Make A Year’s Worth of Laundry Detergent for $30.00!

laundry detergentRegular readers of this blog will know that I am completely sold on the No-Grate Laundry Detergent that I posted back in February of this year.  But, like I’ve said many times on this website, I am always open to new ideas! And I really liked this idea that someone posted as a comment awhile back.

A YEARS worth of Laundry Detergent!?!?  That’s an idea that is hard NOT to get behind!  Plus, I’ve been curious about the “dry” version of homemade laundry detergent that so many people are fond of. I have never tried it before. I figured it’s high time I did!

Here is the recipe that Anonymous posted (the text in red are my notes):

Anonymous said…
I make a dry version which works better for my family. I hate storing the bottles, shaking it up, and making it more often. I only make it once and it lasts for the entire year for our family of 4.

  • 3 bars Fels Naptha, grated ($1.33 x 3)
  • 1 box Borax  ($5.85  –  76 ounces)
  • 1 box Washing Soda ($4.07  –  55 ounces)
  • 2 cups of baking soda ($0.53 cents)
  • 2 (55 oz.) containers of Dollar Tree Oxyclean (I bought mine at Family Dollar store…SUN Brand…$4.00 each)
  • 1-2 containers of Purex fabric softener crystals ($6.97  –  28 ounces) 

Use 2 tablespoons per load. Put it right in the barrel if you have an HE washer.

To grate the bars of soap I decided to make it easier on myself and use my ancient Hamilton Beach food processor. I figured if it broke in the process it would give me a good excuse to get a new one! But fortunately (unfortunately?) it handled the soap just fine. I would offer one tip though if you decide to use your food processor to “grate” your soap: add something else to the bowl to aid in the process. I added a cup of the SUN Oxygen Bleach to each bar when I processed it. It seemed to help the blades do their job better.

years supply of laundry detergent

My only other tip for this recipe has to do with the “mixing”. Once you add everything, you have a LOT of ingredients to mix together. I decided to put it all in a kitchen garbage bag (doubled) and tumble it all together. Just tie it off tight and turn it over a handful of times and you’re good to go! Now you have a nicely integrated batch of laundry detergent that should last a family of four ONE YEAR!

years supply of laundry detergent

Since we are over the “family of four” limit, and I tend to think we have more dirty laundry than your AVERAGE family…I’m not expecting this to last a full year….but based on my initial use of this (2 Tablespoons per load)….it’s going to last us a GOOD, LONG time! I did half a dozen loads of laundry with it before we left on vacation and was completely satisfied with the results! So much so that I’m planning on making TWO MORE BATCHES when I get home from vacation to give to my daughter AND my daughter-in-law. :-)  Fun gift idea don’t you think?

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  1. billie jo lee says

    i was wondering will the Make A Year’s Worth of Laundry Soap for $30.00!
    is it good for the HE machines

      • Georgia says

        I found that you can get in WalMart. I dunno if you get in Canada. But you can get it on Try that if you don’t have WalMart in Canada.

      • says

        I found it in big lots, sometimes the dollar store or a hardware store may have it. More common than you would think.

      • Scott P. says

        The Fels-Naptha comes in a bar. If you cut the bar into 1-2 inch cubes and put it into the microwave for a minute (my weak microwave took five minutes) the pieces will expand. Then let them cool completely and then they will crumble nicely. I scraped them to make the crumbles smaller.
        I found everything at Walmart all on the same aisle.

      • Kayla says

        With the Ivory soap, does it still get out stains well? I hate the smell of the fels naptha or zote soap. I made this last year and threw it away because I couldn’t stand the smell of it. I would think the Ivory soap would smell much better, but i’m wondering if the stain removing agents still take place. We farm and always have dirty clothes, so I want to be sure they will be clean instead of stained. Thanks :)

      • Marinda says

        Use Kirks Castile soap… Comes in a 3bar pack at Walmart for under $4. Works really well with zero residue and smells mild but clean.

      • Becca says

        You actually cannot smell the soap, you simply end up with a fresh smell. Also with the purex crystals it is completely hidden. I would not worry about the scent of the soap.

      • Jo says

        Too bad you threw it out before using it because when the clothes dry, they have no smell at all. That is unless you use the little scent thingies in the mix. I can’t use the dry mix due to our well water being hard. I make the liquid form and all I use is the FelsNaptha, Washing Soda, and 20 Mule Team Borax. My mother used this all her life. I am 67 and I have never used anything else that cleans as well and costs so little. You can use the ivory, but your clothes will not be as clean.

      • mon says

        Started making to save money but continue as my grandsons skin rashes have subsided considerably but do not use purex crystals

      • Rae says

        Did you use the crystals whe you made yours? Isn’t that the idea behind using the crystals, to make it smell better?
        I use the downy unstoppablea, I’m going to make a batch using them to see how it works.

      • Laurie V. says

        I know this repy is very late, I didn’t come across this until now.

        I’ve never been able to find Fels Naptha here in Ontario. What I did find is a bar called “Linda’s, its suppose to be about the same composition, and it does work very well in the laundry soaps I’ve made. I’ve found it at Walmart and Food Basics and No Frills.

        Also we have the old time Sunlight bars in the yellow packaging, although I didn’t find it cleaned as well as the Linda bar.

        I hope this can help you and others

      • Mikki Easton says

        Fels Naptha NOT SAFE for HE machines :(
        We just went through an extensive repair on our LG HE machine, and the repair man advised “make sure all products you use for wash are marked safe for “HE” machines. I just spoke with Fels Naptha (at Purex) and although they said Fels Naptha is safe to use as a pre-treat on clothing BEFORE WASHING, once grated, the granules are NOT SAFE to be used as (even a finely grated) detergent in HE machines!!! :( Thoughts?

      • Devora Waters says

        Yes a thought…should have told him you use Tide HE and see what he said…
        My good friend is a repairman for Sears, he told me to get a full extended
        warranty on my new machine (had to buy after 20 year old Maytag gave up beyond reasonable cost to repair) said NONE of the new machines are going to hold up like the old ones did ;-(

      • Becca says

        I have been using a receipe similar to this for a year and a half in my HE front load washer without any issues. I also put it directly in the slide out drawer where my other detergent goes with no issues. I have actually noticed an increase in the effectiveness of my washer since begining making my own laundry soap.

      • Jonesy says

        My Brother works for LG and deals with Washing Machines for them an says this isn’t correct…that Fels Naptha is perfectly safe, even in grated form, for these HE washers. The key is a fine grind! No big, bulky chunks…as HE machines use LESS water and don’t break down large chunks of soap.
        It’s likely that and their water. Additives like Vinegar, Epsom Salt, or Baking soda may be necessary for them to get a CLEAN rinse for their clothes and the washer drum. Washers using hard water, when exposed to naturals soaps and detergents, tend to “gum up” with the particles, solids, and salts hard water cannot rinse away but rather deposits on the nearest hard surface (the inside of the machine). Easiest way to combat that is vinegar rinse in the fabric softener dispenser! And, run one load every 2 months with NOTHING but a Large towel, Vinegar and HOT water! It cleans the inside nicely!

      • Leslie says

        Which way would u recommend to add the detergent in ? With the clothes itself in the barrel or in the pull out drawer compartment . I Dont want to mess up my washer . Thanks

      • Lisa says

        We’ve been using this detergent in our Maytag frontloader for over a year with zero problems. As a side note though…we purchased an LG French door refrigerator (2200 bucks) 2 years ago and it died a month ago. LG and the warranty company took 30 days to repair it….replaced every feasible part and then gave me equal money to get a new one. Needless to say, I did not purchase an LG. In my opinion LG appliances are inferior. I have 3 friends with the same fridge. All have had like problems (ice maker issues, motor issues etc). sorry, know this was about detergent, but wanted to share our like experience with the LG products. I would have told him I used tide to see what he came up for breakdown.

      • Janis Miller says

        I have an LG front load and I love it. I have had it for about 8 years and have never had a problem. Four of my kids also have LG front load washers in their homes and have not had a problem! :)

      • Jo says

        You CAN use the liquid form of this in an HE washer. You just have to shake it up really well to make certain it is all mixed well before using. It tends to separate when it sits.

    • Ro says

      Yes it is great for the HE machines I use it and it makes your clothes smell so clean and actually makes them cleaner. I have a front loader and I just toss it in before the clothes and it mixes quit well.
      No more $18.00 for 96 loads of junk.

      • Robyn says

        Hi! Funny question, but the drum of my front loader has holes all over it. It you put the homemade powdered detergent in there, does it fall in the holes, and is that a problem? Also, how much do you use?

      • Ginger says

        Not a funny question; totally legit! In your detergent drawer (where you usually pour in your liquid detergent, there should also be a compartment for powder detergent.

        If there’s not, it may not be compatible for your front-loader. I used to have a front-loader & the one time I used powder in the compartment designated for powder, once the water ran through it to mix it with the clothes, the detergent caked terribly & I never used powder in it again. I have a top-loader now & powder is perfect for it.

        If you decide to use liquid, Jillee also has a fantastic recipe for it here, too that I simply adore! I’m trying THIS recipe for the first time this weekend – that is, if I can find the Fels Naptha bars out and about today :)

        Happy Laundering!


      • Norma says

        Fels Naptha Bars are found right by your laundry detergents. I buy all my ingredients right at WalMart and they are usually right together. Well, my recipe is slightly different but same idea. But the A&H Washing Soda, Borax and Fels Napth are right together at our local store. Good Luck finding all of it. (I don’t use oxy or the scent additive. Just A&H washing soap, A&H baking soda, Borax and Fels Naptha) and it smells refreshing. Oh and all the other recipes of this kind of recipe says that a batch this size should last 6 months for a family of 4or5, not a year. Oh and the cost here for the products I buy is around 11.00 so still a great deal.

      • Joe T says

        I agree with you, Norma. We probably use the same recipe!
        Although mine only lasts for a coupe of months, but I think that is due to Abuela not believing you only need one scoop!
        I think I will try the tablet idea so I know she is using the correct amount.

      • Erin Mart says

        I cannot find sun oxyclean anywhere in a 20 mile radius. I bought “Awesome Oxygen Orange base cleaner”. Is that ok? I can’t afford to buy the oxyclean version.

      • Cindy says

        Hi, I have a front loader and have been using the power mix for 6 months now. I put the clothes in and Sprinkle a small amount on top of the clothes…Works great! If you put it in the compactment on top it clumps. Before this I used the liquid version. Will have to say the power mix works and smells much better. :)

      • Ria Smits says

        I use a plastic massure cap of a softner bottle to put the powder in and put it under the laundrey in the machine.Works very well, Ria

      • Jane says

        I have a front loader and have made my own laundry soap for several years. I always put it in the tub first, then the clothes. The water fills the tub from the top but rises up through the holes after it runs over the clothes. I use vinegar for the rinses (I can set mine for 2) and I have never had a problem. I have very hard water and the vinegar does a great job of softening my clothes as well as cleaning the washer.

    • Jolene says

      First time making this…absolutely fabulous! I microwaved the ZOTA soap since I don’t have a food processor. It was easy..I just didn’t cook it long enough. My microwave takes about 4 1/2 minutes…I just watched it until it became this pink volcano (pink Zota soap) that resembled cotton candy. When it has cooled down, it does just break apart inbetween my two hands…fabulous! Make sure you let it cool down completely…it can melt the garbage bag!

      • says

        Good to know! I’ve been meaning to make laundry soap using a similar recipe, and was planning to microwave my soap as well. Maybe I’ll try chopping it into smaller pieces before nuking it..

      • Debie says

        You can get ZOTE soap that is flaked at Walmarts…. saves having to grate it… one box equals either 2 or 3 bars of zote soap

    • Cathy says

      I use this in my HE machine and it works beautifully. I made two small changes. I use Ivory soap instead of felds naptha because I don’t like the smell of FN. And I put a few drops of lemon grass oil into the batch for a clean scent.

    • Ronda says

      I have used this almost exact formula on my HE front loader….and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!
      I use the scoop that comes in the Oxyclean container for scooping the mixture to my washer and it works great. I have 6 people in my family….and this last me about 6 months. I too shop at dollar general and use their baking soda (50 cents a box, I use 4 as the recipe I use calls for a 4 lb box from the baking aisle) I have a 6 and 9 year old boys that play in sports and outdoors so I know dirty laundry….and this recipe makes everything nice and clean.

    • darla says

      I have an H.E. washer and it works well in it. I made this recipe in July of 2013 and it only has about 10 more loads in the container to go. We are a family of 4 and one child changes clothes about once a week, the other changes daily but one child changes 2x daily. No athletes in this home either, just an everyday household. Thanks for this recipe and your wonderful blog..

    • Katie Steinke says

      Im not sure what you meant by the barrel, for the HE machines. In that the soap dispenser or right into the tub? Thanks for this post, I am going to make it this weekend. BTW where did you find the big glass jar?

      • Jane says

        I found that any dry laundry soap clumped when I put it in the soap dispenser. I just dump the laundry soap right into the tub of the washer instead.

        Also, a little FYI from my repairman. Most bleach dispensers dump the bleach into the machine in the rinse cycle not the wash cycle. Streaking the items. So I will mix my bleach in a large cup with water and pour it into the tub of the washer first, then the soap and then what clothes/towels/whites i am bleaching. Haven’t had a problem with bleach damaged items since.

  2. Christina says

    I make the liquid one because I’ve just been using liquid soap forever…but I may try this! all the ingredients that you use for this recipe are all HE safe so if anyone does have an HE washer they can do this as well
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Denise says

      It works great in HE washers. I always use liquid as well but I went to a bridal shower where they handed out mason jars of dry detergent for favors and I really liked it. it was less hassle as well… no shaking the bottle everytime, no storing bottles, I bought a HUGE mason jar at target and will put my dry stuff in that. :)

    • CheleL says

      Can you post the liquid recipe? I always use liquid, if I can’t find the liquid one, I am going to try this one and hope for the best :).

  3. Ali says

    Yes, I use a recipe like this that has all these ingredients in my HE. Sometimes the cold water loads aren’t able to melt the grated soap, so I make sure I always use warm water.

    • Zoquara says

      My washer only has cold water to it, and I’ve never had a problem with the fels-naptha not dissolving…. and mine looks EXACTLY like Jillee’s when I’m done! (I also use a food processor to grate mine).

      My food processor has a grating blade, and I usually use it first, then use processing blade to blend the shredded soap and the dry stuff (in my case, only borax and washing soda). I tried it once without the dry, and ended up with a clumpy mess!

    • Jen says

      I, too, have a HE. After you grated your soap, did you turn it into the powdered form, via blender or processor? (I only have a blender, so that’s what I use.) The only thing I don’t put in blender is the crystals. Instead of using them every time, I only use them when there’s something I NEED to have the smell in, such as our bedspread. My husband likes that. :)

      • Renee says

        I’m sorry but even those softener crystals are full of chemicals. Skip this step if your looking for a great chemical free laundry detergent. As a safer and less expensive alternative to the softener is 1/2 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. if you want nice smelling clothes make your own drier sheets.
        How To; re-purpose. those old t-shirts by cutting them into 6-8 inch squares. Use an essential oil for the scent, add 3-5 drops on the cloth before adding to the drier, there are great smelling oils that are not to expensive at health food stores that are not as concentrated as the essential used for aromatherapy or healing oils. The use of this will do so many things one after a few uses the cloths once washed you can use a different scent. Or you can use a different scent each day you do laundry.
        You can add 40-80 drops of the oil in the detergent to add scent to the detergent, add to the dry ingredients a little at a time and mix thoroughly before adding more, this will allow you to mix the scent til it’s as strong or not so strong for your tastes as well as making the mixture not clump up into a mess if all the oil(s) are added at once.

      • Stephanie says

        Thank you so much for these suggestions regarding scent in laundry without chemicals. I have been using the scent crystals but wasn’t thrilled with having chemicals of any kind. I had never thought of the things that you do. Thank you so much for sharing!


      • Kate says

        Never forget the vinegar rinse aid again. Buy a Downey softener ball, put 1/2 C vinegar in ball, seal, throw in when you start the cycle. I use a similar homemade laundry soap, just minus fels naphtha ( too many ingredients in bar). My clothes have never been cleaner or softer. No sheets in dryer either. I tried the essential oil trick but it really didn’t scent the clothes and good essential oils are expensive. Save the essential oils for a room atomizer. Happy Laundering :-)

      • Hebrews12one says

        Thanks for that tip on chemical free. I was just getting ready to do a web search when I saw your info. Thanks for the info on making dryer sheets.

      • Moose says

        Hate to burst your bubble, but all the things listed in this formula include “chemicals.” Borax is a sodium tetraborate, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, washing soda is “soda ash” or sodium carbonate. I can go on….

        All of these things are used to raise the pH (except baking soda) and act as surfactants. They (surfactants) are the reason dirt comes off the clothes.

        Heck, even the copious amounts of Dihydrogen Monoxide used in washing is considered a chemical and is bad for you in certain quantities and circumstances.

      • Kristin P. says

        Adding all of that essential oil takes this detergent out of the “frugal” category. Don’t fear all “chemicals” – God gave His people the ability to invent and create, otherwise we’d still be dipping our clothing in water and beating it against rocks. “Soap” is a chemical.

        A side note – I have tried essential oils in detergents and the scent has never come through for me.

      • Laura says

        Does one really need to explain the difference between naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals? There most certainly IS a difference.

      • Serena says

        I know, right? I mean, it’s such a blessing that arsenic can’t hurt you because it’s naturally occurring! Such nonsense.

      • Brigitte says

        I agree. And I’ll add , that there are many online stores to buy decent quality and even organic EOs (ask for the chemical analysis sheets). I make my own out of concern for the environment, to cut back on synthesized chemicals and to make a small statement about not encouraging (as much as possible) large global companies. I buy feed grade baking soda and cook it to make washing soda, make my own organic oil based soap, and so with a family of 8 (27 loads a week) even the best EOs would make it very frugal!

      • Gracy Mantoan says

        Sorry, I couldn’t resist: Even water, you know, H2O is a chemical. Even the clothes are composed of chemicals. There’s no way to clean anything without chemicals. If you don’t like or are sensitive to certain compounds, it is another story… There’s no such thing as a “chemical free” soap.
        Having said that, These is one of the best soaps I even used! I love saving money and knowing exactly what I am using in my clothes. Even my son’s eczema has gotten better since I started using this to lauder my clothes.

      • Kate says

        I have a way to make your own scented crystals…epsom salts and your favorite essential oil! Woot!

      • Michele says

        I agree with Renee. The Fels Naptha and the oxy clean are full of chemicals. replace the Fels-Naptha with Castille or Ivory soap
        below is the ingrediants of Fels-Naptha:

        Soap (sodium tallowate*, sodium cocoate* (or) sodium palmate kernelate*, and sodium palmate*), water, talc, cocnut acid*, palm acid*, tallow acid*, PEG-6 methyl ether, glycerin, sorbitol, sodium chloride, pentasodium pentetate and/or tetrasodium etidronate, titatium dioxide, fragrance, Acid Orange (CI 20170), Acid yellow 73 (ci43350)

        *contains one or more of these ingredients

    • Sheri says

      I use cold water, I found it helpful to open the fels-naptha bars and let them dry out a day or two before you grate them in a blender. They turn more like a powder and less of a clay type.

  4. says

    I have been looking at different recipes for making your own detergent and this one seems to have all the basis covered. Im going out to buy all the ingreidents and give this a go!
    I have recently discovered your site and have been pouring through all the helpful and handy tips. Thank you for sharing!

  5. says

    Does it have a nice scent? One of the things that make me not buy store brand detergent is the scent that doesn’t hold so well. I love the smell of freshly washed clothes.

    • Zoquara says

      I use a slightly different mix (only fels-naptha, borax, and washing soda) and it leaves no scent behind. This recipe probably does have a scent because of the Purex crystals, though.

      • Genie says

        This is the mix I use also, no oxy, no scent. Works in cold or hot water, cleans everything. If you use a top loader I think it’s a 1/4 cup per load.

      • Yanel says

        I use the same, but with Ivory bar soap, washing soda, and borax. Simple, and The Ivory soap makes it smell good. Love! I usually use 2 tbsp. per load.

      • Joanne says

        when you say ivory do you mean like shower bar or something? I havent seen that in powder form

    • Julie says

      You could always add some essential oils in a scent you like if you want that. I’m personally always looking for detergents without additives that will leave residues, so I’d leave out the softeners if I made it.

      • Hollie says

        The essential oils leave no scent in my laundry. I have made the liquid a few times and it just smells like Fels-naptha or nothing at all. The oils are pricey to begin with and then my recipe called for about 20 drops. That did nothing…at ALL. So I used both of the whole bottles. (Lavender & Orange). Nothing. I could have used 2 big bottles of Tide of what I poured down my drain.

      • Beth Ann says

        Hello All: I have been using the 3 ingredient laundry soap for over a year and we love it!
        Softener: Buy any liquid softner you like, (I get mine from the dollar store) pour into a container, add the same amount of water, toss in 1 or 2 thick sponges. Squeeze out excess liquid from sponge and toss into dryer with wet clothes, dry. Clothes smell wonderful, cheap, and no pesky dryer sheets all over the house!

    • Hollie says

      The essential oils leave no scent in my laundry. I have made the liquid a few times and it just smells like Fels-naptha or nothing at all. The oils are pricey to begin with and then my recipe called for about 20 drops. That did nothing…at ALL. So I used both of the whole bottles. (Lavender & Orange). Nothing. I could have used 2 big bottles of Tide of what I poured down my drain. If you won’t buy store brands because of the lack of smell, you most likely enjoy this. I would try it, then get you some of the laundry boost stuff like the crystals or those by Downy or Gain. You can use that and most likely still save $$$.

      • bevy says

        i use the liquid and melt a couple of tablespoons of downy unstoppables into the mix. my laundry smells so good! i have a front loading HE washer and have never had any issues. i use zote rather than fels naptha. the thing about either, is that it doesn’t make lots of suds, hence making it perfect for HE washers. i also make my own fabric softener using vinegar, cheap hair conditioner etc. i line dry the laundry and my entire backyard smells fresh! lol

      • Kim says

        Bev, I’d love to know how you make yours. I too have a front loading HE washer. I want to do the homemade laundry detergent, but I want the smell of my lovely Gain. I haven’t seen anything about Unstoppables other than it sitting on the shelf at the store. Do you mind sharing your recipe? Could you do in a dry formula to save time?

      • Brian says

        Just add some Gain powder to the mix. It will stretch that investment in Gain lowering the total cost of the mix. Still saves boatloads of money and then it also has that scent you like. I make the liquid version and sometimes add a capful to the divided bottles and then the entire bottle hasthat scent to it.

      • Vicki says

        Brian Did you omit the washing soda and added the gain? I got everything expect the washing soda all I could find was Trend and I don’t like that kind. So, can I just use the gain instead of the washing soda? Thank You

      • BobbieSue says

        If you cannot find washing soda, it’s not a big deal. Washing soda is great, but it is basically the same as the oxy bleach stuff. Washing soda is sodium carbonate (sometimes called sodium mono-carbonate) which is the main ingredient in the oxy bleach. You could also substitute a CloroxII type “color safe bleach”, again same main ingredient.

      • says

        Washing soda is really hard to find here, in Canada so, I contacted a chemistry prof (head of the Science and Tech. department at a local university). He told me that hot tub and spa places may carry it, as this is what would be used to clean either. He also said that you could look for it in the hardware store as – sodium carbonate.

      • Jenn says

        I love this, it is AMAZING on diapers!!!

        Elizabeth –> Check Superstore, Loblaws, Safeway, Save On, IGA, Costco, Overwaitea, Extra, No Frills, Sobeys etc; every one of those stores carry washing soda in Canada and have for many years. :). I use Arm and Hammer Washing Soda. I hope you find some or make it youraelf by just cooking baking soda at 400 for an hour.

      • Jenna says


        Do you still use the purex crystals since you wash diapers with this detergent ?

      • Julia says

        You haven’t had issues with your diapers using this detergent? If I could get away with using this on both clothes & diapers, that’d be awesome!

      • Susan G says

        See Jillee’s recipe for homemade washing soda, just baking soda baked for an hour!!

      • Laurie V. says

        Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is available in Canada. I can be either a Yellow background or dark blue background box.

        I’ve found it at Walmart and Food Basics and No Frills.

      • Sherri says

        another great use for unstoppables – use your scentsy or other brand wall plug in or any item you would use to melt scented wax for fragrance – much cheaper than those pricey wax bars

      • Debra says

        Sherri I do this too…LOVE it! I have one one my kitchen counter and one that doubles as a night light in my living room…I have a 2 year old so those rooms can tend to smell like diapers! It makes them smell like fresh laundry!

      • says

        Please if you dont mind can you share both of your recipes. I have the Top Load washer / Dryer so how much would you use for each .

    • Wendy Poyer says

      I have made this for almost a year now.Exact same ingredients but 2 bars of fals-naptha and 4 pounds of baking soda vs.2 cups.I use 3 bottles of purex crystals and yes it does smell nice but after using it for so long,i`ve become immune to the scent but my husbands secretary followed him around his office one day asking him what he was wearing that selled so good,it was the detergent!One batch lasts me about 3 months.It makes 150 loads,i`ve actually kept a “tally”sheet.Oh and another thing,i haven`t used a single drop of bleach in my whites since i started using this.

      • Jessica Baker says

        Can you help me with the fals-napth soap/ how to break it up?? I have read that it is clumpy
        And, how much does the
        2bars soap,
        4 pounds baking soda
        3 bottles purex crytals make
        And, how much do I put in my laundry

      • Jennifer says

        Hi there. I am reading the article of how to make laundry soap and I liked how you said it smells good. How much do you put in each load? 2 tablespoons? Thank you.

    • Brooke says

      I really like the scent of the purex softner. I bought a big bottle instead of the small one, but will add another big bottle so i can have more scent in it.

    • Mindy says

      Kelly, I have extremely sensitive skin and I have 2 children with eczema. Usually I break out(hives) badly after wearing/using anything washed in powder laundry detergent. I made this and used it for several months (family of 5 plus 3pets) and had no problems!

      • Lyndsay says

        I have the same problem with my kids. I sub ivory for the other bar soap, because that’s what we use to bathe them and have never had a problem. The only thing is, you have to use twice as many bars of Ivory. I buy a 10 pack for a little over $4, so it’s still cheap.

      • Dina says

        I make my dry soap with Ivory bar soap instead of Fels. Have always used one bar per batch. My recipe is 2 cups grated bar soap (which I easily get from one bar of Ivory) 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda.

      • Amanda says

        My husband has super super sensitive skin, and we have no problems with the Fels. I add the Purex crystals into the loads I want to use them in as he is allergic to those as well. The soap itself actually leaves a nice clean scent to it. My sister uses essential oil in her mixture, which works quite well. I also do not have issues with this in my HE washer using cold water, and I just put it into the soap dispenser. However, I must do a crap load of laundry because this recipe only lasts me 4 months, but I do have 4 children.

      • Anna says

        Another option for sensitive skin is Zote soap , walmart even carried Zote flakes , or Ivory Snow works too !

      • Joy Wall says

        I didn’t see Zote at Walmart. I saw a few people talking about using Baking Soda and Wash Soda, any reason to use both? I am making it tonight! YIKES! Wish me luck! I was going to use a kitchen hand grader for the bar. :)

      • Sooz says

        I hand grate the bar soap all the time! It’s not difficult at all and the smell of the grated soap is pleasant…almost citrus-like! Good luck! :o))

    • Sooz says

      Hi Kelly,
      The mix I shared with my friend consisted of Fels Naptha, Borax, and Washing Soda. She was plagued with an itchy rash with commercial soaps and used prescription creams to combat the itch. Once she used this mix, her rash disappeared. Her dermatologist said it’s the Fels Naptha… and requested the recipe!

    • Jenn says

      Yes, have had no issues with our sensitive skin using but I only use a cup of the crystals. The crystals are for smell only and we use hard bar organic baby soap and grate it in instead.

  6. mdoe37 says

    I’ve been using this for quite some time in my HE — although I put it in the dispenser (I may stop that now and dump it in the drum instead.).

    My recipe calls for washing soda. Because I was concerned about soap dissolving, I use grated Ivory bars. I leave them out and they dry a bit. Fels would probably dry out as well, its seems like a “waxier” soap to me. The website I got my recipe from actually uses oil of olay as the author has allergies. I don’t use the fabric softener crystals, but use vinegar in the rinse.

    My clothes don’t smell like anything when I take them out of the wash, just how I like it. They don’t smell like perfume, mountain fresh or vinegar. And no softener sheets either.

    • Zoquara says

      I use a Downy dryer bar… I can never remember to add softener or fabric sheets, and my clothes are super-staticy without something! I’d use vinegar if I could ever remember to add it! I use fels-naptha in cold water, and it dissolves fine.

      • Nina says

        Will check out the Downy Bar but when I used the dryer sheets it clogs up my screen in my dryer so that the air does not flow. If you use sheets take your screen out and see if water will flow through it. If it doesn’t you need to wash it often. There is something in the sheets that cling to the screen and make it a fire hazard. I use vinegar or Jillee’s softner recipe….put it in a downy ball. I use to clean for an elderly gentleman and I checked his dryer screen. Water would not go through at all because of his dryer sheets.

      • Candy says

        Just found this site and am looking forward to exploring more!
        I just want to add to what Nina said about clogging up the screen. Our uncle was in the repair business and told us to never use dryer sheets, etc. if you have a dryer with a moisture sensor for auto dry. The sheets also leave a residue on the sensor and burns it out. Of course the manufacturers will never tell you that, but will be happy to sell you a new sensor.

      • Beth says

        Candy, Thanks for the heads up on the dryer sheets! I have a moisture sensor and your tip will save my dryer. Hope your washing powder turns out great! Mine did.

      • tara g says

        what i do to remember to add the vinegar is to have it sitting by my soap so i just hit re-rinse and add the vinegar ( i use a 1/4 cup) then i put it in the dryer after it finishes the cycle.

    • Pati Gulat says

      Cut the Fels Naptha up in LARGE chunks and put about 6 of them on a paper plate and put them in the microwave for 3 minutes. Do this till you’ve done all the soap. They will puff up and then when the’re cool, they are like POWDER ! You can crumble them up or put in the food processor to make it a VERY FINE powder. WORKS AWESOME !!!!

      • mdoe37 says

        Thanks for the cooking the soap tip. Fels always stays in rather large curls I thought and didn’t want to chance it not dissolving “upstairs” in the washer works.

        Now. . . that I’m awake. My recipe calls for washing soda, but not baking soda. I just tossed some baking into my jar because I have softened well water, can’t hurt!!

      • Jennifer says

        I use a fine microplane and then rub it between my hands to break it up into a pretty fine powder. But I think I might try this next time, just for kicks :)

      • Bonnie says

        I microwave the Fels for my liquid soap, too before adding it to boiling water. Works very well! Cuts like soft cheese and looks spongy. I think when I run out of my liquid detergent (also a Jillee concoction ;), I’m going to try this and see how I like it.

      • Melanie W says

        I tried this but found that it created such strong smelling fumes as well as some smoking in my microwave I was very overcome by it all, so I had to stop and turn on the fan and open the windows to clear out the area. Wish that it would have worked, but looks like I’ll be hand grating (until I can get an old food processor that is retired from food processing service). Ready to try this soap though, love the idea of making large quantities and then not having to bother for a while!

      • Genie says

        I use my small processor(Emmie), and it worked very well. Added a cup of the borax/soda powder, and chunked up the Fels. Did it in small batches and the bowl and blade rinse out clean in the sink or I run through my dish washer. Tried the microwave and I got smoke and smell also. Three minutes may be too long for mine.

      • Wendy Poyer says

        I put my fels naptha on a plate and microwave it for about 15 seconds and grate it with a cheese grater and then layer all my ingredients in my kitchen aid mixer.

      • Brenda says

        I had the same thing happen but continued with the full bar. I didn’t have smoke but the smell was awful. It took me several days of cleaning the microwave before I could use it again. I placed a bowl of white vinegar and ran it on high for a several mins then let it set overnight. Thank goodness this worked or I would have been out a microwave, anything I cooked tasted like the soap.
        I need to make a new batch and remembered we have an old microwave in the garage I will have do this chore.Least it will be useful and keep it out of the landfill.
        I really think this recipe is best for HE machines and septic systems.

      • Melissa says

        i tried this and had a lot of dark, I guess burnt stuff, on the bottom of the plate. Did it cook too long.? I did three minutes but maybe my microwave has more wattage or somerhing. Have you ever had rhis happen to you?

      • Cindy says

        Whew! The fumes are strong, but the Fels Naptha did crumble easily after cooking in the microwave. Better to time this for Spring/Summer so I can open windows.

      • Kathy says

        I found out if the Fels Naptha has dried out and is an amber or honey color it will not puff up and will burn when you microwave it. Not enough moisture in the soap and it’s better to just grind it up. If it a creamy yellow, it puffs up great and easily turns into fine powder.

      • Mindy says

        This is an excellent tip!!! I actually killed my “food” processor because it was so hard to cut up even the smallest chunks! I will FOR SURE try this next time :)
        P.S. The hubs wasn’t happy that I had to spend money that we were “saving” on this soap to buy a new food processor but I was happy cuz I got to buy a bigger, better one! “It was on sale, hunny!” Hehehe!

  7. Marla Mutch says

    I make one just like this and it is great, I have not saved money tho….cause my mom and daughters carted off all the soap and I keep making more. It smells great and really gets the clothes clean. We switched to this from the All Free and Clear Soap. No one had a skin reaction and for the first time ever I had guests in the laundry room asking about my soap.

    • Wendy Poyer says

      My daughter now has her own home and likes the detergent too so i started having her buy the crystals and i buy the rest and then just split the batch.

  8. Emma says

    I like this one because you can add bleach if you happen to be one of those people that just have to bleach cloths and towels for sanitary reasons. :) The respective web sites say “no bleach with Dawn” Fine to use with oxy bleach “if you feel the need.

    • Amanda Collins says

      AWESOME! That answers my question. As a Massage therapist, I’m required by law to wash my work linens in hot water with soap and a CUP of bleach. I always wished I could whip up a batch of the dawn laundry soap, but I always feared my husband confusing the two.

      I wonder how you would convert this recipe if you’ve already used a little of the Borax and Washing soda to make a batch of the liquid?

      • Katherine says

        I make a smaller batch of this and I use 2 cups Borax, 2 cups washing soda, 1 fels naptha bar, 1 cup oxi-clean, although originally I didn’t include the oxi-clean in my recipe. You can omit that and add to specific loads if you want. I use it for whites mainly. Now my recipe includes it and I add half a cup of Downy Unstoppables. Purex crystals are softener and the Downy dots are just a fragrance enhancer. Obviously you can add more. 1-2 tbsp works great and should last around 100 loads. It breaks down to about 6-8 cents per load.

      • Gretchen says

        Katherine – We love the smell of Downy and don’t want that to stop. Do you use Purex Crystals with the Downy Unstoppables? If so what scent of Purex? I don’t want my clothes smelling like a bad mix of scents.

      • R. says

        I just made some last night. Used 1 bar of Fels, 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda and then just mixed really well. The Fels stayed a little chunkier (no food processor) but it all seemed to dissolve with out a prob in the washer.

    • Helen says

      I use bleach w/ the liquid “no/grate” dawn solution. Never had any problems with it. I will try this recipe though.

  9. Debbie says

    If you are making your own detergent to avoid chemicals…DON’T USE FELS NAPTHA. It is a petroleum product and can be harsh on delicate skin…if you can find Ivory flakes, they are the best…or Zote, Castille soap, or even Ivory bars are all better choices for the environment and your skin.
    Fels is a great spot treatment…dampen the facric and rub the bar on the stain before washing.

    • Denise says

      Debbie… The original formula contained napthalene, a benzene petroleum-based solvent. TODAY’S FORMULA CONTAINS NO NAPTHALENE. I am a Master Herbalist and as “natural” as they come and I use Fels Naptha all the time. Actually, the laundry soap works much better with the Fels Naptha than the other soaps and I also pretreat with the bar soap.

      • Jennifer says

        Denise, thanks for sharing that. I use Fels Naptha as well and had heard that is is petroleum-based, but the label didn’t indicate that to me and it works great. It’s also only .97/bar at walmart here so it’s even cheaper! We avoid all petroleum products so I was looking to use something else next time I make my laundry soap. I’m glad that I don’t have to! I do pretty much this recipe, sans baking soda. Not sure what the function of the baking soda is, though? Should I be adding it? I was thinking that washing soda is the “same” thing in a different form, since I know you can make it by baking baking soda.

      • sandyharsh says

        Jennifer, the baking soda is a water softener and will help your other ingredients work better. It’s not the same as washing soda.

      • says

        I agree with Denise. I’m relatively new to the “make-your-own-laundry detergent” scene and have tried both the Fels Naptha and the Ivory soap. Fels Naptha works MUCH BETTER at cleaning my family’s clothes. I have young children who create lots of laundry, and the batch I made with the Ivory soap just didn’t work as well to get our clothes clean.

      • Bonnie says

        It actually says on the back of the wrapper, with the ingredients “CONTAINS NO NAPHTHALENE”. My husband has very sensitive skin and loves the homemade laundry detergent I make (thanks to Jill’s recipe…).

      • Debra says

        I live right on top of my water table (literally yards from a creek) with a leaching septic system. I have shunned chemical cleaners because of this and so was researching the ingredients listed. Obviously, I would cut out the scented crystals but stumbled upon several websites that cautioned against Borax, as well. They said something about it being disruptive to hormonal systems. Have you heard anything like that?

      • Tina says

        Denise, Thank you, thank you thank you!! I’m trying very hard to be all things natural and good for my family, myself and my planet. I was very relieved to read your comment about the Felsnaptha soap!! Right now I use it to pre-treat stains and for any clothes that I hand wash, and I love it! Thank you for sharing! :)

    • Natalie P says

      I am soooo glad I read your comment. I always use Zote when I hand wash items or to soak items with stubborn stains and I was wondering if I could substitute. And just a tip if anyone cares to use it:I simmer my Zote with a pot full of water to make my “soaking water” and it leaves my home smelling awesome!