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DIY Suds

Update: If using a HE washer, our readers have suggested throwing the mix directly into the wash load, rather than the soap dispenser. Please read through the comments for more Q&As, as you have all been so wonderful to share your experiences!

And if you’re looking for even more information on our DIY suds, see our sudsy update to this post, right here.

The last time I purchased laundry soap, I threw a fit in the cleaning aisle and spent the drive home moaning over the high coast of detergent. I always knew I was thrifty, but even that took me by surprise. Since then, Scott buys the suds. Did I score in the man department or what?

First mentioned here (whew, I was on a rant that day), I decided to heck with it all, and I went and did something about it. Four months later, winter happened and all those loose to-do projects started getting done. Found on That’s Church via Tall Tales, the three ingredients were purchased at our local grocery store for a total of $10 (of course, I discovered this after first trying Ace and then Target – but only finding 1 ingredient of each in both), and it was so dang easy. You’ll need Borax, Fels Naptha soap, and washing soda:

I kid you not, the steps are even easier than getting in your car, driving to the store, and buying the 3 ingredients. Especially if you’re like us and spend an afternoon in every carry-all store in the city until you find what you needed at the first place you should have stopped. In fact, it’s so easy, I can sum up the steps in a sentence (hey, there’s a first for me!): Grate an entire bar of Fels Naptha with a cheese grater into a bowl (we used a Rubbermaid container, same diff), then add 1 cup of Borax, followed by 1 cup of the washing soda, and mix.

While we could’ve left the mixture in the tupperware, I spruced up the display by using an on-hand Ball jar instead. One regular load of laundry only needs one tablespoon of this mix, so I put an old, mini coffee scoop in the jar to use for measuring.

Here’s the kicker – there’s enough Borax and washing soda to make something like 5 batches of this, uh, stuff. And the bar of Fels Naptha was only a buck and each batch equates to 40+ loads. I’m totally fascinated by this, oddly enough. (Dork alert – I even found this nifty site for other Borax uses.) Of course the best part is that it actually works, and it works well – even with a boy in the house and all his boy clothes. No more temper tantrums in the cleaning aisle; not even for Scott.

Ooh, and here are some random mentionables. The laundry smells like heaven during the wash cycle – lemon-y and clean, but in some bizarre twist, your clothes come out smelling scent free, but fresh. I guess that could be good or bad, depending on what you’re into. And (like any well meaning geek), I even excitedly emailed Tiffany of Tall Tales beforehand, and she mentioned that Dove soap works, too.

So there you have it. Three ingredients and three steps – plus one more if you count the mixing part. But three and three sounds better. If this was Facebook, I would totally “like” this project.

  • Liliana - March 16, 2011 - 8:25 AM

    This is a great idea! I currently use http://www.charliesoap.com/ and I love it but, wouldn’t mind making my own detergent once in a while!

    I “like” this post = )

    ~ L.ReplyCancel

  • Jacquelin Seybert - March 16, 2011 - 10:03 AM

    I have to give it a try. Even with coupons, laundry soap is soooo expensive! I love how you prettied it up with a jar.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda- Hip House Girl - March 16, 2011 - 10:11 AM

    Score! My mom has been doing this for years, but I have yet to try it myself. She grates up whatever bar soap she has. One question- do you have a high-efficiency machine?ReplyCancel

  • emily - March 16, 2011 - 10:29 AM

    seconds on the charlies soap. best stuff around and not too badly priced. i’d love to try your recipe sometime though.ReplyCancel

  • kelly - March 16, 2011 - 10:44 AM

    I started making a variation of this washing detergent about six months ago and love it. Last month we switched to a front load, high effic machine and it works like a charm because it generates very little suds. I turn it into a liquid soap first by adding the same ingre. (just 1/2 the amounts) into boiling water. The only complaint I have with this method is that (and I am searching here) you have to keep shaking it up cause it has a tendency to settle. Think I might try your “powder” version next time around.ReplyCancel

  • rachael - March 16, 2011 - 10:45 AM

    I love this! Although I’m fond of my Tide w/fabreze, it’s probably all those added scents causing the added expense. I think I’ll still use the liquid fabric softener cause I am a sucker for clean laundry smell. Looking forward to trying this out!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Our Humble A{Bowe}d - March 16, 2011 - 10:50 AM

    I had the same question as Amanda, does this work in high effeciency washers? We just got ours and I’d hate to ruin it with a different soap. The geek in me is excited that the soap is pretty yellow and the texture is fun! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Heather - March 16, 2011 - 10:53 AM

    Would this be safe to use in a HE, front loading washer? Would love to try it!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 16, 2011 - 11:04 AM

      Amanda, we don’t have a h/e washer and dryer (just a trusty stacked unit that’s been there since day 1), but to answer everyone else, it looks like Kelly (comment above) uses it great with her h/e unit! YAY for cheap, efficient, and FUN.ReplyCancel

  • lauryn - March 16, 2011 - 12:10 PM

    we do the same thing! except we use ivory soap, because we couldn’t find the fels naptha anywhere. our laundry smells great as well! and we haven’t bought the over fragranced chemical ridden stuff in over a year!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - March 16, 2011 - 12:13 PM

    Two thouhgst:
    1. How eco friendly is this? Is it biodegradability? That would be awesome!
    2. Seriously, everything looks prettier in a nice glass jar!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 16, 2011 - 3:03 PM

      Kate, these are great points – not sure about the eco-friendliness, but I would think it would be more so than other name brands since Borax is a natural mineral. It’s definitely something I’m now curious about!ReplyCancel

  • kashya - March 16, 2011 - 12:43 PM

    My daughter is very allergic to scent and perfumes so we use the no dye no scent detergents I wonder does anyone know if this is just as good on the skin as those detergents?ReplyCancel

  • kara g - March 16, 2011 - 12:50 PM

    Someone actually gave me a bunch of containers of soap they made themselves as a shower gift and then all of the supplies to make more on my own! Such a great idea!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany Harkleroad - March 16, 2011 - 1:20 PM

    Yay I am so glad you like the soap. I have been making it for a year now and love it!

    oh and yes, it is completely safe for high efficiency washers, because it does not cause lots of suds!

    A batch of this usually lasts me 2-3 months, so it ends up being super cost effective!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany Harkleroad - March 16, 2011 - 1:56 PM

    blah you would think I knew my own blog URL. Fuzzy headed today.

    talltalesfromasmalltown.blogspot.comReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 16, 2011 - 2:25 PM

    Hi Kashya, perhaps you could use an unscented soap such as Dove? It would be gentle, scent-free, and certainly free of dyes.ReplyCancel

  • Amber @ Amber, Dom & Baby Make 3! - March 17, 2011 - 12:03 PM

    Ohh this is great! We are planning on cloth diapering so maybe I will give this a go (wayyyy cheaper than the Method brand pump soap we use now). And I can imagine in about 5 weeks I am going to start doing laundry a LOT more!ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House - March 17, 2011 - 1:26 PM

    I need to try this! Hopefully I remember when our giant bottle o’ liquid detergent runs out the next time…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 17, 2011 - 2:17 PM

      Cait, it’s definitely worth it. Just add those 3 ingredients to your grocery list, and hopefully you’ll remember!ReplyCancel

  • Sammy - March 17, 2011 - 10:02 PM

    We do this too, but we use ivory soap.ReplyCancel

  • kirsten - March 17, 2011 - 11:55 PM

    It’s official – I am trying this ASAP. I love the look of the detergent in the clear jar too. Who knew soap could look that good?ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode - March 20, 2011 - 10:11 PM

    Seriously, what is up with the cost of regular laundry detergent!?

    I just snagged some borax today for helping around the house, and also to use with the “pet” laundry. For all other laundry I use Soap Nuts, which are totally eco-friendly and compostable – and YES, they actually work!
    I plan to add borax to the soap nuts for dog laundry, but will definitely remember this recipe just in case. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode - March 20, 2011 - 10:14 PM

    Oh – a few comments on the eco-friendliness of borax. It’s VERY dangerous if ingested. It can also be troublesome if it contacts your bare skin, so gloves are recommended before handling it. On the up side, it’s helpful as an eco-friendly ant & roach pesticide. (mix some with honey and set as a trap)

    It’s environmentally friendly, but the mining process for obtaining it is not.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle L. - March 21, 2011 - 2:10 PM

    Kudos to you for solving your laundry dilemma! Last year I did some homemade household cleaners& used this very recipe! It was really fun& very smart cost-wise. Not sure if you’ve heard about this or not, but you can add a few drops of essential oil to your detergent mix to create your favorite laundry scent. They come in various scents like lavender, orange,tee tree, etc.
    Most have some sort of health benefit to them, they’re derived from natural elements or plant life aka eco-friendly, and they’re multi-purpose so you can use them for homemade cleaners, beauty products,bath oil etc. You can find them at any whole food/vitamin type store for a few bucks. Can’t wait to see what you two come up with next! :) D.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 21, 2011 - 2:36 PM

    Danielle, thanks for the tip! I do remember reading that somewhere during my sudsy research. I’ll keep it on the agenda for next time – after so many stops for ingredients that were in our local grocery store, I just couldn’t fathom making one more stop!ReplyCancel

  • amy kate - April 1, 2011 - 8:21 PM

    We just started doing the same!
    http://tibbsfamily.blogspot.com/2011/02/i-am-not-hippie-i-am-not-1930s.html

    The absence of chemical-ish smells from laundry is amazing, and I can’t wait for sunny days to hang my laundry outside to dry. We’ve also started using vinegar with a few drops of lavender essential oil for softener (we still have some static issues, though).

    AND you can use Castile Soap – our Whole Foods had a nice selection of Dr. Bronner’s bar soaps – a bit pricier than the Fels Naptha (which we found at our Ace Hardware, with the washing soda. Target only had Borax…) but we LOVE love love the Almond scented Bronner’s.

    Love not having to pick up detergent at the store. I’m with you!ReplyCancel

  • Chrystal - April 15, 2011 - 11:25 PM

    I made my own laundry detergent for about 3 years, while my husband was in college. We have 5 children, so you can imagine the amount of laundry I wash daily! I found that the detergent worked very well, and in fact, would lift impossible-to-remove stains if I applied the detergent directly to the stain and left it overnight. However, (and this, for me, turned out to be the deciding factor in switching back to a store bought laundry detergent)I found the homemade detergent to be very harsh on our clothing. The clothes faded very quickly and dramatically, and the fabric deteriorated much more rapidly. It just wasn’t worth it for me anymore to make my own detergent, since I had to replace our clothing much more often. Anyways, I thought I’d just share my personal experience with this detergent, for you to take with a grain of salt! And by the way, I LOVE your blog! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 16, 2011 - 11:05 AM

      Thank you, Chrystal! This is good information to know. We’ve been using the detergent for a few months now, and we haven’t noticed a difference in our clothes fading, but this is something I will definitely be on the watch for! The majority of our clothes are line-dry, so that tends to keep things more colorful and “new” looking longer, so perhaps that helps? Regardless, thank you for the tip!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - April 19, 2011 - 8:25 PM

    Would/Could you recommend this for babies? Cloth diapers? Cuz I have both! :) Would love to be able to make my own baby-and-all-his-accessories-friendly, especially since we’re doing so much laundry these days!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - April 20, 2011 - 9:30 AM

    Hi Sarah, the lack of chemicals in this recipe seems like a safer bet than Big-Box brands, but perhaps you could even use a bar of unscented Dove or Ivory that may be softer on a baby’s sensitive skin? Check out this link for Borax uses – from salvaging fruit trees, to shampoo and face wash, it seems quite green:

    http://www.diylife.com/2010/08/25/borax/

    Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Anke - June 2, 2011 - 12:29 AM

    I just found this on Pinterest and was supertempted to try it – imagine making laundry detergent with your favourite scent! – and did a quick search on the ingredients.
    It turns out that Borax is not very safe, in Germany it is even prohibited to sell it to private households as it classified as being potentially harmful to your unborn child and not safe for infants.

    Wiki states the same and lists some other side effects:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borax

    So sadly I won’t be trying this after all, but I love the general idea!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 2, 2011 - 8:50 AM

      Hi Anke, thank you for the link and concern! I just checked out the link myself, but to cause any harm, Borax would need to be used as an eye wash or in direct contact with skin to cause any harm to infants. In addition, it instantly dissolves in water. Borax is also not the same as boric acid (which bores warnings and can be a bit confusing in internet searches), and it is recommended that you avoid using it in dish soaps (which apparently, is possible).

      I suppose – as many things in life – it’s all things in moderation. Only one tablespoon is needed for an entire wash load, just a teeny (itty bitty, teeny tiny!) blip on the radar in toxicity, if any at all.

      I do really appreciate your input though!ReplyCancel

  • christi - June 2, 2011 - 1:15 PM

    I have been making my own soap for a year and I love it!!!
    I love zote in mine it works great.ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - June 6, 2011 - 12:38 PM

    Made this for a young couple getting married with a supertight budget…calculated it out and DIY comes to $0.05/load compared to at least $0.15/load with the cheapest of storebought detergents. Thought you’d want to know!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 6, 2011 - 12:45 PM

    Thanks, Margaret! We’re definitely hooked and haven’t looked back once!ReplyCancel

  • aleksandra - June 7, 2011 - 10:20 AM

    i just made this, and can’t wait to use it! but, i am embarassed to say i needed to enlist ben to finish grating the soap for me. my little t-rex arms got tired! next time perhaps i will put it in the food processor. i wonder if that would work.
    hooray!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - June 9, 2011 - 7:22 PM

    Can you use that in a front load washer ? I am planning to buy one in a month and I wonder if that genius soap will work ?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 9, 2011 - 8:57 PM

      Hi Nancy, from what I’ve read and heard, I’m almost positive that you can! And yes, this soap is quite genius. :)ReplyCancel

  • Birdie - June 18, 2011 - 3:39 PM

    I was intrigued with this recipe until I googled Borax. Apparently, in Germany (where I’m at) this is no longer available for private use as it’s suspected to harm unborn babies. The article also said to use soda instead – I wonder if I could make your laundry detergent with just soda and soap?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 18, 2011 - 8:21 PM

      Hi Birdie, please see my longer note to Anke, above. I, too, did research, and found that in order to harm, you would need to have direct contact in large quantities. There are also many positive sides to Borax – such as natural insect killers, use as shampoo and face wash, etc. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Comelab - June 19, 2011 - 2:58 AM

    Birdie, if you can’t find Borax, try this recipe instead:

    50g soap flakes
    25g washing soda
    25g bicarb soda

    I’ve been using this for ages and it works wonders, like Kim’s recipe, it leaves your wash smelling wonderfully clean and fresh without all the nasty chemicals!

    Thanks for sharing this, Kim! I might try Borax as well!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 19, 2011 - 7:53 PM

      Nancy, thank you for the great tip!ReplyCancel

  • [...] Or, we could make our own soap like the folks at Yellow Brick Home. [...]ReplyCancel

  • Luisa Kara - June 20, 2011 - 11:43 AM

    i just read that borax is unhealthy and needs to be removed from housholds… had just decided to buy some and try to make this detergent, now i’m not sure anymore…ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 20, 2011 - 12:02 PM

    Hi Luisa, please see Nancy’s alternate ingredient list, above. Do you have a link on where you read this information? I find that for every bad review on Borax – which seem a bit vague, I’ll read several great reviews on how it’s a great natural alternative. Just as other household products (bleach, for example), the warnings are the same as avoiding contact with skin or eyes (in which case they recommended flushing with water).

    Thank you for the tip, but I’d love to see a link. Thanks, Luisa!ReplyCancel

  • Fabra DiPaolo - June 21, 2011 - 10:20 AM

    Nice! I am going to try this today. Thanks and your blog is terrific!ReplyCancel

  • lisa - June 21, 2011 - 10:42 PM

    I have recently made a batch of the liquid version of this in the 5 gallon bucket….and so far it has worked wonderful. Cost is great…and as far as the laundry smell…i stopped using the liquid fabric softener and just just the gain sheets…as they are fairly decent priced and that has still given the clothes the same clean smell. We have an HE washer and this has worked well. if you read some articles on the HE washers about laundry detergents and liquid fabric softners they tell you that you will get that mildew smell sometimes….we had that problem when we were using regular HE soap and since using this..we have had no problemsReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 22, 2011 - 9:08 AM

      Thanks, Lisa! We get a lot of questions about h/e washers. Good to know!ReplyCancel

  • Tonia - June 23, 2011 - 10:00 AM

    I make my own laundry soap, too! I use the same recipe you do, except I use Ivory Soap instead of the Fels-Naptha. I think the Ivory Soap makes the clothes smell wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • Hester - June 25, 2011 - 8:18 PM

    I went to the Fels-Naptha website, and that stuff is TOXIC. No wonder it fades and degrades fabrics so quickly. It’s probably good for de-greasing engines.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 26, 2011 - 9:15 AM

      Hi Hester, I’ve also looked up Fels Naptha, and I’m a bit unclear on where you’re information is coming from? I’ve also looked up the ingredients, and many of the acids are found in plants! The good thing is that if you’re not a fan of Fels Naptha, it seems as though many readers have suggested (and use!) Ivory or Dove soaps as an alternative.ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte - June 26, 2011 - 11:58 AM

    Does this work well in cold water?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 26, 2011 - 2:36 PM

    Hi Charlotte, we use it in cold water all the time (for color loads), and it dissolves fast and easy!ReplyCancel

  • Roseanna - June 26, 2011 - 4:41 PM

    I was wondering if you have to use warm water in order to dissolve the soap?
    Will it work in cold water?
    Thanks…ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 26, 2011 - 4:44 PM

    Hi Roseanna, please see my note, above. It will definitely work in cold water, and we use cold all the time!ReplyCancel

  • [...] And to make sure we continue to save every last cent for wine retirement, I took it upon myself to also cut our grocery budget by DIYing laundry detergent using this recipe. [...]ReplyCancel

  • Kami - June 29, 2011 - 2:28 PM

    May be a silly question, but if I’m wanting to mix it all at once and not in small batches you just mix it all together? Just confused as to why you would make a small batch at a time. ThanksReplyCancel

  • Kami - June 29, 2011 - 3:15 PM

    Nevermind, I got it. So it’s one bar of soap per 1 cup of borax and WS. Sorry having a brain fart.ReplyCancel

  • kim - June 29, 2011 - 9:43 PM

    I have been using the liquid version of this for a couple of years now. I also use Ivory because my Hubby has super sensitive skin. I have had no problems with this in our HE washer. As a matter of fact, I asked the repairman working on our dryer about this recipe, and he said he recommends it to people all the time. :) I also make my own liquid fabric softener, and love it. I have stopped using dryer sheets due to the fire hazard they can cause. (This is what the repairman was fixing. They cause a greasy build-up on the fan blades which can cause fires!)

    I got the recipes for the liquid softener and detergent at http://www.tipnut.com. They have several recipes. Happy washing!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 30, 2011 - 8:01 AM

    Thanks, Kim! Hopefully this will help clear up a lot of confusion with HE washers.ReplyCancel

  • Kathie - July 3, 2011 - 12:15 PM

    If you use a micro-plane it will grate the soap into finer particles. I have made both the liquid and the powder. Powder is by far better only in that you have to shake the heck out of the liquid before using but what the hey? It’s your own sake weight!ReplyCancel

  • Erin - July 5, 2011 - 12:10 AM

    Been using this for a few mos now… I would like to note, I was initially getting a scent on our clothing, and decided to see how much I really needed to get our clothes clean. So I spent a whole day doing laundry (I save it up, I’m lazy!) and every load, I decreased by 1 tsp, to see how much I needed to use for cleanliness, and as little as possible to have no scent… I have city water, and an ancient Maytag top loader, and the hubs, me and 1 toddler. We only need 1 tsp, and our clothes come out clean! I have always used fels naptha as a spot treater for laundry, and still do for stains. We also use vinegar instead of fabric softener.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 5, 2011 - 11:41 AM

      Erin, thank you for the tip! Maybe we can cut down our tablespoon per load.ReplyCancel

  • FaithofAllCrafts - July 6, 2011 - 11:08 PM

    Kashya (comment above) – I have a child with skin sensitivities to most laundry detergents as well. I’ve not tried the Fells Naptha b/c of that, but we do the same mixture with Ivory soap (1 bar to 1ReplyCancel

  • DIY laundry detergent? | Go, haus, go! - July 14, 2011 - 9:33 AM

    [...] checking out Yellow Brick Home’s tutorial here, it seems pretty straightforward. I haven’t made the detergent yet (I need to track down this [...]ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - July 17, 2011 - 3:11 PM

    I just tried this, and I’m sold! So easy to make, and super cheap. My clothes smell so fresh and clean! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Jacqueline - July 19, 2011 - 12:14 AM

    We have been using this for more than a year now. At first I was making the liquid version, but the dry version is soooo much more convenient. I am not a cheapy but I have been sickened by the ridiculous rise in laundry detergent and now I store a year’s supply of these ingredients on one shelf in my laundry room! Lovin’ it!

    ps A friend just posted your cute picture on Pinterest. That is how I found you!ReplyCancel

  • Rene - July 21, 2011 - 1:44 PM

    I started using this about a month ago. I absolutely love it! And you can use about 1/3 cup white vinegar in place of the bleach and fabric softener. That eliminates the need for a dryer sheet too!ReplyCancel

  • BRenda - July 21, 2011 - 4:52 PM

    You can make it scented by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils.ReplyCancel

  • Donna - July 22, 2011 - 7:36 AM

    I’ve been making the liquid version of this soap for about 10 years now and would NEVER go back to comercial laundry detergents. Every member of my family has ultra senitive skin and had what seemed like permanant rashes where their clothing made skin contact. Once I got everything in the house that would touch them washed with the homemade detergent, the rashes miraculousely dissappeared! It also neutralizes pet accident odors which was very important when we had two extremely old cats for a few years. As an added bonus, ants and roaches HATE the smell of Fels Naptha so wen we had a problem with them entering the house because of extreme heat, we washed the entire house, floors, counters and walls down with the detergent and it drastically reduced what we had to use poision on.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 22, 2011 - 8:45 AM

      Donna, wow, that is amazing! We’ve had no desire to go back to store bought detergents, and all these wonderful comments just solidifies that for us.ReplyCancel

  • amanda - July 24, 2011 - 10:00 AM

    Instead of borax use oxy or a comparable off brand. Borax is bad.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 24, 2011 - 11:08 AM

      Hi Amanda, thank you for mentioning an alternate ingredient. However, I haven’t really found any solid sources to back up your comment on Borax, epecially when used in such a small amount (approximately 1 tsp!). Do you know of a source for this?ReplyCancel

  • Josh - July 25, 2011 - 3:56 PM

    Is there anything you can switch with the Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda? I cannot find that anywhere less than an hour away from me. I have found Arm and Hammer detergent, would that be interchangeable?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 25, 2011 - 4:17 PM

    Hi Josh,

    It seems like you can get the washing soda from the Arm & Hammer site:

    http://www.greatcleaners.com/Products/Arm%20and%20Hammer/PID-33200-03020

    But just a heads up, hardware stores and grocery stores also carry this product. I wouldn’t think the washing soda and detergent are interchangeable, and I would advise to go with the washing soda.

    Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Josh - July 26, 2011 - 12:22 PM

    I actually found a place that wasn’t listed that carries it. Thank you! I am making the detergent today.ReplyCancel

  • Jamy - July 30, 2011 - 12:00 AM

    I use this same recipe and also add Oxy-clean for an extra kick. Works really great, especially if you or your kids have allergies or problems with eczema.ReplyCancel

  • randi - July 31, 2011 - 12:36 PM

    i want to make this but i read on another site that its not good to use this if you have a septic system , is that true??ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 31, 2011 - 1:51 PM

    Hi Randi, I’m not sure of this. If you read on another site that it’s not a good idea, perhaps they have a source of reason? We don’t have a septic system here in the city, and I don’t want to tell you an answer I’m not sure of.ReplyCancel

  • becca - August 2, 2011 - 6:33 PM

    Love homemade detergent. I use Ivory and oxi-clean as a boost as well. After I grate the soap, I put all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until fine. I’ve had no problem with settling or clumping this way. And isn’t line drying the only way to go?!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 2, 2011 - 7:20 PM

      Ooh, the food processor tip is a great one! Agreed on the line drying – I think 95% of my wardrobe is line dry anyway!ReplyCancel

  • Cate - August 4, 2011 - 6:03 AM

    Hi Everyone!

    I’ve been making my own detergent for a few years now and have a few small notes to add:
    1- Borax cannot be used if you want to recycle your grey water;
    2- You’ll need to use vinegar as a fabric softener every now and then to stop build-up in your machine (the scent fades as you dry it); and
    3- I always put 50ml (almost 2oz?) of Eucalyptus or Tea tree oil in my mix. It adds some scent but has the beauty of being anti-bacterial.

    My recipe is adapted from here: http://www.towards-sustainability.com/2009/01/homemade-laundry-powder.html

    Cheers,
    CateReplyCancel

  • SandyHarsh - August 4, 2011 - 10:49 PM

    You can use Kirk’s Castille bar soap. It’s very mild. I love this recipe and have been using it for a year now. I add 2 TBL of vinegar to the rinse and I’m really happy with the results.ReplyCancel

  • Corinna - August 14, 2011 - 2:45 PM

    What an awesome idea for a struggling-for-money-student :)
    Just wondering, I’m from the UK and we don’t really use cups as a measurement, do you mean like a small or large cup?
    Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 16, 2011 - 8:38 AM

      Hi Corinna, 1 cup equates to about 240 mL. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • {leah} - August 15, 2011 - 11:52 PM

    I was reading the comments and one asked if it was bio-degradable. The answer is yes. We started doing this to save money and eventually when we have some property we want to reclaim our gray water, so that means a more natural way of washing.ReplyCancel

  • All Washed Up | autumnfallin - August 17, 2011 - 7:57 AM

    [...] Yellowbrick Home DIY Suds [...]ReplyCancel

  • Chris - August 17, 2011 - 10:17 AM

    I made the Duggar’s liquid clothes soap a couple of years ago, when my daughter was still home. It lasted forever, but required a 5 gallon bucket in my laundry room. The scent was wonderful for the first week or two, but then waned. Because this is solid, does the scent remain for the life of the jar? I’m sold if it does!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 17, 2011 - 4:18 PM

      Hi Chris, great question! The scent remains in the jar the entire time. It smells fresh and slightly lemon-y, however, the scent does not “stick” to your clothing after the wash. During the wash load, our house smells wonderful! Others have suggested adding oils to the soap (such as eucalyptus and lavender) for a lasting scent on the clothing after the wash. You should definitely give this a try. We’re so sold!ReplyCancel

  • DIY Laundry Soap « Sweet Tea & Grits - August 18, 2011 - 7:54 AM

    [...] I have seen. Most of the time you have to cook the ingredients, but not this time! Visit the Yellow Brick Home for simple directions. Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]ReplyCancel

  • Mimi - August 18, 2011 - 6:59 PM

    For those who have “heard” borax is toxic, please read the actual safety data sheet: http://www.anvilfire.com/21centbs/material/33850-usborax-borax.pdf

    11 Toxicological information
    Acute toxicity
    Ingestion: Low acute oral toxicity; LD50 in rats is 4,500 to 5,000 mg/kg of body weight.
    Skin/dermal: Low acute dermal toxicity; LD50 in rabbits is
    greater than 10,000 mg/kg of body weight. Borax is poorly
    absorbed through intact skin.
    Inhalation: Low acute inhalation toxicity; LC50 in rats is greater than 2.0 mg/L (or g/m 3).
    Skin irritation: Non-irritant.
    Eye irritation: Draize test in rabbits produced eye irritation
    effects. Fifty years of occupational exposure to Borax indicates no adverse effects on human eye. Therefore, Borax is not considered to be a human eye irritant in normal industrial use.
    Sensitization: Borax is not a skin sensitizer

    As you can see, Borax is poorly absorbed through intact skin. Even a healthy adult ingesting 1 tsp of this isn’t harmful.

    Considering that you are using 1 tbsp for a whole load of wash and that tablespoon is also mixed with the other 2 soaps, you are getting MINIMAL borax in your wash.

    After using this for MANY years (I won’t tell my age hehehe), my mom used it as well, I can say its one of the better cleaning products on the market!!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - August 19, 2011 - 6:11 PM

    Just found your site through Pinterest. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely be trying this one.ReplyCancel

  • Susie - August 21, 2011 - 10:04 PM

    I too have been making my own laundry detergent. Instead of FelsNaptha soap, I use Dr. Bronner’s Almond Soap. The smell is heavenly!! I have been making mine liquid, I like your idea of making it in powder form. A glass Ball Jar would look so much prettier than my big silver Lowes bucket! Getting into bed with freshly laundered sheets washed with this mixture, feels so good!!!ReplyCancel

  • Leah Bonebrake - September 2, 2011 - 3:30 PM

    1/4 Cup of the liquid is what I use in my high efficiency washer.ReplyCancel

  • suzee - September 6, 2011 - 8:28 PM

    I use these same ingredients.. but my recipe calls to melt the soap and add hot/cold water and it gels up.. I will make this method next!! looks sooo much easier! I love using mine! and yes it does smell so good!ReplyCancel

  • april - September 10, 2011 - 10:59 AM

    how much do you use measuring wise to wash a load?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - September 10, 2011 - 5:53 PM

    Hi April, just 1 tablespoon for a regular load and 2 tablespoons for a large load!ReplyCancel

  • Chris Salek - September 11, 2011 - 1:38 PM

    Just made it…so grating the fels naptha was the worst part…but I put it in a glass jar and made one for my co-woker. Thanks for the info-will try it out in a wash tomorrow.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 12, 2011 - 9:14 AM

      Chris, it’s true – grating the soap is quite annoying, but sharing bar-grate-duties with someone else halfway through helps! I like to guilt Scott into finishing up my half-done job :)ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - September 12, 2011 - 3:27 PM

    I love homemade laundry detergent! I keep giving little baggies to my friends so they’ll try it but none have made the switch yet.

    I substitute oxyclean for the borax and it still works fabulous! I buy it in bulk at costco and they regularly have $4 off coupons so it remains very frugal as well!ReplyCancel

  • cmedwards - September 13, 2011 - 10:10 AM

    I have been using this detergent for a while. I found the recipe on mommyskitchen and never looked back. I would be afraid to use it on work/church clothes but I love it for bed linens, towels, bluejeans, husbands work clothes and such. My daughter even puts a little in a dish in her room because she loves the “clean” smell… Love this laundry detergent. It was hard to find Naptha soap at first but I talked to the lady at Ace Hardware and she ordered it for me (no shipping fees when ordered through the store). The next time I went in she said several people had been asking for it so they added it to the inventory.ReplyCancel

  • Joyce - September 14, 2011 - 4:58 PM

    I read that you can throw a piece of aluminum foil in your dryer to prevent static.

    Made this and have been giving it out to everyone…works greatReplyCancel

  • happy zombie - September 15, 2011 - 3:59 PM

    I am so going to trying this. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Joyce - September 15, 2011 - 11:04 PM

    I have been using the first one I made for several weeks now and love it. I gave it to my daughter in law and she loves it too.

    I just made a second batch for a friend and noticed that I was grating a lot of soap. I realized I had a LARGE bar of Zote and wondered how I should change the amount of other ingredients. The first bar was only 5 or 6 oz. The Zote was 14 Oz.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Arnold - September 17, 2011 - 10:53 PM

    I have just started making my laundry detergent….My husband is a farmer and does most of his mechanic work….I challenge anybody that has dirty work clothes to try this….I bought a HE washer 3 years ago….I hated it…my husbands clothes could not be gotten clean, I was using the best detergents and dry bleach…then I was soaking them for hours…..about 5 moths ago I went back to a top \loader…made all the difference in the world….then whenI found out about making my own detergent, his clothes are nice and clean and no soaking….after all what did our ansesters use as a basic cleaner for laundry?? laundry borax!!….and Fels Naptha soap……thank you for putting this recipe on Penterest…..I am totally addicted to it….also someone mentioned oxyclean…there is a recipe for it also….ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - September 19, 2011 - 2:18 PM

    This doesn’t work for me. I followed the directions completely. My clothes do not look or smell clean. What could be the problem.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 19, 2011 - 3:24 PM

      Hi Sandra, that’s strange! This is the first I’ve heard of this. You combined a bar of grated soap and 1 cup of washing soda and borax? Our clothes come out of the dryer scent-free, but they’re very clean. In fact, our whites are brighter than ever! I’m unsure what the issue could be, unless you’re using less than a tablespoon for a regular load?ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - September 19, 2011 - 6:06 PM

    Thanks for answering me. Yes, that is the exact mixture I used, and I’ve actually been using 2 tablespoons per regular load. Should there be any sudsing? There is absolutely no suds. My clothes are coming out of the dryer still smelling prewashed dirty. Should I dissolve this mixture in hot water first?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 19, 2011 - 6:32 PM

      Sandra, weird. Borax actually dissolves great even in cold water, and the mixture will not suds. An active ingredient is actually added to store-bought detergents that cause the sudsing, causing us to “think” it’s doing it’s job (when it’s not necessary). The only thing I can think of is that maybe you’re putting too many clothes in the load? To be honest, this baffles me since we’ve never had this problem. While the load comes out scent free, we at least have the faint smell of our dryer sheet!

      I wonder if adding essential oils like eucalyptus or swapping for a yummier scented soap might help – such as Dr. Bronner’s almond or lavender soaps.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - September 20, 2011 - 8:44 AM

    Thanks. Maybe I’ll try different bar soap next time. I even tried it in a very small load of clothes with 2 tablespoons. Maybe it’s our water, I’ve always said we have weird water.ReplyCancel

  • Peaceful One - September 24, 2011 - 9:37 AM

    Did you know that liquid laundry detergent has animal fat in it? That is why washing machines get that rank, musky smell to them. To remove that smell, put 1/4 cup cascade dishwasher deterg and 1/2 cup bleach in washer, run it for a complete cycle (without any clothes).

    I will try the homemade laundry deterg recipe with some lavender soap too. Great idea and will also make a fabulous, inexpensive gift for a housewarming!ReplyCancel

  • Veggiechef - October 2, 2011 - 10:21 AM

    Hey, has anyone used Ivory soap in this recipe instead of the Fels? I can’t find Fels anywhere, so I subbed with the ivory, and it does not dissolve well. I wonder how it is rinsing off my clothes in the rinse cycle if there are still little flakes of soap in the water? And where can I find Fels Naptha? I’ve looked everywhere! Thanks :-)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 2, 2011 - 11:34 AM

      Veggiechef, I have heard of people subbing with Ivory, but even more popular is Dove or Dr. Bronner’s – all of which can be found at Target. We found the Fels Naptha at our grocery store, and it was on the very bottom shelf – out of sight! If you still don’t have luck, I would try one of the others I just mentioned. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - October 10, 2011 - 4:06 PM

    Where is the most inexpensive place to buy Fels Naptha?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 10, 2011 - 4:12 PM

    Hi Lynn,

    We get Fels Naptha at the grocery store for $1. It’s in the same section that you would buy bar soap, and in store, it’s on the lowest shelf there (most likely because it’s not very popular).ReplyCancel

  • [...] ça? J’ai vu une «recette» sur un blogue et j’ai décidé de tenter ma chance. Au bout du compte, ça reviendrait pas mal moins cher [...]ReplyCancel

  • jackie - October 16, 2011 - 3:13 AM

    I’ve been making the liquid version for over a year. I use a bar of Ivory soap and the Borax & Washing Soda. I also use vinegar for my softener. I love it. I love the savings, my clothes are fresh and clean, and much softer than they were using commercial products.
    For the person who said their clothes don’t smell or look clean: Clothes that don’t smell like laundry detergent ARE clean. Clean doesn’t have a smell. Chemicals have a smell. As for your clothes not looking clean, that baffles me. But you mention that you used twice as much deterg as called for. Cut back to the recommended amount. Too much laundry deterg can be as bad as not using enough.
    For everyone concerned about the “dangers” of borax, please think about this: If you ingested your commercial brand of laundry detergent, or dishwasher detergent, … you would be in trouble. Dishwasher detergent is very toxic/corrosive and yet we think nothing of using on items that we use for eating. It amazes me that people won’t use Borax because they think it’s harmful. Think about all the products in some homes that could do serious harm if ingested. This is laundry detergent. It’s for your clothing. It gets completely washed out by a machine (and any residue will be washed out/neutralized if you use vinegar in your rinse anyway). The commercial fabric softeners most people use are far more toxic. Do some googling and you’ll be truly horrified. Just don’t pour Borax on your lawn! I washed our hockey gear with borax and water in the backyard this year, and the grass in that area took a hit.. That is not an indicator of toxicity though, so don’t panic. If I poured vinegar on my lawn, it would suffer as well, and yet, vinegar is perfectly harmless to humans and animals.ReplyCancel

  • Ashlee - October 22, 2011 - 1:34 PM

    This is fantastic, thanks so much! I had a mini breakdown myself last week at the store about the cost of detergent. I’ve been wanting to slowly phase out store bought/purchased cleaners and chemicals… and this recipe makes it so easy and affordable!ReplyCancel

  • Miranda - October 23, 2011 - 8:21 AM

    Awesome post! I tried this yesterday with Pink Zote soap and used a food processor for grating and mixing. I posted about it here: http://cupcakesandcardigans.com/2011/10/23/homemade-laundry-detergent/ with credit to you. Thanks! :)ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - October 26, 2011 - 10:47 AM

    I found that by putting all the ingredients in my blender after I mixed them together they didn’t separate while storing. I love this stuff!!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany - October 27, 2011 - 11:44 AM

    I just found all three ingredients on Amazon for less then $25. I got two bars of the Fels-Naptha so I get free shipping. Sweet!!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - November 7, 2011 - 3:00 PM

    I’m from Canada and no sign of fels naptha anywhere, However we have been using a yellow bar of sunlight laundry soap -incredilble at getting out stains. my guess is it is the same thing. My mom has been using the sulight bar soap on stains for years! I surely do hope so because I made a double batch. Kim thank you for posting this and commenting on everyone’s concerns.ReplyCancel

  • Athaira - November 8, 2011 - 7:23 PM

    Hi, I just found this and I want to try it. I have a Maytag front load washer and I was just wondering if I could toss in a tablespoon of this mix in with the clothes, or would I have to mix it with water and put it in the dispenser where regular washing detergent goes. And if I had to do that, how much water do I add? Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 8, 2011 - 8:02 PM

    Hi Athaira,

    I would put the detergent wherever you would normally put powder detergent in your front load washer. I know that it’s totally do-able and safe for front load washers, so if there’s a designated spot, then I would put it there! If there’s not a designated spot, I think you would have no troubles just throwing it in with your clothes since it dissolves SO fast. I doubt mixing it with water would be necessary, as this mixture is known for being easily dissolved in water (that’s part of why it’s so awesome), even in ice cold water.

    Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Athaira - November 8, 2011 - 11:48 PM

    Thanks Kim. I’ll probably just toss it in with the clothes just to be safe. Doesn’t take any extra effort anyway :)ReplyCancel

  • Tash - November 9, 2011 - 9:42 PM

    Hi there,

    I’m from little ole New Zealand, and we have Washing Soda, but I’ve never heard of Borax or the other ingredient. Could you give me some other examples? Could the soap be like Sunlight soap??ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 10, 2011 - 9:24 AM

      Hi Tash, yup – I’ve heard that Sunlight is the equivalent to Fels Naptha. As for Borax, you can find it right here on Amazon! Hope this helps.ReplyCancel

  • Homemade Laundry Soap « craftycookinchick - November 13, 2011 - 7:12 AM

    [...] Time to get green and save some green! I first saw this laundry soap recipe here: http://www.yellowbrickhome.com/2011/03/16/diy-suds/ [...]ReplyCancel

  • Heidi - November 15, 2011 - 9:59 AM

    As far as front loading washers go, the main thing is to make sure that the Fels Naptha is ground as fine as possible. I grated a few bars that seemed more “greasy” at the time and they didn’t grind down well in my food processor, but instead turned into round beads. They clogged a friend’s front loading machine and caused it to leak. In hind sight, I now let my bars sit out un-covered over night before I grate them, or let the grated soap sit out to “dry” a bit before grinding. Since I’ve done this I’ve not had any problems with the Fels Naptha beading up. So, as long as it’s ground as fine as possible, I don’t think you should have any problems.

    I love this laundry soap and use it on everything from my mechanic-husband’s greasy jeans to my newborns clothes. My husband’s work clothes in particular have never come out of the laundry looking and smelling so clean!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - November 15, 2011 - 12:30 PM

      Heidi, thank you so much for these tips!!ReplyCancel

  • [...] ***Original Site I got recipe from (credit goes where it’s due. Just saying )*** Share this:Share Posted in All About Home, DIY Cleaning Products, Random « The Comedy and the Tragedy… You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. [...]ReplyCancel

  • Denee Koonce - November 24, 2011 - 8:50 PM

    I have been using a variation on this formula for the last year or so, but the original recipe that I found also includes baking soda and slightly different proportions. Not sure what the baking soda adds, but I have gotten good results with this mixture. I have a lot of skin sensitivities (have always used All Free and Clear and Bounce Free before) and this recipe does not give me any issues. Have not tried Ivory yet. I grate the soap and then put it in the food processor to get it very fine. I usually make a double batch and it lasts for about 4-5 months with five people in our household which includes two little boys and a daughter that feels the need to change her outfit every time I turn my head. Am now trying a dish soap recipe which includes some of the same ingredients and have had good results so far.ReplyCancel

  • Belle - December 4, 2011 - 9:09 PM

    I use this too, only thing is I’ve begun using Zote soap. Pretty pink and smells so good. I have an HE washer and find that it does well. I grate the soap and then mix it with the borax and washing soda and blend it in my ninja for about 10 to 15 seconds. I’ve also started using vinegar as a fabric softener! Love it all!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - December 6, 2011 - 8:20 PM

    I have been making my own laundry soap for a year. I use both the powder and liquid depending upon my mood. If you can have a mood for laundry. I also have front loading HE machines. I love the fresh clean smell, but do scent my batch from time to time. I store the liquid in upcycled Sunny D jugs. I add a little Calgon to my recipe because we have hard water. Have been using a vinegar rinse as well. If I want that “Downey” scent I add about a tsp. of liquid fabric softener to the vinegar (have also used hair conditioner mixed with vinegar). I also run my powder through my food processor to break up the grated soap a little more. Castille soap can also be used for the powder or liquid. I love the homemade laundry soap. Will never use store bought again. I love the storage ease of the powder, but prefer to make the liquid.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 6, 2011 - 9:22 PM

      Great tips, Dawn! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Donna - December 7, 2011 - 11:00 PM

    My grandson has eczema pretty bad. I use All Free & Clear and Downy no scent. I wonder if anyone that has made the homemade products has had any problems with it bothering skin conditions. My dermatologist told me not to use Borax on his clothes. Any one have any comments on this. I used to make homemade laundry powder, I haven’t ever tried the fabric softener, but don’t want to aggravate his eczema! thanksReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 8, 2011 - 5:48 PM

      Hi Donna, I know that some readers have left comments saying that this mixture has actually improved any skin conditions, but I’m not entirely sure what the conditions were. However, I would definitely not use recipe as Borax is one of the main ingredients! I also wonder if anyone else has any input on this…ReplyCancel

  • JazminK - December 14, 2011 - 8:13 PM

    Awesome to have found this on pinterest! If I use the dove soap as a replacement for the fels Naptha, do I have to turn the recipe into a liquid detergent? Or can I leave the soap shavings as is in the powder detergent?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 14, 2011 - 8:37 PM

      Hi JazminK – I believe you can definitely use Dove soap in the dry powder version like mine. Other soaps people have used are Ivory, Dr. Bronners, and Zote. Happy washing!ReplyCancel

  • Beth Moe - December 16, 2011 - 12:11 PM

    I make this soap as well here in Canada. The bar soap i use is Sunlight Laundry soap. I’ve always used it and it’s readily available at most grocery stores. I also add baking soda to the batch (1 large box) to help soften our water. And I love the lemon smell of the sunlight laundry soap. Works best if you grate it with a fine graterReplyCancel

  • Beth Moe - December 16, 2011 - 12:13 PM

    Also sunlight soap is good for those who have exzema and dry skin. I’m one of themReplyCancel

  • Kasey - December 19, 2011 - 9:11 PM

    I found this on Pinterest and made a double batch and have a load in the washer now! But, I found that after mixing all of the ingredients the powder sinks to the bottom of the jar. Is this typical and is there a way to keep that from happening or am I doing it wrong?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 19, 2011 - 10:23 PM

    Hi Kasey, we’ve heard of some people using a blender or food processor to get everything as fine as possible (and preventing anything from settling in the bottom). Although, we think a good shake of your container should do the trick, too!

    We only slightly have this problem… I tend to shake the Ball jar before using my tablespoon, just to make sure everything is blended properly. I don’t know if it’s necessary, but I do anyway!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - December 20, 2011 - 5:57 PM

    I make my own laundry soap as well! In addition to the borax and washing soda, I use 1 cup of baking soda and 1 bar of Yardley’s pomegranate rose soap. I’ve been using this for over a year now and with four kids, two dogs, and a husband that works in construction, it has been a godsend. I have an HE machine and a septic system and it’s safe to use! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - December 20, 2011 - 9:23 PM

    Awesome, thanks, Lisa! I think this helps to answer a lot of questions about the HE washers and septic systems! Thanks for chiming in!ReplyCancel

  • kathy keating - December 31, 2011 - 1:13 PM

    does the dry detergent work well in cold water and do you have to shake this up too? do the ingredients settle?looking at the jar it seems like every scoop would be different. thanks have made the liquid and love it,my clothes are so soft. if this works as well it just saves some steps.
    thanksReplyCancel

    • Kim - December 31, 2011 - 1:23 PM

      Hi Kathy, we haven’t noticed any problems with settling, but sometimes we give it a little shake before scooping the mix into our water. If you’re concerned, others have mentioned using a food processor to get your mixture really fine – although, we haven’t tried that and haven’t felt a need to do so. It works great with cold water, too!ReplyCancel

  • A New Year with New Goals | - January 2, 2012 - 5:15 PM

    [...] Make my own laundry soap. Using this recipe. [...]ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - January 3, 2012 - 1:11 PM

    I made the liquid version of this for us and it works great. It is a little more work and mess so I think I am going to make the powdered version next time. I read on another blog that instead of grating the soap (I use Ivory) to put it in the microwave for 90 seconds. You may want to cover it or you will be cleaning the microwave! It turns it into a powder. I will try that as well next time, maybe a little time saver but who knows.ReplyCancel

  • Tina - January 3, 2012 - 7:27 PM

    I bought Zote soap. Do I still use the same amount? 1 bar? I sell doTERRA essential oils and plan to add those for a scent. I will add some lavender to vinegar to use as a fabric softener. I’ve been making lots of cleaners with my oils. Great stuff!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - January 3, 2012 - 7:52 PM

    Hi Tina, I’ve seen others use Zote soap, and they use the same amount – just one bar. We’ve heard of the vinegar fabric softener, but we haven’t tried it ourselves – yet! happy soap making!ReplyCancel

  • Mindi - January 8, 2012 - 10:20 PM

    I have been making this for over a year and couldn’t be happier with it!! I use the borax, washing soda, fels naphtha, a small bit of baking soda, and I add either dove, ivory, or irish spring soap. I just found Zote soap this weekend and am going to give it a try as well with my mix. I am very particular about my laundry…and I have to children…and I still love it!! Everything comes out clean and smelling great!! It costs me less than $2/mo to make and I do laundry every single day!! I put mine in a food processor and I do have an HE washer and have never had a bit of trouble. I also use vinegar as my softener but I do still add about 1/8 tsp fabric softener because I love how it smells. It lasts forever at this rate though. Good luck all!! I think you will love it!! Thanks for the info!ReplyCancel

  • Crystal - January 10, 2012 - 6:51 PM

    So, I know the last comment was quite a while ago, but I’ve just started using this recipe after a friend gave me a jar for Christmas. I love it! We used 3 bars of Ivory and one bar of lavender castille soap, 4 cups each Borax and washing soda and a little lavender essential oil. We only used the lavender because my husband saw a Youtube video of the guy putting the soap in the microwave. It bubbles up and becomes extremely easy to make flakes – you just crumble it so no grating is necessary. The geeks in us were very happy. Anyway, love it, have sensitive skin and it doesn’t bother me at all, and it’s super easy and cheap to make.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - January 10, 2012 - 6:58 PM

    Crystal, wow, that’s awesome! We’ll have to try that microwave trick and look up some videos ourselves. It sounds totally crazy! And we’ve been meaning to try the oils, too. We love this stuff!ReplyCancel

  • jim parsons - January 11, 2012 - 12:17 PM

    I’ve been wanting to try this for quite some time and just ran out of my Tide. I’m going to take the plunge and go for it!ReplyCancel

  • Nita Ward - January 12, 2012 - 11:35 AM

    I’ve never tried this soap, but I intend to try. Sounds good to me as I am sensitive to a lot of detergents.ReplyCancel

  • Bowie - January 12, 2012 - 1:26 PM

    Does the water temperature matter? I try to use cold water as often as possible to save money. Would all of the ingredients dissolve in cold water and still get clothes just as clean?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 12, 2012 - 2:17 PM

      Hi Bowie, we use cold water for the same reason (and to help preserve color in our clothing), and it dissolves with no problem. One of the benefits of this mixture is its ease to dissolve even in the coldest water. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Bowie - January 12, 2012 - 3:27 PM

    Yes, it does. I will be trying this as soon as I can. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Chrystal - January 16, 2012 - 9:57 AM

    I use this same blend! I actually just made my last batch with baking soda and oxiclean added too.ReplyCancel

  • Bernita - January 17, 2012 - 1:37 PM

    I usually add Oxyclean also as oxyclean is so good for spot removal. Adds an extra boost. Love this soap. The entire house always smells very clean with this laundry detergent.
    I mix it all dry as it disolves so well. Why spent the time to add water and go thru the extra mess.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - January 18, 2012 - 2:10 PM

    In answer to Donna (Dec. 7), I was also using All Free and Clear for my girls with Eczema. I switched to this home made detergent and have had no problems with flare-ups.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - January 19, 2012 - 9:49 AM

    Melanie, thank you for the input! I hope this helps anyone else wondering about Eczema.ReplyCancel

  • Faye - January 19, 2012 - 1:17 PM

    Can you still use bleach for white clothes?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - January 19, 2012 - 1:20 PM

    Hi Faye, yup! We do with no problems!ReplyCancel

  • Alana Watkins - January 19, 2012 - 5:43 PM

    LOVE the idea! Can you tell me if I can use this in a High Effiency Washer?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - January 19, 2012 - 6:28 PM

    Hi Alana! Yes, it’s actually very safe for H/E washers. Several of our readers with H/E washers have confirmed this. Happy washing!ReplyCancel

  • Shanell - January 22, 2012 - 3:46 PM

    Will this harm gentle wash delicates? I’m with you on the ridiculous cost of laundry detergent but I don’t want to ruin all my nice work clothes.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - January 22, 2012 - 4:20 PM

    Shanell, we use this with everything – including delicates such as under garments – but we take Scott’s nice work clothes to the dry cleaner. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to this, but we find it’s the perfect solution for our needs.

    Perhaps someone else will chime in with their thoughts?ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - January 28, 2012 - 4:16 PM

    Made some today… and I have my first load in right now! Excited to see how it works! Hoping my clothing doesn’t fade..

    I tried to read through all the comments, however I’m not sure if this was addressed… how do delicate type items wash w/ this type of soap?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - January 28, 2012 - 5:48 PM

    Hi Kristen, we use this on delicate items with no problem! We haven’t noticed any fading either, but we mostly use cold water and we line dry anything delicate. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Shanell - February 1, 2012 - 7:12 PM

    Thank you. I’m making it tonight and I was so excited it cost me less than $10 bucks for everything. First time ever I’ve been excited to do laundry. :-)ReplyCancel

  • February Goals | - February 4, 2012 - 5:06 PM

    [...] gallon of laundry detergent is almost out and so I would like to make our own with this recipe instead of purchasing a pre-made [...]ReplyCancel

  • Gail - February 7, 2012 - 8:27 PM

    I have made this in the past on loved it! Everyone seems to have their own recipe and proportions. The only variation I had trouble with was substituting Ivory bar soap for the Fels Naphtha. I could not get the Ivory soap to dissolve. I had white soap flakes on my laundry. Not sure what I did wrong.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey - February 12, 2012 - 10:41 PM

    I am curious, I just made this and the soap was all melted, and I did it just how you said. Now its sitting in the bottles and its almost completely separated. Is that normal.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 13, 2012 - 9:34 AM

    Hi Kasey, I’m not sure what you meant by the “melted” soap… We use a grater to create soap flakes, and then we add the borax and washing soda. Sometimes the borax and washing soda will settle to the bottom of our jar, but before we scoop our tablespoon of mix for the wash, we just give the jar a little shake. Does this help?ReplyCancel

  • Tara - February 13, 2012 - 11:02 AM

    We just made some of this last night, except we added baking soda and oxy clean to our mix. It is totally safe to use in HE and front loader washers. You do need to put the soap mixture directly in the wash though, not the dispenser. We also use 2 TBsp per load. The whites came out super clean, bright and fresh smelling! Love it! All the ingredients cost me $15 at the commisary and there is enough to last 9 MONTHS!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Darlene - February 13, 2012 - 12:23 PM

    Is this recipe good for High Efficiency front load washers?ReplyCancel

  • Darlene - February 13, 2012 - 12:26 PM

    Just read the post further up about H/E washers….Sorry, I should have read before posting!ReplyCancel

  • Dianne - February 16, 2012 - 7:31 AM

    My Walmart carries Fels Naptha for .97 a bar…….sits right next to the Borax & Washing Soda….ReplyCancel

  • Tina - February 16, 2012 - 10:20 PM

    I’m lazy! I use Ivory with mine. I cut the bar into several chunks, place a chunk or two in the microwave and “cook” for 45 seconds. After this cools, it crumbles into powder. I “sift” it through a strainer to be sure there aren’t any larger chunks and I use that with the borax and washing soda. Besides being easier on my Fibromyalgia, we all love watching what Ivory does in the microwave!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 16, 2012 - 10:57 PM

      Tina, I love the idea of microwaving the soap. We’ll definitely have to try that!ReplyCancel

  • jessica - February 22, 2012 - 2:06 PM

    Instead of the Fels, I used Zote…It almost has a citronella smell to it. I also add a box of baking soda, oxyclean, and some Purex Lavendar crystals(for added smell). Love this!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Lampard - February 26, 2012 - 3:41 AM

    Can I use soap flakes instead of grating a bar of soap? Sounds simpler and soap flakes are easy to find here, but not sure if they are different?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 26, 2012 - 4:07 PM

      Hi Kim, we haven’t used soap flakes, but it sounds like it could be a possible replacement. As long as they’re able to quickly dissolve. Soaps such as Fels Naptha or Zote are made for laundry, so they dissolve quickly, even in the coldest water. If you’re unsure, you are able to buy these bar soaps online. Let me know if you have any other questions!ReplyCancel

  • veronica m. - February 26, 2012 - 9:17 PM

    My daughter says she dislikes the smell of my vinegary smelling kitchen when I clean.so I am doing a new trial of mixing orange rinds and/or lemons with vinegar in a jar for 2 weeks.then useing it on windows and counters and such.I saw this on pinterest today and have to wait the time out but was wondering since lots of you all say to add vinegar for softeners I wonder if this would work for a pleasant smell?has anyone heard of this?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 27, 2012 - 9:38 AM

      Hi Veronica, we haven’t tried vinegar ourselves, but I’m hoping someone else can chime in and let us know!ReplyCancel

  • Tina Newsome - March 1, 2012 - 6:38 AM

    I added one half a bar of Lava bar soap to one batch for my my husband’s work clothes because he gets grease and other hard to get out things on them.Works great!ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah Blanchard - March 2, 2012 - 2:06 PM

    I started using the liquid version of this recipe in January because I was having SERIOUS problems with itching. I’d seen every doctor imaginable and started taking pricey meds and used every scent free, dye free soap made (brand AND off brand) with no relief. Within a week I stopped itching! And I don’t take any medicines anymore. YAY!! Today I’m going to make the powder version because having to shake the container before each use drives me nuts!ReplyCancel

  • DIY laundry detergent - March 2, 2012 - 6:37 PM

    [...] good while after we started using Charlie’s soap, I read this post by Yellow Brick Home.  It got me thinking about homemade laundry detergent, but I didn’t [...]ReplyCancel

  • DIY Laundry Detergent « ThriftyNut - March 8, 2012 - 8:23 AM

    [...] online for Homemade laundry detergent and fell in love with this one.  Find original recipe HERE.  I read every review and fell in love with the comments and feedback right away.  I finally went [...]ReplyCancel

  • Bridget Haig - March 8, 2012 - 7:30 PM

    Made a batch, I just love it.! Everything is so clean and fresh smelling. Products for first batch cost just under $9.00. For the next 10 batches it will cost me $1.00 plus tax for the Fels Naptha. I checked the prices on the charlies soap are you people crazy.ReplyCancel

  • Deana Watson - March 9, 2012 - 8:56 AM

    I have been using this for 4 months now. LOVE it! I have 5-10 friends who are using it and loving it too! Cheaper, softer clothes, and biodegradable. I can find not one negative!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn Jones - March 12, 2012 - 10:57 PM

    I have been doing this for over a year & I love it! I have used a couple of recipes & Irish Spring, or any kind of good bar soap works well. It is just whatever your choice of scents is! Good luck & it sure beats grocery store! I love the feeling you get walking down that aisle & totally ignoring it!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Fletcher - March 13, 2012 - 4:26 PM

    Hi, I made some a month ago and I love it. However, I was wondering if anyone has had rashes appear? I started to get rashes on the inside of my elbows. I was wondering if anyone knew I remedy I could use for sensitive skin?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 13, 2012 - 4:52 PM

    Hi Julie, hmm, you’re the first person I’ve heard to get rashes. It seems that everything I’ve been hearing is how great it is for sensitive skin. Are you adding oils to your mixture that might be causing this? Just a though.

    Does anyone else have a recommendation?ReplyCancel

  • Julie Fletcher - March 13, 2012 - 5:11 PM

    No, I’m not using any oils. I use borax, washing soda, and the felsnaptha soap, and I follow the recipe to the t. Could I possibly be using too much?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 13, 2012 - 5:17 PM

    We use just one tablespoon for a regular load and two Tbsp for a larger load. Perhaps you can try using a different soap such as Ivory or Dove. People have used these replacements with success for those with extra sensitive skin. We haven’t tried that ourselves, but the only downside we’ve heard is that Ivory doesn’t dissolve as well in really cold water (whereas Fels Naptha will dissolve even in the coldest water!).ReplyCancel

  • Julie Fletcher - March 13, 2012 - 6:27 PM

    I might try that. I do have some irish spring soap too. But I don’t know how well that would work. Thanks for the advice!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 13, 2012 - 7:53 PM

    Good luck, Julie! Let us know how it works out – I’m sure other readers would benefit from your advice :)ReplyCancel

  • Danielle R. - March 14, 2012 - 2:01 PM

    I’m just curious how I would make this into liquid form. I have a HE washer and anyway for us to save money is okay in my book.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 14, 2012 - 6:03 PM

    Hi Danielle, many of our readers have commented on this topic, and they have all agreed that the powder version is great to use with HE washers! I’ve heard that they throw the tablespoon in with the load, and it works like a charm. We don’t have a HE washer ourselves, so we can’t vouch for it, but this is the overall response we’ve been receiving.

    Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Wright - March 18, 2012 - 12:25 PM

    I made this soap and my husband keeps finding melted pieces of something on his clothes. I can only think of one thing, that perhaps the fels napfa is not dissolving in the cold water i use and perhaps some is getting caught in the dryer and melting? Is this possible? I’m thinking of running it all through a sieve to get rid of the soap and maybe trying another soap?
    any comments?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 18, 2012 - 1:26 PM

      Hi Lisa, we haven’t had that problem ourselves, but perhaps your soap isn’t in small enough pieces? Fels should dissolve even in the coldest water.

      Some readers have suggested using a food processor to get the mixture super fine, whereas others have said you can microwave Fels Naptha and it’ll dissolve into a fine dust! We haven’t tried either of those, but perhaps it’s something that could work for you?ReplyCancel

  • Kathy Weston - March 21, 2012 - 8:38 AM

    I am so trying this after I finish using the liquid I made. Don’t like the mess the liquid makes!
    Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Homemade Laundry Soap « - March 22, 2012 - 11:35 PM

    [...] This recipe is super easy and didn’t cost me an arm and a leg. The breakdown: [...]ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - March 27, 2012 - 7:05 PM

    Does anyone know what products can be bought in Canada to do this? Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough but I’ve only seen Borax here.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 27, 2012 - 7:26 PM

    Hi Ashley, we’ve received emails from several readers who stock up on the products from Amazon. Even though it’s a little more expensive, it’s much more cost effective in the end! I think the Fels Naptha equivalent in Canda is called Zote soap. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • mattiealex | Pearltrees - April 3, 2012 - 11:27 AM

    [...] DIY Suds | Yellow Brick Home [...]ReplyCancel

  • heather - April 9, 2012 - 12:08 PM

    Is this safe for Septic tanks?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - April 9, 2012 - 12:10 PM

    Hi Heather! We don’t have a septic tank ourselves, but on Dec. 20th, Lisa commented and said it was safe to use. Please see above, and happy washing!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly Castiglione - April 10, 2012 - 7:41 PM

    Hi there! I really love this idea, and I want to save $!! This seems like a great way to do it, plus without all those harsh chemicals! One question though, our daughter will be born in June, and everyone’s telling me I HAVEEEE to use ‘dreft’ or whatever fancy ‘baby detergents’ there are, so her skin doesn’t get iritated… but I’m curious if this would be ok as an alternative? Baby detergent is so expensive too! Thanks in advance!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - April 10, 2012 - 8:40 PM

    Hi Kelly, I’m not positive on this, so I don’t want to recommend anything that could potentially harm your baby’s skin. Other users have recommended using Dove or unscented Ivory in place of the Fels Naptha (both are extra gentle), so that’s always an option. I wonder if there’s a parenting forum you can ask this same question? If you find out, please let us know! We love hearing as much information as possible on this topic.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - April 14, 2012 - 10:19 PM

    Saw this on pinterest and had to try it. Must say my first stop was the grocery store (large chain) and only found the fel naptha soap (1.29), and only found the borax (in hand soap form). Since I didn’t know if this could substitute, I re-read the comments completely and realized that my local hardware store had both the Borax and the Washing soda (they even commented that a lot of people are using both these products to make ‘something homemade”– he didn’t finish what it was, but I told him about the pinterest site I saw this on). Went home and made up a batch, then made up ziplock bags labeled with “1 c washing soad, 1 c. Borax -Add one bar of Fels naptha soap, grated” on each one. After measuring out all of the washing soda (I still have 1/3 a box of the Borax), I made 6.5 bags full. I’m using 2 T. of mix as I only run large loads, but I’m keeping track of how many loads I get from one batch. (Pen and paper are near the machine). Daughter said her lounging pants have NEVER gotten the ‘dirty’ hems out with the commercial detergents before.I think we have hard water. Never seems to clean well. This stuff is WONDERFUL!! wILL NEVER GO BACK. Even gave some to my mom to try.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - April 14, 2012 - 10:21 PM

    Oops… forgot to mention. The cost of the Borax and washing soda at the hardward (Tru-Value) store cost me $5.49 for each box. Total cost so far is $12.29.ReplyCancel

  • Loretta - April 15, 2012 - 10:08 AM

    Ok, so im confused. Waiting on the washing soda to make up this detergent, so i havent tried it yet. But i noticed that on the recipe i have, it says to use baking soda as well? Do i absolutely need this? Aso, i bought the Purex crystals for “scent” as i heard that these homemade detergents really dont have a scent, has anyone used this and does it make it smell better?

    Really hoping this works.

    Thanks in advance for any advice/comments on these questions!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 15, 2012 - 11:54 AM

      Thanks for the input, Nancy! Sounds like you love it as much as we do!

      Loretta, we don’t use baking soda in ours, only the washing soda. I don’t think you need it, but I haven’t seen which recipe you’re referring to either. We only use the 3 ingredients listed in the post (washing soda, Borax and Fels Naptha), and while it does have a scent before washing, your clothes come out smelling virtually scent-free. I haven’t head of the Purex crystals, but others have recommended using lavender oil for a scent – something we haven’t tried ourselves. (We like the clean, scent-free finish it provides!)

      Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Meg - April 20, 2012 - 12:27 PM

    Love this and am excited to make my own so I can save lots of little pennies! Does anyone use a different organic/chemical free soap instead of Fels Naptha? I’ve never heard of that soap before. What kind of ingredients are in the soap?
    Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 20, 2012 - 2:53 PM

      Hi Meg! Fels is a laundry soap, but other commenters have used Ivory or Dove. Fels is usually on the verrry bottom shelf in the soap aisle of the grocery store. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • christy - April 20, 2012 - 7:11 PM

    Thank you for this recipe it is great i was wanting to try something but did not want to go though the hole water boiling thing. I had a a couple of questions sorry if this was asked already
    If i wanted to add a lavender oil how much do i add, do i add it to the powder mix or just to each wash.

    Can you make bigger loads in stead of just a small one say i use 4 cups of the borax and washer soap can i just use 4 bars of soap

    thank you againReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 23, 2012 - 10:20 AM

      Hi Christy! We’ve never added lavender oil, so honestly, we’re not sure how much to add. I don’t want to give you the wrong information! As for making larger batches and using more soap – you’d be right. For every cup of Borax and washing soda, you use one bar of soap. If you wanted to use 4 cups of Borax and washing soda, you’d use 4 bars of soap.ReplyCancel

  • Daune Murray - April 28, 2012 - 4:49 PM

    Tried it and Love it! We have been using it in my HE washer and it works great! I have been filling baby food jars and giving away samples to family and friends!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - April 29, 2012 - 4:00 PM

    You can also add Purex Crystals or Downey Unstopables to the mix if you really like the “smell” of clean laundry.ReplyCancel

  • erica - April 29, 2012 - 4:37 PM

    Be careful if you have sensitive skin, Fels Naptha is a skin irritant and it says it right on the label. I had to use Dr. Bronners instead, but I’m sure Ivory would be good to. I also made a larger batch and added baking soda and green works oxi stain remover.ReplyCancel

  • Christa - May 7, 2012 - 10:15 AM

    I’m going to try this. I’ve been making my own cleaners and such lately. Not only are things like this cheaper and healthier.. its fun! I am also going to be making my own dryer sheets soon! I found this and the others on Pinterest. Dryer sheets are bad for your machine. If you use them, please wash your lint trap gently with warm soapy water every six months. The build up you feel on your fingers from touching dryer sheets also clogs the trap and could cause a fire! Thanks for sharing this recipe!ReplyCancel

  • kait - May 11, 2012 - 11:24 AM

    We currently use this recipe and love love love it…having a boyfriend who is constantly getting muddy or caked with grease thus stuff worksgreat with no extra additivesReplyCancel

  • Leanna - May 11, 2012 - 12:02 PM

    what store did you go to for this ingredients? is this as easy as going to your local grocer?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 11, 2012 - 1:22 PM

    Hi Leanna, all the items were found at our local grocer!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Bewley - May 11, 2012 - 2:16 PM

    I know exactly what you mean! I remember when laundry detergent used to be sooo much cheaper. I use everything but the Fels Naptha since I make my own soap.

    Budget Earth – Saving Money by Complimenting for Coupons! ReplyCancel

  • Gayla - May 12, 2012 - 9:17 AM

    Here’s a ONE ingredient fabric softener. White vinegar! Been using this over a year now. After a few loads, your clothes will be rid of soap residual and build-up. Thus clothes are soft, static free. If I do get static, I shake out the item with a few hard shakes. Static gone. No, I don’t have that ‘Downy’ smell….but why do I want to smell like Downy when I use perfume? Besides….it only seems the odor from my store-bought softeners only really smells good when I first take out of the dryer. My closet didn’t smell like Downy when I opened the door. So where did the Downy smell go to? And NO, my laundry does not smell like vinegar. It has more of the fresh-from-the-clothesline smell. I might over do it….never measure. I just fill the softener dispenser to the top with vinegar. No dryer sheets. And bonus: It is dryer sheets that usually cause lint build up in the vents, that cause fires.

    Give it a try. You only loose less than $3. for a gallon of vinegar.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Huddle - May 22, 2012 - 6:54 AM

    Have been using white vinegar as a fabric softener for years….try it, you will save money and definitely no vinegary smell!!ReplyCancel

  • Regina - May 26, 2012 - 5:17 PM

    Just a little suggestion, you can process the bar of soap in a food processor if you have one. It took me only 3 minutes to make this (only bc I have a front loader and read somewhere that you should run it through the shredder twice). My boys loved the smell of the soap while it was shredding :). Hope this little time saver helps someone else.ReplyCancel

  • Samantha - May 27, 2012 - 11:44 AM

    I was so excited when I saw your post about DIY laundry detergent! I got all the ingredients and made it the next day I couldn’t find the Arm and Hammer washing soda so I just used oxy clean and Borax with Ivory soap (as another poster had suggested because I wanted some kind of lingering scent). Well i’ve been using it for a week now and am a little disappointed. It doesnt seem to get the clothes that clean it doesn’t get soap looking in the water . My water actually just looks dirty. Did i do something wrong? Is it maybe just because my washer is an older model? Thank you for any suggestions in advance!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 28, 2012 - 10:40 AM

      Hi Samantha,

      Hmm, that’s strange. We haven’t had that experience at all, and the only thing I can think of is that perhaps the washing soda is an essential ingredient. I think Oxy Clean is more of a “booster” than a cleaner, so perhaps you’re not getting enough of the washing action?

      I doubt it has anything to do with the model of your washer. We don’t have a H/E machine, nor does it have any of the bells and whistles of machines made within the last 8-10 years. It’s just a basic model. I would suggest ordering the washing soda online (you can find it on Amazon!) and seeing if it makes a difference for you.

      Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • marisa - May 28, 2012 - 1:02 PM

    Hello,

    I did some research on Borax: Check out the cosmetic database on what it says about it. Cosmetic Database gives products scores from 0-10 based on their toxicity levels. As it turns out, Borax is also the same thing as Boric Acid (listed in the synonyms section). If you find another ingredient to use instead of Borax, I’m all ears! As of now, I usually only use white vinegar and add some drops of essential oils.

    Here’s the website.
    http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/705996/SODIUM_BORATE/

    Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 29, 2012 - 9:17 AM

    Marisa, thank you for that link! It looks like the information in that link discusses Borax when it’s applied directly to the skin. Only 1/3 Tbsp is used in an entire wash load, and it dissolves quickly. Many commenters have brought up safety concerns (and for this, thank you!), and we’ve looked into every one. We’ll continue to dig deeper into Borax and any safety issues as well.

    We’re actually looking into white vinegar as a fabric softener for ourselves, too. Can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - May 29, 2012 - 10:29 AM

    Hi! I’m about to make my first batch of this DIY laundry soap! I just wanted to let you know that you can MAKE washing soda simply by baking baking soda in the oven at 400 until it crystallizes! It’s simply baking soda minus water, so the chemical reaction takes place easily in the oven. I noticed a few people couldn’t find the washing soda so I thought that might help!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 29, 2012 - 10:30 AM

      Becky, wow, thank you for this amazing tip! We know this will definitely help people out!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Buetow - May 30, 2012 - 8:24 AM

    I noticed my clothes didn’t come clean the first time I tried it, maybe I didn’t use enough? How much do you put in for a medium sized load? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 30, 2012 - 9:34 AM

      Hi Ashley, we use 1 tablespoon for a small load, but since we always seem to neglect our laundry – resulting in much larger loads – we use about 2 tablespoons for clean, fresh clothes!ReplyCancel

  • kristy - June 1, 2012 - 7:09 PM

    I have a question I hope someone can help answer. I make liquid soap and have been thinking about making powder…but I don’t want to mess with a good thing. Anyone ever compare powder to liquid?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 1, 2012 - 8:06 PM

      Kristy, great question! I hope someone can chime in since we’ve only made the dry version.ReplyCancel

  • Tonya - June 3, 2012 - 12:08 AM

    I was told to add 2 more things Baking soda and Oxy Clean. When I make it I make a bunch. It makes about 16lbs. It last for months, and works great!ReplyCancel

  • Donna - June 6, 2012 - 11:57 AM

    I’ve made my own laundry detergent for years using these ingredients. I make the liquid version. I’ve never had any problems and wonder where some of your readers are getting their information. (borax is bad, fels naptha not safe etc.)

    I’ve also used over bar soaps but I like the scent of Fels Naphta.ReplyCancel

  • Clarissa - June 9, 2012 - 7:30 PM

    I have a front-loading HE washer. I just made the liquid “version” of this laundry soap, and I am so far quite pleased with the results. Because of the grated bar soap in the mixture, I would not try to use it dry in a HE front-loader. The amount of water a front-loader uses is WAY less than a top loader, and I’d be afraid that the “powdered” version wouldn’t dissolve completely. The liquid form is very simple to make. It’s basically the dry version dissolved (and diluted) in hot water. It sets up a bit like Jello after sitting for a time, but a quick stir or two with a large whisk breaks it up nicely. I keep mine in a 5-gallon bucket right in front of the washer, and use a plastic measuring cup to dip out what I need — usually about 1/3 cup — for each load. I used pink Zote instead of Fels Naptha (couldn’t find any), but next time I might try using Dove or Ivory for a bit of fragrance.

    Also, I thought I’d be a smarty and use my KitchenAid food processor with the grater blade. The results were — well, less than ideal. The natural fats in “real” soap like this soften very quickly from the friction of the spinning food processor blade . . . and it stuck/clogged up the blade very quickly. I “lost” about 15% of the chunk I was grating and had to hand-grate some to make up the difference. Just FYI. Next time, I will put the Zote in the FREEZER for 30 minutes or so before I grate it.ReplyCancel

  • Sara Staffier - June 10, 2012 - 10:40 PM

    I’m about to make this and just wanted to share a tip. Marshall’s has been selling pretty jars like yours in the home section. Mine was only $4! And if you need an extra tablespoon scoop, the dollar store sells ‘em!

    Thanks for posting this super awesome recipe :)ReplyCancel

  • Sara Staffier - June 10, 2012 - 10:48 PM

    Ooh by the way! I found EVERY INGREDIENT at my local super Walmart! My local grocery store didn’t have the fels naptha. Walmart has all 3 ingredients in their grocery section in the aisle with the laundry stuff. Be patient and look hard in the aisle; they’re there!ReplyCancel

  • Sheila G - June 12, 2012 - 6:22 PM

    If you want a nice smell to your clothes, add two capfuls of gain scent booster. It provides a light scent, not too much though. If it’s not enough just add more;)ReplyCancel

  • Candice - June 12, 2012 - 10:30 PM

    Love love this stuff been using it for months nowReplyCancel

  • Debbie D - June 16, 2012 - 11:26 AM

    In response to those of you looking where to buy the 3 ingredients. I went to Walmart (not a super Walmart) today and they had all 3 products (same brands) on the shelf side by side! It looks as though this recipe is becoming a popular one! Love the smell of the Fels while grating it. Can’t wait to do my wash this afternoon!ReplyCancel

  • carol - June 18, 2012 - 11:47 AM

    Does this work in cold water washes? I rarely use warm/hot water.
    Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 18, 2012 - 11:57 AM

      Hi Carol, it dissolves great in cold water! We use cold water most of the time, and we’ve never had a problem.ReplyCancel

  • Diane - June 19, 2012 - 9:17 AM

    I’ve been making this for over ten years. Sometimes the dry form, sometimes the liquid. I would never go back to a commercial laundry product. And I have extremely hard water but it still works great! This being said after being an Amway distributor for over 30 years. My kids were raised using S-A8. Nothing against Amway products, but I do love the homemade laundry detergent and a lot more economical now that we’re retired and on a fixed income.ReplyCancel

  • Keeping It Real : : jennyfromtheblogs - June 25, 2012 - 4:05 PM

    [...] This is the Pin I settled on from YellowBrickHome. [...]ReplyCancel

  • Lesa - June 27, 2012 - 9:55 PM

    This is a great recipe! My sister does a liquid version in large quantities and it lasts her for ever! As for others that are concerned about the toxic nature of Borax, I have used Borax in my laundry (even when I used a commercial laundry detergent) for years! I have had no issues with it! Like with anything that you clean with, it has warnings on the box. I have also cleaned with Borax. As with any natural (or otherwise) cleaning agent, if you get it in your eyes, large amounts directly on your skin, etc. you will have problems. I use the mixture with the fels-naptha for the tougher stained loads, and a mixture with Kirk’s castille soap for regular and gentler fabric loads. The Kirk’s castille has a wonderful smell, and virtually is made with very few ingredients. I had to go to a dermatologists for rosacea, and she said to use Cetaphyl, it didn’t help. I had bought Kirk’s for my son when he was younger for his acne breakouts and it worked wonders. I switched to the Kirk’s for my face, and it is great! It makes the laundry mixture smell so good and if you have sensitive skin it will help (but I haven’t had any problem with either mixture!) If I want a hint of fragrance, I just use a bit of essential oil. Love this! so much cheaper! and no, you will not get lots of suds, but you don’t need “suds” for this to get your clothes clean!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - June 28, 2012 - 9:13 AM

    Hi Lesa, thank you for all the great feedback! We use Kirk’s from time to time in our home, but hadn’t thought to use it in place of Fels Naptha. Great tip!ReplyCancel

  • [...] making my laundry soap. I found lots of ways but the easiest one, for me, is the one I found here. I used 3 simple ingredients: Borax,  Fels Naptha soap (grated), and Arm & Hammer  washing [...]ReplyCancel

  • Yuki - July 4, 2012 - 11:22 AM

    If some of you can’t find the bar soap you mentinoned, try getting Zote soap. You will find it in the laundry isle no more that $2 I don’t recomended for people with sensitive skin or alergies but other then that, it’s great!ReplyCancel

  • Leticia - July 5, 2012 - 1:02 PM

    Can you use COLD water to wash or has to be HOT to melt soap ????? TY :):):)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 5, 2012 - 1:10 PM

    Leticia, this recipe dissolves even in the coldest water. We use cold water for almost everything!ReplyCancel

  • Tammy - July 5, 2012 - 4:45 PM

    Thanks so much for this! I am posting about this tomorrow… and I am linking your site for the information.ReplyCancel

  • Gwyneth Genevieve - July 7, 2012 - 11:04 AM

    Is it weird that I’m super excited to try this? Just one question: what aisle is the Fels Naptha soap in the in grocery store? Cleaning/laundry/etc.?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 7, 2012 - 1:18 PM

      Hi Gwyneth! We find the Fels in the regular soap aisle… Alllll the way on the bottom shelf. Others have found it in the laundry aisle, so I guess it depends on the store? Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Please visit my site - July 9, 2012 - 9:45 AM

    Hello there! This article couldn’t be written any better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I most certainly will send this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • kelly garrison - July 9, 2012 - 1:47 PM

    I just started making this too. I make it in larger quanites, using 3 bars of soap, 2 boxes of arm and hammar, one borax and one arm and hammer laundry soap. It last forever!!!ReplyCancel

  • hcgezdrops.com\/hcg-diet - July 9, 2012 - 11:46 PM

    I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up!
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  • Aleta Worthey - July 12, 2012 - 9:02 AM

    I use a variation of this where I actually use 1/3 bar of the soap, 1/2 cup each of the soda and borax. Mix it with some water and heat it so that it melts. Than mix it with a lot more water and let it set for 24 hours. It will gel and I just use a wire whisk and mix it again. Than I put it in an old laundry soap bottle. You can goggle home made laundry soap for the directions for it. I use it all the time.
    Also the Fels Naptha soap is in our laundry aisle on the top shelf. We couldn’t find it the first time we looked for it so asked and someone showed us where it was.ReplyCancel

  • Connie - July 14, 2012 - 12:10 PM

    Can anyone tell me if they have used this in an he washer? Just wondering if it could be used.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 15, 2012 - 2:01 PM

    Hi Connie, yes, we’ve had confirmation from many readers that this soap is safe (and even recommended!) for HE washers. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • [...] really easy too! here’s a link to a really great DIY – instead of using the Fels Naptha, you will use a bar of ivory and I promise you LOADS and [...]ReplyCancel

  • Lena - July 22, 2012 - 12:13 PM

    You might’ve answered this already but how much do you put into the load of wash?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 22, 2012 - 12:18 PM

      Just 1 tablespoon for a regular load, and 2 tablespoons for larger loads. It won’t get sudsy, but our laundry is extra clean!ReplyCancel

  • DIY tricks | myMandC - July 22, 2012 - 2:44 PM

    [...] found a DIY laundry detergent recipe on Pinterest.  The cost is really low and I figured why not try it.  One tablespoon is reallio [...]ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Hooper - July 22, 2012 - 8:58 PM

    I have been using the homemade detergent for about a year. I love it because I know what’s in it, it is cheaper, and it gets our clothes really clean. There are a couple issues I have with it: I noticed right away that our towels were not soft at all anymore. I started mixing my own fabric softener using vinegar, water, and natural hair conditioner. It helped slightly, but they are still rather hard. Also, certain fabrics tend to fade terribly. Do you know which ingredient is the harshest and could be causing the fading? Thank youReplyCancel

  • Rachel Hooper - July 22, 2012 - 9:02 PM

    I didn’t add in earlier comment that I also use baking soda and oxy clean in the dry version of homemade detergent.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 23, 2012 - 9:44 AM

    Hi Rachel, we haven’t noticed a problem where our items are no longer soft. Sometimes, we’ll add vinegar to the wash as a natural fabric softener, but we usually only do that with our whites.

    We don’t add baking soda or Oxy Clean, so I’m wondering if one of those isn’t causing your clothes to come out less than soft.

    As for fading, we line dry a lot of our clothes to prevent fading. We’ve done that before we even started using this recipe, so I’m not sure if we’re much help there.

    Does anyone else have any thoughts?ReplyCancel

  • Emily - July 23, 2012 - 6:20 PM

    Hi, I just made this with my mom. When we were making it we realized that the washing soda clumps up a lot. My mom said because it’s very humid (in Florida) and so the washing soda is sticky and sticks together. Do you know any tricks to help prevent this?? Thanks. Love the detergent by the way :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 23, 2012 - 6:36 PM

    Hi Emily, we’ve never had this problem! I imagine this won’t be an issue as long as you give the jar you store it in a good shake before you scoop it. It should help break up the clumps that have settled since the last laundry load – we hope!ReplyCancel

  • Marquita Taylor - July 23, 2012 - 8:13 PM

    I tried this and added some purex crystals. The clothes smell even better.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - July 24, 2012 - 9:27 AM

    You guys had NO problems using this with your front-load HE? I have a Samsung front-loader, made this soap, and it totally clogged up my water hose (the soap parts didn’t disolve enough to make it through the narrow part that the water comes out of in the top of the barrel). Our washer backed up, and ended up pouring water out of the soap dispenser. It took us about 6 loads of watching, then cleaning out the water dispenser with a toothpick, then watching, cleaning out the water dispenser….before it cleared. Maybe the Samsung has a narrower water dispenser than most??? OR…when you use this soap, do you not USE the soap dispenser and just put it right in the washer??ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 24, 2012 - 9:56 AM

      Hi Stephanie, we don’t have a front loading HE washer, but other commenters have suggested that you put the soap directly in with your wash rather than the soap dispenser. I am so sorry to hear about your troubles! I’ve added an update to this post so readers are aware. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Hunnicutt - July 29, 2012 - 6:06 PM

    I have been using this for about two months. Recently, I got a good bit of chococate on a new cotton nighty. I forgot to set it aside for pretreating. I washed it today with all my light colors. I paniced when I saw it go into the dryer. I looked at it, it was clean!! Not a trace of chocolate, no discoloration. I was so surprised and so pleased.
    Also, I use cut the fn bar into very small pieces, then put them in the food processor. Ten minutes from start to finish.ReplyCancel

  • read this book blog - August 2, 2012 - 11:24 PM

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  • Derrick - August 8, 2012 - 12:43 AM

    I haven’t seen this tip (though it may be hidden since this is a VERY hot topic): If you cut the bars of soap into fourths, you can place them on a microwave-safe plate and nuke it for 1 minute. The soap expands like crazy (thus 1/4 size bars a time), but it also removes a bit of the moisture, thus making it easier to grate!! Saves a LOT of time and effort! PLUS, if you have kids, they will LOVE watching this and the older kids can even help grate it up! :)ReplyCancel

  • DIY laundry detergent » Lili's Notes - August 9, 2012 - 6:34 PM

    [...] good while after we started using Charlie’s soap, I read this post by Yellow Brick Home.  It got me thinking about homemade laundry detergent, but I didn’t [...]ReplyCancel

  • Vicky Pruitt - August 11, 2012 - 2:05 PM

    I’ve been using the borax/washing soda/fels naptha for about 8 months now. I love it. Except for the lack of scent. I ran across a Purex product called Purex Crystals, *long lasting freshness. I use the Lavender blossom and I love it! I put my detergent in the empty Purex Crystals bottles. Pretty. It costs $4+. I haven’t figured out the added cost, but at less than a TBL a load, it is still economical to me.
    Also, the last time I made detergent, the store was out of Fels Naptha so I bought Zote. I noticed as I was throwing the wrapper that it mentioned that Zote has XX amount of fat content. I can’t even find reference to anything like that on the Fels wrapper. Then, I began to notice a ‘greasy ring’ around my washer tub. Yuk! I’ll never go back to Zote. I’m making a new batch of Fels today. I am really interested in trying the detergent with Ivory soap added instead of Fels. I hope it’s not fatty.
    Thanks for your blog. I’ll never go back to store bought detergent, although I do buy all my products at a store…. lol!ReplyCancel

  • Linda - August 16, 2012 - 10:37 AM

    you don’t need to grate your bar of soap. Just unwrap it and pop it into the microwave for about 2 minutes. It blows up like a cloud, take it out and let it cool. Put it in a grocery bag and just knead it with your fingers, it takes just a minute or two and it becomes super fine powder.ReplyCancel

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  • Genesis - August 28, 2012 - 3:23 AM

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  • hh - August 29, 2012 - 5:08 PM

    quoted from http://www.littlefornow.com/homemade-detergent-for-cloth-diapers.html

    “Borax can prematurely age elastic and PUL. If you are using all cotton diapers, it shouldn’t hurt them…

    …Washing soda can remove stains, but it is very caustic and can cause chemical burns. It can also wear down elastic and degrade diaper fibers. “ReplyCancel

  • Susie - September 1, 2012 - 11:16 AM

    Good day! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering
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    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
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  • cherie - September 7, 2012 - 7:25 PM

    FYI: you can make this and store it in a 5 gallon bucket; I use the food proccessor to grate much quicker and I can make a bucket full!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - September 8, 2012 - 2:00 PM

    To the girl that complained about Zote….I have never had a problem. I use more then two tablespoons for my large load because I added clorox two in a powder form. So I use about somewhere in the neighborhood of a 1/4 to a 1/2 a cup. In fact I like zote much better then fels naptha.

    To those who can not find zote….Home Depot sells it in the cleaning aisle with the laundry detergent.

    My boyfriend and I both have sensitive skin, him more so then me, and we both are ok with this soap. Also he runs heavy equipment for a living, think grease and mud, and when I wash his clothes it helps with this. Granted this grease is never going to come out completely but it helps get a good chunk of it out. But it gets all the mud out.

    Also if you do not use Zote or Fels naptha your clothes will not be as clean because they are laundry soaps.

    Borax and Boric acid are two different things. Borax in the amount you are using it for your laundry detergent will not be harmful.

    I have used the liquid for 8 months and just made a big batch of the powder that I have been using for a few months now, and I still love it. I will never use store bought detergent again!!ReplyCancel

  • Lori - September 10, 2012 - 1:17 PM

    I notice a lot of people are using Dove and some of the other beauty bars. You are not supposed to use them the only bar in the beauty isle you can use is Ivory. Dove, Irish Spring and the rest of the beauty bars have moisturizers in them they will eventually clog up you washer because of the oils in them. Zote, Fels Naptha, and Ivory are OK.

    Also for the people that are having a problem with it clogging up the washer- when you get your soap let it sit out uncovered for a few days to dry out- run it through your food processor- then re-run it with the chopping blade and a little of the rest of the mix to pulverize it- no more problems with it clogging. Yes I have a front load, I use cold water and I put my soap in the dispenser- Not had a problem, and If you are wanting smell to your clothes add Purex crystals, the downy crystals or the ones from gain into your mix.ReplyCancel

  • Liz - September 16, 2012 - 9:37 PM

    I just made a double batch and realized that my soda says baking soda not washing soda… I got it in the laundry isle and it has a picture of Laundry on the front.. am i still ok or am i going to have to start over??? Please help?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - September 17, 2012 - 9:29 AM

    Hi Liz, baking soda is very different than washing soda, so I don’t think it will be the same mix that we’ve been using. However, the picture of laundry on the front is a bit confusing, since baking soda wouldn’t actually have that! My best guess is to stick to washing soda for the results that we’ve been getting.

    I also found this post that shows how to turn baking soda into washing soda: http://naturesnurtureblog.com/2012/05/08/ttt-turn-baking-soda-into-washing-soda/ReplyCancel

  • Jody - September 19, 2012 - 1:19 PM

    I made this up today and used our regular cheese grater. I put a load in the washer and was not happy with how large the pieces of Fes Naptha was so I brought the whole mixture back in an popped it in my food processor. Worked like a charm! I made sure to mix it in there until the bar soap was nice and small. Excited to see how my clothes come out! Found you on Pinterest. Thanks for posting!ReplyCancel

  • Heather Craig - September 20, 2012 - 11:05 AM

    How much do I use per load?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - September 20, 2012 - 11:57 AM

    Hi Heather, just 1 tablespoon for a regular load, and 2 tablespoons for larger loads!ReplyCancel

  • Bonni Stroud - September 21, 2012 - 10:58 AM

    Hi! So excited to try this I actually already started grating my soap:) I have a question though my washer ( old school but works great ) isn’t hooked up to hot water so will this melt and work the same in cold? I am grating it pretty small with my zester grater but im still not sure it’s small enough:/. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 21, 2012 - 1:11 PM

      Hi Bonni, this mixture will melt even in the coldest water!ReplyCancel

  • Bonni Stroud - September 22, 2012 - 8:51 PM

    Great thank you !ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - September 23, 2012 - 9:08 AM

    Thank you for this recipe! I do love the detergent, however, I would love some feedback. I started using only 1tbsp. in my HE washer but upped it to 2 tbsp. I know people have said to experiment with the amount. While I think this is sufficient, I see NO SUDS AT ALL. So, are my clothes really getting clean?
    I am not overloading the machine at all.

    Thanks for any comments you can give to me.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 23, 2012 - 3:22 PM

      Hi Lisa, this recipe creates NO suds, so you’re not doing anything wrong! Your clothes are getting clean. Traditional store bought cleaners add ingredients to cause the soap to suds and bubble, which we’ve come to think of as “getting clean,” when it’s simply not necessary! It took us a little bit to get over that fact, too!ReplyCancel

  • Tracey - October 10, 2012 - 9:11 PM

    Hi!
    I live in Asia and can’t find any of the soaps recommended. Would an organic soap bar work?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 11, 2012 - 8:59 AM

      Hi Tracey, we haven’t tried that ourselves, but I’m sure any comparable laundry soap could work. Or you could order any of the soaps online!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - October 15, 2012 - 3:44 PM

    Just made my first batch! I used ZOTE soap because that is what my local Walmart has on hand. My cousin has been making this for months and loves it. FYI we both have HE washers and she has not had any problems. She adds the mixture right to the drum of the washer. I. Not sure if it has been mentioned but a nice tip she mentioned was when blendingn the ZOTE add some of the washing soda or borax to the ZOTE before blending, that way it dries it out and there is no sticking. Thanks for the recipe it’s awesomeReplyCancel

  • Charlotte - October 22, 2012 - 10:11 PM

    Thanks for posting this wonderful idea! I’ve been using this for about half a year and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using the store bought stuff. :) I’ve made some mild variation to your instructions like adding scent crystals and salt.

    http://chasinghappiness2012.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/homemade-laundry-detergent/ReplyCancel

  • [...] YellowBrickHome [...]ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - November 12, 2012 - 6:07 PM

    I made this about a week ago, I used 2 cups of borax and 2 cups washing soda cuz that is what the recipe called for that I saw. My issue is when i take the clothes out of the washer (not HE), i still see bits of the Naptha soap? Why is it not dissolving? It is grated fine. I even too k the amount I use and put it in a cup of super hot water first. HELP!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 12, 2012 - 6:30 PM

    Hi Suzanne,

    We haven’t had this problem one bit, and we often use cold water to wash items! Does it dissolve when you put it in the hot water first?

    Perhaps switching to a different soap could help, such as Ivory or Zote. We haven’t used those for this mixture, but many of our readers have and loved the results!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Marie - November 26, 2012 - 2:21 PM

    Holy cow thats a lot of comments! Means you’re doin’ something right!

    Anyhow, we cloth diaper here… do you know if this is safe to use for cloth diapering? I would imagine so since there are no dyes or added fragrances, but just want to make sure. Im making this tomorrow for sure!!! Thanks for the post!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 26, 2012 - 2:25 PM

    Hi Ashley, many commenters have said that they recommend this recipe for cloth diapers, as it’s very gentle!ReplyCancel

  • [...] followed the directions from yellow brick home.   It’s super easy – the hardest part is grating the bar of soap and even that only [...]ReplyCancel

  • A Year in Review | Joyful Girl - December 28, 2012 - 4:27 PM

    [...] Make my own laundry soap. Using this recipe. Success!  [...]ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly - December 30, 2012 - 5:24 PM

    I’ve started using this and love it! I’ll keep using it as long as I can get a hold of all the ingredients. I really love the fresh smell!ReplyCancel

  • Priscilla - January 4, 2013 - 7:06 PM

    Here’s another great use for your leftover borax, and a way to pamper yourself without spending a lot of money – sodium borate (borax) is the primary or one of the primary ingredients in natural bath salts, along with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts). Mix the three in equal proportions, or equal parts borax & Epsom and about half the baking soda, add whatever essential oils you like (or a few drops of a favorite perfume) and you’re done. You can spend $3-10 on one envelope/packet of salts (which is usually one bath’s worth) if you buy one of the good natural and/or organic brands, or you can get the same thing for quite literally pennies per bath. For an extra treat, especially in winter or any time your skin feels dry or itchy, add a handful or two of dry milk along with the salts – you’ll have the softest bath water you’ve ever felt and your skin will feel great.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - January 5, 2013 - 9:51 AM

    Priscilla, those are awesome tips. Thank you so much for sharing!ReplyCancel

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  • Kim - January 12, 2013 - 12:13 PM

    I’ve been using this for almost a year and I love it! I bought a Rubbermaid white drawer to keep my soap in and I have an HE machine. This soap makes my laundry room smell great and my clothes are all clean! I put the soap in the soap dispenser and I don’t have any problems.ReplyCancel

  • janet - January 20, 2013 - 1:16 PM

    My daughter has this beautiful mantle scarf,when she brought it out of the closet it had a HUGE yelllow stain in the middle! She washed it nothing i brought some Borax over ,hummmm bit better so I said let me take it home so I sprayed it with my home made Shout let it sit for a while then filled an icecream bucket with warm water and a scoop of my home made laundry detergent and WA LA all is gone!!! I love that stuff! Well off to make a batch! Thank You,Janet from IowaReplyCancel

  • Tiff W - January 22, 2013 - 12:29 AM

    Someone asked about using baking soda in addition to washing soda. I read somewhere not to use baking soda too because it does something to the washing soda – like it neutralizes it or something. Maybe some chemistry people can answer this for sure.. I don’t use baking soda with mine. I’ve made this for over a year now and love it. Recently I ran out and didn’t have the money to make a new batch so I’ve been using the liquid store stuff I had from before – the homemade stuff is so much better!I do use oxy clean (or at least a generic version of it) in mine, and I do use real bleach for my whites. But overall I have to say this is great stuff! It was hard getting used to no suds but I just drop it in and don’t look until the load is done and we have been really happy with the results. The old powdered laundry soaps (store bought) were bad for septics, but the new powdered laundry soaps (they removed some ingredients from it awhile back) and this homemade laundry soap is safe for septic tanks.ReplyCancel

  • Recipe(s) for Clean « Resolution Revamp - January 28, 2013 - 9:48 PM

    [...] up: Laundry soap. But I still have a large container to work through so I bought ingredients, but held off making it. [...]ReplyCancel

  • Crystal - February 3, 2013 - 3:40 AM

    Hi I’ve been using this recipe for over a year. I have a Samsung HE front load washer that Ive owned for 3yrs and Ive never had a problem with this laundry soap like Stephanie – JULY 24, 2012 had a problem with hers. I put mine in the soap compartment. I had to pull out a blue tray that said liquid detergent on it and underneath was where it said powder detergent and I use 1 to 2 table spoon full depending on the size of the load and how dirty the clothes are. I use vinegar for fabric softener and it is safer for septic then regular laundry detergent and I have a septic. It works great with cold water, I use cold water all the time. I also use my kitchen aide mixer with the grater attachment, so I can grate 3 bars at a time and then I put the grated soap in to the blender to make into a fine powder. I use Fels-Naptha. Also I have read That u have to be careful using beauty bars like dove/Irish Spring etc. Because of the oils and moisturizers in them can stain your clothes same with essential oils that people add to make the laundry soap smell good. Also I’ve read that if you are using vinegar for fabric softener you are not suppose to use bleach at the same time because it can cause a chemical reaction that is not good, I googled it! I know some older front load washer do not come with a powder compartment in the soap dispenser drawer, so them you will have to add it straight in with the clothes. The ingredient that is added to almost all soaps now days that make it sudz is sodium lauryl sulphate used in engine degreaser! Yuck!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 3, 2013 - 1:22 PM

      Crystal, thank you so much for clarifying all these answers that people have! We’re glad to hear it’s safe on your septic tank and in a HE washer. We’ve been using vinegar as a fabric softener as well!ReplyCancel

  • judy bennett - February 23, 2013 - 5:57 PM

    i am prone ti bladder infections and since my daughter-law gave me some homemade soap i haven’t had anymore infections. She gave it to me in Aug 2012 and I ran out in Feb 2013. now i made my first bach I made a triple batchReplyCancel

  • Tomas - February 26, 2013 - 4:44 PM

    I just like the valuable information you supply to your articles.
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  • Deb - March 2, 2013 - 1:00 AM

    I of course am late to this party and just made this about a month ago along with a liquid version that replaces the fels naphtha soap with liquid blue Dawn. I like both recipes a lot. I’m also going more natural by switching my dryer sheets with the vinegar rinse. Even mo hubby was impressed with the way both recipes work. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - April 7, 2013 - 8:45 PM

    I have been using this soap for about a year in my front loader and love it. I have stopped buying tide and other brands since I started making this. I also stopped buying fabric softer since I bought two balls from Norwex for the dryer.ReplyCancel

  • Spring Cleaning Tips from Pinterest - April 16, 2013 - 10:01 AM

    [...] I wanted to mention this home made laundry soap recipe from Yellow Brick Home. I made my first batch in January, and I have made two more batches since [...]ReplyCancel

  • Johanna - May 7, 2013 - 11:17 PM

    I just got all my ingredients tonight and I can’t wait to make this!!!! I’m gradually switching our household to chemical free and this is such an easy switch, I’m excited to try it out :) I do have a question though, instead of fels I am using a bar of the pink zote soap, and it is 14oz… Do I use the whole thing or only half since its such a big bar?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - May 8, 2013 - 8:35 AM

    Johanna, we’ve never used Zote, and our Fels Naptha bars are only about 6 oz. Perhaps you could start with half, and after a load of laundry, if you’re not satisfied, you could try the rest? Or you could just make a much larger batch with your whole bar and add in 2 cups of Borax and 2 cups of washing soda – saving you time down the road!ReplyCancel

  • Johanna - May 8, 2013 - 12:34 PM

    Thanks so much for the response :) I think I’m going to start out using half and then go from there and gradually add more if I feel like the laundry needs it :)ReplyCancel

  • DIY Laundry Soap | Our Waldo Bungie - May 29, 2013 - 6:30 AM

    [...] DIY laundry soap has been on my to-do list for awhile, especially after reading about Yellow Brick Home and Wayward Dog‘s forays into the sudsy practice. It is seriously so easy, I’m not [...]ReplyCancel

  • Megan - June 10, 2013 - 9:17 AM

    I use Zote but I use the white bar (14oz) I use 3/4 of the bar and use the remaining 1/4 as a pretreat for the really tough stains (14 month old toddler) I prefer Zote only because it is plant based where as Fels Naptha is animal based also a little bit “greener”! I also add 1/2 cup of Downy unstopables because I like the smell (not so green :)ReplyCancel

  • Sheila Tant - August 8, 2013 - 3:25 PM

    I been using the liquid kind..5 gallon recipe..I love it..but my towels come out different.. I can’t dry my dishes with my dish towel .it don’t soak up the water..and my bath towels same way..I use 1/2 cup of liquid ..am I using too much?ReplyCancel

  • Kim - August 8, 2013 - 6:40 PM

    Sheila, we’ve never used the liquid version, so we’d hate to give you input without knowing first hand. You could always try lowering how much you put in to see what happens! We definitely suggest trying this dry recipe, since storing it takes up so little space.ReplyCancel

  • 101 Handmade Summer Tutorials - August 24, 2013 - 1:31 PM

    [...] Lemon Laundry Soap – Yellow Brick Home [...]ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - September 8, 2013 - 8:23 AM

    I’ve been using Borax for years with my detergents and now I am going to have to try this mix. Borax always leaves my laundry clean and smelling fresh. It was my mother’s secret to me I guess it got out. LOL! does anyone know how to replace the softener we use for our laundry I am wondering if some baking soda would work if added to the wash?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 8, 2013 - 7:17 PM

      Hi Jackie, previous commenters have suggested throwing a ball of aluminum foil in the dryer for softness!ReplyCancel

  • Boffo - September 9, 2013 - 6:37 PM

    Borax is actually very safe and should not be confused with Boric Acid which is a high concentrate of the same mineral. Borax can be added to drinking water as a supplement, since it is one of the essential nutrients that we need, and it is being processed out of foods and the soil! Boric acid does kill roaches! Borax (20 Mule Team) is safe and useful.ReplyCancel

  • [...] Make your own Laundry Powder [...]ReplyCancel

  • Homemade Laundry Soap DIY - simply me - November 9, 2013 - 7:02 AM

    [...] at school one morning last week I dashed on over to Wal-Mart with my iPad cued into this post on DIY Suds for guidance.  It actually took me longer to search for glue-sticks (which they did not have!) [...]ReplyCancel

  • Shari - January 19, 2014 - 4:06 PM

    I didn’t read thru every post, and didn’t see anything about borax and fleas, so thought I’d share. We have cats that sometimes escape outside, and we’ve had flea issues from time to time. Until we started using borax. All you have to do is sprinkle borax on the carpet, let it sit a while, then vacuum it up. Works great. Still use frontline on the cats, but the borax does the trick! Used to use bombers, horrible and very toxic. And about concerns about borax, if you are careful the way you use it, I don’t think it’s a problem.ReplyCancel

  • [...] 8: DIY Laundry Soap (we use Dr. Bronner’s instead of Fels [...]ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - February 17, 2014 - 2:25 PM

    just stopping by to let you know I just made the DIY laundry soap! Thanks for the great tutorial!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 17, 2014 - 3:40 PM

    Dawn, happy to hear! No problem!ReplyCancel

  • Robert - February 20, 2014 - 12:39 AM

    Just to add to what others have said, borax has a long history of safe use in commercial bath salts, and eye drops have commonly been formulated with boric acid, so how toxic could it be?

    However, these recipes for homemade laundry detergent here and elsewhere usually call for more alkali (borax and/or washing soda) than is optimal. In the days when commercial laundry powders were made using soap and either of those, these home recipes would’ve been understood as cheap AND INFERIOR formulas that degrade fabrics prematurely. The better soap-based laundry detergents were mostly soap, with only a small amount of alkali, and rarely would BOTH borax and washing soda be used together in one product. And baking soda does practically nothing unless you’re also using chlorine bleach.

    Really you should be adding the soap and builder to the wash water separately, adjusting the builder to the amount and “hardness” of your water. Making a dry product from such mixtures stay uniform would be very difficult unless you spray-dried the mixture after wetting them together; otherwise they’ll tend to sift & separate. You can add water and make the goop as some have, but it’s difficult to make that stay uniform too.

    There are better builders with soap for laundry detergent than borax or sodium carbonate, but they’re not grocery items these days: sodium silicates and phosphates. Clay-derived aluminosilicates can be used too, as can some non-mineral water “softeners”. You may be seeing adequate cleaning results with these high-alkali recipes, but you’ll probably notice eventually that your clothes aren’t lasting thru as many washes. That’s always been the trick with formulating clothes-washing detergents for machines: making them clean well while being friendly to the textiles. One of the developmental formulas that eventually led to Tide was said to leave shirts feeling like sandpaper!

    As to the person who wanted to make enzyme detergent, good luck. No theoretic reason you shouldn’t be able to with the like of meat tenderizer or pineapple juice, but your product will be unstable; you’ll have to make it up fresh each use, because the enzymes will destroy themselves if they aren’t inactivated by the other ingredients. Powdered meat tenderizer might be stable in a dry product, but be rather expensive. It’s more the sort of thing you’d want to apply selectively to spots.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 20, 2014 - 8:42 AM

    Rob, thank you so much for the input!ReplyCancel

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    I sliced the Fels Naptha bar and put everything in my Vitx Mixer and it blended it all into a fine powder. Love it!ReplyCancel

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