Homemade Laundry Detergent – Trial Size Version

trial size homemade detergent

I think today’s post was simply meant to be! About a week ago I was thinking about homemade laundry detergent and how more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon to make it! Which I think it fantastic! I would love to see the whole world making it! :-) It’s really just one of those things that until you’ve tried it, you just won’t know how great it is!

I won’t bore you with all the reasons I LOVE making my own laundry detergent. You can read all about that HERE, HERE, and HERE if you’re so inclined.

OK…I’m getting off track, as usual. The reason I think this post was meant to be is because while I was pondering all these people making their own detergent I realized that not everyone will have need for a HUGE batch. Families with kids…sure. But for singles, young couples, empty-nesters, etc….that’s a whole lotta soap!

At the same time I got a comment on my post about making a year’s worth of laundry detergent from Sarah who asked if I could come up with a “trial size” version of the recipe so she could try it out before committing to making “the big batch”. I can respect that sentiment!

So that’s what I’ve been up to…scaling back the “big batch” to a more manageable amount. It’s roughly 1/3 the original recipe and the thing I really like about it is that you can throw it all in a large jar and shake it up! Can’t do that with the “big batch”! :-)

Homemade Laundry Detergent – Trial Sized Version

  • 1 bar grated Fels Naptha soap
  • 3 cups Borax
  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups oxygen bleach
  • 1 cup (heaping) fabric softener crystals – store-bought or Homemade (optional)


trial size homemade detergent

Grate your bar of Fels Naptha either with the small holes on your cheese grater, in your food processor, or, if you have a powerful enough blender, use that! I have to say, this is the first time I have tried using my Blendtec for soap-grating and I was astonished at how well it worked! I thought I liked my Blendtec BEFORE…now I’m convinced it’s worth its’ weight in gold! ;-)


trial size homemade detergent

Then add all the ingredients in a large container, preferably one with a lid so you can shake it all up.


trial size homemade detergent

Like I said, this was one of the unexpected perks I discovered of making this size batch…being able to mix all the ingredients without having to resort to the “trash bag method”.


trial size homemade detergent

This amounts to roughly 100 ounces of laundry detergent and using 1/2 cup per load you should be able to get approximately 25 loads of clothes clean with it! I’d say that’s a pretty good “trial period”. :-)

Update: 2 Tablespoons per load is actually recommended.

trial size homemade detergent

Thank you Sarah for the inspiration for today’s post…I really hope you, and others, will find this helpful!



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    • JamieLee says

      It is fine for HE, but i would only use about 2 Tbs. If you use oxi clean the little blue scoop that comes with it is 2 Tbs so it makes it a little easier for you to measure it out. My clothes always come out nice and clean and smell great.

      • Laurie says

        for some reason, I found that after the cycle was complete in my HE washer, I had a detergent dispenser quite full of water — not just a little – a lot! Had to use a big thirsty washcloth to soak up all the leftover water! Experimented with different quantities, but more or less – the same result. Ran out of the homemade and bought some liquid at the store, and now – very little water in that dispenser! Any ideas what may have caused this? (I have not made the homemade liquid detergent but may give that a try to see if it works better than the homemade powder)

        • Jo says

          I don’t know what caused this at all! I have an HE and this has never happened. I just add my homemade laundry powder (this recipe minus the oxyclean and fabric softener crystals) to the drum. I don’t put it in the dispenser. I add vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. That seems to clean away any residue. I also use Ivory for the soap in this recipe. It dissolves very well. I’ve had no experience with Fels Naptha as I can’t get it here where I live. I have also made the liquid. It’s great too!

          • says

            I have found Fels Naptha at Wal Mart and various small chain budget/dollar type stores in my area (Gulf Coast). It costs about a dollar a bar. My grandma used to have a cheap aluminum pan that she would melt and keep the FP soap in to pour on stained collars, etc… She would just heat it on laundry day.

        • Nicole Curtis says

          i have an HE and i also just put it in the drum, one thing about this detergent is how well it rinses, I make the liquid (pretty much the same stuff) and to it just takes a quick rinse to clean out the bucket. No residue at all. Keep trying i think you will like it

        • Rebecca says

          Put the homemade soap directly in the barrel of the HE washer. I been making this soap for about 6 moths now and love it. And everyone I gift it to loves it as well. I myself use 1/4 cup in my HE directly into the barrel.

        • Dawn says

          Do not put a powder in the dispenser of an HE machine put it straight into the drum. I would never put powder in the dispenser I’ve always used liquid in that with my HE.

  1. says

    Awesome. I’m definitely one of those single people who was wondering if I could make a small batch. I realize I have all the measurements wrong as I just did one cup of each thing and one bar of soap. WHOOPS! Also, I noticed you said use a half cup per load…I thought it was two tablespoons!! I’ve been using 4 tbsp for big loads which I guess is a half cup anyway…

    • Susie says

      I tried to comment before, but I don’t think it worked! Anyway, I thought it was 2 Tbsp., too! Maybe that was the HE version? Well, I just wanted to let you know that 4 Tbsp. is only 1/4 cup, so if you wanted to use the full 1/2 cup measure, you would need to use 8 Tbsp! :)

      I bought all of the ingredients to make this laundry detergent a few months back, but have been putting it off for just this reason — I didn’t want such a big batch! This trial size will be PERFECT!! I can’t wait to make it! Maybe later today…

      THANK YOU!

    • Gianna says

      I’ve got a recipe that also calls for 1 bar of soap to 1 Cup each of Borax & Washing Powder. I’ve been using two coffee scoops per load & my clothes come out clean & fresh. I think if that’s the way you’ve been doing it & haven’t had any problems, you’re fine.

      • Linda says

        This is the same recipe that I’ve been using for over a year now. I only add baking soda, oxyclean or Purex crystals as needed to loads that need that something extra. I’ve also used Zote & Ivory bars. It all works great! Love it & the money I’m saving

      • katy says

        This is also the recipe I use – 1 bar soap (I use castile soap, simply because it’s under $1/bar at my grocery), 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup Borax. Easy to remember. Might try cutting the baking soda back to 1/2 cup. I use approximately 2 tbsp (1 coffee scoop) per load in a non-HE washer.

    • CTY says

      La Toya– for years I had a “chest sheet ” of measurement equivalents on my refrigerator. Jillee made a beautiful cheat sheet for this–for now here is a basic reference.
      3 tsp = 1 TB 2 TB= 1/8 C 4 TB=1/4C roughly 5TB= 1/3 C 6 TB fpr 3/8 C 8 TB= 1/2 C 10 TB= 5/8 C nearly 11 TB= 2/3 C 12 TB=3/4 C 14 TB =7/8 C and 16 TB=1 C
      These days I have this memorized–but now I have a new “cheat sheet” with metric. Maybe Jillee can make a cute one for the metric. I really do like metric better–the measurements are much more precise and make it super easy to halve & double a recipe. Jillee–I could also use a metric temperature “cheat sheet” now that I get sooo many recipes on line. You are so good at making pretty ones.

    • Rita says

      Hi: Actually there is a recipe out there using one cup of each ingredient and half a bar of soap. That’s the one I use. Shouldn’t be a problem. I don’t use the crystals so that might be a different amount.

    • Nicole says

      This is Jillee’s latest version. I still use the first dry recipe which was a cup of Borax, a cup of super washing soda and a grated bar of soap. Maybe that’s what you’ve been using? And actually 4 TB is a quarter cup and 8 TB is a half a cup so you’re not going way overboard. So getting back to the recipe above, could anyone tell me if they notice a big difference when adding the oxygen bleach and baking soda compared to the simplified version I’m still using?

  2. JamieLee says

    My homemade detergent is a lot like this one but i refuse to use Fels Naptha soap. I use Dr. Bronner’s bar soaps instead. I have read that Fels Naptha contains stoddard solvent which is a mixture of multiple chemicals made from petroleum. Repeated or prolonged exposure to high concentrations has resulted in upper respiratory tract irritation, central and peripheral nervous system effects, and possibly hematopoetic, liver and kidney effects. Of course it has also been used for at least 100 years so i guess you can use at your own risk.
    Btw i love your site! It is on my tool bar and i visit it at least once a day!

    • mdoe37 says

      Stoddard solvent is not in the listed ingredients on the website. It contained it at one time, but not now. This keeps being perpetuated every time its mentioned in a recipe. I would be less concerned about the tiny miniscule of residue left on my clothing after washing and rinsing than what is in the air of the last breath I took. Let’s say there is a 1/2 teaspoon of this in the load of wash diluted by X gallons of water……..its not like you are soaking and not rinsing clothes in full strength soap.

      • Debra says

        The recipe for the laundry soap bar is:

        16 oz lard
        16 oz coconut oil
        12.16 oz water
        5.3 oz lye

        There are some great tutorials on how to make soap in the crock pot, I believe Jillie recently posted one as well. Very important that you run a recipe through a lye calculator to make sure that your lye and water amounts are accurate for the amount of oil that you’re using. Soapcalc is a great one.

        • says

          thank you for posting your recipe! I have been wanting to make my own soaps for ages…and a laundry bar would be very useful and great for gift giving too!!! If you wanted to add scents to it, how would you go about doing so? I know that it’s all by weight to what weight would you add the EO’s too, the fat/oil portion or the water?

    • Stephanie says

      Jamielee – I won’t use the Fels Naptha either. The first time I went to buy the ingredients to make my very first batch of laundry soap, I read the information on the wrapper, as I always do. When I got to the point where they very strongly emphasized users to not to let this stuff get on your skin, I put it right back on the shelf. I use castile soap or Ivory instead. I don’t know if it works as well as Fels Naptha or not but I don’t want my family using that stuff. I mean that label was so strongly worded that it kinda scared me. I love being able to make my own laundry products. I am so thankful to have found Jillee’s site. Thanks, Jillee!

      • anna b. says

        i use ivory mostly, but have used fels-naptha in the past. i think the ivory works better and more efficiently. you have to soften the FN to get it to dissolve completely in less than scalding water. ivory dissolves with less heat and agitation (i have a top loader) and my clothes (and my 3 kids and construction working husband) are clean and smell lovely. i love the smell of ivory…we use it in the bath too. FN is difficult to find in our area and costs the same amount as 4 bars of ivory.

    • Elizabeth says

      I also won’t use Fels Naptha because it contains Formaldehyde. If I am making things homemade, I am not going to trade one set of bad chemicals for another.

      I bought some Dr. Brommers at Target (it was in the natural products like Burt’s Bees) but Kroger also sells it. I don’t really care for it though.

      I just made my first batch of cold process castille soap which was super easy and in 48 hours (after it neutralizes) you can take the bars dissolve them in water and get liquid soap out of it to use right away. I imagine that after the bars harden up in 6 weeks, I could use that as a substitute for the Fels Naptha. Much like you are doing with the Dr. Brommers.

    • Buddy says

      My experience with laundry detergent recipes using Fels Naptha soap has not been a good one. I found that my towels (bath and kitchen) no longer soaked up water with extended use. They also had a very “greasy” feel to them. It was almost like someone smeared vaseline on them and dried them to haites and back. Now I understand why. Thank you for posting!

  3. Zoquara says

    I don’t use anything except Fels Naptha, Borax, and Washing Soda in mine. I think it’s something like 1 bar FN to 2 cups each borax and washing soda, and I only use 1-2 tsp. (I keep a recipe card in my “excess bucket” for when I need to make more.) If I have something that has a smell that needs extra “oomph”, I add about 1/4-1/3 cup baking soda to the wash. I wash in straight cold water, and it dissolves fine. I don’t feel the need for any extra scent added to my laundry… I use a dryer bar in my dryer (Yes, I’ve thought about making my own fabric softener and sheets… the dryer bar is easier to remember!) and that’s enough for me. Then again, I’ve stopped using cleaners that are heavily scented and chemically, so now I’m super sensitive to things that DO smell!

  4. Mary D. says

    I’ve been using this for almost a year now. I have been using 2 t. But my washing repairman said 1 t. Is better. He also said too much detergent is the #1 cause of washers needing repair. So I have been doing 1t. For a few weeks now, works great.

  5. says

    I’ve been using this recipe for a while now, and love it. My only difference is that I use my own homemade soap instead of the store bought. I also don’t add the fabric softener part because I use my own homemade dryer balls.

    I’m still using my first batch, which was much larger than I thought it would be. So, I sent some to my daughters to use, who also love it. :)

  6. Susie E says

    How does this compare to your “no grate” laundry soap? I’ve been using that for almost a year, but I have noticed that my whites seem to be getting dinghy, especially the menfolks undershirts. Which one do you think works best?

    PS Love having your blog delivered to my reader. I love being able to go green, save green and be healthy, all at the same time!

    • Michele Glatt says

      I would also like to know this answer. I’ve been using the No Grate recipe for months now. So far, whites are staying white but I notice more talk about the dry laundry soap. Is there a favorite?

      • says

        To be honest, I like both! The only advantage to the powdered I can think of is that you don’t have to make it as often. But the no-grate is so easy to make…that I think it’s sort of a wash. ;-) I know this isn’t very helpful….lol.

    • Calliope says

      My guess is that you dont airdry your clothes. Hence the dingy whites.
      Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice in the wash and then airdry in the sun for sometimes and your whites will turn white again.
      I’ve been using my own homemade detergent for almost 7 years now and the whites are never dingy or yellow

      • Gwyn says

        Not all of us live in climates that make air drying outside in the sun possible year round (lucky you that you do)…though when warm dry weather does hit I find using the lemon juice/sun method works well, it also is just so nice to have laundry that has had fresh air!

    • Trixie F says

      I had trouble with other laundry soap recipes turning my clothes grey and leaving spots on them, but I have not had any problems with this stuff. I wash all of my clothes in cold, except whites and I do them at the hottest setting on my washer. The other bonus about this soap vs. the no-grate is that if you want to, it is safe to use bleach with this recipe. You can’t do that with the no-grate because Dawn soap has ammonia and bleach and ammonia are BAD BAD. Another trick that I use sometimes is to pour white vinegar in the bleach cup if I think something looks a little dingy, it works great for any color. I also used Jillee’s homemade liquid fabric softener (vinegar + hair conditioner) in every load. My clothes are coming out cleaner than ever before.

  7. Leola Gajeski says

    A couple things, There are 16 TBSP in a cup, so 4 TBSP is 1/4 cup of laundry soap. I made the big batch, keep it in a large oxyclean pail, and use one (oxyclean) scoop per load. I, too, have noticed whites getting a bit dinghy. I have HE front load machine, and use cold water. I did not put in any fabric softener, or scent. Other than the whites issue, I do like the soap.

    • Gwyn says

      I have heard that too much soap will make whites dingy over time. I have no idea if this is what’s happening but it’s a possibility. I think using white vinegar in your wash may help rid the clothes of residue and then perhaps cutting back how much of the laundry soap you are using will prevent it from happening again. The type of washer may also make a difference. I think I have heard that you need less soap for that type of washer. But I don’t have one so I’m not speaking from experience on that.

      • Betsy says

        I did a load of whites the “hardcore” way and they were whiter than I’d ever experienced before!! I made Jillie’s homemade oxyclean (1/3 cup wash soda + 1/3 cup hydrogen peroxide in the wash water), and let it sit for a few hours (I know it was as least 6, probably 8 and possibly overnight… I can’t remember now – it wasn’t hard for me… I put it on “soak” and I generally forget my laundry for a day anyway – this time, I could say it was on purpose, haha!). I also added 1/4? c vinegar to my fabric softener holder so that it would go in the rinse cycle without having to “try”. They were IMMACULATE!!

        I have noticed that my whites aren’t STAYING as white as that load was… but I KNOW I use too much soap. It just feels wrong to put so little in! I use her no-grate formula, but concentrated (for now). It didn’t “convert” to concentrated like I planned, lol (aka, I have to shake before each load… which means I cut out too much water). And since I can’t emotionally put the right amount in, next time I make it I’m going to make it “normal” – so I can still put the same AMOUNT I want in, and have it be the right amount, lol!

        I’d bet you’re just using “too much soap” – so cut back on the soap, and put some vinegar in the rinse cycle. And try her oxyclean to get them “good” to start with :-P

  8. Dacia says

    I used this recipe for approx 6-7 months. The only difference was the recipe I found was not measuring the ingredients in cups but in whole boxes (a whole box of borax, box of washing soda, box of baking soda, tub of oxi clean, container of Purex…to 3 bars of FN). (Obviously this was the full size batch and not trial size.) Anyway, the recipe called for only 2-3 Tbs of soap per load. In time I had issues with oily spots and odors on the clothing. I researched alternate recipes and deducted the oxi clean and Purex were diluting the soap-to-additives ratio, without increasing the instructions of using 2-3Tbs per load. So I added a 4th bar of Fels Naptha to increase the amount of actual soap in the batch, but this did not resolve the issue.

    I write all this to say I agree with Jillee’s measurement advice of 1/2 cup per load, if you’re going to add the oxi clean and Purex to your batch. If you leave out the oxi clean and Purex, then 2-3 Tbs would be effective. I worked on this recipe for months and months, trying to resolve oily stains and oily odors. Trust me. Use 1/2 cup. Or, alternatively, make your soap WITHOUT blending in the oxiclean and purex, use 2-3 Tbsp per load, add your Purex and oxiclean to the wash separately, if it makes you feel better.

    • Trixie F says

      Wow! I never had that problem at all with this dry recipe (the one that called for boxes, not cups) and I only use 1/8 cup (2 Tbs) per load. I use Jillee’s white vinegar + hair conditioner homemade liquid fabric softener and wash every load (except whites) in cold water. If my clothes seem a little bit gray-ish, I just run them through the next time with 1/2 c of white vinegar in the bleach cup and they are perfect once again. No oily spots here – ever. Although, I have to say that I didn’t have enough of either Fels-Naptha or Zote soap on hand to make the batch so I used 2 bars of Zote and 1 bar of Fels-Naptha when I made it. Maybe that’s the difference? I would not recommend anyone using a full 1/2 cup of this in their machine, seems like it could/would clump up and start clogging drains and such.

    • Liz says

      I did not have the spots, but I have a front loader washer. I have stayed with this recipe, but like you I have omitted the oxyclean and purex….. I did add homemade “crystals” and I think my results have improved.

  9. Shannon says

    I absolutely love the idea of this! Where do I buy Fels Naptha soap, washing soda, and oxygen bleach? Also, this may sound stupid, but with the word bleach, is this safe for colors? I am just getting into this DIY lifestyle to better know what is in our products & to save money and this has me excited! Thank you!

  10. pam says

    I have also had oily stains on clothes..they smell clean, but have the stain..also I noticed that some of my clothes come out with lighter color on part of it, like it had more oxiclean on that part of the clothes..I put my detergent in first and let it dissolve.

    • Jo says

      Pam, I have had the same experience as you with the oily stains on my clothes. I found out that it was from the soap I used. I’m from Canada, and I can’t find Fels Naptha here. So I used another laundry soap brand (Sunlight) and it left lots of oily stains. So I read that Ivory soap also works. So I use Ivory now, and never have oily stains. I also didn’t add the oxyclean to the recipe. I just add it separately to whites. I was concerned about it fading my clothes. Hope this helps!

    • Gwyn says

      I also have always used the OxyClean separately and not added it to the mix. It is more expensive because you are using the regular amount for each load but I haven’t had any of the problems you talk about. Also when I have particularly stained or stinky clothes or just every so often with whites and t’s, I pre-soak the load using the OxyClean and then use soap in the regular wash. I also put some White Vinegar in that pre-soak sometimes, especially with stinky stuff. Maybe some of that will help?

    • Shannon says

      I have noticed the same problem with my families clothes. I have a HE machine but its not a front loader. I wasnt sure if that was the problem. I have stopped using the homemade on clothes and will use it on some bedding and extra blankets. I made the liquid laundry soap. Im glad its not just me.

  11. Susie says

    Another question: I bought the Sun brand of Oxyclean from Family Dollar, as I believe others on here have suggested. Has anyone else noticed that when you put it into the water, it does not dissolve? I get VERY HARD clumps of caked Oxyclean throughout my wash that do not dissolve for anything… Is this because I wash using cold water?? Is there a fix for this? I’ve also tried making the homemade “Shout” laundry pre-treat spray on this site and the same thing happens… Even if I shake the solution thoroughly before spraying, it ends up clogging my sprayer and nothing comes out!! :( Any advice or suggestions anyone can offer would be very much appreciated!! :)

    • Trixie F says

      I used Sun brand and I haven’t had any trouble. I wash in cold and only use 2 Tbs per load. If you’re using more, try cutting back the amount some and see if that helps. BTW, my machine is an HE machine that used VERY little water.

      A trick my Mom used to do with her regular top load machine was to put the water on and add her powdered detergent in first. She would “stir” the stuff up with an old broomstick once a few inches of water was in the bottom of the machine, then put her clothes in. It worked for her. :)

    • says

      I have had this happen when washing in cold/cool water. To resolve it I put the powder in my washer first, start the washer filling on hot but stop it after a minute or so, then load my clothes in and adjust my washer settings to the temperature I want, and restart. This helps the powder start to dissolve and so far I haven’t noticed anymore clumping.

      I read somewhere that a good ratio to go by is 2:1:1 — 2 parts soap to 1 part each washing soda and borax, and use 1-2T per load. I also add 1 part each baking soda and oxiclean. Because of the extras I use 4T of the mixture in each load. So far so good! I feel like this gets my laundry cleaner than the homemade liquid I’ve made before.

      I don’t like Fels Naptha and discovered that my Home Depot carries the 14.1 oz. bars of pink Zote.

  12. says

    Love this- I jumped on the bandwagon sometime last year and have been doing the smaller batches (1 c borax 1 c washing soda 1 bar soap). I’ve had fun trying different soaps, starting with the fels naptha, but my favorite is the tea tree soap from trader joe’s (I’m sure any tea tree soap would work just fine, I just love the properties of tt oil!)

  13. Setjay says

    Hello everybody,

    It’s been a while since i want a homemade laundry detergent !
    I’ve come here in France with :
    - “savon de marseille” instead of fels naptha
    - “bicarbonate de soude” (baking soda) to cook at 200°C to make “carbonate de soude” (washing soda)

    But borax is prohibited in France… How could i replace it please ?

      • Cassie says

        They’re not the same thing, and they’re not interchangeable. Boron is an element, but Borax is the chemical compound sodium tetraborate decahydrate, made of boron, sodium, oxygen, and water molecules. If you try buying boron you’ll get a metallic black lump instead of a box of white powder.

    • Diana says

      Just omit the borax. I have heard people omit because they want all natural cleaners. May need to add more washing soda but maybe not. Play with the amounts and see what works with your water and machine.

    • Rebekah says

      I realize I’m about a year late, but I’m in France as well and just found borax at my local pharmacy. It isn’t used much here, but they did have it. I’m glad to know I can use the savon de Marseille- how has that worked for you?

  14. Peggy says

    Jill, just wanted to tell you how much my family, and now my whole neighborhood, loves this homemade laundry detergent!!! I swear by the dry version, and you can get all the ingredients for pennies at Walmart and dollar stores. My neighbor Joe mixes batches of the liquid and we talk smack to each other on which one is better (but he has a front loading machine – I don’t). Thank you so very much for adding this to my lifestyle! Love it!

    • Jo says

      I use this powder in my HE washer. Works great! You can buy commercial powder HE brands. The sales lady where I bought my washer sold me a container of powder HE detergent for a rediculous price! I was so happy to see this homemade recipe. Love it! It’s really whatever you prefer.

  15. Diana Smith says

    Good idea to make the trail size. Our heavily minteralized water and homemade soap do not go together. Clothes get dingy and grey. . Gonna give your recipe a try though and appreciate the small batch instructions. Thanks.

  16. Cyndee Baldwin says

    I prefer to use ZOTE soap, It’s Pink! it smells way better than Fels, you can get it on amazon, Ebay, or any Mexican related store or small hardwares carry it. sometimes walmart. it’s made in Mexico. it works great in bar form for stain stick

  17. Pat Langer says

    Where do you get a container like that? I’ve been looking for one (or 2 or 3!)
    You’ve changed my life btw!! I am not a Susie homemaker but have made
    My own lotions, I now wash my face with oil, and use the homemade liquid
    Laundry soap!!! Thank you!

  18. Terri says

    i’ve been reading comments (on another site) about the dangers of using borax to make laundry detergent, how it’s bad for the environment, etc. do you know anything about that, jillee?

  19. amy says

    did a similar thing for Christmas. I was making a batch of liquid detergent for myself, and I put a couple of cups of that mix, less the extra water, in some washed out plastic containers. I printed up instructions for how to use it based on different machine types, and even provided the dry ingredients (and the recipe) and a 5-gallon bucket for them to make their own batch or pass it along to someone else.

    Sometimes that’s all it takes for someone to use it and start making it for themselves.

  20. says

    I had a hard time finding Fels Naptha when I first started making homemade laundry soap a few years ago. So I now use Zote–the pink bar. I do like the dry formula soap but still prefer to make the cooked formula more. I can take a bit out of the bucket and rub it on stains without wetting the garment first. I make just about all of our cleaning products now. Now I only wish someone would come up with a recipe for Murphy’s Oil Soap.

  21. Karen says

    I made this the other day exactly per your recipe and we have used it a few times and my laundry just does not smell fresh. To be honest it kind of smells like old socks. I made the softener and put double the oils in it per your recipe and still the laundry smells dirty to me. what an I doing wrong?
    We have a water softener so it can’t be the hard water.

  22. Skye says

    For whatever it’s worth, I only use 1 Tbsp per load–2Tbsp for a REALLY dirty load!! I also have found people want homemade but don’t often have time or desire to make it themselves. So, I have been selling it through my facebook page! People will pay for the convenience!! And it provided enough extra income to pay for our Christmas this past year!!

  23. Kim Stewart says

    I bet if they knew the cost–how inexpensive it is to make–even more people would jump on our bandwagon! I’ve been making the liguid verson….dissolving ingredients in marm water, then it turns to a gel when cooled– for about a year now. I’ve talked several friends into it, and they couldn’t be more pleased.

    • Skye says

      I agree, Kim, but if people don’t want to take the time to figure it out, then I’m happy to make it a “convenience item” for them and make back the money I spend on it, plus a few bucks in my own pocket as well!

    • Melissa says

      Angi- I was confused over “Washing Soda” too until our laundry ministry was making this stuff. It is right next to the Borax at Walmart. Still not 100% sure what it does, but after reading the box, it has a ton of uses!

      • Susie says

        Hi, Jillee,

        Sorry to single you out, but I posted this comment earlier this morning and no one seems to have any input on it. Any ideas?

        I bought the Sun brand of Oxyclean from Family Dollar, as I believe others on here have suggested. Has anyone else noticed that when you put it into the water, it does not dissolve? I get VERY HARD clumps of caked Oxyclean throughout my wash that do not dissolve for anything… Is this because I wash using cold water?? Is there a fix for this? I’ve also tried making the homemade “Shout” laundry pre-treat spray on this site and the same thing happens… Even if I shake the solution thoroughly before spraying, it ends up clogging my sprayer and nothing comes out!! :( Any advice or suggestions anyone can offer would be very much appreciated!! :)

        • CTY says

          I think I know what is happening. If there is too much moisture around it can clump–either en route to the store or at home especially if you live in a very humid place. Empty it out when you get home–if there are clumps break them up by hand–if it is still clumped use a food processor. Once you get it to a powder store it in an airtight container. Also be sure to store your finished product in an airtight container. If there are still troubles add a moisture control packet to your jar–the little packets that come in things that say do not eat (like the one that comes when you buys shoes etc.–my packets come from the powdered milk I buy). Also know that the Borax, Washing Soda or Oxy-clean can cause the clumping. Know too that some bar soaps can add moisture–just set the grated soap out on a cookie sheet for a day or so to dry out. Ever been to Houston? It gets very humid there.

        • says

          Try dissolving your powder in about 1 cup of boiling water. Nuke (or heat on the stove) 1 cup of water to the boiling point. While it’s coming to the boil, start your washer filling with water. Add your powder to the cup of boiling water and dissolve it, then add that to the water in your washer. Stir it around and THEN add the laundry to it.

          Don’t know about the “shout”. I just use a bit of the Original Blue Dawn to a stain/grease spot, rub it in a bit and it’s gone when it comes out of the washer. I’ve not had a problem with it fading clothing, but what I use doesn’t have the bleach in it. And I do use it even for the occasional times I use bleach in my laundry. The amount of ammonia in the drop or two of Dawn isn’t going to create a problem using it this way. I’ve used Dawn in my homemade floor cleaner (1 Tbs dawn, 1/4 cup ammonia, 2 Tbs washing soda, 2 gal water). I normally use some ammonia-free cleaner that I found on-line, but after a while, my white floors looks gray, so I’ll break out the ammonia. I hate the stuff, but for me, it’s the only thing that will take up 6 months of no ammonia use.

  24. Claudia says

    I also have a problem with the smell on my clothes…I have notice that it is mostly on stuff my kids have thrown upon like sheets, blankets, pj’s undershirts?? Why? I use the liquid kind with zote borax and washing soda?.. Help

  25. says

    How many ounces are in a bar of Fels Naptha? I’m also from Canada and can’t find it in my locale, I’ve bought Sunlight bars (130grams) but I’m not sure how many to use in the mix.
    The other question I have is dealing with very hard water…Ivory bar soap leaves such a scum in my bathroom sink that I’m concerned as to what it would leave on my clothes if I try it instead of the Sunlight (read that Sunlight could leave oily stains?) Should I be adding more washing soda or baking soda to soften the water? Or do you think trial by error?
    I’ve got 4 kids so I really want to give all the laundry products here a try. Laundry detergent, softener and scent beads. You can imagine how much store bought product I go through in a week with 6 of us!

    • Jo says

      Hi Carolyn,
      I had oily stains from the Sunlight. I know others have used it with little or no problem. I got the stains out with Jillee’s recipe…(1 tsp. Dawn dishwashing detergent, 3-4 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide, and a couple tablespoons of baking soda) I also have hard water and I use this recipe. There’s a few things you could try. I use vinegar in the rinse (actually I put it in the fabric softener dispenser). That rinses off all residue. You could also add epsom salts instead of the crystals. That softens waters, as well as the baking soda. It’s worth a try! I also use mostly cold water. So maybe the Sunlight soap didn’t dissolve like the Ivory does. Maybe it would work better in warm water.

  26. Melissa says

    Question- What are “fabric softener crystals?” Do you have to use them, especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies???

    We have been using homemade laundry soap at our laundry ministry facility. I’ve been hesitant to try it with all our clothing, but have used it with some linens and have been pretty happy. Glad to see a recipe that is finally “trail sized.”

    • Mindy says

      Melissa, you don’t have to use the fabric softener crystals. I don’t. It just saves a step when it comes to doing the laundry because you don’t have to add fabric softener (if you do).

  27. Audrey says

    I made the full size in January of this year and have been extremely happy with it! I have sensitive skin and have to be careful of what I use to wash with. I’ve had NO irritations with this mixture – VERY happy about that :) I’ve noticed that I can’t use more than 2 Tbsp per load or the fabrics feel like they have a film on them. However, when 2 Tbsp are used, everything smells wonderful and feels awesome! Towels and blankets are SOFT. I’m really happy I made this. My husband was hesitant because he’s never used a powder detergent before (and he’s skeptical of home-made anything) but he’s come around. Especially now that we have enough detergent to last us a LONG while :) And it makes an easy and quick gift for whatever may come up. Thanks, Jillee! LOVE your blog!

    • CTY says

      I was using Purex Crystals & Unstoppables thinking they were a scented fabric softener–I have since learned that they are only for scent. You still need a fabric softener (I use vinegar)
      I think this is a ploy for the companies to sell one more product to you. I have caved to limited use though. I add crystals to only the loads I want: like my dog car seat covers, towels and sheets. Adding to every load makes my husband smell like a girl (guessing a manly scent will be sold next) and I found it competes with my favorite perfume.

      I found that if I use the scent booster on my guest size towels and I place the stack out when I have a houseful they serve as an air freshener in the bathroom. After washing those little towels I store them in a zip lock bag to keep them fresh until I need them.

  28. Brenda says

    I too was told by my washer repairman not to use powder in my HE machine. I recently had to purchase a new one, and don’t want to risk using the powder. Do you have a recipe for a trial-size liquid detergent? Thanks :)

    • mdoe37 says

      I have an HE as well. I use the powdered version, but was concerned over time if the grated soap might not dissolve in the chute/tubing from the dispenser. I’ve been tossing it in on the clothes directly with no problems.

    • Melissa says

      How odd. I’ve been told by multiple techs to only use powder in the HE machines and nothing else. The liquids tends to film up. It is also suggested to use powder instead of liquid for cloth diapers too.


      I’ve been using powder (Allen’s) with all our laundry and cloth diapers for years now with our HE Machine with no issues. Each month I run the clean washer cycle with the Tide Cleaner and Use the Clorox wipes with the seal, plus I always empty out the excess water from the basin (my machine has a port at the front that allows you to do this, but not all do). So far no problems and no stink.

  29. Julie says

    I see the 4 1/2 cups of oxygen bleach…is there any way to use your recipe for home made oxiclean here.? I was going to do up the fabric softener crystals to add to the trial size version but I was wondering about the oxiclean…Thanks!

  30. Mindy says

    Ahhh Jillee, how I love your “recipes!” On Saturday, I just made my 4th batch of laundry soap (I use your liquid version), 5th batch of fabric softener and 2nd batch of dishwasher soap…posted on Facebook that I had made them along with how much $$ I was saving as a result. Within 5 minutes of posting, I had 6 people ask me for the recipes! I sent them out, along with a link to your site! Everyone who I have given your recipes and your links LOVE them! You are truly a blessing to all of your readers! Thank you soooooo much for your diligence in helping all of us!


  1. […] my own laundry detergent and it leaves clothes and linens smelling like dinosaurs! Mmm. So nice. Here is the recipe I use for laundry detergent, in the event you wish to be engulfed in sheets like a […]

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