Homemade Laundry Detergent (Free Printable Recipe)

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

First published Feb 2011. Updated 2018.

We’re in the process of implementing our newly-created budget. I’m finding that I REALLY don’t like to spend money on boring stuff because that takes away the money we can use to do fun things (or to pay down our mortgage)! A few of our biggest and most boring “budget-busters” are dish washing detergent, dog food, organic milk ($15 A WEEK…the boys drink SO MUCH milk), and laundry detergent. I can’t ever seem to find good deals on these items and it drives me crazy!

When I ran across the idea to make homemade laundry soap for basically one cent per load… (as of Feb, 2011) I was ecstatic! I used a liquid laundry detergent recipe originally found on the Duggar Family site. I’ve never watched the show (since we don’t have cable), but I figured they were experts with the number of loads of laundry they do with all their children!

Ingredients for Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap:

  • Borax ($2.99 at Walmart or Target–in the laundry aisle, or here)
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda–$2.99 at local grocery store in laundry aisle, or here)
  • Fels-Naptha Soap Bar ($1.56 at local grocery store in laundry aisle, or here)
  • 5-gallon bucket with lid (around $4 at Home Depot)
  • 10 gallon milk jugs (or other containers) that have been cleaned and rinsed (the concentrate will disperse more evenly if you go ahead and divide it up.
  • OPTIONAL:  Essential Oil Drops for fragrance (we did not add this, so I am not sure how much it costs)

*I could not find the washing soda OR the Fels-Naptha soap at either Walmart or Target. Look at your local grocery store IN THE LAUNDRY AISLE.

ingredients for homemade laundry liquid
Grand Total:  $11.54 for 640 loads (180 loads in a top-loading machine). That’s a little more than 1 cent a load! And the savings are even greater the next time you make this because the only thing you’ll have to buy is the Fels-Naptha soap bar!

How To Make DIY Laundry Soap:

homemade liquid laundry detergent
STEP 1. Grate the entire bar of the Fels-Naptha soap.
homemade liquid laundry detergent
(As you can see, I started off grating it very fine, but realized it was taking too much time.)
homemade liquid laundry detergent
STEP 2. Put in a pot with 4 cups of hot water. Stir continuously over medium-low heat until all of the soap flakes have dissolved and melted (about 10 minutes).
homemade liquid laundry detergent
It should be slightly foamy with no “chunks” or flakes to be found.
homemade liquid laundry detergent
STEP 3. Fill a 5-gallon bucket half-full of hot water.
homemade liquid laundry detergent
STEP 4. Pour in the soap mixture. Add 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and 1/2 cup Borax. Stir.
homemade liquid laundry detergent
My husband happened to have a paint stirrer that goes on his drill, so that helped. But if you don’t have one of these, just use the end of your mop (or something that can reach to the bottom of the 5-gallon bucket).
homemade liquid laundry detergent
homemade liquid laundry detergent
STEP 5. Fill the rest of the 5-gallon bucket with water until it is full. Stir again.
homemade liquid laundry detergent
homemade liquid laundry detergent
STEP 6. Cover and let it sit overnight.
homemade liquid laundry detergent
STEP 7. When you open the top up the next day, it should have gelled and thickened slightly. Stir again.
homemade liquid laundry detergent
STEP 8. Use a funnel to fill a clean laundry detergent container (or gallon-size milk jug) and fill it HALF way with the soap mixture. Fill the other half with water and shake.
homemade liquid laundry detergent
Optional:  Attach a homemade tag using packing tape (especially if giving as gifts)


homemade liquid laundry detergent
NOTE: On the second batch that I made, I wanted the concentrate to be more evenly distributed, so I just saved up our gallon milk containers for a couple weeks and then measured out 8 cups of soap and 8 cups of water, making sure to mix well after filling each gallon.

I also made some labels with instructions for use to stick on the front of the milk jugs (which will also ensure that no one accidentally tries to drink it). :)


Though it looks like a lot of steps, this homemade liquid laundry detergent probably took us around a combined total of only 45-minutes to make!

The Homemade Laundry Soap Mustard Test

And in case you’re wondering how this laundry soap performs on tough stains, I thought I would do a little experiment using Prince Charming’s old undershirts.

I poured mustard on shirt #1 and then washed it in Tide Free & Clear.
This is the result.
I then put mustard on another shirt and washed it on the same settings using the homemade laundry soap.
This was the result.
As you can see, they did a similar job washing the shirt. Neither detergent got the stain out completely (which of course you would use a stain remover on a stain that tough normally), but there isn’t a huge difference in the two.

How Much Do I Use?

Once you’re ready to use the laundry soap, shake it in the container first. Then add:

  • 5/8 cups for a regular top-loading machine
  • 1/4 cup for a front-loading (HE) machine
Update:  I have been using this for over a year now and found that it works best with 1/2 cup in my HE machine.

When You Have A High-Efficiency (HE) Machine

I have a high-efficiency (HE) machine and have used and will continue to use this laundry soap. I e-mailed LG, the manufacturer of our machine to see if they “approved” the use of this laundry soap. Here is the reply I received:

Dear Customer,
LG always recommends to use detergents which has “he” logo on it. Even we do not recommend if its written ” he compatible”.
Because oversudsing can create residue buildup in drum, it will be necessary to perform cleaning to remove this residue.
So until we do test in our labs we cannot assure the detergent you make at home is advisable. It might effect washing performance.
Best regards,
LGE – Dubai
However, I also found this somewhat contradictory information:
“The above recipes will NOT make suds in your washer so don’t be alarmed. Fels Naptha Soap is a pure soap and typically makes little or no suds in the water. This makes it perfect for use in the new HE washers as well as traditional washers. You will also notice the need to either reduce your laundry softener or in most cases you can even eliminate the use of softener completely.” – from Soaps Gone Buy
If you have a high-efficiency washing machine, the decision is yours as to whether or not you want to take the risk and use it. Personally, because this soap doesn’t sud at all, I would conclude that it is just fine. I’ll be using it! And from what I’ve read, it seems as though this soap can be used on cloth diapers too.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT>>> Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe

Now that we’ve tackled homemade laundry detergent…does anybody have a recipe for homemade dog food??? (Just kidding!)

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  1. 1. A few days ago I realized between me and my ONE boy… I spend $20 a week on milk a week. I drink a gallon and a half a week. Yikes.

    2. How does the detergent work with cloth diapers?

    1. I would assume it works good. I never tried this way of making it but I use the Borax, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and Fels-Naptha Soap Bar to make a powder that works great on cloth diapers!

        1. How I do mine is one box Borax, one box washing soda, 2-3 small boxes baking soda and 3 fels napa bars, and a container of the sun whitener booster. Or I go to the dollar store and get some there. (color safe bleach) I cut the bars into chunks and put them in the food processor with the washing soda. I also use Epsom salt, and I add esencial oil to it for a good scent and a fabric softener. Or I use the purex crystals or downy unstoppables too. Then mix it all up in a garbage bag.

        2. You can get a very simple recipe of how to make powder laundry detergent using Borax ,
          washing soda and either Zote or Fel-Napa soap on interne. Just type in homemade laundry recipe

      1. may I please have the ratio for the powder mixture you use? I have a little dog w/ issues and can’t always get her bedding washed each day so it sets in bleach water in a 5gal bucket w/ lid and the stains wont always come out…this is my first time on this site and i think it is awesome…can’t wait to try the detergent out…i grew up w/ my mom & gram using borax and still do myself sometimes and could only use fels-naptha on my daughter as a baby so i am sure i will love it…Please e-mail me with the mixture if u can so i can have that on hand…THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

        1. How I do mine is one box Borax, one box washing soda, 2-3 small boxes baking soda and 3 fels napa bars, and a container of the sun whitener booster. Or I go to the dollar store and get some there. (color safe bleach) I cut the bars into chunks and put them in the food processor with the washing soda. I also use Epsom salt, and I add esencial oil to it for a good scent and a fabric softener. Or I use the purex crystals or downy unstoppables too. Then mix it all up in a garbage bag.

      2. I dony like grating so I get a brown paper sack put the Fels Naptha and break it up with a hammer….hope this helps.

      3. This recipe does save money on detergent. But I used it for more than 2 years in my front loading HE machine, and the Fels Naptha corroded the detergent drawer on the washer and caused a $300 repair. So be careful with HE machines! I’ve substituted Dr. bronners for the soap, and now add it directly to the drum. Apparently there is not enough water going through the detergent drawer in a HE washer to thoroughly wash the detergent into the drum when the detergent gels up line the Fels Naptha stuff does.

        1. Thank you for this info. I have been looking for a recipe for laundry soap and have a high efficiency washer. Not worth saving a few pennies on this only to mess up my washer.

        2. Instead of bar type soaps use 1 cup regular (old type) Dawn liquid instead. No suds & no sludge to stick to drum. Also run at least 1 extra hot load a week to remove any left from previous bar soap recipe.

        3. If you run vinegar through it (half a cup and the rest with water) after every 5-8 loads (can even be filled right after the soap goes through in the same load) it will clean the gunk out. The vinegar will also help your laundry, just make sure you do it after the soap goes in because of the baking soda. Hope this helps!!

    2. I use this laundry detergent all the time now and it works great on cloth diapers. I do add a cup of bleach when I wash the cloth diapers and they come out PERFECTLY white.

      I swear by this laundry detergent, I was using Melaleuca for the last year and it was costing me a lot of money. This is a great savings and it works!

      1. I also use Melaleuca and I love them. My husband has been asking me to try making it ourselves and I reckon we will be trying this. It is expensive but I just don’t like the chemicals in my home. However, I will still buy the Melabright for use instead of bleach. It gets my clothes brighter and whiter than bleach and is not harsh at all.

      2. I just started using this laundry detergent & from now on I will be using it. My whites were whiter and my colors brighter. Why should I spend $20.00 on a large jug of Tide when I can make my own ans save myself a
        lot of money.

        1. Frances,
          Are you saying that you WERE an avid user of Tide, but since making this and trying it, you are now NOT using tide, and just this??
          I have always used Tide since my babies were off ivory snow LOL- I have tried sooo many other brands, name and generic- to NO avail. Either they dont clean the same- smell offensive as I have chemical intolerance, or not a bargain if I am using more. Ive tried so many that people claim ‘work just as good as tide’ that I am highly suspect of anymore such claims. I am so desperate for a cheaper laundry bill, that Im almost ready to try my luck one more time…..as I too am sick of the 20$ jugs which I hardly ever find sale/coupon on.

          1. and can I just add- the Irony of one of the ads for this page being for Tide Pods-was not lost on me. LOL
            Just sayin…

            1. I can’t wait to try this. I too hate spending so much of my budgeted grocery money on cleaning products each month. And I DID see the Tide add when I read the article too. I also found it quite ironic and amusing.

              1. You can put the bar of soap in the microwave for 2 minutes, let cool, and it will crumble and grate much easier, making the job much almost fun!

                1. i tried to microwave the bar and it ended up looking like a wierd yellow marshmellow. but it did crumble …….and squish.

          2. Carol: I combine the best of both worlds. I use the home made soap and I mix a small bottle of liquid Tide with bleach when I add the last hot water in a 6 gallon bucket. I get the fragrance of the Tide with bleach and the lowered cost of the blended soaps!

          3. I’am a firm believer in this, I won’t go back to the detergent I was using. You will be amazed on how your clothes are much cleaner. :)

          4. I have been using homemade laundry soap for over a year and my clothes always come out smelling fresh. I love it!

        2. I am wondering, everyone says 1-2 tbsp per load or 1/2 cup per load…what do you consider a load? if i want to wash a large load of laundry..is that 1/2 cup liquid or 1 1/2? Please and thank you :) Btw I love Vinegar as my softner and just all around cleaner! Home made everything please! Don’t want all that “some day it too will be found to cause cancer” store bought stuff :)

          1. Karrie,

            We just got a used dishwasher, and the inside seemed kinda , like hard water build up, and I use vinegar in a full cycle and when it was finished I checked it, and the inside walls were soft and clean. So , that is what I will be using to clean it. :)

    3. It works BEAUTIFULLY! It pulls out stains and removed foul smells. I stopped using Tide or Gain immediately and swapped to the homemade detergent! LOVE, LOVE IT!!!

      1. I have a question and I’m sure among you all, someone will have an answer for me. I love that this homemade soap is inexpensive and low sudsing BUT it’s not getting out the underarm odors! Maybe I need to change deodorant but I can’t get the smell out and I’ve even put the detergent directly on those arms and washed twice! Any thoughts?

        1. If you add an extra table spoon of baking soda to the load it will kill the smells and whiten the load also wash at least 40c to dissolve the oils that comes from your body at 37.3c . You can also try adding a couple of table spoons of white vinegar. I made a white batch by adding a cup of baking soda to the mix and find it shifts more stains and freshens the load. I use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar in the last rinse, and I have stopped using fabric softener.

        2. my daughter is an Army wife and swears by throwing in a 1/2 cup to cup of baking soda on top of the clothes in her front loader. When her husband is training his clothes smell so bad not only do they not get mixed with any other clothes but she makes him take them off in the garage! She learned this from other Army wives! You can buy the giant size bags at Sams club. It’s also great to put in your used Parmesan cheese shaker for cleaning the kitchen and bath instead of soft scrub or comet or whatever you are currently using. It will make your stainless sink sparkle and cuts through soap scum great.

        3. I use vinegar for odors. It works wonderfully. I put 1/2 c per load. I accidentally discovered this after we fogot about a load of laundry and it mildewed. Nothing worked to get the smell out until I rinsed the clothes in 1 c vinegar. Voila! If you’ve ever forgotten a load of laundry in the wash, you know what i’m talking about.

        4. For underarm odors–NOTHING beats pure Ammonia.
          I buy it for about $1.12 at walmart for half a gallon, at the Dollar Tree for $1.00.
          Pour directly onto the armpit area of garment.
          Rub in, or allow to set for a little while.
          It will seriously get out yellowed stains from old underarm and deodorant staining even if they have been washed and dried and “set.”
          You may want to do this outside, because of the ammonia fumes.
          But I have been using Ammonia for probably 35 years. It is relatively cheap, and very effective.
          Other stains that it CONQUERS: Blood, chocolate, cooking grease splatter, and did I say blood.
          It annihilates blood. Pour it directly onto the garment. Wait a few minutes. Wash.
          Very few people believe that, but I love to do laundry, and always insist on getting my clothes to come out perfect.
          Let me know how it turns out for you.
          Be odor-free, and spot-free!!!!

        5. Karen, I recently had an issue with underarm odors, that smelled like cat urine! It was horrible. When it first started I thought my cat was beginning to have accidents, and he’s a good boy and doesn’t do stuff like that. Turns out, when the body burns proteins as fuel, you get that smell. So I addes some more carbs to my diet (other issues cause other types of smells)….and my body stopped doing it…but i’d already thrown away a shirt and the rest still smelled like it despite washing and would become noticable with a bit of wear. So on the google I found to soak them in vinegar and baking soda and it got it out. I haven’t tried this type of laundry detergent yet, and have been using regular store bought stuff, so it isn’t the laundry detergent not working, it’s just gone deep into the fibers of the garment, but the soaking it in the vinegar and baking soda worked great.

        6. Try soaking the stain in rubbing alcohol for a while before throwing it in the washing machine, that should take care of it. You may have to repeat it if the stain has been dried into the fabric.

    4. I used 20 Mule Team Borax in the “diaper pail” with water 40 years ago. It was perfect for disinfecting, deodorizing and preventing stains in cloth diapers. Disposable diapers were not very good then. My children never had diaper rash while using cloth diapers.

    1. I used to use the fels nappa bar to directly clean my newborn son’s cloth diapers and he never developed any rash or anything, so I would assume that this kind of homemade laundry soap is fine. Good luck!

    2. I’ve used this same recipe, and it works very well. However, I stopped using it because I worry about the possible build-up it might cause in the machine since Fels Naptha is soap. I have a front loader, and it was expensive, so I don’t want to risk anything. But it is dirt cheap and doesn’t suds at all, so it should be just fine reg. the suds factor. If I had an older machine, I would definitely be using it still.

        1. I saw where someone says this detergent is good for cloth diapers, Does that mean it is hypoallergenic and can be used on all of babies clothes, Buying dreft is just so expensive. Look forward to hearing from you

        2. Because of the note on the Fels Naptha Soap, stating you won’t even need fabric softener, I was curious as to whether you have found the need for it. I’m making my own softener, but I’ll totally adopt this detergent if it kills two birds with one stone!

      1. I’ve been using a homemade, soap-based powder detergent in my Maytag front loader for over 5 years. The soap ratio in my detergent is much higher than this liquid form, but we’ve had no problems. I am seriously considering switching to this form. I believe it makes a larger quantity and will incorporate with the clothing better than the dry powder.

      2. I have a worlpool front load washer and have never used anything in it but HE soaps untill I just started making my own soap. felsnaptha,borax,and washing soda have safe for HE on the box. and with the low suds I plan to continue to use my homemade soap. I Love it

      3. I’ve been using this recipe a few months. From the first load it seemed to remove built up deposits from brand name detergents. When I hang towells and rugs to dry they are soft as opposed to the stiff result when washed with store purchased detergent. No more high $ laundry soap for me!

      4. If you are worried run a hot was with a cup of white vinegar and washing soda on its own will clear any build up. Or buy any washing machine cleaner kit and follow the instructions. They are always a hot wash no garments.

        1. Since I started using my homemade laundry soap, I don’t have to clean my front loader anymore. On my sons smelly clothes, I fill the fabic softner dispenser with vinegar. Helps keep the machine clean. I watched the first load while it was washing. Found out had less suds that Tide HE. I find I have to pretreat heavy stains but the price is worth the effort. The clothes even feel cleaner coming out of the wash.

    3. All of my children have Eczema. WHen they went to visit my mother in law for two weeks when they came back they all had broken out to some degree. It was because the laundry detergent she bought was irritating to their skin. The homemade detergent that I made which is this didn’t. I felt vindictaed plus it last me along time. I made it back in August of 2013 and it just ran out in April 2014. I used old laundry containers of various sizes but fillled them half way (1 to 2 cups of detergent) and the rest with water. Works great. I also make the scented laundry crystals(epsom salts and essential oils) or just use vinegar as my fabric softner. It works.

  2. Hi! I've been using this recipe for over 2 years now and have saved a ton of money by doing so. I don't use fels naptha, I just buy any bar soap that is fragrance free (Because of allergies and eczema in our house) and use that. I found this recipe on the Duggars website, lol. We are a family of 7 and the bucket lasts us about 6months. Also, ours is an HE machine and it's not caused any troubles for the machine. HTH~!

    1. We are a family of 8 and it only lasts 3 months here….how do you do it?! lol
      LOVE the recipe….I have altered it a little I add 2 cups of Febreeze to it for a light smell and 1 cup of OxiClean…..LOVE LOVE LOVE the results. Thanks!

      1. Hi, just letting you know that febreeze is nasty stuff…if you want scent, I would suggest getting some pure lavender oil, or any other essential oil smell that you like, and just adding a few drops to your liquid, or getting a cloth bag and filling it with lavender and letting it toss with the clothes in the dryer. :)

  3. I think I have to try this! I have considered it for a while and need to take the plunge. Thank you for the awesome tutorial. As I was reading the Dugger site, I noticed, they said to fill the container 1/2 full, then the other half full with water, when you're filling the small container you will use. Meaning (they said too..) the recipe is for 10 gallons. So even less expensive than mentioned. Kendra, I wouldn't compare it to the free and clear as the fels naptha has a fragrance to it, but free and clear still has a lot of "stuff" just not fragrance…if you do a double rinse, you should be fine.

  4. Have you tried this with color clothes? I didn't know if it would make them fade. Thank you for sharing! I hope to try it once our current supply runs out.

    1. I’ve used this on colored clothes and if anything, they seem brighter than before. Plus you get the feeling your clothes are REALLY CLEAN. I don’t know if it’s just my imagination or what, but that’s how I felt.

    2. You know if you just add vinegar to your wash it will keep your colors good. Vinegar helps set dark colors in especially!!!! I use it as my water softener and in bleach dispenser. I used to put baking soda in the wash too but no need now that I have this laundry detergent.

  5. Just FYI – borax is banned in some countries and not really considered a safe or "green" chemical. I haven't done much research because what I read in the beginning was enough for me to throw out what I had! I know it's been linked to hormone disruption and problems with the male reproductive systen. It's particularly bad for pregnant women, babies, and kids.

    1. Thank you Erin! I wondered how “green” this homemade soap was. I remember my grandma making her own laundry soap and it was definitely NOT green LOL!

      On another note, you said you cannot find good deals on laundry soap? I got the Ultra Purex Naturals laundry soap that’s enviro friendly for 1.49 last week… scored @ 4 bottles at Walgreens. It was on sale for 1.99 with a 50 cent cpn. I am positive you could find great deals on laundry soap. Also, I scored 3 bottles of 7th Gen dish soap at Walmart for 1.00 each… they were on clearance for 2.00 each, then I used 3, 1.00 cpns :) I also scored some Mrs. Meyer’s countertop spray for 2.00 (3.00 on clearance less 1.00 cpn). I know deals can be found for both of those. Milk: I like to use the 1.00 Smart Balance cpns for milk in conjunction to Albertson’s Double coupons you get in the mail- they will double any mfr. cpn up to 1.00. So at my Albies, a 1/2 gallon of Smart Balance milk is 3.29, less 2.00 in cpns = 1.29 for a 1/2 gallon. OR- they always have catalina coupon deals on milk (like buy 4 boxes of cereal, get 1 gallon of milk free). With coupons, you can steal this! I hope this may have helped :D

      1. It seems as though the laundry deals come and go…and there are some weeks where I don’t have as much time to snatch up the good deals with coupons as I would like. :) Thanks for sharing your experience!

    2. If a “natural” product such as borax is said to be so unsafe…it makes you wonder how unsafe the laundry detergent you buy from the store is! From what I’ve read on Borax, the “dangers” you’re referring to is if it is ingested.

      1. You bet!!! :) I LOVE and am addicted to couponing! I really, really like Method’s laundry detergent also… scored some on clearance at Target for 3.98- not the best deal, however, that little bottle seems to last me a LONGGGG time haha :)

        I also read in my Parents or Baby Talk magazine (can’t remember which one it was) this past month that you technically don’t need laundry soap at all… that it’s the water that does all the washing – that all laundry soap does is reduces the friction of the water surface to allow the water to work easier & more efficiently… hmph! Pretty interesting, huh? :)

      1. I helped my 6yr old grandaughter make her first batch of laundry soap. First of all yes I was about 12 inches from her at all times and am teaching her nana’s recipies and we love it. Borax has been around since my grandmother was around had has used it all her life. My mother used it, I use it, my grandaughter is now using it. As far as it being unsafe no, we have generations of use and time always is your best tool to see if it works or not. I have no idea why anyone would outlaw it. Just doesn’t make sence. The laundry soap works great and if someone is not happy go spend your money on what does. Works for me and the generations who have tested it.

        1. I am wondering, everyone says 1-2 tbsp per load or 1/2 cup per load…what do you consider a load? if i want to wash a large load of laundry..is that 1/2 cup liquid or 1 1/2? Please and thank you :) Btw I love Vinegar as my softner and just all around cleaner! Home made everything please! Don’t want all that “some day it too will be found to cause cancer” store bought stuff :)

          1. The 1-2 tbsps is for powder detergent. The 1/2 cup is for the liquid. I make my own powdered, but was reading this out of curiosity about trying a liquid. I use 2 tbsp powder for a full load or a dirty load (like my DD’s cloth diapers) and 1 tbsp for a not-so-full load or just regular stuff. HTH! :)

      2. ha ha Just saying thats worth an LOL post!
        I was thinking when I read that part, that some may see that as a plus!

        Also- You sing it Renee- Cant be too hromally disruptive or reproducing damage or else there would be generations of users to use it. LOL by default there would be no generations.

    3. Tide free has borax in it……not to mention a “laundry” list of other other more questionable ingredients. Borax has been a basic ingredient in detergents for years.

      The EU classification was based on a study of rats that were fed greater than 5.5% concentration over an extended period of time. Last time I checked no one was planning on eating their laundry detergent.

    4. You should not breath in the borax that is where the health issues come in. You should always use care when using it. My Grandmother used this in her wash for years with no problems.

    5. I hate to disagree but isn’t BORAX a mineral and not a chemical????? I’ve not read anything negative on it…..?

      1. By definition, minerals ARE chemicals. There is no way to completely avoid chemicals in life. In fact, we ourselves are made of chemical compounds. It’s important to remember that not all “chemicals” are dangerous, it’s avoiding HARMFUL chemicals that is important.

      2. Yes borax is the mineral boran. Borax is just the branding name for it. Any mineral in large quantities is going to be toxic. I also wouldn’t want to breath in cinnamon, or red pepper, or eat that in large quantities. Oregano essential oil will burn skin, it’s quite caustic. Just know what you are dealing with, even if it is a natural product.

      1. This detergent is safe with septic tanks. It does not harm them considering it has less than half of water is in your regular store bought detergents. This has a lot less chemicals than tide and anything else that you buy in the store. I am on septic and love it. :-) Less build-up in your pipes.

      2. I was told Fels Naptha was not septic safe. It is recommended for septics to use a different soap such as Dr. Bronners.

      3. My husband has worked for years putting in septic systems and said the low suds is a lot better on the system then the store bought soaps.

    1. Thanks, I was looking through the comments to see if anyone had tried halving it. I definitely wouldn’t need 5 gallons of laundry soap.

    2. When halving, did you still grate the whole bar of the fels-naptha? Or did you just literally cut the amount of EACH ingrediant in half?

  6. Wow, I'd love to know where Erin found her info on borax because I've heard nothing but awesome stuff about it! I know it was banned as a food additive, but the 20 mule team borax for laundry and cleaning has been recommended in many different sources as a great all natural cleaner. But that's just what I've heard!

    I do one bar fels-naptha with 1/2 cup borax and 1/2 washing soda as a dry mix to throw into laundry (about 2 tbsp per load). This is much easier for me than cooking it down for a huge bucket of laundry and works great on our colors and our whites!

    1. I have read this on many international websites…Germany has banned it for possible links to birth defects and such. You can’t even buy it, they package and sell a “Borax Alternative”.

      1. In regards to the Borax, it has NOT been banned by the EU just re-classified as possibly causing reproductive harm. I have many issues with this, including, as stated earlier, the large doses given to rats in studies over a prolonged period of time. Also, if you look into the many chemicals in commercial products, many of them contain chemicals that are considered dangerous at much smaller levels than borax. Furthermore, for many years (particularly in Europe!) borax was added as a preservative in caviar. This has been banned for many years in the US and now is banned in the EU, I believe from researching that ingesting borax is where the risks have been identified, and I don’t know about any of you, but I’m not going to be adding borax to my dinner ever! LOL!

        1. go over to crunchybetty.com. she explains the whole borax thing beautifully! in my opinion (after reading her research results) it is safe to use in th laundry soap…just don’t eat it;) i woud be worrying more about the dishwashing detergent you are using!judging by the intense smell of the cascade pouches they pack a whole lot of chemicals in those! btw, i’ve tried everything….i use plain white vinegar in my dishwasher. it works great and saves money.

          1. how much vinegar to you use in your dishwasher and how to you use it? If it works…I am all for not buying all those chemicals. vinegar also works great to get rid of ants! They hate it. You can spray it where they are coming in. If you have the big black ants outside you can pour it around your foundation. It is also a great weed killer on your sidewalk, driveway and in your pebble areas. Just don’t spray it on anything you don’t want to kill! It’s amazing on that stubborn chickweed. Sprayed it and the chick weed died the next day and it never came back!

        2. right!! I think there will always be critics on everything because sometimes people don’t want to look outside that box, but it is for digesting only that causes harm and it never crossed my mind to put it on my Ahi Tuna tonight

        3. I have a vitamin in my bathroom right now, sold in the U.S. that has Boron in it, I thought borax was just the branding name for Boron.

      1. This is the absolute truth. The boric acid is what everyone confuses with borax. Like it is boric acid that you are supposed to put down to kill fleas not borax but even my grandmother swears that it’s the borax but wonders why they never die. lol. I love this detergent and will never go back to store bought detergent. Especially since you can get so many batches just out of the boxes of borax and super washing soda.

  7. I've used both homemade liquid and powder detergents in my HE machine for a couple of years with no problems at all. Like you said, it's hard to worry since they don't sud much at all. I haven't had any problem with fading—it seems to work just like commercial detergents.

  8. I know you said you were kidding, but I wanted to share what WE'VE done for homemade dog food…(I have been making homemade laundry soap for YEARS now).

    If we have a ham, turkey, chicken, etc. I take the carcass, or bits of meat that we wouldn't use and boil it in a large stockpot. Once done, I strain the bones and/or meat out and make rice. Once the rice is done, I will chop bits of meat, potato, carrots in it. We then measure out how much the 3 dogs will need, and put it in ziploc bags. We never give JUST that to them, we use it to supplement with dry food, but it does stretch out the dry food, so we're not buying it as often.

    There are TONS of information out there about homemade dog food, it's worth checking out. Just an FYI for you, if it was something you would be interested in! :-)

    1. just be careful….potatoes due to the starch is not good for dogs due to hard for them to digest and our vet recommended us not use it in our homemade food

      1. Potatoes in general are safe for dogs. So long as they are fully ripe with no green parts on them. If there are any green area you need to make sure to completely remove that section of potato. The green parts of the potato contain solanine which dogs can not properly digest. This is the same reason why people should not eat green or raw potatoes. So just make sure to remove any green areas and fully cook the taters and they are perfectly safe and healthy for your pup.

    1. The powder recipe is probably easier to make, but we have a septic system where powder detergent is discouraged. This liquid recipe is a life saver for us! We love it!

      1. I hadn’t heard that about septic systems. Actually we have a septic system and have never had any trouble. Could be because I only use 1 T of soap per load? I do suggest that you grate the soaps very fine for an HE washer.

        1. I just had to chime in lol If you use powdered laundry detergent and have a septic system. My common sense says powdered laundry detergent turns “liquid” in water does it not? So why would it bother the septic system? I have never heard anything like that before. I have been on a septicc system my whole adult life.

  9. I have been using that exact recipe for over a year.. the difference.. I don't put the borax in it, making it even gentler. I haven't had any major problems with not getting stains out. I have used it in both HE style and regular styles as we have moved, and have different appliances now. Its worked well in both types of machines. I have used it for both of my children (now 2 (and almost a half) years and 11 months. I haven't had trouble with either one breaking out and my 11 month old is fairly sensitive.

  10. Where DID you find the Washing Soda? I ended up buying soda ash from a pool supply store because I couldn't find the Washing Soda.

      1. All 3 ingredients on the shelf at Walmart side by side…they must have had lots of requests for those 3 items!

        1. Don’t know where you are located, but I am in Southern Illinois and all ingredients were in the Wal-Mart here.

    1. FYI. Washing soda is sodium carbonate. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. You can take baking soda and bake it in the over at 400 degrees for 45 min to make Washing soda (sodium carbonate) I have to do this while I’m here in Germany. I found this online.

      1. I do this all the time. It works great! It’s cheap and I don’t spend forever trying to find washing soda in the few stores available in my tiny town!

  11. I have been using this recipe for 2 years now and love it. I recently began using "Zote" soap (found in mexican grocery stores) instead of the Fels Naptha as it seems to keep our whites whiter. But you can substitute almost any bar soap to your preference.

    For those that asked about cloth diapers. We cloth diaper and use this with all of our diapers (pre-folds, covers, and AIOs) and it works wonderfully! Better than my Mom's fancy free and clear detergent and just as well as our Tide used to.

  12. my husband and I have been using this laundry soap for awhile now as well (maybe about a year?!)… and we haven't found any complaints! I didn't want to make a huge batch, so we mixed the ingredients and left them in their powdered form, each time we do laundry we mix 2 TBSP of the powdered combination with one regular sized mason jar full of water and shake, then pour it into our washing machine… we do our laundry on a seminary campus in the laundry room using front loader machines… I've also found a plain Fels Naptha bar of soap to be the BEST baby stain remover, I just wet the stained spot and rub the Fels Naptha bar directly over it and it has worked like a charm every time (even if I'm not able to do it right away and the stain has been sitting for awhile)

    1. I do the same Thing!! after I start a load I just refill the jar and shake, shake, shake. Set it down and when I start the next shake a lil more and then use it.
      lol I have been told I over shake BUT Im getting an arm work out at the same time ;-)

  13. I found the washing soda in the laundry aisle of my local grocery store, right next to the OxiClean. If you can't find it in the store, you can always buy in on Amazon (though it is more expensive).

  14. I find my washing soda at our grocery store.
    Laurapeery – I never thought to use my Fels Naptha that I buy for this to use as a stain remover! I generally use Folex or OxiClean, but if I could get away without buying either of those (except maybe the folex which is incredibly useful on food stains on our couch and carpet) that would be great!

  15. I love this too! I started using this recipe simply because I was tired of buying laundry soap every time I turned around! I found washing soda at Ace Hardware and she said she would order Fels Naptha for me but I used Ivory for my first couple of trials. I might try Fels Naptha next time.

  16. i have made some but have yet to run out of name brand so i haven't tried it yet, but i am excited too!!! My mom and I split the 5 gallon bucket and she has used it and thinks it great too

  17. I have the LG HE washer and dryer set. Every appliance sales person and repair person has warned me not to use liquid detergent in an HE washer. We ended up with a very smelly situation as the chemicals in the liquid soaps gunked up and rotted – incorporating the stench in every single load of laundry. When we started using powdered detergent – the stench left and the washer works amazingly better! I will try this since some others have recommended making a powdered detergent.

    I really think dishwasher detergent is extremely expensive – thanks to those that linked up to make your own – I will check in to it!

    Thanks for all you post here!

    1. Our front loader has a latch that keeps the door open when not in use. If the door is closed it is sealed and it can’t dry so it mildews. We also follow the cleaning cycle recommendations and have had no odor probles at all and have used nothing but liquid detergents. Not sure how the liquid detergent would be any different than powder which turns into liquid when it is mixed with water….

  18. Jacquelyn,

    I have used only liquid HE detergent in my HE machine that we've had for almost three years. I was having the opposite problem…the powdered detergent was so gunky.

    I made the Homemade dishwasher detergent and used it for a couple weeks and I really DON'T like it. I finally stopped using it because it left a brown residue on my dishes after a week or two.

  19. Wow! Ok – after posting your pictures you have made me a believer! I think Ill try making this this weekend and test it out. I also am a Tide user (and have been for years) but, if it works well and saves me $$ Im willing to put the time and effort into it!! Thanks for sharing :)

  20. I have started making my own laundry detergent also! I make the power kind though and it costs me about .2/per load! Love it and will never go back to commercial detergent!

  21. Another tidbit I found is using Ivory soap. Its cheaper than the Fels Naptha and works just as well. In the summer for added stain fighting power because I have boys and well ya know how that goes when playing outside, I have added the oxyclean powder (about a cup) while the mixture is still hot and it works fantastic!! Just like the detergents that have stain fighting power.

  22. Awesome! I want to make some too, I saw zote soap the other day at the store, but didn't know if I could use that instead. My liquid soap is almost gone and I was hoping to start making my own.

    For those wondering about cloth diaper soap, here is a link to another "recipe", it is slightly different.


    the laundry soap is similar too, but it is a dry mix and she makes A LOT at a time


  23. I never really worry about detergent since we only need to buy it once or twice a month for our family of 4. Both of our kids are pre-K. The bottle we buy only cots $5 for 32 loads. I will keep this in mind though. It sounds cool, but a big bucket would last us 6 monts or more. Doesn't the tap water in it make it go bad eventually because it is standing water?

  24. Everyone seems to give it good reviews. I made it and used it for awhile. First of all, my clothes got dingy. I noticed I could still smell my deoderant on the armpits of my t-shirts. I wonder what I did wrong?
    I thought of making another batch and adding oxyclean to it to make it work better. But I'm skeptical b/c clothes are very costly and good detergent seems like a good investment. Actually, I have previously used Tide and Gain but have recently found Purex to work great! I bought Purex Naturals, 100 washes for 7 dollars. I also had a coupon for Purex Complete with Zout. That made it 4 dollars for 46 loads. Then another friend of mine said since she didn't care for the cleaning power of just the homemade soap, she began to add Tide to it too boost it's power and really likes it now.
    I wonder that since Tide and other commercial detergents have agents in them to keep dirt from redepositing on the clothes, what is in the homemade detergent to keep it from doing this?

    1. Tide contains high levels of the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane in the detergent.

      1,4-dioxane doesn’t appear on the product label or on the product website, so consumers have no way of knowing it is there.

      Even worse, Tide Free & Gentle® is marketed to moms as a healthier choice for their children’s laundry. Infants and children (especially under the age of 6) are much more vulnerable to chemical exposures, because their immune, neurological, and hormone systems are still developing.

      1,4-dioxane is a known cancer-causing chemical, and has been linked in animal studies to increased risk of breast cancer.

      There are several reasons people choose homemade laundry detergent and for me it is about simplifying ingredients and eliminating chemicals and harmful ingredients found in SO MANY things we use daily.

    2. I’ve sat here and read all the replies, down to yours lol and I had to comment. We were Cheer users then we all used Dreft when my son was breaking out to everything then we wanted a changed and went to Arm&Hammer (which worked just fine) and then we wanted to try something different so we went to Purex and we love it! I’m still skeptical about the homemade detergent cause I have no room to store so much and I don’t want to make so much at once. I’m still debating on trying this. I can find Purex coupons, Tide coupons and now n then Arm&Hammer coupons. I’m tempted TO make this because I’m a single mom and watching my pennies on everything.

  25. Wow! What an awesome post!! I just visited another blog who made their own laundry detergent. Your post was a great tutorial and VERY convincing!! Thanks

  26. I did what Curly T did…..used it as a dry soap as it was easier for me as well. I stopped using it a while back but I need to make another batch and start using it again!

  27. our target has the washing soda and the borax – i found the fels naptha at our local grocery store

  28. I make the dry laundry detergent asl well. It's much easier and quicker to make. I also use a old food processor it mixes it all up really well! (you don't need to use the processor for food too) Only have to use 2 Tablespoons for a normal load and 3 for a heavy load! I just love to make my own. Makes me feel creative!…lol…Thanks for your version though. Like all the step by step pictures you use. :) Hope you have a wonderful day. I may follow your blog. I sure am enjoying it!

  29. I use this as well and love it! I was having trouble with my whites – so I added a box of baking soda to the mixture as it softens the water and allows for whiter whites! I love this – combined with hydrogen peroxide in with my whites (instead of bleach), I have great success!

  30. To the woman who added oxyclean to the soap bucket,
    Oxyclean creates a smell of Hydrogen peroxide when you put it in the laundry water. I used to use Hydrogen peroxide on protein stains on clothing til I started buying Oxyclean.
    Hydrogen peroxide looses it's extra oxogen molecule as it ages, with exposure to air (read a peroxide bottle sometime when you're in the store.

    If you add Oxyclean to the water when you're making this washing liquid, I'm afraid the value will be evaporated before you can use it. add it to the wash water, not the soap bucket.

  31. I also make my own dry detergent & love it. Our clothes are just as clean or cleaner using this detergent. I did make a batch & keep track of how much it cost/how many loads I got out of it and my savings wasn't as much as I hoped but it's still less than Tide. I hate buying a small (smaller and smaller all the time) bottle for $10 at a time!

  32. I make the my homemade detergent by throwing in one box of washing soda, one box of borax, one box of baking soda, one tub of sun oxygen cleaner, and two grated bars of either fels naptha or zote. I do not premix it with water, I add 2 TBS per load to my top load washer. My sensitive skined little ones and I have never broken out and the laundry doesn't get the stinkies if it sits a day like it used to when I used Arm and Hammer Naturals.

    1. I made your recipe last night without the borax (no, nothing against borax, grocery store was sold out) and I LOVE it!! I have a top-loader and I added the powder in before I loaded the clothes until it was about 1/4 full. I wash in cold and it seemed to disolve ok- no clumps left anyway! Thanks for the recipe- I really didn’t want to have to pull out buckets and tools to make detergent. I need nice and easy to make to be motivated. I am new to this homemade world and I think I am going to LOVE it!! Who knew chemistry could be fun?? :-)

  33. We too have gone to homemade laundry detergent, but I have opted for the powder version (I think someone listed the directions for it above). I just wanted to add that we make 2 versions. I use the Fels Naptha for our general load and the Zote for all of our delicates. We absolutely love the smell of both of these detergents. We too have an HE washer and I actually switched partly because it keeps my washer from getting as much build up and developing that gross moldey ring. And because we have all but quit using fabric softner (you won't need it when you switch to these! I only use it now when I have to rewash a load we forget about and I want to make sure I cover up the mildew smell…but it's all about aroma now.) it saves even more money and the gunk builds up even less in our machine.

  34. I have an LG Tromm washer and I use something similar with no issues. I, like another poster, do not use the Fels Naptha due to the fact that it at the time I began making my own soap it still contained Stoddard solvent. I use a bar of Ivory soap since I can usually find a coupon for it and get a 3 pack of Ivory for the cost of one bar of Fels Naptha anyhow. :)

  35. I have been making this recipe for a few years as well, and last month heard a tip that has made my life so much easier! If you chop up the Fels Naptha and put it in your food processor, it takes so much less time than grating with a cheese grater. Wish I had known about that earlier.

      1. Hey Jenae

        You seem to keep an update on this site. And that’s very helpful! I had a question about gelling up the soap. The batch I made doesn’t seem to. It bothers me a little bit. Is there any way I could alter it? Or is the whole batch a waste of time?

    1. This wasn’t what I did, though. I didn’t want ALL of the soap to have a scent, so I just added a few drops when I put it into my gallon container.

      1. I agree, I would add about 3-4 drops per gallon bottle, so you can experiment with what scents you like best :) That way if you didn’t particularly care for a scent after mixing it, you wouldn’t be stuck using it in your laundry FOREVER or throwing it away.

        1. Where do you get the Essestial Oil? What I found at WalMart was more for scented oil warmers. I got a small bottle and added quite a bit to a gallon of soap. While it smelled good in the bottle there was no scent on my clothes. The soap itself smells like the FelsNaptha but again no scent on the clothes. I like a little bit of a clean laundry smell so figure I got the wrong kind of oil.

    2. Dr.Bronner’s castile soaps are already scented with essential oils. This is a great way to get a great scent in your laundry and without having to mess with the oils yourself. That’s what I do and I love it!

  36. Loved your idea here! I must try this immediately, sooooo tired of spending on all the soaps out there. Plus it seems a little less chemical filled. Big plus there!

  37. Just an FYI….I’ve been using this for several months and love the money it saves my family. I melt Downy Unstoppables in and it smells amazing! About 2 cups per every new batch:)

  38. I actually JUST bought the ingredients this evening (prior to reading this post!) I’m actually really excited to give it a try and have heard really good results so far from friends using the recipe (my recipe also includes baking soda)
    My next want…is a recipe for stain remover!!! I am a shout junkie (and HATE spending money on that purchase!)

  39. I’ve been using it in my HE machine for quite awhile and there have been no problems. I also fill my softener compartment with vinegar each time; I read that it will help keep the machine clean.

    In fact, since I wash almost everything in hot water, I just grate up the soap, add the borax and soda, and mix it all up. Then I just add a scoop to each load. I have made the liquid as well and they both work just fine.

    I tried adding essential oil once and I couldn’t smell a thing on my clothes. I think you would have to add a lot! Also I have tried adding it to my vinegar, but I often find oily stains on my next batch of clothes.

    I like your test. I have never used name-brand soap and I always wondered how homemade would stand up.

    1. And I was able to find the Borax, Washing Soda, and Fels-Naptha all at our Wal-Mart in the laundry aisle. The soap was $.97 and the Borax and Washing Soda were both a little over $3 a piece.

  40. Great!
    Just an idea: the easyest way to get the stain out completely is to leave the tshirt in the sun for drying.

  41. Use regular distilled vinegar in “fabric softener” spout or downy ball to rinse clothes, machine & pipes of soap residue. Also acts as a natural fabric softener & softness is especially noticeable for line/sun dried items. Won’t be crunchy. Leaves no vinegar smell once completely dry!!

    I luv homemade laundry soap! Cleans perfect, doesn’t fade darks & light on the budget!! We use the dry version & put 2T into hottest water in laundry bin. 1/4 full of water then start adding clothes.

  42. I am confused as to why water is added and the mixing. Why not simply use it as a dry detergent and mix the soda, borax and shredded soap together and use a tablespoon for each load? Would that work?

    1. My only issue with dry detergent is I only wash in cold water (too cheap for anything else! LOL) and dry detergent doesn’t dissolve as well in cold.

      1. I agree. Powder works great for some but I find that with my older machine it does NOT handle powder as well, especially in cold water so just to play it safe I use the liquid. Also if you are doing powder I think it would be a good idea to grate the soap very finely, unlike they do for the liquid soap recipe. Since you are not doing all the mixing of the liquids, it only adds a little extra work whereas the liquid mixing adds kind of a lot.

      2. I start filling my washing machine with hot water and put in my powder detergent (homemade) and stir it up with a paint stick then switch the water to cold. I’ve never had a problem.

  43. Love, love, love that you posted this!!! My mixture is sleeping for the night right now!! Mixed mine in a 5 gallon “Gatorade” cooler with a spout so I won’t have to use a funnel…just push the button to fill my containers! Thanks for this!!!!!

  44. Could you use home made bars of soap instead of buying the Fels Naptha Soap? I am looking into starting to make my own soap from fats and lye. Just curious. Thanks.

  45. The recipe I use for dishwasher detergent is 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda and 4 packets of kool-aid lemonade (it contains the citric acid and gives a nice lemony smell.) Mix all ingredients and store in a jar.

  46. I made this yesterday and it sat in the basement in my 5 gallon bucket covered overnight. I just checked on it and it didn’t really thicken or gel. It’s still watery. I’m wondering if this is normal or what I should do? I don’t want to put it into containers with half water and make it even more watery.

    1. You might wait until a full 24 hours has passed. When I have made it, only the top inch thickens and the rest is still pretty watery. That’s why you’ll want to make sure you mix it really well. :)

      1. I had the same problem and I mixed it with a drill and paint paddle. Wondering what to do next. I read that the Borax is the gelling agent but how do I add a powder to cold mixture and get it to dissolve?

      2. I have the same problem. Mine won’t gel and it’s been 48 hours. The soap comes to the top and the liquid is in the bottom. Do I try mixing it again or throw it away?????

  47. You can also leave the recipe as powdered! Also, fels naptha is a highly abrasive detergent soap. If you’re looking for something more natural, use an olive oil based soap instead!

    1. I should have given a name of a soap – try Kirk’s Castille soap, it’s cheap and you can get it at many drugstores (p.s. I found your site on pinterest!)

  48. I have made this very same recipe for years. I wanted to add if you have allergies you can use 1 bar of ivory soap vs the one third of fels naptha. Also look at your local thrift stores and second hand stores and flea markets I have bought fels naptha for as low as .10 a bar at those stores!!! Also not sure if I am aloud to name companies that sell in bulk but I bought the washing soda online in bulk because it was cheaper but also because they do not sell it in our area and I paid a fraction of the cost and have enough to last me years and if it gets hard it is really easy to break it up. I love sites like this!!! Thanks for sharing!! Lee

  49. Our local wal-mart recenlty started selling both fels-naptha and the super washing soda due to so many people making their own laundry detergent.

  50. To find Washing Soda you can contact Arm & Hammer. When I first made this recipe several years ago they told me what stores carried Washing Soda in my local area.

  51. I have made this detergent for 5 years. My question is why not use half as much concentrate per load and skip the dilution step.

    1. Has anyone answered this Q? I also don’t understand why it is diluted? Especially for an HE?
      Haven’t tried the recipes for this very reason.

  52. I’ve been making this detergent for over a year and I LOVE it. For those intimidated by the process, DON’T BE! It is so easy to make, and you’ll save so much money! I have a front-loader and this works beautifully. I have also replaced my commercial fabric softener with vinegar, so now my clothes are completely chemical and scent free. I line dry 3/4 of the year, and my clothes are softer coming off the line than they ever were using brand name detergents and softeners.
    I too, tried making homemade dishwasher detergent but did not like it at all. It left a chalky white film on all of my glassware.
    *We don’t have Fels-Naptha in Canada as far as I know, so I use Ivory bar soap.

    1. Did you try the Lemi Shine? It helps break down hard water deposits and prevents the spots and film. I found it in the cleaning isle at the grocery store.

  53. I’ve made a powdered laundry detergent with fels naptha, washing soda and borax and used it in my HE washer (also an LG front loader) and have not had any problems at all. Matter of fact, the homemade laundry detergent has cut down on that “smell” that front loaders can get, even. I call it a WIN!

  54. I am very interested in trying this! I am very curious, however, if anyone has also added un-iodized salt to the mixture? It supposedly removes B.O. smell along with killing off fungus (like yeasts). I have not tried it but my mom says she uses it with her regular detergent and loves what it does for her. I’m considering adding it, but wanted to see first if anyone else does it and what the results are.

  55. I think this sounds like a great idea- but I researched each ingredient and was disturbed to see that Borax is actually quite toxic and not recommended for use around children. I’m wondering what would happen to this recipe if I just left it out?

  56. I’ve been making and using home made laundry soap for a long time and wanted to add another easy, DIY laundry tip. (I apologize if someone else has posted this already, I haven’t had time to read all the comments!) Rather than using fabric softener, try plain white vinegar. Use just as you would fabric softener, 1/4 to 1/2 cup per load. Not only does it leave your clothes feeling soft and smelling fresh (yes, the scent disappears while the clothes dry-I PROMISE!) but it also helps remove the soap residue in your washing machine!

    1. I use vinegar for my kitchen and bath towels. After they’ve been sitting in the laundry basket for awhile, they get pretty stinky! It works like a charm! And I never use fabric softener, mostly out of cheapness, but I’ve recently learned that dryer sheets are bad for your dryer – they can cause a build-up of gunk in places it shouldn’t be and potentially cause a fire. And I don’t miss it one iota!

  57. Hi — just an FYI, best I can tell borax is banned in cosmetics (includes lotions etc) and as a food additive. It is a naturally occurring mineral that is not harmful to the environment and there’s no evidence that it bio-accumulates. I was a little surprised to see it’s a common ingredient in eye drops! See, http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/705996/SODIUM_BORATE/

    All of these ingredients can be found online at drugstore.com

    Thanks for the awesome tutorial, I’m going to try this as soon as I have all the ingredients except I’m going to try switching to a Castile soap.

    1. Natalie, thanks for the website with Borax information. I noted it’s not safe for products that will touch infants skin. I’m still hesitant to use this as a family detergent…… I wonder what a safe replacement is?

      1. I saw in an earlier post to omit the borax, she said she’s been doing it for a long time and it works great for them.

  58. I learned recently, that a lot of big grocery stores, store brand products have committed to going hormone and additive free, although their products may not be labeled “organic”. You should check with your grocery store manager and ask about this, it would mean that the store brand milk will be just as wonderful as organic!

  59. Im going to be brave and try this with a friend this weekend, does it make a difference if you omit the borax and what happens if you dont use a lid?

    1. I’m not sure it will work very well if you omit the Borax…but you can certainly try and let us know! Also, if you don’t have a lid, try putting some plastic wrap tightly over the top. You’ll want it to be sealed well.

  60. I found a recipe for homemade laundry soap about a year ago and love it. Its just 1 bar fels napa grated (which makes about 2 cups) 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing powder. i just put about a teaspoon scoop in and it works great in my HE washer.

  61. I used this recipe about 2 weeks ago to make a batch of detergent. I let it sit overnight and then added the rest with water and stirred. It still settles though. Each time I use it I have to shake my container to get the mixture to mix. The bottom is a clearish yellow liquid. The middle is white flubberish. And the top is just foam. Do you know what I did wrong?

    1. Hmmm…not sure. Did you mix it up really well prior to letting it sit overnight.

      I still shake mine every time I use it too…just to be safe. :)

    2. I used boiling water for dilution water. It is a royal pain to boil that much water but to me it’s worth it. It dissolves the clumps so it will bind better. Also, this ups the cost just a tad, but I used the original 2 1/2 gallons of water, boiled, then added 1 container of Arm & Hammer store bought detergent and one more gallon of water. I used the 72 oz liquid free & clear. It was 5.99 for two of them, so about 3.00 for one recipe. To me it’s worth it because I have laundry soap that has no lumps or chunks and doesn’t need shaking. It also helps to convince family members that yes, it’s REAL detergent. Not just a crazy messy concoction. I did this because someone pointed out to me that homemade soap separates and store bought doesn’t because it has things added to it to make it that way. So I tried mixing it and it works to bind it. Also: before switching to a different type of detergent I used the arm and hammer free and clear and in my opinion it does not work well at all. So it doesn’t add to the cleaning power of the mixture, but it’s plenty powerful on it’s own. Also, I have NO clue whether or not my detergent would stay bound together without the soap or not. It could be using the boiling water and store bought detergent, or boiling the water alone that did it. I’m going to experiment next time I need more soap. Note: DON’T pour boiling water into your milk jugs or old laundry soap containers. Also, make sure whatever bucket you’re using can handle that kind of heat. I know my can, and if you bought one at the hardware store, it should say on the label. Just a warning, since I suggested it I don’t want anyone to get burned by melted plastic. Happy homemaking! :)

  62. This is pretty cool. Would make awesome gifts for those who you just never know what to get them. Throw in a iron cover for the dryer and it is unique and useable things which took a little love to boot. Thanks so much. Happy new year!

  63. Dear Concerned Readers;
    My Mother, Grandmother and Aunts all used Borax in their laundry. My Mother had 9 children, my Grandmother had 13…need I say more. And, by-the-way…we are all “normal” (whatever that is). There is too much emphasis on everything being “harmful”. If we worried about all that stuff we would never get out of bed in the morning. I am so anxious to try the BORAX based laundry detergent. Thanks for the recipe. (Have you tried maybe adding the new fabric softener crystals?

  64. I am wanting to add a scent to this…but I don’t know how much and when to add it..can someone help on that please. And another thing I always heard vinegar and soda makes suds is that safe for an HE cause I like the idea of getting that smell off my towels

    1. Kathy,

      I made the powdered detergent yesterday (FIRST TIME), tweaking it a bit, ….I used the borax—1 box, washing soda—(1 box), regular baking soda—4 small boxes, 1 container of generic oxy clean….3 bars ivory soap (grated) I then added 1 container of the new Downey scent booster (its in the fabric softner section)…I purchased the purple bottle (lavendar scented)…..it made my recipe smell nice and i LOVE the outcome of my wash!!!…am so thrilled to find a cheap alternative. I researched some of the zote bars and others and didn’t like what I found, and I also found various recipes..i compiled a bit of my own with what I found to be a common recipe…works awesome!–(i have a H.E. Washer also.)

    2. You can use essential oil too. A bottle at a health food store is around $7, and you would only need to use a few drops. The possibilities with the scents are endless!

  65. I make a homemade laundry detergent also but its not liquid, its powder. Its really very easy!
    1 cup A&H super washing soda
    1 cup baking soda
    1 cup vinegar
    1/4 liquid soap (I use Dr. Bronners – which you can find at publix) also, I buy the bar soap and melt it down in boiling water and measure out 1/4 cup at a time.
    *mix your dry ingredients together and mix your wet ingredients together (the soap and vinegar will kind of curdle when the soap is poured into it.)
    Add the wet to the dry SLOWLY while stirring quickly. As a paste forms keep stirring until you can’t stir anymore and pout the crumbly mixture onto a baking sheet. let it dry for a day or so and then sift it!
    Also, since its made from natural ingredients it is very green (no borax!)
    It works great on cloth diapers and is completely safe in front loaders (since it doesn’t sud up)
    And also, if you want it scented buy a scented natural soap!!! Dr. Bronners is available in some pretty yummy smelling scents!

    1. Jocelyn- thanks for posting your recipe … I’m going to give it a try. But how much do you use for a full load? Thanks!

  66. i made this same laundry detergent, only I make it in the powdered form. Almost the same recipe, just a bar of Fels-Naptha, 1 cup Borax and 1 cup Arm and Hammer. It’s 1 tablespoon a load, works great in HE washers and takes up so much less room. I have it in a little tupperware, have been using it for 7+ loads of laundry a week for a month and have barely made a dent in the detergent.

  67. I had the same problem as someone above…after the overnight wait it didn’t gel. I have hard water and thought maybe that was the issue? Also I used hot water for the remaining 2.5 gal after everything was mixed. Should it have been cold? The ‘soap’ part was like a cloud ball at the bottom and all of the water was on top. Didn’t know if someone had any pointers! Thanks, looking forward to trying this out, even if it is messed up!

  68. I make mine almost this way, but I would love to know where you can get the material this cheap! I can’t find borax or washing soda for less than $4 a box. Are you buying in large bulks or something?

    1. Hy Vee grocery store had the Borax for $4.74, Arm & Hammer for $2.98 and the Fels Naptha for $1.18. I’m sure some of this would have been cheaper but I didn’t want to drive to Walmart.

      1. Walmart has the washing soda for 3.24..the Borax for 3.38 and the Fels Naptha bar for .97. They also carry the 4lb box off baking soda (used in some other “recipes”)..ALL in the laundry aisle!

  69. I am a big fan of my clothes smelling great when they come out of the dryer. How does this recipe measure up fragrance-wise? I saw the essential oil add-in but what experience can anyone share…

  70. Do the research…HUMANS are the only mammal that continue to drink milk past the ‘weaning’ stage…!!!! I can understand the 3 cups for children or 2 for adult for nutritional purposes ….but to use it like a beverage makes NO SENSE!!!!

  71. I have never made this laundry soap but i am gonna try this. I plan to use pioneer soap that a lady i know makes. It is all natural and she uses essential oils. Do you think that soap will be ok? I am also planning tol make a stain remover. Does anyone know of a good recipe for stain remover? Thank you.

    1. I would test it on a fabric that is not your favorite shirt for color fastness. Just take the piece of clothing and “hand wash” it using only the pioneer soap. You will know shortly whether or not it will cause the colors to run. I wouldn’t put any soap in my washer without testing it first. I would hate to ruin everything in that load! That would be my only concern, other than that it should work fine :)

  72. Jenae, love your site!

    To all concerned about this liquid recipe regarding cold water washing, sensitive infant skin, using a more “homemade” soap, adding scent, and septic safety…

    I am a mother of 4; I have been using this liquid recipe for 4 years now and both of my youngest have had no issues with clothes/bedding/cloth diapers being washed since day one. My kids have allergies to milk protiens, which leaves them with very sensitive skin prone to exema if they ingest a product with milk protien. The Fels Naptha has been proven safe for even my sensitive-skinned children.

    We wash in cold water, with the exception of cloth diapers as you need to kill the bacteria. Oh, yes, and the occasional tummy bug. Our regular clothes come out just as clean as if we wash on warm.

    My mother has a septic system and has been using this liquid recipe for 4 years with no issues.

    I have used a more “homemade” soap with this recipe. I wanted the stain power of the Fels Naptha, but after finding some lavender oatmeal Vermont Soap Company soap, I thought I’d try it. I used half of a Fels Naptha bar and the equivalent of the other half of the bar with the lavender soap and ended up with an amazing scented laundry wash that I didn’t have to use a ton of essential oil in. Bonus: sensitive skin still in tact with no flare ups! Clothes still clean in cold water!

    Yes, with my kids that love dark juice and ketchup, I spray n wash the stained stuff, but everyday dirt or stuck on cereal goo is no match for this soap. Go make some today!

  73. Oh, almost forgot! The homemade dishwasher detergent:

    Use citric acid in your dry mix. Find it in bulk at your local co-op or natural food store (it is used for canning and jelly making to preserve color). Yes, it will make your dry mix clumpy, but if you store in a gallon ziploc bag, it is easy to crumble before putting in your dishwasher. It keeps your dishes from getting cloudy film on them. Also, try putting white vinegar in your jet dry spout…works just as well in the dishwasher as the clothes washer.

  74. I just made this last night and used it for the first time about an hour ago on my cloth diapers. They came out smelling excellent! Just like the lavender oil I used for fragrance. Question, does your detergent come out more watery than a traditional liquid detergent like Tide? That is the only major difference I see is that the consistency is different.

    Thanks for the help!

    Allison Mack
    Austin Moms Blog

  75. I use this recipe, only without diluting it in the final step. I just fill my bottles completely full, without adding any water. This way, it makes just 5 gallons instead of 10, much easier for storage. You use less, so you get as many loads of laundry as the diluted formula At that strength, the recipe I use recommends 1/4 cup for a top loader, and 1/8 cup for a front loader.
    Winco grocery carries all the ingredients in my area.

  76. My sister in law makes this very laundry soap from ‘The Duggars’ site. She loves it and says it works really good!

  77. I use this recipe for my laundry detergent but i use Dove soap instead of fars naptha as a personal preference. I used this soap to clean my carpet with since it did such a fantastic job on my clothes. My carpet has never been so clean. Looks better than brand new!!

  78. I have been using this recipe for a few years now. Great my clothes are always clean. Make sure to follow the jug fill half way, then add in as much water. Otherwise its globby, need to shake it alot. Happy Soap Making !

  79. Found this via Pinterest! Thanks for all the tips and input. Have my soap already grated and ready to go. Just waiting on my husband to come home from work with a drill so we can use a paint stirrer and he can “help” (his idea!! Lol)

  80. To treat that stain that neither laundry product removed, keep a bar of the Fels Naptha on hand to use on such stains. The bar wrapper has instructions on how to use as a stain treatment. I have used this on VERY old stains and was SO impressed with the results, I went through all our clothes, dish cloths, dish towels, etc. and removed almost every stain in my house. Try it … you will LOVE it, I’m sure.

    I also came up with my own solution and grated and dissolved a bar of Fels Naptha as if I were going to make the laundry soap but added water, put in in a plastic container and applied it to stains that way. Think I’m going to thin some down enough to spritz through a spray bottle (like Shout It Out) and see if I’m successful. Either way, it can’t be beaten. Don’t know how people with small children can do without it.

  81. Ok…so my 5 gallon bucket was more than just a little thick and gelled. It was completely gelled and lumpy when I started to stir it. Did I do something wrong? I added all the correct amount of ingredients and followed the instructions. I don’t know….

    1. Can you stir it? If so, it should be fine. I think the hardness of your water might have a lot to do with how thick it gets. But if you’re able to stir it, it should be just fine, especially since you’ll be diluting it with more water. :)

  82. Hi so i tried this last night and for some reason the mixture didnt gel i followed everything you said is there a way to fix this??? help i have a 5 gallon bucket full of soapy water !!!

  83. My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to looking into your web page again.

  84. This is the RIGHT recipe. We have been using it for a long time. We have HE machine by LG no problems at all.

    We only use 1/4 cup a load, unless it is a big load or heavily soiled then add more.

    Alot of recipes call for all these ingredients but skip the last diluting process in the the containers you pour them into. Therefore, they are still getting a savings, but not like this, and I would imagine that the buildup would be more.

    What I have been told and what some might try is that you might want to use a soap made from Plant/vegetable fat like Kirks Castille or Dr. Bonner’s because the vegetable/plant fat is more water solulbe and break ups easier than the Fells Naptha or the Zote soap. This might be better for the HE machines. Just make sure they don’t have a lot of dye or perfume in the castille soaps you use.

    For softener:
    Use White Distilled Vinegar in the rinse cycle. This does NOT leave your clothes smelling like vinegar. It will rinse out, soften your clothes and it also kills germs almost as good as bleach. You can actually use vinegar in larger amounts to clean your machines with. :) Vinegar has been proven to kill staph, strep, ecoli and samonella.
    Thanks for sharing the right recipe. :)

  85. I’m so happy to find a LIQUID homemade laundry detergent recipe! I’d been wanting to make my own laundry detergent but all the recipes I’d found were for dry detergent which doesn’t work as well in my front-loading machine.
    I followed this recipe, however, I made it more concentrated (I only added enough water to make 96 oz or 3 quarts) so that every 1/4 cup liquid detergent contains about 1 Tablespoon of dry ingredients, which is what the dry version of this recipe instructs to use per load.
    I’m no math wizard, but if using the amount of dry ingredients indicated in Steps 1 & 4 (1 bar soap, 1 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup borax), it comes to about 3 cups or 48 Tablespoons of dry ingredients and adding enough water to this to make 10 gallons would mean not even 2% of a Tablespoon per load. Maybe I was supposed to use the whole box of washing soda & borax, but then in that case the recipe should call for a lot more of the bar soap, like 8 bars.
    Maybe I’m wrong. Anyone want to check my math?

  86. This sounds really great! I am on septic and was wondering how this might affect it. I have 7 children, 3 have moved out to make their own way, but we are very active and tend to do a lot of laundry…up to 3 loads a day, depending on what sport season we are in. We just spent over $9,000 on upgrading our septic system so I surely do not want to do anything to damage it.

    Thanks a bunch, Virginia

  87. Hi, I’m planning to make this liquid detergent. My question is I couldn’t find the bar of soap that the recipe calls for ( I live in Nova Scotia, Canada) so I bought sunlight bar laundry soap….has anyone experimented with soaps other than the one indicated in the recipe? Thanks!

    1. Yes I have. Didn’t have the bar of soap it said to have in the recipie so I used Dial. Next Lever2000. Im just expermenting what works best. I really don’t think it makes a difference. If anyone out there has tried the Fels Naptha and compared it to other bar soap and if it makes a hugh difference please let me know. I think I will use Oxyclean also. Your thoughts any one?

  88. also, I remember reading somewhere that if you add regular laundry detergent to your homemade stuff it doesn’t clump, does anyone else do this? if so how much do you add to it?

    1. Hmmm…I don’t really know what to tell you. It didn’t thicken at all? I would say it will still be fine to use, you’ll just want to make sure to shake it a bunch before using it.

  89. WOW. Just had a friend make this and man does it save money. For me it is 1 cent a load. I am heading to Walmart to pick up the ingredients.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  90. I have a question before trying to make my own laundry detergent. I wash my clothes in cold water most of the time. Will homemade laundry detergent work in cold water or do you need to use warm or hot water instead.

  91. My Grandaughter and I made a batch of soap according to the instructions. I am wondering if it would be okay to separate the initial batch into two separate 5 gallon buckets and then add the water to each bucket. I could keep the 5 gallon containers as storage and use right out of the bucket, or at least I could just fill any container with the soap already mixed.

  92. I have pinned you on Pinterest (along with many others) but I would like to get your ok on it. Cool site & great info. Thanks!


  93. All of the prices listed are 1/4 – 1/2 the price of the listed costs. Although I have used a similar recipe, it is not as good as the top liquid brands, nor is anywhere near as cheap to make.

    I bought Washing Soda for $11 (average container), Sunlight soap 2 small bars for $3, and Borax for $14 and I use 1/4- 1/2 cup plus pretreat for our laundry. I will actually have to check how many loads it actually does – but the tablespoon does nothing to wash our clothes clean – in a front load good washer!

    I am all for saving money – but the products have to work.

    1. Wow! At those prices, I would say it isn’t worth it either! I bought all of my supplies at Walmart and our local grocery store for the prices listed. I’m not sure where you got yours, but it sounds like you spent way too much.

      1. Jenae, I know you have probably said, but I was wondering how much detergent you put in for small-medium-large loads. I am going to make it this weekend. Thanks so much

  94. Check your “click here” buttons. The costs are way off your posted ones.

    Safeway, IGA, Superstore, Walmart prices in the west. I am in the habit of price shopping, and other than the web with delivery, these were the best prices in our area.

  95. I just purchased all the supplies at Walmart and my local grocery store Meier and spent under$12….prices must b alot more expensive out west!

  96. I have a Top Load HE washer .. Do I use the 5/8 c or the 1/4 c .. ?? :) THX I’m Completely new to all this & am learning so ANY Info would be Helpful!! :)

  97. Not sure where you buy your Fels Naptha but I paid only .96 cents a bar at our Walmart. Only $3.50 a box for Arm Hammer Super Wash and I think it was $3.76 for the Borax. I have made three batches of this stuff and love it. After washing my first load of reds I noticed how much brighter they were. I have no problem with using this and was reluctant at first because I have allergies to many of the laundry soaps out there. Been using Tide Free since they came out with it and must say have spent lots of money on it and have kept watching the price increase for years. Since I have now made the switch I will never go back. I even love the way the clothes smell when they are pulled out of the washer. Also don’t forget that this is a low suddings soap so no reside is left behind to dull the color of the clothes.

  98. Thanks for posting this fun recipe! Today was a gorgeous spring day, and I decided I wanted to hang out my clothes on the line and work on making this recipe for laundry soap. Wow, if it works, then it looks like I spent about maybe $4.00 for 5 gallons of laundry detergent. That just can’t be beat!

  99. Is this detergent “Free & Clear”? My daughter’s skin is sensitive to detergent so I’m hesitant to make my own.

    1. It doesn’t have any additional perfumes or colors, so I think it should be fine. My son has eczema and he does fine with this detergent.

  100. I made mine last night and this morning it was almost solid gel. We could stir it, but it didn’t seem to be breaking up all the pieces. So, my husband got the wonderful idea of dipping some out of the five gallon bucket and putting it in the blender. If you push the “liquify” button, it only takes about a second! Then it was the perfect consistancy to put in the storage bottles! Hope this helps anyone else that has the same problem! :)

  101. Hi there! So after looking at MANY different recipes for laundry soap, I used yours! But I have a question about the consistency after day 3ish…could be four. =)

    My soap is really gloppy and kinda of chunks out of the bottle. But at the same time is watery. Is that normal? I’m shaking before I use it.

    When I originally opened the bucket after nearly 2 days, it was one giant solid in water. Kinda of like those little balls of mozzarella cheese! ;)

  102. Love the soap recipe and I’m responding to your dog food request :-)

    I’ve been feeding my cats the Halo home made stew for three years and having several cats, well, it’s saved me a ton of money.

    Here’s a link to a news story with the Halo recipe (it’s not on the Halo site currently)

    Orlando Sentinel – Thanksgiving Recipe: Halo Spot’s Stew – Bon Appetite!
    Cats, Dogs, Pet Food — posted by orlandosentinel on November, 21 2008 1:52 PM

    You can also buy the Halo founder’s book (which contains the recipe) at amazon.com

    The Whole Pet Diet: Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs and Cats

    My cats, even the elderly 17 year olds, do very well on this diet. We make a batch up and freeze it, thawing what we need. With the state of the meat industry in the world currently I’m not comfortable feeding raw and we don’t live in an area with many natural or organic animal farms.

    I hope this posts right. Seems I’m hit or miss on formatting on blogs ;-)

  103. I know you said you were just kidding, but there is a phenomenal recipe for homemade dog food in Wendy Volhard’s book The Holistic
    For a Healthy
    ( no idea why my iPad insists on separating that title onto different lines, sorry). I would be wary of many homemade dog food diets, but hers is backed up by years and years of bloodwork and other testing and is way healthier than commercial diets. Not necessarily cheaper, since there are some very cheap and very unhealthy bagged foods out there, but healthier. And that can translate to cheaper when it cuts out vet bills. You might like to check out Volhard.com and see what you think.

    I’m going to follow your recipe for laundry detergent today. Thanks for sharing!

  104. I am getting ready to make the homemade liquid detergent but want to add essential oils. Does anyone esle use them and if so, how much do you use? Excited to try this.

    1. my neice uses about 20 drops per load. Or she said you could use just a cup or two of reg. laundry detergetnt in the bucket just to make the freshness last longer after the clothes have been washed. I am getting ready to make it myself and i can’t wait. I am so excited!

  105. This is the Duggar’s recipe! We’ve been using it for about a year or so now. I do add different essential oils and clothes smell great!

  106. I have been making my own laundry detergent for about 2 years now. I have to say, I have made both the liquid and powder form and I don’t think the liquid cleans nearly as well. My clothes still had a slight smell. I think it’s diluted down too much. I went back to making the powder form & I love it! I also use 1/2 cup of vinegar in a downy ball as a natural fabric softener. I have 4 boys ages 6 and under so you better believe I am constantly doing laundry like crazy. I use the Fels-Naptha soap bar gets out all our stains. This is by far the cheapest way to go & I love the results. I actually think that my homemade detergent cleans better than the store bought detergents.

  107. Well, you’ve inspired me to finally make this. I still have several bottles of purchased laundry soap but they will be perfect to save to use for storage.

    As far as dog food. We decided about 6 months ago – for budget reasons – to start feeding our dog our scraps. So if my toddler leaves food on his tray (That has usually been in his mouth) or we leave leftovers in the fridge just a bit too long for our preference, we collect it in a separate container and feed our dog when we have enough. He eats people scraps for a meal about every 3-4 days.
    We just happen to be completely okay with our dog eating whatever. :)

  108. I wanted to add a comment about homemade dog food. I have been making my own dog food for about 5 years now. I did a lot of research and put a lot of thought into my recipes. I even went as far as sending samples to a lab for testing. My dogs’ bloodwork have always come back normal. It is not necessarily cheaper, depending on the brand, but I do it for health reasons. The cost is probably comparable to premium brands. It is virtually impossible to create one recipe that will provide a perfectly balanced diet. So different recipes using a variety of meats, veggies, and grains is key. Just like humans, each meal may not provide every nutrient we need, but over the course of weeks or months, we consume enough variety to meet our needs. My recipes are roughly about 50% meat, 30% veggies, and 20% grains. You also need to add a calcium supplement. I use ground eggshells, since they don’t cost anything. I add one teaspoon to a twelve pound batch. Making your own dog food seems like an ordeal at first, but once you figure it out, it’s pretty simple really.

  109. I also use this exact recipe and LOVE It. This laundry detergent works great. I have also used zote soap as well and both work out the same . THANK YOU for this recipe I have also sent it to many of my friends and family members. It ss amazing the savings…..

  110. I used a tote I had laying around, made sure it had no leaks. This saved more money. I also used a kitchen hand mixer. Cant wait to share with all.

  111. I just made this laundry soap two days ago. The next day when I opened the 5 gallon bucket I discovered it was very, very gelled. I tried mixing it with a simillar paint mixer on my husbands drill but was still quite gelled. I poured the still somewhat gelled soap into my empty see-through container half way and added water for the remaining half. I then shook it as hard as I could (the container was a bit large) and ended up still with chunks of gelled soap inside. Is this the way it is supposed to be? Or is it supposed to be chunk free? If it is supposed to be chunk free, what am I doing wrong?

  112. Thanks for the laundry detergent recipe. I made it and I love it and so do my co workers. How amazingly well it works really shocked everyone. So now, thanks to you, everyone is having me make their detergent.

  113. Borax is classified as potentially highly dangerous to reproduction in Europe, which has lead to many many places refusing to sell it. Basically only the big chemical producers will sell it in Europe now, and then only if you order it in large quantities for it to be profitable for them to make a production run.

    So unless you’re gonna buy 100kg, take what you need, and sell the rest on, this recipe is no longer cost effective within Europe.

    You can buy small quantities of it from Amazon, but that kinda works out expensive, and defeats the purpose.

    You could replace it with sodium perchlorate, which can be bought very cheaply from home brewing stores.

    I personally don’t believe borax to be safe either.

    Also, there is no need to try and force people to turn on javascript to leave a comment. Fix that, please. I don’t know you, and therefore I don’t trust you to not try and send me malware via one of the many javascript exploits. Posted from a sandbox.

  114. My niece told me about this soap and I can’t wait to try it. She also said if you microwave the Fels-Naptha bar it will puff up when you take it out and touch it it just crumbles no grating. Plus kids love to see this. Microwave about 1 1/2 min. the bar will get huge then just take it out and touch it.

  115. Just made my second batch ;0) takes no longer than 20 minutes and then with the help of my husband and kids we will put into our saved containers tomorrow (about another 20 minutes ;0)) and lots of money and time saved for the next few months – had absolutely no complaints from the first batch and I am very allergic to most chemicals, perfumes, etc! Thanks for posting and saving our family of 8 $$$ ;0)) all help in every area is appreciated!!!

  116. I used to use this awhile back it works wonderful! It doesnt give you the wonderful smell that a store bought laundry detergent would but it doesnt stink either. With some Dounty fabric softener its amazing. Also on the mustard shirt if you didnt mix it with the water and let it soak in the non dituted detergent overnight it would have probably gotten it competley out! I used it several times on my sons clothes that way. (baby spit up and nasty grass stains) I was simply amazed by how well it works! I would recomment this to anyone especially with young ones!

  117. I made this and when it sat overnight, the next morning it was not gelled at all. i used it for one load of laundry and it seemed to work well. any thoughts?

  118. We just bought LG HE front load washer & dryer set. I made the powder version and LOVE how well it cleans!! I still have a HUGE batch left over and was wondering…

    1) Will I be able to still use the homemade in my new washer?
    2) If you use the homemade in your HE front loader…Would you put the powders into the drawer as usual or toss it into the drum like an older washer?

    We spent a pretty penny on this set & I would hate to ruin them on the first load…actually I would hate to ruin them ever. :o) Thanks for any help & advice you can give!!

  119. I just tried this recipe for the first time a couple of months ago, and I love it. I will definitely not be switching back to store brands.

  120. Help! My soap didn’t gel overnight it’s still all watery liquid. I used a different soap other than the one suggested. What should I do?

  121. Help! I made this soap last night and today it is still all watery. It hasn’t gelled at all. I used a different soap than the one suggested. Please help.

  122. Can you leave the concentrate in the bucket and make a
    Gallon at a time? I added downy unstoppables to mine. It
    Smells great.

  123. I have been making this for a while, but I make a powder and I add baking soda to the mix as well. My clothes come out insanely clean and bright. Best stuff ever.

  124. I make this all the time, but I keep mine as a washing ‘powder’, not liquid, less time to make and uses same ingredients, but use/grate a bar of Lavendar, verbana, or fells naptha mix on the smallest grate side, do not grate it on the cheese regular size. Just mix all together with the soda and borax in a can. It will not suds in the washer, the suds you see in the store brands are additives the company adds to make it suds so you can feel and see it’s cleaning, no need for additives! GO natural, all you need is a 1/4 cup or less for each load and it works great every time and I never buy the store brands. This is especially great for smelly, persperation odors! You can always find the Borax and A/H washing soda at your local ACE hardware store, they are ‘old school’ and stock many old time items. One of life’s original g-ma good things to use and save $$.

  125. I just made my first batch got felphsnap for $1.29 and borax for $3.29 at harveys supermarket got my washing soda for $2.99 at kroger was super easy to make and can’t wait to start using it

  126. Quick question? What’s with the 5/8 cup ? 4/8 would be a half a cup … so you’re saying just over 1/2 cup? or would 1/2 cup or 2/3 cup work?

  127. i LOVE this detergent! I found this & finally made it…been using it for a month now & I LOVE it. It smells great, cleans great, & I love knowing there are no harsh chemicals on my family’s skin. Not to mention saving money!

  128. I made this soap a couple weeks ago and I love it! It is easy and fun to make! I bought a 25 cent wooden stick at Walmart to stir it and it works great. We also didn’t have a lid for the bucket, so we put a couple of plastic grocery bags over it and that worked fine. The best part about it is the money we are saving!

  129. I’ve made mine and let it sit last night. This morning when I opened it up it has set like jelly!! Can I remelt it bit by bit in a pot before I dilute it again as per the last step or would I have to blend it in a blender? Its at least half of it that has set…

  130. I’ve made the powder and this liquid and by far prefer the liquid. I do like it with a bit of scent so bought a frangrance oil at WalMart for $.88 and it does about 4 gallons. Gardenia and Carribean Breeze so far. It still doesn’t scent the clothes since I didn’t use that much. Just makes it smell a bit more like ‘laundry day.” My daughter had a good question. Why do we dilute the soap since we’re putting it into water? It would only make 5 gallons but would just be concentrated then wouldn’t it? My clothes are clean and I do a lot of laundry each week. I’ll definately make it again. I bought 2 bars of the Fells soap and the boxes of powder will last a while too. I found all three ingredients at WalMart.

  131. I love homemade laundry soap, but we have extremely senstive skin and it gave a mild rash. I had read about Zote bar (found in hispanic stores) and tried that instead of Fels Naptha. Works great and our laundry smells so good!!! I don’t use it on diapers b/c the soap in it caused buildup on my diapers (they are simple flannel and terrycloth, don’t know how it works on synthetics). But, with the money I save on both, I “splurge” on All free and clear for the diapers only. I read about using oxyclean in place of the bar soap for homemade detergent for diapers, but haven’t yet tried it. Love your website, btw, I love homemade ideas!

  132. I’ve use home made laundry det. in my HE front load washer for over 2 1/2 years now, I started using it because my husband was laid off and w/ 3 young kids 2 of which where potty training I just couldn’t afford to buy it anymore. I have not had ANY issues with using this in my machine. ^.^

  133. When you make the 2nd batch , why do you just need the
    Fels -Naptha Soap?
    I bought this soap to follow your recipe. But I haven’t made it yet. But
    I used this Fels -Naptha soap on my hubby’s ground -in dirt socks, it worked. I wash them 3 times in “All” detergent they looked if they had not even been washed once. Then I used that soap and they looked brand new. I am believer. You all can use a different soap. I am sticking with FELS-NAPTHA

  134. I love the Duggar’s recipe for detergent. And I love saving money even more.

    In reference to your dog, we do a B.A.R.F diet and also cook for our dog. She had horrible allergies and was extremely overweight, and not only does she have very few allergies now but she is back at a healthy weight. It’s saved us a ton of money. You might want to check into it. Best wishes!

  135. Does anyone know why some turn out a very thick gel and some are to thin? Mine turned out very watery..

  136. I just mixed a batch of this and I am BLOWN away at how amazingly clean my laundry is! I just did equal parts of borax and Arm and Hammer and one bar of fels naptha…I found it all in the same area at WalMart! I was shocked as I have never noticed these products before…well, I use Borax all the time. These are clean products! So I have being using it dry and my laundry is beautiful!! The Fels Naptha is a stain remover…I bt if you had that in the laundry the hom made mixture would have gotten the sstain out! I washed my kitche towels in his and I usually have to run them twice..they came out looking like NEW! I love this stuff and will go out and stoc up on Fels Naptha…maybe get an extra bar o rub it on spots for pretreating because THAT STUFF WORKS!! :)

    Also Borax is a GREAT carpet deodorizer as well as cleaner for the toilet and counters.
    Tip on the milk: Buy 2% and pour half of the carton in an extra carton, fill each container to the top with water. Milk costs the same whether it is fat free or 2%…they will never know the differece if they are already drinking a 1%-2% milk!!

  137. We got everything we needed to make and yesterday afternoon we did two 5 gal buckets full.At noon today we stirred it and put it in other containers,some small to give away ,until we ran out of containers. While we dipped from the bucket to the containers some spilled from my dipper.But the tight wad that I am had place both the bucket and the container in each side of the sink catching any run-off I may have.After completeing the filling of containers I had added water to the spill in my sink,did some of our dishes and three pans that I was going to clean up for a yard sale later.It works super fast and does a super job.We couldn’t believe it.
    Now we are wondering how long soap companies have ripped us off by not putting enough cleaning agents in the the soap they sell us in order for us to use and buy more.Tomorrow I get to do the Laundry and if it works half as good on clothes You may hear me shout wherever you are.I bet my Wife tries to take back these shores!!!!

  138. Found the Borax and Arm & Hammer washing soda and fels-naptha all right together at Walmart. You didn’t list the size of box of the first 2 ingredients. Is there only one size and do you use the entire box of each?

  139. I just made my first batch of this yesterday and let it sit until today. It became thicker but gel like and clumpy. How do I eliminate the clumpyness or is this how it should be?


    1. Just stir it really well. It’s okay if there are a few clumps. Once you put it in the individual containers, just try to shake it until the clumps are mostly gone.

  140. I have not read the above comments, but in regards to the comment about your “he” machine, to help prevent any build-up, you could use vinegar as your fabric softener. Not only would the vinegar soften your clothes (and no, it won’t leave a vinegar smell), but it could prevent any potental build-up in your washer :)

  141. Hi, Everyone.

    I have been making this soap for some time now. If you are fortunate enough to have a food processor, use the grating attachment to make short work of the soap grating.

    You can find Sodium Carbonate at any pool supply house or the pool section of Wal-mart, Home Depot, etc. It’s sometimes called “ph Up” or something like that. Be sure to read the label to make sure you are getting Sodium Carbonate. You may find that buying in larger quantities saves you some money.

    Good luck and enjoy!

  142. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Safari.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Many thanks

    1. This reply isn’t directed at only William’s question, but more of a general opinion after seeing so many posts about Borax…

      I’m pretty sure soap is generally toxic too. I think the idea is to save money making it ourselves and *reduce* the amount of extremely harsh chemicals, petroleum based products, reduce packaging, etc.; not to make something we can eat. I might say I have a “100% plant based laundry cleaner”, but it’s made of Oleander and Mistletoe berries both of which can kill an adult when ingested, so you see how many things, natural or not can be toxic (not that this recipe has been touted as all-natural that I have seen. But yes, Borax is most definitely toxic, so never should you eat your laundry detergent. ;-)

      Speaking of toxic, most laundry detergents in your typical grocery store contain: Petroleum distillates (aka napthas), which have been linked to cancer, Phenols, which can cause toxicity throughout the entire body, Artificial fragrances, which have been linked to various toxic effects on fish and mammals, Phosphates, which stimulate the growth of certain marine plants when they’re released into the environment and contribute to unbalanced ecosystems, Optical brighteners, which can be toxic to fish and can cause bacterial mutations and allergic reactions in people, and more.

      So unless we discover that organic applesauce cleans laundry (and who could afford that anyway?) I think we simply have to determine which we’re more comfortable with: a three ingredient (plus water) detergent with one or two of those ingredients being generally toxic but have been used by our ancestors for years and saves us money and also helps the environment with *less* of a footprint and drastically reduces packaging and gives us a sense of self-sufficiency, or a store-bought detergent with dozens of toxic ingredients I cannot even pronounce and that is grossly overpriced for the simple task of cleaning clothes.

      One other thought: Do not breathe in Borax of course, but if you did, you’d quickly realize that you should not. Brand name laundry detergents on the other hand, disguise their dangerous toxic ingredients (that you should equally not inhale) with more chemicals that smell like flowers or mountain breezes…. so what do we do? Take a BIG, deep sniff of it in the store before buying it, again at home, perhaps with every load because it’s so lovely…. get the idea? Who the heck knows what we’re inhaling each time because our senses are being fooled by a trick? So at least this homemade formula uses common sense ingredients that we clearly see are not flowers or fresh citrus, but in fact, basic cleaning agents made for, well, cleaning! :-)

  143. Just wanted to thank you for sharing this great post. My daughter and I have been talking about doing this, so I have most of the items but the borax, so as soon as I find it we will be trying it out.
    Thanks for your step by step instructions, that makes it so much easier.
    I have put a link to your blog and this post on mine and will be posting it later this evening.
    I am with you about buying boring stuff, I would much rather spend $$ on events, something yummy to eat or pretty things to look at………………….
    So we are kindred spirits……
    Blessings, Nellie

  144. Dog food recipe – cube dog meat into 1 inch chunks and stir fry with…, just joking. My advice is unless you really need a dog don’t have one. A farm may need one, a blind or disabled person may need one, but virtually everybody else does not. So save you money and time on vet bills, pesticides, insurance costs etc: etc:

  145. This is great! It will be free for me with my coupons. I have hundreds of bars of Ivory soap, so it will be easy to do!

  146. I have been using this recipe for almost 2 years now- It works great, doesn’t take long to make and has saved my family a TON of money. I also use cloth diapers and have no probem with the soap. I have found all 3 ingredients at my local super wal-mart, they were also cheaper then the prices listed above. One tip for this project, as well as others- if you need buckets, 5-gallons or smaller, may I recommend asking a local bakery or the bakery department at your local grocery store. Daily, bakers throw away sturdy buckets from the icing they use on cakes and other goodies. These buckets are just as durable as the ones you would pay for at a hardware store, but they are FREE. (just make sure you also ask for the lids)

  147. Basic Kitchen Chemistry
    Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) or sodium acid carbonate is classified as an acid salt formed by combining an acid (carbonic) and a base (sodium hydroxide) and it reacts with other chemicals as a mild alkali. At temperatures above 300 degrees Fahrenheit, Baking Soda decomposes into Sodium Carbonate (Washing Soda)a more stable substance, water and carbon dioxide. Here’s what you do: Pour you baking soda into a shallow baking pan and place in a 350 F. degree oven for 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.

    So how do you know your baking soda is now washing soda?
    Washing soda and baking soda look different, feel different, and taste different. If you make your own washing soda, you’ll be able to tell in an instant which baking soda has become powder and which hasn’t yet.
    Washing soda is grainy, baking soda is powdery.
    Washing soda is dull and opaque, baking soda is crystallized like salt and reflects light, i.e. it’s semi shiny.
    Washing soda is separate grains, Baking soda clumps together.
    Washing soda tastes soapy, Baking soda tastes salty.
    One more note about Washing soda. It is the ingredient in laundry soap that makes water “wetter”. This may seem odd, but have you ever noticed those odd pieces of clothing that don’t want to get wet in the washer? Add that special ingredient and wallah!

  148. Where in the world can I get washing soda??? I live in Southern Ontario and have looked several places, and even some places in Wester New York?

  149. i made the powder version of this. and it does take the stain away. the powder form is less work and works great.
    i also agree that you will want to reduce the ammount of softener you use. that also saves you money.
    use a 4 gallon bucket (i put a garbage bag in it)
    put one 4lb 12oz box of borax
    one 4lb box of arm and hammer baking soda
    one 55oz (3lb 7oz) box of arm and hammer washing soda
    three bars of fels-naptha soap
    and two small containers of oxy clean or store brand oxy.
    pour all the dry indredients into the bucket and grate the 3 bars into it.
    mix well DONE
    just use one of the small scoopers from the oxy clean container per washer load.
    it doesnt suds/foam so it is also great for HE washers too.

  150. I agree with Nancy. I use the exact same recipe only I add scent crystals. Ive completely cut out fabric softeners and stain removers and save tons of money. Only one small scoop aprox 1 tblsp to 2 tblsp per load depending on how soiled your clothes are and everything comes out super soft and smells great for much longer then any store bought soap ive ever bought and ive been thru them all. My colors come out brighter and whites whiter all stains come out ( as long as its not a prebaked in stain from several wash and dry prior to using this). Ive always looked for something that worked great on stains so I didn’t have to waste my time scrubbing or using things like shout. I love this stuff and will never go back its so very much better then premade store bought soaps with all those extra nasty chemicals and fillers that you don’t need. All they are doing is charging you an arm and a leg for watered down chemicals you can make more naturally. Yourself.

  151. I also think the recipe I use could easily be converted to liquid form if you wanted. Either way either form it works great for he washers with the fact that it doesn’t suds because of the lack of sodium laurel sulfate (which you don’t need) suds doesn’t mean clean. I love it so much ive also converted to making my own liquid hand soap, bodywash, dishsoap, and dishwasher soap. Will also be trying out many other things as well.

  152. Thank you. I made this today. Very satisfying knowing you are saving so much money that can benefit your family in other ways :)

  153. my detergent has been settling out and seperating once it is in the container. is there anything to prvent this? i am wanting to put in a large dispenser but not sure it will work if it is separated. did i do something wrong or is this is how it comes out all the time? thanks!

      1. ok so there is nothing to do to keep it from doing this so i can put it in a dispenser with a valve? i have the fabric softener in that and it is so much easier :) thanks!

        1. Even if it’s in one with valve you can give good shake before using-that’s what I do. :-) I have a front ld machine and keep my dispensers containers on top.

  154. I’ve just made this, so I’m not sure how it will gel overnight. Assuming it doesn’t turn into one big glob tonight, is there any reason that I can’t omit the last diluting stage (filling the individual containers halfway then top off with water) and just use half as much per load of wash (1/4 cup per load rather than 1/2 cup per load)?

    Thanks for sharing, I can’t wait to try this :)

  155. I have used this recipe but when I mix soap with borax and washing soda at the end. I add a 1/2 bottle of oxyclean. It just gives it a little boost

  156. I was skeptical about ANY homemade laundry soap, but now that I have made & been using this for 6 months now, there is NO WAY I will buy store bought laundry soap again. IT WORKS GREAT !!! I use regular bar soap that I have on hand though. And like I said I have just as clean clothes from this as I did when I used Tide or Gain.

  157. I was so excited to try this….But I am not sure mine has turned out…Is this supposed to be thick at all? After letting it sit in my 5 gallon pail over night…mine was seperated and I mixed it back up which I know is normal. But even after mixing it is water consistency…I’d love some help if you have any advice as to where I might have went wrong :)

  158. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! We have three teenage boys and this has saved us a TON of money! I do add lavender scented oil. 6 drops for the entire 5 gallon bucket, and its just enough hint of scent that its not “girlie” smelling. Ha.

  159. I made my first batch of liquid today. I just checked it and it’s not really gel like. I hope it thickens some but if not it’s not a big deal.

    I wanted to add that I took a small pan. Boiled 2 cups of water. Removed it from heat and added one cup of purex crystals. I stirred for a minute or two then let it sit…and stirred occasionally while it cooled.
    I added it to the bucket. Smells sooo good!
    I am very happy with the scent! I can’t wait to try this tomorrow!

  160. I am trying this today and I just wanted to let you all know that ALL of the ingredients are available at Wal-Mart for about $7.00 total. Not including the 5 gallon bucket (I already had one to use). I’m very excited to try this :)

  161. I made this just like the directions stated, and mine didn’t gel overnight. Do you have any idea what could have gone wrong and do you think it will still work?

  162. I commented before about mine not turning into a gel after sitting all night. I do have very hard water and I don’t have a water softener so that might be the case. But my question now is do I still go ahead and only fill my bottles half full and dilute it or do I use it full strength? I am new to this and I love the idea, so I want to make sure I get it right! :)

    1. I use vinegar as fabric softener. Now I find fabric softener too strong smelling. I have found,if you keep stirring off and on with a whisk until it cools. It gels nicely and I leave mine in the bucket with the lid on it. Last me aprox two months. I wash two loads every day. I also apply some directly to
      stains. The cloths are really soft! I buy my Arm and Hammer Super Soda at Home Hardware . Walmart wasn’t interested in bringing any in . I live in Nova Scotia Canada. I love saving money with all these natural cleaning products.

  163. I tried making this laundry detergent today and after it cooled all the soaped formed a large hardened ” plate” on top of the water .what did i do wrong and how can i fix it ?

  164. Hi, I got halfway through the comments and thought i may never find the answer i am looking for. SO, i just made my first batch and everything was great until i did half gallon soap and half gallon water. It seems watery to me, is this normal?

    1. Mine is pretty watery too??? Should I not dilute it? For my sensative skin I used dove instead of Fels Naptha could this be the reason???

  165. I Made this several months ago but my whites are coming out very yellow. Ive tried adding bleach and or oxy clean and it doesn’t help! I made the liquid form, any suggestions?

  166. I made this laundry detergent but wound up with lumps that would not dissolve. I even put it through my blender to smooth it out but it has clumped up again. What am I doing wrong? I love the idea of making and using this detergent.

    1. You may not be cooking it long enough. Make sure you grate it. If you put chunks of soap in it will clump up and take much longer to liquify.

  167. I have been using this recipe for over a year now and it works great. I was nervous to try it at first because I have always been a Tide user but when money got tight I decided to give it a try. Now that money is good again, I still use this recipe. I figured up that I was spending $320.00 a year on Tide. Now I spend $7.00 a year. One batch fills 11 Tide containers and last a few months. My husband is a mechanic and it cleans his clothes very well. It even gets the diesel smell out. For baby clothes I use a bar of Ivory soap instead and it works very well for that. I take the money we save and put it in the rainy day jar for the grandchildren. Now when they visit we have money to do what they want. Great recipe.

  168. having trouble understanding the dividing into containers.. I divide it AFTER it has sat overnight and then add the equal amounts (8/8 for gal cont.) or do i divide it while in the making it process? I am confused because the directions mention the division process after it has sat over night.

  169. I like this idea of making our own laundry soap… I think it would save so much money. For the cost of ur 600+ loads I get 72 for the same price if not more for one bottle of detergent… thanks for sharing I. Will have to try this…. brandy

  170. Hi, My boyfriend and I tried to make this detergent the other night. I was so excited to save my family money. But my detergent never thickened like your pictures show. I followed the steps to the T and I cannot figure out where i went wrong. Any suggestions? Please and Thank you!

    1. I think it just depends on the hardness/softness of your water. I think it will still work great, though, just don’t dillute it down as much. :)

    1. It really has no smell. Thats why I added a bottle of the Downy unstoppables scent booster and my clothes smell great!

  171. I’m having trouble! My husband and kids say they don’t think the clothes are getting clean. They have a sour oder to them. not every load, just some times. then when you get that smell in your clothes it is hard to get rid of it. I try soaking in vinegar. help any suggestions on why this is happening? they keep telling me to go buy real detergent. any suggestions how to get rid of smell?

    1. Add 1 cup of oxi-clean to the mix when you make it. I had the same problem with my first batch but when I added the oxi-clean it took that smell away. I hope it works for you :)

  172. I have been using this laundry detergent for about a year. It has been absolutely amazing to not have to buy the expensive brand detergent. I believe we have saved over $300! It is just the two of us at my home so that could be why it lasted so long. However, my boyfriend was using the soap straight from the 5 gallon container instead of mixing it with water. If he would have done that, we would have had the soap for even longer.
    It is such a great product and I love that I can make it and not have to worry about running out because it is so easy to make!

  173. As chance would have it, I happen to have a Sears repair man working on the seal in our freezer today. We got on the topic of the laundry soap as I was mixing up my very first batch while he was here. I thought I’d share his comments with you. He didn’t mention the problem of the homemade laundry soap producing to much aids, he expressed concern for the barrings in the drum being damaged by non “he” soap. He said he personally didn’t work on washer and dryers, but has been on many service calls with the other techs in his work. He says he has seen the damage non “he” soaps can do. He said he wouldn’t recommend using anything but “he” for the front loaders for this reason. Based on what is in this homemade laundry soap, I dont see how it could possibly damage anything in these washers. I am going to try the laundry soap that I made today and will monitor who thugs go with using it. If anyone has had adverse reactions as a result of using this homemade laundry soap in their “he” washer, please share your experience with the rest of us. Thanks

  174. I’d like to just comment about your sudsing in the washer comment…. it’s not necessarily the ‘suds’ that cause build up in your washer, it’s the soap that causes buildup in your washer (just like you get a soap scum residue in your bath – even when there is no real ‘suds’ in the bath) and soap is definitely not recommended for cloth diapers, because it causes a build up of soap residue in them and causes repelling, stinking and other issues. if you are worried about build up, you can do a load once a month with just vinegar, no clothes, and a hot wash – that will take out the build up of soap scum in your washer…

    1. yet the Fels Naptha is what is recommended for cloth diapers by every seller in our area so I dont think this type of soap causes that issue

  175. Just wanted to add my 2 cents : ) (which is about the cost of a load) I LOVE this laundry soap, have been using now for almost a year in my HE front loader and have had NO problems. I actually have had and amazing extra benefit from using it (besides saving $$$) Before using this wonderful laundry soap, my front loader was having an odor. I talked with some girlfriends and they were having the same problem. Around the same time, I noticed Tide had come out with a product to remedy the situation (I wonder if they planned this to be able to sell, yet again, another product !!) I went online and read about using a plain bleach load monthly as well to correct the odor, which I did for a few months…but it didn’t work very well. I say all of this to proclaim, after using the homemade laundry soap, I have NEVER had the odor problem again!!!! AND our towels have never smelled so fresh and clean. I’m sold and you will be too, give it a try : ))

  176. Wonder if someone could help me out a little here. I made up my first batch of this last night in a 5 gal pail. Set up perfectly & I stirred the bejeebers out of it this morning. Diluted it it 50/50 as I put it in empty milk cartons. I realize now that regardless of how much I stirred it this morning I’m still getting more soap ” particles “, for lack of a better word, than actual liquid. Not huge clumps but a whole mess of tiny ones enough to screw everything up. They’re just sitting there in the middle of a bit of liquid detergent on the bottom & a whole lot of suds on top. Actually I’d say the ratio is about 70% particles, 25% suds and the remainder is liquid detergent. That would probably account for why I only got 7 gallons from the mixture I made last night. At the moment I’m trying to save this project by emptying all the milk cartons one by one into a fine mesh strainer. The liquid goes back into the 5 gal. pail. The particles are caught in the strainer and I’m further duliting them by 50/50. I’m really concerned with the amount of suds being generated as I have a top loading HE washer. My other concern of course is the amount of particles remaining that might clog up the washer. The extra work is on me as it appears I’m the one who screwed up but any suggestions ?

    1. I am on my second batch and the second time I didn’t fill the gallon jugs to the top. Before I use it I shake the milk jug to get rid of the chunks. This seems to work OK. I too have a top loading HE washer and have had no problems. I also make my own fabric softener with vinegar and hair conditioner. Next time I make it I will cut way back on the conditioner. It makes it very thick. I got the recipe for the fabric softener on Pinterest. good luck.

  177. I have a husband that is a henavy duty mechanic so the grease is everywhere and I can’t get any home made detergents to move it please help!!!!

    1. try using the fels naptha bar straight on the the grease stains as a pre treater before washing. the stuff is truly amazing. Works as well as lye soap on laundry stains

    2. I heard that adding a can of coke to loads that are really greasy would help. I have not tried it yet, though.

  178. My best friend and I have been making this soap for the past year and love it. We changed it up some to make it “smell” good as well and add a bottle of Downy Unstoppables for the scent. Works great and now smells great too!!

  179. What is the purpose of letting it gel overnight? I found it difficult to get the globs of gel broken up well enough to suit me before mixing with water. Has anyone tried mixing it with water and putting it in the containers right away?

  180. Has anyone heard of someone having an allergic reaction to this laundry soap? I have been using it for a week and i woke up this morning with a rash all over my torso. Not sure if it is from the laundry soap or not,

    1. I made a version that used borax and had an intense itch when wearing clothing that had been washed in it. I made a new batch with out it, and added baking soda, and have had no problems.

  181. So, instead of making the liquid all at one time (I didn’t have containers or space enough to store) I went ahead and ground up all the ingredients in my food processor to make a dry base. After doing some math I figured out that it would be .75 oz of the powdered mix (or 1 heaping Tbsp) to 2 quarts of water. When I made the batch I used hot water to make sure the powder base completely dissolved and it sets up just the same. I put the dry base in a mason jar with a couple of silica packets from old shoe boxes and liquid detergent in a 2 qt pitcher that I can continue to refill. I made a double batch of the dry base and by my calculations at 4 oz of liquid detergent per load it should last 640 loads. Just though I’d throw that out there if storage space is a deterrent from making this recipe.

  182. I found all of the ingredients at my local Walmart today. Im making a gallon of bodywash, 2 stain sticks, this detergent (yes, 10 gallons!), and a gallon of powdered dishwasher detergent …all for about $20! So excited! And my kids keep saying, “Why does the house smell like shampoo?”. I love it!

  183. I was just wondering if I could use the regular cooking pot to melt the soap and dissolve the borax and washing soda or if I should get a pot just for soap making. TIA

    1. I have read on other pages to designate a certain pot just for this and not to use it for food afterwards…I think it has to do with no ingesting anything that it’s made with :)

    2. I use my large pot and still cook in it. You just want to make sure that you rince it well that is all. I have even used the pot to wash my silver wear in it afterwords. the pot will be cleaner then it ever has been.

      Just remember to rinse it out well that is all. The main reason for making your own detergent (been doing it for over 3 years now) is to save money not spend it. Now I do only use one rubber spatula for my soap but that was an old one that I was going to throw away anyways.

      Happy making !!!

  184. So excited. I made my first batch yesterday. I knew to expect goopy gel, but when I checked this morning I got a very solid gel. I can stir and break it up into chunks. Is this normal? I’ve read the posts about it not gel-ing. What did I do to get it to gel so much/hard? Is it still good to use? Any feedback would be helpful. Thank you!

    1. Made mine this weekend and was surprised to see an almost solid block in the bucket. When I mixed it with the last of the water I used warm water and did alot of stirring and it came out just fine (plus my arms got one heck of a workout!)