How to make your own laundry soap

diy laundry soap

If you’ve never made your own laundry soap you don’t know what you’re missing.  The laundry soaps that are available commercially are expensive, and filled with ingredients that I’m not even going to attempt to pronounce.

This laundry soap is very economical and simple to make.  It works just as well as anything you’ll buy at the store, with the added bonus that each load only costs pennies to wash.  We’ve been really happy with the results so far.

how to make your own laundry soapThe Recipe

fels naptha for homemade laundry detergent
Fels Naptha has a great soapy smell!

2 bars Fels Naptha laundry soap

2 cups Borax

2 cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

6 cups water (plus a little more as needed)

It cost me just over $8 for the Borax, the Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, and the 2 Fels Naptha bars, and each batch makes about 6 quart-sized mason jars.  Two teaspoons–seriously-2 teaspoons–per load, and more than two hundred loads per batch of soap, for pennies per load.

The boxes of Borax and Washing Soda will make several batches, but you will need to pick up more Fels Naptha to make another batch of laundry soap.  These are usually about $0.97 and you can find them at the grocery store or Wal-Mart among the other laundry soaps.

How to Make the Laundry Soap

making homemade laundry soap
I just use my cheese grater to grate the bar of laundry soap.

Step 1:  To make the laundry soap the first step is to grate the Fels Naptha bars.

Step 2:  Place the grated soap into a large kettle on the stove and add the 6 cups water.  Heat the mixture–but do not boil–to dissolve the Fels Naptha, stirring occasionally.  This part takes about 20 minutes.

Step 3:  Once the grated soap has completely dissolved, add the Borax and the Washing Soda, stirring well to dissolve and combine the mixture.

Step 4:  Now you can pour it into mason jars–I fill the jars about three-quarters full and then top them off with more water.  Cover them and leave the jars 8-hours or overnight.

In the morning the soap will have separated and look like this.

diy laundry soap
This is what is should look like in the morning, and you will simply puree it to combine it again.

Step 5:  The soap on top will be solid and of a cheesecake-like consistency, simply take a butter knife and slice it like a pie so that you can empty the contents of the jars into a blender.

Step 6:  I puree the soap one jar at a time, rinsing the mason jars out with a few tablespoons of hot water and adding that to the blender as well.

Step 7:  Now that the soap has been pureed it goes back into the mason jars and is ready to use.

Voila!  Laundry Soap!

making your own laundry soap
Finished laundry soap, ready for use.

This is what the laundry soap looks like all finished.

The laundry soap has a pleasant soap smell on it’s own, but if you so choose y0u could add any sort of essential oils that you desire to scent your laundry detergent.  I’ve been toying with the idea of adding lemongrass to my next batch.

Certainly it’s more time consuming to make laundry detergent yourself rather than simply purchasing it at the store, but just one batch will wash more loads of laundry than anything you’ll find there.  And for those of us on a tight budget, who like to know exactly what’s in the products we’re using, this is a great solution.



Have you tried making your own laundry soap?  Do you have a different recipe or method you’d care to share?  Feel free to leave your comments below!

This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday.

14 thoughts on “How to make your own laundry soap

  1. What do u do if it does not thicken when u leave it overnight it says it should b like a gel but it’s really runny?

    1. Gee-I’ve never had that happen. Seems like you should be good to go–and I’d think the runnier consistency would be easier to work with, lol.

  2. I have been using this and love love love it. I do not remove my soap from jar however I use a mixer with one spinner hold on tight to the jar and blend it.

  3. We used this today in our new HE washer. When the load was done, most of the soap was still there. Any idea why?

    1. Honestly, I couldn’t say–we have an HE washer as well and have never had any problems with this soap. How much are you putting in? It really does only take a couple of teaspoons per load–I usually overdo it cause I have boys and pets, and the laundry always seems backed up, so I use a regular kitchen spoon. 2 spoon-fulls near the front of detergent cup on the washer.

      However, I have a friend who uses this recipe who says she waters hers down quite a bit more so that she has a liquid and can reuse old laundry soap containers to store it in, then just uses a full cup of soap when she’s doing laundry.

      Hope this helps!

  4. I use the same ingredients but no water to make a powder detergent. The only downside is when you grate the soap you have to grate it really fine so it takes some muscle power but I’ve had good results with it. Do you have any tips on whitening the whites though? I’ve noticed some of the whites and lights get a little dingy.

    1. I have noticed the same problem regarding whites, and at this time I don’t have a solution other than the mainstream bleach–which we’d like to get away from, too. Thanks for stopping by!

    1. We have new (within the last 3 years) HE front loading machines. We’ve used this soap and this method in our washer with no problems. The “soap on top” is not actually removed–put it into your blender and puree the soap–it’s all good stuff. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I’ve been considering doing this myself… how much would you use for one load? Also, once you run it through the blender, does it separate again, or maintain it’s liquid form?

    1. Hi Patrick! We just use a heaping spoonful–which probably works out to be about a tablespoonful. After it’s been well-blended it remains together–however it’s less like a liquid and more of a “gel”. Either way we’ve had good luck with it, and we just keep a bar of fels naptha around for stain treatment. You can also add essential oils if you want to scent your soap, but we like the smell of the fels naptha on it’s own so we haven’t.

Share your thoughts, comments or questions!