DIY laundry Soap

Otherwise known as DIY laundry detergent, this stuff is
going to save me big money!!
If you are anything like me, I always ignore the measurements
when I am pouring laundry soap in the washer.
I end up always throwing extra in, just to make sure all
my clothes are extra clean & smelling great.
That’s all good until you are buying laundry soap twice
a month for just a two person household.. eeek!
I needed to make a change.
While browsing the internet I found a plethora of different
DIY laundry soaps & decided to use bits & pieces from
each one to make my own DIY laundry soap…

 Want to make your own DIY laundry soap?
Here is how I did it…


1. One four pound twelve ounce box of Borax {Found in Laundry Isle}
2. three bars of Fels-Naptha soap {Found in Laundry Isle}
3. one four pound box of arm & hammer baking soda {Laundry Isle}
4. one box of arm & hammer super washing soda {laundry Isle}
5. four pounds of Oxy Clean {one small/one large container/laundry isle}
6. Optional: Laundry softener for a bolder scent

This laundry soap is so easy to make!
{Makes 4 gallons}

1. Grate the fels-naptha bars into a bowl
2. dump fels-naptha into a large container {I used a 5 gallon pale}
3. Mix all other ingredients into the bucket.
4. Place into container of your choice {I used a 4 gallon glass jar from Walmart}

-I use about 2-3 table spoons per load { you can use less with this stuff!}

-smells great during the wash, but leaves clothes scent free & fresh.

- Great for sensitive skin & HE washers

-I used chalk paint on the jar to label the laundry soap.
I simply taped off a square and painted it on. simple.

- You can use other bar soap besides the fels-naptha {any bar}
which will also change the scent exd…

 I have used this soap now for a week, & have fallen in love with it.
I really think this one batch will last me for a year.
Want to know the total cost for my laundry soap?
$13, can you believe this will last me a year?

 What do you think of DIY laundry soap?
Have you made your own before?
Share your thoughts, recipes, questions & more
in the comments below or on the facebook page {here}!

I hope you are all having a great Memorial day weekend!
I am lucky to be spending it with my husband
who is one of the few, the proud, the marines!!
Remember what Memorial day is all about, remember those
who have served our country & defended our freedom.


You can see our laundry room {here}


  1. liz, i use this too! by far its the best recipe that i’ve found..i love it!

  2. Bernice says:

    This sounds really interesting. A couple of questions tho.
    1. Does it dissolve in cold and/ or warm water?
    2. We stopped using bar soap years ago because there was always a scum left, so we use liquid soap in tub and shower. Does this leave a residue on washer tub and clothes like bar soap in tub would?You mention any bar soap, like what ? Dial? Ivory? I know Fels Naptha is or was excellent for washing clothing.
    3. Are the clothes noticably cleaner? Or is it just the cost that is different?

    • It does desolve in warm or cold water.. great question! I have not noticed any kind of film or residue in the washer or on the clothes at all. & yes, I have heard people say dove, dial, exd.. works excellent as well! Which sounds crazy to me, but they say it works great. My husband plays baseball and it has worked great on getting all the stains out.

      • Toni Rasmussen says:

        After using it for a while it does seem to leave a small amount of residue. We will use 1 cup of vinegar through the washer ever couple of months and it seems to remove the residue just fine. Hope this helps.

        • I wouldn’t use Ivory bar as I found out recently that is mostly made of a wax that has been whipped with one ingredient added to make the suds. No wonder I had terrible problems with soap scum when I use it, I was waxing my shower stall!

          • I’ve been making similar for several years now and I have no complaints. I do use ivory soap but I do mine in my food processor and it really makes it a fine powder. no problem with residue or film in my machine.

  3. Kcherry says:

    Can you use this in an HE machine?

  4. rock on! I’ve seen tons of recipes for the liquid kind, but not for the powder stuff. This is perfect! I’m so going to do this! Thanks for sharing!

    Nat from NatSprat

  5. I make my own also! I make the liquid kind though; it has all the same ingredients. ;) Washes our clothes great, and it helps with my son’s eczema.

    • Great to hear! I wouldn’t mind trying the liquid form someday as well! & that’s awesome that it’s great for his eczema!

      • Misty Bragg says:

        Thanks for this post, My youngest daughter has eczema as well and that was one question I had!!! This will be much cheaper then buying the All free and Clear! :-)

        • how do you make the liguid kind? just mix all the same ingredients together and heat on the stove till all melted ?

          • I have a friend that only uses liquid. She said you melt the shredded soap in 6 cups of water on low heat. Then add the borax and washing soda and 18 cups of water. Stir to dissolve.

  6. I process mine in batches in the food processor to get the fels-naphtha into a fine grain, too. Also, I have noticed that using more than one and a half tablespoons will leave a redidue in our new he front loader, so I add white distilled vinegar as the fabric softener. I heart this detergent!!

    • Great tips!!! Thank you so much for sharing.. I will have to inform my readers of this.. thanks again! & I heart it too ;)

    • I always wash with the cold cycle in my front load. Do you know if this works on cold? Also, can you explain how you do the vinegar for the rinse?

      • Jessie Adams says:

        I also use vinegar as my fabric softener. In an HE machine there is a fabric softener dispenser and you just pour the vinegar in there like you would regular softener. If you don’t have an HE machine or a machine with a fabric softener dispenser, just add the vinegar during the rinse cycle.

    • The reason for residue is the Borax….no commercial laundry detergents use borax only washing soda(washing soda is king) there is no need for borax, it also leaves a film on dishes when used in a homemade dishwasher detergent

  7. once again, you inspired me. I JUST made a batch of this and am going to try it out. Thanks for the idea! I am going to share this on our blog!

  8. I made my own liquid using some of the same ingredients and really like it!

  9. So for a front load washer, do you just put the detergent in with the laundry or do you put it in the little detergent despenser?

  10. I hadn’t seen a recipe with OxyClean in it. Sounds good, want to try this. Hope you have a wonderful Memorial, please salute your hubs for me!

  11. For what size load do you use the 2-3 tablespoons, just want to make sure that I’m using enough! And I love the soap jar! Thanks!

  12. This looks amazing. Do you know if it’s septic tank safe? I hope so. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I’ve been using this exact recipe for a couple months now and love it!

  14. Thanks so much for this tutorial. I am sure this homemade laundry detergent is so much better than the kind you buy out in the store!

  15. I love It, I have been using It for about 1 month haven’t noticed any after effects.

  16. Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe! I have the borax, oxygen cleaner (I use SUN brand, it’s a fraction of the cost and works just as well as oxiclean) and baking soda, I will have to pick up the rest of the ingredients my next shopping trip!

    P.S. I’m going to pin your recipe, if you would prefer that I not, let me know and I will take it down :)

  17. I have a lot of delicates and dark blouses for work do you think that fading will be an issue with this?

  18. I made the liquid version of laundry detergent a couple of weeks ago and love it. I also use white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser and my clothes have never been softer. I think my whites are whiter and it do not notice any more fading than usual. Just found your blog…I will be back :)

  19. I hadn’t used it with the Oxi so I’ll start adding that. Thanks for the quantity recipe. My recipe just mixed a few cups. Good to know how much of all this together makes the right recipe. I have an HE and just add it to the powdered detergent dispenser and add vinegar to the rinse dispenser. I never wash in cold water though, always hot or warm.

  20. What I forgot to add to my comment was that I add essential oils to my mix. It doesn’t really stay on the fabric because I use vinegar in the rinse, but it sure does smell good when it’s washing.

  21. I’ve used my own laundry soap before, but I found that the recipe I used didn’t have ANY suds. I don’t mind just a few, but I want to see something that looks like it’s cleaning when I open my washer. This one seems like it might have at least a few suds since it has so much Oxy Clean. I might just have to give this one a try. I’d love it if you’d stop by and share at Off the Hook!

  22. This is amazing! I would love to make my own laundry soap. I found your blog through Somewhat Simple blog party and I would love to invite you to share this, and any other posts, at my Creative Thursday Link Party (open through Monday each week) at Have a wonderful weekend.

  23. Great I’ve been wanting to try this sounds like a winner! You know how they tell you when you purchase a new washer its best to use a liquid? Well, I so want to try your recipe I’m wondering if it has ever caused a problem with the lines from your home (maybe dumb question) but I’ll ask it anyway. Your comments make it look very promising!

  24. Charlotte Knox says:

    Great recipe. I’ve yet to try it because you cannot/should not mix bleach with Oxiclean. This mixture can produce toxic fumes not safe for your family.
    Let me know your thoughts on that.

    • I had heard there was some problems with mixing OxiClean and bleach so I substituted the OxiClean with powder Clorox 2 (I buy it from the Dollar General store in my area $2.50 for a box just over 2lbs) I didn’t reasearch it but I thought Clorox might not react with Clorox (2). It’s also cheaper than oxiclean and it works great so far. I’ve just been using for a week, but for a house of 4, we should be saving a bunch of money :)

  25. So cool!! Hope you can link this up at my new linky party Trendy Tuesday!!

  26. I’m definitely going to try this! Thanks for sharing!

  27. Pinning this! I really need to try to make my own. Thanks so much for sharing at Mom On Timeout!

  28. Just finished making mine and I did my first wash ! I hate spending money cleaning products, when I could use the money to buy myself something :) I actually used the grate attachment on my food processors to grate the soap and it took less than a minute to do ! Thank you…. I love your blogs !!

  29. Thanks so much for recipe. I have been wanting to try and glad it works on the HE machines. Love your blog .

  30. kristen King says:

    Can you use this in an HE washing machine? Thank you
    Kristen King

  31. I’ve been seeing this idea on Pinterest for ages! After marching from one side of the detergent aisle to the other, from Gain to Tide, and God knows what else, I was never satisfied with the results (especially for what they are asking me to pay a week). I just made a batch of this. *fingers crossed* I used about a cup of scent crystals to the whole batch, to punch up the scent a little. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ll try to remember to get back with my results.

    Vinegar as a softener? What kind?

  32. I think this is a great recipe however when we bought all the ingredients, it cost us $23.48 at Walmart instead of $13. Are you sure this is how much you paid? We were kinda disappointed with the price however we were very happy with how much detergent it made!

    • I just bought everything and paid $26. I’m not sure where the $13 came from but I wish I could get tk that price!! At $26, I’m not sure it would actually save my small family that much money.

    • It’s $13 if you don’t buy the Oxi. Oxi alone is $9.99 at Walmart.

      Even at $26, for an entire year, that is still a great cost.

  33. Liz Marie – do you know if you can use fabric softener in addition to this??

  34. so excited to try this!! Also, many thanks to your husband!! God bless you both!! And God bless America!!!

  35. Carol Lovingood-Hiers says:

    Thanks, I am very frugal and love saving money on stuff I have to buy in order to have money for the things I love to buy. Can’t wait to try both the dishwasher and laundry soap.

  36. Hi, Liz

    I love everything on your blog! Being frugal, I especially love the idea of making cost friendly detergent. I live in a smaller town in Kansas where there aren’t a lot of store options. I was just wondering if all of these ingredients could be found at Wal-Mart? Thanks again for posting this :).

  37. I have been looking at different recipes, and yours has the best reviews! Im going to get supplies tomorrow and make a batch :D Thanks so much!

  38. I have made this but I’m having a big problem with it being hard as a rock in the airtight container. Anyone else having this problem ?

  39. I use Dr.Bronner’s peppermint soap but no oxy clean. Love how it works-and I use vinegar as the softener. Works well.

  40. I’ve made this recipe twice and soon to make it for the third time. I love it!! I have a HE washer, mostly use cold water and our water supply is very hard water. The clothes are clean. The amount of soap used is small. I like knowing what is in the detergent. From other posts I’ve read I will try putting the bar soap in the food processor instead of grating – process with some of the other powdered ingredients. This is a great recipe!!

  41. Just finished my approximately YEAR’s worth of laundry soap and am ready to make myself another batch! My husband made fun of me when i made it but the fact that I’m not bringing home a huge HEAVY box of soap every 3-4 months is totally worth the extra harassment. Love this stuff! Thank you thank you!

  42. DonnaReed says:

    I have been making and using my own dry laundry soap for over a year. I mix equal parts washing soda and borax (borateem) and keep it in a container. Finely grating all the Fels Naptha ahead of time and mixing it into the soda/borax was labor intensive. Now I just grate about a teaspoonful into hot laundry water and toss in a tablespoon of the washing soda/borax mixture. Once I see that the grated soap has dissolved, I change the water temperature to whatever is appropriate and toss in the clothes. That’s it. It smells great, cleans great, costs VERY little, and it’s much less work than all that grating or melting on the stove to make liquid detergent.

  43. been making homemade soap for a couple of years now, you can grate the bar soap in a food processor & make REAL quick work of it. just one suggestion from one diy girl to another! :-)

  44. Thanks! I plan on trying this out soon!

    My husband is also a Marine so I plan on buying the items from the commissary. Perhaps that is why the total cost was $13 and not $23 like it cost others. Just a thought :-)

  45. I made this too. After a few washings it seemed to me that it left a chalky white residue that was noticible on our colored clothes. Maybe I was doing something wrong…or using too much maybe?….hhhhmmm. My recipe said use 1/4 cup and I see you just use a few spoons. Interesting. I’m trying to read through a few comments to see what others have to say. xo rachel

  46. Catrina Comella says:

    How did it only cost you $13? The Oxi Clean alone is more than that.

  47. Haven’t tried this yet. Sounded great until I checked cost of ingredients; where in the world did you find all that for $13?

  48. Hi there! I’d just like to thank you for putting this blog together! I just finished making my own laundry soap and I am so excited about the savings and how well it works! Again, thank you!

  49. I made a laundry soap similar to this but I made the liquid form. I did this when my husband wasn’t working to save money. I have found though that the laundry detergent now prevents my bath towels and kitchen linens from being absorbent. Instead of soaking up water it seems to repel it. I’m thinking it is the fels naphtha soap but not sure. The soap does last a long time and does save you money.

  50. linda hochstetler says:

    Just wondering what I did wrong …..followed directions for your laundry soap and it only made 2 gallons and cost $19….?wondering where I messed up!

  51. The first time I saw the recipe the blog post said “a years worth of detergent for $20″ or something close to that. My cost was around $15. i bought the off brand oxyxlean and that is optional. If you shop around you can get it cheaper than $26. i was shocked at that price. these ingerdiants by themselves are pretty cheap. Also, i think another way you are saving is you can use less than what you do with store bought so that makes it last a lot longer. But, it’s all relative to how many loads you wash a day, how big your loads are, and how much you use. So, I wouldn’t hold her to the penny on how much it cost. If you live in Hawaii the cost of ingerdients will be alot higher than someone in TN.

  52. Awesome Idea! My husband is also in the Marines and man does he always do laundry with all of his dirty field cammies and skivvies! Seem’s like we go through laundry soap so quickly. We are out in 29 Palms, so most of the houses run off of septic. I purchased Green-works Oxi Stain remover in replace of the Oxi clean. It contains Oxygen bleach which is safe for septic. Instead of the fels-naptha I bought Dr. Bronners pure Castile Lavender hemp soap. Along with the downy unstoppable’s scent booster in the scent “Lush” to enhance to lavender soap scent. Can’t wait to mix it all up and use it. My cost was more than the 19$ because I purchased two of the green works containers off amazon that were 56 oz, for around 20.00 and 6 bars of the lavender soap for 16$. However, even at 50.00 for all of my ingredients, it STILL saves a TON of money that we use per year for liquid detergent, so no complaints here.

    One question though, where did you find the shelve you used behind your appliances? I have been wanting to do that in our laundry room!

  53. Thanks for sharing! I made this today and love it. I’m glad that it contains OxiClean which will help prevent yellowing. I had made homemade liquid laundry detergent and, the downsides were that I could not get it to totally mix well – manually stirring didn’t work well and between uses it would turn in to a lumpy mess. DH also noticed that our clothes weren’t as white using the liquid version. This dry version is wonderful!

  54. Twilightmom562 says:

    I made it, I used it, I love it!

  55. Can you use or should you use bleach with this recipe? I am so excited to try this out! My friend and I got together and made this, it was a lot of fun!

  56. Michelle says:

    Yes! You can use bleach.

  57. Christina says:

    I’m interested in trying this but I would like to know exactly what you mean by “any bar soap”. Does that mean I can use Carress or Dove body bar soap in its place? Any response to shed light is appreciated!

  58. I was recommended this blog by means of my cousin. I’m not certain whether this submit is written by him as no one else understand such unique approximately my problem. You are wonderful! Thank you!

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  60. Only thing I have is I believe it only makes about two gallons not four

  61. Nice weblog right here! Also your site quite a bit up fast!
    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink for your host?
    I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  62. I have to tell you this detergent is God sent! When my Daughter came home with all the ingredients and said were making are own detergent.. I went along with it….this stuff is amazing!! For one thing it did was cleared up her back acne.. apparently she was allergic to the detergent I was using. Who knew….Thank you for posting this!!

  63. Judy Zedalis says:

    ummm, I love all of these ingredients, but please tell me where you buy that amount of oxy clean and keep your cost for all the products at @ $13? I see that amount just for the cost of the oxy clean alone for 4 lbs. These all make great carpet cleaners also. Especially borax and listerine combined.

    • Christine says:

      I’m loving your blog, Liz. I came across it via pinterest. I love making my own soap too! I use a recipe that makes a liquid – 3 tbsp Borax, 3 tbsp washing soda, 2 tbsp Dawn dishwashing liquid, mixed with 4 cups hot water. It works great. I once made the powdered version but I couldn’t find Fels Naptha anywhere so I a shredded bar of Yardley soap instead (because it smells so nice!). The thing with that is the soap didn’t dissolve completely in the wash so there were little bits stuck to my laundry. Can anyone tell me where to buy Fels Naptha? I’d like to give it a try.

  64. Thank you so much for posting this. This stuff is AMAZING!

  65. LOVE this soap! I paid under $20 for the ingredients 10 months ago. We are a family of 7 and I am just now needing to make a new batch! We are in the country on a septic and have had no issues with that. I did add the fabric softener beads, as I love the smell. Our clothes have never been so clean or smelled so fresh. (With 4 sons, that is saying a lot!) Thank you!

  66. Thanks for sharing this recipe, Liz Marie. I will try it this weekend. And to return your generosity, I’d like to point out that the word to describe where to find the products is “aisle”, not “isle.” For example, “you will find the washing soda and borax in the laundry aisle.” Good vibes coming your way!

  67. How do you keep it from getting hard?

  68. It’s just my husband and me so I don’t want to make such a huge batch. I am dividing into thirds in order to use just one bar of fels naptha. I have been making my own detergent for a year or so and want to add the Oxyclean and Baking soda as the recipe I have been using does not include and I though m,ymwhites were looking a little dingy. Once I figure out the measurements I’m going to try it on my next batch…in six months or so. I’m excited to try it. BTW. I found *your* recipe on Lifehacker.

  69. SpellNazi says:

    Aisle not isle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  70. Love Love Love this recipe! Have made it twice and even gave out mason jars filled with it for Christmas, what a hit! I add Purex scent crystals to add a yummy smell. I have been using this for almost a year in a 3 person household and my sister uses it in her 7 person household (5 kids ages 6-14) and it works very well!

  71. Hi, i love this blog so much, its full of inspiration, plz visit my blog.
    Laundry products

  72. can u using it on baby stuff because im having a baby in april and just making sure its not to hard on there stuff or is there some ting diff u can mix in for baby stuff please let me know

  73. I paid $10 @ walmart

  74. I got this site from my pal who told me about this web site and now
    this time I am visiting this web page and reading very informative posts at this time.

  75. I have used a liquid version of this same recipe for years now and will use nothing else. Does it clean any better than commercial brands.I don’t know all I know is that it works for my septic system and for my wallet. I use 1 bar of Felis Naptha soap grated and melted in approx gallon of water. I make sure this is disolved then I add it to 4 gallons of hot water in which a cup to cup and half of each, borax and arm and hammer washing soda has been disolved. Put the lid on your 5 gallon bucket and leave it sit over night. The next day I use my hands to break up the gelatanous supstance and mix it well. and walah I have 5 gallons of laundy soap. I got this recipe from a 4h girl at her very first presentation day and have used it ever since. I have also used the pink soap and have another brand (name excapes me) both bought at our local hispanic market place. My father use to use the felis Naptha soap after he came home from deer hunting. He claimed it stopped any poison oak or ivy from spreading from his clothes to his body. Mom used the bar as a pretreat for stains for as long as I can remember.

  76. My recipe is similiar but it doesn’t have the Clorox oxi in it and it’s made up into liquid, instead of being dry, I might try this one, too!! Loving my homemade laundry soap!

  77. Although my recipe is slightly different (mine is a liquid/gel), I usually use Ivory soap (it is easier for me to find than Fels Naptha and I prefer the scent.). I may just have to try this one, too. Seems much easier than dissolving the soap & other ingredients. How much do you use per load?

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  80. Destiny Blackwood says:

    Does anyone know about how many loads “a years supply” is? One batch does approx how many loads? Thank you

  81. Pam Doll says:

    I just left Walmart, I actually spent 42 dollars on all the ingredients including a 2 gallon glass jar. Let’s see how this works out for us.


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