Homemade Laundry Soap – How I make it, the ‘secret ingredient’ I add, and how much I love it. If you read to the end you will even find out how great it is at taking out stains. Think hair dye and a white linen slip cover.
A couple of years ago I shared how I make my laundry soap. I decided it was time to take some new photos and share again. You can see the original post here. Promise not to laugh at my photos from 2 years ago! I’ve learned a lot since then 😀
You will need Borax, Washing Soda, Fels-Naptha, and my ‘secret ingredient’ – good old Tide! I didn’t have a box of washing soda for this photo shoot, what was left after I made my last batch got put in a ziplock bag.
Washing soda is different from the baking soda you use in your cooking. You can find washing soda in the aisle with other cleaners at Kroger or Target or Meijer. You should find Borax and Fels-Naptha in this aisle too. (or you can buy them through the links I provided – these are my affiliate links and I earn a small percentage when you click these links and order)
I have made my laundry soap for years now. I started out making the liquid laundry soap that used the same ingredients I use here minus the Tide and adding water. But for that stuff to really do the job it should it has to be mixed just right and it takes some time to do it properly. I’m not that patient. And it got to the point that our clothes weren’t smelling fresh after they were washed. So we quit with the liquid stuff and started making the powdered laundry soap.
The recipe is so simple I have it memorized and don’t have to dig for it when I need to make a batch.
1 bar Fels-Naptha, grated
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Tide
Mix all together and store in a container. Use 2 – 3 TBS per load.
I started adding the Tide because I love Tide. I would use Tide all the time and forget making laundry soap except that this way is SO much cheaper. I’m not even sure what made me think of adding the Tide – we had some on hand because my hubby would sometimes want his white t-shirts washed with Tide to make them smell fresher. So I thought ‘why not?’ And I added the Tide. And I haven’t looked back since. And my husband never asks for his white t-shirts to be rewashed – they are nice and clean and fresh every time now.
A few tips I have about this laundry soap:
- Make several batches at one time so you don’t have to make it so often. I make as many batches as I can with the whole boxes of Borax and Washing Soda.
- Buy a lot of the Fels-Naptha and let it sit in the cupboard for several weeks before grating it. The older the soap the finer it crumbles up when grated.
- If you have a grater attachment for your Kitchen Aid mixer (affiliate link) use it for this. You can see how I used mine in my old post about making my own laundry soap. You can also see how the Fels-Naptha doesn’t crumble up very well when it isn’t as old.
- If you are adding the Tide I recommend the regular Tide and not the HE for the High Efficiency machines. If you look closely here you will see the tiny blue bits in my soap. My husband does all our grocery shopping and he forgets to look for the regular. It’s harder to find. The HE works ok but I just like the regular best.
- I prefer the original scent too. You can use whatever you like best. I like how the Tide added to my homemade blend keeps our clothes smelling fresh and clean but without a heavy scent of soap or flowers.
I also use this soap blend to get out almost any stain we ever encounter. I simply wet the stained area, sprinkle on some Homemade Laundry Soap, and scrub a bit. Then toss in the laundry and wash. The stain comes out almost every single time. I can’t even think of an example to give you when a stain did not come out. I get grease spots out this way. I get pencil, blood, ink, even hair dye out with this stuff!
My daughter got the ends of her hair colored bright red before Christmas.
I made my white slipcovers right before Christmas.
My daughter’s hair had not been colored before. The color washed out a bit every time she washed her hair for a while.
One morning she sat on my white, linen slip covered chair with wet hair.
My chair boasted several nice bright pink spots after she got up.
I let it go for several weeks before I pulled the covers off my furniture and washed them.
I wet the area that was bright pink from the hair dye and added the soap.
When the washer was done there was no pink to be seen on my white linen slip cover.
It’s great stuff. I love it. And trust me I have to love it to go through the process of making it for so many years now. It’s not hard to make, it just takes a bit of time and making the effort to get it done. And if I don’t think something is really worth it I won’t keep doing it for very long however good my intentions were in the beginning. Just so you know. It’s worth the work and it saves us a lot of money. I’ve never sat down and done the Math to figure exactly how much it saves but I know it’s a lot 😀
What is your favorite laundry soap?
*some links are to my affiliate
Jill, we have been making this for years. I mix mine in a 5 gallon bucket. A few things I have added….I use ivory soap in addition to the Fels. 1 bar. (Tip is to let the fels and ivory dry out before you process it.) I also add oxy clean to the mix. I buy the small ones from the dollar store and use about 4 tubs of it. I will never buy commercial laundry detergent again. Ever.
Can you use this in front load HE washers ?
Pat, I have a front loading washer and haven’t had any problems with the detergent. I use the scooper from the oxy clean buckets and I am guessing it’s a bit over a teaspoon.
I forgot the mention I also use an entire bottle of the purex cystals in mine too. I think Downy makes them too. It’s addictive! I have even had people ask me to make them batches. I haven’t done it yet but I might!
Jill Flory says
My sister used ivory soap in place of the Fels-Naptha and I think she has used whatever bar of soap she had on hand. I used a bar large bar of lavender soap once when I was making the liquid and I liked the smell but didn’t think it washed as well. I haven’t ever tried it with the powdered formula. I add oxyclean to my whites and to my loads of towels. And I will use oxyclean and hot water to soak something that is stained but I haven’t done much of that since I figured out my homemade laundry soap would get them out when rubbed into the stain!
So besides saving you money, you think that this works better altogether too? Hmmmm……I’ve never made my own laundry soap before. Just trying to decide if I should give it a try. I use Tide pods and Shout Advanced Stain Remover spray for stains. It works well.
Jill Flory says
If it works for you and it works with your budget stick with it! With 3 growing girls I do a lot of laundry right now so I like this laundry detergent pretty well!
Carla TePaske says
I also make my own laundry soap. I make mine in a 5 gallon bucket. I like the idea of adding Tide. I also read Nicolee’s comment and will try using Ivory as well.
Thanks for the tips.
Jill Flory says
I have asked my hubby for a clean five gallon bucket to use for mixing but he never has a clean one! LOL! I use my huge stock pot and so far it’s been big enough 🙂
I use fels, washing soda, Oxi and Borax. I’ve only used it for a couple weeks and still want to add more than 2 tbsp. to the wash. I know that I have always used more detergent than necessary so this is nothing new. I like bubbles!!! Thanks for the hair dye story and the stain remover tips. Hadn’t tried rubbing spots yet. I still have some Shout and my trusty bar of Fels Naptha and my good old scrub brush. Another thing I do for whites is soak them in Oxi Clean for a couple of days every now and then. I like old linens and Oxi is also a good safe product for them. Happy laundering.
Jill Flory says
I use Oxyclean too Vicky! I add it to my whites and my towels. Getting used to this low suds detergent does take some time! I still add more than I probably should to some loads! I like Oxyclean for my old linens too.
Nancy McManus says
I make your recipe, adding oxyclean to the mix, and baking soda. I do find I need more than a couple of tablespoons, and, since I make it ‘by the box’ (a box of each, plus three bars of felts Napa), it’s kind of labor intensive. So… when I get my Tide liquid on super sale, I ‘load’ (pun very much intended) up and use half the recommended amount. I use the homemade mixture (2-3 tablespoons, for real) as a stain remover. Fantastic!!
Jill Flory says
Sounds like a winner to me! I love tide too 🙂