Homemade Laundry Soap

Homemade Laundry Soap

Happy Monday Everyone!!!

I’ve been working on this post for some time now and finally feel it is ready to be shared! I tried my hand at some homemade laundry detergent I discovered through my fellow blogging bud, Lauren @ Found & Free Cottage. She originally tried this recipe from Stone Gable. and had great success so I wanted to jump on the “money-saving” train too!

I made some slight changes to fit our needs and budget. Here is the step-by-step to homemade laundry detergent:


Gather the ingredients: I was worried I wouldn’t find all the ingredients for this project because options can be somewhat limited in a small town. However, I was so pleasantly surprised to find everything I needed at our local Walmart! AND… all on one shelf!? This never happens to me! It was meant to be!

1 – 4lb 12 oz box of Borax =  $3.38

1 – 4lb box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda = $2.24

1 – 3lb 7 oz box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda = $3.24

1- 3lb container of Oxy Clean = $7.52 (I used the Dirty Jobs version – photo below)

2 bars of Fels Naptha Soap = $.97 each

1 bar of Zote Soap = $1.97 (size is about double the Fels Naptha Bar)

2 containers Downy Un Stopables =  $6.97 each   I decided to forgo this addition to save money, because it wasn’t necessary to the overall performance.  If added scent is something you are looking for, these would be great!

Homemade detergent for a year = ONLY $20.29! 

This homemade soap will at least cut our detergent bill in half each year! Plus, no more adding it the grocery list, clipping coupons and watching for sales.

Take 20 minutes and save yourself time and money all year long! 


The Downy Unstopables would be a great addition for scent but I decided to forgo them to save overall! That was my purpose for this project! I actually liked the scent of the bar soap on its own. Yes, I sniffed them both equally… before I bought them.

That’s right, I’m a “sniffer!” I hope you won’t judge me. If you find yourself buying anything scented, just know my nose has probably been on it, haha! Joking – I smell at a safe, “germ-free” distance 😉


Grating the soap: This step was by far the most labor intensive. It took me about twenty minutes to completely grate all three bars of soap. As I am putting this post together, I come to find they actaully make Zote soap in flakes!!! Are you joking!? This may be a much better alternative to grating in the future! I found that link here at Walmart.com. (These flakes also come in white, unlike the  yellowish Fels Naptha soap. Therefore, you wouldn’t be questioned by your husband as to why the new soap looks like it has cheese flakes in it! Ha!)


Grate, grate, grate some more. Arms getting sore…

Finally! Slightly out of breath as I tried to grate as fast as possible.


Now, the fun part!

Dump it all in one big honkin’ bowl!!!


During this baking soda dump, catch your breath and keep your mouth closed as a large plume of soda will fill the air and your taste buds. I made this mistake and felt like a cat choking on a hairball or something… I’m sure my face was priceless.


(cough, cough…gasp)


Add in the the washing soda,




and the Oxy Clean stain fighter, (I think the Dirty Jobs version was less expensive and that is why I bought it instead – I’ve slept since then so who knows, ha!) Choose the stain remover that fits your needs and budget.


Now, use your best kitchen tool to mix it all together.


Hot diggity dog, you’re done!


I used some “old” kitchen containers from college to hold and display the detergent. This batch filled three of those, the Dirty Jobs container, and a ziploc bag! Holy cow, this should last us awhile!

Doesn’t the Tide container look sad there in the corner…

“I’ve been replaced…”

A pretty display shows off my homemade laundry detergent. So happy to finally try this.


So far so good! I only use about 2 heaping spoonfuls in each load and so far see the same results as I do with the expensive HE liquid detergent brands. If you try or have tried this, please share your experience with all of us!

Homemade Laundry Soap
Recipe type: Household DIY
Prep time: 
Total time: 


This recipe goes a long way! I’m hoping it will last my husband and I all year!
  • 1 4lb 12 oz box of Borax
  • 1 4 lb box of Arm And Hammer Baking Soda
  • 1 3 lb 7 oz box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1 3lb container Oxy Clean
  • 2 bars Fels Naptha Soap, grated
  • 1 bar Zote Pink Soap, grated
  • Optional: 2 containers Downy Un Stopables (I find this soap smells quite fresh without this addition. I passed and saved myself about $15! Sorry Downy, I’m sure they smell amazing!) Add them if you want even more scent!

  1. Grate the bars of soap with a spare cheese grater. (I used a spare, “cheap” one we had but it washed up just fine with a quick soak. No need to buy one for this project)
  2. Toss all ingredients into a large bowl and blend together evenly with your hands.
  3. Place in a large container or several small ones like I did for easy reach.
  4. Add 2-3 Tbsp. to the tub of your washer per load of laundry.
  5. *Safe for HE washers!!!

Grating the soap takes the most time. I just discovered Zote Soap flakes – this may be an easy alternative! (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Zote-Laundry-Soap-Flakes-17.6-oz/21320683)

Safe for HE washers!

Look for pre-grated soap flakes to make this even easier!

Do not put in the liquid soap dispenser – add to the tub of the washer

I am not sure how it will work on sensitive skin. “Sensitive skin” is very relative. – via StoneGableBlog.com

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a great week!



(*Opinions in this post are my own. I have not been compensated to review or promote any products, brands or companies within this post.)


  1. Love it! So glad to hear it is working for you, too! I totally agree that the Downy Unstoppables can be nixed!

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      Hey Lauren! Thanks for stopping by! Good to know the laundry soap is still working for you too! 🙂

  2. Cindy Moran says:

    Love this idea and plan to try it. Thanks for sharing this idea

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      Let me know how it goes! You may want to look for the flakes instead of grating the soap. I think I will do that next time I make it! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I’ve made liquid laundry soap three times now — usually 2 gallons at a time. It works great, smells good — I put in whatever essential oil i have lots of — but it does not completely dissolve, so we end up shaking it up good before we use it. Not a biggie, but it doesn’t look pretty on the shelf. I might try your powder when our current batch runs out. Thanks for posting this. I’ve bookmarked it!

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      That’s great! I have actually never had a powder type before this and so far so good! It feels a lot less messy to me now over my usual store-bought liquid. If you try it, please let me know how it works for you! Thanks as always for stopping by! 🙂

  4. Do you know anyone who has used the Zote flakes? I just purchased and made my soap and as I was throwing the boxes away I saw on the back of the it says not recommended for HE washers. Though in sure sure why because isn’t the concern normally suds, which it doesn’t do much of. I’m so sad and a little scared to use it now :/

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      Hi Corinne, thanks for stopping by! This is new news to me! I do not know anyone personally who has used Zote flakes but MANY MANY tutorials online use this as an ingredient in their HE mix and I have read positive user reviews in the past. When I researched Zote flakes this is what the item description read: All natural, Low suds, Eco-friendly, readily biodegradable, etc. This to me sounds completely fine for HE washers. Not sure if this is exactly what you bought but here is the link I found: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Zote-Laundry-Soap-Flakes-17.6-oz/21320683#Item+Description

      I’m sorry to hear about this! I wish I had some better advice for you. If you choose not to try it out, definitely gift it to friends! 🙂 Let me know if you find any other information on it!

  5. Is there a reason you use both Zote and Fels Naptha? I have seen recipes that use either or but not both. Thanks

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      Hi Elizabeth! Thank you for stopping by the blog! Honestly, I was indecisive and just bought both! I thought it would be a good experiment to try both but I can’t say there would be a benefit to using both instead of sticking to one kind. I think fragrance would be the leading factor in choosing one over the other in the future as both were similar in price. The Fels Naptha was a harder bar of soap, which made it slightly more difficult to grate. However, keep in mind you can also buy the flakes (pre-grated). I discovered this after I spent the time grating the soap for my batch! Hope this helps and good luck! 🙂

      • Thanks for your response. Did using both do a good job? I have started buying ingredients to try my first batch….just wondering how effective your version is.

        • laurenrustichoney says:

          I’ve really like it! I’ve used it ever since this post and still have not had to make any more! It makes a ton! I will say it doesn’t leave much of a scent so if you want that you should add in the unstoppables. I think it does just as good as our store-bought liquid versions at getting clothes clean… and my husband’s clothing can get pretty filthy between work and farm! 🙂

  6. Very nice! I want for long time to make my own laundry soap! Thank you for sharing! This time I will try to do it!

  7. I made this about two weeks ago and I used the Zote Flakes in my HE washer with the Purex Crystals and my Diy homemade fabric softener and I Love it!

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      Sounds like a great combination! Happy to hear of your success with it! Thanks for taking the time to share! 🙂

  8. Buying these ingredients today to make this!! Excited!

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      Hope it goes well for you! We’ve been using ours for almost a year and love it! Let me know how it goes! 🙂

  9. Since your husband farms, I know this will be and appropriate question to ask. Does it get get out cow manure stains good?

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      To be quite honest, my husband wears rental jeans through his work so if he has stains the cleaning company gets them out (which is wonderful for me)! However, when I have encountered manure stains in the past, I pre-treat them. I don’t think they will come out with this detergent alone…especially if they are set in. Hope that helps!

  10. My mother-in-law taught me to unwrap the Fels Naptha Soap when you buy it and let it dry a little so it is easier to grate. Also, I bought the large 55 oz container of Purex Crystals ($8.96) instead of Downy Un Stopables ($6.97 for 1 but you need 2=$13.94). I only need 1/2 the container to make a batch since it’s twice the size. So it comes to $4.48 more a batch rather than $13.94 more for the Downy Un Stopables. I also used Sun Oxi ($5.47 for 6 lbs) which was an alternative brand to Oxy Clean at my Walmart. That lowered the cost from $7.52 for Oxy Clean to $2.74 (since you only need 3lbs) a batch, for Sun Oxi. his brought my total cost for a batch of laundry soap to $21.28. Some of my Walmart prices were a little higher than yours. I live in Florida. Hope this helps.

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      Awesome suggestions and tips! Thank you so much for sharing! I will definitely have to try this, especially the Purex Crystals, the next time I make a batch!

  11. I made it sometime during the fall (or late summer – I can’t remember right off) last year…still working on the same batch (I think we still have more than half left) and love it!!!!!!!!!!!! <3

    A friend of mine was out of detergent so I gave him a small container of my batch and he said he loved it and wanted me to make him some! Sooo, I'm heading out to the store in a bit to make him (and his girlfriend) a batch! You have Number One Fans here in Memphis, TN!

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      You just made my day!!! So glad to hear you AND your friends are loving this laundry soap recipe! Ours has lasted forever as well! I’m just now ready to make another batch! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and comment! I really appreciate it! 🙂

  12. I just thought I’d comment because I do use the Zote flakes and I noticed someone ask in the comments if it works well. Yours is the same recipe I use except I use one & a half boxes of the Zote flakes (that equals 3 bars) in lieu of bar soap. I also like to have scent but I don’t like the downy unstoppables and I find them too expensive. Instead use a small bottle of the purex scent boosters instead. They’re cheaper than downy and I find they dissolve better and smell better too.

    The only issue with the Zote flakes is if you use your homemade soap in commercial washer that have the top opening, if the machine has any kind of grate the soap passes through the zote flakes can be bigger than the grate openings and can get caught, thus filtering out your soap! The washers at my complex are the commercial HE machines (with a grate) and I’ve never had a problem with the Zote flakes once I smushed them up. I discovered that if you want to ‘shred’ the flakes to make them smaller just dump the box in a trash bag and smush it around with your hand and the flakes just break up into tiny flecks and it’s much easier to use.

    Also, if you don’t like shredding the bar soap with a cheese grater and you don’t want to use the flakes, you can open your bar of soap and set it out on the counter for a few days to dry out and then cut in small piece and put in the microwave. I’ve tried this and it works great, I just heat in 30 second intervals until the soap is all puffy (reminds me of bath foam). Then you let it dry and put it in a bowl or bag and smush it with your hands and it just flakes apart super easy, into much smaller pieces than being grated.

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      Thank you so much for all of your valuable input, Jo! I’m blown away with the microwave idea, will have to try that! If I had discovered the flakes beforehand I think I would have used them to begin with. I’m almost due for a new batch (about a year later!) and will definitely use your advice! Thanks again for adding to this discussion! It is truly appreciated!

  13. Zote Flakes packaging says not recommended for high-efficiency machines

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      Thanks for letting us know, Linda! I haven’t used the flakes yet but was thinking about it for my next batch!

  14. Hello. I don`t know how you managed to do your homemade soap for 20 minutes. It usually takes me an hour or two. I am going to use your recipe. I hope I will be faster. Thank you for sharing your article. Best regards!

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      I hope it saves you time! The grating of the soap is the only time-consuming part and it can be quite the cardio workout when doing it quickly! 😉 Let us know how it goes!

  15. Rather than using a grater to make soap flakes, I use a potato peeler. I peel the soap into a ziplock bag then kind of squeeze them to make the flakes small. My recipe is for a liquid detergent, I make two gallons at a time. For my husband’s greasy (mechanic) clothing, I add about a tablespoon of Dawn dish detergent and the grease stains come out (mostly.) Not only is making your own detergent less costly, I’m also sure that there is nothing that will bother my sensitive skin. Commercial detergents contain far too much water and other chemicals that we clearly don’t need at a high cost. I do use the downy unstoppables, just because I like how my clothes smell after washing. So glad that everyone is having so much success with these alternative recipes.

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      Great tips, Cindy! Thanks for stopping by to share! I’ll definitely be trying the peeler next time! 🙂

  16. Here is how ive been making mine about 3 years. After grating the lg bar of pink zote, let it set spread on a newspaper for a few days. It will get dry and crumbly. Add 2 cups each washing soda and borax. Add small amounts at a time to my magic bullet. A food processor or blender works too. It will pulverize it very fine, almost like baby powder. Be careful opening the top, because it will puff out. Dont breathe the powder. I do mine outside. Use 2 tab, or 4 tab for stinky dirty loads. I wash in warm or hot water. I clean my washer once a month with affresh tablets, and use vingar in a downy ball. Ive never had any problems, and I have an he top loader. Ive put this in pretty containers with a 2 tab coffee scoop, add a bow abd ribbon, and give as christmas gifts. I like the pink zote the best. Smells clean, citrisy. I add a scoop of oxy clean to my whites, kitchen towels, undies, socks. If I want a scent, I add a little of some kinda scent crystals. I wont go back to bought detergents. This stuff is wonderful.

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      Thanks for sharing your process Nancy! I haven’t noticed any issues with my washer either even though I don’t grind the mixture. I do wash with warm water otherwise sometimes the detergent won’t completely dissolve and I’ll find small bits of white residue on clothing. If I need to wash in cold water I just run it for a double rinse. Thanks again for your thoughts and for stopping by! 🙂

  17. Is this environmentally safe? Thanks 🙂

    • laurenrustichoney says:

      Thanks for your comment! I chose to start making this recipe because I felt it was a healthier alternative to traditional detergents that may contain unwanted chemicals. That said, I think each person should do some research on the ingredients and decide what is best for them. I know some people are against borax but I see it in a lot of “healthier home recipes” so I’ll let each reader be the judge. 😀 Sorry I’m not an expert on these ingredients, but from what I’ve read and tried, I find this recipe to be better and healthier (and even cheaper) for my home. Thanks again for stopping by!


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