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2011 Do-It-Yourself Experiment #4: Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap

A few years ago, I attempted making liquid laundry detergent. The entire recipe bombed and I ended up throwing it out.

Ever since then, I’ve been leery of trying homemade laundry detergent again. But, after all the rave reviews many of you have emailed in, I worked up my courage to try again. And I’m so glad I did because I had a much better experience this time!

I used the recipe I found from DIY Natural. It only takes three ingredients and seemed pretty fail-proof!

Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap

Shave or grate the bar of soap.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together. Thoroughly stir together for about five minutes.

Yields 32-64 loads, depending upon whether you use one or two Tablespoons per load. I’ll report back soon to let you know if I think this would work for our family long-term. It seems promising!

In case you missed it, here’s the list of the 12 Do-It-Yourself Projects I Plan to Try in 2011:

January: Make From-Scratch Chai Tea

February: Make Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

March: Make Homemade Hamburger Buns

April: Make Homemade Laundry Soap (I did attempt this one time before, but it was with a pre-made mix someone gave me. So I’m going to try again — this time completely from scratch!)

May: Make Appliqued Flower Tee

June: Make Homemade Hummus

July: Make Freezer Jam

August: Make Homemade Soap

September: Sew a Rag Quilt

October: Make Homemade Apple Butter

November: Make Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

December: Make Homemade Marshmallows

Have you attempted any new do-it-yourself projects recently? I’d love to hear how they went!

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175 Comments

  • Jenny Goodrich says:

    Would you share how much you spent on the ingredients for this project? Is your modivation to make your own laundry detergent more about price or about finding a green healthy option?
    Seems pretty easy, I will be watching for your post about how this soap works for you! Thanks 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      Good question! I spent $0.73 on the Ivory soap (see my post here: https://moneysavingmom.com/2011/05/super-savings-saturday-25.html) and I already had the other ingredients because I had purchased them to make homemade dishwashing detergent last month.

      And my motivation for trying this was to see if the time and money was worth it compared to buying this at the store. It will take me at least 4-6 weeks of using it to determine that.

      • Crystal says:

        How is the dishwashing detergent working for you?

      • Crystal: I’ve used this for about two years now (with FelsNaptha soap instead of Ivory) and I was a “Tide” ONLY girl (due to allergies and such). Oh, and I have 5 kids, ages 12 and under….no stains!! 🙂

        I know that others that use it may disagree, but my only suggestion is that you use warm water for optimal cleanliness. When we bought our new washer, the main function that I used washed in cold and I wasn’t satisfied with the clothes being clean enough – but when I switched to warm, it was back to normal!

        • Brandy@TeamChandler says:

          Jessica, I was wondering about using this on clothes that I just needed to wash and save my other detergent for the heavy duty stuff. What are your thoughts on that?

          I like this idea for the laundry. The modified receipt for the dish liquid is probably not ideal for us b/c we seem to get it free around here with coupons….but I’m running low on my laundry detergent stockpile so would love to try this.

        • Liz says:

          What if you melted the amount of powder for a load in a cup of hot water and then pour it in? Would that work as another option instead of using warm or hot water to wash?

          • Jen says:

            I will sometimes let the washer run on “hot” for the first minute while filling to dissolve the soap and then switch it to the temp I want to wash in……….

  • A. Bell says:

    Can this recipe go in HE front-load washers? I know that HE washers call for HE detergent only.

  • Symantha R says:

    I have an HE washer. I get a box of HE powered laundry detergent and add a box of baking soda and some Borax or washing soda. I can double the box that way.

    • Roxanne says:

      I do this too. I feel it gets the clothes cleaner.

      I’ve never tried the homemade liquid laundry detergent, but the dry recipe Crystal listed left our clothes sort of dingy.

      Replacing the grated soap with regular powdered laundry detergent seems a good alternative for us.

  • Christy Marez says:

    I just started make my own powdered laundry soap and love it!! And I was a liquid detergent only kind of girl. I will never go back to liquid or other detergents!

    • Sarah says:

      Christy, can you fill us in on how much it costs you to make a batch, perhaps breaking it down by load? I just got a great deal on All liquid detergent at the store tonight, making it about $.06/load. If this DIY recipe beats that, I’m game to try it!!

      • Candice says:

        Here’s the per load cost breakdown based on the following prices:
        Borax (76oz) – $3.79 – yields about 9 cups, so $.42/batch
        Washing Soda (55oz) – $3.00 – yields about 6 cups, so $.50/batch
        Ivory Bar Soap (3pk) – $.97 – so $.32/batch
        That is a total cost of $1.24 per batch which will yield 32 loads (on the low end) making it less than $.04 per load. I get more like 64 loads out of one batch, making it more like $.02 per load!

      • Christy Marez says:

        Candice has prices for ya…and the break down. I don’y use the ivory soap though, I use the Fels-Naptha soap and it’s .99 also or less depending on where you get it.

  • Nancy says:

    I have been making my own detergent since you posted your failure a couple of years ago. The secret to GOOD detergent is using Fels Naptha. I tried soap that I got free and it never worked well.

    I use homemade liquid soap in my front loader and it does just fine. I would guess Crystal’s powder recipe using Fels Naptha would work well too because it is very, very low sudsing (sp?). In fact, it is so low sudsing I use it in my carpet shampooer with no problem.

    -Nancy @ http://www.realfoodallergyfree.com

    • Linda says:

      I have had good luck using Dr Bronner’s lavendar soap. It’s a bit expensive ($4 a bar!), but I like knowing that it is all natural, and it smells heavenly.

    • Mindy says:

      I agree. Fels-naptha is the best. I have been using this similar recipe for many years and I also have 5 kids under 13. I use the liquid version though because I don’t like the way the powder disolves. I also feel like Ivory leaves a film on the clothes like it does your bathtub. Fel-naptha is only .99 at Walmart and it makes 10 galllons worth of soap which last me 6 months or so. I do about 12-14 loads a week. It is cheaper than .01 a load liquid version. I have both an HE washer and a basic top loader washer and it works fabulous in both. I would definitely rethink about trying the liquid version Crystal and use a food processor to grate the soap is soooo much easier. Just a tip.

      • Shirley says:

        I agree with Mindy about the Ivory soap. I just made a batch with Ivory and have definitely noticed my clothes do not seem as clean and the whites look very dingy. I do not like to wash clothes in anything but cold because that seems to take away from the savings, but I may have to try that until this batch is gone. 🙁

    • Betsy says:

      I agree also, I use a liquid version with these same ingredients. Just disolve the borax, washing soda and soap (I use Fels Naptha – grated) in 1 gallon of boiling water. Stir well and add 4 gallons of tap water. Let cool, stirring occasionally. I use 1/4 to 1/2 cup per load (in an HE front loader) and it works great! N suds, clean smell, clean clothes. I also use a small chunk of the Fels Naptha for spot treating. Wet the spot and rub the soap in. Works great. I have a friend who dilutes it even further and still has great results.

    • Jamie says:

      I’ve been using homemade liquid/gel soap since my daughter (now 3 1/2) was in cloth diapers and I needed something truly non-allergenic to wash her diapers in. We have loved it and it has encouraged me to make my own natural cleaners for our house too. Oh and I agree on the vinegar rinse – works wonders and truly softens clothes. No need for those toxic dryer sheets! Here are the natural cleaners that I use: http://delicious-nutritious.blogspot.com/2011/02/do-it-yourself-household-cleaners.html

  • Nancy says:

    I have been making my own detergent since you posted your failure a couple of years ago. The secret to GOOD detergent is using Fels Naptha. I tried soap that I got free and it never worked well.

    I use homemade liquid soap in my front loader and it does just fine. I would guess Crystal’s powder recipe using Fels Naptha would work well too because it is very, very low sudsing (sp?). In fact, it is so low sudsing I use it in my carpet shampooer with no problem.

    Nancy @ http://www.RealFoodAllergyFree.com

    • Amy says:

      Nancy, I use Fels Naptha in my powdered laundry detergent (substituting for Ivory Soap), and it works just fine. 🙂 It is certainly less complex to make than the liquid.

  • Julie in IN says:

    Just a warning for you…my bright colored clothes looked quite drab after using homemade detergent for the laundry; some of them perked up a bit after using a couple cycles of Tide used for them but some never recovered fully. I used the bulk of my hm detergent for rags, rugs, older towels and undies (that wouldn’t look faded) after realizing too late that my clothing looked old and faded.

    Wishing you success!

    • Rebekah says:

      Probably because commercial detergents use brighteners to make clothes look brighter than they are.. fading is actually pretty normal.

    • Lisette says:

      Thanks for mentioning this. It is very important to me that our clothes wash and hold up well, so I wondered how homemade detergent would affect the wear. It is a good idea to use homemade for rags, etc. I do at least 2 loads of old towels, rags, sheets a week!

      • Stephanie says:

        I made this exact recipe several years ago w/ Fels Naptha. My clothes faded and just looked more worn than I prefer…even by hanging them to dry outside. So, we are back to using commercial detergent.

    • Jamie says:

      If you put some vinegar in with your wash it will naturally brighten and soften your clothes!! Saves on fabric softener too! Also, takes ALL scent out of the clothes

      • Kassi says:

        Completely agree with the vinegar and home made detergent combo. It has really helped keep our whites whiter.

    • Dawn says:

      I also ad Biz (a laundry brightener) and baking soda in my recipe and I’ve never had any fading problems.

  • RD says:

    I forgot to tell you! After looking at your list about a month ago I had to try and make the marshmallows and the artisan bread. Yes, I tried both in about two days time and loved them both! I’ve even made the marshmallows for a bake-sale and had a complete sell-out with requests for more. I plan on making them for our concession stand at baseball if the rain ever stops long enough for us to play. As far as the bread, we always ate the loaf long before it made it to the dinner table. My family can’t get enough. I won’t be making bread any other way for a while.

    I’ve made homemade laundry soap, but prefer the Fels-Naptha for getting odors (dairy farm smells) and stains out of clothes. It got everything out. I will say that when we moved it did not work as well. We previously had well-water and it seemed to not work as well once we had city water.

    Thank you for your postings as I would never have dreamed of making marshmallows. I don’t even like marshmallow, but I like these! Keep us “posted.”

  • Candy says:

    I’ve used it since October with NO problems. My formula is 1/3 bar Fels Naptha, and I use a parmesan cheese shaver to grate it fine. then I add 1 1/2 C Borax, and 1 1/2 C Washing soda. I should mention I have an HE machine, and a Diesel Technician hubby with sensitive skin, and 2 boys, ages 3 and 5. Maybe someday I will try the liquid formula, but I’m doing good with powder for now.

  • Monica says:

    I totally can relate. Friends have been doing the liquid version for years but I was looking for a powder one too. Very similar only difference I used Fels-Naptha bar + w.soda + borax. Smells great & even takes out newborn mustard poop stains….amazing! Easy & economical!

  • Jessica says:

    I also use the recipe from DIY Natural after having tried other recipes I don’t like as well. I swear by this recipe and have been using this year for about a year now. I use Fels Naptha soap which can be a bit costly, but if you buy it in bulk from Ace, it’s a bit better. I’ve also gifted this soap and gotten rave reviews!

    I also make dishwasher detergent (also from DIY Natural) and have no complaints. I like making my own stuff because a. it’s always cheaper for my family and b. it’s also more eco friendly (not buying packaging or other added chemicals beyond the ingredients I know I’m using).

    Let us know what you think Crystal 🙂 I hope you find the laundry soap is an eco-friendly and wallet-friendly option!

  • Nancy says:

    I use this soap now for 2 years. LOVE IT! I do use only 1/3 of a Fels-Naptha bar of soap though, and I grate (or use food processor) it really fine so it dissolves much quicker in water. And for greasy food stains I use dawn dish soap mixed with water in a spray bottle for pre-treater. Works like a charm.

    • Sarah says:

      I would second this comment about using the food processor. If you don’t get the soap really fine, you tend to wind up with lumps mixed in with your washed laundry.

      • Yes! My husband watched me grate it and he said, “Why don’t you use the Kitchen Aid?” I use a smaller grater attachment. I make 2 batches at a time, and it goes quickly this way. I use Oil of Olay soap instead (the Fels Naptha burned my hand when I held it to grate it). I buy Oil of olay in bulk at Sam’s Club.

        I also use a half cup of oxi-clean powder in each batch. Other than that, my recipe is the same.
        I switched to using homemade detergent when Arm & Hammer stopped offering an unscented powder detergent. (They made a liquid one without scents but it was more money, and I didn’t like the way it washed).

        I wash most loads on cold, in a front loader that calls for HE detergent. I do 24 loads a week, so we go through a lot. I have the largest capacity washer, and we use 2 Tbsp per load (I wash full loads).

        • Crystal says:

          Does it get stuck to the KitchenAid? I was concerned it would ruin my food processor and make everything taste like soap from here on out!

          • I was really worried about this as well, which is why I started off using the hand grater.

            A little bit of soap sticks to the grater (just like a little bit of cheese sticks to the grater when you grate cheese). Unlike removing cheese, however, the soap will melt off in warm water. If you want, you can soak the grater pieces in warm water in the bowl that you mixed your detergent in (I transfer all of my soap into mason jars when I am done mixing). I use my scrub brush just like I do when I am washing the grater after using it to grate anything else.

            You just need to look to make sure you get all of the soap off before you set it to dry. It doesn’t take very long, and since I make 3 batches at a time (typo above; it should have said 3), I don’t have to do it very often. I have never had ANY problems with tasting soap on anything we grated afterwards (my husband uses the grater for potatoes almost every day, so he would have complained if it tasted like soap!) It is SO much faster to use the grater attachment!

            I have really sensitive skin and I am allergic to most laundry soaps, which I why I initially started making this, and why I used Oil of Olay instead of Fels Naptha.

            I use cold water on almost every load, and I have only had a problem with the soap not melting about 10 times (one of which was yesterday) in the 5 1/2 years since I have been using it. The load that had trouble yesterday was extra full, so it probably had trouble melting because of that. Only one item had soap on it. 10 times in 6864 loads isn’t that big of a deal!

            The Oxi-Clean powder really helps with stains; I also use Oxi-Clean spray on most stains (I have a lot of stains with 6 small children). I don’t have any problems with my whites or my colors fading.

          • Kristine says:

            I had no trouble washing the soap residue off my food processor after letting the pieces soak in warm water for a few minutes. I haven’t tried this yet, but some people say that letting a bar of soap sit unwrapped for a few days before using it helps with grating and mixing because it’s drier. It might make cleanup easier, too, if more of the soap gets into the mixture instead of sticking to the food processor.

          • Dawn says:

            Just use some vinegar along with dish soap and hot water when washing the food processor out. It works GREAT! I’ve never had any residue left over.

  • Candy says:

    My Fels Naptha runs about 1.00 per bar, and I figured my cost was 1.42 per batch that lasts me at minimum 1 month.

  • Jan says:

    That looks interesting! I have a recipe for the liquid stuff, but it makes so much and I just hate to invest in something I’m not sure I’d like. We have really hard water and not everything works very well here. I’ll be interested to hear how well you think it cleans!!

    • Maria says:

      I have tried both liquid and powder formulas with our hard water; I wouldn’t recommend it. Our water is quite hard which causes the soap to leave a residue on the clothes. You will especially notice it when your whites turn gray. 🙁

      • Jan says:

        Thanks, Maria! That’s what I was kind of thinking. I guess I will just look for good deals and stick with the other. Our water is just awful!!

        • Maria says:

          You’re very welcome! If you ever end up with soft water then know it was fun to make, saves money if you don’t want to hunt the deals for $1 or Free detergent, and many love it.

          Now the Fels-Naptha is great for tough stains, you just don’t want it day in and day out as one of the main cleansing agents. Maybe a scumless “soap” would work well and be residue free.

      • We have super hard water, and I haven’t had this problem (I use the powdered version with Oil of Olay and some Oxi-clean in mine). Borax says on the box that it helps cut hard water.

  • Tanya says:

    Your November DIY won’t disappoint you!! I bought the book and the bread is SOOOO yummy for fresh bread any day of the week. It doesn’t keep very well but it’s so easy there is no need to make a big batch.

  • Ann Whiteside says:

    May I ask what the ingredients cost?

  • Ann Whiteside says:

    Sorry, sorry, I didn’t notice that someone else had already asked… 🙂

  • Holly says:

    I’m about 1.5 weeks into using the same recipe! I used the Fel-Naptha bar and so far I am pleased with the results. My soap was grated like yours on a cheese grater. After a few days I decided to run the mix through my mini food processor to make the soap finer. I didn’t want to worry about the soap shreds not dissolving properly. So far so good. I can’t wait to make more.

  • SARAH PRUITT says:

    Last year at a yard sale that my mom and I had, a lady and her girls told us about homemade laundry detergent. (I think my mom had asked what perfume she was wearing b/c it smelled so good.) We couldn’t believe it when she said it was her HOMEMADE laundry detergent. She told us to go to the Duggar Family website for the recipe: http://www.duggarfamily.com/recipes.html . This recipe uses the same ingredients as yours, but makes a larger batch. My husband drinks protein shakes, so when he was finished with one of his protein jugs, I made the laundry detergent and put it in the jug for storage. I don’t stick to just the Fels Naptha soap. Instead I use any soap that I can get a great deal on as long as it isn’t a moisturizing soap. It works great for my husband and I and our soon to be 2 year old son. The only thing I recommend is using bleach or stain remover for tough stains. My mom also started using the recipe. She is highly allergic to MANY detergents, and this has worked great for her as well. Hope you enjoy your homemade laundry detergent as much as we do!

    • Mindy says:

      I use the Duggar recipe also.

    • Amy says:

      Sarah, Mindy, and anyone else who has used the Duggar family recipe for liquid detergent: Have you used Ivory? If so, how much? I noticed that a bar of Fels-Naptha is about 5.5 oz and Ivory is 3.1 oz. A friend and I are going to try this pretty soon and just need to know if we would need to use 5.5 oz of Ivory or just one 3.1 oz bar.

      I’ve also read that if you use soaps that are moisturizing, such as oil of okay, that it will leave a residue on your clothes similar to a grease stain. Granted, I’ve only read that, but it would make sense if the soap has oils and moisturizers in it.

  • Speaking of DIY projects, I’d love to learn how to make my own Smores Pizza. We had one from Papa Murphy’s tonight and LOVED it. I have been trying to find a similar recipe but can’t. Any suggestions?

  • We’ve been using this recipe for liquid laundry soap for over 2 months now. I chose to go with the liquid as opposed to the powder because we have an HE washing machine. I have a 5 gallon bucket of it and my mom brings her old laundry detergent containers and fills them up, so we’re sharing the love. I love it and plan to never go back!

    http://www.icanteachmychild.com/2011/02/make-it-homemade-liquid-laundry-soap-1.html

  • Sarah Andrus says:

    Dried bar soap grates easier than fresh. just unwrap all your bars and set them someplace for several days.

  • Julie says:

    I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for about 2+ years now. I use the same recipe as Crystal did and I have had no problems.
    You can put the bar of soap in the freezer for 20-30 minutes and it will grate easier for you.

  • Michele says:

    I have been making my laundry soap for 1.5 years. With a teen daughter that does her own laundry, it has been the best thing. Also, during the holidays, I bought laundry soap. The fragrance on my clothing and bedding was very strong.

  • Denise says:

    I have made the liquid detergent using ivory and fels-naptha. I would stick with the fels naptha. I have noticed the last batch i made with the ivory makes clothes look yellow and drab, especially the whites. btw the fels-naptha should probably be used dry and not boiled on the stove as some of those recipes call for. I forgot to put water in mine once and burnt up a pan. Black smoke was billowing thru the whole house. Whole house smelt awful and kitchen had greasy film on everything. Found out from poison control that this is a petroleum based product and breathing the vapors is not a good thing, thus probably shouldn’t be boiled in your kitchen 🙂

  • Melisa H. says:

    I grate mine on the finest side of my grater. I figured that out after one batch of dry (because it made no sense to me how on earth it could dissolve in time to be of any use in the wash if it were in big shreds).

    One other thing I do is to buy the Fels &/or Ivory ahead of time (I use some of both in mine), set it on top of the fridge or the upright deep freeze to dry for a while. I buy it ahead of time for this reason. Makes it much, much easier to grate. I suggest getting either of them at the hardware store as they have slower turnover of the soap and thus, it is more likely to be dry already.

  • Matt Jabs says:

    Hi all, this is Matt and Betsy from diyNatural.com. Indeed this recipe is perfect for HE washers since the only real requirement is “low-suds” and this detergent (soap) is virtually no-suds. You can also use castile soap, be it homemade or store-bought (like Kirk’s.) Betsy and I will be publishing DIY castile soap recipes, along with many others so be sure to subscribe to the udpates and visit often. We love empowering you and helping you save!

  • Kate B says:

    I tried making this for over a year and found it made my clothes very faded and shabby looking.
    I tried Fels Naptha (love the light scent) and also Zote.
    I gave up using it. My rotator cuff is bad, so grating the soap would aggravate it for weeks after. (Even with using my food processor)
    I switched back to All. It is worth the expense to me to use that instead.
    I only use about half the cup, on both detergent and softener and that seems to work for us.

    • Lana says:

      I only use All Free and Clear because of allergies and it cleans everything very well with only one tablespoon of detergent in cold water. If you have to use warm water with homemade detergent than I would question the savings because our power cost is very high where we live.

      • christy says:

        i just started using ALL…I got it because the dry is only 3 something here and it has a dollar coupon on it so i get it for just a couple of bucks and i dont use a whole scoop of det….and i have started using snuggle fab soft liq…love the way my clothes smell and look

  • Allison V. says:

    I am still using my giant stash of free Purex that I earned with points from a local grocery store. Sadly they aren’t doing the points anymore, but free is still free! I stretch the small bottles for months by using about 1/3 the recommended amount, and that’s with 4-5 people in the home.

    I lived with my mother-in-law for a while, and she used Charlie’s soap, which I wonder if it is similar to the homemade stuff? I was not impressed with the Charlie’s. My 1 year old’s clothes had so many terrible stains, and I’d never had trouble with stains using regular detergent.

    • Rebecca says:

      I brought an item into a dry cleaners and they informed me all you need of liquid or powder detergent is a formula scoop full per load! how crazy that we use SO much!

      I cut back on what I used and see no difference at all!

  • Jessica Wilhite says:

    I have been using my homemade laundry detergent for about 4 months now and I love it. I use all the same ingredients as Crystal mentioned, except I use Fels-Naptha soap rather than Ivory soap. Our local Walmart just starting carrying the Fels-Naptha soap for much less than what I was getting at our local Ace Hardware Store. This definitely is a money saver. I will be interested to see how you like your homemade detergent! 🙂

  • Shelley says:

    Our machine is HE and we have very hard water. We’ve tried different versions of homemade detergent over the last couple of years, both liquid and powdered. They were all pretty horrible. It didn’t seem to matter if it was liquid or powder, used fels naptha or ivory, etc. Our colors all turned gray and dingy and the whites are now completely gray. Even an added boost of bleach, oxyclean or all fabric bleach (which we don’t normally use) didn’t help.

    Homemade detergent is fun to make and I may try again if we get a different machine or softer water. For now, though, we’re back to store bought detergent. It’s not worth ruining all our clothes and linen 🙁

    • Maria says:

      Have you tried vinegar? I know it works well for soap scum in the bathroom and it should remove the residue from your clothes too.

      • Shelley says:

        Thank you, Maria! We do use vinegar in each load and as far as I can tell it made no difference with the shabby graying, unfortunately. It may have helped them smell slightly better.

  • Elizabeth says:

    We use a very pure soap made here in NC called Charlie’s soap…I use the powdered but it comes in liquid plus they have some other cleaners they make too. All biodegradable and safe. I use about a tablespoon per large load (our washer is a large capacity one). Sometimes less soap depending on the items being washed. I also do spot clean with Simple Green mostly. I have not tried making my own soap yet, but when I buy Charlie’s in a 5 gallon bucket, delivered to my door, it is so cheap. Plus you can find sales now and then and that saves even more. I have not bought any in quite some time so cannot give you the current prices. Their website is: http://www.charliesoap.com and no I do not get money for telling about them…just a satisfied customer.

  • Janette says:

    I love my homemade detergent. In fact I prefer it over Tide, especially for stinky clothes.

    I also suggest to unwrap bars of soap at least 2 days (a week is best) before grating. The result is easier grating & a finer powder if you use the side of the grater that is one size smaller than you used w/the irovy. (That is true if you are using Fels-Naptha soap.)

    Try Fels-Naptha at least once. You will not use anything else after that. I got my sons white baseball pants bright white with it. Yes it has a strong smell but your clothes will not smell like that when they come out of the dryer. I even pretreat clothes with the soap. I just wet the bar & rub on stains. I take a bar when I travel & hand wash my clothes with it. So easy!

    Then I just turn on the washer, dump in 1 or 2 tablespoons of the mix and after a few seconds it all dissolves. I then add my clothes. I use straight white vinegar as a fabric softener most of the time. I find it really keeps my clothes soft & much cleaner. No soap buildup. If fading occurs, use less washing soda in the next batch & see if that helps but I don’t have fading problems. If my son gets a nosebleed I will use this soap and add oxy-clean pre-treater & additive. So Oxy works well with this soap. I rarely use bleach anymore!

    Enjoy!

  • Stacy R says:

    I just wanted to say that I’m excited for June to get here so you can make homemade hummus. We make hummus quite often and we’ve made several different kinds/flavors. So easy, so yummy! Hope it goes well for you. Oh, and I too am interested to hear your thoughts (in a month or so) about how the homemade laundry detergent worked for you.

  • sue fox says:

    does this get your clothes really clean? what if your clothes pretty stained? sue

  • Zena says:

    Off topic a bit…I use the fels-naptha bar as a stain treatment. I just get the stain wet and rub with the bar. So far it’s gotten out blood, grass stains, and spaghetti stains that have been run thru the washer AND the dryer before me finding the stains. I’ve got three little boys and it’s worked miracles. It cost me $.79 at my grocery store, and so far i’m going on 8 months with only about 1/4 bar used.

  • If you are unhappy with that recipe I used a different one that I am VERY happy with. You can see it here:
    http://www.publixcouponqueen.com/2011/04/mommys-manic-monday-make-your-own.html

  • Sabrina says:

    I tried making my own laundry soap about a year ago. It was liquid, but the same basic ingredients (I used Fels Naptha). It was fun and I was really excited about the savings However, after a month or two I noticed our clothes were looking dingy and smelling less than fresh not long after we put them on. I know a lot of people swear by the homemade soap but it didn’t work for us. I’m in an area that has hard water and that may have had some effect on it though. Good luck with yours!

  • I haven’t done it yet but DIY toothpaste is on the list!

  • Wendy Johnson says:

    I tried this same recipe, and even grated the Ivory Soap in my electric food grater…lol. The problem ended up being that the slivers of Ivory didn’t dissolve and ended up sticking to my clothes after the rinse cycle. Maybe grating it fine like parmesan cheese would have prevented this. Hope your experiment works better than mine!

    • Nicole says:

      I use the liquid version with these same three ingredients. You cook the soap in water, until it dissolves. I have 4 kids under 8 and a construction working husband, and it cleans very well! Good luck to you. This is not my site, but this is the liquid recipe:

      Making Homemade Laundry Soap
      http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com

  • Anna says:

    I’ve been making this exact recipe for years now and have been pleased. I must agree with everyone saying to use warm water, otherwise the soap will not dissolve properly and will stick to your clothes. One solution I found was to start the hot water first for several inches, add the detergent and switch to cold as I was adding the clothes.

    Last fall, when my old, traditional washer died we were blessed to get a GREAT deal on a low water, HE top loader which helped to cut our power bill signfigantly. However, the powdered detergent didn’t work nearly as well – there just wasn’t enough water. So after some research I learned the ratios for dissolving it into liquid detergent. We’re even happier with it now because it works great even on cold loads! AND I end up using even less of the powder detergent in the liquid form increasing my savings even more!!

    [A tip to anyone who may want to try making the powder into liquid: skip the 5 gallon bucket mess – What a hassle! Melt/dissolve your powdered detergent into about a gallon of very hot water. Cool it to room temperature and pour it into a wide mouth container of some kind (I use a gallon glass, pickle jar). It will solidify into a soft, scoop-able mass. As you need liquid detergent, scoop out 1 cup of concentrate and melt in 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of very hot water. Let it cool some. I pour ours into a saved, store bought laundry container. Each day before I use it the first time I give it a shake and we’re good to go! I use about a 1/4 – 1/3 cup per load. It really does last much longer in the liquid form than the powder!]

  • Gabby says:

    I use a brand of soap called Zote…it’s sold near the Fels Naptha in the store I buy it at.

    DH grates it for me (bless that man) and puts it in a special container. When I need a batch of laundry soap, I use 1 cup of the grated soap, 1/2 cup of Borax and 1/2 cup of washing soda to mix a batch. then add about 1 TBSP per load.
    I do use it in my HE and have to say I love it!!!

  • Ashley says:

    We’ve used this homemade detergent recipe before, and decided it wasn’t best for our family. We had much more problems with stains (many small children and not a whole lot of pretreating, admittedly) than we had with our favorite Tide. I have used Fels as well with no better results. My review is that it’s ok in a pinch, but in the long run, especially if you’re wanting to hand clothes down to younger children and not spend lots of extra time working on stains, it’s not worth the savings because it doesn’t work as well as Tide. I am currently trying a more natural detergent made by biokleen to see if we can get Tide results without all the chemicals. It has high reviews, but this is a tough laundry household so we’ll see how it turns out.

  • Amber M says:

    I have tried this a few months back and was so excited of the thought of saving a bunch of money. I bought all the ingredients and used ivory soap. I was VERY dissapointed in it. The soap left a residue on my clothes and inside my washing machine……when the clothes where in the wash cycle it looked like a greasy cloud floating on the top. I ended finding out that I actually saving money by using my method with Gain detergent. I only use 1/3 of the recommended amount of Powder Gain and put it in a glass jar and put hot water in it and shake it up for a min or two until all the powder in dissolved and wash my clothes in cold water. We are a family of 3 and can make the 80 load box of detergent last more than 3 months.

  • Brandy@TeamChandler says:

    Someone had mentioned about the dangers of Borax. I had never heard of this so I googled it and came up with these web sites.

    http://www.naturemoms.com/dangers-of-borax.html

    http://www.greenfootsteps.com/borax-information.html

    Does anyone know about the safety of Borax?

    • Nicole says:

      I read these articles and would really love to know if it has any harmful effects after being diluted in the water. I guess it would be similar to bleach, though, with it being poisonous to ingest, inhale, and is potentially harmful to skin with direct contact. I plan to continue using it, but will for sure keep it under more secure storage for safety! Thanks for posting this.

  • Caroline says:

    So… how about diapers? I have used charlie’s and several other natural soaps and still seem to be fighting “build up” issues in them. Has anyone successfully used this natural soap with diapers?

    We DO have hard water, and we DO have a water softener… and we still have scale on everything from the kitchen sink to the showers… but I had the same diaper stink issues when we were in the Chicago area with Lake Michigan water…

    We are currently an All free and clear family with Charlie’s for dipes…

  • charity crawford says:

    I have been using my homemade coconut oil deodorant for a few months now and LOVE IT! I also use the same recepie for laundry soap except prefer fels-naphtha bars and sometimes add a few drops of essential oil for scent.

  • Mary says:

    Hey Ladies! Don’t spend time and energy on grating that bar of soap. Microwave it instead. (see my post at http://bluejeansformomma.blogspot.com/2011/01/day-3-laundry-suds.html for instructions.) Sooooooo much easier!
    We love this recipe for detergent and use 2 TBS. in our HE front loader. Haven’t noticed any fading in our clothes, maybe since we don’t really have newer clothes. Thanks for sharing this, I love to see others saving money!

    • Crystal says:

      Oh wow! Thanks for this great tip!

      Where do you get Fels Naptha soap by the way? Online? At the store? I’ve never seen it before.

      • Mindy says:

        fels-naptha is found at most grocery stores like walmart for example and is found in either the laundry soap aisle or in Meijer it is by the handsoap in the main grocery section of the store. It is prices .99 at Walmart and about 1.30 at Meijer. You can buy it by the case online from the Fels-naptha website. It is a white rectangle shaped bar with green and red writing I believe.

      • Amy says:

        Walmart sells it, as do many grocery and hardware stores.

      • Mary says:

        I found the Fels Naptha soap at our local IGA -type store, but I think WalMart has figured out people are making detergent now, because I just found Fels Naptha, Borax and Washing Soda right next to each other, at 2 diff. Walmarts. And the Fels Naptha was only 97 cents. Whoo Hoo!

      • Courtney says:

        I buy Fels Naptha at Hyvee (it’s in the laundry aisle). I believe Walmart also carries it, or you can order it from Amazon.

      • dona says:

        I have seen it hidden away on a bottom shelf in our Walmart near the stain removers such as Shout.

      • Betsy says:

        Publix carries it also in the laundry aisle.

      • Holly says:

        My local grocery store (Giant Food) carries Fels Naptha. It is $0.89 per bar, compared to $0.97 at Wal-Mart. Washing Soda is significantly cheaper (same size box) at the grocery store than at Wal-Mart. I don’t know the Wal-mart price on Borax to compare it to what I paid at Giant. I was very surprised that the Wal-Mart prices were higher. Compare prices now before you need to buy more ingredients.

      • Ruth says:

        Just a tip: If you are unable to find Fels Naptha at your local grocery store, go to Ace Hardware. They can order it and have it shipped to the store. You won’t have to pay for shipping.

  • We use all natural detergent from Norwex:

    http://brittanygrim.norwex.biz/?p=n&sectid=4&cid=3&pid=1114

    but I’m interested in trying this out and seeing how you rate it! I was wondering, do you think it would work well with cloth diapers?

  • I haven’t ventured into homemade laundry detergent because my Mom does our laundry for us, so I feel obligated to buy what she prefers using. BUT, this looks much easier than other recipes I’ve seen. And the comments seem very positive. Maybe I’ll make some to use when I do laundry. If it works, maybe my Mom will agree to the switch!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

  • No Debt MBA says:

    I haven’t tried DIY laundry detergent – there are only two of us so we go through a big jug of whatever detergent is on super sale so slowly it doesn’t seem worth it. However, we make tons of homemade hummus at my house. In about five minutes you can make a healthier batch of hummus at home that costs a fraction of the price of store bought tubs. We swap in a little peanut butter and sesame oil instead of tahini since tahini goes bad quicker and is pricey. I can’t taste the difference.

  • Kelly says:

    I have used homemade powdered laundry soap in the past and had the same problem with it not dissolving. But then I read to start your washer with hot water and add your powder to dissolve. As soon as it looks dissolve switch it back to cold. That worked great! I also found a natural oxi powder that I added to my soap mix to help brighten up the clothes.

    • Andrea says:

      I have been using my own homemade laundry detergent with my own homemade bar soap for about a year. After I grate my soap I put the chopping blade into my food processor and chop it up more fine with the borax. The borax seems to be the part of this recipe that is not dissolving right at first. But if you run it through the food processor it becomes very very fine. And I don’t have any problems with this recipe dissolving even in very cold water.
      After making my own laundry detergent I would not go back to buying it again. It is so inexpensive and works even on my husband’s very greasy jeans and shirts.
      I do add a cup of baking soda to this recipe also since it helps with the body odors left in clothing. And you can make your own washing soda by simply baking the baking soda on a cookie sheet in an oven for about 40 minutes at 350 to 400 degrees. All washing soda is is baking soda with the moisture removed. You can find the recipe for that on Pinterest also.

  • Ania says:

    When my daughter was born, spending $10 on dreft left her clothes ruined, as it stripped a lot of her clothes from color and they look worn down (I even air dryed them) so I decided to make my own laundry soap. I used the same exact recipe and it worked wonders.
    To pretreat stains – I bought an ultra big box of Oxy clean at Sams – $12.00 (and its been about 16 months and we are still at half) and I use a teaspoon of that per load and let it pre-soak for about 20 minutes.
    It takes off grass stains, juice stains and any other things you can think off with an active toddler.
    I have also stopped buying store detergent and use this recipe for all of our laundry since its a more green way to go.

  • April says:

    I’ve been making this for about 4 years now and love it! Here are a couple of suggestions based on my experience:

    – I would not recommend using Ivory soap. I use either Fels Naptha or Octagon, another laundry bar.
    -The soap can be easily grated in a food processor rather than hand-grating. I grate my soap & then add powdered ingredients right in the bowl and pulse. I love cleaning my food processor afterward because it’s so soapy and slippery!
    -I often add 1/2 cup of Oxy-clean to the mix when I make detergent. It doesn’t add much cost but I think it increases stain-removing power.

  • Jennifer B says:

    I made the liquid version (where you melt down the shaved bar of soap) that I found on the 19 kids and counting site: http://www.duggarfamily.com/recipes.html

    But I used Hardwater Castille soap, because it is supposed to work well with well water, which we have. In combo with that, I add about 1/2 cup of vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser on my washer. My clothes have really come out clean and I’ve noticed smells are gone (like the funky underarm odor that still used to remain on my hubby’s shirts). I think the vinegar in the rinse cycle is the key!

  • Deb says:

    (side note) Tried the homemade dishwasher soap and it is fabulous, cost effective, etc !
    Question about the homemade powdered laundry soap — does anyone have information on the “safety” of using this with a septic tank system (for us farm folks) ???? Thank you !1

    • Courtney says:

      Homemade detergent is fine to use with a septic tank. We’ve been making our own detergent for the past 2 1/2 years, wash at least 2-3 loads per day, and have had absolutely no trouble with our septic system.

  • Katie says:

    I used this recipe (with fels naptha bar soap) for over a year. At first it was great, but I noticed that our clothes gradually looked more dingy and grey. We’re back to the drawing board!

  • michelle says:

    I have made the powdered and found it useless unless I used hot water. The faintest of spots on our clothes didn’t come out at all, so not only was it leaving us looking filthy, I would have to run up my electric bill far beyond the cost savings of this vs a cheap detergent from the store. I have it on my to do list to try a liquid and see if that solves the problem of soap not dissolving in cold water (I’m assuming that is the problem). I’m going to follow the recipe from the Duggars since it has such good reviews.

  • I’ve been using homemade washing detergent for years, and love it! To avoid your clothes getting dingy, add vinegar to your load. It helps on tough stains and keeps your whites brighter!

  • Deb says:

    after thought on dingy clothes — commercially produced powdered laundry soaps list the ingredient “enzymes.” Maybe this could be added to the recipe ????? Finding them ??????

  • jj says:

    I have been making and using homemade laundry soap for about 4 years now. I have had the most success using the liquid version made with fels naptha and octagon soap. After is has gelled, I stir in a couple bottles of store bought laundry detergent. I feel I am getting the best of both worlds then- very inexpensive laundry soap and whatever detergents/cleaning chemical there are in the store bought stuff. I store it in old detergent bottles and just give it a shake prior to opening a new bottle because it does solidify after sitting for months. I use this in our HE front loader.

  • Lorea says:

    This is the exact recipe that I use and I love it. However, I switched to fels naptha. Try using a food processor if you make a bigger batch. It’s quite easy to just throw it in the food processor and mix away and it saves your arm strength. lol. One thing I can suggest is putting a few drops of lavender essential oil in the mix. It makes it smell great. I also use vinegar as a fabric softener and it seems to make the clothes a little brighter. (especially the whites)

  • Jodi says:

    Here is another laundry recipe you might like – I love it! 🙂

    http://thumbymummy.blogspot.com/2011/04/homemade-laundry-detergent.html

    You can also use vinegar for fabric softener. It works wonderfully!!!
    http://thumbymummy.blogspot.com/2011/04/cheap-fabric-softner.html

    Jodi

  • Lisa says:

    I’ve been making my own laundry detergent since the beginning of the year with GREAT results. I have well water, an HE washer, four children (4-12), and a husband who works in construction. I wash nearly all loads with cold water and the soap dissolves just fine and leaves no residue. Our clothes are clean, bright, and smell simply heavenly. I’ve been so convinced by the results that I’ve given a ton of it away to the naysayers and even they were floored by the results. This is the recipe that I use:

    1 cup Borax
    1 cup washing soda
    1 cup baking soda
    1 bar of soap, finely grated (I use Yardley’s soap)

    mix everything together and store in an air-tight jar (glass mason jars works well). use 1 tablespoon per load, or 2 for bigger loads.

    the total cost ran me $2.38 per batch and each batch yields a full quart of powder. for lighter loads it will yield 64 loads, and heavier ones will yield 32 loads, so 4¢ per light load and 7¢ per heavy load. 🙂

  • Angie says:

    i tried this diy laundry detergent 6 years ago when our ds was born.. I thought it worked well, but 3 years later when his little brother was born, I pulled out the baby clothes, and many of them had yellow spit up stains on them. 🙁 I retried it again just recently, and I can often see visible stains after they come out of the wash. I really really wanted this to work, but it just doesn’t for us. We have really hard water, and I generally have trouble with stains anyhow. I have 3 boys, and want as many clothes to last as I can pass down! Glad it works for some people though.

  • Julie says:

    I love to make my own cultured buttermilk. All that you need is a little buttermilk from the store to get started(one of those 1/2 pints from the store for 50 cents works great). I fill a mason jar with the half pint of cultured buttermilk and then fill the rest of the way with regular milk or mixed up powered milk. Set it on the counter overnight with the lid on and in the morning you have buttermilk ready for making pancakes or biscuits or salad dressing!

  • Judy says:

    I started making my own detergent last year using Fels Naptha, but I’m so glad to see that you’ve been able to use much cheaper soap and still had good results…I was feeling a little ripped off spending so much on the bar of soap 🙂

  • Casey says:

    Crystal, I love your Do-It-Yourself Project plan for the year. I have a list of new recipes to try and other DIY things I want to try, but it’s hard to find time for them. Or I get all excited and want to try everything at once. Your blog inspires me to try new things (which is great!) but I can’t do everything I want. I want to try this homemade laundry detergent, but it would be silly to do it now because I have 6 bottles of laundry detergent right now (that I bought SUPER cheap w/ coupons + sales) that will take me several months to go through. Perhaps I should create a similar plan with 1 DIY project/month and add home made laundry soap for next year May!! 🙂 Thanks for the great idea!

    Same thing with the recipes. I keep coming across recipes I want to try, but thanks to this blog (and others) I have a decent stockpile of shelf stable and fridge/freezer food and we need to eat what I have, not make recipes out of things I need to go buy. So trying to use the recipes I come across as inspiration for putting together ingrediants I already have on hand. I’m sure we have severals meals worth, but just not sure how to put it all together.

    I know you have posted about the pantry challenge (think that was what it was called) where you eat from your pantry and fridge/freezer instead of buying tons of new groceries. I love this concept, but HOW exactly do I go about it? I have tons of random things, but not sure how to make meals out of them. Also, during a pantry challenge, you still go buy fresh produce and milk/eggs etc regularly, right? Or use up the frozen veggies? I do have a lot of frozen veggies (from that Target deal a while back). What can I do with the frozen bags of mixed veggies? Other than just steam them and eat as a side dish? Ideas anyone?

    • Crystal says:

      You can check out more details of the pantry challenge here:
      https://moneysavingmom.com/money-saving-mom-search-results?cx=007411191005105397513%3Aunk5vrqj0se&cof=FORID%3A11&ie=UTF-8&q=eating+from+the+pantry&sa=Search&siteurl=moneysavingmom.com%2F#1495

      I recommend the ingredient search feature on AllRecipes.com to find recipes that only use items you have on hand.

    • Sarah says:

      Chicken Pot Pie is a favorite at our house with those frozen veggies! Just put in whatever you have! Mmmmmm…… 🙂

      You can also mix some in with your spaghetti sauce – great way to add nutrition and variety!

    • You can use your frozen vegetables in stir fry. How did you plan on serving them when you bought them?

      We often go long stretches without shopping. I haven’t been shopping this month at all, but I am going to pick up some freebies at Target this week 🙂 That will probably be the extent of my shopping this month (I love that the resusable bags help cover some of the tax!)

      You can buy enough milk for 2 weeks at a time, and enough eggs for 4-6 weeks at a time (I buy 13 dozen when they are on sale for .99 and I am able to get them). I also keep powdered and eveaporated milk, and powdered eggs in my pantry, because I don’t always know how long it will be until we get to go shopping. I do have fresh eggs right now, since I am trading things in my garden that have gone to seed for eggs.

      I have 4 months of seasonal menus, using pantry items, on my site, if you want to get some ideas of how to put things together using what you have.

      Right now we are harvesting something fresh from the garden every day (artichokes, peaches, swiss chard, lettuce, green onions, turnips, and all manner of herbs). That helps us with fresh food. We have lots of home-canned fruits, and other canned vegetables for the winter.

      If you want to go shopping every couple of weeks, try buying apples and oranges to eat the second week, along with canned and frozen fruits and vegetables. The fresher things get eaten the first week.

  • Stacy says:

    Would love to know if anyone has a homeade dishwashing detergent recipe.

    • Andrea says:

      I have tried numerous recipes for dishwasher soap and have not found anything that works reliably. Most of them either leave white film on the dishes or don’t get them clean enough even in extremely hot water.
      I found a very good plant based dishwasher gel at Target. It is made by 7th generation and it is ultra power plus. I have been using it for probably 6 or 7 months and have not had any problems. My wine glasses come out clear my pants usually come out 99% clean and my flatware and dishes all come out very clean.

  • anon says:

    Can you use any bar of soap you have on hand (ex. Coast, Zest, etc.) or should it specifically be Ivory or one of the laundry soaps?

    • Alea says:

      I think it has to be a more “pure” soap. Ivory soap says 94% pure or something like that on the package.

  • Deb H. in Wisconsin says:

    Where do I find washing soda? I have looked and looked at Wal-mart and Pick n Save and I simply don’t see it!

  • Sarah says:

    Hey Crystal! You mentioned other DIY projects? On Saturday, I made my first-ever attempt at homemade hot dog buns. They were GREAT – A big hit with my husband and the company we had over. I may be spoiled for life 🙂 🙂 🙂 I used this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Burger-or-Hot-Dog-Buns/Detail.aspx

    What’s great is that it makes 16 hot dog buns OR 12 hamburger buns. And I think it would be an easy freeze for later recipe like the butterhorns. I used all-purpose flour, but next time like to do hand and half whole wheat 🙂 SO YUM!

  • Sarah says:

    This post is so timely because I just bought the ingredients to make my own detergent this week. The recipe I’m using is from http://www.theecofriendlyfamily.com and it is safe for cloth diapers as well as regular laundry. It uses washing soda and borax as well, but instead of the soap, it calls for 1 tub of oxiclean. I have enough to make about a year’s supply — so I’m really hoping it works! 🙂

  • Keri says:

    I LOVE the homemade laundry detergent (liquid). I just started using it this past weekend. I got the recipe from the Duggar website. I WAS at “Tide” snob. I was introduced to this detergent over two years ago and turned my nose up to it.
    I have been washing laundry like crazy the last several days and it hasn’t even put a DENT in the 5 gallon detergent bucket.
    We are on city water and someone else mentioned about using warm water. I don’t use hot but definitely warm. I don’t notice any color fading, yet. However, I do sort my clothes and am careful what types of fabrics I mix together (ie; no denim with other materials, etc).
    I use the Fels-Naptha. I bought the soap, borax and A&H at Walmart for under $7. Of course the bar soap is the only thing that has to be replaced every time a new batch is needed.
    With having eczema and other skin allergies, it has been a joy on my hands. No more itchy, painful break-outs from folding laundry due to the high fragrant chemicals.
    Looking forward to hearing everyone success!

  • Danna says:

    Chrystal,

    I used to make my own laudry detergent, both dry style and gel style, all the time. I found that Fels Naptha soap worked better than Ivory (also shreds better in my food processor). Just a preference thing, but I HATE the smell of Ivory, so the Fels Naptha worked out better for that reason as well.

    Danna

  • Jennifer says:

    Just a heads up, I have 4 kids and I’ve been using the homemade laundry soap for a while, and the only thing I’ve noticed is that although the clothes get clean, the soap doesn’t always get the smells out (DS sometimes wets his bed, and DH works a pretty grungy job). To remedy this, I add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to the wash as well.

  • Sarah says:

    I tried this experiment just yesterday using fels naptha,borax and super washing soda. I purchased all of it at walmart and the cost per 40 load batch was 1.51. Its just barely cheaper than detergent i get through sales. I used it on my white bar towels i used to clean and it got them just as clean as regular detergent. I would think it would be worth it if you couldn’t find detergent on sale but otherwise no.

    fels naptha 97 cents
    Borax 2.98 for 76 oz box
    Super washing soda 2.77

  • Kassi says:

    I have used this recipe for the last 2 years–I use fels naptha instead of ivory soap. I just started cloth diapering and soap is a big no no for diapers so I substituted Simple Green for the soap. (I use the version where you water down the ingredients in hot water.)

    http://tipnut.com/10-homemade-laundry-soap-detergent-recipes/

  • Jaclynn R. says:

    I’ve been making my own for awhile now, unless I can get detergent for less than 4-5 cents a load.
    I use fels Naptha soap though, which seems necessary for all the dirty guy’s work clothes. It works just as well as anything else I’ve ever tried and the washing soda and borax are great because we have hard water.
    The only thing I do different is I also add the hot water to make it a liquid soap and I store it in an old detergent bottle, makes it super easy for dispensing. I don’t know if there is an advantage to using it in the gel form as opposed to powdered?!
    I also love the Purex softener crystals (love the smell of the laundry) and they work great too (bought for about $1 a bottle at Rite Aid on sale)

  • Kristine says:

    I decided to try this using the ingredients that I have on hand. I read on several sites that some people prefer baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) instead of washing soda (sodium carbonate) in homemade laundry detergent. Washing soda has a higher pH level and can be more caustic and damaging to cloth and elastic over time (and skin, too, unless you wear gloves while handling it).

    Since I have baking soda but not washing soda, I used that, in addition to borax and Ivory soap (the only kind of soap my hubby likes because he has sensitive skin). I grated the soap in my food processor first and then added the borax and soda and mixed everything together. It was super easy to mix that way.

    I just finished my first load, and so far it seems to be working fine although I didn’t have any major stains. I usually use OxiClean to pretreat stains. Also, I put some vinegar in the fabric-softener dispenser. And I’m trying another tip that I read online, too–balls of aluminum foil in the dryer to reduce static. I’m not sure how well that works yet.

    • Kristine says:

      Update: With warm water, my homemade detergent worked great. With cold water, the soap didn’t rinse out as well, so I had to do a second rinse with warm water.

    • Kristine says:

      And the aluminum foil in the dryer seems to be working so far.

  • rhoda says:

    I used to make my own laundry soap, but found it to be time consuming and it still wasn’t all natural. We started using Shaklee laundry soap last year! It is super concentrated ( a 32oz. bottle last my family of five – five months, thus making it very affordable!(It is actually cheaper than when I was making my own), it is all natural and safe (I don’t have to worry about the kids getting into it) and it works! I love all shaklee products, but I was ‘sold’ on the Shaklee laundry soap first! http://srkindred.myshaklee.com/us/en/about_specials_.html
    Shaklee also has a great Basic H2 cleaner that is super concentrated, all natural, and safe and lasts forever….it works great!

  • Sarah Z. says:

    We have been using this particular detergent recipe for over 2 years now and we still love it!!!

  • I made homemade detergent using a similar recipe, except I added Oxyclean, since that is like a godsend for kids clothes. I haven’t made it since I finished the last batch because I’m paranoid. I read that if you wash fire resistant children’s pajamas with soap the fire retardant will wash out. I guess I could just wash those clothes in regular detergent, but I’d rather not have to worry about it. I did start making my own facial cleanser 2 months ago, and am extremely happy with the results! I can’t believe I didn’t try it years ago! I use baking soda, lemon juice, green tea, and choose from honey or pumpkin to help with dryness. It has been amazing!!

  • Priscilla says:

    I’ve used this for the past 2 1/2 years…it does help alot (and makes it like a 5 minute job!) if you grate the soap in a food processor. The finished product is more pulverized and dissolves into the wash water much better (if you wash a lot on cold). I also add 1/4 cup generic oxyclean per your recipe ratio.

  • I don’t remember reading it in the above comments, but does anyone have any experience using washing soda and baking soda? Not together, I just want to know if you notice a difference. I made laundry detergent using a recipe that called for washing soda, or soda ash, but I could not find it in the store, so I used oxi clean and baking soda instead (still used ivory soap).

    • Kristine says:

      I posted above that I read that some people prefer baking soda instead of washing soda. Washing soda has a higher pH level and can be more caustic and damaging to cloth and elastic over time (and skin, too, unless you wear gloves while handling it).

      I didn’t have any washing soda on hand, so I tried it with baking soda, in addition to the Ivory soap and borax, and it’s working fine for me so far. I use OxiClean to pretreat stains, and I use vinegar in the fabric-softener dispenser.

      • Sabrina says:

        Thank you! I did see your comment, I was wondering if anyone had any first hand experience using both, to see if there was a difference in how clean the clothes actually got. My baking soda detergent did okay when I made it, but some loads seemed like they weren’t washed at all. I am not sure if I just didn’t use the correct ratio of ingredients. I replaced the soda ash completely with baking soda, then added oxi clean into that. Oh, and I do rinse with vinegar also. Some loads were still dingy after that.

        • Kristine says:

          I haven’t compared the two myself, but my clothes seemed clean enough with baking soda. The only problem I had was that in cold water, the soap didn’t wash out as well, so I had to do a second rinse with warm water. I think I’ll try starting with warm water next time and then switching to cold after the detergent dissolves.

  • Jordon says:

    I don’t know if someone has already suggested this but I use a Castile soap in place of the FelsNaptha, the FelsNaptha is made using rendered animal fats and also contains fragrances which you want to avoid.
    The Castile is biodegradable and all natural so it’s better for the earth and your skin! You can also find scented (naturally of course) castile soaps!

  • mariah says:

    Did anyone mention that borax is actually toxic? I always thought it was a friendly cleaner, research renders that untrue. Just wanted to put that out there.

    • Kristine says:

      There’s a lot of controversy over whether it’s safe for the environment and for use in laundry and other household cleaning. From what I’ve read, most people agree that it’s toxic if ingested or inhaled and should be kept out of reach of young children and pets and away from food. It can cause skin irritation, too. Personally, I’m not worried about using it in the washing machine because it gets so diluted.

    • Sabrina says:

      I’ve read that too. I am not sure how much it helps, but I do an extra rinse with every wash, to make sure as much of the detergent gets out as possible.

  • Melissa says:

    I tried this for 2+ years and documented usage, cost/load and experimented with the amount. In the end I do not like homemade det.

    I found that with our well water (which is “soft”) – did not work well wih homemade det. Plus we install a brand new septic system ($18K) and I am not convinced this it is good for it. You may not have an issue now, but it seems to produce a residue that builds up over time – just my experience! Same for my HE washer.

    Here’s what I found, some of which was mentioned above:
    1. absorbency decreases – we do not have a dishwasher – the kids wash/dry- they notices all my towels just moved the water around. This built up over time, yes, I decreased the amount of soap and used vinegar. Bath towels were doing the same.

    2. not good for cloth diapers – again absorbency issue

    3. as someone else mentioned – stored clothes that were put up “clean” are yellowed when unpacked

    4. I used vinegar in the rinse cycle – this did not help rinse out whatever residue was left causing the absorbency/yellowing issue. Also, decreased the amout of det./load.

    5. Having a child with sensative skin the soap (Fels or Zote) caused a reaction.

    6. You do need to use an oxygen-type stain remover (I prefer Oxi-Boost) – this det. does not have stain-remover properties

    7. I found better alternative – soap nuts (either the “nut” or liquid form) – purely natural, absolutely no smell to the clothes. I am not associated with any company. But I buy from one in particular, when whey had a sale the cost/load ended up being similar to the claimed cost/load for homemade det. Once I washed my towels a few time with soapnuts – the absorbency returned.

    8. Bonus: my daughter no longer has rashes from her clothes!

    So there’s my 2-cents and experience.

  • Carissa says:

    Can’t wait to find out how you like the Artisan Bread! I have been baking it for a couple of months now and it is fabulous! The dough is great for a number things! Love it with Carmel Sticky Rolls and pizza crusts! Never going to buy french bread for $2.50 again! 😀

  • Jesse Bosher says:

    I have done both the liquid and the powder. for me powder is the way to go. I recently found Fels Naphtha soap at Walmart. It cost 0.97 and makes it through 3 batches of soap for me. I like it and have had no problems with it for the past year or so that I have been using it. I just switched to the Fels Naptha, I have used Ivory also as well as home made goats milk soap to make the detergent.

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