Homemade Laundry Detergent

I think my sister and I are channeling Laura Ingalls these days.

We totally made our own clothes soap.

It was really cheap.  Under $7 and this will last forever!

You can totally do this too, it’s super easy.

To make about 4 mason jars full you will need:

6 cups Borax

4 cups baking soda

4 cups washing soda

4 cups Fels-Naptha bar soap (almost 2 bars)


UPDATE: This is totally your decision, but some new studies are showing that Borax powder fumes may cause reproductive harm in men.  You may try adding more baking and washing soda instead of the Borax and see how you like the results.  Another commenter made her’s into a liquid, which would cut out the fumes of the Borax:

“I have made as a liquid. I grate one bar of soap, melt in a pot of water (even let it boil for just a second, but not bubble over!) Add 1c borax, 1c washing soda, mix, make sure it’s all incorporated, and put in three different gallon containers. Add water to top and shake hard. Use around 1c per load”-Melissa

Grate the bar soap, I have read that you can use Dove or some other soap if you can’t find this particular one.

But I will say…

I live in the city.

The C.I.T.Y.

No chickens. No cows.

And my Publix sold all this stuff.

Now put it all in a bowl and mix it really well.

Also, you should know, this is very powdery and was starting to go everywhere.

Up our nose, in our mouth.

Just sayin.  Try to mix carefully.

Now put it in jars or an air-tight container.


You will need 2 tablespoons per load.

OK, here’s the deal on the HE washing machines.

HE washing machines need special soap that is low-sudsing.

And this is, so you really should be fine.

It’s totally safe in mine and my sisters.

Also the Duggars have a recipe that’s similar and they use it in HE. So there ya go.

You can make a sweet tag if you want to give as a gift.

I used cotton butcher twine to attach a clothes pin.

Then added a homemade tag that you can download here.

(Thanks Graphics Fairy for the label border)

I thought later that I should have included instructions on how much to use.

I think it would be cute to write it on the clothes pin.

Or you could attach another tag.

Happy Little House on the Prairie!

And happy saving a lot of money.


I am linking to Saturday Night Special!

The Girl Creative

The Graphics Fairy

The DIY Show Off

Making the world cuter

Someday Crafts

PS…want about 50 tips and tricks for this recipe?

The comments are worth a read:)

oh and also…

I really really want to respond to every single amazing comment. But truth is…it’s getting really hard!

So know that I love you and I love that you are here and visited my blog and took time out of your day to comment:)


  1. Yolanda Fields 4 years ago

    Found you through Tip Junkie too, LOVE the Duggars as well, and likewise, have used free vintage images from the Graphics Fairy (not to mention have fond memories of reading the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder growing up). I dismissed the idea of making my own laundry detergent when a mom said she stopped making her own when her husband complained that it made the clothes rough. Is that true?

    • Yolanda Fields 4 years ago

      P.S. I was comparing your recipe to the Duggar’s. How come you add baking soda to yours?

      • Christine 4 years ago

        Oh, and baking soda has tons of uses for freshening and stain cleaning, so it helps with both in a load of laundry:)

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Hey Yolanda! I’ve never had my clothes feel rough at all! I have workout clothing tide that I use for our running clothes and don’t feel any difference 1 load to the other…
      With this soap being so cheap, it may be worth a try for you!!


      • Yolanda Fields 4 years ago

        JUST ran out of laundry detergent so I came on her to get the list of ingredients. I just noticed your replies to my comments. Thanks! Right now I’m trying to figure out where I can buy all these items and the best way to grate a bar of soap. =)

        • Terry R. 4 years ago

          I have been using this for about 3 months,(from 1 recipe). I love it!! I found all the ingredients at Wal-Mart.

          • Yolanda Fields 4 years ago

            You’re right! All of the ingredients can be found at Walmart! =)

          • Yolanda Fields 4 years ago

            I have a few more questions: Your post says your recipe fills about 4 mason jars. What size jars did you use? You also said this recipe only cost you $7. Did you use coupons? Were some of the ingredients discounted? Finally, I found a similar recipe that uses 2 cups less of Borax but 2 bars more of Yardley bar soap (instead of Fels-Naptha). What does adding more Borax do?

            Once again, I’m SO glad I came across your blog post! Thanks for sharing your homemade laundry detergent experience!

          • Cindy 3 years ago

            I want to thank you for your blog. My hubby & I got the ingredients and made it. We won’t got back to the name brands. We are so pleased with this laundry soap. I had not thought of putting in jars for a gift. Thank you so much.

        • Christine 4 years ago

          Hey Yolanda,
          I am responding to your comment below…I can’t remember using coupons, maybe the prices have increased? Not sure about the recipe differences, I’m assuming that just like you can buy Tide and All, you can also use different homemade ingredients…

        • Rebecca 4 years ago

          I know Walmart carries these ingredients.

    • Kelly Thacker 4 years ago

      I make my own detergent with the same ingredients. The only thing different I do is make it into a liquid and add sweet orange essential oil. The oil is a natural degreaser and it smells nice as well. I don’t think the clothes feel rough and my husband loves the fact that we save so much money at the grocery store.

      • Rebecca 4 years ago

        How do you turn it to liquid?

        • Miriam 3 years ago

          Just add water :)

          • Ruth 3 years ago

            I would like to try and turn this into liquid. What is the ratio of water?

    • nancy kosse 4 years ago

      try adding a little vinegar to the rinse water (i put mine the the fabric softner dispenser) to make clothes softer.

      • Deborah Jennings 4 years ago

        I do the same thing! Vinegar is also an antibacterial agent. Love my vinegar! =) It also helps to keep whites, white.

      • Miriam 3 years ago

        And the vinegar in the final rinse cycle will get rid of any stubborn odours – cooking smells, wet dog smells, sweaty teenager ‘aroma’. Even had good results with with ferret musk. The vinegar works as an anti-bacterial and deoderisor. It may counteract any nice essential oils you add to your wash though, you’d have to try that out.

    • Laura 3 years ago

      I use this same recipe of homemade laundry detergent and my clothes are not stiff. I love the stuff!

  2. Debbie 4 years ago

    Homemade soap is not new to my family I have helped both my grandmother and mother make homemade Lye soap in the cast iron kettle out side. They made a no frills verson that really didnt smell nice to me but theres nothing better for grass stains. The last time my mom made it she had a hard time finding the lye that goes in it.. Theres also the problem of how long it took to make and then cure.
    This takes alot less time so I made this detergent and I
    love it:) I did do a few things differently. For the bar soap I used half pink zote soap (.99 cents for 16 oz bar at Wamart) and half the fells napa (also .99 at Walmart- for some reason the we’re at different places in the store) I like the cleaning better of one and the smell of the other. I also used my Bullet (fancy name for a sm food processor) the problems is as it processed the soap softened, so I started putting in the powdered ingredients with the bar soap in the blender and came out with a finer product that dissolved almost instantly in the washer.
    My first batch I made the mistake of mixing dry all fabric bleach in it. I discovered you had to use more but my clothes had never looked so clean with so little effort. Today I start on my third batch and I can’t help but feel that up in heaven my frugal grandmother is looking down and smiling at me:)

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Your story is wonderful Debbie!! Thanks for sharing all your tips! I may have to try with that new soap!

    • Ronda 4 years ago

      Thanks for the tip for the food processor, I had tried it in mine and everything wanted to stick to the sides, I will try it your way next time.

    • Jennie 4 years ago

      what about unwrapping the bar soap & letting it air dry first? My mom taught me that would make the bar last longer for washing; maybe make grating it easier too?

      • Debbie 4 years ago

        Opening your bar soap and letting it sit out does make it harder and it does last longer. I made a cute bar soap hanger for my mom years ago using ribbon. It was simple to make and held 3 bars of open soap. Plus it makes a lovely smell hanging there.

  3. Tina 4 years ago

    I have been using the homemade laundry detergent for about two months now. The only complaint that I have is, it is not getting the grease stains out like pasta sauce and I have to use so much of the detergent to get my close clean. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Hi Tina!
      I haven’t had much stain trouble, but you could try a pre-treat stick or something to help with that. Also, this may sound ridiculous, but do you have a top-loader machine? Is it agitating correctly? Because I used to have one and it didn’t, and I blamed it on all 50 detergents that I tried:) Other than that, I try to use good practice like washing stained clothing asap, and in general washing every few days. Hope that helps!

      • Vanessa VanTrease 4 years ago

        I make this soap all the time but I use the Grandma’s Lye soap. Also, I use the rgular blue DAWN dish soap to treat all grease stains and it works magic on the spots. The difference is I cook mine on the stove with water to melt the shaves soap, when melted, let cool then add dry ingredients to water and pour in the lye water. I put these into old used clothes soap containers. Just give it a shake each time before your pour. I’m tempted to try the ‘dry soap’ process to save time.

        • Cristy 3 years ago

          how much of the mixture do you use per xlg load? Also, about how much water do you add to the lye before melting and to dry ingred. before mixing with lye water. THANKS!

    • Linda 4 years ago

      Tina, I have never made homemade laundry detergent before, but I have used Zote and Fells Napa to remove stubborn stains. I wet the area with the stain and the soap. Then I rub the soap on the stain and rub the fabric together after soaping it up. I do this before washing the garment as a pre-wash/spot wash and it works great. So, if you are using a homemade laundry detergent you should already have either of the two soaps at had. Give it a try and see what results for you.

      • Christine 4 years ago

        Thanks so much Linda! Super helpful comments!:)

    • Ronda 4 years ago

      If you reserve a bare of soap and wet the corner and rub it on the stain you can use it like a pre-treatment.

    • Amanda 3 years ago

      Hi Tina,

      I seen on Pinetrest that if you take plain white chalk and rub it into the grease stain prior to washing it helps absorb the grease and comes out easily in the wash!! I tried it on sausage grease from cooking and it worked!! Hope this helps!!

      BTW I am so going to try this homemade soap as soon as I can!!

      • Cassie 3 years ago

        After seeing that tip on Pinterest, I actually used pink sidewalk chalk (it’s what I could find after we just moved) and it got a huge grease stain out of my husband’s pants… so easy!

      • Janel 3 years ago

        I also used the white chalk tip off of Pintrest and it definitely works. So glad cuz i hate those mysterious, visiting grease spots! White chalk is the answer!
        I’ve only made liquid laundry detergent and I must say that i’m not a huge fan only because I can’t keep up with making it. With two toddlers that love the outdoors and the arts :), i just don’t have the time to be making ALL that liquid laundry soap. I’m definitely going to try the powder route. Seems SO much easier. Thanks!

  4. Claire 4 years ago

    Is there a way to make it scented? My mom and I were curious

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Hey Claire!
      Hmm…the soap should scent it some, but for more I’m guessing any type of powder additive would work? Like maybe what you would use to scent dry bath salts etc? Just a thought.
      Let me know if you try it!

      • Claire 4 years ago

        Thank you. I think that could work. I like that idea. I can do this.

      • Sarah 4 years ago

        Perhaps you could just add some essential oil to the wash after the water has filled? Maybe a nice lavendar? Has anyone tried this?

        • Christine 4 years ago

          That sounds like a great idea! Haven’t tried it, but it smells good:)

      • Maria 4 years ago

        Add essential oil to the dry powder after you make it. I added lavender oil and it smells absolutely wonderful!

      • margaret davenport 4 years ago

        You can add Purex Crystals for scent. It works great.

        • shanna 4 years ago

          I found a recipe that included the Purex Crystals and that’s what I am going to use Friday. This will be my first batch of homemade laundry detergent!! Me and my husband are so excited! We are on a very strict budget and with 3 teens in the house.. well need I say more…lol Mounds of laundry = $$$$ on detergent!

      • Kasi 3 years ago

        If you wan to make it smell good iv heard that adding the purexx crystals and it also make your clothes soft

      • Cynthia 3 years ago

        I added Purex Crystals to my laundry mixture for fragerance, I also added a container of Oxy Clean for stain fighting.
        Seems to work so far.

    • Jessica 4 years ago

      I add some of the newer fabric softner crystals to my mix. Adds whatever scent I choose and softens my clothing also.

  5. Sandy 4 years ago

    I hope this isn’t a silly question, but are all of these ingredients earth friendly? Just a personal question. I use Ecos laundry detergent or seventh generation detergent, but if this is cheaper, then I’m willing to try it! Plus it looks so cute in the mason jars! Thanks!

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Hey, you could look through the comments, one reader had a concern about the borax, but I’m pretty sure everything else is earth-friendly and free of harmful nastiness:)
      You could read the back of the soap label, I haven’t read that one yet, and possibly switch to an organic soap if that one won’t work. I’m a little bit of an organic food, chem-free freak myself, so I totally understand!

      • Amanda 4 years ago

        Use ivory soap instead of Fels Naptha and you will have earth friendly. Add vinegar to the rinse instead of fabric softener, vinegar deodorizes as well. I use baking soda and vinegar for just about everything haha. From hair washing to laundry washing. Vinegar is a good way to clean menstrual cups too. Though vinegar is another tricky one, if youre not carful youre not earth friendly.

        • Tangible 3 years ago

          Good to know about the Ivory since I have plenty on hand :) Thanks for sharing!

      • Ronda 4 years ago

        I don’t think the Fels Naptha is eco friendly, but the rest of the stuff is. I also put vinegar in my water like Amanda does, when your wash comes out it does not smell like vinegar, it is fresh instead.

        • Emily 4 years ago

          Does adding the vinegar cause any reactions with the Baking/Laundry soda? I just made DIY fabric softener with Vinegar, and I’m affraid to mix it with a detergent with baking soda…I prefer not to have any home-made volcanos in my laundry room =).

          Also, Has anybody felt the need to use fabric softener along with this detergent recipe? It seems like you wouldn’t need one, but I love the fluffy feeling that fabric softener leaves. Has anybody tried this?

          • Shelly 4 years ago

            I use white vinegar in the rinse water and don’t need to add any commercial fabric softener. I also have hair over 3 feet long and I have no more problem with static electricity since I started using the vinegar in the rinse.

          • Amy 4 years ago

            I don’t use baking soda in the washing detergent. There’s really no need for it. I use the liquid version of the Duggar’s recipe and it calls for washing soda, not baking soda. They’re two completely different things.

            As for the vinegar reacting with the baking soda, I’ve seen several recipes for DIY stain removers that have both ingredients in them. You just have to be careful with the speed with which you add them together. I would think if it WAS in your detergent, that the water and other ingredients would counteract the reaction a bit.

    • Cindy 3 years ago

      What size mason jars do you use?

      • Author
        Christine 3 years ago

        Hi! These are quart sized:)

  6. Nikki 4 years ago

    I was wondering where you found those awesome jars! I am trying to plan ahead for the holidays and thinking about making this detergent for my family and friends.Thanks for any info you have! :)

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Hey Nikki!
      Those were actually some props from a store I used to work at…I do visual merchandising part time. BUT, I have seen them around several places like etsy or ebay or antique stores. Also more recently I have given this detergent in a regular jar with a white plastic lid. Then I cover the lid with a circle cut from a brown bag (sorta like you see fabric on a jelly jar) Then do the tie and the clothespin. It’s still super cute:)
      Good luck, thanks for reading my blog!

    • Corinne 4 years ago

      You can buy mason jars in packs of 12 at Walmart (three different sizes, pint to quart to half gallon I believe) they are back by the kitchen stuff at my Walmart. They’re around $10 for 12 of them, depending on what size you get :)

      • Sarah 4 years ago

        I have been saving jars and containers from food products. I am planning on decorating them with mod podge and making my own labels. Just an idea.

    • Emily 3 years ago

      I have been searching for colored mason jars for a while and I happened to stumble upon this website that has step by step DIY instructions on how to color mason jars:


      Hope it helps!

      Awesome post! Can’t wait to try!

      • Author
        Christine 3 years ago

        Thanks Emily! That’s super helpful!

      • Tangible 3 years ago

        Thank you for that Emily!!!

  7. Amanda 4 years ago

    Ivory ingredents
    Based on the analysis given in U.S. Patent No. 3,933,780 , the composition of Ivory Soap was determined to be 12.8% Lauric Acid( plant or animal fat) , 7.5% Myristic Acid( pllant or animal fat), 0.6% Myristoleic Acid(plant or animal fat), 21.8% Palmitic Acid( plant or animal fat), 3.7% Palmitoleic Acid, 13.6 % Stearic Acid, 31.6% Oleic Acid, 3.1% Linoleic Acid, and 5.2% Other (includes C6-C10). All these acids are as their sodium salts. The numbers are probably plus or minus 3% and vary with the species of animal rendered for tallow, and the time of year that either the tallow, or coconut oil was obtained. The mixture is optimized for cleaning. The coconut oil (cocoate) has C12-C14 sodium salts that give a good lather, but are not very good for cleaning. The tallowate is not good for lather, but is very good for soil removal. The acids are shown in their cis form. There can be some isomerization to trans, during processing. The ivory soap bar may also contain some glycerin, sodium chloride, and water. Taken as a whole, the average molecular weight of the sodium salts is 281 grams/mole. ALL THE INGREDIENTS LISTED ARE PLANT OR ANIMAL FATS. WE DON:T HAVE TO KILL ANIMALS TO MAKE THIS SOAP.
    Fels Naptha has questionable ingredients.

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this Amanda!!!

    • Amy 4 years ago

      I use Ivory in my laundry soap and it works great. We used it daily growing up, and my mom still uses it to this day. It’s very gentle on skin and doesn’t contain any dyes or perfumes, which makes it great for people with skin problems.

  8. Maura-Leigh 4 years ago

    This is a great recipe! We are almost out and are planning to make another batch this afternoon. I love that my little girl is old enough to help out!

  9. Lesley 4 years ago

    Thank you so much for your instructions and the cute tag. I work at a senior center, and a group of us just made your recipe and it in mason jars. They all had a blast, and thought the tags darling! Very clever gift idea!

    • Christine 4 years ago

      You totally make my day! Thanks Lesley!

  10. Andrea 4 years ago

    I just made a batch of this but I added an entire bottle of downy unstoppables (the aqua one because I LOVE the scent). Then, I put mixture, in batches, into my food processor and the downy unstoppables turned to poweder along wtih everything else. Yay!

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Fun new twist on this recipe! Thanks Andrea!

    • Tangible 3 years ago

      Andrea..that sounds great about using the Downy unstoppables (looking for a coupon now!)..I am gearing up to make this recipe tomorrow. :)

  11. Sarah 4 years ago

    I added 3 bars of fels naptha with all of the ingredients. It takes forever to grate, and if you have huge swirls like the ones here you should just add it to the barrel. I also added some lavender essential oil, but it didn’t really make much of a difference.

  12. MissaB 4 years ago

    I’m wondering about a bar castile soap instead of the Fels Naptha.

    • Christine 4 years ago

      not sure anyone has tried that, but people are using all sorts of soap, so I would say it’s worth a try! With a HE washing machine just make sure it’s a low-suds ingredient

    • Sarah kelly 4 years ago

      I have used a bar of Dr Bronner’s castile and it work fine. Easier ti grate too.

      • Katie 3 years ago

        Awesome. I wondered about using Dr Bronners soap.

  13. Amanda 4 years ago

    How much does this recipe make?

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Hey!! About 18 cups or almost 4 mason jars, and you will need about 2 tablespoons per load.
      Hope that helps:)

  14. Carrie 4 years ago

    I hear and read of washing soda, but I’ve never seen it here in Canada. Are there any other names for it or am I talking to all the wrong people?

    • Christine 4 years ago

      It should be at your grocery in the clothes soap isle. I guess you can see the box in my blog post. I’ve also heard it carried at ace hardware here, so maybe another similar store would carry there for you? Or maybe you could buy online.
      Hope you can locate it!
      Thanks for reading:)

      • Sarah 4 years ago

        You can make your own washing soda from baking soda in your oven. Just bake the soda in your oven on a sheet tray in a nice even layer for about 30 minutes at 400F. Mix it at intervals while you bake it. Let it cool completely and then add it to your laundry soap recipe. Easy!

        • Tangible 3 years ago

          Sarah..I think that is amazing science!!! When baking soda is at high heat it loses water and CO2 and the ph changes making it washing soda…love it. :)

      • Holly 4 years ago

        Christine, I’m in Canada too and finally found my washing soda at Home Hardware.

    • Andrea 4 years ago

      Washing soda is the chemical sodium carbonate. It is stronger and has a much higher ph than baking soda which is sodium bicarbonate. From what I have read you can make washing powder with either one. Of course, using washing soda will result in a stronger, better cleaning detergent. Washing soda is caustic and some recommend that you use caution when laundering clothing for babies or individuals with sensitive skin. I use a recipe that has washing soda and we haven’t had any problems with irritation and my son has somewhat sensitive skin.

    • Jan 4 years ago

      The brand name is; 20 Mule Team Borax; lite green box with young cowgirl, Safeway and Wal-mart both carry it

    • Amanda 4 years ago

      At first, I had trouble finding washing soda too. But about two weeks ago, I looked very carefully in the detergent aisle at the grocery store and found it! It was with the other Arm&Hammer products, and it was in a blue box, the product itself was called SoClean, said washing soda right on the box! Hope this helps!

    • Melanie 3 years ago

      Hi Carrie,

      I live 30 minutes east of Toronto and have been able to find it at No Frills and Home Hardware.

    • Carrie 3 years ago

      Thanks all!
      I’ve definitely used Borax before. I’ve never heard it called washing soda.
      And I think I’m going to have to try sticking baking soda in the oven…

      • Donna B. 1 year ago

        Carrie, Borax and washing soda are not the same. They are made by two different companies.

  15. Shelley 4 years ago

    Does it work in all water termperatures ?

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Yes! I use it on all temps:)

      • Marci 3 years ago

        I was going to ask the same thing, I wash nearly everything in cold water with the exception of towels and sheets but because of this would I have to use a food processor to make the grated soap “smaller”??

        • Author
          Christine-GreatOakCircle 3 years ago

          I haven’t had any problems with it dissolving or cleaning on any temp. You could also consider a fine cheese grater. Hope that helps!

  16. Andrea 4 years ago

    I don’t recommend using Ivory soap unless you cook it. I thought that since it is so soft it would dissolve faster than Telex Naphtha but the opposite is true. Ivory does NOT dissolve well and I found myself with residue on all my clothes which required a second rinse cycle (not Eco -friendly). I loved the ease of grating Ivory but ended up having to boil water to dissolve my detergent before using it. : (

    • Andrea 4 years ago

      Sorry spell correct changed Fels Naptha.

    • Christine 4 years ago

      helpful tips thanks Andrea!!!!

  17. Amy 4 years ago

    I just made a batch of this and it’s working it’s way through the first load in my house now. I couldn’t wait!

    I have an infant in the house and a husband who is allergic and sensitive to everything, so I hope this works out for us. I will let you know!

    It also occurs to me that I have a pile of Biz and a Costco-sized box of powdered Oxyclean I could use next time in place of — whatever? The Fels Napha or the Borax?

    Oh, and I wanted to add, when I was a teen, I had a summer job cleaning cabins and the owner was super frugal and *gasp* made her own laundry soap, using the leftover little bars of hotel soap the guests left behind (she made us pick them up). She used an old fashioned hand crank grinder to grind the soaps into powder.

    At 15 years old I was both horrified and fascinated. HOWEVER, i will say that the towels we put out for the guests were the fluffiest and yummiest smelling towels I have ever encountered!

    • Christine 4 years ago

      I love your comments Amy!
      And let me know how it’s working on the sensitive skin!

    • Hannah 4 years ago

      I am right now traveling in hotels. I have my handmade lye soap that I’m using, but my friend uses the hotel soaps and I feel it’s such a waste! Perhaps I’ll snag the rest of her half used bars and shred them when we get home!

  18. Mandy 4 years ago

    Last week I made half of a batch and figured it out to make enough to wash 144 loads. My recipe does not include baking soda. Before I saw this blog I too used mason jars. I love the graphics fairy labeling. One thing I tried was to place sprigs of lavendar and rosemary in the jars not only will it hopefully infuse some delightful herbal scents, it looks pretty. I also picked up some old antique silver spoons at a yard sale and bent them like a ladle, I do love the addition of the close pin so cute. Thanks for your great blog:D

  19. Lana 4 years ago

    Your packaging is soo cute. Let me ask…what are the cover looking things on top of your lids? Where do you find them?

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Those blue mason jars have a glass lid and then the ring, so there’s nothing additional there.
      Go get those blue jars!!

  20. Tam 4 years ago

    I would really like to know how to make this into a liquid. do you just melt it down? will it stay that way???? Any help would be great, I am just starting to get into this stuff lol

    • Melissa 4 years ago

      Hi Tam –

      I have made as a liquid. I grate one bar of soap, melt in a pot of water (even let it boil for just a second, but not bubble over!) Add 1c borax, 1c washing soda, mix, make sure it’s all incorporated, and put in three different gallon containers. Add water to top and shake hard. Use around 1c per load.

      I also use the Downy unstoppables, just a small sprinkle in the load, and it’s great!

  21. Jessica 4 years ago

    I put oxyclean and a bigger box of baking soda plus some smelly laundry crystals. I will never use anything else. Love the jars where did you find them?

    • Christine 4 years ago

      yay! Glad you are making the recipe your own!

  22. Lyneal 4 years ago

    Can this detergent recipe be used for he washers?

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Yes, I have used it in my HE for years. Just has to remain low-suds, so don’t add bubble bath or any craziness to it:)

  23. Donna Collins 4 years ago

    I used the recipe and tags for a bridal shower gift today. The Bride-to-be loved it paired with a chicken wire basket and 2 sets of her towels. Thanks so much for the post!

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Oh that’s wonderful! What a cute idea! Thanks Donna~

  24. nancy kosse 4 years ago

    haven’t read all the comments so don’t know if this has been suggested but why not put the instructions on back of the cute tag you are already using?

  25. V Ogle 4 years ago

    Nice recipe for dry washing soap. I’ve made the liquid version with washing soda, borax, fels naptha soap for a few years. I use a front loader. This formula doesn’t create excess suds, perfect for HE. I finally clued in to grate the entire bar in the food processor and store it for when I need to make a new batch. I don’t know if this has been mentioned but you can buy the washing soda/soda ash in a 50# bag at a pool supply store for roughly $40. I get my baking soda in a 50# bag, too! I share with a few of my frugal friends.

    Your post makes me want to try my next batch dry. Yes, Dawn dishwashing liquid is a terrific degreaser. Who needs a stain stick when you have a bar or fels?

    Thanks for the great recommendations. Oh, I’ve made some WONDERFUL scented laundry soap by using some strongly scented homemade soaps I purchased at farmers’ market. Supports the local economy and I’ve already saved a bundle making my own for the washing machine!

    • beetree 4 years ago

      Thank you soooo much for the pool supply tip, V! The first two stores I called were super expensive ($72 for 50lbs!), but the third was the lottery winner- $36 for 50lbs! Can you believe the difference? I’ve been making laundry soap for about a year now, with a slightly different formula- but I will definitely try this one and compare notes. :) Thanks, Christine!

  26. Lacey 4 years ago

    where can I find Zote?

    • Pam 4 years ago

      I found Zote at HyVee but I live in Iowa and they are all around here. I have been using homemade laundry soap for about a month now and just love it! If you process your soap in a bullet or similar device, be sure to put a little of the dry powder mix in with it as that works much better. I processed the whole batch and love the way it disolves instantly in the washing machine. I also throw in about 1/8 cup of the Downy Unstoppables for a little scent with each load but I may process that into the next batch and eliminate that step. Never thought I’d be making my own laundry soap but so glad I am. It’s fun and cheaper than buying.

      • Michele Brooks 4 years ago

        I found Zote at walmart…I ought a box of zote flakes, so I was very happy to see the soap listed in terms of cups. I bought the fels naptha earlier, but it has petroleum based ingredients. Decided it would not be my preference. I will use it for stains!

  27. Darcy Lopez 4 years ago

    I am a mom of 6 and have switched from Tide to this Homemade Laundry Soap and love it. I have hooked several other friends on it as well. It cleans stains as well as Tide for sure. One ADDED BENEFIT is I use WAY less Fabric Softener. So I save even more $$$. Thank you for sharing and saving us money on the boring things so we can buy more fun things!!

    • Author
      Christine 4 years ago

      yay! Thanks Darcy!

  28. Carline Anthony 4 years ago

    Can you use this in a front loading washer? Also what is an HE washer?

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Hey! Yes, that’s what I use, as long as you keep it low-suds. So don’t get crazy adding all kinds of soaps that suds a lot;0)

  29. Arla Cole 4 years ago

    Hi Everyone! I happened onto this website when looking for gift ideas for my Sister-In-Law. I thought I’d chime in on the homemade laundry soap. Here’s the blog where I got the recipe that I use for the homemade laundry soap.


    This recipe is cheap! Like the Author of the Blog says…the 2 Gallon size load really does cost like .71 cents to make. Calls for everything above (Not the Baking Soda…my understanding is Washing Soda is pretty much the same thing). It’s so easy to make and it lasts a really long time. When I make it, I double the recipe and it fits just fine in a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket. Sometimes I used a bit more of the laundry soap per batch if my clothes are really dirty. My clothes aren’t scratchy, stinky or stained. Oh…tip: Grease stains are easy to get out. Just pre-treat them with the cheap yellow Joy Dishsoap. Let it sit for a few minutes and wash. Magic!

  30. Heather 4 years ago

    My mother recommended I make homemade laundry soap for my boyfriend and I live on a very strict budget so I had wanted to try to make some but I talked to my boyfriend about it and he dosen’t want me to make it because he thinks he might be allergic to it and I tried to explain him that all the products in here were organic and eco-friendly and we would save a lot of money making it ourselves and he kept insisting that he would be allergic to it. Could he be allergic to this products them? Should I just go ahead and make it without him knowing and try it and see? Thanks.

    • Christine 4 years ago

      Hey Heather! I have heard from lots of people that this is a much gentler soap and people aren’t allergic to it. I never used dreft, etc for my baby, always this, and he has pretty delicate skin. But, of course I don’t want to be responsible for a hive breakout!! YIKES! Would it be possible to try it on towels or something first that he will not actually be wearing? I would say it’s worth a try:)

    • Mary 4 years ago

      Heather, Have you tried it out yet? I’m allergic to soooooo many things, mostly scent related. I have always used plain Tide and NO fabric softener because of my allergies, but I’ve learned so much here I’m gonna try this recipe and vinegar for softening…It all sounds so much BETTER for allergies than the store-bought stuff (I can’t even walk down that aisle in the store).

  31. Lisa 4 years ago

    Made my first batch of laundry soap a few months ago and will never go back to using anything else! A few notes:
    1) I always use baking soda. It deodorizes and sanitizes your laundry. Before I started making my own laundry detergent I always added baking soda to laundry.
    2) Kirk’s Castile soap can be substituted for Fels Naptha. You have to use more bars (the bars are smaller) and its more expensive – but its gentler and smells fabulous.
    3) Grating the soap was torture until I bought an old mouli grater off ebay and started using it. Its small so the soap has to be cut up, but it grates really well and the soap doesn’t ball up in it like it did in the bullet.

    Love the mason jar, tags, string and clothespin. Beautiful gift idea. Thank you!

    • Christine 4 years ago

      THanks LIsa!!! Those tips are great!

  32. Sandra McGehee 4 years ago

    I have a question-if you were to sell it in the mason jars-what should we charge for it? I would like to sell at flea markets.


    • Christine 4 years ago

      I sold some for $10 in a jar the size of the one shown. It was an art show for a charity though, so that price may or may not hold up in the real world:)
      Good Luck!

  33. Angie Carter 4 years ago

    Hi! I want to make these for teacher gifts for Christmas! I went to the Grafics Fairy Website, but could not find the border you used. I really like it, can you help me find it? Thx!

    • Christine 4 years ago

      If you click on the “homemade tag you can download here” text up where it says where I got the border, it should open the label for you to print, just as I designed it. If you can’t get it, email me and I will send back to you;0)

  34. Angie 4 years ago

    I am wondering about the use of hard water with this recipe. My water softer has died on me and I don’t really want to pay the money to purchase a new one at this time, so I was wondering about adding some salt (and what kind) to the detergent to help keep clothes nice and white. Any ideas?

    • Author
      Christine 4 years ago

      I’m actually not really sure about this…maybe someone else can help? Or possibly googling around for homemade soap and hard water?
      Let me know if you find your answer:)
      Thanks for reading and commenting Angie!

      • Deborah Jennings 4 years ago

        I think since you add baking soda, that this will help to soften the water. Salt does, too. My in-laws had a water softener and all that was in it was salt. So, I am thinking since baking soda is rather salty that this might help. Or you could add a bit of salt to the recipe, of course, you’d have to use more than the label calls for for the added ingredient.

    • Sara 3 years ago

      I have hard water and have used a liquid version of this soap. My clothes come out super soft. I love it! Adding vinegar to the rinse helps release any minerals and also keeps hair from sticking to the clothes.

  35. Susan 4 years ago

    I made I first batch of homemade soap, today. It took no time at all. I uses 1 bar each of white and pink Zote, ( I liked the white was easier grat), 1 box of each mule 20 borax, A&H washing soda, and A&H baking soda (4lb) and 3lb container of oxi-clean. I did use 1/4 of bottle of Purex Cystsls. I did not run my sop thru the food processor I ended up with 8 1/2 mason jars full. I figured at using 2oz bet load I should have about 350 loads, not bad for under $20.00

    • Author
      Christine 4 years ago

      You go girl! Enjoy!

  36. Charity 4 years ago

    how many loads will this recipe clean, using the 2 tablespoons per load?

    • Author
      Christine 4 years ago

      It should be about 32 loads:)

  37. Kelly 4 years ago

    Hi, I just wanted to say, I am so thrilled with your website! It’s so great, simple to read, and right on. thrilled with this laundry recipe! Thanks for sharing!!

  38. Deborah Jennings 4 years ago

    Can you use your own homemade soap instead of the store bought? I love homemade soap and have some that is already grated up. I would love to use this up in this for Christmas gifts. Also, the jars look to be Quart jars. Is this the case?

    • Author
      Christine 4 years ago

      Hi Deborah, yes those are quart jars. I think any soap would work in bar form because it’s not super sudsy. So I would maybe avoid Dawn, not that you would use that…just thinking.
      I would try it first and see, but as long as you keep it low suds the new HE washers will love it:)

  39. Debbie 4 years ago

    I just made my first batch of laundry soap. I used my cuisinart food processor to grate the fels-naptha and then I placed it in a separate bowl. I would take 2 c. of the fels-naptha and add it back into the food processor where I then would add a couple cups of borax and mix using my blade so it would make the fels-naptha more fine. I then added everything to the bowl and threw in some lavender crystals to give a nice smell. I must say though, the smell of the soap without the crystals is so fresh that next time I may not add any crystals at all. I actually had enough stuff to make a batch and a half which filled up 6 qt. mason jars. I figure about a scant 1/4 c. per load (because of the addition of the crystals) making each jar good for 15 loads of laundry and for a total of 90 loads per batch and a half. The cost (not including the jars) was about 15 cents a load. What a bargain. I can’t wait to see how it makes my clothes so nice and clean and fresh smelling. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I only wish I had known about it when I had 7 kids living at home, now they’re all grown up and living on their own.

    • Susan 4 years ago

      I am with you, I am going to leave the crystals out next time too..

  40. Sandy 3 years ago

    I made the laundry soap. The next day I noticed it separated. Is this normal? Did I do something wrong? Any advice will be appreciated. Thank-you.

    • Author
      Christine 3 years ago

      Hi Sandy!
      This is a dry recipe, did you make it wet? I’m not sure how it would have separated otherwise…
      Let me know and I’ll try to help

  41. carrie grubbs 3 years ago

    I have used this for a while and I LOVE it!
    Tip: Like Gain Apple Mango Tango?
    Try adding a bar of Soft Soap Cranberry Pomegranite! Smells just like Gain!!
    Have a good one…

  42. Kathy 3 years ago

    I personally started using a recipe a friend threw at me no measuring just said dump a box of each and one bar of fels-naptha shredded and food processor to blend …….okay? I had just purchased a high efficiency washer because my washer became incontinent all over my floor and rather than nickle diming it to death as my mother would say lol I decided to leap into the modern day with H.E. washer dryer. Expensive but well worth the money. Anyway so here was the dilema…I had a very expensive machine and the H.E. detergent is sooooooo expensive and I am a frugal person by nature and the idea of paying $6.00 for a small bottle of liquid detergent that just wasn’t even going to do the job made me think there has got to be an alternative. So my friend said oh ya I make my own and I also have an H.E. washer and it works fine. I asked how she does it she said liquid form sounded complicated and like it took forever so I said well I don’t have that much time and she said well there is a powder version. Normally I am highly allergic and break out in hives from powdered detergents or anything with perfumes and dyes of any kind so I was immediately discounting the idea and then she said well make a batch if you don’t like it I will buy it from you. Well heck what did I have to lose right? Her instructions were dump all powdered ingredients in a bucket and shred one bar of Fels and dump that in and close the bucket and roll it around for a while. I didn’t care for the way it mixed and the fact that the “cheesy” soap was in such large pieces to me anyway soooooo my less than brilliant self said hm blender….after killing three blenders I finally purchased a food processor lol then because I still didn’t feel it was fine enough I used a coffee grinder on the finest grind setting possible and walla I had my own super fine powder that instantly dissolves in hot or cold water so well I have had NO issues with hives and my clothes come out clean soft and smell great! Here we pay a state tax and a county tax for everything so for around $17.00 I can make 6 full batches which fit into two coffee cans and for people like us with small spaces to store items they are awesome because they are compact and they stack. I use a 1/2 tbs for small to extra small loads 1 full tbs for regular loads and 2 full tbs for large or heavily soiled loads. I keep a spare bar of fels on hand for pre-treating stains and it works awesome. My recipe that I adapted to accomodate the max a food processor can hold is 1 cup each dry ingredient and a full bar of fels shredded then i put it into the food processor (this is the max the food processor will hold at one time) and use pulse setting til it looks mixed up good and then I add one cup at a time to my coffee grinder which has a hopper that dispenses into the grinder and out into a cup to dispense. I end up with an ultra fine powder and with the measurements we use on our laundry in our H.E. washer and a date on the coffee can that says when I made it we discovered that it took us 7 1/2 months to use all of the initial 4 batches I made. It comes out to be approximately 4 cents a load! I suppose you could leave out the baking soda but I happen to like using it for the added odor control and it’s a natural anti sudsing agent from what my friend said. not sure if that is true or not but I have absolutely no suds in my soap but it sure is cleaning and took out chocolate I had on my jeans from making dirt cake for my husbands birthday last month lol. You may have some sore arms and scrape your knuckles grating the soap but it’s so worth the effort to save the $$$$$ over time. Just knowing that for around $17.00 I can get 384 loads of laundry (assuming 1tbs per load is used) vs name brand products that use 1/8 or 1/4 cup per load while I am using a measly 1 tbs per load. It’s so worth it and everyone should do it!

    • Kathy 3 years ago

      I did discover that as the soap sits it appears that the fels tends to rise up to the top. I can see pools of it just sitting there but I figure it must be because it is so dense it is “floating” while the powder is “settling” so I just mix it up every so often with a small wire wisk and it seems to be fine far as I can tell.

  43. jenifer 3 years ago

    I use zote. Ivory made my washer stink, and felsnaptha doesn’t work with our water. I like the smell of zote too. One thing I do before I put the soap in the mini-processor is cut it up into 1inch chunks and microwave them a few at a time for about 30 seconds. After cooling, they crumble into a nice powder.

  44. Brittany 3 years ago

    Can I use this in my HE washer?

  45. Karen Martinez 3 years ago

    Made my first batch last night, following your instructions. I used Zote, as I found it with all the ther ingredients on the detergent aisle at Wallmart. I grated the Zote (I used white) and put all the dry ingredients in a 5 gal. bucket. When the soap was grated I added it to the dry mix and stirred it up with a big wooden spoon. The powder mix is very fine, and if you stir to vigourously it will be all in the air an up your nose and in your throat so be careful! My husband came into the room AFTER I had finished and had a sneezing fit from the leftovers in the air! After I hand mixed everything I put two cups at a time into my Ninja smoothie mixer and processed it till it was so blended that the soap was invisible. I then transferred the mix back into the bucket and hand mixed everything again before putting it into containers. I found large plastic

    • Karen Martinez 3 years ago

      …sorry, hit my enter button! I found large plastic (3qt) containers with lids at Dollar Tree. I was very pleased with how my Ninja worked at producing a product that looks exactly like regular powdered detergent. I don’t feel I need any added crystals or fragrances, as I like the clean fresh scent the mixture makes. My clothes are clean and fresh smelling and no one is having allergic reactions on their skin. I love this is more eco friendly than reg. products, plus how much cheaper it is. I am giving batches to the in-laws this Christmas! I am on to homemade softner/lotions/deoderants/etc.! Merry Christmas everyone!

      • Tangible 3 years ago

        I love that you gave some as gifts..how’d it go over? :)


  1. DIY Laundry Soap 4 years ago

    […] looked around for a recipe that looked right to me and found a great recipe at a site called Great Oak Circle.  She even stores her soap in wonderful mason jars and shares a very cool printable […]

  2. […] – all purpose cleaner – disinfectant – glass cleaner – Furniture polish – shower spray – oxyclean Homemade Laundry Detergent | Great Oak Circle, blog design, logo and print design, DIY blog Or Budget101.com – – Liss Favorite Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe | Homemade Laundry Detergent […]

  3. […] Homemade Laundry Soap  by GreatOakCircle.com […]

  4. […] I am making a batch of powdered laundry detergent from a blog called Great Oak Circle. It calls for four ingredients:  washing soda, baking soda, […]

  5. […] Homemade Laundry Detergent It’s perhaps not the sexiest of presents, but this homemade laundry detergent is a nifty gift for anyone who washes their own clothes. Bonus: This recipe includes a printable tag; no label-making required! […]

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