Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Laundry Detergent Recipe

I am still very pleased with my home-made soap/detergent. A number of you have asked for this recipe. This is the liquid/gel version.

I purchased these ingredients at a large, farm/ranchy kind of grocery store. My local grocery stores in my small town did not carry the Fels Naptha.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

3 pints of water
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Laundry Bar Soap, grated
½ Cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
½ Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 quart hot water
2-gallon bucket

- Mix grated soap in a large saucepan with 3 pints hot water, and heat on stove over low heat until dissolved. Do not allow to boil.
-Stir in Super Washing soda and 20 Mule Team Borax. Stir until thickened.
- Remove from Heat.
- Add 1 quart hot water to a 2-gallon bucket
- Add soap mixture and mix well
- Fill bucket with more hot water, leaving a few inches at the top, and mix well.
- Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens.

Use ½ Cup of mixture per load.

I poured mine (need a funnel because it's thickening, while it was still warm) into plastic milk jugs, but it thickened more and wouldn’t pour out, so I cut the top off the jug, and I leave the ½ cup measuring cup sitting on top of the jelled mixture.

There is a DRY recipe out there someplace -- you can do a Search.

The ingredients cost about $10.00, but this batch only uses a small portion of that original purchase. So far, I have no reason to buy anything else – I’m very pleased with this home-made product, and now refuse to purchase the regular Tide, or equivalent. I’m guessing this $10.00 will make well over 2-300 loads.

I have a water softener for my laundry. I don’t know how hard water may affect the effectiveness of this soap.

Thanks Sue!!!


  1. You can find a recipe for powdered laundry soap here:

  2. Thanks for the update. I was just thinking about it today and wondering what you thought of your soap.

  3. I have made this recipe, but I couldn't find Fels Naptha, so I used a bar of ivory soap (the whole bar). I don't know if that is as good or not. We used the first batch and I haven't made any since then because I have gotten laundry detergent real cheap with coupons/sales. I will probably make it again when I don't have any good sales. I'm really into doing coupons, rebates & saving money!

  4. Elaine,

    I had seen this recently in several places, but when I saw it on your blog, I finally jumped in. And the water is fine! We're on day 3 of using the gel laundry detergent that I made. It is great, smells good, and the laundry is perfectly clean.

    I made half a batch just to try it. Found out that it fits perfectly into a 5-quart ice cream bucket. I just set it on top of my washing machine (front loader) and have attached a 1/4 cup measuring cup onto the handle with a braided twist tie so the cup doesn't fall into the goop/gel, yet the cup is easy to remove for dispensing the economic cleaner. One of my children has extremely sensitive skin, and she thinks this is better for HER, too.

    Thanks for the push.


  5. I use a similiar recipe and love it! haven't bought laundry supplies for 6 months now. I also make my own softener and bleech, dry soap that I found searching the net.
    I can't get fels napha here either, but I found a pure soap made since the early 1800s called Kirks that is more pure than ivory is now-so am fortunate to have found that.
    good to read others are doing the same-

  6. As I was doing my grocery shopping at our small town Krogers I remembered that I wanted to look for the ingredients to make this. I actually found all the ingredients in the laundry aisle. I was amazed at the $$ total too. I could not get a small bottle of Tide for what I spent for all three items. I need to get a box grater before I try this out. WHoooooHoooo! I am saving money!
    Thanks so much Elaine. You are the best!

  7. Elaine, thanks SO much for the recipe! I made it a couple of days ago and I think it works wonderfully. Great way to economize plus stop using all those plastic detergent containers. I put my soap in several empty Oxy Clean containers- that works great. Thanks again!

  8. Thank you, thank you! I am so glad to get this soap recipe! I use Orvis soap (horse shampoo, which is exactly the same as the expensive Orvis Quilt soap sold in quilt shops) for all colored loads, as it causes much less fading than detergents. I'm wondering how this recipe will be, whether it will be similar to the Orvis. I'm going to make some as soon as I get the ingredients. I have a partly-used bar of Fels Naptha, which I don't have trouble finding in Madison, WI, which I use for stain removal, so I'm already part way there.

  9. Instead of a box grater, I use my food processor with the "grating" blade attached, and the soap grates up in no time flat!


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