How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent!

Best Ever Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Pin It Buttons

In addition to Homemade Fabric Softener… several of you have asked me how to make Homemade Laundry Detergent, and I’ve got the recipe for you right here!

When I was up in Washington visiting my friend Joli this summer, I put her detergent to the test, and she sold me on the idea of  How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent!

It’s thrifty, simple to make, works great, and smells yummy!  

What You’ll Need: 

  • 1/2 Cup: Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda {not Baking Soda}
  • 1/2 Cup: Borax
  • 1/3 Bar of Fels-Naptha Soap {you could also use Ivory soap, but if using Ivory… use the whole bar}
  • Bucket {2 gallon size or larger}
  • Empty laundry detergent containers or bucket with lid to store detergent.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe

Pin It Buttons

Fels Naptha on Sale

Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe from TheFrugalGirls.comPin It Post Buttons

What You’ll Do:

  • Grate 1/3 bar of Fels-Naptha Soap over large pot or saucepan…

  • Add 6 cups of Water.
  • Heat over medium-high until soap dissolves and melts.
  • Add Washing Soda & Borax, and stir until dissolved.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Pour 4 cups Hot Water into bucket, then add Soap Mixture.
  • Stir, then add 1 Gallon + 6 Cups of additional water.  Stir.

  • Transfer to a bucket with a lid, or pour into empty laundry detergent containers.
  • Set aside, and let it sit overnight, or up to 24 hours, to thicken and gel up.
  • Consistency and color will vary depending on your soap & water ~ it may be lumpy and watery… kind of like a watery gel, but it works great!
  • Stir or shake before each use, as it will continue to gel.
  • Good job… you did it!
  • Don’t forget… to save even more money, you can cut your dryer sheets in half and make Homemade Fabric Softener!

Then… go check out this BIG List of more Homemade Cleaners + Cleaning Tips!

Homemade Cleaners

Thanks for supporting The Frugal Girls!

Have you ever tried making your own detergent at home??

Leave a comment and let us know your favorite ways to save $$ in the laundry room!

The Frugal Girls on Pinterest |

The Frugal Girls on Facebook

The Frugal Girls on Google+ |


  1. Amber says

    I make my own laundry detergent. I like to add a little stain remover to the mix because I have 3 small children. :)

    • Anna says

      Do you use this same recipe? Does it fade your clothes? Is it worth the money you save? Sorry for all the questions! :)

      • Anna Dobbins says

        i just starting using this “recipe” and really like it. your clothes are clean when they come out of the wash and if you want to add some essential oil, you can. so far, my clothes have not faded and i’m saving around $40 a month in laundry detergent. i use the ivory soap version because it’s cheaper.

        • debbie buchanan says

          where can i get the essential oil .. please help i want to make it and i wanted to put a little smell to it
          thanks in advance

          • says

            You can order them off of my web site above. I love doTERRA Essential Oils. You can also join for $35 and get them at cost. Just go to the bottom of the page and click the purple links that says sing up/join. They are pure with no additives. My favorite is the lavender which i use daily. Good luck!

          • Ashley says

            Amanda, I Love doTERRA too! The last batch I made I used 1/2 of the ivory bar and 1/2 of the citrus bliss bath bar and added a few drops of purify and i loved it! Worked just as well and smelled good!

          • Darlene says

            I have been using the liquid home-made laundry detergent, I would like to try it some essentials oils, I don’t know at what time I should put the essential oil in, could someone please advise me? Thank you, Darlene

      • Andrea Sayers says

        Yes, yes yes it is worth it. I recipe use a recipe that called for a whole bar of fels naptha with 1 C washing soda and 1 C borax. (plenty strong!) I have a hint that saved me LOTS of work and time. I start a bar of fels to soak in an ice cream bucket when I am making a batch. It soaks for the time it takes for me to use a batch. When I go to use it weeks later,it is gooey and soft. It melts very quickly that way and there is no “grating” that way.
        I figured it costs $1.56 at that time 2 years ago to make 10 gal. That saved me $100 EVERY batch I make. My detergent (name brand but not sure I should say here???) because my husband is very allergic cost $10.00 a gal then.I can’t afford NOT to save that much.
        AND Fels Naptha is one of the best stain removers so really not necessary to add another unless you just want to. LOVE IT LOVE IT…and shared with lots of friends.

        • Renee Arnold says

          Question- did your ingredients make a 5 gallon bucket? (with one bar Fels Naptha, 1 C borax and 1 C washing soda?) You mentioned 10 gallons so I wanted to be sure. I want to make a 5 gallon bucket.

      • Anne Ruble says

        I use this formula BUT I use it as a powder. 1 coffee scoop per load. I used to use liquid Tide, and I’m very happy with this. However if I have a really smelly load of Laundry like dog blankets I’ll add just a bit of vinegar.

          • Lyn says

            Mix 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax and 1 bar of the Fels Naptha soap (grated). I also put it in my food processor for a couple of pulses to blend it a little finer. You only need about 1 Tbls per load. I use this in my HE washer with no problems.

        • christina says

          I have used the powdered in the past. I had been told that powder is hard on you machine, but i didn’t listen. by the end of summer my machine was busted. The powder didn’t dissolve completed and ruined the motor.

          • katie says

            If using as a powder add a scoop to some warm water and shake till dissolved. Works well if you wash on cold. This way you know it is dissolved

        • says

          I tried the dry version and only used a little bit for each load, and it disappeared in a month.. the liquid version for me lasts about 3-4 months when I follow this recipe (above). Thanks for helping me save money!

      • Andrea says

        Fels Naptha IS an awesome stain remover, probably the best & then the Borax on top of that is amazing stain remover. I know there is a recipe here for spot treating if that is what you mean. I’ve always kept a bar of FelsNaptha next to the washer to pretreat with.

        • Joanne says

          Years ago, when Ringer washers were THE washer to own, my Aunt and Mother both had a bar of FelsNaphta near the washer for all stains. I have continued to use it with the same fantastic results.

          • linda blose says

            All my family used roller washer and FELS n. i HAVE NEVER USED A ROLLER machine in my life although I have washed alot in creeks!

  2. C.A. says

    I make my own laundry detergent using a similar recipe but it’s a dry detergent. 2c washing soda, 2c borax & 1/2 a bar of Zote (grated). A whole bar of ivory or 1/2 bar of Fels Naptha may be used as a substitute for Zote as well. Stir together & use 2tbs per full load. It smells great & the Zote keeps my clothes bright & clean.

    • Shelly Kidd says

      I also do a dry detergent. I use one bar castile soap (can use fels naptha or ivory), 2 cups borax, 2 cups baking soda, 2 cups washing soda.

      1 TBS per load for toploader
      1/2 TBS per load for front loader

      Don’t know how many loads per batch but it lasts for a long time and I have 2 kids at home.

      • says

        Is this safe to use with a septic system? I read soap flakes WILL clog your system because of the vegetable oil in the castile soap.

        • John says

          This should be septic safe! The oil in a castile soap is olive oil, when properly saponified with either sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, it no longer has the molecular structure of an oil. Avoid any extras that contain bleach to protect your septic system.

        • Miriam says

          See the picture (above) of the orange “Arm and Hammer” box of Washing Soda. I find it at Kroger here in Michigan.

      • tiateresa says

        Made my first batch of the dry detergent the first week of December. I have a front load HE washer, I LOVE IT!! I have save over $100 on laundry soap. It’s awesome. Wish I had learned about this sooner.

      • Leslie says

        You do not use more than 1 table spoon PER load of clothes? How can you use so little per load and it be effective?

        • Kim says

          Because all of these ingredients are concentrated,no added stuff, only good cleaning and stain removers.

      • says

        I just started using this, only with my hard water I used 1.5 bars of Naptha, 2 cups of soda, 2 cups of borax, 1 scoop of oxiclean. So far so good. I added the oxi after it had trouble with my sweaty lawn mowing shirt. Pretreat those stains with wet naptha too.

        • Ashley says

          So you can add the oxiclean straight into your mix? I have been a little hesitant to do this and have been adding it to each load.

        • Jodi says

          I had found this recipe on another site but on that site they didn’t add all the water. Just enough to fit into 2 quart size mason jars. It also said NOT to add Oxiclean because after about a week the jars will explode so if you do add that, you might want to be careful how you store it. Also if you put it in mason jars, right after putting mixture in the jars, turn upside down for about 4 hrs until the mixture separates. You then can take the blade attachment off your blender & put it on the mason jars. The mason jars can then be put on your blender & you can blend the soap right in the jars. This mixture is more concentrated so instead of using 1 cup you only use 1 tbsp.

          • Jennie says

            Can you please reply back with your exact laundry detergent recipe? I want to make sure I get it right. I like the idea of a concentrate. What I think you do is mix 1/2c Borax, 1/2c washing sode and 1/3 of a bar of FN soap, grated. Mix. Divide between 2 quart size mason jars. Fill mason jars with water and blend to disolve the ingredients. Use 1T of concentrate per large load of laundry. Thanks for your help!

          • Angela says

            I use mom’s super laundry sauce too and it works great! My husband even posted on fb about how well it works! So easy to make and we have 6 kids so anything that saves this much money is a blessing.

      • cyndie gibson says

        I have been making and using this same homemade laundry soap for years. The borax is a laundry booster (to fight stains) and the fels naptha is a pre treat also. My grandma used a bar to rub on stains, as do I. It leaves no smell, no soap reside on clothing so is great for sensitive skin and babies. No need to use fabric softener unless you just want too. This recipe (liquid) also neutralizes poison ivy oils in clothing.

    • Lori says

      I made a huge amount of the dry laundry detergent using zote, the 20 mule Borax, Arm and Hammer washing detergent, baking soda and oxy clean. The only problem I am having is that the zote does NOT dissolve in cold or even warm water really. I find pieces of it sticking to my clothes and I have to go back and rewash them in plain water! I grated my zote and then even put it back in the food processor and really chopped the grated pieces up! Anyone else have this problem? I have been trying to start each load with hot water and get the soap to melt then switching it over to warm or cold. Does anyone else have this problem?

      • says

        I use the dry method, but I use 1 bar of Fels Naptha, 1 cup Borax and 1 cup washing soda. I will also put a small container of off brand oxi clean in it as well. I was having trouble with the soap not dissolving, so I put the dry mixture into my Magic Bullet to make into a finer powder. That worked great.

        I made my own soap today from scratch. Check out my website in a week or so…if it works, I’ll post about it!

      • Alice says

        I had this problem with the first batch I made then I paid extra attention to the dissolving process when making it and with the 2nd and 3rd batch I have not had a problem. :)

      • Shannon says

        If you leave a bowl beside your washing machine, you can then mix your soap with a little bit of hot water to dissolve your soap before putting your soap in the washing machine. Then you can use whatever temp water you want.

      • Jennifer says

        To avoid this issue I first set my washer on the smallest load with hot water – add my Zote mix and allow it to fill and aggitate for just a minute. I then reset it to large and adjust my water temp and add my clothes. This has worked nicely for me.

      • Rose says

        I had this same problem. I keep a pint Mason jar beside my home made detergent. I fill it half full with water and put it in the microwave for about 1 min. while the washer is filling up. I take it out, put my measured detergent in the jar, screw the lid on tight, and shake it up and pour into washer.

      • Mar says

        Yes, I’ve had that problem so I stopped using it. I don’t have the time to re-wash or re-rinse. If any one has a solution I would like to know also.

      • Victoria says

        Just a suggestion… I too make this dry detergent and I learned a little secret…. If you shred your fels naptha … then mix it with the Borax & Washing Soda… put it in the microwave for about 1 minute…. then mix it together…. and put it in a food processor and pulse it… it comes out the same fine consistency as store bought powdered detergent….. and it dissolves better in warm or cold water. :)

      • Irene Karns says

        I also make my own dry detergent. I use the Fels Naptha soap. Instead of grating it, I put it in the microwave on a paper plate for about 2 minutes or until it fluffs up like cotton candy. Let completely cool and it will smash into a powder that won’t stick to your clothes.

      • Weaver Gilbert says

        Check your water pressure. If it’s low, then your clothes aren’t going to be in the “Wash” cycle long enough to disslove the soap completely. Another option would be to allow it to wash go through the wash cycle twice… Just a thought.

  3. Stephanie Hosack says

    How much of the wet detergent to put into your washer?? 1 cup, 1/2 c?? I want to try this, but I am hesitant. And do you use regular laundry sheets in the dryer? Or do you use liquid softner? Currently I use Purex Powder with vinager as a softner and put in the dryer w a purex luandry sheet.

    • Cristie Van Gorden says

      I use a 1/2 cup and it works wonderfully! I make the liquid soap though, so I’m not sure about the powder soap amount.

  4. Betsy C. says

    I’ve been making my own laundry detergent as well, but make powder since its faster and really effective. I really, really dislike the smell of Fels Naptha (heavy petroleum smell) and have used castille soap instead in a variety of scents. I just bought Ivory, so I’ll give that a shot. I use the recipe from Discovery’s Planet Green Channel: 1 finely grated bar of soap, 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Washing Soda. Mix really, really well, or throw it in your food processor. 1 tbsp for HE washers, 2 tbsp for regular. I’ve used 2 tbsp in really dirty loads. LOVE this soap!!!

    • Rhiannon says

      Have you made it with the Ivory soap yet? If so what did you think? I have been making the laundry soap for a whole and love it but the Fels Naptha gives me a massive headache while I am melting it down. I can’t find the Zote in my area and I have read that the Ivory soap goes back into a solid while in the washer causing problems with the machine and pipes. please let me know what you think of the laundry soap made with the Ivory. Thank you.

      • Weaver Gilbert says

        Yes….I’ve made this soap with ivory (using the Dugger’s recipe) it works well. You can avoid the headache problem by wearing a mask or head scarf (like a bank robber) while handling the dry products. The problem is cause by inhalation of the product itself. Some people are more sensitive than others to such things.
        The powdered borax bothered me until I cut on a fan blowing away from me my first time. Now I just stand back as far as I can while adding each.

  5. says

    I make a dry detergent similar to the one C.A. mentions and love it. Although I will say that I used Ivory soap one time and regretted it–it did not always dissolve completely and sometimes my darks came out of the wash with little white bits of soap on them so I had to re-wash/rinse the loads. I’ve never tried the liquid version, might have to try that sometime.

    I also use vinegar instead of fabric softener in the rinse cycle–works great!

    And, I nearly always hang my clothes on the line to dry rather than putting them in the dryer. I estimate this saves us about $20/month on our electricity bill, and I find it oddly relaxing to hang a load on the line.

    • Pati says

      I love hanging clothes on the line too and also find it relaxing, Leah…maybe it’s cos it reminds us of days gone by ? ;o)

  6. Heidi says

    I use approximately 1/4 cup per load on my top loader.

    I don’t personally have an H.E. machine, but I know several people who use this with their H.E. machines.

    ~ Heidi

    • Leanne says

      I use white vinegar as a fabric softener. It makes my laundry fluffy. So maybe that’s why it is used in the laundry soap.

    • Ang says

      I know this is an old question but I use vinegar in my wash when I do hubby’s nasty Army uniforms-it takes the stink out of his dripping-with-sweat uniforms (can’t use fabric softener on them so that part is just an added bonus).

  7. polishirishmomma says

    I forgo the cooking and just make a powder with ivory soap that is grated fine, washing soda, and baking soda. It works wonders on our clothes. I do not use borax since it is a bit of a toxin.

    • Lori says

      polishirishmomma – Can you tell me exactly how much of the washing soda, baking soda, and ivory you use to make a batch? I’ve just made my first batch using the borax but I’d prefer to not use the borax. Thanks!

    • MaryLynn says

      I didn’t know the borax was toxic but figured it must be b/c my adult daughter tried the dry recipe I had made. It made her break out with a really bad rash under her bra and around the elastics of her underwear. Thanks for the info about the borax. I’m going to try just the plain baking soda next time.

      • says

        I read that if you use this formula you have to use white vinager and water ir mix with a little favorite hair conditioner and vinager and water. to get soap out. i have been doing this works good no problems.

      • Amy says

        It’s not baking soda that you use, it’s washing soda. They’re totally different things. If she used baking soda to make her detergent, THAT might be the problem.

    • Bonnie says

      I am looking to make this without Borax. I found the recipe once and forgot to save it. It was washing soda, baking soda and soap. Can anyone help please?

  8. Jen says

    I use the duggar family’s fabric softner recipe. Buy a bottle of fabric softener ( I use purex). It is one capful of that to three capfuls of water. Mix in container. Cut up a kitchen sized scrubbing sponge in half and soak in liquid. Wring and throw one into dryer each time. Works great and smells good!

  9. Julie says

    I’m eager to try this. One thing I’d like to add about regular detergent from the store is that I use about 1/4-1/2 as much as they suggest and I’m obsessive about my family having clean soft clothing. I also usually use 1/2 of a dryer sheet. Everything still looks and smells great.

  10. Christy says

    I make my own laundry detergent, and I love it!!! So much cheaper and super easy to make. I add a little baking soda to mine and it seems to work very well. I make mine without using the water and keep mine in the powder form and just use 2-4 tbs at a time.

  11. Leslie says

    I’ve been making this recipe for a few months now. No problems so far, except you need to make sure to pretreat stains, but other than that, everything seems to come out of the wash fine. I use 1/2 cup per load and if I’m doing underwear or towels, I like to add some vinager for the germs.
    I do have to remind myself to make it at least a day or 2 before I run out. Being unemployed, this money saving trick couldn’t have come at a better time! 😉

  12. Wendy says

    We have 7 people in our family so laundry is always an issue. about 6 months ago I started looking at ways to save money on laundy and saw many great reviews for home made laundry detergent. A little hesitantly I made my first batch and it worked GREAT. I use the recipe from the Duggars website and it makes 5 gallons at a time. with my latest batch I added some liquid fabric softner to it and so far it has been great. Before I added the liquid softner I would add vinegar to the rinse cycle and it made a world of difference in the softness of the clothes. I used 1/4 cup when I had a front load washer but now that I am back to a top load washer I use 1/2 cup. When I use vinegar it is 1/4 cup that I add to the water.

  13. deb says

    After my 3rd baby, I started using white vinegar as a fabric softener. Works great! No vinegar smell, just soft, static-free clothes. No allergens either. Plus, buying the gallon 2-pack at Costco saves a ton of money over the national brands.

  14. Julia says

    Do you know if Publix carries the washing soda? I haven’t been able to find it anywhere here. We don’t have Kroger’s. I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for several years, but have looked everywhere for the washing soda & have been unable to find it! THANKS!!!

      • Lori Ceresia says

        Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, is available at Kroger also. I bought all my ingredients there. But fyi, washing soda which is “sodium carbonate” is found at pool supply stores! And from what I heard its less expensive than Arm & Hammer per ounce. So if you have a pool supply store in your area check it out. Ours are all closed now since I live in Michigan. But if you live in warm climates then your in luck. I am making my batch today for the first time. I can’t wait to try it.

      • Kara says

        I really want to try to make my own detergent but I have very sensitive skin. I cant even use window cleaner or snuggle. What is the recipe that you use, I would love to try it from someone that is kinda the same situation im in. Thanks

    • Delores Isaac says

      My grandson broke out in a fine rash…my daughter adjusted to recipe and used a soap other than Fels Naptha.

  15. says

    I’m going to try this… I always use Tide free, but I think I’m willing to give it a try and save some $$
    I learned about vinegar from a Friends mom. It’s great softerner and also on smells, have you ever left your towels in the washer and forgot them… that musty smell… Vinegar takes the musty smell away… and I’ll smell it while the wash is going but never after. I now keep a small spray bottle of water and vinegar in my kitchen for little clean ups.

  16. Amy says

    I use the powder version in an HE washer it works great, I use a formula scoop and put it in an old baby wipes container (about 1 tablespoon per load 2 if it’s heavily soiled or very large). It’s very hard to find the washing soda. Go to Arm & Hammer’s website and search by your zip code for stores. Nobody around me carries it (Fort Worth area) I’ve had to order it from websites before & usually has the best price.

    • Gwen says

      I was just at our Walmart in Frisco, and they sell the washing soda…it was on a bottom shelf and I had to look forever for it! But I found it…it was under all the stain fighters and the fels naptha soap, on the lowest most obscure place possible!

      • Shannon says

        I buy everything at my local Meijer, the washing soda and the borax are on the top shelf by the Oxiclean, but the fels-naptha is in another part of the laundry aisle on the bottom shelf. You literally have to look high and low for this stuff, they want your eye to go to the Tide and other uber expensive detergents they keep at eye level!

    • JC says

      You should try a Walmart near you. I live in the area as well and have bought it at Kroger and Walmart. Walmart is cheaper tho.

    • candie brewer says

      try your farm goods stores. in my area its Rural King. they have all of the supplies you need right in the same area.

  17. Jessica says

    since everyone is speaking of vinegar and baking soda, I will give my cleaning tip. My childrens doctor said those 2 things were the only cleaners I needed in my house…kitchen, bathroom, stove, name it!

  18. Betsy C. says

    Borax is NOT toxic. This has been gone around and around in various green living. 20 Mule Team Borax is NOT boric acid, naturally occurring and is environmentally friendly.

  19. Peggy says

    You can also use the Washing Soda and Borax, equal parts of each in the DISHWASHER!!!!! Also, use vinegar for the rinse agent.

    I have noticed it may not clean as perfectly as the store-bought, but I can handle wiping out a bowl here and there knowing I am saving TONS of money!

  20. Betsy C. says

    Peggy, have you noticed any issues with etching? I’ve read a few people have a problem with this. Do you use equal parts? Thanks!!

  21. Jan Jacklin says

    Washing Soda is usually found in the Laundry aisle next to 20 Mule Team Borax….I have used this & Ivory or Fels Naptha for close to 10 years…..I make 3-4 gallons at a time…I dissolve in a jar of Hot water…All my wash is cold water….I also use white vinegar, occasionally, never fabric softener…this is all pure enough to use watering your plants….

  22. Amber Johnson says

    Penny- We have sensitive skin at our house and I make the powdered version of this. I just use Dove Sensitive Skin Bar Soap instead of Fels Naptha and I haven’t had any problems. I never tried the Fels Naptha because I had trouble finding it.

    I buy my washing soda at Ace Hardware (we also do not have Kroger’s & no they do not carry it at Wal-Mart).

  23. Leslie Anderson says

    I make my own detergent with a similar recipe, but I use Zote bar laundry soap. You can get that for about a dollar a bar at groceries that sell Mexican products. I mix it up in one of those big buckets that cat litter comes in. I generally use a whisk in the water before loading clothes in the washer, to make sure that any clumps of detergent are broken up.

    • Cheryl says

      If you notice that your towels tend to have that funky smell, cut down on your laundry soap, you’re using too much! Double rinse & use vinegar and that should remove the stink. I found out that’s what I was doing to my clothes – I use 1/4 cup in my front load HE washer.

  24. says

    I made this exact recipe which I found on another site and also tried the powdered version. I love it and it came out to about a penny a load for the liquid. (The powdered version is a little more.) I do sometimes add extra Borax to keep my whites from getting dingy and my colors bright. (I read that could be an issue, but haven’t experience it.)
    I have an HE washer and use 1/4 cup and it works great. The HE detergent is so expensive, that I was thrilled to find a good alternative.

  25. says

    I love this recipe. I have one for powdered detergent. My biggest issue is finding that Washing Soda. It doesn’t seem to be anywhere I look here is L.A. :(

  26. Kara says

    I have been making it at home for a few months now and am completelty hooked…It works great and saves SOOOO much money! I add a couple of drops of teatree oil/meleluca each time I fill up my old liquid soap container.

  27. Emily says

    I want to give homemade detergent a try. I am wondering… Can I use the home fragrance oils from Bath and Body Works to scent my detergent? How do I know which oils are safe to add? Of course I don’t want to start having “oil” stains on our clothes! Thanks for any help on this!!

  28. Becky Heim says

    Ive made this laundry detergent about 5 times now (the Dugger family recipe). I make a 5 gallon buckets worth and share with my mom. I LOVE the smell and have also added softener to it. Some people have been complaining about clumps in the mixture. The easy way to fix that is to strain through your detergent before you use it. I just get a strainer and kind of “skim” the top and any clumps I find I squeeze back through (I mush em into the strainer) and voila’ NO CLUMPS! My next project is to make fabric softener. I JUST got a recipe I want to try.

  29. Marcia says

    just started using the powdered version of this (1c. washing soda, 1 c. borax and 1 bar fels naptha) blended in the blender (after grating the soap). I finally found washing soda at Rainbow Foods for a couple of bucks! we have sensitive skin in our family so anxious to see if this works. Otherwise, i love the suggestion for Dove Sensitive Skin bar soap.

  30. Susan says

    Is there any reason you couldn’t use a food processor for grinding up the soap?
    Also, whatever makes those little fabric softener balls open up at the right time? Maybe we could put the vinegar in those things…? And, I let the washer spin a moment or 2 just to mix things up good, especially if I use bleach, so the clothes don’t hit a concentrated area of product.
    I keep a clean stick (I think mine is part of a broom handle) to push the clothes down in the washer, so there is more time washing than just getting the clothes wet. (Saw this at a laundrymat where the machines didn’t agitate great).
    If you shake your towels & heavier laundry while putting them in the dryer, your dryer doesn’t have to work so hard separating them before they start drying! (Old lady stuff I know)…lol…guess why? Yep, old lady)…

    • Dawn says

      I have been shaking my wet laundry before putting it into the dryer for a long time…it cut my drying time by at least 2/3. Now my auto sensor adjusts the time DOWN instead of UP because it is a more accurate reading.
      For example it would take my sister over 2 hours to dry a full load of towels in my dryer, when it would take me just 50 minutes.
      (and I’m not an old lady…I wanted to save on my utilities!) :)

  31. Betsy C. says

    I do use my food processor to grate it and then use it to get a smooth-ish powder! If not, I sometimes get soap residue on my clothes!

  32. Marianne says

    I’ve been using my homemade laundry soap for about a month now and I LOVE it. After many years of using store bought laundry soap it was hard to believe that our clothes were clean because they didn’t really “smell.” I use the Duggar family recipe and add fabric softener to the wash. A friend of mine also gave me a recipe for making fabric softener sheets. You take a bottle of your favorite fabric softener and add it to a bucket. Then fill the fabric softener bottle with water, shake, and add it to the bucket. Do this twice. Take a few medium sized sponges, cut them in half, and add to the fabric softener. When you are ready to use them, wring one out and toss it on top of your clothes in the dryer. It works really well :)

    • janet says

      what does the recipe look like the next day? mine seemed to thicken but is still kind of watery. also, when you use yours do you put 1/2 soap 1/2 water in the container or do you not dilute it at all?

    • tara says

      I’m a little confused on the fabric softner mix, do u mean 1 bottle of softner to 2 bottles of water?

  33. Jennifer says

    For fabric softener I’ve used vinegar with a few drops of jasmine and vanilla oils (or what ever you like) and they come out great and smell good too just like regular fabric softener.

  34. Suzan says

    I started making this about a yr. ago in the liquid form. It’s done great! I never could find Fels Naptha, although my store used to carry it, so I used the Ivory bar. I’d like to try the Zote. I’ve had to use the Tide Free for my DH’s undies, but this works great. Sure beats the price! I use vinegar for the dishwasher rinse aid, but had not thought about it for clothing. Guess I’ll have to try that.

  35. Shannon says

    I have wanted to do this, but my husband is concerned it won’t work as well as store bought detergent. He’s a mechanic, so his work clothes are pretty gross most of the time, and he isn’t so sure it’ll work. I currently have 4 bottles of store bought stuff, after that’s gone, I’m going to make some and not tell him LOL

  36. Jan says

    Make it & try it before you run out of the store bought….I use 1/2 cup….my husband works around machines & always has some “who knows where it came from” Dad was a diesel mechanic…takes out that grease, too….Love the low cost more than anything…Works wonderful in place of HE.

  37. Ang says

    I have been using vinegar as a laundry boost because hubby’s Army ACUs get NASTY (he brings them home in a trash bag because they literally drip sweat) but I didn’t realize I could use it as fabric softener too. I’ve got a Bounce dryer bar right now-I was shopping the commissary for some cheap fab softener & there was a $1 off coupon in front of the display. Love it! It ended up being just over $1 commy price.
    I am SO trying this recipe, hubby’s work clothes alone are 2-3 loads weekly & I didn’t see any optical brighteners in the recipe so it will be safe to use on ACUs. Too bad I just bought detergent :(

  38. Carol says

    I have been making this same recipe for years now. I love making my own laundry detergent and it saves a lot on my grocery bill. I do tweak the recipe however since I have a teenage boy living at home. Although it costs a little more some of the things I have had success with adding to make the detergent to make it a little more efficient for heavily soiled loads are as follows: 1) I add about a cup of Oxy Clean to help the clothes from getting too dingy, 2) I add vinegar to help prevent the loads from smelling sour especially towels that sometimes dont come out smelling clean when they start to get old. It also helps take urine smell out of loads from kids who still have accidents at night. If it is a really bad odor I will sometimes just add extra vinegar to the entire load. 3) I add Febreeze laundry deodorizer (which I have only been able to find at Wal-Mart) to give it a more pleasant smell. I have had pretty good luck with making my own detergent. I have found however that if you have more heavily soiled laundry you have to tweak it somewhat to make it more effective.

  39. Carol says

    Thanks for the link for the Fels Naptha. I have noticed lately that the stores around here in the Minneapolis area that used to carry the ingredients to make laundry soap have removed them from the shelves. I bought the last 3 bars of Fels Naptha at our local Cub Foods and notice they even removed Borax and the Washing Soda. Target also removed all of their powdered detergents such as the Borax and Washing Soda. I haven’t been to Wal-Mart yet to see if they have joined in the conspiracy. They must all have become saavy to our little money saving secret so they are going to make it hard for us to find our ingredients. If this is so then who’s with me in conspiring back and using the back yard bon fire ash and the bon fire pit to make some good old fashioned potash to make the lye? Did anyone grow any Sassafras? We will have to visit the local butcher for the tallow. Ok, maybe that is going a little too far. Is there any other way we can prevent our local stores from discontinuing these items?

    • Susan says

      I do have directions for making oil lamps with olive oil! LOL! It does seem like it’s almost a conspiracy! I havent found the Fels Naptha or Zote yet–have to get the cheapest so don’t want to pay shipping…Purex was giving a sample away “with Zout” and I thought it was Zote! Catching up slowly…

  40. Melissa says

    I have a question about the vinegar.. When you put it in the dispenser on the washer do you dilute like you do say downey or snuggle or do you just use the vinegar and nothing else.. Thanks

  41. says

    I’ve been using a powdered laundry detergent recipe for the last year. I used it on clothes and cloth diapers with great success. I’ve been using homemade plain soap and that’s another great savings.

    So what’s a good recipe for homemade dishwasher soap? Getting sick of smelling chlorine in the house and can’t afford the eco friendly stuff.

    • Adrienne says

      Just use equal parts of borax and washing soda for a good powdered dishwasher detergent. You do need to use vinegar as a rinse aide with this though.

  42. shawan says

    i have well water but i have a sotfer to that dont help much I was want to know how to get rust staines out of clothes or what can iI put in the washer to help with this

    • Susan says

      Hi, I have found that the best thing for rusty well water is just to bite the bullet and install a “whole house filter.” Then you put a replaceable filter cartridge in it once a month. If you have a lot of rust (iron) you might get a cheaper filter, cause you would have to change a better one more often. Anyway, this has worked for me. Good luck!

  43. Emily says

    I’ve been making the liquid soap recipe for over a year now, and love it. One suggestion I have is if you let it sit overnight and it has gelled, I take an immersion blender to it to liquefy it again. Seems to work pretty well.

  44. Nancy says

    We’ve been making our own laundry detergent (liquid with fels naptha) for a few years now. Love it! I put vinegar in a downey ball (sometime I’ll put a few drops of Lavendar essential oil in it also) for a fabric softener/deodorizer. (Vinegar is also a mild bleach). My DH comes home wearing grease occassionally and I’ve found an amazing stain treater in Clean House Clean Planet (Karen Logan-Pocket Book ISBN 0-671-53595-1)
    1/4 c liquid detergent (not soap, use clear, not colored like Palmolive or Ivory. I use the Green Works)
    1/4 c vegetable glycerin (you can use regular glycerin too)
    1-1/2 c water
    Combine in a clean 16 oz squirt or spray bottle. With a little scrub brush and this pre-treater, I can get the grease out (for other stains, I just rub it out, no brush). Don’t use too much and be sure to rinse after you’ve treated. Clean House Clean Planet has a alot of amazing, safe and cost effective cleaning recipes!
    Also for a cheap wrinkle release and, I put a capful of downey (that I got on clearance) in a spray bottle and fill it the rest of the way with water.

  45. angela says

    I’ve been making the powdered version with Zote for over a year & I love it. I buy Zote at Walmart, A&H washing soda at Harris Teeter and Borax at Target, walmart or Harris Teeter. When I first read it the dose was 1 Tablespoon per load & 2 if heavily soiled. That’s what I do & I love how our clothes feel & smell. Especially the linens. I usually add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to loads & it keeps them soft & I feel it adds some umph to the cleaning. No problems with stains. For any stain that’s organice (blood or chocolate) pour hydrogen peroxide on it & it comes clean. The blood stain will bubble up but it appears at first to do nothing on the chocolate staine – until you take it out of the washing machine & then it’s all gone. Much cheaper than oxyclean!

  46. says

    I have wanted to try making my own detergent for quite some time and finally “bit the bullet”. I don’t know what happened, I used your recipe and it never thickened, there are NO suds at all and I used probably 2 or 3 cups in the washer. Just like water. I waited for it to suds up under the running water and nothing. Is that normal? I couldn’t smell anything in there either. I have my son washing a load of his disgusting clothes, LOL, so we’ll see what happens. I did add some Zote…

    • Cristie Van Gorden says

      Try again! I’ll bet you didn’t use enough of the bar soap. It gels up wonderfully each time I make it. Follow the directions to the tee and it should work!

  47. says

    Just wanted to add that his stuff smelled disgusting, ran it through a second time with another recipe listed above plus some vinegar in the rinse, they still smell gross. They look clean, though….

  48. says

    I have been using the liquid recipe for a few months now and I am not happy with it at all. I am going to try the dry recipe next and see what happens. My whites come out dingy and it doesn’t get stains out and simply doesn’t seem to get them very clean. I use one to two cups per load. I was really hoping this would save money but I will have to switch back to store bought if the dry recipe I am going to make doesn’t work.

  49. says

    I made the dry above that was stated as the Green Planet recipe. I don’t know if it’s just his clothes but they still smell. He is usually covered in grease and smells of exhaust, I tried his clothes first thinking that would be the one to try and see if it made a noticeable difference. So bummed…

  50. says

    I make my own detergent and love it. 3 c. Borax, 2 c. Washing Soda, 2 c. Baking Soda and 1 1/2 bars of ivory soap finely grated (or one bar of fels naptha, but I prefer ivory). I use my pampered chef hand grater and with the help of my wonderful daughter it takes minutes to make a batch. We keep it in a tupperware container and use about 2 TBSP per load in my super capacity top loader. I pour white vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser but I know that the downy ball filled with vinegar would work, too, if you don’t have a dispenser on your machine. It costs me about 2 cents per load and has saved us TONS of money. OH – and I wash my husband’s ACU’s, too. Unless the stain is really bad, there isn’t much need to pretreat. I’ve now converted my mother in law and several friends to saving money and making their own powdered detergent :)

  51. Patrice C says

    My daughter has a Bed- Wetter, and sometimes can’t get to the laundry for a day or two. She adds 1/2 cup of Pine Sol to her laundry, and WOW. It puts a very fresh, and clean smell into the house as well. I witnessed people coming into her house while laundry was going and they’ll sniff right away and say…”oh, you’ve been cleaning today, it smells nice in here”. She also uses it to scrub her sofa and the carpet. So maybe I’ll add a little Pine Sol to my homemade laundry soap for that… very fresh smell.

  52. Ginny says

    I am getting ready to start making the laundry detergent. However, I have not found Borax yet. Does anyone know where I might be able to purchase this in the Grand Rapids MI area? Thanks

  53. Karla says

    Just wanted to say that Do It Best online stores has the Fels-Naptha soap for $1.29 and they ship to store free. ;o)

  54. Amber Allen says

    I just wanted to comment and say I have been doing this over 2 years now and I love it. I have really sensitive skin and switching detergents makes me break out in hives, but not with this. I love the fresh clean smell. I couldn’t find washing soda in any local grocery store or anything so I did have to order it offline, it is well worth it! I actually make this for my mother in law too that have 8 people living in her house and she save over $800 last year because all of these incredients cost around $10 and it lasted her the whole year! I would recommend this to ANYONE! :)

  55. Amber Allen says

    Oh and BTW I actually don’t use the FelsNaptha Soup. I actually use my favorite bar of Dove, it adds the scent that I like!

  56. says

    I made this detergent and then found out that I was allergic to fragrance. My skin became one giant rash that was red, inflamed and ITCHY!!!! Be careful if you have sensitive skin.

  57. Carol Deml says

    I have made my own laundry detergent for years now. I also add the Oxy-Clean to my detergent when I make it. I to have found that vinegar is a great substitute for fabric softener and helps give a real dingy load a boost when I add it to the wash to. When I do buy fabric softener though, I like to freeze it then thaw it out. Once it is thawed out it is really thick. I squeeze out half of the bottle into an empty fabric softener bottle and then fill each half bottle with vinegar and shake it until it is thoroughly mixed. This gives you two bottles of fabric softener for almost half the price. The consistency is basically the same and it doesn’t affect the smell or the quality.

  58. Christi says

    I just tried this but could not find “washing soda” I found the same box pictured in the laundry aisle, but it was “baking soda”.
    I assume that is why I made a volcano on my stove.

    The detergent I ended up with smells great..I’m still gonna try it..hoping I don’t get a washing machine volcano as well LOL

  59. Beth says

    I made the liquid laundry detergent and it seems to work on the dark clothes but when I used it on my whites with bleach it turned my t-shirts yellow. I do have hard water. Is there anything I can do to take the yellow out or to be sure it wont happen if I use the detergent again? I would love to continue to use it. Do you think the powdered version would work better? Thanks for your help!

    • Dawn says

      I use Iron out for yellowish stains from my water…wouldn’t advise mixing with your container of soap…but put in loads of whites when you wash…it works great for our whites and we have really bad well water.

  60. Jan Jacklin says

    The biggest reason I make my own liquid saop is for the purity…saving maney is the byproduct…I used Zote 1X…It does not dissolve as well as Pure Castile, Ivory or Fels Naptha…plus it’s pink, which means red dye….HELLO! If I want pure NO ZOTE…I can reuse my water on any of my yard or garden….generally no bleach is needed on white clothes…I’ve used Homemade for at least 5 years…BTW, I found a residule on the inside of the washer every time I used the soap made with ZOTE, but never with Pure Castile, Ivory or Fels Naptha….and I want my clothes clean, NO residule…

    • Becky Geiger says

      do you have a recipe or making this soap with castile soap? I tried zote and it cleans just fine, I just LOVE dr bronnors castile soap and was wondering if I could use that and how much to use?

  61. traci says

    You can find fels soap at i paid 30 dollars for 24 bars. you can also find washing soda on They can ship it to your house or you can pick it up at your local ace store when you order it off the website and put ship to store. great value.

  62. Grace says

    Borax is not toxic, it is environmentally friendly and it can even be used for killing roaches and other bugs…it does not kill them by poison, it gets on their feet, they bring it back to the nest, they then crawl all over the other insects, and it is abrasive to their shells (exoskeletons)they dehydrate and die. I know this because I used to work in pest control and when people had little kids in a home with roaches, the techs always used or suggested this method.

  63. Jackie says

    We do not use laundry soap, bleach or hot water when doing our laundry. We have a Laundry Pure unit. It works great!

  64. says

    Kirk’s Castile 4oz bar soap is .99 vs Dr Bronner’s citrus 5 oz bar is 4.09…however, Dr Bronner’s is a bit more pure…
    RECIPE: 5 gallons
    1 1/2 c Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
    1 1/2 c 20 Mule Team Borax
    1 bar castile soap or 1/2 bar Fels Naptha (shaving is faster than grating…Shave like chocolate)
    Combine the 3 ingredients with
    3 quarts of water…heat to melt soap…DO NOT BOIL…
    Divide into the 5 gallons I “SLOWLY” fill with water…
    Be sure to not let foam.. I use gallon jugs…You could use pails…SHAKE before each use…use 1/1/2 cup per load…

  65. says

    Dr Bronner’s Castile bar soap is a little more pure than Kirk’s Castile bar soap.
    Makes 5 gallons
    1 1/2 c Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
    1 1/2 c 20 Mule Team Borax
    1 4-5oz castile soap or 1/2 bar Fels Naptha…shaved, as you would chocolate on a cutting board…
    Dissolve in 3 quarts of hot water…DO NOT BOIL…
    Divide into 5…1 gallon jugs or put in 5 gallon pail…
    Slowly fill with water as not to cause sudsing…
    Be certain to shake or stir well before each use…
    Use 1/4 to 1/2 c per was load

  66. Diane says

    I made it today, can’t believe how easy it was. I plan to share with my daughters & daughter-in-law. I’ll have to let you know later how well we like the cleaning power. I love the smell.

  67. Jodi says

    Zote soap is amazing! My son plays baseball in WHITE pants that look brown after a game and that is the only thing that works! I am going to make my own detergent and I am actually excited! Thanks for the tips!

  68. Donna says

    I made this a week ago using Ivory Soap. I had two large Tide dispenser type containers. Forgoing the bucket I mixed everything in a large pot. I cut off the tops of 2 liter soda bottles to use as funnels and then used measuring cups to transfer the soap evenly to the containers. One recipe filled each container about 3/4 full. (Maybe a little more) Using vinegar as a fabric softener (just poor it in the little round dispenser like I do regular fabric softener)my clothes are fresh, clean, soft and cling free.
    Thank you for this recipe!

  69. Denise says

    Just made the dry recipe using Ivory soap. Surprisingly, it was much easier to shred than I imagined. I don’t have a grater, so I shredded it and then mixed 1/2 of the shredded bar with 1/4 cup of Borax in my Bullet chopper thingy and did that twice… then followed the rest of the recipe. It smelled great and we just finished washing the first load. Honestly, I would like a stronger scent, but it was nice with just the Ivory. I might play with that a little bit next time. Clothes are clean, soft and smell yum! I ended up making 3 batches, put it all in an airtight Tupperware container, and labeled it with today’s date so I’d know how long it lasts and how much I’m actually saving.

    This stuff was nearly impossible to find locally!!! I was too anxious to wait for to ship, so I was on a manhunt. Ended up finding A&H Washing Powder at Ace Hardware. The guy there said he’s had quite a few folks in there looking for it to make their own soap. I told him the ingredients, but didn’t purchase b/c that’s the only ingredient he had. Found only the Borax at Buy 4 Less and got it. By the time I got back to Ace Hardware, the guy told me he ordered A&H Washing Powder, Borax AND the Naptha soap LOL! The truck will be in Wednesday and I’m excited to try that soap as well!!! So keep that in mind… if you’re from a relatively small town, the small town folks might just order what you need! I might bring him a couple baggies of the stuff to hand out to customers who might be skeptical… I know that certainly would have helped me do this sooner!!!

  70. Jamie Stone says

    I tried this- i use it although it doesnt seem to get my clothes really clean- I have 3 small children and its just not doing it- what else can i add or do to this to make it better??

  71. Mindi says

    I have been making my own powder laundry detergent since Oct and I love it!! I have two children who love to get dirty and have yet to have a problem. However, I use Fels-Naphtha soap and Dove together only because I like the smell of Dove. I just use smaller amounts. But I read on another site that it is not recommended to use Dove because it has oil in it and can stain your clothes?? Has anyone else heard this or found it to be true?? Also, I was interested in adding essential oils to mine. I read one article that said just to add the oil directly to the powder. Has anyone else tried this? Definitely do not want a bunch of oil spots on my clothes!! Thanks so much!! Love frugal girls!!!!

  72. Mindi says

    Oh by the way…I’m in Southern Indiana and I have found Fels-Naphtha at Ace Hardware, Rural King, and Schnucks. All three places also carry the washing soda. So far Schnucks is cheapest on washing soda at $2.99/55 oz box, Walmart is cheapest on borax at $2.98/64 oz box…I think. Can’t exactly remember the size of the box, and Rural King is cheapest on Fels-Naphtha at $1.29/bar. Hope this helps!

  73. Megan Smith says

    I ran out of dish washer soap the other day and was frantically looking for something I already had. Well, I just finished making a batch of homemade laundry soap and it look similar to waht I put in there anyways, so I dumped some in and prayed it wouldn’t screw up the dishwasher. And as I stood unloading the dishwasher I was amazed at how clean they came out. No spots, no residue…NOTHING! Now I have a water softener so I don’t know if that affects the results, but I’m still testing to make sure it doesn’t leave yucky residue all over the inside. Just an idea for those of you who have run out!

  74. says

    I asked if there was anything that should not go into the dishwasher and was told no. My dad suggested NOT using dish soap as it would bubble up too much. I do use a drop in mine and it has been fine. So I don’t think anything in the laundry detergent would be a problem…they also suggested running vinegar through the dishwasher every few months but I use that as a rinse aid anyway!

  75. Jan Jacklin says

    Dishwasher soap….use 2 tsp WASHING SODA… can also fill the rinse reservoir with white vinegar…

  76. Kathy S says

    I make a personal variation of this recipe…simply for simplicity….and I use it as a booster in my lights/whites when I don’t use bleach and brights. I take the whole box of Borax, the whole box of Super Washing Soda and TWO bars of Fels-Naptha (grated with a cheese grater). Mix together and store in an old ice cream bucket. Add 1/4 cup to load. I use to be a TIDE only laundry mom. Nothing else ever worked to my satisfaction. But now…I buy the cheap detergent, add this booster to previously mentioned loads, and have no problems at all! If I have a really, really bad stain I do have the kids spray it that same night with Shout. Haven’t ruined any clothes with this method. Don’t save as much as those using strictly this, but saving and happy with my laundry! :)

  77. Kim Catapane says

    I used the homemade laundry soap successfully for about a year. Last summer, my son started having a skin problem(eczema) on the inside of his elbows. At the time, I was using some soap bought on sale. When I started using the homemade again, about 6 months later, my son complained that he was itchy all over his back. He appeared to have bumps on his back. It was from the homemade soap that I had started using again. Does anyone have a different recipe that would be kinder to sensitive skin? Thanks!

    • Adrienne says

      Try using one of the versions with Castile instead of the fels naptha. Also, try using vinegar in the rinse cycle to help get any residual soap out. Good Luck! ~from a fellow sensitive skin sufferer

  78. says

    My dry almost filled a large Country Crock tub (using that for now). I never counted the loads but I make it maybe once a month and I do at least 8-10 loads of laundry a week I guess. There are 4 of us here. Kind of hard to keep count but I suppose you could divide out 2 T of powder per whatever the total cup measurement of powder is and see. I have been happy with the powder and no one is complaining here. Seems like the funky smells that were in our clothes are actually gone now.

    • Janis says

      thank you for the response and I am diffently going to try to make it got to find a place that sells all the stuff. Going to a Kroger today then if not I am going to try a local mom and pop store that sells the old school stuff so to speak. Found a bottle of stuff there one time kids needed for a science fair project that was no where else to be found. Thanks for all the tips ladies. I am so excited to try this.

  79. Jes says

    My daughter and I make home made laundry soap all the time. We have been doing it for 4 yrs. Now. We also put 15-20 drops of clean cotton oils in it. The cost is $11 and some change. That’s for borax, washing soda, and 2 bars of fals soap. We are going to try home made fabric softener next.

    • Ang says

      I made the homemade softener the other day. I ended up adding another cup of conditioner because I like the “softener smell” & nothing came out greasy from the extra. It made 3/4 gal for me that way.

  80. says

    Since this is low sudsing, I wonder if this can be used in rug shampooers. Those cleaners are so expensive, such as the rug doctor brand, and I wonder if adding vinegar is a safe way to help with pet odors in carpets?

    • Ang says

      I have a friend who owns his own carpet cleaning business & because of his advice I don’t use ANY soap in my carpet shampooer. If it’s a nasty mess I’ll spray it w/my trusty bottle of vinegar water (lol) & there are occasional stains that I need to hit w/some sort of soap, but as a rule I just use the hottest water I can get from the tap. He told me that most of the stains on the carpet are actually soap stuck to the dirt. By using just hot water I get most of my stains up (still working on the wizard wand mess tho-red cabbage dye mixed w/vinegar & a few of the Easter egg dye pellets, yikes!) & I still get the nasty dark water :)
      Oh & for those stains:
      iron a brown paper bag over a WAX spill on carpet (I’ve not tried it so I don’t know what temp)-keep moving to a clean spot of bag until the wax is gone
      RED stains (koolaid) come up with windex, an iron & a white towel-spray windex (I buy name brand solely for this purpose cuz that’s what another carpet cleaner told me to get-cheaper to pay for Windex than a room of carpet) over the stain (I use my fingers to kind of agitate it on the spot), iron a white towel on the stain at the highest safe setting for your carpet (test first), moving the towel to a clean spot each time
      INK & SHARPIE come up w/rubbing alcohol poured onto the stain & BLOTTED w/a white towel
      my friend got purple paint out of her carpet w/Pantene shampoo (bad for your hair, great for stains!) & I got all but a little of my red cabbage dye mess up w/it.

  81. Darla says

    I made my first batch of liquid soap today. Will let you know how it works out for me. I have a culinary student and believe me….her clothes stink! Even after I wash them. Hoping that this recipe will cure the greasy, fish smells. Will try vinegar too, per my neice. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  82. Gayle says

    Love all of the ideas and have used vinegar for other cleaning purposes for years. (Cleans windows amazingly well and you use newspaper instead of paper towels). For laundry do you when do you add it to the wash cycle? In a downy ball or??

  83. Brianna says

    I tried a dry detergent recipe and liked it but it didn’t last nearly long enough, so I thought I’d give the liquid a try. I was out of Fels Naptha and the store nearest me only had Zote and it didn’t work out very well. I grated 1/3 of a bar into a big pot but when I started to heat it, it didn’t melt. I was expecting it to turn into a liquid but it just sort of formed a doughy consistency. I waited and waited but it started to scorch and turn brown. I added the soda and borax and it just all turned into chunks. I gave up on the cooking and went ahead and finished the recipe. Hopefully it still works…

    Is this what happens when you use Fels Naptha or does Zote just not melt??

    • Sharada Sanchez says

      I have never had trouble with Zote but I do leave it out for about a week to harden before grating it and it melts fine for me – maybe yours was too soft and that is why good luck

  84. Kaila says

    I would like to try this but one question. Does it make your clothes smell dingy? For the people who add vinegar when do you add it? We have a front load.

  85. Dana says

    I have been using this recipe for over a year now. I usually add some Oxy-clean and a little dawn. My husband is a mechanic and it gets the grease and odors out no problem. But today I did learn to make SURE the soap has dried out some. I grate it so it dissolves really fast. The bar I bought was fresh and very soft…it was a mess.I now make a batch in about 10 min. and it last about 6-8 weeks.

  86. kt says

    I get a large tub and this mixture lasts almost 6 months.
    2lg boxes of Arm & Hammer washing powder
    1 lg box team mule Borax
    1 large box of Xtra detergent (on sale at family dollar 3.00)
    1 tub of fake oxi clean from the dollar store

    Mix it all in a large tub really well. I use a cheap dollar store 1 cup scooper to put it in the washer.

  87. Janet says

    This proves that everything old is new again: as a very young child during WW II, it was my job to grate the Fels Naptha bar soap for the hand-operated wringer washer. I was over-joyed when boxed detergents were produced (Oxydol was the first my mother used). To this day, I remember the smell of Fels Naptha. I don’t make my own detergent (senior apt. too small), but I do use Arm & Hammer washing soda and Oxiclean.

  88. tisha kincaid says

    I have made both the dry and liquid versions. I prefer the liquid. Fels-naptha bar is only .97 at my Walmart. One 5 gallon bucket filled 5 regular size detergent bottles. I have a nine month old grand son and was pleasantly surprised at how easily food stains come out. I do pre-treat heavier stains with the mix. Have not seen any fading in the colors of our clothes. Didn’t know about the vinegar as a softner. Can’t wait to try it.

  89. Nickie says

    I started making this laundry soap about a month ago and it really works great. I have a 5 yr old that constantly stains cloths this det. gets those stains out, I also have a 2 yr old that is always spilling food and drinks on him self and sense I started using this laundry det. I have allot less stains that don’t come out in the wash. It works great for grass stains, BBQ sauce, blood and lots of other things that regular det. just don’t touch with out a stain fighter. I will continue to make my own laundry detergent it saves me lots of money because I have 7 people in my home and this laundry detergent goes a log way at little cost. It is really worth the money to buy the stuff to make your own. You don’t use much of anything out of the boxes you buy so it will last me for a long time before I have to buy things again except for the bar soap, I just use what ever bar soap is cheep.

  90. landra says

    I am really excited to try this!! When cooking these products on the stove is there any damage to the pots that you are using. My husband is worried that it will damage our new pots!

    • Sharada Sanchez says

      if it is a concern just dedicate a special pot for soap making — it cleans up easily it is soap :)

  91. Melanie Jones says

    Has anyone else had issues with their whites yellowing with the homemade detergent? Even with bleach, I’m seeing that our socks/tank tops are more off white than white now! Thanks!

  92. ~Julie says

    I just made my own detergent today using a similar recipe for powder detergent. It’s:

    4 lbs washing soda
    4 lbs baking soda
    4 lbs Borax
    3 bars of Fels-Naptha (or Zote or similar laundry soap)
    2 small containers of Oxi-Clean. (I used 1 big container of Green Works version of Oxi-Clean).
    Shred the soap and mix it all together. I’m using the scoop that came in the Green Works bucket and using two scoops per load.

    I have my first load using this detergent in the dryer now.

  93. Lisa says

    How do you grind / grate up the Fels Naphtha soap? I made the dry version of this laundry detergent for awhile and ruined our food processor grinding up the soap. :o(

    Thanks in advance!

  94. Kristy says

    Can you just add the vinegar to the liquid mixture detergent you are making already? Or do you have to use it in a fabric softener separate?

  95. Rebecca Moore says

    Hi, I just made this recipe for the first time last night and put it into empty detergent bottles. I checked it this morning and it is one big lump in the bottle, what should I do?

  96. Heather says

    I went out and bought all the items to make this homemade laundry detergent & I am SO SO excited to try it!! However, I am a little scared that the Borax with irritate my children’s sensitive skin. Has anyone else had problems with skin irritation from using this homemade detergent? I have an eight yr old daughter and a 10 mth old son. Thanks for the recipe!! :)

    • Shannon says

      My son has allergys and ever since we have started using this there has been no reactionn and his back has cleared up from the pimples and irritation.

  97. says

    • Sharada Sanchez says

      use vinegar. I have 7 cats and yes we have had many urine “accidents” on carpet in the laundry basket and on blankets. (in her defense she had a bad UTI they said my poor kitty- she is gone now but the boys still mark sometimes) and a spray bottle with vinegar and sprayed on the spot seems to help and we just use a cloth to soak it up and then wash the cloth. hope that helps

  98. Amy says

    I used the Duggar Family recipe and made a 1/2 recipe, used a 1/2 bar Dove soap. Its been setting out overnight about 12 hours now and hasn’t gelled any. Any ideas?

  99. Shannon says

    this is the recipe I use and it is septic safe since it is low sudsing and works great on baby clothes! Is also works great in carpet cleaners since it is low sudsing!

    The homemade liquid laundry soap recipes:

    4 Cups hot water
    1 soap bar
    1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
    ½ Cup Borax
    1, Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
    2, Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
    3, Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use.
    tips: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
    Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
    Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
    Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

  100. Jo-Ellen Litle says

    I have been making the liquid version for a year or so. I use a bar of Dial gold soap. My boys love it because they say that mosquitoes leave them alone when they are backpacking. I never add anything that has a scent because then the mosquitoes would follow the scent.

  101. Lynn Kile says

    I use the liquid recipe and I also have a jar handy – add hot water to the jar along with about 1/2 to 3/4 of the laundry soap and shake the hot water/soap mixture and then add it to the washer – to prevent clumps from sticking to the clothes. Also I add about a cup of hydrogen peroxide to each load – I live in an apartment complex and have to share the washers and dryers with other tennants and want to make sure my laundry is as clean and as germ free as can be!

  102. Teri says

    Ok, So I have a question, which is better the liquid or the dry? Can you use fels naptha and zote in the same batch? If I made liquid could I just put vinegar in the mix? PLEASE SOMEONE HELP! I have all the ingredients but I’m just a wee bit hesitant. PLEASE?????
    Teri :-)

  103. says

    I am sooooo excited…..i found your site thru Pinterest and so excited about all the cleaning products to make that are so much safer to use. i found a recipe to clean bathroom shower and tub and really anything and have been so impressed and excited how it WORKS and it really is clean and stays clean. i have purchased the products for the laundry detergent and fabric softner and can’t wait to get it made and use it. all the laundry ingredients were at walmart all together on the same shelf just waiting for me and very inexpensive. Like i said i am very excited and will let you know. Thank you all for sharing these wonderful household hints.. thanks again!!!

    • Heidi says

      Have fun making your homemade cleaners, Pat! We’re so glad to have you here… joining in the $$-saving FUN! 😉

      ~ Heidi

  104. Barb says

    I did this at Christmas for the first time, and this week, while off from work, I will be making my second batch…..Lasted all this time…still have some left, and I don’t even have to go to the store to buy the ingredients because I still have all of them from last time. I love this….Might add some of the whitener that another commentor made. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • T Anderson says

      Do it yourself Detergent

      Looking for a color safe laundry detergent that is dye and perfume free, cleans really
      Tough stains and even looks great in mason jars? Seems like a tall order but Lisa Kindred,
      Has just the formula to fill it. I love making my own laundry soap, “she enthuses.” It`s
      Not hard, and my whole family come and gets it and uses it- one batch makes 9
      Gallons, and the whole thing only costs about $5.oo I work at GM, and my clothes get
      Terrible stains and they all come out! “follow these steps to make your own DIY detergent:
      1. Coarsely grate two bars of Fels-Naptha laundry soap into a 12-Quart plastic dishpan, and
      Then add 4 quarts of boiling water. Stir until the soap is dissolved.
      2 Add 5 quarts of hot water to dishpan and stir in 2 cups of Borax and 2 cups of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda. 3. Once dissolved, add water to the dishpan up to a few inches from the top, stir and let sit overnight -letting it sit for 48 hours is even better. 4. After the mixture has gelled, chop it into pieces with a metal spoon or spatula. Fill a mixing bowl with pieces of it, and mix with a hand mixer until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes, repeat with remaining gel. 5. Disperse the blended mixture evenly among 12 one quart canning jars, top off the jars with a little water, cover, shake and store. This is the concentrated form of the soap. 6. To use the laundry soap, pour one jar into an empty liquid detergent bottle, add 2 quarts of water and shake well. Use the bottle`s cap to measure the laundry soap just as you would for the store-bought detergent; For high-efficiency washers, just use a little less. “It`s thin Lisa explains, “But it works!”

      2 Bars of Fels -Naptha soap 2 Cups of Borax 2 Cups of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda

  105. Angela says

    I have recently started making my own laundry detergent (but am doing the dry version to eliminate the need for ‘cooking’ LOL), using the same ingredients…I am LOVING IT! I found a recipe on Pinterest I am using which includes adding Purex Crystals to the mix for smell and I tell ya, my clothes have NEVER smelled better, even after washing with name brand Tide liquid detergent did my clothes ever smell this good and clean! I will probably never buy laundry detergent again! BTW-Fels Naptha soap is .97 cents at Wal-Mart.

  106. Rita says

    I saw where some people were saying that in the dry detergent recipe, the ivory soap didnt disolve. Try this! I saw on Pinterest that if you microwave a bar of ivory soap it puffs up and when you touch it, it will crumble into fine powder. This might be better than using a cheese grater. Hope this helps!

  107. corey says

    Does anyone have gelled up lumps in their’s? and is that ok? I’m doing my first load now. But yesterday (after letting it gel overnight) I was putting it in bottles and there were huge gelled lumps that were hard to get into the bottles. I stired and stired but alot remained. I believe they will be fine once mixed with the water in the washer, but just wanted to make sure!!! :)

    • Baking Banshee says

      Corey-after the overnight “sit” mine too was totally gelled.
      I suggest (if feasible for you) that you purchase a cooking whisk and whisk the solution in the container for a couple of minutes to break up the gelled lumps. I whisked mine twice; once after about 8 hours and then again the next day before pouring it into my old liquid detergent containers. It still had tiny lumps but they dissolved when I put the mixture in the laundry.
      Hope this helps.

  108. says

    Not directly but somewhat related, I hope the posters on the website have explored the process of homemade cold process soap making. It’s so easy to do and is a much better product than the store bought stuff. (cost about $0.75 per 4oz. bar due to high cost of Olive Oil)
    I’ve been making it for 10 years (Jun. 2002) with great success and have not bought a bar of soap since. There are many websites that explain the process. I would be happy to write an article explaining the process if the Frugalgirls is interested. David

  109. tanja says

    I am looking for a recipe for the hoover carpet steam vac. Those cleaners are really expensive. any help would be appreciated!!!

    • Sharada Sanchez says

      I used to use a tsp of pinesol in my carpet cleaner and never had trouble fill with water and just a tsp of pinesol and it smelled fresh and clean

  110. Kerrie says

    I love making my own everthing. My little girl and I make things on the weekend. We made our own low calorie ranch dressing, had soap, shampoo, and laundry soap. I get my recipes from pintrest. We love it and save so much money doing so. You are paying for mostly water at the store.

  111. AmberJ says

    I just recently made the homemade laundry detergent and I have used a 5 gallon bucket with lid which you can buy at Home Depot or Lowe’s or even check your local deli, Subway or Grocer because they can get them and will sell them for a dollar or give them free. With the 5 gallon version use 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of Washing Soda and one bar of Fels Naptha which WalMart had for .97 cents. To use all of the Borax and Washing Soda you will need 6 bars of Fels-Naptha this will make 6 five gallon tubs totaling $13.50 before taxes. Using 1/4 cup for each load this is 1920 loads which comes down to .008 cents per load that is less than one cent. I am looking into using Lavender oils for extra scent.

  112. Melissa says

    How much detergent do you use per load (small, medium, or large)? Is it still just a cap full as in store bought detergent?

  113. Kelly O'Neil says

    I made my first batches of homemade cleaners today. Waiting until tomorrow to test the laundry soap. I tried and LOVED the homemade dishwasher detergent that I learned about through another website. Recipe for dishwasher detergent is:
    1 cup of kosher salt
    2 cups of borax
    2 cups of washing soda (arm & hammer; same as used for laundry recipe)
    4 packets of lemonade koolaid
    (added white vinegar to the “jet dry” dispenser in the dishwasher too)
    I used it after cheesy macaroni dinner and dishes were sparkling, no white residue at all, and dishwasher smelled fresher than it has in a long time!

  114. Allison says

    I was wondering if there was any way to make a homemade detergent without using Borax. I had used it several years ago and my son had an allergic reaction.


    • Sharada Sanchez says

      you should be able to omit the borax if needed and still get clean clothes — my husband used to jst use the washing soda
      and it worked for him

  115. Brian says

    Does anyone who has allergies used this. I have a friend that’s asking. I love the detergent. I use it dry 1 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup Borax, 1 bar Fels-Naptha. I use a little over a tbls per load and get about 25-30 per batch.

    • Sharada Sanchez says

      Brian my son has eczyma and we swear by it my son is very sensative to detergents and this helps him so much I just make him his very own batch and he knows it and he even helps wash his clothes with it :)

  116. Cathryn says

    I have been making my own laundry soap for almost 3 years now after reading about it on the Simple Dollar blog. Works great. Plus I can get unscented bar soap and have unscented laundry soap (which is so hard to find). Gets stains out and saves so much money. Really quick to make. My teenagers take turns making it about every 5-6 weeks.

  117. Sharada Sanchez says

    you can also use ZOTE soap or Ivory works also. I have made batches with each kind and add lavender oil to help it smell pretty or peppermint and tea tree oil they all help with bateria also. as for Vinegar use it in every load and it has the added benefit of cleaning your washer of any deposits that are building up and the pipes too. I have done that for years also. there are so many more you can use. and the ZOTE Soap with borax and washing soda can be used as a powder detergent also just don’t melt the soap on the stove but use a food processor to make it all super fine and mix in a large container or ziploc bag and only need a few tblspoons full to get the clothes washed :)

  118. susan clements says

    Hi, I apologize if this answer was provided somewhere in the HUGE list of comments…I could’ve easily missed it. First, with the liquified/gelled version of this laundry soap, approx how much do you use/load…about the same as conventional laundry soap? And, I like things to smell nice (dogs and kitties in the house…so it’s kind of a necessity), so is there a way to add essential oil (like lavender, or lemon) into the mix, without effecting the efficacy or safety to wash. machine, etc.? Thanks!

    • says

      Yes and yes- I use 2 cap fulls per load (make sure you shake your container every time!) My recipe also has dawn in it! I’ve added essential oils but you will have to use a lot, and that can get expensive! Look into the fabric softener recipe too!!

  119. says

    I have made 3 ‘batches’ of homemade soap and LOVE IT!!! The fact that I am saving money, packaging, and know what is in it makes the difference for me! My recipe is 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda, 1 bar ivory and 1 cup dawn. All mixed into a 5 gallon bucket. I use 2 lid fulls per load. I add 1/4 dry baking soda for smelly stuff when needed.

    I will try using different soaps as suggested the next batch around!

  120. Renee says

    Ive been trying to wade through all the comments but how much do you use for a normal load and is it safe for babies? I have a newborn and have been using hypoallergenic detergent. He has very sensitive skin! Thanks!

  121. says

    I didn’t find the Fels Naptha Bar, I got the Pink Bar of Zote. What is the difference in quantity for these two in your recipe? Thank you.

    • Donna says

      Fels Naptha soap can usually be found the laundry deterent aisle. It has a lemony smell to it. When grated, Fels usually yeilds about 2 cups.

  122. DANA says

    i use this for laundry & love it! but i also started using it as a dish washer detergent after trying so many other homemade ones that left my dishes filmy. Another lady commented on a recipe that i was going to try that she too had the same problem & tried her laundry detergent it works GREAT!!
    since they both have most of the same ingredients I thought i would try it & it works & cleans better than my Finish tabs!! my glasses r sparkly & stainless steel pots look brand new!!!

  123. Shirley Ruyle says

    I like to use my hubs electric drill with his paint mixer bit to stir the mixture after I mix ingredients together.

  124. Sue Eide says

    I just made the homemade laundry detergent that jells up. it worked wonferfully! I am washing the second load as i type thins. I would like to add some aroma of some kind.

  125. says

    For a borax-free version, follow the same recipe minus the borax!
    Add 1/4 cup salt for a color stabilizer
    Add 1/2 cup baking soda for deodorizer & stain remover
    (from another recipe found here: )
    Add 1tbsp of oxiclean to each load, NOT to the wet mix you’re making! It’ll expand into a foam and will basically be unusable… Ask me how I know, haha.

    Borax (i.e. sodium tetraborate) is quite controversial! It is used in a lot of things and considered “safe”, however you’ll notice the fine print of the MSDS or it states may impair fertility or cause harm to the unborn child. As someone TTC, Ive decided to steer clear!

  126. Tonya says

    How much of this stuff do I used? My different bottles of laundry detergent bottles have different size caps. I don’t want to use too much or too little…any help? Thanks!

  127. Sherri Rohrig says

    The easiest way to get the fels naphtha to a powder form is to put the bar in your micro wave oven. I place it on a plate and start out at 30 seconds watch it grow in to a big shape then let cool and rub between your hands and it makes powder. I love the homemade soap have used for two years. Love Love Love the savings and the results.

  128. JJ Lane says

    I started using the homemade laundry soap in February. I love it and can honestly say, I don’t ever see myself buying another bottle of any pre-made detergent again. It doesn’t matter if we’ve been working at the sawmill or in the garden, this soap gets the dirt and grime out. I use it for everything now. Works great on my daughter’s greasy uniforms from the fast food restaurant she works at. I use the fabric softener recipe as well. Works just as well and about 1/4 of the cost!

  129. Becca says

    Making my first batch, have everything ready to go, however not sure how much this is going to make since I have seen 5 and 10 gallons mentioned on here. Can someone shed some light on me as to how much? Thank you.

  130. Jenna says

    I made this exact recipe and it cleans awesome! I have an HE machine and it works great – I use 1/2 cup. Thanks for the recipe! I have a question also – can anything be added to give an additional scent to the laundry? My clothes come out completely clean and fresh but just no scent so I was wondering if any sort of scent can be added to the soap I’ve already created? Thanks!

  131. ANSI says

    Hi, I was just wondering if the liquid A&H can be used instead of the powder. Can’t seem to locate the washing soda in powder form, only the borax. I live in Ontario,Canada and have checked the Walmarts, Home Depots and Lowes.

    Many thanks, eh!

  132. Meg says

    This stuff is awesome. Been making my own for about a year. I do add downy or those scented crystals to a load every once in a while if I want some “scent” but as far as cleaning goes, I’m a convert. I add extra washing soda or borax powder as a booster to smelly loads.

  133. Jan Romanick says

    OMG! What a trip down Memory Lane. My mother had a hand wringer washing machine and, as a child, it was my job to grate the Fels Naptha soap for the washer. (I’m 74 now.) This was during WW II, before there was boxed soap powder available. I remember being so happy when Oxydol hit the shelves and Mom switched to it, but to this day, I remember the smell of that brown bar of soap. I guess that shows that everything old is new again!

  134. Cathy says

    I just started making my own homemade laundry soap and I love it! I make a 5 gallon bucket up. My husbands clothes are really dirty and sometimes oily and it cleans them up great. It has saved me a lot of money already.

  135. B says

    I have been using the zote soap version of this for almost a year now. At first I loved the convenience and fun. Then my husband started noticing stains on his shirts. I blamed him initially because he never changes clothes when he’s cooking or whatever so I figured it was grease. I would rewash and sometimes it would come out. The second batch made the situation much worse and I started to think it was the essential oils I was using. After reading a few articles about stains I tried using grease cutting dish soap to get the particular stains out, it worked great! Even if the were old or set in. I just made a new batch without any oils and my first load had a couple spots on 2 of his shirts (cotton). 1 of them the stains did not come out with the dish soap… Why does this keep happening? Do I really need to go back to ready made soap? :( Anybody have this happen and if so what have you found to work?

  136. Cary says

    Which of the 3hospitals soaps mentioned are the best for stains, & the best smell, ivory, zote, or F.N? Also my grand daughter has skin allergies &you we have to use that expensive dye free, fragrance free laundry soap, are this recipes allergin free for overly sensitive skin issues? If not does anyone know of a recipe that could be made for this issue?

  137. Kristy Buerck says

    I’ve been using this exact recipe for laundry detergent for almost a year now and I make the hydrogen peroxide and dawn for stain remover and I’ve been having some clothes get bleach spots and I don’t use bleach. What can be doing this to the clothes?

  138. says

    I make my own detergent – 1 cup Borax, 1 Cup Washing Soda, 2/3 bar of Fels Naptha grated, mixed dry. And I love it! I used to use Tide. Now I save a lot of money making my own and my laundry is so much cleaner!

  139. Tia says

    I have made my first batch and love how it cleans. My machine is hit and miss with leaving water behind in the soap dispenser. Not sure why it is doing this. Any ideas?

  140. Danielle Haehn says

    I went exactly by the recipe on your site and the detergent didn’t suds up any. Is this normal?

  141. Amy says

    A word of warning…be careful what pot you use to heat the soap mixture. I just ruined a good hard anodized pot…didn’t even think about the fact that the detergent might strip the coating :(

  142. gloria says

    i was trying to find out what proccess to the retail stores use on the laundry detergent to stay thick and not separate with soap and water? i would like to understand that

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *