The World’s Best Homemade Laundry Soap

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homemade laundry soap

Yes I did just stake the claim that this is the WORLD’s BEST Homemade Laundry Soap!! And I stand by every word of it!

I’ve been very hesitant to make my own laundry soap although I have always wanted to. I was scared because I have a nice HE washer and didn’t want to ruin it. I know you have to use special laundry detergent in those babies and I was never sure if the homemade stuff would work. Well, the reason you use special soap is because you need less suds. Somewhere we all thought that suds equals cleaner things, but really it is just extra stuff that’s added. If you go back to basics then you lose the extra and your laundry will look and feel amazing!


The World’s Best Homemade Laundry Soap
  1. Grate the Fels Napha into a large mixing bowl. Add in all other ingredients and stir together until well mixed.
  2. Use 1-2 Tablespoons per load.


I’ve been super impressed with this recipe. Everything comes out smelling, feeling, and looking great. It’s even taken that mildew smell out of my towels. You’re gonna love it too.

Oh, and did I mention that you’re gonna save money? Well, you are! It’s quick and easy to make, and my girls love to help. But don’t take my word for it. Run and grab the supplies and let me know what you think. All products can be purchased at Wal-Mart type stores. Or you can order them from Amazon:  BoraxSuper Washing Soda, Baking Soda, Downy Unstopables, Fels Napha, and Oxi Clean. Hopefully that helps!

We have 15 great tips and tricks to getting things clean you’ll want to check out!

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If you need some motivation to get just get started, Becky has compiled this list of spring cleaning motivation.

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  1. I have always wanted to try homemade soap also, but have been hesitant for the same reason. I think that i will add this to my goals for this year…

    1. I have been this for 5 years I’ve saved so much money doing this I will never buy regular detergents again…

  2. Hi Becky, I’m curious about this one. Do you mind revealing how long you’ve used this recipe? I had one similar (without the downy or oxy clean) and I loved it for 6 months. After that my washer had a film in it and my clothes took on a gray cast. And DH started calling me from work for a change of clothes because he smelled sour once the clothes had been warmed by his body heat. I blamed the fels naphtha, but really don’t know what caused it. Just wondered if you’d used this longer than that, and still loved it.

    1. Hi Angela,
      I’ve been using it for a while now, I’d say around 6 months or so and haven’t had a problem like that. But I do clean my washer about every 3-6 months but running a hot water cycle. Since I have an HE machine I use some washer cleaning tablets.
      As far as all my research into the ingredient goes I have never heard of anything like your problem so I’m not sure. My only suggestion would be to clean out your machine. I know they need it for regular maintenance no matter what you use.

      1. I have found if you put some vinagar in the bleach compartment in your HE or if you don’t have and HE in the drum of the washer. I fill the bleach compartment up for a large load small a couple Tablespoons. My clothes and towels smell great!!! NOT LIKE VINAGAR!! Vinagar is a great disinfectant. Works great when I clean my HE as well. I also leave my HE door open keeps it from smelling.

        My question is when using this do you put it in the drum of the HE or soap dispensor?

        1. Oh Thanks for the tip on the vinegar. I’m gonna have to try that.
          I do just put the soap in the dispenser. You have to take out the liquid tray if you have one.

        2. The man who serviced my machine this Winter told me to not to use vinegar on a regular basis because it will damage the interior of the machine. Mine is a front loader. So, i only use vinegar once in awhile, now.

    2. Hi – I have been using this recipe but without the scent (that way it works for sensitive skin). I have been using it for about 1 1/2 years in our HE washer & even with 3 boys, 3 different sports & TONS of laundry – we have been very happy & haven’t had any problems. I do use Shout for pre-treating/spots & Clorex bleach.

    3. I’ve used your recipe before, and had some pretty good results. However, if we left the laundry in the washer too long, the souring would linger on the clothing. If that happens, you wash them a second time with a few cups of white vinegar and normal detergent. Vinegar takes the smell right out and somehow doesn’t leave its own. Felsnaptha is also less natural than I had hoped and has artificial coloring. Buy a saponified coconut soap with a great scent instead, and your washer will be squeaky clean!!!…especially if you add vinegar every once in a while.

    4. I began making hm laundry cmpd this past year. I just use the Baking Soda, Washing Soda, Borax and 2 bars grated Fels Naptha and 30 drops of Essential Oil of your choice. I did discover that it works best in Warm or Hot Water. I’ve not had any issues. Be sure to leave your washer door open btwn cycles, and also the detergent tray should be left out. Running a vinegar cycle once in awhile should keep your machine and clothes fresh and clean. This laundry compd washes wool items beautifully and leaves them soft and fresh smelling. I will never go back to buying commercial laundry cmpd.

    1. Baking washing soda is more coarse. They both do the same thing for your wash by making everything whiter and brighter, and also neutralizes odors. I found the Baking Washing soda in the laundry isle.

    1. Baking Washing Soda is a coarser version of Baking Soda. It makes your wash whiter and brighter and also neutralizes odors. I found the Baking Washing soda in the laundry isle. Probably near the borax.

      1. Just to clear up a little confusion, it isn’t called “Baking Washing Soda.” It’s called “Super Washing Soda.” ARM & HAMMER™ Super Washing Soda is 100% sodium carbonate and it is used as a laundry booster and general household cleaner. ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda is 100% sodium bicarbonate and has a myriad of household cleaning, personal care, and deodorizing uses, as well as being a leavening agent.
        I too have been using a similar recipe for about 2 years and I love it! I love that it costs so little to make and I love that it is fully customizable. I can add any scent I want (to gift) or I can leave it out for those sensitive skinned ones in my household.

  3. Thank you for posting this! I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time. How much would I use if I don’t have an HE washer?

    1. Vickie,
      I’d just throw in the 2TBLS and see what you think. You can always more next time or if you have a really dirty load add a bit more. Good luck!

    1. Mandi,
      I was so nervous because my machine is HE. The HE ones need less suds because there is less water used. Most commercial laundry detergent brands add in chemicals to make the suds. The products listed in this post produce little to no suds so this is the perfect solution to your HE machine. I’ve also noticed that my machine doesn’t have that smell that it sometimes got when I wasn’t moving my clothing immediately into the dryer.

  4. I am going to make this but I have a questiom. Do you have a dyi for the crystal. My family broke out on a rash when we tried them once. Also does anyone know if this is a harsh soap of is hypo allengic ish. I know I can use tide and thats about it in my house. I hate spending 20 dollars ever month or two. Will this work fpr me I pray sp

    1. Amber I don’t have a DIY for those crystals. I’d recommend just leaving them out since they are just for scent.
      From all of my research and understanding the ingredients listed are very safe and not harsh on the skin.

      1. There is one I saw using Epsom salts and an essential oil I believe (?) There are recipes out there for the crystals, I would love to make mine too.

      2. Becky , Tide is a synthetic detergent made out of petroleum, aren’t you concerned about that for your family?

        Google Tide brand, it has a known cancer causer 1,4 Dioxane in it which is bad news.

      3. I’ve been making some similar to this also. My daughter has broken out in a rash to anything except Tide and the Costco brand. Using the homemade one we haven’t had a rash 🙂

  5. This soap works really well for everything but whites. My whites turned very grey an. I had to switch back to tide to get them clean again….well at least mostly white. I have used it for a year in my HE washer with no problems, but you only use a scant 1/8 cup. I have a sensitive nose and haven’t noticed a smell, unless if left the clothing in the washer too long! then I rehash them with a cup of baking soda, or vinegar. If you have sensitive skin you could maybe use a different mild soap. I leave out the fabric softener for part of the mixture for those who are allergic. Try it, on everything except whites!

    1. My whites do tend to get dingy….I will wash them in hot water with two cups of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide agitate…then.allow to soak for a couple of hours… complete wash cycle… add two cups of white vinegar only wash as normal …my clothes have never held the vinegar scent….

  6. Hi, I’ve heard that you can use vinegar as a fabric softener. Have you tried this as well as using the homemade detergent? I’m afraid to try both at once since I know vinegar and baking soda can react to one another.

    1. I have actually tried the vinegar and baking soda together. You would just add the vinegar and then run another cycle with your machine for the others. If you’re using it as a fabric softener you could just add it to your drum and the soap in its place. You’d be safe doing that.

  7. I’ve used regular laundry soap in my HE washer ever since I got it. All you do is add fabric softner in with the laundry soap and you get no suds. I’ve got all the ingredients for your recipe and plan to try it soon. Do you add it right on top of the clothes or do you put it in the liquid soap dispenser and let it wash down the chute?

    1. My washer has a removable liquid dispenser so I just remove that and add my powder there. I think it would get stuck in the liquid dispenser chute if you put it in there.
      I accidentally bought the regular laundry soap once and it made my machine stink really bad. I don’t use fabric softener on all my loads. One could say I’m a little crazy about my laundry.

  8. I have been doing this for over 1 year. I love it and it saves MONEY! I make a whole lot at a time. I use the whole box of borax, washing and baking soda, 3 pound tub of oxy clean, 3 bars fels naphtha and purex crystals. It works great. I store it in a 5 gallon bucket and get out as needed. My husband complains about the whites not looking as clean. I also think my dark clothes fade faster with it so I have began using about 1 cup vinegar in with it. I also clean my washer by using hot water and 1 cup vinegar through a whole cycle then a whole cycle of hot water. I haven’t noticed any film in the machine. I am so happy others are using the same recipe with success!

  9. I have been using a recipe very similar to this for 2 years now in my HE washer, never have had a problem. I do not use the baking soda nor do I use the fals naptha. Instead I use Zote soap because I like the smell better and it’s only 99 cents (Missouri) for one bar that is 14oz (instead of three bars of the fals naptha at .99 cents for one 3.5 oz bar.) I also make up a big batch at once using the whole box of borax, the whole box of washing soda, the whole tub of oxy clean, the whole container of purex crystals and the whole 14 oz bar of Zote Soap.

    1. Pam,
      I make a big batch at one time (see my comment above). Using just 2 tbls (or about 1/8 cup) per load, this lasted my husband and myself almost a full year. Total cost to make the whole batch about 15.00 bucks. Not bad for a years worth of laundry soap.

  10. how much cheaper is this to use than store bought soap? I usually buy the cheap brands like purex and xtra. Just wondered? Not familiar with what oxyclean costs? I only spend about 14 dollars a month for two people.

    1. I think I spent a little more that $14 on all these supplies and it will last me a few months (I’m thinking about 6) and I have 5 of us in our family. I’ve heard from others that it is normally about 2 cents/use. Hope that helps.

  11. north of the 49th it is just “Washing Soda”. It is in the laundry aisle.
    Sunlight bar soap or another laundry bar in place of fels napha
    Last time I used a bar by Soapworks which I found at Bulk Barn.

  12. I have a quick question. do you use a fabric softener with this? I was Todd to use vinegar in the fabric softener compartment, will this keep the static out of my clothes? I’m going to try this recipe but I’m concerned about the fabric softener part. thank you!!

  13. I am looking forward to trying this with my good old regular washer. I assume the second ingredient is a misprint, ie baking washing soda ? Thanks for publishing.

    1. Donna–Baking Washing Soda is a coarser version of Baking Soda. It makes your wash whiter and brighter and also neutralizes odors. I found the Baking Washing soda in the laundry isle. Probably near the borax. So it is not a misprint. 🙂

  14. What happened to the recipe? I can’t view it now and wanted to make it again. It worked great for me.

  15. Oh no! I can’t find it either! LOVED this recipe, but for some reason it’s not showing on your sight. If I remember correctly it was 2 cups each of baking soda, Borax, washing soda and Oxy Clean with 1 grated bar of Fels Naptha. (I chose to leave out the Gain).

  16. Love it! My towels come out fluffy and soft. My adult daughter loves it as well. And, as you said, it saves you money! Very easy and inexpensive to make. The Unstoppables smelled good going in, but really I could not smell them after the wash. Love it, I tell everyone about it, and I will continue making it! Thanks for sharing!

    1. No. I grated it at first until someone left a comment about placing in the microwave for about 30 seconds. I do that now and it breaks apart. It’s dang hot, but it does break apart.

  17. When I made this I had issues with my whites as well. This works amazing for colors though. I have a friend who adds sunlight detergent to this for the whites. I personally switched to arm and hammer liquid detergent. It works awesome on my husband’s work clothes. I have tried a few version and liked the laundry sauce recipe best. We just bought an LG 5.2 cubic feet washer. (Which I love and highly recommend) and was thinking about trying to make it again to see if the better washer made a difference since it has a whiter whites function.

  18. I hope anyone deciding to make this recipe understabackspace you are wasting the money you spend on the OxiClean component unless you wash in hot water. Oxyclean will only dissolve and actually whiten clothing in the hottest of water just below the boiling point. Using this combination in cold or warm water will leave the oxyclean in a granular form. I have very hot water for my laundry room and even that isn’t hot enough and I must dissolve oxyclean before I added to my machine. *oxiclean…this reply format won’t let me use a backspace function to correct errors – sigh.

  19. I also use this laundry detergent and I think it works great except for whites. My whites did turn grey so I do use another detergent for them. I also use fabric softener except on my towels, I use vinegar. I am a scent snob so that is why I use snuggle. Very happy with this detergent and the money I save! 🙂

  20. This works better than store bought. LOVEit LOVEit Take the time and make this you will be glad you did.

  21. I have never used Fels Naptha soap to make my washing powder, and have always used Zote soap instead. It’s more natural and cheaper. I get mine at WalMart.

  22. A friend gave me this recipe and I have been using it for 2 years now. I have a front load HE washer and my clothes come out amazing. My clothes never have the awful smell or color change. The recipe that was given to me has a larger quantity but same ingredients. It lasts me about a year. You only need to use a tablespoon per load. I have put it in both the washer drum with my clothes & in the detergent area & it doesn’t seem to matter. The clothes come out super clean. I think I will try the vinegar idea.

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