Home made laundry soap Part 2: some clarification

I've had some people email me and send me Facebook messages about this. (you don't have to be shy about commenting on here, folks :)) So I thought I'd clear up some questions. 

The recipe that I made and used was this:

12 cups Borax
8 cups Baking Soda
8 cups Washing Soda
8 cups Fels Naptha soap-- grated

I cut it down and only made 1/4 of this recipe though. I REALLY like it. I researched it some and have found that it is supposed to do fine in both hot and cold water. The only "hard" part was grating the soap. I just used a cheese grater. It took me maybe 10 minutes to get 2 cups. I did read up on it some more and people suggest that you grate it using the smallest grate you have. That makes it dissolve easier and faster.

My disclaimer is this-- it is working great for me. Everything I have read online says that it works great. I have seen nothing that makes me weary. However, that's where my expertise ends. I am no chemist or expert.. I'm just a cheapskate with some dirty laundry :)  I am using this in an HE front loading washing machine. This recipe is naturally low suds, which is one of the big things to look for with an HE machine. (When I used Gain, I noticed that when the load was finished, I'd still have a 1/4 cup of suds in the rim of the door. I don't have that at all with this mixture.)

The next batch I make, I'm thinking about making it with only Ivory, borax, washing soda, and water. (I'm thinking about making the liquid kind next. I might change my mind and just make it powder and without the water) But, so far (4 loads into it) I am REALLY pleased with how this recipe/batch turned out. It is cleaning Dustin's work clothes really well. It basically has three different kinds of stain fighters, so I think it is doing a pretty nice job!

If you decide to try it, tweak it, or find something better, let me know! I'm always on the hunt for a better product/better deal! :)

**Check out the links to the right of parties I love to visit. I shared this post with We Are That Family. 


  1. So I've never heard of Fels Naptha soap before. Would Wal-Mart have it? Also, kinda random here, would it or Ivory be better for sensitivities do you think? So far I've been lucky and not had any sensitivity issues with laundry detergent for myself or Eli, but I didn't know if one would be better than the other in terms of skin or smell issues. I'd hate to invest everything in making it only to discover I couldn't use it (fear not, you're not the only cheapskate in the family! =).

  2. Sarah, Walmart S-burg didn't have it. Paoli might. I bought it at JayC here.
    I'm not sure about the sensitive skin. Ellie is allergic to Gain, but the stuff I made isn't making her itchy :) ((If an itchy dog helps...))
    But, the Fels Naptha was only less that $3 for 2 bars, so if you made a small batch and it didn't work, you aren't out TOO much. You can always try some of what I made first if you want.
    And the smell isn't bad. It smells, but it just smells clean. It isn't perfume smell, just cleaner smell. But, with that said.. it doesn't smell chemically either. It kinda reminds me of like plain ole Dial bar soap. It just smells clean.

  3. HI Shannon, I've been wanting to try this laundry soap but can't find Washing Soda. Where do you buy it?

  4. Carolyn- I bought the washing soda at my local Jay C store. I'm in a small town and they had it. I couldn't find it at WalMart. The kind that I bought was Arm & Hammer. I hope you find some!!

  5. This is what I use but I used ZOTE soap I liked that is it pink. I know that is silly but that's me! I love the smell. I finally found the washing soda at Winco Here in Cali.

  6. Hello Shannon!! Another Hoosier here. I hope you survived the storms this week. Just wanted to drop you a note and let you know that I, too have made my own laundry soap. I made the liquid version and ended up with 5 gallons of soap. Since I also use alot of vinegar to clean with I had enough empty jugs around to store it. I will never go back to buying laundry soap again. Even my husbands icky welding clothes are so clean that the guys at work are asking him about it. Anyway, my first 5 gallon batch lasted me 7 months. I've already made another batch. P.S. You absolutely must try vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser of your machine. Our clothes are softer than ever and our towels are alot more absorbent.

  7. I love my homemade laundry soap! One tip I learned was after I grate soap, (use large size) I lay it on a small sheet pan and freeze it for 30 minutes or so. When it's nice and hard, I buzz it in the food processor and it becomes a nice grain (like cornmeal). I haven't had any problem with it dissolving in cold water. I definitely think it is worth that extra effort.


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