Jul 25, 2012

DIY Laundry Soap

There are about as many recipes for laundry soap out there as brands you can choose from in the grocery store. Then there is the decision of whether you should make powder or liquid laundry detergent.

Decisions, decisions.

I'll be honest, when I read about cooking the soap on the stove top and stirring it in a five gallon bucket, I shied away from the thought of making my own laundry soap about as quickly as if I'd just seen a spider. I don't want to spend my energy on that. Not in this season of my life anyway.

Then I found the recipe for powder laundry soap. And, I thought, "Hey, I can do this!"

So here is the recipe I have been using:

Laundry Detergent Powder

1/2 a bar Fells Naptha soap
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda (not to be confused with baking soda)

1) Take a sharp knife and cut your bar of soap in half. Don't cry if you aren't exact. Chop the half bar of soap up into smaller pieces or slices.
2)Grate your smaller chunks or slices of soap in a food processor. Or, you could just grate them by hand. Either way, you want it to be well grated into small pieces.
3) In a mixing bowl, mix together the grated soap, borax powder, and washing soda. I don't recommend mixing it all in the food processor simply because of the powder plume that will accost you when you take the lid off when you are finished mixing. Don't ask me how I know...
4) Use a funnel, pour your newly made laundry soap into a clean, dry, air-tight jar. I used a washed pickle jar and its worked very nicely at holding my laundry soap.

Use two tablespoons for each normal sized load. I use a cheap little coffee scoop that I keep in the jar with the soap so I don't lose it. ☺ Update: I've been using only 1 T. with great results and I save even more money!!

Some people add vinegar into the rinse cycle of the washing machine to brighten their whites but, quite frankly, I never remember. ☺

These ingredients are a good investment to have on hand because there are many other uses for each. Right now, I am experimenting with using water and Fels Naptha rubbed into stains as a stain remover.

This homemade laundry soap works great for me. However, I like to change things up once in a while. The next batch I prepare, I would like to try adding an essential oil or replace the Fells Naptha soap with a bar of Dr. Bronner's Castile soap.

What is your favorite laundry soap and stain remover? Have you tried homemade?


Linked up at:


Beautiful ThursdaysConsider the Lilies


  1. You sound like me - this does sound like an easy recipe for soap - where do you buy the Fells Naptha "soup" LOL soap.

    1. Wow! Thanks for catching that glaring spelling error Sara! Of course, I do know how to spell soap but I type rather fast and should have better double checked that spelling!! *blush* Anyway, I stocked up on Fells Naptha bars at Walmart a while back but I rarely shop there anymore because I have closer stores with similar prices. I recently priced a local grocery store "Price Chopper" at 1.29 per bar and another local grocery "HyVee" at 1.15 per bar. Both of those stores had the Borax and Washing soda (Price Chopper had the better prices for those two ironically).

    2. I make my own laundry soap but prefer the liquid kind that uses the same items as your recipe.I only have to make it every two months so I don't mind melting the soap. With 5 kids and 3-4 loads of laundry a day I would have to say that this is my biggest money saver!

    3. Hi Kerry! It is such a money saver and every little thing I can do myself that saves money (and works as well as this recipe!) is worth it!

  2. I've been wanting to make some of this myself as I get closer to running out of my store brand! I just pinned this! Thanks!!!

  3. I make homemade laundry soap too, only the liquid kind. It makes up 5 gallons and I can use it for about 6 months or more before I have to make it again. It only takes a little of it to wash the clothes so it goes pretty far.

  4. I just found a recipe similar to yours for the liquid laundry detergent but would prefer powder. I'm going to try your recipe. Do you know about how many loads a batch will make?

    Thanks! Visiting from Beautiful Thursdays.

    1. The original recipe suggested using only 1 T. per load and the recipe would yield 50 loads worth of washes. I'm using 2 T. (a little less for an average load and a little more for a large load) per load. Many of the comments underneath the original recipe suggested using more than 1 T. so that is why I use more. Either way, it is pretty fast (if you have a food processor to grate the soap) and not a big deal to double the recipe either. I hope that you like it!

  5. Oh my goodness! Your blog title reminds me of a song I taught my kids when they were learning their multiplication tables!! Sorry, I digress. Anyway, wanted to stop in from Ginger Jamboree and thank you for posting that recipe. :-)

  6. And by the way, I make soap, so I use my own bar soap with essential oils! :-)

    1. Thanks for visiting! I checked out some of the soaps you make and I must say the cocoa and vanilla bean looks almost good enough to eat! ;D I've never tried making homemade bar soap before but I love making homemade laundry soap! I love having the extra room in my grocery budget too!


Share your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you!