has died down I dissolve it all with 2 quarts boiling water than dilute this mix with 2 gallons hot water – all in a 3 1/2 gallon bucket. I used about a half cup of the mixture per load.
    This solution works so well for me- I used it to wash towels and sheets my dog gave birth on – not expecting the stains to go but be clean enough to give them back to the dog- but they are spotless!

    • Blanche Nonken says:

      I use what amounts to Recipe #1, double the borax, and I add 1/4 cup table salt to the bucket; add water to 4 gallons.

      We have well water. The mixture never quite gels, is a bit curdy but we have a stirring stick in there and give it a good few swishes before measuring out. I use 1 cup per load. It blended better after I added salt to the recipe.

      I wanted to reply to this one, as adding positive experience. I have used it on the towels my cat kittened on – and raised the kittens on for about a month, and it cleaned the towel with no problems or stains.

      I use a little of the measured liquid on my daughter’s stains. For reference, she’s 15, autistic, and isn’t really on top of her Girly Hygiene. ๐Ÿ™‚ The pre-soak into icky stains, a good scrubbing action rubbing it in, and blood and other unmentionable stains come out quite well.

      Added details: Our washer has no hot water hookup. Our laundry room stays about 50*F in the winter. This does not seem to affect the cleaning action of the solution.

    • Mary S. says:

      Thank you so much for posting this variation! I have an HE washer and this works great. I use clothe diapers for my toddler at home and there has never been a stain! The only thing I do different is rather than mixing the vinegar in the soap I use it in the rinse instead and I have yet to have to strip my diapers. I like to use the Dr. Bronners with tea tree oil to add an antiseptic quality. I will never go back to store bought detergent again!

  306. Corrie says:

    I make recipe #1 and have been using it for over a year now. I absolutely love it and can make a batch in about 15-30 minutes. Less time then it would take me to run to the store and buy soap and drive back home. I have turned several other people on to it as well. The fact it is low sudsing is great for all of you with the HE washers.

    One tip I would like to add is start the recipe out with 1 gallon of boiling water. Dump that into the bucket and add your Borax & washing soda. Then bring your quart of water to a boil and melt your soap. Pour that into the bucket with the already disolved Borax & washing soda. Stir then add in your last gallon of water. It’s so much easier this way. Everything disolves and mixes nicely.

    Another tip is using a potato peeler on the soap. Especially the Fels Naptha. I have tried the Salad Shooter which does work but I found that I preferred just using a paring knife. Today I made a batch and tried the peeler and was shocked. It was extremely easy and made finer pieces that melted so much easier. I peeled down to the “core” then used the knife to finely chunk up the rest. Melted in about half the time.

    I tell everyone about this detergent and how good it is. We spend about $1 a month on detergent. Can’t beat that. The clothes are very clean and honestly all three ingredients were things I was using to boost the store bought detergents. I have added Borax or soda for years. And have used the Fels Naptha as a stain remover. So to me this was a win win.

  307. Irked says:

    Look, I just priced borax at Winn-Dixie and it cost $3.99!! No other store around east podunk carries it. Winn-Dixie has re-modeled and now they think they are Publix, and are too snooty to carry items for the common man. No Fels Naptha, Kirks, washing soda. But by the time I could purchase everything to make my powdered soap, it will cost more $$$ than buying regular.

    • Elvis says:

      WEll just for your information the WINN DIXIES here on the Mississippi coast do not carry any of them either…mY batch will be 5 gallons at a cost of $24 not much of a savings hu? After having to buy the “WASHING SODA” (Sodium carbonate) at a swimming pool supply house $10 for 5 pounds..ordering Fels naptha soap 2 bars at $8 after shipping..and $6 for the Borax (found at a local store) but even at $24 for 5 gallons its still cheaper than even TIDE which has always been about the most expensive one

      • Edna says:

        I made a 5 gallon bucket of the liquid soap using 1 bar of ivory, 1 cup borax, and 1 cup SW soda.
        I bought my supplies at Walmart and spent around $7 total, but have enough supplies to make 12 of the 5 gallon buckets for that $7.

        It’s really dirt cheap and it cleans very well!!

      • Sheila says:

        I live about an hour north of the Mississippi Gulf coast in the Lucedale area. We have a Walmart, Sav-A-Lot, & Wayne Lee’s. I shopped at Walmart first & was very surprised to find(all three products) the Fel Naptha @ $.97 ea, Borax @ $3.38, & A&H washing soda @ $3.24. I was lucky to find all three in Lucedale. So often I can’t find what I’m looking for in our small town. I have the soap graded & I’m ready to complete this job so I can try this laundry product. I hope it works good for me. Thanks to everyone for the input on the products & thanks to Tipnut.

  308. chrissy says:

    I make my own laundry soap w/ liquid castile.
    I use
    *1 cup baking soda,
    *150 drops Grape Fruit Seed Extract
    *1/4 cup liquid Dr. Bonner’s Castile soap (I use baby mild and use it on my baby clothes.)
    *1 gallon water

    Shake before use and add 1/3 cup per load.
    I skipped the borax and washing soda and such cause I wanted to pipe my water out to my grass!! yay!

    • taryn andante says:

      chrissy – thank you SO much for posting this! i wanted to make a laundry soap using baking soda & liquid castile soap, and after combing through ALL of the comments on the original post AND the faq, i was thrilled to find your recipe. a question though – what effect does the grapefruit seed extract have on the laundry soap? does that boost the cleaning power or do you use it for scent?

      and thank you to tipnut – what an informative & inspiring site! keep up the good work!

    • Lee says:

      Chrissy This is awesome!! I use grapefruit seed extract on baking soda for a holistic toothpaste and it makes my teeth squeeky clean! I am wondering how much 150 drops are… my guess is about 2 tablespoons. If I make a batch I’ll measure it and post the equivalency. Thanks!

  309. Natalie says:

    I have been making my own soap now for about 5 mo. It works very well and I just love the money i am saving. I spent about 7.00$ to buy all ingredients, and still have more after 5 mo. Wow I just love saving money and the soap really works.

  310. Will Pryor says:

    Has anyone had any experience making laundry soap using soap produced from bio-diesel glycerin soap?

    • Angela says:

      My husband manages a biodiesel plant. We’ve used it in Recipe #6. The biggest problem is the glycerin from the biodiesel isn’t pure and often has residues from the oils in it. That’s why the glycerin off biodiesel is brown instead of clear. Example: They were using a fish oil to produce and the glycerin smelled horribly of fish, and thus so would your soap. There are ways to purify the glycerin, but they are generally not practical.

    • Robert says:

      If you’re getting glycerin SOAP from biodiesel manufacturing, then something is wrong! Water must be getting into the reactor if that’s happening.

      Good bio-diesel process will produce glycerine, but not soap.

  311. Janine says:

    I tried the homemade liquid detergent for around 6 months. It cleaned wonderfully, and the savings were wonderful. Unfortunately, I had trouble with it turning my whites yellow. I have city water. I used bleach, I tried both Zote & Fels Naptha, I tried using an Oxy cleaner, and I tried using extra borax with each load, with no results. Can anyone help me out with this problem? I would love to have the savings once again. I really dislike spending so much on laundry detergent.

    • ntt says:

      Using too much bleach for long period of time will turn white to yellow.

    • Paige says:


      I have been reading these blogs for days trying to figure out which recipe to use. I read one that said that it was just the store bought detergents releasing from your clothing and another that actually included water softeners in the recipe. I can’t tell you where the info was so take it for what its worth.

    • Lisa in OKlahoma says:

      I posted above about Mrs Stewarts Bluing, it will take all the yellowing out.

  312. Trina says:

    Well I made my first batch of homemade laundry detergent and its in use for the first time as I type. I’m anxious to see how it turns out….
    I first came upon a recipe for homemade laundry detergent on The Duggars family website, and thought “WOW, with a savings that big and so cheep to make how can I not give it a try at least.” Clicking there and following another link here I was amazed to find so many people make their own. But as I got to thinking and looking at pics or what I need I thought “Oh great, I won’t beable to find that here in my home town. Probably won’t even find it here in Canada.” But I set out to look anyway and find something I could use.
    I found all three things I needed at “No Frills” grocery store. Huge smile. For $11.31. However the A&H washing soda was in a blue box and said “Super” washing soda, and I got “Sunlight” bars of soap.
    Then I went to our local baker and asked for 2, 5 gallon buckets. They only had 4 gallon buckets which I was glad to take.
    So I grated 1 bar of sunlight with my rasp put 4 cups of tap water in a saucepan and added the grated sunlight, let it melt. Filled buckets half full of hot tap water, added 2 cups of soap mix in each bucket, then added 1/2 cup of washing soda to each and 1/4 cup of borax to each. Stirred for 7 mins. Added 16 more cups of water to each bucket. Stirred for 30 secs. I put lids on and stored in laundry room over night. In morning one was thick and the other like a cloudy water. So I started pouring the detergent back and forth into each bucket to try and even it out. Put lid back on and went to work. Came home this evening and WOW, a thin gel detergent. I had 7 empty laundry jugs of all sizes so I filled them half way with detergent and added warm water the rest. I still have an almost full 4 gallon bucket under my laundry sink.
    I’m in heaven right now knowing how much money I’m gonna save especially with detergent costing $30.00 a bottle for 140 loads.
    This recipe says its good for 640 loads (front loader) for less then half of what I spent to make it in the first place. I’m thinking it cost $5.00 to make 1 batch so approxamently $0.01 per load. Ha HA HA all the way to the bank….Yippee….Laa la la. Boom chick a bow wow. Yip, I’m HAPPY.

    • patricia emmick says:

      so you use this with your front loading washer and it works well?

      • Lisa says:

        Hi, so which recipe did you use? i’m also from canada and have everything except the arm and hammer soda.Did you happen to see it at any other store?

        • T says:

          i found the arm & hammer washing soda in the laundry section at Real Canadian Superstore. & am usinf Ivory soap – first batch progressing as i type…

  313. Kelsey says:

    Can I use fragrance oil instead of essential oil for scent? What is the difference?

    • TipNut says:

      Fragrance oils are synthetic and are just used for fragrance, essential oils are natural and have not only fragrance but contain the natural healing/cleaning properties of the plant. If it’s just the nice smell you’re after, fragrance oils are fine.

      • carol says:

        I love the powdered recipe the Duggar’s use. (I also saw on their show) The only problem I have is that my kids don’t like it because laundry doesn’t smell nice. I was on this site to see if I could use some kind of scent.
        So, I can use either fragrance OR essential oils? Where would I find this? Do I add drops to my recipe or drops to each load/rinse? (I use 1 bar, 1C each washing soda, borax, baking soda and then vinegar to my rinse) Thank You!

      • Dawne says:

        Essential oils are not actual oil, therefore safe to use in your laundry without worrying about leaving oil stains behind. I wouldn’t suggest using fragrance oils.

  314. Julia says:

    Feb. 3, 2010 — I tried Joey’s tip for microwaving the Ivory soap before using it in recipe #4 (powder laundry detergent). I cut the bar of Ivory soap into eighths and put the pieces on a paper plate. After about 1 minute 10 seconds, the soap stopped expanding, so I removed the plate of soap from the microwave.

    After the soap cooled, I slid the expanded soap into a 2-gallon Ziploc bag, and removed as much air as possible before sealing the bag. I then used my rolling pin to pulverize the expanded soap while it was in the sealed Ziploc bag. The soap turned into a fine powder without my having to use a food processor, AND this technique minimized the amount of Ivory soap dust in the air!

    I repeated this technique with a couple more bars of soap. Then I just scooped out the amount that I needed, sealing the rest of the Ivory soap powder back into the Ziploc bag until the next time I needed to mix more laundry detergent. The pulverized Ivory soap mixed extremely well with the washing soda and dry color booster — no big clumps of Ivory soap. (BTW, a double batch of the dry recipe fits in an empty peanut butter jar, along with a tablespoon from the Dollar Store.)

    I hope this helps someone!

    • Samantha M. says:

      Neat idea Julia! I will try that when I mix up my first batch, having read that alot of posters have had problems with mixing the soap in thoroughly enough.


  315. Barb says:

    I find it hard to believe that some of you people Attack someone that is actually trying to help you and myself save money.
    And then you don’t even have enough sense to read/follow the directions.
    I appreciate all the how-to’s that can be found on the internet.
    Guess I am just old school. Trial & error works most times. You do not JUMP on someone for helping.

    Thanks Tipnut for all your teaching, and your Website.

  316. Romaida says:

    I’m looking to try using a homemade bar of soap that’s all natural. Has anyone else tried it? Has anyone found a solution to the dingy whites? Thanks!

  317. Cybele Pruitt says:

    I have been using homemade detergent for a while now and I love it. I use a paint mixer (for a drill) to mix my detergent in the 5 gallon bucket and then use cleaned milk jugs to store the detergent in. They are easier to handle and just shaking it makes sure it’s all mixed. My receipe is 1 bar Fels-Naptha, grated(I use my food processor), 1 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup borax. Melt the soap in hot water, put all three ingredients in 5 gallon bucket. Mix well. Fill bucket with hot tap water. Let set overnight, mix again(here is where I use my paint mixer and drill), use equal parts soap mixture and hot water and pour into jugs. Makes 10 gallons and cleans great. My husband does construction work and sometimes his clothes are filthy, but they have all come clean! A friend of mine uses Ivory soap and said it works great also. I have a HE washer and have had no problems at all. The cost per bucket is $3.00.

    • Kimberly says:

      This is the same one I use, I put 10 drops of Lavender oil in each gal. jug. I store mine in the 1 gal Arizona Green Tea jugs because they are really thick jugs and seem to last forever. We also have an HE washer.

  318. Patsy says:

    I made up a bath of Recipe #1 of the powder laundry detergent and OMG it is fabulous. The only other detergent that I have found to clean like this homemade detergent has been the very expensive Persil. Now I can make a quality detergent for just pennies a load. I wash the dirtiest and stinkiest of laundry as I do animal rescue work. When the homemade recipe cleaned and sanitized the worst of the worst bedding, I knew I had a winner. Thank you TipNut for your wonderful web site.

    I’m also trying some of the other cleaning recipe’s and so far I love them all.

    I think it’s time we let the world know the detergent and cleaning products being sold to us are not only toxic to us and our homes, but they are so overpriced, and it is criminal. The biggest offender is Procter and Gamble, the company who tests and tests and tests on poor helpless animals when it is completely unnecessary.

    Thanks again.

  319. Patsy says:

    Oops, that was suppose to be “batch”, not bath!!

  320. John says:


    I’m really interested in trying these recipes out, but I have one question. I’ve tried “green” detergents in the past. No matter what kind I try, my clothes start to stink after a couple weeks, so I have to switch back to name-brand detergent. Has anyone noticed this with homemade detergents?

  321. LeAnn says:

    I had a question about the bar soap. I have read through lots of the comments and many say not to use the Dove bar soap. I was wondering why I shouldn’t use the Dove soap. It seemed that it needed to have some key ingredients in the bar. Dove Sensitive Skin unscented has listed in it’s ingredients: sodium lauroyl isethonate, stearic acid, sodium tallowate or soduim palmitate, lauric acid, sodium isethionate, water, sodium stearate, cocamidopropyl, betaine or sodium c14-c16 olefin sulfonate, sodium cocoate or sodium palm kernelate, sodium chloride, tetrasodium edta, tetrasodium etidronate maltol, titanium dioxide. I was under the impression that the soap needed to have sodium lauroyl or tallowate, which it has. So i wanted to see if it was ok to use this since I have really sensitive skin and so does my 19 month old son.
    I received this recipe from a friend, so it’s what I started trying-
    1 76-oz. box borax
    2 55-oz. boxes Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
    2 bars of Dove Sensitive
    1/3 c. Oxi Clean

    Use 1 teaspoon.

    Thanks, I would appreciate any help so I know if this works or if I should be changing something.

    • Robert says:

      No reason Dove wouldn’t work in this formula. The borax and washing soda will turn the stearic acid and lauric acid of Dove into sodium stearate and sodium laurate, respectively. But…you use just 1 TEAspoon?! For how much water or laundry? Seems like an insufficient amount of cleaner.

      • LeAnn says:

        Yes, the recipe I was given called for just 1 teaspoon for a load of laundry. The clothes came out smelling clean and basically had no smell but clean I guess because it had no dies and fragrances. I have increased the amount when I do bigger loads, because from all my reading it seems that most people use 1 Tablespoon at least so I’ve been trying 1 Tablespoon on my really big loads. Do you think I need to use more soap bars in the recipe, lots of the recipes also called for more even amounts of borax, soda and soap bars, this only has 2 bars for 1 box of borax and 2 boxes of soda? Thanks.

        • Robert says:

          Even the people using 1 Tbsp. of soap powder in a washing machine load might as well be using plain water. If you’re getting good results with 1 tsp., simplify things and just use plain water.

          These recipes have been going around a lot. Most of them call for more alkali (borax and/or washing soda) than soap, which would’ve been considered a cheap and very inferior formula when laundry detergents were soap-based. Excess alkali tends to degrade fabrics. The only thing those alkali-heavy recipes have going for them is that they’re so salty & alkaline, they depress the suds so they can be used in a HE machine.

          If you want to be serious about washing with soap, you have to use enough soap to make the water sudsy, and adjust the amount of washing soda for your water hardness, using as little washing soda — but capping the ratio well in favor of soap, not alkali.

          Someone here pointed out that recipes for laundry detergent that mix vinegar with alkali are reproduced by reputable sources that must know what they’re doing. Sorry, but a lot of those outfits just don’t pay att’n. Just ask a chemist what good it would do to add both vinegar and alkali to a laundry detergent. There IS reason to use vinegar in RINSE water if alkali or bleach were used in the WASH water, but there’s NO reason to use them in the SAME water.

  322. Janet says:

    Did not see any sure recipes that I have been struggling to keep my whites and not becoming a dingy gray? Colors are fine. I have tried bleach, extra Borax and Washing Soda and even Mrs. Stewarts Liquid Bluing and still have whites turning gray. HELP.

    • Samantha M. says:

      I haven’t had a chance to try it myself yet, but I have heard that adding lemon juice to the wash cycle should help (from Tipnut, actually! :)) Vinegar in the rinse cycle should help too.

  323. David says:

    Caution on using Borax with graywater systems (using laundry drainage for the garden). I’ve been told by graywater experts that Borax is very dehydrating to plants and should not be used in the wash if you plan to use the wash water on your garden.

  324. Raynesmom says:


  325. Raynesmom says:


  326. Tabitha says:

    I am trying Recipie #10. I have been stirring for a while now and it isn’t turning to a powder…just a really thick paste.

  327. Myrla says:

    On mixing the liquid detergent recipe — to eliminate the congealing of the soap, after I got it all in my bucket, I used my immersible hand blender. I just blended it thoroughly. Then poured it into several smaller containers. It eliminated the ‘jello-like’ formation. I still would give the smaller containers a shake before using them.

    • Mary says:

      Hey Myria – I posted a similar comment before I saw yours. Don’t you wish we had thought of this a long time ago! Sorry, didn’t mean to repeat you.

  328. Homemom says:

    Thank you for the great info on this website! I would like to reply to some of the comments with my personal experience…

    For laundry not smelling clean (as well as for very hard water), I would use a little more laundry soap, PLUS add 1/2 cup baking soda to the wash water. For a top loading machine, for heavily soiled laundry, after the clothes have agitated for at least 10 minutes I turn the machine off and just let the clothes soak for at least 1 hour.

    For dingy whites, sheets and towels, and anything color safe, add 1 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide, the kind in the brown bottle that is sold at every drugstore. This is an excellent and cheap alternative to bleach (btw, bleach will yellow any non-natural fibers, such as polyester or nylon), but it can take the colors out, so be careful. Yes, it can be used in addition to the baking soda as above, just add AFTER the soak, don’t leave the clothes soaking in the peroxide. After the peroxide has agitated with the clothes at least 5 minutes, I have then added 1/2 cup to 1 cup white vinegar to the wash water and wash for at least another 5 minutes. The combination of peroxide and vinegar (added separately) are an excellent germ-killer, the acid helps to neutralize the ph of the wash, and all of these are safe to use with these soap recipes. Also way cheaper than oxy-clean for basically the same thing. This works for very smelly work/sport clothes, too.

    For very sensitive skin (which we all have in my household, too) the biggest issue is to get rid of all the residue. I prefer a clean-rinsing soap (I find that even though it is mild, Ivory leaves a lot of scum), perhaps try a glycerin based soap such as neutrogena (expensive, tho). But here is the most important kicker… make sure you rinse with vinegar. I use vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser, THEN I run a second rinse cycle with nothing at all, or at most about 1/4 capful of fabric softener. More water and energy, but it makes a HUGE difference. No matter what I used someone would get a rash until I started double rinsing.

    For diapers and baby clothes: it has been a long time, but when my babies were babies I would put warm water and some borax in the bathtub and throw in the clothes for a few hours or overnight. Drain the bathtub, put the clothes in the washer as usual. Stains were GONE, clothes soft and clean. But remember I double-rinsed! I believe this should also be safe for the fire-retardant that is on all infant clothes and sleepwear, but when in doubt check with the clothing manufacturer!

    Thanks again for all the helpful tips.

  329. Jeanne says:


    I found Washing Soda @ my local Ace Hardware. They should carry it- if they don’t, tell them to order it and shipping to the store is free. It’s the best place for me to find all the supplies in one felled swoop: Washing Soda, Borax, and Zote.

  330. Debi says:

    I have converted over to the laundry recipe and I’ll never go back! I love it. I have experimented with Essential Oils and came up with a gentle fragrant smell. Has anyone noticed how less dryer lint your have? It’s because the laundry is less harsh than commercial det. and there is less fabric loss during cleaning. I found a good storage bottle. Rubbermaid’s Shake and Pour 3 liter bottles look just like laundry det. bottles. I also use the homemade febreeze for ironing. I have also noticed my allergies are so much better since I have converted to all the recipes, window cleaners, etc. Thank you Tipnut!

  331. Christine says:

    I was able to find Borax at Walmart and at military commissaries, and Washing Soda at HEB stores.

  332. Homemom says:

    I believe someone was asking about a liquid laundry soap made with Dr. Bronner’s, and I have tried it. I was SURE it wouldn’t work, and I am happy to admit how wrong I was! This stuff is amazing, I am walking around looking for things to wash. Remember, this does not suds or foam up (but the wash water looks gross with all the stuff it is getting out of the clothes), and the Dr. Bronner’s is expensive, so not sure how much $ it saves, but it is so much better for the environment, the clothes, and our skin it is worth it to me. Also, the lavender is a VERY strong, astringent smell. Next I am going to try the citrus. BTW, I found 32 oz. bottles at GNC health food store at the mall, buy one get one half price!

    The recipe is a basic 1:1:1 ratio…

    1 C Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap (or any other kind, I guess, I just don’t know of any others)
    1 C Washing Soda
    1 C Borax
    Enough water to make 1 gallon

    Dissolve the washing soda and borax in warm water, mix it all together in a jug, give it a gentle mix before using. It does not get “gloppy” like some of the other liquid soaps. I made a smaller batch to try it out first, 1/4 Cup of each item with 1 Quart of water, and used an empty purex bottle. The capful is about 1/3 cup, which is just about right for me.

    1/4 – 1/2 Cup per load (I would use 1/4 for front load HE machines, more for top load or heavily soiled).

    Then I use 1/2 C white vinegar in the first rinse, and 1/4 capful fabric softener in the final rinse. You would not believe how clean and how soft the clothes are!

    • Julianne says:

      Great!! Good to know–I was worried it wasn’t working. I guess I can put more borax and washing soda in mine–I only used 1/2 cup each. Everything SEEMS to be clean, but I am having a hard time retraining my thinking that store bought is best and mine can’t possibly be doing what it should or that the washing it’s going to take a toll on my clothes. Thanks for the post!

    • Jennifer says:

      What is Washing soda???

  333. Mary says:

    I make my own bar soap and happened to have my immersion blender (stick blender) still in the sink when I mixed a batch of laundry detergent. When it got to the “Chinese egg drop soup” stage, I decided to try blending it. I had about 1 1/2 gallons at the time because I don’t add as much water as most call for. Made a huge difference in the texture. Almost no separation. It turned into a big jar of slush, like a big milk shake. I still shake the jar, but it would probably be ok if I didn’t. I use 2 cups grated soap (my own), 1 c. borax and 1 c. washing soda in 1 1/2 gallons water. I use 1/4 cup of the slush per extra large top load. Works great!

  334. Julianne says:

    I tried making the detergent with LIQUID CASTILE!! I’m skeptical though…I don’t know that I trust how well it cleans…how would I be able to tell??? The clothes are clean and have a light lavendar mint smell(the only scent they had at Trader Joes). My recipe was:

    1/2 C liquid castile
    1/2 cup borax
    1/2 cup washing soda

    I heated it all and poured it into a tide bottle I had–the big one with the spout from Sam’s. It was like, 1.5 gallons I think.

    It’s very very watery but I use the same amount that I would normally use with tide. It would deff be cheaper if it’s working, I have probably just a couple $$$ into the batch. I’m scared to try in on my cloth diapers though, my poor son breaks out easy.

    Anyone else use liquid castile? Any recs on the ratio? Thanks!

  335. Julianne says:

    Hey–I just noticed the post above mine!

  336. Patricia says:

    Thanks for everyone reply. I too love the smell of downy and would love to put that smell into my homemade detergent any ideas?
    I think i will try the powered next time over the liguid recipe
    thank you

  337. Alexis says:

    Hi, i couldn’t find washing soda and just made my liquid detergent with fels-naptha, 1/2C borax and one cup arm and hammer w oxy clean. it looks fine and smells great. what are your thoughts on how my washing machine and clothes will handle this recipe?

  338. Becca says:

    Ok, i made my first batch today! Yea!!……..until i read that baking soda and baking wash are not the same, i used baking soda…….so, will it still work? Help, i hope i just did not waste time and money.

  339. Ashley says:

    Sodium carbonate (washing soda, soda ash) is available at pool supply stores in 50 lb bags for just under $30. That is a huge savings over ordering on Amazon.com or buying in a grocery store laundry aisle (if they even sell it). It makes a good household cleaner and degreaser..so it has more uses than just laundry.

    Question. Do any of you using Dr. Bronner’s bar or liquid or Kirk’s bar castile soaps notice scummy deposits at the top of your washing machine tub? Kind of like the ring around the bathtub? What is causing this? And if it is there, should I assume there is also the same residue in my clothes?

  340. Sapphyre says:

    I made my own laundry soap today & I feel so empowered! I just love this blog! Tipnut you are awesome & many thanks to everyone for all the great info. I had to use the recipe with baking soda only because I could not find washing soda anywhere. I live in central Oklahoma, and no luck at Wal Mart, Target, dollar stores, art supply stores, or grocery stores. No one had even heard of it, neither had I until I stumbled across this blog. I read somewhere about using pool chemicals, so I looked into that & they’re expensive but a 4lb box of washing soda is only about $4 online so I guess I will order it & try some of the other recipes too. I found a new use for my VitaMix so here’s a tip! I could not get the grated soap to dissolve well, it was taking forever and melting together in clumps. I read where others used a stick blender, but I don’t have one of those. So I poured it into my VitaMix & blended it for a few seconds. Worked like a charm! I would not do that with a regular blender though, the boiling water would probably break it! But the VitaMix has a pretty much “unbreakable” container and is designed to do stuff like that. Now because I blended it, it got very foamy when I mixed everything in the pail so I had to wait a while for the bubbles to go down before pouring it into old milk jugs. But so far the soap has stayed smooth, no globs or chunks. And if you do this, be sure to rinse out the VitaMix right away. I left mine sitting and the residue cooled off & hardened so I ended up having to scrub it. Thanks again everyone for sharing, I would have never thought to make my own laundry soap until reading this ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Dawn says:

      YEP, I looked all over Oklahoma and Arkansas with no luck for Washing soda. My hubby did some research and found out that Ph-up or PH-plus in the pool supply section is the same thing. Thats what I use to make mine and its great. I buy it at Walmart and it lasts me a long time. Also Fels Naptha was hard to find. I went to Ace Hardware and they ordered it for me. I didn’t ask them about ordering the Washing soda I bet they could. But I will have the PH Plus for a long time. I make small batches so it stays nice and fresh.

  341. Gayle says:

    I’m in Ireland and have just made a liquid detergent. It was one without borax as they’ve stopped selling it here I think (washing soda is available everywhere here though, for about the equivalent of $1 for a bag!) I was amazed at how well it works, it got a very very dirty cloth nappy (diaper) super-clean! I used a spare homwnrew bucket (with lid and handle) to store most of it in the shed, and an old fabric conditioner bottle to keep refilling it for the house. The cap is a handy measurer for the detergent too, 1-2 caps is plenty for a load.

  342. Gayle says:

    sorry, I meant “homebrew” bucket, above…

  343. Sue says:

    You rock! Thanks for including links concerning where to find ingredients.
    I love Fels Naptha and I use it for everything. I didn’t realize that one of the local grocery stores carries it! I was able to determine this using your link.

  344. Sue says:

    I guess I should add that I’ve been travelling further than I need to to buy Fels Naptha not knowing that it was available so nearby.

  345. LB says:

    I have read that orris root was used with laundry in the past to imbue a soft and lovely scent. However, I’m unclear on how best to add orris root to the above recipes. Orris root essential OIL is prohibitive in cost. Orris root POWDER is more affordable, but it isn’t clear what a good proportion would be.

    Alternatively I see that essential OILS are added to vinegar rinses, but what about a POWDER?

    Any advice about adding an herbal powder to either the detergent or the rinse, please? Thank you.

  346. Joanne says:

    I have been using my second batch of liquid for about a month, after using up my first batch (about 6 months) Here are my comments/comparisons. I made my first batch following recipe #3 exactly. I used fels naptha. The second batch I used Ivory(I had a supply of bars from a hotel stay) I also added a small bottle of detergent from the $store for scent. I actually feel the first batch worked better. I never pretreated stains with anything but the detergent itself, and it always seemed to clean everything. Now I find myself having to pretreat with shout to get stains out. I will say that the clothes smell great now… where before there was no scent at all. After I use this batch up, I think I will go back to original recipe and try essential oils.

  347. hmmom says:

    I add about 1 or 2 tblsp of Dish soap to the batch. This seems to help it all stay together after mixing. I also use very hot water and stir it in well with the fels naptha.

  348. Robert says:

    hello —its amazing to see all the helpful tips and comments left here by ecominded persons >>>

    so here’s another question for the masses :):

    does anyone (after using any of these lovely recipes) get great smelling clothes fresh outta the dryer (or even off the clothesline) — and when you put it on smells good…but after you sweated out a long 8 hour day in the sun..or maybe a night out at the club… get that ‘mildewy musky’ scent — maybe a little ‘vinegar smelling’ kinda like you’re perspiring out the detergent smell from your clothes ?

    do you know if its too much vinegar to the wash/rinse?
    do you know if its EVEN DRYING too long?
    do you know if its an outside smell the clothes get when dryed outside?
    should i use more essential oil…or add it to the rinse with the vinegar?

    does anyone know what i’m talking about?…..
    i work outdoors…nothing too strenuous but after a long day… i’ll get a wiff of someone DOUSED in DOWNY/TIDE/GAIN/ETC…that passes by and i can’t help thinking ..i wish i smelled like them ๐Ÿ™

    • Heather says:

      We have this problem too. Our workout clothes are stinky after 15 min or so. I’ve tried vinegar, but to no avail. ๐Ÿ™

  349. Nichole says:

    I have been making Recipe 4 for about 4 maybe 5 months now. I have a HE washer. I have not had any trouble with my cloths being cleaned. When I first started making them, I was smelling every item when I put it in the dryer. They all smelled good. I know that with HE washers you are suppose to use the special washing powders, and I know that the whole reason for those powders is they put more suds. I have not had a problem at all. My mother in law is now using the homemade powders now too. Thank you so much for having a web site that has so much information on it. I love it.

  350. Cindy Bogan says:

    I have discovered that Family Dollar has their own brand of bar soap that is fragrant and works very well with homemade powder detergent. I haven’t tried it with liquid detergent yet. It makes the clothes smell so nice and fresh and works fine with bleach. It’s very easy to grate too. I use my food processor. I love the homemade detergent. It’s cheaper and so easy to make. Thanks for sharing the recipes, Tipnut!

  351. Kim says:

    Will be making a powdered detergent today! A little concerned though…I have very hard well water. I’ve seen that adding baking soda will help with this, and see that adding a quarter cup should help – but do I have to add a quarter cup per load, or to the entire mixture itself? A quarter cup per load wouldn’t be saving me money.

  352. Artie says:

    If you add 1/2 cup of regular table salt to the liquid laundry soap recipes it will keep bacteria and mold from growing in it. I have done this and it seems to work just fine. I use the liquid soap recipe for hand washing my dishes, and to put directly on laundry stains – I make it in 2 gallon batches and it lasts a long time. I use the powdered recipe for my laundry. I think the laundry soap gets my clothes even cleaner than store-bought soap. Both work great! ๐Ÿ™‚

  353. Artie says:

    Also, adding 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse will keep your whites sparkling white and keep the soap from building up in your clothes – this is why it softens them – the stiffness from any left-over soap or detergent is gone ๐Ÿ™‚ I find I don’t need fabric softener using the homemade soap and white vinegar rinse. But I hang my clothes to dry them, I don’t have a dryer.

  354. Artie says:

    If you want to avoid problems with the liquid soap separating, just do this- right after you make it, pour the soap into gallon containers, but only fill them 3/4ths of the way full. This gives you room in the container to shake it well and mix the soap. Any container with a good screw-on lid will work- empty detergent bottles, juice or gatorade bottles, etc. Then just shake well before using ๐Ÿ˜‰

  355. Liz says:

    Where can I buy lye? It seems there are different kinds and I want to make sure I get the right kind for making soap. Thanks!

  356. Bethany says:

    I would just like to add a tip for people who are having trouble finding Fels Naptha, Borax, or Arm & Hammer Washing Soda … Besides the larger grocery stores, all three products are often found at either Wal-Mart or Target!

    • Dae Lightening says:

      I live in Columbus, GA (West-Central Georgia) and Walmart does not have ANY of the ingredients (except baking soda of course). I think they are getting wise to what folks are doing. I had to do a lot of running around:
      Dr. B’s-Peach Tree Health Food
      Washing Soda-Publix’s Grocery
      hand drill mixing bit-Ace
      Then I realized I could have gotten it all from Ace if I simply placed an order ๐Ÿ™ In the end it’s all worth it. I’ll save 500+ bucks in the next year on Laundry Soap, dish soap, all purpose cleaner, hand soap, and etc.
      Got to love the blog right?

  357. Amanda says:

    can you add lemon juice to recipe #1 for the smell??

    • Elizabeth says:

      I would expect that lemon juice (acid) would react with the washing soda (alkali) and neutralize each other. You’re probably better off getting lemon essential oil and adding that. I’ve also heard that you can fill a jar with citrus peels, fill it with white vinegar, and use that as your rinse, but I haven’t tried it myself.

  358. Samantha M. says:

    Hi Tipnut! I just have two questions:

    1) Does anyone know exactly how much recipe #9? will yield? 12 cups Borax, 8 cups Baking Soda, 8 cups Washing Soda, and 8 cups Bar soap (grated) seems like quite a bit of laundry soap . . . (sorry if this question was already answered; one can only scroll through so many comments before getting bug-eyed.)

    2) I noticed a comment on the original post with the UPC for A&H Washing Soda in the larger size. Just wondering if the Borax also comes in a larger size than the boxes typically found in the grocery store/Wal-Mart laundry aisle? Or should I try looking at a Sam’s Club-type store for better results?

    Thanks for any help anyone can offer.

    P.S. Keep the tips coming! I have a file folder over an inch thick full of pearls of wisdom (from your site, mostly)

    • Richard says:

      Hello, my wife and I just made recipe #9 and it makes about 2.5 gallons. we are just now experiencing with this but so far we like it. we were also making the liquid laundry soap #6 recipe. we used yardley soap and it seemed to work ok. however, we found out by using a 5 gallon bucket only half full and mixing with a paint stirrer attached to a drill works really well. we had a gloopy mess when we tried to mix it all in the 5 gallon bucket. it was so thick it wouldn’t come out of the milk jugs. we then the next day added some boiling water to it and mixed it up again. now it is thinner but was seperating but thats ok at least now we can shake it up and it now will pour out. hope this helps out. thank you tipnut for some great recipes.

  359. Samantha M. says:

    Also, has anyone experimented with LIME juice in anything (in place of lemon for whites, or anything to do with laundry) ? I only ask because I really love the smell of limes and think the lemon/lime combo would smell great as a laundry additive . . . anyone who has tried this please reply!

    • Mrs. Wallace says:

      Most of the smell from all citrus comes from the oils in the peel. Perhaps you could use some lemon and/or lime essential oil. They’re pretty cheap as essential oils go.

  360. Teressa says:

    I found some lye soap I’d never heard of in the aisle next to the borax and washing soda…I’m not familiar with soaps. Is lye a good kind of soap to use in the laundry recipes?

  361. Linda Sullivan says:

    My comment is a question. Our Arizona water is high in alkaline. Will this be a problem, change the recipe, or create problems using the recipes?

  362. Carrie says:

    I can’t wait to try these! I just got myself a lovely laundry powder tin and now I need homemade detergent to put in it, lol ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m looking into trying Recipe 9, but noticed it involves a lot of Borax! Has anybody tried this recipe — is it so much different from Recipe 4.

    BTW Thanks Tipnut for a very informative site! You’re right, this is the most extensive site on the subject!

  363. Kattie says:

    I need advice. I have been making the powdered version (Fels Napatha, Borax, Washing Soda) for about 3 months now. I have slowly noticed that our t-shirts have been getting grease like stains on them. It is not our washer, but I read somewhere that someone else had this issue with their homemade detergent. Any advice or has this happened to someone else? Is it reacting to something in the water?

    • Liza says:

      Yes I have had these too. I am not sure what it is. I am wondering what bar you are using? When I used fels and kirks I did not have these issues.

  364. Jess says:

    I have been using a powdered version (equal parts sun oxygen cleaner, borax, washing soda, soap) on all our clothes including diapers (pockets, covers, flats, prefolds) for 6 months now using Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap and it is great! Kiss my face is very soft so I grate it on a cheese grater and let it dry out then powder it in a zip bag with a rolling pin.

  365. Lynn says:

    i have been using the powder because i did not have a five gallon bucket but i just got the bucket and am getting ready to make recipe number one the tee tree oil will make the liquid soap last longer by preventing bacteria from growing but i can’t stand the smell any ideas?

  366. Jill says:

    You seem to be using the terms “soap” and “detergent” interchangeably, and I’d like to point out that there are very specific and important differences between the two. There are also differences between the performances of soap vs. detergent on laundry, and differences on human skin.

    You should try to get the terminology correct, so that people aren’t confused.

    • Robert says:

      Actually these people ARE using “detergent” correctly. “Detergent” is a functional category, not a chemical one. It just means “cleaning agent”. If you’re using soap as a cleaning agent, then that soap is a detergent. If you’re using soap as a lubricant or to blow bubbles, then it’s not a detergent.

  367. Rena says:

    I would like to try the powdered recipe but would like to use vinegar and borax. Is there a way to combine the 2 powdered recipes # 9 and #10?

  368. Grace says:

    My friend turned me on to making laundry soap from home and suggested Recipe #1 from this here website, which I have been making for 6 months (made about 4 batches in that time). I made a new batch of laundry soap today. My
    last batch was the PITS, and I figured out why. Last time (and for the first time) I had added the 2 gallons of water as HOT water instead of cold, thinking this would help to liquefy it all better – WRONG! This caused a very SOLID glob
    at the top. I understand the soap separates and there will be a white
    thick layer of small chunks at the top but never before did it become one solid chunk! It was awful. So, this time I used cold water (purified and ionized
    small water to be exact! My dad bought me a water system for Christmas
    and I love it!) and for the first time I used a wire whisk instead of
    a spoon, whisking the heck out of it, AND I added in to the batch 1 1/2 cups of white distilled vinegar, just because I saw it was an additional recommendation here on the detergent website forum. Boy my soap came out nice today! ~ Grace

  369. Andrea says:

    My sister in-law told me about this recipe.. Haven’t gotten to make it yet, but its on my list of things to do this week! As for Trying to find containers to store the detergant in: You can get 5 gallon buckets at walmart(with lids) for about 2-3$ in multiple colors and they dont have any writting on them. Also If you save the bottles from previous store bought liquid detergants you can use thouse too. They are good, because you can use the lid to measure out how much to use. – Andrea

  370. Colette says:

    I’ve made laundry soap for a long time. It is NOT detergent which is generally petroleum based.

    The problem with detergents is it is made to stay on the clothes (you can tell what kind of detergent people use by smelling their clothes). The manufacturers want this because these detergent molecules give the impression that your clothes are cleaner – Brighter Brights and Whiter Whites. Unfortunately the detergents that are on your clothes will be on your skin and will be absorbed into your body. Petroleum acts like an estrogen and this fake estrogen will go straight towards the DNA in your cells. It is carcinogenic. Breast cancer survivors understand this because the most common form of breast cancer grows with this estrogen that is being introduced into your body through such things as detergent, petroleum based soaps, sodium lauryl sulfate (second ingredient in liquid hand soap, toothpaste, shampoos, and body washes).

    Laundry soap, on the other hand, washes away with the dirt. It might not seem your clothes are as “clean” but in fact they are cleaner. And it is good for the environment.

    One thing I recommend is never use cold water. When you wash dishes, do you use cold water? No because warm or hot water cleans better. The same is true for clothes.

  371. Lisa says:

    I made a batch of liquid laundry soap and liked it. I used the Fels Naptha soap and added borax, all fabric bleach, oxi clean and washing soda.

    Today I made the powdered version. I used the food processor this time and it worked great to get everything looking like the traditional powdered detergent. I am getting the biggest kick out of not giving those big companies that sell overpriced detergent my money. We do a lot of laundry and it was making me sick spending about $20 a month on detergent and fabric softener. I really felt like I was being taking advantage of. But now I am getting the last laugh. ๐Ÿ™‚

  372. Connie Moody says:

    The recipes for powdered detergent say to grate 2 bars of soap. My question is what size or weight are the bars? I used 14 oz bars of zote so is that the weight of bars that others are using?

  373. Lisa says:

    A 4 to 6 ounce cup of Soap yields about 2 cups grated or 1 cup of granules if you use the food processor.

    I found that if I use 4 ounces of liquid Joy dishwashing detergent (an anionic surfacant) in addition to the Fels Naptha my clothes turn out as clean as if I was using Powdered Gain detergent. The anionic surfacant works better in my hard water, reduces water surface tension, and prevents the dirt from redepositing on my clothes during the wash cycle.

    I pour the liquid Joy over a cup of washing soda and stir it well. Let dry overnight and put it through the food processor. Here is my recipe:

    4 cups washing soda
    1 cup all fabric bleach
    1 cup oxi clean
    8 ounces ultra liquid Joy
    1 cup Fels Naptha bar detergent

    Mix the Joy to one cup of washing soda and let dry
    Next day break the chunks up and put thru the food processor until fine granuals
    Put one bar of Fels Naptha thru the food processor
    Add all ingrediants together

    1/4 cup a load for a large moderately soiled load of laundry cleaned in cold water. I start the washer on hot water, add the detergent, swish it around the change back to cold water. Follow this with a 1/4 cup of distilled white vinager in the rinse. Then follow that with a spritz of water/softener mix before placing clothes in dryer or hanging dry. Cost is 1/5 of powdered Gain detergent.

  374. Olivia says:

    Question re: Recipe #4 and adding essential oils. I read a tip to add 5 drops of the oil to the powder. My question is when do I do this? As I am prepping the mixture and getting ready to store it away to be used or do I drop the oil into the washing machine as I am putting a load in? If I add it to the powder mix to be stored, won’t it coagulate the mixture (don’t know if that’s the exact description, but make it gel unevenly)? Thanks!

    • Jennifer says:

      I’ve seen lots of recipes for making homeade powder carpet freshner (like the Arm & Hammer boxed ones at stores) and all the recipes are just baking soda and essential oil of varying amounts. You just have to really work at mixing the powder and the oil up well so that it won’t be a big clumpy mix. I’ve always heard that as long as you keep mixing it eventually it all evens out and the scent stays in there evenly. I’ve never gotten around to trying it but I have seen many of these recipes!

  375. Jen & Meg says:

    Using recipe #1 we found that you should add hot hot water for the last step. This helps dissolve the ingredients better. Also make sure you thoroughly mix the boiled mixture with the washing soda and borax before adding hot water.

  376. Lisa Smith says:

    OK I really got in to this “Making your own detergent” idea and experimented with the basic powder recipe using Fels Naptha and I incorperated some Liquid Ultra Joy that I mixed with washing powder, let dry and then ran thru the food processor. I found I needed a half a cup to get my cloathes clean. But lately I have been really scrutinizing my clothes and started to think I remembered my store detergents getting them cleaner. So I set up an experiment.

    I used five identical white hand towels and put mustard, ketchup and make up on them. Washed the first in my powdered homemade detergent. Washed one in an experimental homemdade detergent that used no bar soap but twice the liquid Joy. Another towel in All brand detergent, one in cheap “Extra” brand detergent and the last one in Gain detergent.

    I had my husband and daughter view the towels and hands down the winner was my homemade powdered detergent that uses the Fels Naptha and small amount of Joy. Much cleaner the the others. The next cleanest was the cheap liquid Extra brand.

    My experimental powder using twice the Joy was a bust and was tied in last place with Gain detergent. “All” brand with color safe bleach and powerful stain fighters was just barely better then the other last place towels.

    What a surprise this experiment was. So now I KNOW the homemade not only is cheaper but works better. And that the Fels Naptha even though a soap still works in my hard water and does not make anything dingy.

  377. Rebecca Parry says:

    Leave out the Borax in the homemade dry laundry powder if you’re planning on using your grey water on your garden (yard). It cleans the clothes just fine without it, I’ve found. Or occasionally you can spray a spot with an oxybleach liquid product as a stain remover before adding the clothes in question to the wash.

  378. rose says:

    my confusion is at the recipes on here and the others that i have seen elsewhere, is for the liquid detergent ..
    after its jelled and u put the gel in a container (half full) .. why do some add more water to the container whereas others dont? ..
    that is the confusing part …
    and bc i have tried making this once b4 using ivory .. the next batch will be zote soap.. for this soap will it be necessary to add water to the jugs/containers at the end when all is done? …
    and for the vinegar in the rinse, how much vinegar is recommended to use? …
    just learning and quite curious ..
    i have the powdered version all worked out in my head (again, lots of different recipes for this too)..
    1 bar zote, 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda and a small scoop of the ozy (its the $1 store brand and the scoop is very small) .. 1, 2, or 3 tablespoons needed depending on size of load and or stains…
    any info would be appreciated regarding my 1st question ..
    thanks in advance ..

  379. Sally Kern says:

    I have a front load washing machine – requires HE detergent. Will any of these receipes work with ‘he’ machines?

  380. Theresa says:

    I’ve had those same questions about why some dilute their detergent more than others. I really don’t know the reason for it. I’ve used the recipe of 1 bar Fels Naptha, 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Washing Soda, and ended up with a 5 gallon bucket of detergent. It is easier for me to remember that recipe. I’ve never had a problem with my laundry having any residue from using that amount. I would think diluting it by half, as in some recipes, would not clean my clothing as well. I do know I won’t be going back to store bought detergents.

  381. Elana says:

    If you are making your own detergent because of an illness in your family, don’t use the Fels Naptha. It has benzene in it and it’s too strong and it’s not good for someone ill. Stick wtih Ivory soap or another natural soap you might like. I haven’t been able to get a bar of Zote but from what I’ve see on-line, it looks like it’s ok.

  382. Jane says:

    Did anyone try Ivory Snow FLAKES instead od a bar soap?

  383. Roland says:

    I am a paper maker. Sodium carbonate (Washing Soda, Soda Ash) is used to break down cotton fibers into pulp! Just so you know: repeated washing with these ingredients will gradually reduce your cotton clothing to pulp. The life of clothing is not measured by any amount of use; it is measured by the number of times you wash it.

    • maggie says:

      Just the Fact that you say you make Paper makes me want to come and Play!
      I love paper:D I can vouch that 2 years out & we havent lost a Shirt yet… We always wear natural fibers & use good quilting cottons for backpacks or skirts & they wash fine. Hubby Has shiney cotton Izod dress shirts… I buy cheap Old Navy T’s make linen Skirts, use alot of hand dyes and so far my only gripe is I have to spot treat.
      ….Im just guessing but I think the chemical reaction with the borax and the soap may slow its ability to break down the fibers.

      I did notice… 10 years before we ever started useing homemade soap…that algedon products really do reduce quickly… adding wood pulp to cotten has been a disaster!
      Now I will have to let the Homeschooler exspriment till we wash away one shirt…LOL

  384. maggie says:

    I use a 1 gallon lock lock pitcher for easy pouring to store a weeks worth of detergent it:D

  385. Theresa says:

    I’ve been making this detergent for about 4 months now. I love it. Last week I tried making a Concentrate of it, using the same amount of Soap (1 bar Fels), Borax (1 cup), Washing Soda (1 cup), and only 1 gallon total of water. I made it the same way, making sure to use a container that had a large mouth on it, so I could stir it easier since it would be thicker. It is somewhere between a gel & a paste. I only use a little less than 1 1/2 tablespoons per load (I have a top load washer). It seems to be doing the job as well as the regular recipe, but now I only have to have 1 gallon container of detergent sitting around instead of 5.

    I’m not a fan of powdered detergents, so that is why I went with the liquid in the first place. I put the Paste version in the washer with the clothing, and it dissolves easily. My niece just made her first batch ever, using the Paste version, and has an HE washer. She said it all dissolved for her also and things seemed to come out just fine.

    Just thought I would pass it along to see if someone else has tried making a concentrate also.

  386. Ivan says:

    Thanks for the great recipes.

    I have successfully been preparing these recipes using small batches of coarsely grated laundry bar into the blender. The consistency is unmatched and no more waiting around for the recipe to boil over.

  387. Katie says:

    Washing soda is easy to find. Any pool supply department should carry it.

    The label should say “Ph+” or something similar. All soda ash/sodium carbonate does is increase the Ph of the pool water. There is a similar product called “Ph-“; don’t get that one! Read the label if you’re unsure and just make sure the contents are listed as “sodium carbonate” and nothing else, and you’re good to go.

    If you’re still unsure…bum some off of a friend who owns a pool and whip up a batch to try it. My brother was rather nonplussed when I dropped by to “borrow” a cup from him way back when. I still remember his comment, “but, but you don’t own a pool.”

    I’ve used it for years along with Zote and borax. It works like a charm.

  388. Jill says:

    I’ve got a couple of suggestions based on my own experience with making homemade laundry soap.

    1. an old fashioned meat grinder will grind the bar soap down into a fine powder without the enless arm action of a cheese grater or the risk of ruining a good household appliance. I boughta Weston 310 delux heavy duty meat grinder off of amazon for around $25 that’s about the cost of a giant jug of Tide, so it’s an investment, but you only have to buy it once and it lasts forever.

    2. For storage containers, get a 10 gal bucket and lid from the paint department at your local hardware store. I make and store mine in a big white 10gal bucket from Ace Hardware. save some old detergent bottles or ask a neighbor for theirs when they are empty for making it more manageable during washing.

    3. If you want to use an essential oil, make sure it isn’t too concentrated9using too many drops per batch). I like to use lemon and orange oils in mine, but too much can actually cause staining, so just a few drops and you’ll get the smell of pledge(what I was hoping for) It’s also easier to add the essential oil after you’ve filled a detergent bottle. If the scent sits too long, sometimes, it can dissapate leading a person to think they need to add more which can lead to oil stains on clothing.

  389. Catherine in Ireland says:

    Hi everyone, I’ve read right through this page — it’s fantastic — but I can’t find out whether or not the homemade powder detergent, which I’ve just made today, is safe to use with wool, silk and other delicates. Also, is there an optimum temperature for the incredients to work their best? Could anyone answer these queries? I think I read somewhere that washing soda is not good with wool and delicates, but perhaps someone could confirm this?
    I made the soap, borax and washing soda mix.
    Thanks, Catherine

  390. Mariana says:


    For recipe #8 (the one with ivory soap, baking soda and water), I was wondering if I could use liquid glycerin soap, and if so, how much to put in.



  391. krista says:

    in recipe #1 it says to add all the ingrediants to 2 gallons of watter is that 2 gallons suppose to be hot or cold. i looked 2x and it doesnt say.

  392. Niki Smith says:

    I wanted to say this: YES the recipes ARE SEPTIC SAFE!
    I have been using the first recipe on the list for over a year in my front loader and I am on septic. I just had my septic pumped last month and there was no sign of clumping from the borax and washing soda. He said my system was healthy. His only suggestion was not to use Charmin as it does not break down and clumps in a septic.

    I also use Irish Spring because I don’t have the Fels locally and I won’t pay shipping that costs more than the bar itself, it would be over paying to me. I also like the Irish Spring smell, but it can cause dingy whites if you use too much of it in the mix.

    So use away on your septic and front loaders.

    • Lisa C. says:

      Can you tell me which recipe you used and how much Irish Spring you used in making your mix? We use Irish Spring in the house so would like to use it in our laundry mix.

  393. james devlin says:


  394. BlogShag says:

    I love these ideas. My roommate thought I was nuts, but I spend less than half of what I used to to clean my clothes because of these recipes.

    1. My skin and sinuses are no longer irritated.

    2. The clothes rinse cleaner and experience less fading.

    3. Because of the ingredients in these homemade detergents they seem to be better for delicate clothing items, which I have a lot of, as well as the stronger cotton/sturdy fabrics

    4. Absolutely no sudsing. I love this, but I’m not sure why ๐Ÿ™‚

  395. BlogShag says:

    Someone said that washing soda is easy to find. No it’s not. It may be easy to find if you know where to look, but this is not an advertised item, so many people don’t know what this substance is, or what it’s used for, so a lot of stores don’t carry it. If they do carry it, they’re not so gung-ho on replenishing the stock. Walmart has it, but Target doesn’t carry it. Finding it in a pool supply store may be a good bet, but many neighborhoods don’t have pool supply stores. It also IS NOT sold in hardware stores, where you’ll find many of the supplies you’ll need to make laundry soap.

  396. Tammy says:

    Anyone have any experience with recipe #10? I was interested in trying a recipe that did not include Borax. #10 sounds fine and easy enough, just wondering if anyone has tried it. It’s just my husband, our 15 month old little boy and myself. Our clothes are not terribly dirty, but we do have an issue with odor just because we tend to have oily skin and our clothes are older.

    I also have a question about liquid castile soap. Can that be found at Wal-Mart and can I get any fragrance? I looked it up on Amazon and noticed there are various scents.

    Thanks for all your work creating this great site with such valuable information! I am so excited to start this new project.

  397. MAry says:

    Help i made the liquid and it came out water it never gelled help what did i do or nto do lol I followed the recipe ivory bar soap 1 cup super soda (arm and hammer) and 1/2 cup borax and it smelled great was so excited to do laundry today got up and found the same liquid as i left it yesterday Helpppppp please

  398. Hillary says:

    I just want to add that while most homemade detergents are ok for cloth diapers, the Borax can break down PUL, so it is not recommended if any of your diapers are made with PUL. All other fabrics will be okay though.

  399. Emily says:

    What impact do Borax and soda wash have on the environment? I camp and on long trips, I’m wondering how safe it is to use my homemade powder detergent in the woods. I don’t know anything about the chemistry/elements of the ingredients.

  400. Heidi Lu says:

    I’ve been using homemade powdered laundry soap for a month now (6 kids, so lots of wash) I use the fels naptha, 1c washing soda & 1c borax (and some drops of lemon essential oils) I have used 2 Tbs per load and the clothes come out wonderfully, BUT I noticed build up on the window of my front load machine? I have never before washed the inside of my door/window – and I wonder if it’s the bar soap causing build up? I didn’t see that anyone else has had this problem?

    I put vinegar in my rinse water and it cleaned it off…I didn’t have problem w/ dingy whites, but won’t take that risk – vinegar is my new softener! (with a drop of my essential oils!)

    These comments/posts are a wealth of information! Thanks!!!

    • Heidi Lu says:

      I also meant to add that I am going to try to microwave the fels naptha bar, I didn’t see that anyone tried that (only ivory bar?) I’ve found specks of fels naptha on my window/door as well, (I grate the bar using my ninja, it grates it pretty finely, like a course sea salt) I am confident the grated bar soap is being aggitated away from the clothes rubbing it, but I fear the soap that doesn’t get aggitated away sitting under my washing drum may eventually build up? Any thoughts on that?

  401. Ann Timony says:

    Does any one know if the washing machine grey water from home made laundry detergents and rnses (borax, washing soda,bi-carb soda and vinegar)are safe to use on the garden for waterning plants?

    • Robert says:

      Hard to say without knowing how much vinegar in ratio to how much of the alkali. If not enough vinegar, the alkali from the wash water will raise the pH of the soil. Too much vinegar will lower the pH of the soil, although probably not for long because the acetic acid evaporates.

      Even if the pH is balanced, you’ll be adding sodium to the soil. That’ll probably eventually kill the plants unless they’re particularly salt-tolerant.

  402. Edwin Hall says:

    I’ve been making bar soap for over 15 years for both commercial and personal use. To answer a few questions about castile soap. Historically the recipes originated in Italy. They are generally composed of various ratios of: olive oil, coconut oil, and lye. In reality all that is required is olive oil and lye – this will produce a pure white, rock hard bar that lasts a long time. Coconut oil is the ingredient which produces lather, or in laundry soap suds. The higher concentration of coconut oil the richer(more abundant)the lather. of course for special affects other oils are used such as: grape seed oil, walnut oil, palm oil, soybean oil, etc. Additionally, essential and fragrance oils can be added to add scent to the soap. A bonus to this type of soap is no petroleum products.

  403. shelly says:

    my mom found out about this and we started useing it. we use a huge kitty litter thing to store it in. my dad fills old milk jugs when there empty and cleaned out of it. both my sisters there kids my mom dad and i use it. thats 11 peoples worth of laundry and it lasts us a little under a month. it also works great in my sister and my parents high effincy washers. my other sister has a portable washing machine. it is small and it has tubes to be hooked to the sink and such. it made for apartment liveing. anyway it works great in it to. she uses oxy clean every once in a while when washing to clothes cuse she has kids and they get messy clothes. this stuff works very good and saves tons of money.

  404. Linda Soderberg says:

    Thank you for this convenient site and the variety of recipes. The comments are very helpful. To make everything as simple as possible, I used only one five gallon pot. I also need a simple “easy to remember” recipe so I combined recipes #1 and #3 to end up with a 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 formula (2 qts. boiling water + 2 cups (1 bar) Fels Naptha + 2 cups Washing Soda + 2 cups Borax + 2 gallons cold water).
    Problem: Recipe #1 is about 4x the ingredients of #3 per gallon of water and yet the amount used per load of laundry in #1 is only 1/2 as much used in #3?
    Should I split the difference and go for 1/3 cup per load?
    Knowing my 62 year old self, I will be tempted to use a full cup!

  405. Brenda says:

    I thought that baking soda was in the list of ingredients for dry detergent:

    Fels Nalpta soap
    A-H Washing Soda ( I know this is different that the baking soda I am asking about)

    Thanks, Brenda

  406. Amorie says:

    Remember that washing soda is harsher than baking soda, and could wear out your clothing a little more quickly.

    Baking soda should still clean well if you sub it in for washing soda, but it may take some experimentation, or keep looking online for a good recipe that only uses baking soda.

    If you have hard water, you may want to add some salt to your mixture to soften the water, or use vinegar, but only in your rinse cycle.

    Borax is still a fairly toxic material, so if you would like to forgo the dangerous chemicals altogether, I would recommend a recipe without Borax.

    Most conventional bar soaps are also full of chemicals, so trying a pure castile bar soap such as Dr Bronners would be a better alternative and it won’t react badly with the other ingredients.

    Adding essential oils with known antibacterial properties (such as lavender, geranium or lemon) to your liquid detergent may extend it’s shelf life (and smell great, too!)

    I would say when it comes to your baby, and your loved ones, it’s better to go chemical free.

    Best of luck to everyone!

  407. Tammy says:

    Can I use handecrafted soap in the laundry soap recipe? It is made with coconut oil, palm oil and shea butter, olive oil, coco butter, etc.

  408. Tina says:

    I am very accident prone so I did not want to try my luck (or fingers!) on grating a bar of ivory soap. Instead I put the soap bar in a sandwich bag and took it out to the cement garage floor and hammered it into little pieces, fun and practical! Plus the bag kept the soap all together and I just poured it into the hot water. It doesn’t make all pieces as tiny as possible, so it takes a little longer than the grated soap, but for me safe fingers are better! ๐Ÿ™‚

  409. Cheryl says:

    Can I put both washing soda and baking soda in the laundry detergent? That is, will there be any bad chemical reactions if I have both in the same detergent?

  410. pam says:

    Where do you buy Glycerin? ( veg. base) for Homemade bubble bath, etc.

    • pam says:

      I made a batch of #2 Laundry Soap a couple of months ago-I just loved the large batch— except when i was setting up the containers on my pull-out cutting board and filling the laundry bottles-i turned too quickly and knocked a full plastic bottle off, onto the floor. So what did i do? scrubbed the floor with it @ 10pm. Kind of a gloppy mess! But it worked out-needed to wash the floor, anyway. LOL… Now it’s time to make more!

    • carolyn says:

      A pharmacy will have it.

  411. Tab says:

    i’ve been using a homemade liquid detergent for a few months now and i love it. actually, i think the clothes is cleaner than with commercial products.

    my only concern is the film from the ivory soap clogging up my washing machine over time, especially since i wash in cold water. i was wondering (before i purchase online cuz there is none in my area) if the Fels Naptha leave a filmy residue?

  412. Bea says:

    Hey there TipNut! I so loved Recipe number 10 but have some issues.
    1) We couldn’t find washing soda so we used Ajax. Is it ok?
    2) We didn’t use Liquid Castile Soap but grated soap instead.
    3)Then we added vinegar and baking soda.
    4) After what seemed like forever of stirring, it looked like a clay or something. We even molded it. Any substitutes for Castile soap and washing soda that can be found in the Phil? Please I really need to know. You’re the best!

  413. Carissa says:

    I have a question I have been using homeade laundry soap for 6 mos now I love it, I make the powder and I have used Fels, Ivory, Dial and Lever 2000 Lever is my favorite!!! (Smells soooo goood) question tho I used to have a front loader H/E washer I hated it lol I used the powder in it and it was fine, now I put the front loader in storage and brought out my top loader washer the soap does not melt all the way in it. Is there a way to convert already made powder to liquid?? I made a ton!!

    • Carol says:

      I did it tonight. Get a bowl with a tight lid, I used a rubbermaid one. Put the recommended amount of powder in it, add some HOT water to it to dissolve it. Put the lid on and shake a few seconds to get most of it dissolved. I poured the liquid and the few chunks of soap that I didn’t get small enough into the washer, ran my load as normal. I was using a modified recipe #4, substituting oxyclean for the washing soda and adding baking soda. I used 1/2 cup white vinegar in a downy ball with 6 drops of Citrus Bliss essential oil. The downy ball didn’t pop open like it was supposed too, but its ok because my clothes came out surprisingly bright, soft and with a light, clean scent I just love! I can’t wait to get them dry and wear them!! Hope this helps!

      TipNut, I found this site today and am a super fan now, thanks a bunch!!!!

  414. Gabrielle Greer says:

    Where do you buy the essential oils for fragrance?

    Thank you!

    • Allie says:

      I found mine at a health food store but I have seen them at pharmacies sometimes too. You don’t need to buy the biggest bottle they sell since it is so strong. You will only need a few drops and it lasts forever.

  415. Lori says:

    Has anyone used Yardley soap in the powdered recipe? Does it work well? Is it okay to use? Thanks!

  416. Kristi says:

    I have been using the powdered soap recipe and adding Oxyclean. I have been noticing a break down of elastic in some of my clothes (sweat pants, sheets, dress pants with spandex).

    Has anyone else had trouble with this?

  417. Sarah says:

    my detergent has separated. the name brand borax/washing soda will not mix with the fels naptha water mixture. the water was hot when i tried to mix. I tried adding more water, but I am afraid it is getting to thin.

    also I got the mixture on my hands and my nails have never looked so good.

  418. melany says:

    i use the one with just soap baking soda and water and i really love it but it seems to be a milky white liquid is this normal?

  419. Anna says:

    I just wanted to put out there about tea-tree oil, when my son was in diapers it was brought to my attention, that it can adversely affect hormones… just something to think about before you use it frequently or excessively.

  420. laura w says:

    hello every one i have been using … 2 bar ivory one cup borax and one cup washing soad … and wanted to know if i could switch out the bars for the powder verison of ivory.. and what can i add to help whiten .. my whites … thank you

  421. bella says:

    My Son and I have extremely sensitive skin and can not use many of the ingredients they use in soap… we have a few liquid body washes we have found that we can use but no bar soaps… can we use the liquid body wash? is a bottle the same amount as a bar?

  422. Pauline says:

    I have really hard water and am looking into trying tip number 10. Is there anything I should add to the detergent because of the hard water? Or does anyone else with hard water have a better recipie I should use? I also usually wash in cold water and have an HE washer. I am really looking forward to some advice with this, what works/what doesnt. I greatly appreciate it! ADVICE PLEASE!!

  423. SoillseeN says:

    I adore this blog and every thing about it. I have been reading it for awhile but have yet to say hello. well…Hello!

  424. Dan says:

    For those of you looking for large, plastic jugs to store your laundry detergent, go to any Asian restaurant. Ask for the vegetable oil jugs. These are plastic jugs that hold almost 5 gallons of cooking oil. They are frequently thrown away in the dumpster on a weekly basis. They will make excellent containers. I recommend cleaning them out with water and lye (powdered drain cleaner found in all hardware stores).

  425. Karen says:

    After struggling for two days to make 10 gallons of liquid laundry detergent, I had an epiphany (naturally, when I was almost done). Next time, I’m going to cut the laundry soap bar in half, grate each half into the blender, 1/2 bar for each five-gallon bucket. Add some water to cover the soap in the blender. Blend until well mixed, pour into bucket along with borax, washing soda, and rest of water. Stir well. Keep lids on the buckets (Gamma Lids) and stack in front of the water (I have the perfect place for them). Put your one cup measure on top of the bucket. Wa La. Done. I will also toss in the slivers of soap left from showering.

  426. Allie says:

    Hi there. I just wanted to share my experiences.

    I finally made #4 today. All I can say is—- AMAZING!!!! Took me about an hour to make it all up but I made six batches at a time (6 cups soda, 6 cups borax, etc.) Grated the soap in my food processor, dumped out the shreds and changed blades to the chopper. Pulsed those until I got a grainy texture and then added that to the washing soda and Borax. I tested my first batch on something really nasty— the dog’s kennel bedding. Went in smelling like a wet dog. Came out smelling sweet and clean. I used approx. 1/8 of a cup or 3-4 Tbs. of powder. We have an HE washer and it ran fine. My uncle is a plumber and said it will not hurt the HE machines or septic tanks. Most of what we put into the septic tank in the way of cleaners is much more toxic than this detergent.

    After reading the comments about the clothes not seeming clean I wondered if folks used WHITE soap (ZOTE, IVORY, Etc.) I used the yellow fels naptha and when I stirred it all up I could definitely see where the soap was in contrast to the booster powders. I wondered if the folks who were having trouble getting things clean maybe were only getting boosters in their scoops and not a lot of soap. Just a thought.

    Also made my own fabric softener since I have a daughter who is extremely asthmatic. I have used plain vinegar to rinse the clothes for years. It helps to disinfect and gets all the soap out. 1 Gallon White Vinegar and 80-90 drops of Essential Oil which I picked up at the health food store for 5 dollars. I ended up getting the Lemongrass but they had grapefruit, orange, mint, tea tree, and a ton of others. It smells so good and leaves the clothes smelling so clean and fresh. NO vinegar smell after they are done.

    Thanks for the recipes. I am loving this stuff. Can’t wait to wash clothes tonight…..that is sick right?

  427. Allie says:

    Forgot to add that on the fabric softener….you just need to add 1/2 cup to your f.s. dispenser OR into a Downy Ball. Thanks.

  428. Denise says:

    I am trying to find a way to use calgon bath powder-I have had it and do not take baths with any kind of powder. UTI’s are not fun. So, after seeing how to make laundry soap-is there a way to use the nice smell of calgon powder instead of the grated soaps? Thanks for your help

  429. shiral says:

    I love this site! I grew up in the hills of WV we made our own soap and we had very hard water. My mother used mrs. stewarts blueing in her wash water, you need to dilute the bluing before adding to the wash water and add it before you put your clothes in the washer and do not put in the dispensers of washer its to concentrated and may leave some very blue spots on your fabrics, just make sure you dilute it and its mixed well in the wash water before adding fabrics the water should be a very light blue.. whitens fabrics and is just great! even works on my gray hair .. perfectly safe I use to use it whiten my horses 4 white socks… LOL

  430. Lisa Wright says:

    I made a laundry soap (powdered) with borax, washing soda, baking soda, oxyclean and fels napfa. I’m wondering, how do I go about making this into a liquid now (I do not want to waste this) ? The soap doesn’t dissolve in my cold water and the fels napfa clumps and sticks onto my clothes in the dryer.

    • Carol says:

      Take the amount of powder you wish to use and dissolve it in HOT water first. I put mine in a small rubbermaid tub, close the lid tightly and shake it. Pour into the washer, don’t forget the larger chunks of soap that might not have had time to fully dissolve. Wash clothes as usual. By the time the load is done, the soap has dissolved and your clothes look, feel and smell amazing!

  431. Lindsey H. says:

    I have heard of recipes adding glycerin to their laundry detergent recipe. Have you tried that? I have hard water and the deoderant and sweat odor in the underarm of some of my workout shirts is not smelling fresh. I dont remember having that problem before with tide. Do you know if adding baking soda into the recipe would help or if glycerin would help. Ive read the glycerin may help in removing stains. If you or anyone has experience with adding either of the two into their recipe I would love to know how and if it works well with hard water and sweat stains. Thanks

  432. SensitiveSon says:

    I also have done some reading saying that Fels Naptha soap is caustic. Any info??? My son recently broke out badly after using ECOS.

  433. Momma Raven says:

    I made my first batch of home made liquid laundry soap using 1 bar of fels naptha soap grated melted it into 4 cups of water and slowly added 2 cups of washing soda and 2 cups of borax. I then added that to four gallons of hot tap water and thoroughly mixed the solution. I added some more hot water and left about a 2″ space at the top of the bucket. I let it set 24 hours stirred it thoroughly again and it made a nice yellow liquid laundry soap. It cleans excellently however I have noticed that my dark colors look faded and also have noticed more pills on some of my daughter’s clothes. I use 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to help rinse any residue from the clothing. Does anyone have any suggestions or tips on how to keep my dark colors from fading. I was really hoping to be able to use this home made laundry soap but can’t have it fading our dark colors.

  434. Juniper says:

    I use the Marseilles soap in chunks combined with soda, but I don’t cook it, only dissolve it in water. That means I have to do it for each laundry separately.
    What is the point of cooking the ingredients?

  435. Gina says:

    The recipe I am going to try uses bar soap, washing soda, borax, and water. A few questions…1. Can you still use bleach safely?
    2. Do you find extra fabric softener necessary (read that one of the above ingredients was a softener).
    3. Is it true that you cannot use vinegar (as a softener in the rinse cycle) and bleach together(in the wash)?
    4. Why would you need an extra laundry booster for dinginess, etc? Isn’t that the point behind the soda and borax?
    I really want to try the homemade but I want to make sure I have all my questions answered. I want it to work well, and save time and money, not waste time, money, and our safety by doing it wrong!
    Thanks for all the help and answers in advance!!!

  436. BettyLou says:

    I have been looking over the recipes and comments. I just wanted to share something I saw in another web site about washing soda. A lady that is familiar with chemistry said that you can turn baking soda into washing soda by baking it in the oven on a cookie sheet. I can’t remember the temperature though. If I find it again, I will post the procedure. Wish I could remember.

  437. Jeanie says:

    Thank you for this compilation of Laundry soap recipes and tips. I spent days looking over recipes online and found here a list and well tested too! My Question which I have not seen posted anywhere(rad all) is CAn this Detergents(Liquid and/or Powedered) be used in Commerical washers at the Laundromat? I would think being washing product and used by our Granmas/Moms in past it logically should be.:) We Rent and are without a working washer at our home,first time in years.

    The real pain is to have to lug everthing and go however The machines at Laundromat are really super at cleaning clothes even previously dryed in stains. ALl the Washers and Dryers say High effeiciency(ALL frontloaders as they usually are). I also want to know can a Dryer ball with The Vinegar be used in those machines? Is there any worry over Bleach getting mixed with the Vinegar in machine if used by previous clients? It is a lovely new place,very clean and I do not smell bleach when putting in our soap just want to be sure safety wise for us and their machines. Grateful thanks for your help and to all posters as for your tetimonials and tips as well!

    admin edit: Akk Moderator please combine my posts.Sorry I Meant the SOftener Ball for washer not Dryer ball. TIA

  438. Jeanie says:

    ETA How much would I use powdered/liquid gel. Grateful thanks for all help!

  439. Rebecca says:

    Please help, I want to make one of the recipes but I’m from Germany and so I cant buy the same soap bars. Can somebody tell me how much gramms I have to use? Oz. would help, too. Please not “cups” – it’s so imprecisely and I can’t understand why I should grate the soap before I know how much I need when I have scales… ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hoping my english is good enough for you to understand ๐Ÿ™‚

  440. lorena says:

    I have made the powdered version and I add the new scent booster to the mix so I have a nice scent.

  441. fhel says:

    i hope can make my own detergent..thanks

  442. Diane says:

    Thanks so much for this helpful page! As for the person asking if this detergent is safe for septic tanks, if the ingredients say they are safe for septic systems, I would think the soap would be fine. I understand the concern, because after having our septic tank pumped twice, I learned to look for products that said they were “safe for septic systems.” (However, I’m now in an area with city water, so I don’t have to look for those anymore.) I’ve only made my first batch, and it didn’t gel like the sample I was given, but my clothes are still getting clean. My hairdresser gave me a sample bottle for Christmas (about 30 oz), with a pretty bow, a nice label with directions for use, and a copy of the recipe. I had wanted to try homemade laundry soap, but was skeptical. I thought this was a very thoughtful gift, and a welcome reprieve from all the sweets exchanged during the holidays. I plan to gift some myself this Christmas! ๐Ÿ™‚

  443. stefanie says:

    I’m buying high efficiency washer can I use Recipe #1 in the machine please let me know.

    • Paula says:

      I have used it for months, now, and it works great in my HE machine…also have a septic tank with no problems!

  444. Kathy says:

    I used the grated Fels Naptha bar soap, the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and 20-Mule Team Borax powders. I found all of them at Walmart in the soap aisle. I have a very high skin sensitivity and have to double rinse everything all the time but I was told this would work fine. It did not. I broke out almost immediately and after just 3 days I was miserable! Back to my Arm & Hammer Free detergent!

    One tip for anyone wanting to use the above recipe… the bar soap is much easier to grate if it’s frozen for a day or so.

  445. Kellie says:

    I made recipe #1 for the liquid laundry detergent today. It didn’t take long at all and was quite simple EXCEPT for grating the bar soap. I had to use a hand grater since I don’t have a food processor. I was wondering – since I boiled the grated soap to melt it for the liquid detergent, is it really necessary to grate the soap? Perhaps cutting it into chunks would work just as well only take a little longer boiling time to melt it?

  446. sikander says:

    what is bar soap (grated)?

  447. Paula says:

    I have lost my original recipe for the powdered kind, but it also added Oxi-Clean! It works absolutely great in my HE machine and have had no problems with septic tank…we also use Rid-X regularly and have never had to have it pumped. I will never use any other kind of laundry detergent again! I love the way it smells…like clothes hung out in the sun…my husband and I have sensitive skin and have had absolutely no problems with it. I use vinegar in the rinse, but do use a Downy sheet in the dryer sometimes for his work permanent press clothes. Our clothes are as clean as when I used Tide with bleach and do not seem to have the build up that the liquid detergents leave on clothes after a time. I also use cold water most of the time…works perfectly. If you worry about germs, the vinegar in the rinse is all the antiseptic you need…

  448. Brittany says:

    So I made my first batch today. I noticed it was milky looking and had a layer of thick foam at the top. Is this normal? I’m really nervous about putting this in my laundry considering we use a laundromat. Please let me know! Much appreciated!

  449. Susan says:

    After reading about the various ways to turn a bar of soap into powder, I tried it in the microwave. That powder is very fine and cannot be good to breath into one’s lungs. I strongly recommend working with it in a well ventilated area, like outside while wearing a dust mask or breather.

    If I do this again, I may try the potato peeler — outside.

  450. Tammy says:

    I have been making my own laundry soap for many years. I love that people like you have posted it to the web. I was looking to add fragrance to some of it which I found on here; thank you.
    I noted you had questions that you answered that you had no idea or you were unsure in regards to septic tanks and gray water for gardens. This soap is safe for both.
    For heavier stains like grease and heavy dirt. I use a small amount of dawn dish soap for grease mixed dawn and water in a spray bottle rubbed it in with a wet cloth or old toothbrush and lava soap for everything else just rub the bar around on it and rub with cloth or old toothbrush and let it soak in water then wash as usual

  451. Favour says:

    Am so glad i found this site, thanks for ur tips. ‘cos i’ve been looking forward to making my own powdered soap. The problem i’ve now is that i live in africa and ‘ve not heard or seen Fels-Naptha, liquid castile soap or Borex. So i was wondering if some other soaps can replace these ones. I want to try #10. Thanks.

    • Annette says:

      Recipes #5 #7 and #8 do not use Borax
      There are instruction here to make your own Washing Soda using ordinary baking soda. Look for the purest soap you can find with no perfumes or additives and you will probably be fine.

      Tom says:You can make washing soda by baking baking soda. Baking the baking soda burns the carbon and water outta it, leaving you with washing sodaโ€ฆ.
      look on the net for a recipy

  452. Jo Dee says:

    I was wondering where to purchase Castile Liquid soap? I could not find it at Walmart. I found several brands online but wanted to ask which brand you use?

    Thank You.

  453. Cindy says:

    I have been making #3 and it works great. I plan to get fragrance for it (so my granddaughter) won’t complain-she doesn’t like detergents with mo fragrance. I also plan to sell to my friends. I’m enjoying this new adventure.

  454. WonderWoman says:

    When do i add vineger? Last rinse or in the soap?

  455. Tomo says:

    Is this safe to use on dishes that you use for eating? I am not sure how poisonous this is for that purpose. Can any of the liquid formulas be used for washing dishes? Or does anyone know of a recipe that can be used for dishes?

  456. Wendy says:

    Can I add teatree oil to the powdered version? I would like to use it for the antiseptic properties on my cloth diapers, but am not sure if I can add it to the powdered stuff. If not, I could just add it in a downey ball, right?

  457. Marcia says:

    Wal-Mart now sells Zote flakes which is way easier than grating the soap….About 2.74 per box 17.5 ozs I used 2 cups along with the rest and turned out fine ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Marcia says:

      Also if you are looking for a better smell then add 1 cup of Purex Crystals your flavor I do the fresh one and I added it when I was melting the soap and no problem and man do this stuff smell good but I am crazy like that! And I make my own fabric softener too!! Thank mam!

  458. Marcia says:

    Fabric Softener I use is
    3 cups White Vinegar
    1 bottle of Suave Conditioner (I use ocean water flavor)
    Can use but not needed
    (Any essential oil your flavor 2-4 drops)
    Mix all together and I use my mixer to blend perfect and your done!
    Use as you normally do ๐Ÿ™‚

  459. JGeania Hoskins says:

    I love my home made detergent.But my husband says that when he sweats the odor is bad.what can I do to keep his cloths from smeeling when he sweats.?

    • SSteen says:

      My son has this problem, but it’s even with store bought detergent. Use a 1/2 c. of regular baking soda with your detergent. That works wonders.

  460. Kate says:

    Hi Tipnut,
    Thanks for the tips! I do have one question. We made our own laundry detergent based on your recipe using Fels Naptha soap. I have noticed since I have been using the homemade detergent that my white clothes have a yellow stain on them. It has to be coming from the detergent because it is in all different spots, different clothes, different people; but they were never there until I started using the detergent a few weeks ago. Any ideas on what is causing this? It is only on my white clothes.

  461. Sarah says:

    I’ve been making my own powdered detergent for two years (1 bar of grated soap, 1 c Borax, 1 c Washing Soda) and I use whatever is the cheapest bar of soap I can find. I’ve even used Dove and never noticed any staining or oils. I’ve also used Fels Naptha and Dr. Bronner’s and feel they’re all the same. It’s so awesome making your own…I love it! Hope other people love it, too ๐Ÿ™‚

  462. Jen says:

    To answer the questions–borax is not safe for gray water systems. It’s a naturally occurring substance, but it is not safe for children, pets, plants, or any beneficial insects you want to have in your yard.

    JJeanahoskins–To get armpit odors out–if you have lingering odor that means you have bacteria in your clothes.
    -spray an enzyme based cleaner on the affected areas of clothes and let sit for 1/2 hour or so before washing.
    -wash in the hottest water possible for the fabric
    -extra rinse with vinegar in the rinse cycle.
    -for old odor stains, this may take 2-3 times to get it out completely.

  463. Julie says:

    Which recipe would you suggest to get out greasy stains the best. I have made the first one already and love it for most of our clothes, but my husband is a mechanic and they don’t seem to be getting quite as clean. I do however LOVE the way it works on the other clothes, but his are just down right tough!

  464. Andrea Chouhan says:

    Please help! I want to make liquid clothes detergent but cannot find Borax or washing soda, or castille soap here (and of course, no Fels Naptha). I am in Saudi Arabia so even having things shipped here is not an option. Any suggestions? A Small Tide bottle costs $18. I need to save money and the powdered Tide is not working effectively either. Any help-I would appreciate-thanks so much! -Andrea

    • Margaret says:

      Washing soda is used in a lot of other ways. If there is a dye supply or ceramics supply or swimming pool business in your area you might find it there under the name soda ash. (or whatever that translates to). Castille soap isn’t hard to make (I’ll bet there are online instructions) but you would need to be able to find lye and olive oil. I don’t have a clue on the borax.

    • Tami says:

      Are there natural health food places there? Thats where I bought Castile soap

  465. Shirley C says:

    I have not made homemade soap for years and the recipe I used was for a soft soap using rendered lard and lye. I have a friend who makes her own and I am going to try doing so when my current supply is used up. I live in Florida in the winter and use only cool or cold water. I also line dry my clothes, not dryer. Is it safe to use a fabric softener in the rinse load if the clothes don’t feel soft?

  466. diana says:

    I just made a batch of recipe #8 and was very impressed! To test it I washed a towel the cat peed on, a white tshirt with spaghetti stains that was dried in, and whit tshirt that was covered in red Kool-Aid for a whole day. Everything came out perfectly clean. No stains and no cat pee smell! I will be buying a scent additive tho and I think I’m gonna do that vinegar in a downy ball too. I will never buy laundry detergent again!

    • Carol says:

      I am currently using a modified #4 recipe on some work pants of my husband’s that our cat peed on. I am so glad to know my cat isn’t the only strange one on earth!! I am very encouraged to hear that your towel came out of the wash with no stains or pee smell, that smell in particular has been VERY hard for me to get out of clothing in the past!! Thank you for posting this!

  467. Jennifer P says:

    Hello to all and I’m grateful I found this site!!! Please tell me, I have an HE washer and dryer I rather use the recipes that are the powder. Which one is best for HE and how much should I use for each load like 1/4, 1/8 cup, teaspoons?? We live in Texas the water I guess is kinda hard ? Can’t wait to make this detergent!!!

  468. Tanya says:

    Where do you get the essential oil and what kind do u use?

  469. Adeline says:

    Sorry but what is ( Glycerin ) And where can I get it?

  470. Doris says:

    I use the dry detergent mixture, Borax, Washing Soda and grated bar soap. I have to put the mixture in the machine first and agitate for a minute, before adding clothes. 2 new shirts of mine have been ruined by bleached out spots. The mix on top of damp spots on the shirts have caused this.

  471. Shirley says:

    I tried the powdered recipe #10, mixing the ingredients exactly as the reciped called for. The recipe stated that it would foam as the vinegar was added as it did. As stated, at first the mixture would be like a heavy paste that would break down into a heavy powder, to just keep stirring. I just kept stirring for almost an hour and it never broke down to a heavy powder as I would have imagined it to be. What is the consistency of a “heavy powder?” My mixture stayed at the consistncy of very heavy grainy Playdough.

  472. saheryl says:

    i used bath salts in the very first batch i have made i used them for the smell is this ok? it is a body soak the jar says it is a soak with dead sea salt, vitamins and minerals jusy wondering if i made a big maistake.

  473. Tina says:

    the powder works great,I add oxy clean powder.

  474. Dotchi Latham says:

    I have looked around the internet for sites that discuss homemade laundry soap. I make mine also because of allergies. You mentioned that this was the most informative but you are probably biased… no, you are not biased! This is the most informative article I have found yet! In fact, I am bookmarking it! Thank you!

  475. Lisa says:

    I’ve been using recipe #9 for a month and I LOVE IT! Thank you so much for publishing these recipes.

  476. Tami says:

    I bought liquid castile soap to make homemade dishwasher soap and have so much of it I want to use it for laundry. How would much would I use and is there anything else that would need to be changed when using the liquid castile?

  477. Amanda says:

    HI, I was just wondering how I could add a fragrance to the recipe or can I?

  478. Mary says:

    I didn’t know about vinegar and bleach reacting badly together. Can I use bleach in my load with my homemade soap and then use the vinegar in the rinse cycle?

  479. Lisa says:

    Thanks for your most informative blog.Its definitely the most comprehensive I’ve come accross ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I really want to make my own detergent for a number of reasons –
    1.cost! My son has eczema so I’ve had to try all the brands here and the only one he’s not alergic to the the most expensive! At about โ‚ฌ20 per 30 washes ;-/
    2. My sons eczema. I’ve read that this tends to be skin kind due to the few ingredients and no perfume.
    2. Its eco friendly. We are no connected to main sewers so we have to be careful what detergents end up going into the bio tank and disrupting the natural breakdown.
    BUT there are a few problems for me ๐Ÿ™
    I am in Ireland and washing soda and Borax are NOT readily available here I have found washing soda but in a much smaller quantity than your supermarket available brands above. Only 500g (17oz) but only costs $1
    I have the borax ordered from a pharmacy but not sure of the quantity or cost yet. I can only assume that it will still be more cost effective!
    I also have no clue about the soaps listed above. There arent very mand laundry soaps here – except vanish which is REALLY expensive. Could you use a carbolic soap or regular skin soap?
    What would the oz /gram weights of the measurements given above be so that I can halve or quarter the quantity to suit the size of the ingredients available to me?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Tina says:

      use Ivory soap or any soap if your son has a skin condition use castile soap and baking soda instead this works very well for skin care natural and cleaning and is good for the skin I hope this helps

  480. Yvonna says:

    Okay, I just finished making my first batch of the liquid .. and lets just say i love suds in my watch .. i don’t feel my clothing are clean.. so instead of using the 2 bars of soaps that a normal person uses .. i wanted to use four .. and lets just say i gotta a GLOP … of whiteness i am going to let is settle and in hopes that i will be able to use it tomorrow .. because i have four loads to wash .. lets pray it works !!

  481. Deborah says:

    I have made the powdered detergent using the formula of 1 c. borax, 1 c.washing soda & 1 bar soap plus I added 1/2 c of biz which is an enzyme booster & it brightens the clothes just great. I add 1/4 c of vinegar to rinse cycle when I feel the clothes will need an extra rinse boost. (large load or dirtier clothes) I also add Downy unstoppables for scent- a capful when I double the batch but that can be adjusted according to your desire.

  482. Kathleen says:

    I use a NO GRATE method as follows:

    For 1 gallon:
    3 TBSP Borax
    4 TBSP Washing soda
    3 TBSP Dawn dish soap non-concentrate (original blue)

    Add the washing soda and borax to container with 4 cups hot hot water, put on cap and give a good shake. Undo cap fill to about 2″ from top and add the Dawn. Put lid back on and give a couple good shakes. I shake before use and use about 1/2 cup.

    This is so convenient and doesn’t require the storage of a large pail or the possibility of bacteria growth from prolonged storage.

    • Kathleen says:

      ** that is fill with water to about 2″ from top before adding dish soap ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • maggie says:

        Are you sure you only use 3 tablespoons of dawn to 1 gallon of water?
        When you say to fill with water within 2 inches from the top, do you use more hot water or cold water?

      • maggie says:

        I am going to try this Kathleen. So, the first part is mixed with very hot water. Then when I fill with the remainder of the water is that also hot water or cold water? Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  483. Glenda M says:

    Thanks for posting all your homemade recipes. I love them. They not only save you money but they are environmentally friendly and we all need to think of that these days.

  484. Marcie says:

    Has anyone noticed if you use a soap like lever 2000 you get a fresh smell to clothes. I love my homeade detergent but the hubby thinks if he can’t smell the freshness it’s not as clean. I’m saving almost $35 dollars a month on detergent and can’t go back to store bought now, I’m hooked.

    • vicki says:

      use just a little of the downy unstopables – they leave an incredible scent!! You do not need to use the recomended amount per load, a little goes a long way!

  485. Jill says:

    Can you use Zest bar soap in these recipes??? Thinking about making my own but was unsure about the best soap. I want one that will make my clothes smell good and clean!

  486. Tom says:

    You can make washing soda by baking baking soda. Baking the baking soda burns the carbon and water outta it, leaving you with washing soda….

    look on the net for a recipy

  487. sue says:

    hi! my daughter in law makes home made laundrey soap ive decided to give it a try. will let you know how it turns out.

  488. Kayleigh says:

    Little tip for powder detergent makes like me. Microwave your soap for 1-2 minutes on a paper plate. It puffs up really big. The moisture is being cooked out of it and leaves the soap behind. Let it cool for several minutes. It will feel like dry foam after completely cooling. Cut into chunks with a butter knife and throw into a food processor. Makes a very nice fine powder.

  489. Beth says:

    Do you have to wait over night before you can use the detergent or can you use it right away?

  490. Steve says:

    The following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Borax, under the heading of Toxicity. My daughter, who is pregnant, just started mixing with Borax last week. I just sent Hera text telling her to STOP until we do more research. Apparently, the US regulations are not recognizing the dangers like the EU is. PLEASE read the following and do the research for yourselves and your loved ones …

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

  491. Lisa Banfield says:

    I want to make my own laundry soap. I’ve been told that it usually has no scent to it. Can you use the Downy Unstopables Scent Boosters in it? If so, how much?

  492. Heather says:

    If you add 1 box of powdered pectin to the grated soap when you are melting it, it helps to keep your soap from globbing up as much.

  493. Debbie says:

    I love this, but would love to scent it with something. I thought about essential oil, but each oil I looked at said not to get it on fabric! I know that mixing it with the detergent will delute the oil, so will it still be harmful to fabric? I love love love this detergent and it saves so much money!

  494. Kelli says:

    I made the liquid solution using
    1 c Borax
    1 c Washing Soda
    1 Bar Ivory Soap
    Mixed all the ingredients as directed, BUT mine never Set correctly, was still like water. Any suggestions?

  495. Aspen says:

    I’ve looked through all the tips and comments and found nothing about the problem I’m having: I’ve been making my own detergent, using recipe #1, for about two years. I like it a lot (obviously, since I’ve kept using it), but my detergent ends up with tons of crystals in it. I know this is from the borax, but I need to know 1) is this bad to put in with my laundry? The crystals are not large, but there are a bunch of them and they are pretty rough and sharp-ish. 2) if they are not good to put in with the laundry, how do I avoid these crystals from forming when I make my detergent? So far I’ve just been putting he detergent through and strainer to get the crystals out (yes, all 5 or so gallons of it–annoying!!!).
    Any help would be appreciated.

  496. katy says:

    I have been making recipe #3 for 3 years now. The first thing I noticed is that our laundry was softer after using this new detergent as opposed to our old standby Tide. After some calculations I realized that by making our own detergent we were saving ourselves $500/year. I can only imagine how much it is saving us now (3 years later) considering how much prices have gone up at the grocery store. I will never go back to buying laundry detergent.

  497. Cherri says:

    I want to make the liquid soap and wanted to know if I can replace the bar soap with liquid castile soap?

  498. Kendall says:

    Hello my name is Kendall and I would like to start making my own laundry soap and I was wondering if the powdered soap would grow mold or bacteria of any sort and on the soap could I use dove soap or would that be to heavy perfumed

    • Robert says:

      Powdered soap won’t spoil as long as it’s kept dry. However, it may be hard for you to make a dry powder in quantity using dry process and have the mixture stay uniform. I do notice above one of the recipes uses wet process to make dry product; that would more reliably stay uniform.

      Dove by itself might tend to leave too much stearic acid on fabrics, giving them a waxy coat. However, the recipes here contain large amounts of alkali that would turn that stearic acid into soap, so it should be OK.

  499. Sherril says:

    I sometimes find that not all stainscome out ๐Ÿ™
    Do u think that maybe adding some dishsoap? like dawn? a grease fighter may help?
    I use 1 C arm&hamme washingsoda
    1 C Borax
    1 bar ivory grated , mlted with 6 cups hot water n pan onstove,add washing soda an borax and a box of baking soda and some fabreeze for a clean smell,i use approx 1/2 cup (lid from liqid bottle)
    i use the fab softner (hair conditioner/white vinegar/water blend) approx 1/2 cup and double rinse,

    • reba says:

      I use dawn dishwashing detergent in my homemade detergent. I found the bar soap too time consuming. I add 1/4 cup to one of the giant laundry bottles after it is filled, this way it doesn’t suds over as I fill the container. Clothes come out clean and smell great. Dawn comes in many different fragrances, so pick your scent.

  500. Kendall says:

    Hello Kendall here again the reason why I ask this is because I’m what u call a prepper if u watch doomsday preppers you’ll know what I’m talking about and yes again I want a powder form of laundry soap

    • Carol says:

      I love that show!! I love the Book of Revelation in the Bible better though! I don’t think there will be a problem with mold or bacteria, but if you are worried about it you can either:
      1.) make smaller batches, I did.
      2.) Put Melaluca (tea tree) essential oil in with the powders when you mix them. Other good oils that are good germ fighters are Lemon, Lavender and Citrus oils.

      Personally, I would store up the base ingredients since that is what is going to disappear from stores first, and just mix up the powder a little at a time. Ingredients like Baking soda and Vinegar each have at least 75 different uses for them, so it won’t hurt to stockpile them.

  501. polly says:

    re: scent,a bottle of lavender or other essential oil will go along way for fragrance (found at health food and vitamin stores). vanilla would probably work as well. To mix large buckets of powder, just leave half empty and flip from upright to upside down & agitate several times,use two buckets as you repeat process,then add the second half to the first for a whole mixed bucket. Now,if we could use this method of homemade,do it yourself,save a small fortune while using healthy alternatives for all the products we buy,WOW! God bless all for sharing good stuff.

  502. Kendall says:

    could i use a bar of dove soap for my homemade laundry soap

  503. Mary says:

    I was at Walmart today and was lookin for the zote bar (I like it better)and found a box of it all ready in flakes it a 17.6oz. box that equal to bars. And it only about $2.36. Going to try and make my soap tonight. I have a really bad rash on my chests.

  504. missusclarke says:


    Love your site, it saves me loads of ยฃยฃ! Living in the UK (moved with UK hubby, originally from US) has presented its own problems trying to find supplies. I find my borax & washing soda on eBay through chemical companies cheaper than I find them (when I can – borax is hard to find here) in the supermarkets. Do a search for: Borax = SODIUM TETRABORATE; Washing Soda = SODIUM CARBONATE; Baking Soda = SODIUM BICARBONATE – if you find them hard to locate.

    Hope that helps!

  505. polly says:

    Amanda,essential oil(few drops ) to rinse cycle should work if using powdered form or to liqiud soap in wash cycle.lavender,vanilla,lemon ,orange etc.

  506. Tan says:

    Hi there. I’ve just mixed recipe number 10. 1/4 cup liquid castile soap, 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup vinegar. The consistency is meant to be like paste but mine is very sloshy. Are the quantities in this recipe right? Should there be less vinegar?
    I hope that someone can advise.

    Many thanks

  507. John L says:

    as a first timer we found the borax very easy to find but the arm & hammer super washing soda was a lot more difficult. places that i thought might carry it did not but our local Wal Mart did have it in our area of northern Ohio. so good luck and we’ll be experimenting with diffrent formulas to see which one works best for us.

  508. polly says:

    I’ve been using sears powder laundry detergent(large box stating it does 275 regular loads-@1 ounce per HE or midsize auto washer &1&1/2 ounce for large auto washers.)It costs $24.99.For making smaller portions,every cup=8 oz(times 3 for 3 one cup ingrediants,bs,ws+soap)and you should get approx.24 loads per the 24oz batch.I’m assuming that the sears brand is comparable to homemade and so one oz or one and a half oz for extra large capacity auto washers should suffice.This does not seem like enough soap but I’ve been using 1oz for 2 years would good effect and no soap residue(itchy skin,heavy feeling clothes,strong odor etc. My teens started using 2 scoops and the repair man said that too much detergent is being used as he saw white residue on the front glass door.For any one using 1/4cp,that would be 2oz(50%to double the needed amount costing twice as much or 50% more and I would try just one or one &1/2oz and see.also,I noted that oxyclean is sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate.Not sure of the ratio,but since we know how to make sodium carbonate cheaply,what is sodium percarbonate,is it found redily in powder form and would it be economical to make ourselves?Almost forgot,one box of borax is approx 12 cups,FYI.

  509. Pam says:

    Hate shredding the soap? Discovered this while doing a science experiment with the kids. Place a bar of soap on wax paper and microwave for a few minutes. Fels Natpha does work doing this method. I recommend that you cut the larger bars in half before nuking. Ivory soap will look like a fluff and the fells naptha will look like bread. Allow to cool, slice the nuked bars into pieces to allow them to completely cool, then place in a baggie or bowl and crumble to powder. No shredding at all. I done 6 bars in no time. If you have any unmelted pieces just put them back in the microwave for a little bit. Watch close and it great to get the kids involved.

    • Beckie says:

      Pam glad to know this as I only have use of 1 hand and arm. My thumb has problems on good hand and don’t like grating the soap.

      Thanks for the tip…

  510. Teri says:

    I’ve been able to find the washing soda at the local Menards, Tractor Supply & Rural King. The “farm” stores seem to carry things like that. Dollar General carries the Borax; I have found the Fels Naptha at Kroger/Payless & my small neighboehood grocer.

  511. Echo Marie says:

    I am really interested in the #9 Powdered Laundry Detergent, but was wonder 2 things.

    A)wouldn’t it be easier to use a powdered soap (natural only) in place of grating a bar(s). If you think this is a good idea, then what would be the best type to use without getting all the extra stuff that isn’t wanted? I can’t find any that is strictly basic, non fragrant, non conditioning, etc.

    B)I sell DoTerra oils and am interested in finding out if you would be able to add some for their benefits based on personal needs. Some ideas are – citrus for energizing/purifying, lavender for calming, etc. I am worried that by adding a liquid to this recipe I would be causing it to become clumpy.

    I would greatly appreciate your ideas and opinions. Thank you.

    • Carol says:

      I sell DoTerra oils too, best in the world!!!!!!!! I haven’t added any oils to the powder, what I do is sit a bottle of Citrus Bliss on the dryer. I made up a modified batch of recipe#4, and have done 2 loads, for the first I added my dissolved-in-HOT-water detergent to my cold water, and I added a few drops of the oil blend too. For the second load, I only added 6 drops to the 1/2 cup of vinegar in my downy ball. I always wash in cold water, both ways seem to do just fine! Clothes are bright, soft, no static cling, and smell great! My hubby’s nasty sweaty work clothes come out of the wash smelling very faintly of vinegar, but that’s a HUGE improvement over how they were going in!! I am very excited by how well it has done, and will be giving out samples for my family and friends.

      As far as the powdered soap question, I have no idea. I don’t think it will change the recipes much, I have thought about using something like Ivory snow for the liquid versions, but I need to read thru more comments because I think this question was answered a few scrolls up.

      Keep on with doterra, like I said best stuff in the world! It has cured a UTI, prevented another, cured a systemic yeast infection and lowers my blood sugar! I haven’t been sick at all since I have had my OnGuard, and my little brother’s colds are cured in half the time when I diffuse it around him! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks TipNut for the website and the posts and everyone for the comments!

  512. suzy says:

    I made a batch of homemade detergent and used Dove and now I read that is one NOT to use…. Why and what happens if I use it… Also making the batch with grated soap,water and baking soda does that have to sit over night before using? Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  513. redhed83402 says:

    Hello again! I have been making & using homemade laundry detergent for about 5 yrs, now, & it is wonderful, because not only does it save money, but it also saves my very sensitive-skinned husband & children from itching & getting hives from all of the fillers & detergents in store-bought laundry soap. My recipe is very simple: 2/3 fels naptha bar ~ grated, 2 cups Borax, 2 cups washing soda, & five gallons of hot water, along with a five gallon bucket, a lid to fit it, & an extra mug to dish it out with. I just add 1 gallon hot water after each ingredient (starting with the grated fels-naptha), & I use one of those hand-held mixers to mix it up with in between each ingredient as well. One of the things I have been adding of late is one capful of Melalueca lemon blossom stain remover. ( yes, you can still use bleach in the wash, if needed, there is no chemical reaction at this dilution rate.) This not only adds a delightful springy lemony scent, but it also aids in removing any harsh stains, & it is an all-natural, non-corrosive agent that does not irritate my kids’ skin. Plus, the scent lasts straight through the dryer. We use a rolled up ball of tin foil as our lint & static remover in the dryer, which also works very well, & the clothes & sheets & towels still come out soft & wrinkle-free, despite the fact that I have not used a dryer softener sheet in 3 yrs! Another handy bonus in not using the dryer sheets is that there is never a greasy feel to the fabrics, the lint catcher does its job better, & there is less (almost none!) product build-up on the lint screen. ( I still reccomend a complete soap & water scrub-down of lint screens every 2 to 3 months, however~ lint screens can be a major fire hazard if left unkempt.) Anyway, I hope this helps someone out ~ & once again Tipnut ~ you so rock!

    • leesers says:

      Please, I have never heard about using a rolled up ball of foil.
      How large of a piece of foil do you use to roll up?
      Do you use it rolled tight, or just a loose rolled ball?
      Can I keep using the same ball all the time?
      And, is it regular foil, or the heavy duty stuff?

      Thanks for this idea! I want to try it with my next load!!!

  514. polly says:

    I would think twice before putting felsnaptha in the microwave!Not sure about other soap brands but I spent hours trying to get out the chemical odor both in the microwave(over days and weeks)after 2 months there is still a faint flavor of soap in the water and food heated in the microwave.An ounce of prevention… While it is time consuming to grate that brand,there is probably a better way short of nuking.I would like to know of folks tried and true brands of soap to try.Thank you and happy frugal washing`!

  515. Lisa says:

    About 15 years ago there was a laundry soap on the market called White King. It is no longer manufactured. It was like tiny bits of ground up soap (had a bit of a waxy feel). This made all my baby laundry AMAZINGLY soft. I am looking for a way to make it since I can’t locate anything like it on the market. I know that real soap is made with oil, but none of your recipes are close to that; they only call for bar soap that has already been made. I know the detergents are made with petroleum based oils, whereas soaps are made with plant based oils. Do you know of any laundry soap recipe were you actually can make the soap itself?

    • Robert says:

      Look up forums for hobby and cottage commercial soap makers, of which there are many. Many of the people there can give you recipes for laundry soap.

      If you want soap that softens clothes and is gentle to the fabric, the recipe is easy if you just want to start with grocery ingredients: soap. That’s it, soap, nothing more. If you feel you must add additional alkali, use at most 1 part to 4 of soap.

  516. April says:

    Just curious have you ever tried Irish Spring deodorant soap? It has the ingredients listed above that you can use but it also says moisture blast with hydrbeads? (this would be with dry laundry soap)

  517. Mary Schmit says:

    Another method to produce fine soap is to use an old coffee grinder (find them cheap at second-hand stores) and dedicate it for this. It works great for me. I now don’t have to worry about leaving any soap residue in my processor.

    Method: cut into small chunks soap. Place chunks in grinder ( leave room for blades to chop) Grind until very small pebbles are produced. I use the pause method on my grinder so it does not cause too much friction on the motor.

    Clean after use

  518. Reynalda Silvas says:

    I have been making soap for about 6 mo. I use the borax, washing soda, & zote soap. I love it. For really tough stains I add 1 tblsp. Oxi clean. I also use a downy ball for softner. My question is would mixing do sowny unstopables into my powder soap create a reaction? I want to try it. But figured if anyone else has already done I and if how did it turn out. Thank you

  519. Gayle says:

    WARNING: I notice that some people have mentioned using “PH+” as found at pool supply stores. Please note this is not the same thing as washing soda – it’s similar, but a very different strength.

    – Baking soda too is similar, and can be converted to washing soda,by removing the water with heat.
    – Washing soda can irritate the skin, but I mostly don’t have problems if I wash my hands soon after using it. It might be found in the washing aisle of a supermarket.
    – “PH+” is Caustic Soda (I use it for dyeing fabrics and cleaning the loo), this is a much stronger chemical than washing soda and I certainly don’t recommend using is in a detergent recipe. When mixed with water it creates heat and I have had chemical burns from it when not wearing gloves. Please do not use this as a substitute for washing soda!!

  520. Dody says:

    I was just wondering about recipe #1 the amount of boraz and washing soda?
    Does that sound like a lot? I usually use 1/2 cup of each? Was just wondering if that would be too much?

  521. Dody says:

    In recipe #1 does that sound like alot of borax and washing soda. My recipe is the same, but it calls for 1/2 cup each? Was just wondering if anyone used that much and how it turned out?

  522. Art says:

    Both my wife and I are allergic to laundry detergent containing borax. Fab makes me break out and I look like I have chicken pox. Is there something I can use in place of the borax? Or will it work okay without it?

    As an aside, I work in a machine shop and get lots of oil in my clothes. My wife gets the oil out quite effectively by adding original-flavor Pine Sol (not the lemon stuff) to the laundry. Works like a charm.

  523. Dawn says:

    I mixed in an empty kitty litter pail: a box of borax, a box of washing soda and a box if Ivory snow. Mixed well and when I wash I add a 1/2 cup of Hydrogen Peroxide into the water. My clothes a bright white, and sanitary.
    I also make my own fabric softener with vinegar and cheap hair conditioner. Clothes are soft and smell great too.

  524. Suzannah says:

    I’ve been making mine in powdered form using 3 cups Borax, 3 cups Arm & Hammer Washing soda and 2 bars of Fels Naptha (all three ingredients available at Ace Hardware). This is enough to refill the last box of detergent I bought – a handy place to keep it. I put about 4 or 5 tablespoons into each load and it works very well – I’ve had NO problems at all with lingering stains or odor or any gray wash. I’m beginning to think I’m using too much in each load after reading these comments. Or I may just be using to much Fels Naptha. The scoop that came with my last box of detergent holds a surprising NINE tablespoons of powdered detergent. I had noticed that these scoops have been getting bigger over the years – probably as a way to get consumers to use more and therefore have to buy more.
    I have never been in the habit of using fabric softener until they came out with the Bounce bar that sticks inside the dryer. Might anyone have a recipe for replacing it?

  525. Faith says:

    Those dryer sheets are really environmentally dangerous. Using bags of dried lavender, or a cloth with organic essential oils would be a much better choice. I understand that people get used to using these, also for static cling, but when you think about the cost to our dear and irreplaceable planet, the choice is clear.

  526. Lisa says:

    Exploring and loving the idea of making our families laundry detergent. I have some Q’s… Thinking since 1st attempt that I’ll try #9 or #10, seems powders are easier to prepare. First if I cannot find liquid castile can I substitute with grated Ivory and how much would I use? I heard above not recommended microwave method for breaking up soap, opinions?
    With # 9 would I require a vinegar rinse? Also, My daughter and myself recently switched to cloth pads, which can not use fabric softener so would any ingredients including vinegar harm them?
    Is this a trying switch over from commercial brands? Please be honest. Family of 6 here and can’t afford to waste time or money.
    Any additional tips for a newbie appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚
    Also, skin sensitivities and allergies here.
    Oops! sry, one more… theses can all be done with cold washes?
    Thanks, Lisa

  527. Brenda says:

    Can you use homemade soap for the bar soap in these recipes?

  528. Shaun Mclain says:

    This is nice Information blog. Thanks for Sharing.

  529. Alicia says:

    Hi. I just made my first batch of detergent using one of the recipes above. How long do I need to wait to use the detergent?

  530. Lois says:

    Hi DIYers- I made my first batch of laundry detergent recently; have only used it 3 times so far. I want this to work, but not do damage to my septic system. My recipe (from several other web sites) is very similar to powdered #4- only difference is it has 1 bar of Fels Naptha, rather than 2 cups. Perhaps, if someone else made #4 they can tell me if they used the whole bar to get 2 cups. For a load of laundry I mix approx. 2 T powder with 1-2 cup of hot water, mix well, into washer. The soap didn’t fully dissolve, so I prepped some for the next load and let it sit until the next day. Next day the undissolved soap formed a ‘cork’ at the jar top. I squished it up with my hand (it was pretty soft, but a solid), and most of it dissolved. Then I prepped another batch, this time using boiling water (about 1.5 cups). The soap dissolved and when cooled was a solid gel mass. I could turn the jar upside down and nothing moved. I’m not sure if I want to use this detergent ‘block’ or not, and I’m nervous about this turning into a gel inside the septic tank and clogging things up. One thing I will try is to put the laundry powder batch thru a sifter to isolate the soap and then mix half of it back in. Has anyone had a similar experience? Thanks Folks, Lois

    • Natalie says:

      I have actually used an immersion blender on a small portion and it helped when I had this problem. It stayed more liquid for much longer. And I have put some through a rice strainer and it helped too.

  531. Frank says:

    My whole family makes their own washing detergent, works very good. I bought a paint mixer to use in my drill at Lowes for $8.00 to stir it with in the 5 Gal. pail, works very good. I let it set a couple days, stirring couple times a day with my mixer before using. We use #2 process except, we let the 5 Gal set over night, next day we stir it well using the drill and mixer, then empty half of it into another 5 Gal. bucket, then we finish filling both buckets with hot water, mixing well. This makes 10 Gal. Let them set over night. Mix well with the drill and mixer a couple times before using, not as thick but works great, shake the container before pouring into washing machine. Next time it only cost $1.00 for a bar of Fels- Naptha soap. Cant tell the difference from Tide.

  532. patti says:

    I just made a 1/2 batch of #1.. I did add several TBS of OxiClean powder to the mix.. I have hard water..I have suds .. lots of suds.. sitting on top of the liquid.. Should I just let it sit or should I skim off the suds..My liquid is not gel.. but is still warm it may turn to gel as it cools.. iS this normal I have not seen any comments about suds. Thanks patti

  533. Andrea Steiner says:

    What is the best recipe for hard water? I have mostly iron/rust but also some calcium? or maybe it’s lime? I have not yet made mine but am leaning towards the powder so I don’t have to have a ton sitting around in storage.


    Andrea Steiner

  534. Mary says:

    In recipe #9 – how many bars is 8 cups of grated (since how it is grated will make a difference in the cup size)? Thanks!

  535. Margret says:

    I love my home made detergents, both the liquid and the powdered. As far as worrying about the Borax or the washing soda these make big batches so I sure am not afraid of using them. There is too much “stuff” in detergents that you buy.
    These are a big money saver plus the cleaning of them is unimaginable. My whites are so white and the bright colors stay bright. I use the vineger as my rinse agent (just like I do in my dishwasher)
    By the way at our WM the baking soda is in the laundry aisle but it is on the opposite side of the detergents on the second shelf from the bottom, could not see it because there was only one box left and it was to the back. I knew it had to be there somewhere. lol. Anyway I love the detergents and yes just now making all this stuff at the age of 70. Wow think of the money I wasted after all these years.

  536. Kayla says:

    Homemade laundry detergent IS safe for septic tanks. It’s actually better for your septic tank than the detergents bought from the store. And I have heard that alot of front-loader washing machines these days advise you to use homemade, non-commercial detergents to make your machine last longer. Commercial detergents and fabric softeners leave behind horrible residues and line your pipes and hoses coming from and to your washer which can become very hazardous and cause you to have to prematurely purchase a new washer when you could’ve prevented that by making your own homemade, safe detergent.
    Also, most homemade soaps have very low suds so most are ok for front-loaders. It all has to do with the suds levels with front-loaders.

  537. Joy says:

    Hi I sure hope you can help me !! I made the Laundry Soap Yesterday and I was so Excited!this morn. I stirred it and I put Essentials oil in it,
    it smells sssooo good. BUT I gave my Neighbor a bottle to try , she tried it on sheets and after starting her wash she so no suds, I forgot to tell her that there will be no suds. I called to see how she liked the detergent she liked it, smelled Good her Hubby even commented on how good it smelled Well the COMPLAINT was when she took her MAROON colored Sheet “she uses to cover her Sofa” she took it out of the Dryer and put it on her sofa and it has SPOTS on the sheet that looks like she said (“OIL”)what did I do wrong? and how do I fix this problem?? !!!!! I am so sorry for her! Do I add more Hot water to the Bottles? or what can I put in the Bottles that’s filled with laundry Soap to take out the oil?? I think I put more oil than it calls for Could that be the Problem? and she said when she didn’t see suds she put more Laundry soap in the wash.. !!! could it be possible too much Essentials oil? OH I feel so terrible!! I Don”t want to ruin any more clothes, especially our Good clothes .. PLEASE HELP ME !!!!!! Thank you kindly….

    • Andrea says:

      this is exactly why I had to stop using the homemade laundry detergent. She can wet a bar of Ivory soap and rub it on the spots and rewash in regular detergent. That did the trick for me. By the way, I used Fels Naptha as the bar soap and was disappointed in how many “oil spots” were on our clothing….

    • Elsie says:

      I can relate. When I switched to home made soap my first clothes got spots and I could not figure out why. I did not put oils in my batch. I studied the spots for awhile and realized that they were from the side of the washer. ( The drum) The new soap had cleaned the washer from previous residue buildup in the washer from the old soap I had been using. After that episode I no longer have spots. PS My understanding in using oils is to make sure that they should be good grade, water soluble essential oils.

  538. Susan says:

    When looking for containers for mixing or storing, I would recommend going to a home improvement store (such as Lowes or Home Depot). They usually carry 5 gallon containers that have never been used. Contractors use them to mix paint or anything else they need. You would be safe from contaminants and not have to clean it. They are usually fairly cheap, have lids and some of the stores offer them free as an incentive.

  539. Selina Benware says:

    I am hoping that I can get some feedback on a question I have about making Home-made laundry soap. First off, I facilitate these groups called Learning PODS for where I work. We would like to do a class on teaching them how to make their own detergent! My question is, since I will have like 10 people in my class, how could I make enough so that each member gets a good amount of powdered laundry soap? Is there a way to double, or even triple these batches, so that there would be enough for 10 or so people to take home with them? Any help is greatly appreciated!

    • randi b says:

      I make the liquid soap and store it in 12 one quart canning jars. You could try that and it would give you enough for everyone. If you don’t want to invest the money in the jars, ask around. You probably know someone who has some old jars in their basement.

  540. Sam says:

    I was told that if you microwave the bar soap it will turn to a fine powder, surely this would be better than grating if making the powder detergent, or melt much quicker for making the liquid version???

  541. Angela says:

    Are these all HE safe?

  542. Patty says:

    I buy Arm & Hammer washing soda, Borax and Fels Naptha bar soap,
    all at Wal-Mart. All in the same area.
    They have caught on that people are making their own laundry soap.
    The cashier says, “making laundry soap ? I say, “yes, I am ”
    It is so convenient that they have it in the same area, almost on the same shelf.
    On my second batch, we are retired and we love it.
    Our daughter put us on to this,, just this summer.
    I do bleach my towels and use powder laundry detergent, with it, in hot water, and they say this should be done to clean the washer and drains of any residue.
    Many Thanks,

  543. Nainai says:


    I made the recipe #8 (baking soda) using my own bastille soap bar (olive, coconut, palm oil and few other oils i cant remember. I just used too many oils back then)

    I didnt know that when i used HE load i onky needed smaller amount of detergent. Anyway i used full cup for a full 7 kg load as my hubby’s bike gear smelt terribly smelly.
    It worked! The clothes came out very clean and was no longer smelly. Very cool

  544. nai says:

    I made the recipe no 8 with baking soda. I used half of the recipe. I used my castile soap as a base. used half a cup in my cold HE wash. It came out great!

    I used a quarter cup of ACV with water for the rinse.

    thanks for the recipe

  545. Jen S. says:

    I’ve just started to try out some homemade laundry recipes. I worry that I need more soap to properly clean my clothes. can I use both fels naptha and Dr bronner’s castile soap in the recipe w the borax and washing soda?


    • Robert says:

      There’s no danger in combining the soaps, but I don’t see any advantage. Simpler just to reduce the amount of borax & washing soda; try leaving them out entirely and see your results.

      All these recipes for homemade laundry detergent are what would’ve been considered cheap & inferior formulas in the days when most such products were soap-based. The better products had less alkali and more soap, so they didn’t degrade fabrics as quickly as the alkali-heavy brands. Some like Ivory Snow had some soft potassium soap in addition to hard sodium soap, to dissolve faster.

      Borax & washing soda aren’t the best “builders” for laundry soap either, it’s just that they’re most easily available in retail amounts. Better would be sodium silicate, but there you’ve got to know enough not to use too alkaline a sodium silicate. Sodium hexametaphosphate or (penta)sodium tripolyphosphate would be excellent, but obviously not if you want to minimize your household’s phosphate output to the sewer (but good plant food in gardening).

      There are some very good laundry detergent formulations (not the ones circulating online, though) based on soap, but they include some ingredients it would be hard for you to get cheaply in small amounts, and they may not be low sudsing enough for HE machines, although they were OK in the old front loaders that used more water & didn’t rotate as fast in the wash. The Shine-O-Matic Detergent used in Brillo (soap, low-alkalinity sodium silicate, non-ionic surfactant of alkyl ethoxylate or alkyl phenol ethoxylate type) would be excellent for laundry if the soap were chosen for detergency (coconut or palm kernel) rather than ability to stick to steel wool. You can actually get that type of non-ionic surfactant (to prevent lime soap deposition, improve cleaning, and reduce the suds of soap somewhat) as, for example, Shaklee Basic H, maybe also as Lestoil, but it might not be cost effective even though you’d use it as only a minor additive.

  546. loepl says:

    I just want to add, some bar soaps will damage clothes. I made the mistake of using a bar soap in an emergency to quickly hand wash a shirt once, I think it may have been Zest but not sure. It bleached the fabric and ruined the shirt. If you want to use something besides Fels Naptha or the other bar soaps suggested above, test it out on something you don’t mind getting ruined – Don’t make my mistake ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Joe says:

      I have tried a TON of homemade laundry detergent recipes. The easiest one that works for me is this.

      1-2 teaspoons of Tide liquid
      1 TBS of Borax
      1-2 teaspoons of oxyclean

      This is not really homemade but it brings the cost down substantially.

  547. Nicole says:

    I have been making mine for a while now and love it but I make it different then you I add the baking soda and the ocy to all my batches I make along with purex crystals and its last for ever and we are farmers and the stuff takes everything out had to work with the amount to use as for every load is differnt but thanks for all the infor

  548. Claudia Scheffler says:

    When I microwaved the Fels Naptha, the whole great room smelled of it. I turned on the kitchen fan. The microwave smelled of it too. I wiped it out using soapy water (joy dish soap) with a few drops of real vanilla in it. Washed the inside and the plate, etc. Seems to have worked. No more smell. I have also used vanilla on a small piece of paper towel to wipe out smelly refrigerator and freezer, and coolers. Takes the smell away every time.
    I have enjoyed reading all the comments. I made the powdered soap today and used it on some dirty white rugs. Came out nice and clean and white. Used 1/4 cup vinegar and 2 rinses. I added 1 cup of baking soda to the soap, borax, washing soda mix. I just hope that I am not allergic to the fels naptha. It has fragrance in it. I have learned to avoid fragrance to avoid itching and rashes. Maybe the second rinse will get it all out. I handled the wet rugs and have not broken out. Usually it starts within 5 minutes.

  549. Brad says:

    I like using the pink Zote when I make my homemade powdered detergent because it has citronella in it which is a good bug repellent. It works well in the summer time because of all of the mosquitoes and gnats…etc.

  550. big blunder says:

    I made the liquid laundry soap and thought I would save a step and add 1 container of oxy clean….Big big BIG mistake. After the soap was grated, and the borax and washing detergent added to the mixture in the bag pail…..it erupted. Volcanic eruption all over the kitchen floor. It just kept overflowing and bubbling up and up. I guess you can only add the oxy clean to the dry recipe or add it to the washer prior to doing the laundry. Pretty much wasted my whole patch not to say the mess that came with it. So…please DO NO ADD OXY CLEAN TO THE LIQUID RECIPE

  551. henry riffle says:

    I will confess I did not read all 802 comments so this might be duplicate info- concerning septic systems- If you can separate your laundry drain from your main septic system you will be saving yourself a BIG future bill. I’ve been told its the lint clogging up the leach bed that will shut down your system. Failing that, at least put an old nylon stocking on the drain hose in your slop sink-you will be amazed at how much lint you collect. I don’t see why any homemade detergent would be worse than commercial products, maintaining healthy bacteria levels is the key. I’d be more concerned about toilet cleaners or bleach, but moderation is the key. My septic system is nearly sixty years old.

  552. LonnieQ says:

    I have used variations of these recipes for years. I mix and store it in a 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot. Their buckets are food safe as well and aren’t too expensive. I also use a few drops tea tree oil and I dissolve a cup or two of the Downey fragrance crystals. I did make the mistake of adding powdered oxyclean to one batch and that was a disaster. I use it in my front loading washer and it does just fine.

    Happy washing to all! It works, it really works!

  553. peggy says:

    I was wondering could you use lestoil for a stain booster instead of oxy clean?

  554. Randi B. says:

    My 4 year old daughter and I both have extremely sensitive skin, especially to scents. I had been buying the “free and clear” detergents, using whichever brand was cheaper at the time of purchase. The cost of detergent has become extremely expensive and I’m always looking for a way to save money. My aunt gave me her recipe and its all I use now, except for Oxi Clean white revive with my whites; we have spring water.

    Coursley grate 2 fels naptha bars into a 12 qt plastic dish pan. (find by the dish drying racks at Walmart.)
    add 4qts boiling water, stir until dissolved.
    add 5qt hot water to mixture.
    stir in 2 cups Borax and 2 cups Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda.
    Once dissolved, top off with hot water, leaving about an inch at top.
    Stir and let sit for 24-48 hours. Mixture should gel
    Chop mixture up, them using a hand mixer; mix until consistency of mashed potatoes.
    disperse blended mixture evenly among 12 one quart canning jars.
    Top off jars with water, leaving 1inch head space.
    Cover, then shake jars to blend.
    To use laundry soap:
    pour one jar into empty liquid detergent bottle; at least 3qt in size
    add 2 quarts of water and shake, shake, shake!!
    Measure using cap as you would store bought detergent.

    This recipe is good for so many things. It does not make suds, which is nice for household cleaning. I spot clean my rugs, carpets, and upholstered furniture with it. You can also use it in a rug scrubber.

    If you are sensitive to scents and/or dyes, then this recipe is for you! I personally think it cleans our clothes better then any store bought detergent without using any more per load. Don’t be afraid to pre-treat tough stains. To put it plain and simple, treat this detergent the same as you would store bought detergent, and enjoy the savings!

  555. Beckie says:

    I have used both your liquid soap and powder…Saved so much money by not having to buy commercial soaps

    I prefer the powder because I can make a double batch and keep in a square container ( from Walmart)on top of my dryer.

    I always made a 5 gallon bucket of liquid soap the buckets & lids can be found at any farm store. You need a place to store your bucket close to washer. I used an empty liquid wash soap container for every day use.

    I’ve used these products for over 4 years and wouldn’t use anything else.
    I like that there is no smell to the wash as I’m allergic to so many smells.

    My friend in Kansas put me on the know…. Also make my own dish washer soap and shampoo is great. I’m sure I’ll find more money saving items.

  556. Jason says:

    I used the #6 with Zote, and 3 tablespoons of glycerin and loved it. I used a hand mixer and looks foamy. It does clean very well (or so it seems).

  557. pam says:

    I have been looking into start using homemade soap and my friend just told me she has used it but it did not clean her husbands cloths due to grinding dust and grease/oil that most men get into while in the garage or at work with hydraulic fluids. So what is recommended to wash this tough load in?

  558. Heather says:

    If you don’t add the essential oils to your detergent you could add a few drops to a piece of clothing before turning the dryer on. makes clothes smell amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

  559. Jessica says:

    I have made several recipes for laundry soap and I have trouble with my clothes getting a storage smell. Is there any remedy for this?

  560. Kathi says:

    My favorite laundry soap recipe: works great and I appreciate not having to shred the bar soap.
    Very watery, shake well before use or dilute less and use less per load.

    1/2 C. BORAX
    1/2 C. BLUE DAWN

  561. leesers says:

    I have started making my own detergent because I just cannot afford off the shelf detergents anymore. My boys have strong odors, so I need a good detergent that is also gentle enough for my clothes.

    I am using a recipe close to your #4.
    (1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda, and 1 bar fels-naptha. Although for price, we have made a very large recipe all at once using a bar of Zote mixed in.)

    My problem is, none of my kitchen towels absorb ANY liquid anymore! Also, they are getting dingier and dingier and even the rest of our clothes are getting harder and harder to keep looking clean. We have VERY hard well water. I was using 1 Tbsp per load, then changed to 2 for the towels and the boys, now I am using 3. I know I am using too much, but if I dont, nothing “looks” clean.

    It looks like I should use: 1 Tbsp with a quarter cup white vinegar in my downey ball?

    Does anyone have any experience with towels not absorbing?

    Thanking every one in advance,
    The desperate housewife!

  562. Lynn says:

    How long does it take for the powdered detergent (#10) to turn to powder?

  563. jessica says:

    Help! I love making my own laundry soap but by the time I get to the end of the batch, our clothes start smelling like STORAGE! I have tried several recipes with the same result. Is it my water? We do have hard water with lots of iron. Our clothes are clean, just smelly! Also our sheets…I hope someone can help me because I would like to continue making laundry soap.

  564. Helen R. says:

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU!!! I started making my own laundry soap shortly after we moved to our house in the country and I have this web site book marked for quick reference. The recipes are great and work extremely well. We are on spring water and a septic system, so I was really worried at first. But I have been using the #1 soap for 6 years now and there has never been any issues with our septic. I’ve been told by our septic guy that this is way better for the septic then the commercial stuff. I also wanted to let you know that I do use my grey water on part of my grass and it’s the most thick, lush and green grass in my whole yard. Thanks again!!

  565. Lesa says:

    All the different tips on here are great but here is one I did not see. I use the Zote Bars and they are BIG! I was tired one day and just hacked it into quarters and put it in a pan of water but didn’t get around to boiling etc. Went to bed. Next morning…. dissolved!! No more grating, food processor etc for me anymore. Of course this is only beneficial if you make liquid detergent. Always good to have shortcuts that work ๐Ÿ™‚

  566. skyler wind says:

    A few suggestions:

    if your liquid detergents is too lumpy or gelled, pour batches of it into your blender and whip it on high, adding a little water as needed to thin it. I like mine to be the consistency of mayonnaise–smooth, and needing a spoon to scoop rather than a pour spout. why? because when pretreating, it is nice to have something that sticks right where I want it. I use a baby toothbrush (very soft bristles), wetting the bristles and lightly scrubbing the stained area. I’ve actually gotten set stains out of clothing that I thought I’d have to throw out! Of course, you can add more water for a more pour-able creamy detergent. Just up the amount you use to 1/4 cup.

    Add Tea Tree Oil-it’s a natural disinfectant. Other essential oils can also lend antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, and smell great! Just do a little research. There are plenty of sites for buying essential oils, and most offer details on the benefits of various scents. Of course, I’ve never had a batch go “bad”, and I scent according to my preferences. I LOVE citrus-y scents, like lemongrass and grapefruit (uplifting,energizing). Another favorite is Sandlewood, Patchouli and Myrhh (very sultry & sensuos). The scent fades quickly once the clothes are dry, or are very very faint and not invasive or overpowering, so you don’t have to worry about it not blending well with your perfumes or deodorant aroma. But the aroma can fill the house on washing day, setting whatever mood you want to express.

    Occasionally I run out of my DIY Dishwashing powder, but in a pinch, I throw in a dollop of the laundry detergent, add a tsp of salt and a tbsp squirt of lemon juice (or, throw in a chewable Vitamin C), with white vinegar in the rinsing agent compartment. Voila! sparkling clean dishes!

  567. MARTA retired says:


  568. gloria says:

    what can i add to the detergent to make it bubble a little. i was considering SLSA. JUST made my 1st detergent it did not foam and i like to see some kind of foam when the clothes wash.

  569. Jessica says:

    I was really excited to make my own soap. Tried to make powdered recipe number 4. Simple to make. Was a little turned off by the Fels Naptha scent so I added some essential oils. Tried the soap with some bedding. Once the cycle was finished and I removed the bedding from the machine, it still had powder that had not washed off. Clumps were all over it. Not sure if there just wasn’t enough movement inside the washer or what the deal was. Had to rewash with store bought laundry soap. I will try again, maybe not with bedding, but so far, not impressed ๐Ÿ™

  570. Valerie says:

    Very useful information! Thanks for all the hard work and comments. I would like to suggest that you add to your helpful tips at the top some information about how to CLEAN you washing machine. Few people know that you really do need to clean your machine once in awhile. Especially prior to trying a new homemade detergent. You can find a machine cleaner at the hardware store. The first time I used it I had to run the machine 3 times with the product before there were no more suds forming during the cycle. Me, like most people, have in the past used too much detergent! This caused buildup in the machine. We need to clean our machines periodically if we have hard water, or if you notice soap scum in your machine, if you are having problems with rashes or sensitive skin. Additionally if you are having skin issues you may benefit from a deep cleansing of ALL your clothing, bedding, towels etc resulting from the buildup of excess soaps/detergents accumulated over time. And of course, always, always always use vinegar rinses!

    I make liquid/gel recipes and always combine 2 different soaps; 1/2 100% coconut castile and 1/2 fels naptha. I have not found any EO that “sticks” to clothes out of the dryer. I will try making some lavender sachets and see if that works. Thanks again! I picked up some useful tips!

  571. Skeeter says:

    I placed a whole bar of Fels Naptha in my salad shooter, used the cheese grater attachment and it worked splendidly!

  572. Dan says:

    When making this for my picky daughter in laws to try I added some scentsy fabric freshener ( the citrus smell is the syrongest ) and it smelled amazing but at 10 dollars for 16 ounces I am sure I won’t be doing that again . I do like the Purex fabric crystals to add to homemade detergents to give them a pleasing scent.

    I normally use essential oils and have tried tea tree and lemon and lavender but haven’t had the nerve to try cinnamon yet

    I see that the etsey DIY people are claiming fame to similar recioes but we all know who did the work and put this all together for us . Thanks!

  573. Raven Dupres says:

    Just vinegar. I use it for washing the clothes. It loosens dirt and neutralizes my hard water. Squeezing a lemon into the rinse water leaves the clothes smelling slightly lemony and delicious. For getting the odor out of doggy quilts and cat beds I use very dilute bleach, rinse and then follow with my vinegar wash and lemon rinse.

  574. Raj says:

    i have started making laundry detergent from the laundry soap, by grating it.
    When i take this powder in my hand and wash my hane it sticks in my hand.
    Is there anything to put so that the soap washes just like other detergent.

  575. Crystal says:

    Homemade Laundry Detergent
    1 Box of Super Washing Soda 3 lb. 7 oz.
    1 Box of Borax 4 lbs 12 oz. size
    1 Box of Pure Baking Soda 4 lb.
    3 bars of Fels-Naptha 5.5 oz. or you could also use Ivory or Zote soap
    1 container of Oxy-Clean 1.3 lb ($3.86)
    *optional: Purex Crystals 28 oz. for scent (or you could use Downy un-stoppables)
    Finely grate the Fels-Naptha.
    Mix all the ingredients together and store in container of your choice.
    **Use only 1-2 Tablespoons of detergent per load.
    I’ve used this for 3 years, no problems and I do still use bleach on whites because I’m cleaning soiled laundry from a sick person.
    I got a free 2 1/2 gallon bucket from Kroger bakery/deli. Just ask they will give it to you. I’m sure that you can ask Walmart or any store that has a bakery/deli.

  576. HO says:

    I’ve tried adding grated soap to my homemade laundry soap, but find that it leaves powder spots on my clothes. Perhaps dissolving it in water would be best before adding to laundry.

  577. GT says:

    Hi Folks,

    Good friends shared their recipe with me years ago (5-10 years), and since then I’ve researched the heck out of homemade detergent recipes, even going into the minutiae of each of the ingredients and their purposes. I’ve experimented with it, and here is what I’ve found works well for me. (By the way, I have very sensitive skin, to the point where I have to use hypo-allergenic shampoo, otherwise, my scalp breaks out in a rash. For this reason, I use Neutrogena bar soap. It’s been quite a few years and no issues have occurred. What follows is my recipe, which makes enough powder to fill an old Tide 87 oz flip-top box I use to store it in: Each box lasts about 3 months, depending of course on how many loads we run (kids home or not – LOL!). I’ve been using 2oz of powder per load, but I’m going to try cutting that in half just to see what happens as I’ve been told I’m wasting it by using so much. These ingredients work very good no matter what the load consists of, and when I get grease stains on my work clothes from working on the car, I use pre-treatment stain removers as usual. Anyway, here ya go:

    2 cups of ground up (powdered) Neutrogena bar soap
    2 cups of powdered OxyClean
    2 cups of Washing Soda
    2 cups of Baking Soda
    2 cups of Borax
    3 cap fulls of Purex Crystals (which equates to one 15.5 oz bottle) fragrance of your choice (I haven’t played around with essential oils, but you could substitute that here.

    If you find it easier to make a smaller batch, it’s easier to cut this recipe in half, and of course, that results in half a box. The hardest part of the whole thing is grinding up the bar soap. Right now I’ve been using a cheap blender for this purpose, but I’m going to experiment with some other methods in the hopes of finding something easier. After I combine all the ingredients in a 5-gallon pail, I use a paint stirring tool in my cordless drill to mix everything thoroughly. Also, get yourself some of those white dust masks, because the powdered soap especially will make you gag if/when you breathe in its dust. Don’t ask me how I know this! While this does take some time, it saves you a ton of money, is more environmentally friendly, and gives you the satisfaction of having done it you