DIY Laundry Soap – One Year Review & Recipe

DIY Laundry soap & a full review after using it for one year. A must pin for saving lots of money!!!
Last year around this time I made my very first batch of DIY laundry soap. I had researched it online before I made it & combined a few different recipes that I had found to make my own laundry detergent. I really didn’t think that it would last me a year like the posts I read had said, but it did & I loved it along the way! It got me through countless dirty baseball uniforms, stinky gym clothes, paint messes, military uniforms, & stains of all sorts. You can see the original recipe {here}. There were a few things I wanted to change about this new recipe after a year of using it & learning the positives and negatives of my original recipe. I now feel confident in giving a full review & sharing my thoughts a whole year later.

DIY Laundry soap & a full review after using it for one year. A must pin for saving lots of money!!!
My Thoughts on my DIY laundry soap in bullet points:

-I loved the original recipe, I just didn’t like that it was “unscented” so I added the scent crystal laundry softener beads for added
scent and laundry softener features.

- My laundry soap got hard last time because moisture got into the container. I had to use a drill and drill bit to grind up the powder again. Yes, it was that serious. To prevent this from happening add a cheese cloth with rice inside to absorb any moisture. You can also add silica packets as well. Rice works wonders.

-It lasted me one year & saved me LOTS of money. You only need to use 2 tablespoons per load, but I experimented and found the perfect amount to use with each load to fit my needs. I tend to add a little more to each load because that’s just how I roll.

- This recipe removed stains, left clothes clean, & my whites were bright {I do use bleach on my whites as well}

- This recipe is great for sensitive skin. I have mildly sensitive skin & I have never had any issues & from the research I have done on people who have used this recipe I have read that’s great for their family members with sensitive skin. But, as other things you & your families skin issues could be different so do your own research and experiments as needed.

- I do not have an HE washer, but I have read that it works well with them, but I would do my own research to make sure that DIY laundry detergent will work well for your washer.

- You can choose your own soap, scent crystals, & completely personalize this recipe it’s very forgiving and customizable to your needs and wants.

DIY Laundry soap & a full review after using it for one year. A must pin for saving lots of money!!!

DIY Laundry soap & a full review after using it for one year. A must pin for saving lots of money!!!
DIY Laundry soap & a full review after using it for one year. A must pin for saving lots of money!!!
My recipe:

1. One four pound twelve ounce box of Borax. You can use 2 smaller boxes. {Found in Laundry Isle}
2. Three bars of Fels-Naptha soap. You can use any soap of your choice. {Found in Laundry Isle}
3. one four pound box of arm & hammer baking soda.{Not pictured here} {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. Laundry softener cyrstals for scent. You can mix these in to your laundry detergent or add them to your loads as needed.

DIY Laundry soap & a full review after using it for one year. A must pin for saving lots of money!!!
To Mix the recipe:
1. Grate the fels-naptha bars into a bowl
2. dump fels-naptha into a large container {I used a 5 gallon pale with a garbage bag inside}
3. Mix all other ingredients into the bucket & shake it all up together.
4. Place into container of your choice {I used a 4 gallon glass jar from Walmart}

DIY Laundry soap & a full review after using it for one year. A must pin for saving lots of money!!!
DIY Laundry soap & a full review after using it for one year. A must pin for saving lots of money!!!
DIY Laundry soap & a full review after using it for one year. A must pin for saving lots of money!!!
If you have any more questions leave them below or {here} on the facebook page, tag me on Instagram @lizmariegalvan or with hashtag #LizMarieBlog, or you can tweet me. I will do my best to answer any questions you may have. Have you tried a laundry soap recipe? What does yours have in it? Is it different from mine? What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you!

For my DIY laundry softener recipe click {here}.


  1. kassandra gamblin says:

    I do this with everything except the oxy clean. Maybe I’ll try it next time. Grating the soap hurts my hands so I make smaller batches more often!

    • Jennifer Vaughan says:

      Kassandra…would you mind sharing your measurements for ingredients for smaller batches? I want to try this recipe, but I don’t like to make so much at one time either, haha.

      • I have an old salad shooter, I chunk the soap up and put on the grater attachment then SHOOT AWAY !!!! Works Great ! I also make the liquid . I like the fact that there is no scent, so nothing is fighting my perfume or my hubbies after shave .

      • Kim Croonquist says:

        I use a recipe similar to this one & love it. I do make smaller batches though. I use 1 bar pink Zote laundry soap, 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Super Washing Soda, 1 cup OxiClean (generic works fine), 1/2 cup Baking Soda, and I like to add Gain scent crystals to mine. I like for mine to be really fine, so I grate the soap & mix all the ingredients, & then I grind it in a blender (about 1 cup at a time). My washer is HE and I have had no problems at all. I have also made this with Ivory soap, but I use 2 bars if I do that. Since I started making detergent, my son no longer complains about his clothes making him itchy. I only use 1 TBSP. per load (2 TBSP. if the load is soiled REALLY badly), and it is so much cheaper than buying detergent. I hope this helps if you want to do smaller batches.

        • I have never tried this before.. But, I like your recipe. Growing up my mom used Zote laundry soap and I loved the smell of it… Thanks for sharing!!!

        • I would like to thank you for your laundry soap in a small patch. If you have anymore please let me know
          Thank You and Have A Bless Day

        • I used your smaller batch recipe, naively thinking that it was 1/3 of the recipe from the article, since there was 1 bar of soap versus 3. Whoops. Totally off on the rest of the ingredients…Maybe Zote soap is a smaller bar than FN?

          Anyway, for those looking for a recipe that is actually 1/3rd of the recipe from the main article, I did the math based on the weight of each of these ingredients converted to cups:

          1 bar of Fels Naptha
          3 and 1/2 cups of Borax
          3 cups of baking soda
          1 and 3/4 cups of washing soda
          2 and 1/3 cups of OxiClean
          Scent crystals (I use 1/2 cup of Unstopables)

      • Patty Hall says:

        Here is my smaller recipe version: 1 bar felsnaptha (or your choice of bar soap) 1/2 cup borax, 1/2 cup washing soda. You can add scents if you choose but I usually keep it simple. Felsnaptha is a GREAT stain remover so I prefer it over other soaps. Just grate it up and mix together store in a gallon ziplock or container of your choice…. use 2 tablespoons or 1/8 of a cup .

    • I actually use a food processor to grate the soap it takes 2 seconds without the elbow work ..and clean up is a breeze .. = )

    • Andie Talley says:

      I use a similar recipe, except I use Zote instead of the Fels Naptha, which has a wonderful citrus smell. Because the bar is so moist, I cut into about 4 big chunks and set it out unwrapped for a few weeks prior to making a new batch to let it dry out some which makes it much easier to grate by hand. It kinda breaks into a dust so I wear a face mask to cover my mouth and nose as not to upset my allergies.

    • You can buy zote and microwave it till it puffs up let it dry out over night and then just crumble it with your hands.

    • I have been making washing detergent for a while. I recently discovered the ZOTE flakes! Saves me, I pay a dollar extra and don’t have to grate the soap. I was gone on a trip and we ran out of detergent! My husband called me asking me how to make it – he made it while I was gone. I think his recipe is better than mine!

      Also, I have tried the recipe with and without Borax, it tends to make whites more gray. I don’t know.

  2. Pamela Weaver says:

    I’ve been making my own detergent in liquid and powder form for 4 years. I love it! I do wish it had a scent though. I really like the way the crystals make the laundry smell, but never thought to add them to the detergent as I make it. Thanks for the idea! I will have to do that tomorrow. I use a food processor to grate the soap. It only takes a couple of minutes that way and is much easier on the hands and arm. :) When I make the powder version, I grate the soap and then mix the soap with the other ingredients and put it all back into the food processor and use the regular blade. It all comes out very fine just like powdered detergent you would buy at the store. I love it this way, as it makes the soap very fine and mixes it together well. I put it all into a big container after that and can stir it up occasionally if I need to. I really like having some of the detergent in liquid form on hand because it is an amazing pre-treatment and takes just about anything out! I keep it by the washer and scrub it in with a toothbrush.

    • Debby Cohen says:

      Can you send me an email to let me know how you make the liquid laundry detergent that you make? It sounds allot easier to use, and I can pretreat my clothes also. Thank you so much,

    • Michael C. Perehinec Jr. says:

      Could you email me please and let me know how to make the liquid. I am going to try and make the powder form today, but I would love to have the liquid form on hand as well. Thank you in advance for your help.

  3. Shannon says:

    I use the exact same recipe for my homemade laundry soap. Right down to the “Unstopables” by Downy. I however don’t grate my fels-naptha. I chunk it up with a knife and use a small electric food grater/processor that I got at DG for $8. I only use it for making laundry soap. I just add some of the dry ingredients in to the soap and pulse until it’s very fine. Saved my hands and upper arms! ;)

  4. I would love to hear from someone who is usig this in a HE machine. I would like to know if it can be placed into the dispenser, or if you need to place it in the bowl with the laundry. Also, are you saying this one batch lasted an entire year? Just wanting to make sure I didn’t read that wrong. Do you use a seperate fabric softener? Sorry for all the questions. I’ve been a loyal Tide user my whole life and have never considered doing this, but I keep hearing people saying they are happy with it. Maybe it’s time to give it a try. Thanks for the review.


    • I’m with Missy…I just got my HE machine and I don’t want to screw it up. My husband has sensitive skin and I would love to make my own vs liquid. Also, do you use a fabric softener or does the Unstoppables make the laundry smell nice without it?
      Thank you!

      • I have a HE machine and this detergent is working great. My clothes are rinsing cleaner than with store brand detergents. I use to have trouble with towels becoming musty in the cupboard, but no more! I think there was too much soap being left in the towels. I don’t even use fabric softener anymore, my clothes are soft, fluffy and fresh! I do mix Fels Naptha and Zote together because I like the smell.

    • Colleen says:

      I have a HE washer and it works great. I use the ingredients above and it doesn’t become really sudsy, which is why it isn’t bad for the machine. I put the ingredients into the soap dispenser too just like normal detergent. I don’t think the clothes come out smelling as scented with the little pellets mixed with the rest of the ingredients, but I still stick them in If I know I want a batch of towels or something where I want the extra powerful smell, I put more of the Downy pellets into the washer with the clothes – not a lot but some. I didn’t have issues with clumping. I did grate my soap with a food processor to make it easier.

      • terry laschinger says:

        Purex also has the scented pellets and they are a bit cheaper and work really well…I still use a fabric softener at times, but , try using dryer ball . They work absolutely wonderful at fluffing things up. I got mine at Menards. You can also find them t Walmart.

        • I’ve been using the Purex scent cover uppers for a few years now as my husband is a machinist and I can only do so much to combat the smell of the coolant that is permanently in his work clothes! This is the only product that has actually eliminated the smell in addition to leaving the other laundry smelling lovely. However in my HE machine I use a combination of laundry soap, scent cover upper, borax, and VINAGER! Vinager will even take the cigarette smell out of fabric and is an inexpensive fabric sofetner.

    • I use a very similar recipe with my HE washer. I put the powder directly in with the clothes, however. I have a friend who dissolves a scoop or 2 in a cup of water and places it in the dispenser (every time she does a load she prepares the detergent in water for the next load, so she doesn’t have to wait for it to dissolve…) I think this works fabulous and I have saved a lot of $$, I’m sure!

    • Myra Brewer says:

      I love it! it works excellent in HE machine have used this recipe for approximately 6 months.
      I use a cheese grader from the 99 cents store for my soap, but, I use pink Jabonzote instead of Nephta. Jabonzote have a nice soft smell.

    • Pam Boileau says:

      I have used this homemade detergent for almost a year ( we will make it to the year mark easily). I gave some samples away as well. Love Love it. Yes you can use in front loaders. Either way, put in the dry dispenser or just add in with laundry. I am making and giving with Christmas gift bags. As well as some homemade Dishwashing detergent.

    • Hi Missy,
      Yes you can use this with an HE/front loading machine. It is low sudsing which is what you want in an HE machine. I put mine directly in the drum with the clothes. It works great. I was a loyal Tide user forever, I grew up with it and everything! However, I will never go back. This works better I think and is so much cheaper. This recipe may last some people a year, some people less. It really depends on how much laundry you do for your family. I usually make a 1/2 batch at a time, due to space at my home. One 1/2 batch usually lasts our family about 4-6 months depending on what is going on. Either way, it is far less expensive to use. I did an experiment where I used and “imaginary” box of Tide Pods vs the homemade detergent. I had over HALF of my half batch left when my “box” of 90 pods ran out. Homemade wins hands down! I also make my own fabric softener/ fabric crystals. They don’t smell as potent as the store bought, but they still work great! Hope this helps! Happy washing:)

    • I have an HE washer and I just put the powder right into the dispenser. I have had no problems doing that. I use one coffee scoop’s worth of powder in the load. Works great. Also, I put the powder into a plastic canister that has a snapping lid. I have had no problems with the powder getting hard.

    • Mona Lisa Kent says:

      the liquid soap doesn’t work well in my HE washer and it tends to make soap spots on dark clothes. I haven’t tryed the dry detergent yet

  5. I used a similar recipe and it worked well in my HE machine with a dispenser. The recipe I had was unscented so I still used a fabric softener to add a scent. The only downside I found was that with the dispenser in the HE machine, some of the laundry soap would clog it up if it wasn’t a fine powder.

  6. Damaris says:

    I make a similar version of this laundry soap as well, except I use Scentsy Washer Whiffs in Sunkissed Citrus, love that scent! I also couldn’t decide between Fels-Neptha or Zote, so I use both. I haven’t added the oxy to it, but I will on my next batch. Grating the soap first and then using a food processor to grind it with the other ingredients, is the best way to get the soap really fine and mixed well. Lastly, I have an HE washer and add the soap directly to the drum. I usually use white vinegar instead of fabric softener and can definitely smell the Scentsy, even after a double rinse.

  7. These ingredients are going on my ‘when I get back to the states’ grocery list! Can’t wait!

  8. Hi Liz! I use the same recipe for making laundry soap (except I use 4 bars of fels-naptha). I love the recipe and it cleans everything really well! I’ve heard fabric softner can break down clothing fibers quicker, and my towels (from Macy’s) even caution not to use it. I add Vinegar instead to all loads of laundry during the rinse cycle. But still no scent!

    I’ve been experimenting with adding scented oils – I’ve added Lavender Oil directly to the powdered detergent (which didn’t seem to work), and then I tried adding a few drops to a washcloth and tossing it in while clothes dried…that didn’t seem to work either. Did you experiment with natural scents at all? I would like to add a light scent…but am not having much luck! Just wondering if you’ve come across any other ways to scent the detergent other than softner.

    I love your blog! Thank you!

    • You can also use wool dryer balls, and you can get them scented, or scent them with the oils yourself. I got mine from clean sypria and she scented them for me. They leave the laundry scented :]

  9. I have used a similar recipe for a couple of years and I love it. I think I will addthe softener beads to mine for the nice scent.

  10. I make this recipe, with unstoppables, in smaller batches. I do use it in my HE washer and place it in the drum with the clothes. I have read mixed review about placing it in the dispenser. I have a parmesan wheel grater that I use for the soap. It grates it finely and does not require electricity.

    Great tip on breaking up and preventing the clumps. I bought the oxy clean in a cardboard box and now it is a solid brick.

  11. Hi Liz. I have been using your recipe for about a month and I love it! I also keep it in a glass jar with a stainless scoop- makes me enjoy doing laundry. Thanks

  12. Hey Liz….I make my own soap also, and actually I believe it’s also been a yr lol….Your recipe is almost identical to the one I’ve made, except I only use 1 box of the oxyclean, and I use 2 (14.1 oz) Bars of pink Zote Soap instead. The cystals I use are purex lavender …The soap smells DEVINE!! In a large glass jar similar to yours ! I made another batch about 2 months ago, only because we have 2 daughters in University I’ve given soap too , along with many friends who wanted to try it lol…I love my soap and I’m also thrilled to be saving so much money! I’m are a foster family for mentally and physically handicapped adults, We have 4 gentlemen living with us full time…It makes for a LOT of laundry!

  13. Hi Liz Marie,

    When this homemade laundry stuff became all the rage, my mother in law made a batch and gave me some to try. I loved it! I ended up making my own and haven’t looked back! I added OxyClean only because we had some and the scent crystals too. I used 2 bars of soap, maybe I should use 3?

    My only tip, I definitely put it in before the clothes, while the water is running. If I added more later, it left residue on the clothes. Hope that helps someone!

    P.S. Fabulous photos by the way :-)

    • it will not stain or clot up on clothes if you will put a quart or 2 in the Ninja processor,, makes all including soap into a much finer powder

  14. Ok, I can’t believe this lasted you a year! I really need to try this out. I bet it smells delicious and it looks really pretty too :)

  15. iHeartQuilting says:

    Interesting. I wash entirely in cold water – would the Naptha dissolve properly in cold water, do you think?

    • I wash almost entirely in cold, as well. My recipe is very similar – I use a bit less baking soda and oxy. I make a castile soap version for my parents as they need a hypoallergenic soap. With the castile, I had 1 or 2 tiny bits of castile that didn’t dissolve – because I didn’t get it small enough when grating. I’ve since learned a trick that helps my food processor do the work for me and makes it all small enough to dissolve perfectly. I put a cup of oxy in the food processor bowl, then I use the grating wheel to process small chunks as I drop them in one at a time. After I have 1 whole bar in the processor, I run it for a few more minutes to really get the soap small and mixed in with the oxy. Then I dump that into my mixing tub and start again with a new cup of oxy and a new bar of soap. I also do it this way with the Fels Naptha I make for me and to sell at the local farmer’s market. Works great and dissolves like a dream.

    • I have a he washer this is wonderful cleans well and you no the smell from the washer how it gets a smell build up not anymore this cleans itout even the lines no more bad smell I’m glad I make my own.and I’m sensitive to a lot of soaps out there but this one works.I only have cold water right now works great .

  16. I want to try this but in Australia we don’t have the fels-napthia but was thinking of using pure soap like sunlight. Any ozzies out there got any ideas??

    • Monette Bouvier says:

      Mary I use Pink Zote soap..2 bars of it…..I do almost the same recipe ..but only one box of oxiclean…with the two pink Zote soaps..

    • Just any soap will work. I have a friend that uses Kiss Your Face. I’ve used handmade soaps that were given to me as gifts when I’m in a bind. I’ve heard folks using Ivory.

  17. Diane Kennedy says:

    Aisle, not isle. I’d hate to go to Laundry Isle!

    • YES, thank you! Took me a moment to realize it wasn’t some kind of specialty store. And pail, not pale.

  18. heather says:

    Were all these ingrediants available at Walmart? You mentioned that’s where you got the jar so just wondering if you got everything there or did you use another store? Just trying to avoid the running to a bunch of different places to complete the list:-D

    • I purchased all of this at Walmart. However, the Oxy cleaner at Family Dollar is cheaper. I just bought 2 tubs there last week for $4 each.

  19. I use three kinds of soap, the Fels Naptha plus Ivory and Kirks Castile. I also bake the ‘shredded’ soap at 170 degrees for about 45 minutes and grind it in my coffee grinder to make a fine powder (allows it to mix and dissolve better).

  20. Very cool, I am going to look into this! Thanks!

  21. Heather, I found all of these ingredients plus the glass jar at my local Walmart.
    I made a batch very similar to this recipe as well and loved it! After reading this though I went back and added a small container of Oxy and small box of baking soda and it works even better. I also used the Downy Unstoppables mixed right in with the detergent and LOVE the scent!!

  22. heather says:

    WONDERFUL Nikki!! Thank you so much! I have written my list and will be making my first batch of my first DIY laundry soap this morning! I can’t wait to see how wonderful this stuff really is!!

  23. I use a recipe very similar to this. I use Zote since it is plant based. I use vinegar in a downy ball and it leaves my clothes soft. I have been thinking about using the scent beads. Purex now has one and it is cheaper. From what I have read, it isn’t a fabric softner, just a scent product.

  24. I use almost the same recipe except I cut the baking soda out it’s less powerful than washing soda but does the same thing so why double and I also don’t use the oxeclean cuz I’m allergic! But I love the recipe and YES it works magic on nasty military uniforms as a navy wife I thought if never get that smell out of my husbands uniforms after a deployment but this did it!

  25. Just notice a typo, its Aisle, not Isle :)

  26. I prefer Fels Naptha over Zote. I have used this recipe for about a year now too! Love it! I only use two bars, but I think I will try 3 this next batch that I make. I have a front loader HE washer and dryer. I have never had ANY issues with residue or clumping! Mine has also never become hard as a brick. May the the extra soap adds too much moisture?

    • I use 3 bars and mine doesn’t clump either.

    • If you leave the soap sit out of the package for a day or 2 before grating it, it will dry outa bit and grate finer and easier. It ends up being more like a powder and not so sticky.

    • Do you use the powder recipe in your HE washer? If you do, do you place in the compartment or directly onto the clothes?

  27. Ben Marko says:

    I don’t use OxyClean at all. It doesn’t seem to make a difference. I don’t use the scented crystals at all either, you will cut down on cost if you dispense with them. And it does matter what kind of soap you use – believe it or not you can’t just use any soap. For instance, Ivory soap doesn’t work that well. It leaves chunks in the wash if not ground up fine enough. Most commercial soaps will do this, plus they have other additives that can irritate sensitive skin (plus they cost a lot more!). It is best to use Castile soap (what I use). It is olive oil based and dissolves very quickly.

    • Carla S says:

      Since castle bar soap is the best choice, then it seems that Dr. Bronners castile soap bars would be wonderful because they come in great natural scents, or unscented if you wish. I have seen them in peppermint (naturally antibacterial, does not breed resistant bacteria), hemp, almond, rose, lavender and more! Anyone tried this brand?

      • I haven’t used Dr B’s, but I have made this with Kirk’s. It’s got a light scent but it is hypoallergenic. It’s also quite a bit cheaper than Dr B’s.

        • You guys wouldnt believe how easy it is to just make soap. I made my first batch to help my daughters eczema. It is lard coconut oil and lye. Take a little time stirring and mixing and voila. In a little while you have a whole pile of all natural soap that you can scent or not. I already had the lard from when we butchered hogs but even if I hadnt it is very cheap. Think I may have had about 10 bucks in several lbs of soap when I got done. I intend to use that for my laundry soap. Just a thought..because that stuff is cheaper than all of it lol.

      • I use Dr. Bronner’s in the lavender scent. It gives the laundry detergent a nice smell, however, the clothes do not smell of lavender when they come out of the machine. I was able to find Bonner’s on Amazon for a reasonable price. I use it because it is organic. The jury is still out on the safety of Borax so I don’t use that at all. I make my own laundry soap because it is economical and affords me the ability to control the ingredients.

  28. Bon, From the Land of Babble says:

    Thanks for the recipe and suggestions!! I plan to make a batch of this to give as gifts — I have two in university plus friends. Don’t think I’ll use glass containers for the kids, though, especially the boys — they have to lug laundry up and down stairs and I could see that container smashing to bits. Maybe some type of tupperware.

    • I use the tupperware cereal dispensers…air tight and easy to get spoon in to dispense. Good luck!

    • We use our Pampered Chef cheese grater to grate the soap.
      Our recipe is just the first three ingredients, ( Soap, Washing soda, and Borax) and it had replaced Tide for us – which I had used for 30 years!
      This homemade laundry detergent is gentle enough for the members of our family that have, dry skin, sensitive skin, and eczema.
      It is tough enough to get my husbands work uniforms clean!
      We store ours in a 1 gallon ice cream bucket with a lid.
      We use a 1 tablespoon scoop, up-cycled from another purchase.

  29. Great recipe. Though, I hope you know that an “Isle” is an island or land surrounded by water. An “aisle” is where you find things like bread and borax at the grocery store.

  30. Kelly-Ann says:

    Unless you are buying your laundry supplies on a tiny island (an ‘isle’), you probably mean “Laundry Aisle”. And it should be a 5 gallon PAIL, not “pale’.

  31. Do you have a recipe for liquid detergent?

    • I haven’t made the powder laundry soap yet but I make the liquid. I grade the bars of soap and then add it to boiling water in a pot. You can use 1 (One) Zote or 2 of the Fels-Naptha bars of soap. Then when its dissolved pour it into a 5 gallon bucket. Than I add 1 (One) Cup of Arm & Hammer Washing soda and 1(One) Cup of Borax to the bucket then just keep adding water until the bucket is completely full. Cover and let sit over night. The next day it will be completely congealed take a spoon and chop it up until its smooth. Put in a container that will be easy to use when doing laundry. I use about a cup or two per load and it has lasted me a long time. Hope this helps you out…

  32. Carla S says:

    I wonder if re=purposing several of the large mouth blue or red plastic containers that bulk size coffee comes in now would be an option. They have reasonably air-tight snap-on lids that ought to keep moisture out. There is so much plastic to them, I can’t bear the thought of them ending up in land fills or worse yet, the ocean. They aren’t very attractive, but maybe they can be used to store the extra detergent out of sight and used to refill a smaller, more decorative vessel in the laundry area. Using several lighter containers for storage would be easier to handle than one heavy jar or bucket weighing about 15 lbs I should think. Does anyone know if these might be suitable?

    • Carla S says:

      Oh yes, and I’ve been using one for my oxy-clean because I buy it in the cardboard box, which would indeed turn into a brick if not transferred to something air-tight. The coffee container does keep the oxy-clean dry and powdery as hoped.

    • Jennifer Vaughan says:

      Even though I just switched to this particular recipe, I have been using a powdered recipe for over a year, and I have always kept it in a plastic coffee can. I have not had any issues with the detergent getting hard. We drink a lot of coffee, so it has been a good way to reuse the canisters.

    • Go to a craft store and buy some pretty scrapbook paper. Put that around the coffee can to make it prettier. If you want, give it several coats of Mod Podge to make it permanent. Or change the paper every now and then for a new look.

  33. Fels Naptha is based on petroleum, it was not based on petroleum back in the 60′s when American housewives used it. For me, the point of making my own soap is to make it non-toxic. I’ve been using Mrs. Meyer’s soap, but it is not cheap, looking for a natural cheaper brand. I also use white vinegar & 100% essential lavender oil as a fabric softener. I don’t use oxyclean, I do add baking soda to the recipe. It seems to work well.

  34. Do you add the whole entire bottle of scent boosters to your concoction? I bought just one bottle of the purex crystals to use. Other than that my recipe seems to be exactly like yours! :)

  35. I was wondering if anyone has figured out how much money this recipe saves. Trying to decide if it is worth the time/energy to make vs buy

  36. Shelley says:

    Ok I gotta ask.. cheese cloth? I want the rice in the cheese cloth trick to prevent moisture, but am I the only one who has never heard of this?

  37. Diane in Wisconsin says:

    I use Zote soap (grated in my food processor) with 1 cup borax and 1 cup of washing soda. I then process with the mixing blade of the food processor until it’s very fine and blended – takes a couple minutes. Cleans well without added fragrance.

  38. candace says:

    Just wondering what the cost of all the ingredients together is. I did not see it in any of the posts? Just wondering in comparison
    thank you.

    • The cost of all the ingredients will vary depending on the area you live in and where you are able to get them. The reason I say this is because I thought I would use the Kirks castile soap and someone posted they got a package of 3 for $1.50 at Walmart in Virginia and Im in Washington. I went to 5 Walmart stores in my area without going out of my way and none of them carry it. I did however get it at Fred Meyer for $3.49 for that 3 pack. No matter what you end up spending on all the ingredients you choose to use per load you wont be able to beat the cost. I tried some really cheap stuff thinking I was saving money but I had to use much more and it didnt work. I went back to using Arm & Hammer until I started using homemade a couple years ago. I like that I use so much less and get the results. I can remember thinking that I didnt save any money when I bought everything but then it lasted so long that in the long run it saves.
      I know this isnt an exact answer to your question but I hope it helps.

    • Kelly Cassens says:

      I use this exact recipe and wanted to share something I found helpful. When it comes to grating the Fels Naptha soap I used my Ninja! I just cut the soap into chunks and ground them up while adding a little oxy to the mix (this ensures that the blades don’t get gunky and the mixture is pretty dry). It made super simple work of making the detergent and I love love love the laundry soap. There’s been no problems at all with residue on the clothes or not rinsing well, though I do my 2 tablespoons as the washer begins to fill with water, then add the clothes. I made this a month ago and haven’t made a dent in the amount of detergent I have, so I think it will easily last a year. Today I plan on taking my 40% off coupon to Michael’s and buying a pretty glass container to store it in, and getting some burlap ribbon to decorate it. As much laundry as I do, and pricing out what I pay for Tide, I figured out that I saved at least $330.00 ($360-$30 for the ingredients). I had no idea I spend that much money every year on LAUNDRY SOAP just because they liked the smell of Tide. Well, they love the smell of this soap even more!

      • I have a Ninja prep and I put the detergent in it and it grinds everything into fine powder including the lumps of soap that have been grated. I put mine into a plastic 4 gallon bucket with a rice pack also inside a garbage bag. I keep silica packs inside the half gallon jug I have in the laundry room. With the 2 sets of blades it does a really fine job. When my jar gets low i drag out the bucket and Ninja, and chop up some more to refill. Also I have given quite a bit away as well. So mine has NOT lasted a year,but has made some lovely gifts along with my homemade vanilla extract…Thanks Liz

  39. I use pretty much the same recipe. Have for a few years. I love it. After I grate the bar soap, though, I grind it to a fine powder in the food processor (with a little of the baking soda to prevent sticking). It may be my OCD talking, but I feel like the soap is more evenly distributed that way. ;)

  40. Hi, I want to make my own laundry detergent for some time now, and I think the recipe that lasted you a whole year and still remains your number one choice for laundry should me my number one too. Could you please write the weight measurements for the ingredients, since I don’t live in the US and don’t use the same packaging. Thanks a lot.

    • You could just go on line and convert the weights to what you use. She did state the weights of the containers her ingredients came in.

      • im not clear on the weight measurements for the softener crystals. Anyone know how many on them,,, some say one bottle some say two bottles but there is also 3 different sizes of bottles depending on the brand.

      • To Jason 4 lb. on the Borax, baking soda, and oxy clean, 3 and half lb. washing soda 3 bars of soap (im going to use more because the kirk’s castile soap is a smaller bar than the Ne.. stuff.)

  41. Misty M says:

    Okay, so I am THRILLED to have stumbled across your blog…along with this recipe and review!!! You had me sold at “It got me through countless dirty baseball uniforms”!!! If it can get a baseball uniform clean, it can get ANYTHING clean…lol!!!

    I do have one question though {and I apologize if I over-looked the answer}…how much do I need to use in my Front Loader HE machine? I have only used liquid form detergent and want to make certain that I get the measurements right with the powder :) Thanks again for sharing!!!


  42. Thank you for this recipe…..I can hardly wait to try it.

  43. Definitely going to do this! But I’ll probably store mine in an airtight 5 gallon bucket, as to ensure it keeps the moisture out (& makes it easier to take to the laundromat with me).

    Just wondering if anyone thought to use epsom salts scented with essential oils to add into this? Seems like that would be even better than the scented beads/crystals…. Epsom salt is also a great fabric softener – which brings me to my next point…

    For those using Vinegar with anything scented… the Vinegar (besides being a fabric softener) also gets rid of any “smells” – even the good ones.

    Thanks for the great review & recipe! :)

  44. Thanks for posting a rather less time consuming and messy homemade detergent. I ran out the house with your recipe saved to my cellphone and grabbed the supplies from Walmart. Everything was there that I needed, all side by side. I as well as my son have eczema and decided to go with Purex for babies, which still has a fabulous scent. I have not tried it yet,because I can’t take my head from out of the bucket. It smells FABULOUS!

    • thanks I’ll try that one also

    • If you have skin problems the kirks castile soap is ideal…… It is the only soap my daughter can use for her bath because she has psoriaisis…….It also makes the clothes softer…. when you bathe withi it ,it has a cream feel and that transfers to the clothes

  45. I made my own detergent last spring (using the same recipe listed above) and we just now ran out yesterday and that is even taking into account that we use more than the recipe calls for in each load! Also we are a family of 6 (including 3 kids who have school uniforms AND play clothes to wash as well as a new baby last November) so we have A LOT of laundry!! 4 out of 6 of us have sensitive skin and we have never had a problem…not to mention, put a little in a few empty baby food jars and hide around the house for a free air freshener!! Needless to say, I am a HUGE fan!!! :)

  46. blake fernandez says:

    can you add vinegar to this recipe? I am windering because I’ve been told that it helps clean underwear and towels and also is a good fabric softener. please let me know and which kind of vinegar to use .

  47. E. Conley says:

    Here is my recipe for small batch, which fits into a plastic flip top CD box from wal-mart. I use in my HE machine, never creates a film or smell in my machine, Even with the extra loads from our small farm, it will last the 4 of us about a month. Use a coffee scoop (aprox 2 Tablespoons). And it never seems to get hard.
    1/2 – Fels nar ( i grind mine in the food processor then toss in dish washer)
    1 cup- Washing Soda
    1 1/2 cup- Borax
    1 1/4 cup- Baking Soda
    1 1/2 cup- Oxi

  48. E. Conley says:

    Add vinegar to the Fabric Softener dispenser.
    And on another note. Both my husband and son have sensitive skin. and have FAR fewer breakouts now we make our own soap

  49. How much did it cost you for everyrhing?

  50. I’ve used this laundry recipe for almost two years, but not with the softener pellets, having a little fragrance in the soap would be nice. but I love the results anyway. Someone asked about the cost for the batch, here in Western Michigan it cost $20 for the entire batch. That’s very little money for an entire year, the date of my last batch is Sept. 2012., still have some left.
    I store mine in air tight containers and keep a small container handy with a spoon on top. It’s light weight and doesn’t get hard or crusty.
    Love this..

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  52. I found a recipe for my own scent crystals for laundry.

    Epsom Salt.

    10-12 drops of Essential oil per cup of Epsom Salt.

    I bought a bag of Epsom Salt. It is four pounds. I am guessing that it is about 8 cups. I am going to mix it up and keep it in an old coffee can.

    You put about a tablespoon or so of salt into the washer at the beginning of the wash like you do with Purex crystals. If you have a Purex bottle, you can use it to store this stuff and use the lid to measure out the stuff.

  53. I like the softening scent crystals. I’m gonna try that. Thanks for the idea.

  54. Linda from Arizona says:

    I read that you shouldn’t use Fels Naptha because it contains dry cleaning chemicals in it. Ivory soap was the recommended one to use.

  55. Thanks for sharing, Liz! I finally got to make this today and am trying my first load with towels as I type this. Very excited to see how it turns out! Also wanted to share that I found Zote flakes at Wal-Mart, 17.6 oz box for $2.73! Saved my arms! I just did a cup at a time in the blender on grate and got it into the powder form with no problem!

  56. FWIW, plain oxy-clean is the same thing as washing soda: sodium (per)carbonate. This recipe has you putting in both oxy-clean and washing soda, which is redundant—plus oxy-clean is overpriced.

    • They are not the same. Washing soda is a product to make water “wetter” by breaking some molecular bonds in the water and lowering the surface tension of the water so that the soap can be more effective. Oxiclean is an slow-acting oxygen bleach that contains washing soda in addition to the bleaching product. Washing soda cannot bleach anything whereas, with the right amount, time, and concentration, Oxiclean can bleach things but not as fast or as brutal as chlorine.

    • Sodium carbonate (washing soda) and sodium PERcarbonate (Oxyclean) are two different things. Look it up.

      For everyone asking for the price of these ingredients, go to the walmart website and get the prices. Also look into Zote laundry flakes vs Zote bars. I dumped the entire box in without grating it further. It works in my HE washer because I put it directly in the bin with the clothes instead of in the dispenser.

  57. Hi! I’m making your detergent today! How much fabric softener crystals should I use? I have put one thing of downy unstoppables in so far, should I add a second?

  58. Does this work for high efficiency machines?

  59. Just wanted to say that I have been using this for about a week now and absolutely LOVE it!!! There are six of us in our household, so there is always laundry! My hubby is a welder so his clothes are filthy and this stuff even works on them! I have always been the type to use liquid fabric softener along with the Pyrex crystals in order to have clothes that smell good, but since using this I have been able to omit the fabric softener (crystals are mixed in) and our clothes still smell great! They are super soft also!!! As for the amount per load, I use a little coffee scoop (1/8 c) per load for my HE Front Loaders…works great!

  60. I didn’t see the cheese cloth question answered – so here it goes: Cheese cloth is a coarsely woven cotton cloth originally designed to place cheese curds into and then squeeze the rest of the whey out to make a cheese brick. However, in this case, what you are looking for is some cloth that is closely woven enough to keep the rice out of the soap and loosely woven enough to let the moisture flow through into the rice. A scrap of old towel might work just as well.

  61. Also in the laundry aisle you can find already grated Zote flakes which is less harsh than fels naphtha, its less work and it’s the equivalency of 2 bars of Zote I believe. I have been using this recipe for several months now and I haven’t bought store laundry soap since. The only thing about the crystals is they aren’t actually fabric softener, it just adds scent so I also use downy fab softener. Love the recipe though.

  62. I usually pay less than $30 for 4lbs of washing soda, 4 lbs baking soda, 20 mule team borax, two containers of unstoppables and a box of pregrated Zote soap. I don’t add the oxy clean because that’s what the borax is for. My recipe usually makes a third, almost a half of a 5 gallon bucket. Presently I live by myself and I’ve had this batch for 3 or 4 months. I just reuse the Unstoppables containers and use the cap to measure out the soap. Lovin’ it!

  63. Mamma Crow says:

    You can use old panty hose to hold the rice in to absorb moisture. You can make a few small ones instead of one big one. I imagine that would be more effective.

  64. Hi, so I just made my laundry detergent today and I couldn’t wait to compliment! I just put my first load of laundry into the dryer after using my detergent and I am truly impressed. My husband and I own a septic system pumping business (we pump private sewer systems), and I wanted to put this soap to the true test right away, so I washed a load of my husband’s powdered-lime covered, grease-spotted, “poo”-smelling work jeans and shirts. When I took them out of the washer, I immediately noticed they were CLEAN and NO septic smell! We’ve owned our business for over 5 years now, and I have NEVER been able to get his clothes this clean no matter what I used! THANK YOU so much for this recipe!!!

  65. This is great. I have been using unscented dye free products for several years. I just ran out of laundry detergent. I think I’m going to try two parts washing soda to one part borax, mixing and leaving in the laundry room with a bottle of clear, unscented dishwashing detergent (for hand-washing dishes). Then, I will (1) start the machine (2) add 2 TBS mixed powder (3) squirt in a tiny bit of the liquid dish soap and (3) add clothes. I also might try grinding a small bar of castile soap after letting it sit out to dry and mixing it with the powder instead of the liquid. Not sure what the proportion of soap to the soda/borax should be.

  66. I am getting ready to make my second batch of homemade detergent. I’m a little concerned that my first batch only lasted about 2 1/2 months. I do at least 2 loads a day though and my son’s football and husband’s work clothes get very sweaty and dirty so I use a little less than 1/4 of a cup per load. My only problem is it doesn’t seem that our really dirty clothes get as clean as they should. I did add the box of oxy to my recipe but I’m curious if anyone has used biz stain and odor fighter instead of oxy? Suggestions? Opinions? Thank you in advance!

    • Shureka Gantt says:


      I used the 1 box of the Purex whitener and color brightener, ( found @ Walmart) instead of the Oxy and it works awesome on tough stains and the hubby’s grimy work clothes. I still only use 2-3 Tablespoons per load and maybe an extra one for a really grimy load.

  67. amanda person says:

    how do you turn this into liquid. i would love to try this but would like to be able to have it in liquid form.

  68. As a follow up to my August 31 post (small amount of unscented plant based liquid dish soap and 2 TBS combined borax and washing soda), it works great. So far, there was one stain that didn’t come out, but it wouldn’t even come out with Zout, so I don’t think it would have come out with any store bought laundry detergent. I didn’t actually measure the borax and washing soda that I mixed together because the bottom of the box of washing soda was all hard. Today I looked for washing soda at Safeway and they don’t carry it anymore. My husband says not at Albertsons either. Where can you buy it these days?

  69. How do you make a liquid version of this?

  70. Ive been making homemade soap for at least 5 years now.. the savings are unreal.
    I use a potato peeler on the soap and then put it in a food processer,,, then add the dry ingredients to get it mixed real good.
    I use the kirks castile soap. My daughter has psoriasis and can only use it for her bath….when you lather it up it has a cream feel to it… When we were at my sons on vacation and used his Tide detergent my kids and teenagers noticed the clothes werent as soft,,, the cream feel affects the softness of the clothes.
    I want to add the crystals to my detergent, ,,, do i need to add one or two bottles?

    • And the baking soda does make a difference. I didnt use it for years. When we moved the towels especially had a funny smell to them. One day my husband realised when he got in the shower the water had that smell.
      Someone suggested adding the baking soda to my detergent,,,,,, It worked great,,no more smell.

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  72. I didn’t read every post, so sorry if someone already pointed this out, but I use Zote flakes instead of grating bars of soap. It costs a bit more, but I hate grating (don’t have a food processor) and the soap dissolves better in cold water. I find the flakes in the laundry aisle at my Walmart.

  73. I make the exact same recipe. But being since I wanted to go even cheaper I made my own washing soda. All you do is pour baking soda on a cookie sheet, bake at 400 degrees (f) for 45 minutes, cool…and you have washing soda. Much cheaper and easy! Hope this helps! :D

    • Nice to know you can make it… but I wonder if the extra cost of electricity or gas to run your oven for almost an hour covers the extra cost to purchase the washing soda…? I recently (i.e. on Saturday) bought both… The Washing Soda was $3.24 and the Baking Soda was $2.18, only a $1.06 difference…. Not sure the heating of the house & extra electricity (fuel in our case) would be worth $1.06… just my $0.02 :)

      • I was just thinking the same thing Nicole! I live in Michigan right in middle & just to turn oven on for one thing isn’t worth the few cents extra I would pay for the washing soda already at the store. of course I already plan all my baking around a schedule of making a bunch of things all in one day so that oven isn’t on every day. I been making the liquid soap in 2 gal arm & hammer bottles by grating one bar soap, I c. washing soda,1c borax, 1/2 c. baking soda & 1/2 c. vinegar in each jug then filling with really hot water & swirling so that it dissolves the soap. one capful per load. works great. I think I will try this dry version though, easier to mix & store.

    • How does baking the baking soda made it into washing soda?

      • Late answer, but basically baking washing soda creates a chemical reaction that reduces it…I don’t know the exact formula but the reaction forms carbon dioxide and water. Texture becomes less shiny, and coarser.

  74. Hey,

    Love the recipe, and it works great in my HE machine, now I neglected to put some rice in there as you suggested, and sure enough, it is now all chunked up. Did you just drill into it until it was powdered form again? Any info on that process would be much appreciated!

  75. I don’t know if someone has already mentioned this, but putting a marshmallow in with the powder will help absorb moisture. I use this with my homemade dishwasher detergent after the silica packets did nothing. Works a treat!

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  77. we’ve been using a DIY liquid laundry that would settle easily and therefore not clean as well. I’m almost out, and since I had everything on hand except for the crystals- easy enough to grab at the grocery tomorrow- gave this a try. I made a small batch of this tonight and tested with a load of towels- yeay!

    one thing I’d love to add: I don’t grate Fels Naptha, and I don’t have a food processor good enough- put the bar on a paper plate, pop in the microwave for 2-3 minutes (keep an eye on it) and after it cools, it easily crumbles! gave the 8 year old something to do to help while I’m mixing up the other ingredients.

    • Now that makes sense!!! Grating is hard for me and I don’t have kids to help.! Thanks for the idea!

      • Update on micro-ing soap bars… Cut the bar into approx 2″ cubes and start with minute on your microwave. I had about a 1/2 of a bar of Fels I didn’t grate, and read the microwaving made it puffy and soft for grating….. so after a minute in the micro, the soap was fluffy like a toasted marshmellos and took it out to check it out. YAY! Tossed in a cheese grater and happily finished “grating” the darn bar up within 5… see that? FIVE MINUTES! and no need for bandages applied to grated knuckles!!!

        Hooray for technology in this time of making old favorites easily!!!

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  79. Has anyone tried this trick for bar soap? “Place Ivory soap in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, until soap turns to foam. Quickly stir foam until it becomes small soap chips . . . ”
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  80. Do you really only need 2 tablespoons (large load)??? That seems like so little to me. This is my first time making my own laundry detergent.

  81. Well I am SOLD! I have always wondered if it was worth the initial cost and does it work. After reading this post I am going to give it a try! Also love your pictures!
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  82. How much do you use per load?
    This sounds amazing!

  83. Make adding the fells easier by cutting each bar into 6 pieces and arrange on a paper plate (1 plate each bar) pop in the microwave for about 3 minutes. They’ll puff up and once cooled (let them REALLY cool off, don’t rush!) you can grate them really easy or pop into blender/food processor with some of the borax or soda to make a really fine powder. Good luck!

  84. Does anyone know if you can use bleach with this home-made soap while washing whites? Has anyone tried that? Or do you even still need to use bleach with this mixture?

    • Cathy W says:

      Sarah, I use bleach with my whites in with DIY soap. I have also used it on the double wash (gives the whites a chance to soak longer- if you don’t have the double wash, leave the top of the washer up so it doesn’t rinse right away. Then you can soak stains out as long as you want!). I haven’t noticed any “bad” reactions (chemically). Whites are white! Give it a try!

  85. Is this ok for HE?

  86. Hi-
    Just wanted to say love your recipe, I have fowarded it on to friends/family. Hope you dont mind but I’ll attach a link here for healthier laundry softener crystals, since most of ones in stores are not very safe to use. Thanks again for your recipe :)

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  89. OK I have a question about when to add the soap. My goofy machine locks when I turn it on. I do not have the option to let the water run for a while, add the soap, then add the clothes. When would be the best time to put it in? I can put it in the bottom of the tub before I add the clothes, would that be best?

  90. I’m gunna say, since you have no other option, yes :)

  91. Hi have you ever had a residue left on the clothes after using the powder laundry soap? Like the washer does not get it all washed off? I have had this happen a few times and have to rerun the load again. Just wondering if I was doing something incorrect. Thanks!

  92. I made a similar batch but only used a 3 pound box of the oxyclean and two bars on the soap does that make a big difference in how it cleans? I also would like to know how well it works in just cold water washes. Thanks for the great blog!

  93. If you have a liquid version, could you please share it? I live in a hilly area in which grinder pumps are needed to push sewage uphill (a joke in there somewhere….) and we cannot use powder laundry or dishwasher soaps because they will stop up the pumps. This is a new one for me…but if you have a liquid version, I would love to try it. Thank you!

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  95. Jalane Hancock says:

    I used Lizmarie right by the book recipe for laundry soap, However I have given so much away to my friends to try that mine has not lasted all that long..But they all liked it a lot. I used a plastic garbage bag inside a 3 gallon plastic bucket to store the extra and if it clumps I put it into my Ninja processor and re-do about 2 quarts at a time to resoften, it. Also put rice in cheesecloth , to help remove the moisture in the jar I keep in the laundry room. So far I can scoop it out just fine…

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  97. Laughing a lot! I now have a large assortment of “flavors” and boxes of ingredients, I will use later, I’m sure. But how do you explain to hubby that they WILL BE USED? He came from a rather affluent background and doesn’t understand the basics. I’ve been washing with powered and liquid soaps (I made) and he hasn’t said a word about it. In other words, DIY is just the basic soap/detergents that don’t come with the fancy commercial packaging, ads, etc! Beating the odds and saving many $$$ is GOOD for me!!!
    Thanks Liz… from the bottom of my heart!

  98. Help! I’m super excited to try this but I can’t find a 4 gallon glass jar (not at Walmart). How is everyone storing this? Can I split it into two 2-gallon jars? Thanks!

    • Or 4 one gallon containers! Do your splitting AFTER all ingredients are mixed completely. Be sure containers have lids (that will keep them fresh and powdery).

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  100. Tammy Morrill says:

    I used your recipe and it worked well and lasted for about 10 months. when I made my next batch I used Biz instead of oxyclean and I have noticed a huge difference in my whites, much cleaner and brighter looking!

  101. Tiffanie J. says:

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  102. I have been making this for about six months now. I quartered the batch, and it lasts us about two months (we do A LOT of laundry with a stinky little boy).

    Here is my recipe for a quarter batch.

    1 pound three ounce of Borax.
    1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap, grated.
    1 pound box of Arm & Hammer baking soda.
    13.75 oz of Arm & Hammer super washing soda.
    1 pound of Oxy Clean.

    I measure out the ingredient on my kitchen scale, then grind them together in my food processor. I store the laundry soap in an old Oxy clean container. I am so glad I found this site, this is the best DIY laundry soap recipe I have encountered.

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  104. I believe that home made loundry soap may be good, but don’t you think that it may damage some materials? I heard that it can. For example I use this washer for loundry- skalbimo milteliai Fine just because it is not so expensive, it is ecologic and I haven’t had any accident with my clothes, even if I mix colors of clothes. I will try also your suggestion, but try mine also, You will not regret! :))

  105. Hi, just wondering if I can use a blender instead of a food processor? I have an extra one someone gave me so if I can I’d prefer to use that one solely to make laundry detergent. Thanks! I need to go back to the laundry aisle again! LOL no more washing soda!

    • Look for Kirks bar soap in the bathing aisle. Comes in 3 pack. Krogers or Fred Meyers, Stock it! Look low on the shelf!

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  107. Jessica Draper says:

    Ive never made homemade detergent, my question is what the bar soap is for?

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  109. Look for Kirks Bar Soap in Krogers or Fred Meyers bathing bar soaps! I found them there Packs of 3!

  110. Melissa F. says:

    I have a friend who made a very similar recipe and she said that her whites all turned gray when she used it… Had anyone else had similar problems? Could it be her water or washing machine? There are so many great reviews about this detergent that I almost don’t believe her! She did NOT use bleach with her whites.

    • I am very particular on cleaning and I have been using this for a year and I have never been dissatisfied! Your friend may have made substitute that hurt the product efficiency. I do not use bleach on my whites unless a stain may require it. (Bleach is very hard on the fibers.) This many people can’t be wrong!

  111. Not healthy!

    • Um, you’re not supposed to eat it….

    • Milissa, It’s a lot healthier than the high priced popular detergents on the market! Who wants to pay for advertising, packaging and God know what else! I too, wouldn’t recommend eating it! (Thanks Jayme!)

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  114. I bought all the goodies and mixed it up. I put a load of wash in and after letting it agitate, there isn’t any suds. Is this normal? Any suggestions would be wonderful.

    • Julie, No, NO SUDS! But it cleans very well. If you can’t live without suds, add a CAP full of Dr. Bonner’s Castile soap. I added the citrus blend and satisfied my need for suds and it was a pleasant smell.
      You will find it good for HE as well as top loaders.

  115. Cathy Schmidt says:

    Something FUNNY…. Last Christmas, I gave Laundry baskets full of DIY laundry soap, both dry and liquid and assorted helpful goodies like fragrance crystals and microfiber cloths. You get the idea. These were given to my sis and niece in hope that the copied recipes would be taken as helpful in the future as $$ saving helpers (and not messaging “your clothes are dirty”).

    So last night I asked my sis if she had tried any of them… so said no but the crystals were great! Then she paused, and said her daughter had run out of usual detergent and reached for the bottle of liquid I had given her. She used it and to her surprise, it cleaned better than her regular soap. Then she was doing another load when her friend dropped by and asked what she was doing with that? She said she was washing clothes…. Her friend ,aghast, said, “with BULL SPERM!!???”

    Moral: beware of what kind of container you use! And can you imagine me, the city girl in the family, milking a bull or 6 to fill up a new 2 qt. plastic jar? Or the bulls letting me “milk ” them? Or even going into a bull pen????

    Think we will be laughing over the BULL SPERM Laundry Soap for years to come!

  116. I’ve been making liquid laundry detergent for 4 years now and love it. We both worked in a shop with lots of grease and oils and coolant and never had any trouble getting it out. My husband also farms and he has the smell of cows and goats on his clothes all the time. Always comes out smelling clean but no real scent. Might have to try the crystals everyone is talking about. I also use vinegar in the rinse of towels to get rid of the musty smell. And bleach my whites. My husband doesn’t want me to use a powder detergent because he says it doesn’t dissolve enough and will eventually plug up your drains.

    I’ve been making liquid laundry detergent for 4 years now and love it. We both worked in a shop with lots of grease and oils and coolant and never had any trouble getting it out. My husband also farms and he has the smell of cows and goats on his clothes all the time. Always comes out smelling clean but no real scent. Might have to try the crystals everyone is talking about. I also use vinegar in the rinse of towels to get rid of the musty smell. And bleach my whites. My husband doesn’t want me to use a powder detergent because he says it doesn’t dissolve enough and will eventually plug up your drains.

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  119. Do you do your laundry in cold water except for whites? Just wondering whether or not the naptha soap dissolves in cold water wash. Have your had any problem with that?

    • Cathy W says:

      Diann, I use cold water too. By putting the dry detergent first and running Hot water, it dissolves the soap in a flash! THEN put your clothes in and switch over to cold wash! Problem solved! And I do occasionally use bleach!

  120. I just made this recipe, and was excited to be saving money. It seemed to come out to just over 9cents per load. (it made 2 gallons of detergent, 2 Tblsp per load, 256 loads)

    But my husband compared this to the large tub of “All Free & Clear” and Bounce dryer sheets. which was 11cents per load. Total savings about $7.50 per year. Is that the same savings you found? I understand the benefit of avoiding dryer sheets (landfill,) but making my own detergent hardly seems worth all the trouble for such little savings. I’m pretty bummed. :-(

  121. I love to try different recipe for hand soaps and laundry soaps. It is all about creativity and healthy living. All of my soaps are made using natural ingredients, no detergents, chemical fillers or preservatives, and retains all of the natural glycerin. Natural is always better than synthetic.

  122. Carla Q. says:

    I came upon this blog a couple of weeks ago, quite by accident. What got me started was researching Tide’s new yellow bottle of detergent. I hadn’t seen it before and was just curious about it. I started researching the Tide online and all these DIY detergent hits came up. That’s when I saw one of those homemade liquid detergent recipes. Sounded messy and heavy to be picking up that 5 gallon bucket. Then I found Liz’s blog and her recipe sounded MUCH better. I rounded up all the ingredients. I used the Kirk’s Castile soap because I don’t like the citronella scent of Zote, and other people scared me off from using Fels-Naphta because of its strong smell. After grating the Kirk’s, I wasn’t all that crazy about its scent, but the Purex Crystals (blue bottle — Fresh something!) seemed to take care of that. I started grating the Kirk’s in my food processor, but as the bars got almost grated down, small chunks would get trapped and stick to the grating wheel. I decided to grate one or two bars with my box grater and it didn’t take all that long. Yes, if I’d had to grate all four of my Kirk’s bars, that might have been a little tougher. After all the grating was done, I did as a few suggested and mixed the grated bar soap with one of the powdered ingredients to get a nice fine mix ( I used some of the baking soda since it was nice and neutral). With my next batch, I’m going to see if I can find a sturdier clear plastic bag to mix everything in. Maybe one of those bags comforters come in will work. When I was picking up and rolling around my black trash bag, I was afraid I was going to put a hole in it because of the thinness of the material. I used that same big 2 gallon glass canister a lot of people used. I made the full batch and it FILLED that canister. I did find a handy tip on Amazon from a lady named Sarah. She recommended using silicone on the lid and rim of the canister (since it isn’t sold with a gasket) to help make the container airtight. I found the silicone at Home Depot. It comes in a green and black tube and the brand name is DAP — just under $5. I still have to see how effective the silicone is, but the lid doesn’t rattle and I’m not as worried about any glass chipping now that both the lid edge and canister rim have silicone on them. Love the smell of this detergent. Thanks to Liz for her original recipe and then coming back a year later to tweak it a bit!

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  124. Heather Bee says:

    I use cold water only when it wash. Does this work well in cold water?

    • Heather, I found putting the dry soap in the washer first and run Hot water to dissolve the soap. Turn to Cold and add clothes and wash! Now off the record, between just us, I am very conservative with our hot water! This soap can work with cold water so well, you can’t believe it! Just look at the dirty water while it’s washing! If you need suds, just add a cap full of liquid Castille soap. That is just how it works!

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  147. hbtaylor says:

    I’ve always wanted to make my own laundry soap, but I’m worried about my clothes fading. Can someone who has used this for a year or more comment? Please mention if you made any modifications to her original recipe.

  148. C M Campanella Dixon says:

    Hi all,

    So I have been using this recipe for over a year now but have always had one problem; my clothes, especially cotton items such as hoodies and Tees get really “lint ball -ey” I have to shave so many items everytime they come out of the wash. It doesn’t seem to make a difference if I line dry or dryer dry. Has anyone else had this issue? I do not wash these items with jeans or heavy clothes, I have a front loader, and lastly, I had never had this issue until this detergent.
    Thank for the input in advance,


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    • Cathy W says:

      All blogs should be enjoyable! We all have “tweaked” our recipes to work with our locations, i.e. hard water, machines, Ringer/washers etc. I know my water is soft so very little adjustments were needed. Did add a little Dr. Bonner’s Castille for a few suds (psychological :) )
      Interesting though how dirty the wash water became when it was between cycles! Something not easily taken. (I thought I was washing frequently). Learning, learning, learning!

      At 60+ thought I “knew it all”. Guess what?! Teens and “older” people still can learn. The only difference is Teens aren’t frantic when they can’t find their glasses (that were already on!) Laughing at me!!!!

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  155. I made my own about July of last year. Even though it hasn’t quite been a year, I’m pretty sure what I have will last me up until. I’m sure it’d last me longer than a year if I used just two tablespoons each time, didn’t have to rewash due to forgetting to take my wet laundry out and dry it, and didn’t also use this recipe as a floor cleaner. Yep, a floor cleaner. When we got a new puppy we realized we didn’t have any floor spot cleaner, and so I used this quite a few times to pull up stains. Word of warning, it can bleach your carpet, so you only want to keep it on there for a short time. I just rubbed mine in the carpet with warm water, and wiped clean with a warm wet cloth. Then you run a vacuum over it.

    Great recipe, and will definitely continue to do this since it only cost me about $35 for the one batch of detergent, and that included the pretty container for mine as well! Can’t beat it!

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  158. I LOVE this detergent recipe, but add the Scentsy Clean Washer Whiffs instead of the Purex crystals. The smell is clean and more potent and a little goes a long way.

  159. Great follow-up & review of your laundry soap! Interesting topic, especially with everyone in money-saving-mindset.

    One thing you might like to pass onto your readers:

    If you have a new machine (still under warranty) you might nullify the warranty if you don’t use their “recommended” products. Please read your owner’s manual and check with your machine’s manufacturer for clarification.

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  163. Thank you so much for this recipe. My husband and I just had our first child 5 months ago. We had been using your laundry soap recipe prior to the birth of our child, however we continue to use it even with our baby’s clothes and cloth diapers. It is sensitive enough on his skin and works great to get those stains out of his clothing and diapers!

    Since we had been using this recipe since this past summer and liked it so much we made three batches, separated it and gave it away as Christmas gifts to our family members. They loved it and are now hooked on it. Thanks again for all these great DIY recipes!

  164. Kristen says:

    Hi! I’m so excited to try this because I’m SO tired of wasting so much money on detergent. I did have one question, which may actually be really stupid but I don’t want to screw it up. Do you combine the grated Fels with the rest of the ingredients in one large container at the end of the steps, or do you keep the two separate? Thanks!

    • Cathy W says:

      Goodness NO! Add the fels right in with the rest! BUT be sure that you give it a good shake before adding to you machine! By putting some of the mixture in a smaller/easier to hold container, you won’t have any trouble with a good shake. And be sure to use a tight lid! Silica gel packets they come in with articles you’ve bought before. And good to have on hand. (saves soap from clumping!). Throw one in with the larger container, and might as well with the smaller container too!

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  166. I have been using the DYI laundry soap for about six months. For the most part I really like it. However. often shirts/sweatshirts/pants come out with spots on them. Sometimes it is a grease spot that I know about but sometimes I don’t know what caused the spot. How do I get rid of the grease spots? They appear on the most visible part of the clothing- right in front. I thought of soaking them in BIZ but wanted to try something more DIY if I can. Thanks in advance.

  167. Can I use Dr. Bonner in addition to the Zote? The lack of bubbles makes me nervous.

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  169. Thanks so much for the update. I did a little modification too, and love that my clothes get really clean, smell good, yet the ingredients are eco-friendly. I did find an alternative for the large container. I actually purchased three 23 cup, Snapware® Airtight Plastic Food Container. The entire recipe fits in the containers perfectly, and the lids flip up and are large enough for me to use my laundry scoop. Also, by dividing it into three containers, I am able to lift them easily from the shelf above my washer.

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  171. I must admit, I do not have an idea how you managed to last a whole year on this small amount. I do 2 loads a day.
    I find 2 Tablespoons for towels and sheets is enough as they aren’t overly dirty and get cleaned after kids use them once…yes teenagers use towels like toilet paper.

    but for clothes which equals 2 loads a day for a 7kg washing machine, I have found I need half a cup to make a difference to the washing. Anything dirty gets laundry soaprubbed onto it. Methylated spirits in the armpits of shirts is brilliant also for perspiration. Otherwise it does save a bit of money. I

    I have 2 jars. one with extra soap for sheets and towels. They seem to need less bleachy stuff.

    Thanks for the tip. I wish we could buy your condition beads in Australia. but we only get liquid. so I just use vinegar and conditioner.

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  178. christy says:

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  182. Lisbeth says:

    ISSUES ABOUT BORAX – it can cause skin and eye irritation and may disrupt hormones and harm the male reproductive system. The EWG recommends staying away from the naturally occurring salt, a frequent ingredient in cleaners and beauty products. “Borax is not a green cleaning ingredient, as many have been led to believe

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    • Cathy W says:

      BORAX! It is and/or is a component of nearly all detergents. Way back (in pioneer days) the Mom of 7 0r 10 kids was using it. Not a problem then… (7-10 children). So beware that Borax may not be green, but sure is cheap cleaner. Leave out if you are concerned.

  183. Fanny L says:

    Hi Liz
    I made the laundry soap and I am excited to see how it works for my family. I know you said you use 2 Tblsp for a load, or a little more, but what size load is that? I have a large family and I always do giant loads in my extra large capacity washer. What would you say. Thanks a bunch!

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  185. What exactly does the Borax do in the laundry equation? What is it’s purpose. Reason I’m asking is that I’m trying to find something equal to Borax without having to use it. I’d love to make my own detergent but Borax is a No for me. Also, what size (as in ounces) are the bars of soap you are using?

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  187. Cathy W says:

    Emily, soaps are: Zote=14.1 oz
    Fels Naptha – one size (large)
    Kirks -1.4 oz

    Borax – your choice, USE OR DON’T USE..
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  191. Well ladies, I made a huge batch last night. I chopped the bars of soap up and put it in my blender and it worked wonderfully. I mixed the detergent up in a 3 gallon Rubbermaid tote. Added some to a mason jar and will refill it when needed. Im on my 3rd load with cold water on a high efficiency front load washer. Seems to work just fine and the clothes smell great.

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  200. Hi,
    I made the laundry powder but being from Australia I was unfamiliar with some of these ingredients.
    I substituted fels naphtha for sard and the oxy clean for the sard brand.
    We also don’t have laundry softening crystals so I made my own with Epsom salts and essential oils.
    After using though it seems it has partially bleached or soap stained my dark colours.
    Any suggestions, other products or a new recipe suitable for Australia would be greatly appreciated!!

  201. Teri Jo says:

    Been using the DIY powder laundry soap for 9 months. One batch will last me well over a year. The cost was $22. It hasn’t faded my dark clothes (black is my fav color). My husband is either covered in mud from pottery or greese from other projects and his clothes come out clean and fresh. I wash in cold and it always disolves and I just hand grate the soap. I have never had it spot nor are my clothes turning gray. I love the “not much scent’ and I will never go back to store bought laundry soap!

    • Cathy W says:

      Boy, you covered ALL the bases. Should located at the top of Liz’s Blog! (I get so tired of reading the same questions asked, then answered!) Good for you! And me too (for agreeing with you on all the subjects!) Thank you Terri Jo.

  202. Hi. Can I use any brand of baking soda and super washing soda? Also u said u use a 4gal jar. Is that about how much it makes total. Just so I know what size container to buy. Thx. Would love to give it a try. I have 6 kids and do lots of wash.

  203. Hi. Can I use any brand baking soda and super washing soda? I have lots of wash and would love to give this’s try. Thx

    • Cathy W says:

      Yes, as long as they don’t contain bleach (you wouldn’t white spots on those colored items!).

      BTW, washed bed pad yesterday. Added Bleach to the mix and a pot of boiling water to the machine before I stuffed KING sized mattress pad. Also I added more soap and less water so it was concentrated. It has been years since I washed it, (machine tore it up) and it was so grungy I figured what the heck. It washes or becomes a super large rag. It washed out Perfectly!!!! I did let it soak for 5 hours in the soap and water. Great stuff! (And I won’t wait to wash it again!!!)

  204. Can I use any brand soda and super washing sods?

  205. This is my concern: Will black clothes, dark jeans, etc… f ade more quickly or be damaged? What about delicate items?

  206. I use my homemade laundry detergent on everything from my most delicates to my husbands (sometimes) extremely gross uniforms. I have never noticed anything except clean, fresh smelling clothes!

  207. Chris, We are being overloaded with cotton items made in China etc. I really don’t think the DIY soap is the problem, I think it’s the fabric! It isn’t the best quality or made in a hurry. You know, “let’s make more $$$”! So while we are saving on DIY soaps, we are being short changed on clothing.

    I would suggest you alternate dry soap with liquid soap. That might help. Oxi Clean might be the problem. It is pretty tough on dirt. The liquid soap Liz has made doesn’t have Oxi in it. Both Liz’s soaps clean very well. the towels and jeans, etc. can handle the Oxi . Sweats and Tees are so soft and made with a different fabric. Try the liquid on them. See if that helps.
    OR use a little less Oxi in your mix.

    Good luck finding the answer. I’m sure Liz would appreciate your findings. I know I would!

  208. Pam and all: I’ve been washing everything in this laundry soap for over 2 months now. Clean, clean. fresh! My husband still thinks I’m using our old “popular” soap we Used To Buy. I messed up once and pit too much vinegar in the rinse, and boy, did I hear about it! Since then, no more complaints. You know, men can be so picky and yet they want NAME BRANDS. We ladies, do what we want to do, (except putting too much vinegar in the rinse)!
    Ladies, please try this fantastic soap. Make a quarter of it and see what YOU think!! Thanks again Liz!


  1. [...] We’ve all seen the Pinterest recipes one bazillion times – “Make your own laundry soap”.  Sure… then you read horror stories about people who had their clothes ruined, or who said the process took way too many hours to complete, or worse, that all of the effort was for naught and the final product didn’t even work!  Well Liz Marie comes tot he rescue this time with a 1-year review of her recipe and what she did to tweak the starting list of ingredients.  Hint: if you read the comments on this post you’ll find even MORE useful info on how you can change it to better suit you and if it can be used in HE washers (Liz Marie and I both have top-loaders, so you’re A-ok to use this if you have one too).  I have been meaning to try this for EVER, and now having a blogger (whose opinion I happen to trust) share her own experience makes me think this is the way to go – plus this has GOT to be better for the environment, right?  And cuter for your home?  I mean look at that glass canister… it makes me want to go put a load of laundry in right now! [...]

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