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DIY Suds

Update: If using a HE washer, our readers have suggested throwing the mix directly into the wash load, rather than the soap dispenser. Please read through the comments for more Q&As, as you have all been so wonderful to share your experiences!

And if you’re looking for even more information on our DIY suds, see our sudsy update to this post, right here.

The last time I purchased laundry soap, I threw a fit in the cleaning aisle and spent the drive home moaning over the high coast of detergent. I always knew I was thrifty, but even that took me by surprise. Since then, Scott buys the suds. Did I score in the man department or what?

First mentioned here, I decided to heck with it all, and I went and did something about it. Four months later, winter happened and all those loose to-do projects started getting done. Found on That’s Church via Tall Tales, the three ingredients were purchased at our local grocery store for a total of $10 (of course, I discovered this after first trying Ace and then Target – but only finding 1 ingredient of each in both), and it was so dang easy. You’ll need Borax, Fels Naptha soap, and washing soda:

I kid you not, the steps are even easier than getting in your car, driving to the store, and buying the 3 ingredients. Especially if you’re like us and spend an afternoon in every carry-all store in the city until you find what you needed at the first place you should have stopped. In fact, it’s so easy, I can sum up the steps in a sentence (hey, there’s a first for me!): Grate an entire bar of Fels Naptha with a cheese grater into a bowl (we used a Rubbermaid container, same diff), then add 1 cup of Borax, followed by 1 cup of the washing soda, and mix. Update: Buy a bundle of ingredients straight from Amazon right here. Easy!

While we could’ve left the mixture in the tupperware, I spruced up the display by using an on-hand Ball jar instead. One regular load of laundry only needs one tablespoon of this mix, so I put an old, mini coffee scoop in the jar to use for measuring.

Here’s the kicker – there’s enough Borax and washing soda to make something like 5 batches of this, uh, stuff. And the bar of Fels Naptha was only a buck and each batch equates to 40+ loads. I’m totally fascinated by this, oddly enough. (Dork alert – I even found this nifty site for other Borax uses.) Of course the best part is that it actually works, and it works well – even with a boy in the house and all his boy clothes. No more temper tantrums in the cleaning aisle; not even for Scott.

Ooh, and here are some random mentionables. The laundry smells like heaven during the wash cycle – lemon-y and clean, but in some bizarre twist, your clothes come out smelling scent free, but fresh. I guess that could be good or bad, depending on what you’re into. And (like any well meaning geek), I even excitedly emailed Tiffany of Tall Tales beforehand, and she mentioned that Dove soap works, too.

So there you have it. Three ingredients and three steps – plus one more if you count the mixing part. But three and three sounds better. If this was Facebook, I would totally “like” this project.

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  • Liliana3.16.11 - 8:25 AM

    This is a great idea! I currently use and I love it but, wouldn’t mind making my own detergent once in a while!

    I “like” this post = )

    ~ L.ReplyCancel

  • Jacquelin Seybert3.16.11 - 10:03 AM

    I have to give it a try. Even with coupons, laundry soap is soooo expensive! I love how you prettied it up with a jar.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda- Hip House Girl3.16.11 - 10:11 AM

    Score! My mom has been doing this for years, but I have yet to try it myself. She grates up whatever bar soap she has. One question- do you have a high-efficiency machine?ReplyCancel

  • emily3.16.11 - 10:29 AM

    seconds on the charlies soap. best stuff around and not too badly priced. i’d love to try your recipe sometime though.ReplyCancel

  • kelly3.16.11 - 10:44 AM

    I started making a variation of this washing detergent about six months ago and love it. Last month we switched to a front load, high effic machine and it works like a charm because it generates very little suds. I turn it into a liquid soap first by adding the same ingre. (just 1/2 the amounts) into boiling water. The only complaint I have with this method is that (and I am searching here) you have to keep shaking it up cause it has a tendency to settle. Think I might try your “powder” version next time around.ReplyCancel

  • rachael3.16.11 - 10:45 AM

    I love this! Although I’m fond of my Tide w/fabreze, it’s probably all those added scents causing the added expense. I think I’ll still use the liquid fabric softener cause I am a sucker for clean laundry smell. Looking forward to trying this out!ReplyCancel

  • I had the same question as Amanda, does this work in high effeciency washers? We just got ours and I’d hate to ruin it with a different soap. The geek in me is excited that the soap is pretty yellow and the texture is fun! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Heather3.16.11 - 10:53 AM

    Would this be safe to use in a HE, front loading washer? Would love to try it!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim3.16.11 - 11:04 AM

      Amanda, we don’t have a h/e washer and dryer (just a trusty stacked unit that’s been there since day 1), but to answer everyone else, it looks like Kelly (comment above) uses it great with her h/e unit! YAY for cheap, efficient, and FUN.ReplyCancel

  • lauryn3.16.11 - 12:10 PM

    we do the same thing! except we use ivory soap, because we couldn’t find the fels naptha anywhere. our laundry smells great as well! and we haven’t bought the over fragranced chemical ridden stuff in over a year!ReplyCancel

  • Kate3.16.11 - 12:13 PM

    Two thouhgst:
    1. How eco friendly is this? Is it biodegradability? That would be awesome!
    2. Seriously, everything looks prettier in a nice glass jar!ReplyCancel

    • Kim3.16.11 - 3:03 PM

      Kate, these are great points – not sure about the eco-friendliness, but I would think it would be more so than other name brands since Borax is a natural mineral. It’s definitely something I’m now curious about!ReplyCancel

  • kashya3.16.11 - 12:43 PM

    My daughter is very allergic to scent and perfumes so we use the no dye no scent detergents I wonder does anyone know if this is just as good on the skin as those detergents?ReplyCancel

    • Sarah12.11.15 - 5:29 PM

      Yes. It works great for me. I have to use free and clear stuff and have never had an issue with Fels or Zote.ReplyCancel

  • kara g3.16.11 - 12:50 PM

    Someone actually gave me a bunch of containers of soap they made themselves as a shower gift and then all of the supplies to make more on my own! Such a great idea!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany Harkleroad3.16.11 - 1:20 PM

    Yay I am so glad you like the soap. I have been making it for a year now and love it!

    oh and yes, it is completely safe for high efficiency washers, because it does not cause lots of suds!

    A batch of this usually lasts me 2-3 months, so it ends up being super cost effective!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany Harkleroad3.16.11 - 1:56 PM

    blah you would think I knew my own blog URL. Fuzzy headed today.


  • Kim3.16.11 - 2:25 PM

    Hi Kashya, perhaps you could use an unscented soap such as Dove? It would be gentle, scent-free, and certainly free of dyes.ReplyCancel

  • Ohh this is great! We are planning on cloth diapering so maybe I will give this a go (wayyyy cheaper than the Method brand pump soap we use now). And I can imagine in about 5 weeks I am going to start doing laundry a LOT more!ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House3.17.11 - 1:26 PM

    I need to try this! Hopefully I remember when our giant bottle o’ liquid detergent runs out the next time…ReplyCancel

    • Kim3.17.11 - 2:17 PM

      Cait, it’s definitely worth it. Just add those 3 ingredients to your grocery list, and hopefully you’ll remember!ReplyCancel

  • Sammy3.17.11 - 10:02 PM

    We do this too, but we use ivory soap.ReplyCancel

  • kirsten3.17.11 - 11:55 PM

    It’s official – I am trying this ASAP. I love the look of the detergent in the clear jar too. Who knew soap could look that good?ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode3.20.11 - 10:11 PM

    Seriously, what is up with the cost of regular laundry detergent!?

    I just snagged some borax today for helping around the house, and also to use with the “pet” laundry. For all other laundry I use Soap Nuts, which are totally eco-friendly and compostable – and YES, they actually work!
    I plan to add borax to the soap nuts for dog laundry, but will definitely remember this recipe just in case. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode3.20.11 - 10:14 PM

    Oh – a few comments on the eco-friendliness of borax. It’s VERY dangerous if ingested. It can also be troublesome if it contacts your bare skin, so gloves are recommended before handling it. On the up side, it’s helpful as an eco-friendly ant & roach pesticide. (mix some with honey and set as a trap)

    It’s environmentally friendly, but the mining process for obtaining it is not.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle L.3.21.11 - 2:10 PM

    Kudos to you for solving your laundry dilemma! Last year I did some homemade household cleaners& used this very recipe! It was really fun& very smart cost-wise. Not sure if you’ve heard about this or not, but you can add a few drops of essential oil to your detergent mix to create your favorite laundry scent. They come in various scents like lavender, orange,tee tree, etc.
    Most have some sort of health benefit to them, they’re derived from natural elements or plant life aka eco-friendly, and they’re multi-purpose so you can use them for homemade cleaners, beauty products,bath oil etc. You can find them at any whole food/vitamin type store for a few bucks. Can’t wait to see what you two come up with next! :) D.ReplyCancel

  • Kim3.21.11 - 2:36 PM

    Danielle, thanks for the tip! I do remember reading that somewhere during my sudsy research. I’ll keep it on the agenda for next time – after so many stops for ingredients that were in our local grocery store, I just couldn’t fathom making one more stop!ReplyCancel

  • amy kate4.1.11 - 8:21 PM

    We just started doing the same!

    The absence of chemical-ish smells from laundry is amazing, and I can’t wait for sunny days to hang my laundry outside to dry. We’ve also started using vinegar with a few drops of lavender essential oil for softener (we still have some static issues, though).

    AND you can use Castile Soap – our Whole Foods had a nice selection of Dr. Bronner’s bar soaps – a bit pricier than the Fels Naptha (which we found at our Ace Hardware, with the washing soda. Target only had Borax…) but we LOVE love love the Almond scented Bronner’s.

    Love not having to pick up detergent at the store. I’m with you!ReplyCancel

  • Chrystal4.15.11 - 11:25 PM

    I made my own laundry detergent for about 3 years, while my husband was in college. We have 5 children, so you can imagine the amount of laundry I wash daily! I found that the detergent worked very well, and in fact, would lift impossible-to-remove stains if I applied the detergent directly to the stain and left it overnight. However, (and this, for me, turned out to be the deciding factor in switching back to a store bought laundry detergent)I found the homemade detergent to be very harsh on our clothing. The clothes faded very quickly and dramatically, and the fabric deteriorated much more rapidly. It just wasn’t worth it for me anymore to make my own detergent, since I had to replace our clothing much more often. Anyways, I thought I’d just share my personal experience with this detergent, for you to take with a grain of salt! And by the way, I LOVE your blog! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim4.16.11 - 11:05 AM

      Thank you, Chrystal! This is good information to know. We’ve been using the detergent for a few months now, and we haven’t noticed a difference in our clothes fading, but this is something I will definitely be on the watch for! The majority of our clothes are line-dry, so that tends to keep things more colorful and “new” looking longer, so perhaps that helps? Regardless, thank you for the tip!ReplyCancel

    • Jo Harrell9.21.14 - 8:12 PM

      I have used this (liquid form) most of my life and I have NEVER had it to fade or weaken the fabric. I only use the FelsNaptha soap. I do know that other bar soaps have additives and they can fade clothing.

      Also, you have to make sure you do’nt use too much, 1 Tbsp. of the dry formula per load. Since I use the liquid form, I use 1/2 cup per load and that’s a full load. If I’m running a small load I adjust the amount of soap. When washing towels, it’s always a good idea to run them through an extra rinse.

      We have well water and it’s hard water so we have difficulty with powdered soaps dissolving. This is the reason I use the liquid form.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah4.19.11 - 8:25 PM

    Would/Could you recommend this for babies? Cloth diapers? Cuz I have both! :) Would love to be able to make my own baby-and-all-his-accessories-friendly, especially since we’re doing so much laundry these days!ReplyCancel

    • Jo Harrell9.21.14 - 8:17 PM

      I have used this (liquid form) for baby clothing and diapers without incident. Just be sure you don’t use too much soap and that you rinse them well. HE washers do not rinse well, they don’t use enough water!

      As far as baby stains go, I would always wet a bar of the soap and rub it in the stain, let it sit a bit and then wash as usual.ReplyCancel

  • Kim4.20.11 - 9:30 AM

    Hi Sarah, the lack of chemicals in this recipe seems like a safer bet than Big-Box brands, but perhaps you could even use a bar of unscented Dove or Ivory that may be softer on a baby’s sensitive skin? Check out this link for Borax uses – from salvaging fruit trees, to shampoo and face wash, it seems quite green:

    Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Anke6.2.11 - 12:29 AM

    I just found this on Pinterest and was supertempted to try it – imagine making laundry detergent with your favourite scent! – and did a quick search on the ingredients.
    It turns out that Borax is not very safe, in Germany it is even prohibited to sell it to private households as it classified as being potentially harmful to your unborn child and not safe for infants.

    Wiki states the same and lists some other side effects:

    So sadly I won’t be trying this after all, but I love the general idea!ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.2.11 - 8:50 AM

      Hi Anke, thank you for the link and concern! I just checked out the link myself, but to cause any harm, Borax would need to be used as an eye wash or in direct contact with skin to cause any harm to infants. In addition, it instantly dissolves in water. Borax is also not the same as boric acid (which bores warnings and can be a bit confusing in internet searches), and it is recommended that you avoid using it in dish soaps (which apparently, is possible).

      I suppose – as many things in life – it’s all things in moderation. Only one tablespoon is needed for an entire wash load, just a teeny (itty bitty, teeny tiny!) blip on the radar in toxicity, if any at all.

      I do really appreciate your input though!ReplyCancel

    • Lynne12.12.15 - 7:07 AM

      I just checked the web site, and it states that it is only harmful to infants and small children if it is used in powder form to clean rugs.ReplyCancel

  • christi6.2.11 - 1:15 PM

    I have been making my own soap for a year and I love it!!!
    I love zote in mine it works great.ReplyCancel

  • Margaret6.6.11 - 12:38 PM

    Made this for a young couple getting married with a supertight budget…calculated it out and DIY comes to $0.05/load compared to at least $0.15/load with the cheapest of storebought detergents. Thought you’d want to know!ReplyCancel

  • Kim6.6.11 - 12:45 PM

    Thanks, Margaret! We’re definitely hooked and haven’t looked back once!ReplyCancel

  • aleksandra6.7.11 - 10:20 AM

    i just made this, and can’t wait to use it! but, i am embarassed to say i needed to enlist ben to finish grating the soap for me. my little t-rex arms got tired! next time perhaps i will put it in the food processor. i wonder if that would work.

    • Jo Harrell9.21.14 - 8:23 PM

      I can’t take credit for this tip (it came from a friend), try putting the bar in the microwave for JUST A FEW seconds before grating. It makes it so much easier to grate! Also, I use a food processor to grate it. Preto!! No more worn out arms or bloody fingers! I usually grate up 8 to 10 bars at a time and it only takes a few minutes.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy6.9.11 - 7:22 PM

    Can you use that in a front load washer ? I am planning to buy one in a month and I wonder if that genius soap will work ?ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.9.11 - 8:57 PM

      Hi Nancy, from what I’ve read and heard, I’m almost positive that you can! And yes, this soap is quite genius. :)ReplyCancel

    • Jo Harrell9.21.14 - 8:26 PM

      It would be a good idea to use the liquid form instead of the powder form, especially if you have hard water. The front loading washers use very little water and many times powdered soaps don’t dissolve well.ReplyCancel

  • Birdie6.18.11 - 3:39 PM

    I was intrigued with this recipe until I googled Borax. Apparently, in Germany (where I’m at) this is no longer available for private use as it’s suspected to harm unborn babies. The article also said to use soda instead – I wonder if I could make your laundry detergent with just soda and soap?ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.18.11 - 8:21 PM

      Hi Birdie, please see my longer note to Anke, above. I, too, did research, and found that in order to harm, you would need to have direct contact in large quantities. There are also many positive sides to Borax – such as natural insect killers, use as shampoo and face wash, etc. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Comelab6.19.11 - 2:58 AM

    Birdie, if you can’t find Borax, try this recipe instead:

    50g soap flakes
    25g washing soda
    25g bicarb soda

    I’ve been using this for ages and it works wonders, like Kim’s recipe, it leaves your wash smelling wonderfully clean and fresh without all the nasty chemicals!

    Thanks for sharing this, Kim! I might try Borax as well!ReplyCancel

  • […] Or, we could make our own soap like the folks at Yellow Brick Home. […]ReplyCancel

  • Luisa Kara6.20.11 - 11:43 AM

    i just read that borax is unhealthy and needs to be removed from housholds… had just decided to buy some and try to make this detergent, now i’m not sure anymore…ReplyCancel

  • Kim6.20.11 - 12:02 PM

    Hi Luisa, please see Nancy’s alternate ingredient list, above. Do you have a link on where you read this information? I find that for every bad review on Borax – which seem a bit vague, I’ll read several great reviews on how it’s a great natural alternative. Just as other household products (bleach, for example), the warnings are the same as avoiding contact with skin or eyes (in which case they recommended flushing with water).

    Thank you for the tip, but I’d love to see a link. Thanks, Luisa!ReplyCancel

  • Fabra DiPaolo6.21.11 - 10:20 AM

    Nice! I am going to try this today. Thanks and your blog is terrific!ReplyCancel

  • lisa6.21.11 - 10:42 PM

    I have recently made a batch of the liquid version of this in the 5 gallon bucket….and so far it has worked wonderful. Cost is great…and as far as the laundry smell…i stopped using the liquid fabric softener and just just the gain sheets…as they are fairly decent priced and that has still given the clothes the same clean smell. We have an HE washer and this has worked well. if you read some articles on the HE washers about laundry detergents and liquid fabric softners they tell you that you will get that mildew smell sometimes….we had that problem when we were using regular HE soap and since using this..we have had no problemsReplyCancel

    • Kim6.22.11 - 9:08 AM

      Thanks, Lisa! We get a lot of questions about h/e washers. Good to know!ReplyCancel

  • Tonia6.23.11 - 10:00 AM

    I make my own laundry soap, too! I use the same recipe you do, except I use Ivory Soap instead of the Fels-Naptha. I think the Ivory Soap makes the clothes smell wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • Hester6.25.11 - 8:18 PM

    I went to the Fels-Naptha website, and that stuff is TOXIC. No wonder it fades and degrades fabrics so quickly. It’s probably good for de-greasing engines.ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.26.11 - 9:15 AM

      Hi Hester, I’ve also looked up Fels Naptha, and I’m a bit unclear on where you’re information is coming from? I’ve also looked up the ingredients, and many of the acids are found in plants! The good thing is that if you’re not a fan of Fels Naptha, it seems as though many readers have suggested (and use!) Ivory or Dove soaps as an alternative.ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte6.26.11 - 11:58 AM

    Does this work well in cold water?ReplyCancel

    • Jo Harrell9.21.14 - 8:29 PM

      This soap is recommended to be used in cold water. When I wash towels, I use hot water and it works fine.ReplyCancel

  • Kim6.26.11 - 2:36 PM

    Hi Charlotte, we use it in cold water all the time (for color loads), and it dissolves fast and easy!ReplyCancel

  • Roseanna6.26.11 - 4:41 PM

    I was wondering if you have to use warm water in order to dissolve the soap?
    Will it work in cold water?

  • Kim6.26.11 - 4:44 PM

    Hi Roseanna, please see my note, above. It will definitely work in cold water, and we use cold all the time!ReplyCancel

  • […] And to make sure we continue to save every last cent for wine retirement, I took it upon myself to also cut our grocery budget by DIYing laundry detergent using this recipe. […]ReplyCancel

  • Kami6.29.11 - 2:28 PM

    May be a silly question, but if I’m wanting to mix it all at once and not in small batches you just mix it all together? Just confused as to why you would make a small batch at a time. ThanksReplyCancel

  • Kami6.29.11 - 3:15 PM

    Nevermind, I got it. So it’s one bar of soap per 1 cup of borax and WS. Sorry having a brain fart.ReplyCancel

  • kim6.29.11 - 9:43 PM

    I have been using the liquid version of this for a couple of years now. I also use Ivory because my Hubby has super sensitive skin. I have had no problems with this in our HE washer. As a matter of fact, I asked the repairman working on our dryer about this recipe, and he said he recommends it to people all the time. :) I also make my own liquid fabric softener, and love it. I have stopped using dryer sheets due to the fire hazard they can cause. (This is what the repairman was fixing. They cause a greasy build-up on the fan blades which can cause fires!)

    I got the recipes for the liquid softener and detergent at They have several recipes. Happy washing!ReplyCancel

  • Kim6.30.11 - 8:01 AM

    Thanks, Kim! Hopefully this will help clear up a lot of confusion with HE washers.ReplyCancel

  • Kathie7.3.11 - 12:15 PM

    If you use a micro-plane it will grate the soap into finer particles. I have made both the liquid and the powder. Powder is by far better only in that you have to shake the heck out of the liquid before using but what the hey? It’s your own sake weight!ReplyCancel

  • Erin7.5.11 - 12:10 AM

    Been using this for a few mos now… I would like to note, I was initially getting a scent on our clothing, and decided to see how much I really needed to get our clothes clean. So I spent a whole day doing laundry (I save it up, I’m lazy!) and every load, I decreased by 1 tsp, to see how much I needed to use for cleanliness, and as little as possible to have no scent… I have city water, and an ancient Maytag top loader, and the hubs, me and 1 toddler. We only need 1 tsp, and our clothes come out clean! I have always used fels naptha as a spot treater for laundry, and still do for stains. We also use vinegar instead of fabric softener.ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.5.11 - 11:41 AM

      Erin, thank you for the tip! Maybe we can cut down our tablespoon per load.ReplyCancel

  • FaithofAllCrafts7.6.11 - 11:08 PM

    Kashya (comment above) – I have a child with skin sensitivities to most laundry detergents as well. I’ve not tried the Fells Naptha b/c of that, but we do the same mixture with Ivory soap (1 bar to 1ReplyCancel

  • […] checking out Yellow Brick Home’s tutorial here, it seems pretty straightforward. I haven’t made the detergent yet (I need to track down this […]ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie7.17.11 - 3:11 PM

    I just tried this, and I’m sold! So easy to make, and super cheap. My clothes smell so fresh and clean! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Jacqueline7.19.11 - 12:14 AM

    We have been using this for more than a year now. At first I was making the liquid version, but the dry version is soooo much more convenient. I am not a cheapy but I have been sickened by the ridiculous rise in laundry detergent and now I store a year’s supply of these ingredients on one shelf in my laundry room! Lovin’ it!

    ps A friend just posted your cute picture on Pinterest. That is how I found you!ReplyCancel

  • Rene7.21.11 - 1:44 PM

    I started using this about a month ago. I absolutely love it! And you can use about 1/3 cup white vinegar in place of the bleach and fabric softener. That eliminates the need for a dryer sheet too!ReplyCancel

  • BRenda7.21.11 - 4:52 PM

    You can make it scented by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils.ReplyCancel

  • Donna7.22.11 - 7:36 AM

    I’ve been making the liquid version of this soap for about 10 years now and would NEVER go back to comercial laundry detergents. Every member of my family has ultra senitive skin and had what seemed like permanant rashes where their clothing made skin contact. Once I got everything in the house that would touch them washed with the homemade detergent, the rashes miraculousely dissappeared! It also neutralizes pet accident odors which was very important when we had two extremely old cats for a few years. As an added bonus, ants and roaches HATE the smell of Fels Naptha so wen we had a problem with them entering the house because of extreme heat, we washed the entire house, floors, counters and walls down with the detergent and it drastically reduced what we had to use poision on.ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.22.11 - 8:45 AM

      Donna, wow, that is amazing! We’ve had no desire to go back to store bought detergents, and all these wonderful comments just solidifies that for us.ReplyCancel

  • amanda7.24.11 - 10:00 AM

    Instead of borax use oxy or a comparable off brand. Borax is bad.ReplyCancel

    • Kim7.24.11 - 11:08 AM

      Hi Amanda, thank you for mentioning an alternate ingredient. However, I haven’t really found any solid sources to back up your comment on Borax, epecially when used in such a small amount (approximately 1 tsp!). Do you know of a source for this?ReplyCancel

  • Josh7.25.11 - 3:56 PM

    Is there anything you can switch with the Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda? I cannot find that anywhere less than an hour away from me. I have found Arm and Hammer detergent, would that be interchangeable?ReplyCancel

  • Kim7.25.11 - 4:17 PM

    Hi Josh,

    It seems like you can get the washing soda from the Arm & Hammer site:

    But just a heads up, hardware stores and grocery stores also carry this product. I wouldn’t think the washing soda and detergent are interchangeable, and I would advise to go with the washing soda.

    Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Josh7.26.11 - 12:22 PM

    I actually found a place that wasn’t listed that carries it. Thank you! I am making the detergent today.ReplyCancel

  • Jamy7.30.11 - 12:00 AM

    I use this same recipe and also add Oxy-clean for an extra kick. Works really great, especially if you or your kids have allergies or problems with eczema.ReplyCancel

  • randi7.31.11 - 12:36 PM

    i want to make this but i read on another site that its not good to use this if you have a septic system , is that true??ReplyCancel

  • Kim7.31.11 - 1:51 PM

    Hi Randi, I’m not sure of this. If you read on another site that it’s not a good idea, perhaps they have a source of reason? We don’t have a septic system here in the city, and I don’t want to tell you an answer I’m not sure of.ReplyCancel

  • becca8.2.11 - 6:33 PM

    Love homemade detergent. I use Ivory and oxi-clean as a boost as well. After I grate the soap, I put all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until fine. I’ve had no problem with settling or clumping this way. And isn’t line drying the only way to go?!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.2.11 - 7:20 PM

      Ooh, the food processor tip is a great one! Agreed on the line drying – I think 95% of my wardrobe is line dry anyway!ReplyCancel

  • Cate8.4.11 - 6:03 AM

    Hi Everyone!

    I’ve been making my own detergent for a few years now and have a few small notes to add:
    1- Borax cannot be used if you want to recycle your grey water;
    2- You’ll need to use vinegar as a fabric softener every now and then to stop build-up in your machine (the scent fades as you dry it); and
    3- I always put 50ml (almost 2oz?) of Eucalyptus or Tea tree oil in my mix. It adds some scent but has the beauty of being anti-bacterial.

    My recipe is adapted from here:


  • SandyHarsh8.4.11 - 10:49 PM

    You can use Kirk’s Castille bar soap. It’s very mild. I love this recipe and have been using it for a year now. I add 2 TBL of vinegar to the rinse and I’m really happy with the results.ReplyCancel

  • Corinna8.14.11 - 2:45 PM

    What an awesome idea for a struggling-for-money-student :)
    Just wondering, I’m from the UK and we don’t really use cups as a measurement, do you mean like a small or large cup?

    • Kim8.16.11 - 8:38 AM

      Hi Corinna, 1 cup equates to about 240 mL. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • {leah}8.15.11 - 11:52 PM

    I was reading the comments and one asked if it was bio-degradable. The answer is yes. We started doing this to save money and eventually when we have some property we want to reclaim our gray water, so that means a more natural way of washing.ReplyCancel

  • […] Yellowbrick Home DIY Suds […]ReplyCancel

  • Chris8.17.11 - 10:17 AM

    I made the Duggar’s liquid clothes soap a couple of years ago, when my daughter was still home. It lasted forever, but required a 5 gallon bucket in my laundry room. The scent was wonderful for the first week or two, but then waned. Because this is solid, does the scent remain for the life of the jar? I’m sold if it does!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.17.11 - 4:18 PM

      Hi Chris, great question! The scent remains in the jar the entire time. It smells fresh and slightly lemon-y, however, the scent does not “stick” to your clothing after the wash. During the wash load, our house smells wonderful! Others have suggested adding oils to the soap (such as eucalyptus and lavender) for a lasting scent on the clothing after the wash. You should definitely give this a try. We’re so sold!ReplyCancel

  • […] I have seen. Most of the time you have to cook the ingredients, but not this time! Visit the Yellow Brick Home for simple directions. Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]ReplyCancel

  • Mimi8.18.11 - 6:59 PM

    For those who have “heard” borax is toxic, please read the actual safety data sheet:

    11 Toxicological information
    Acute toxicity
    Ingestion: Low acute oral toxicity; LD50 in rats is 4,500 to 5,000 mg/kg of body weight.
    Skin/dermal: Low acute dermal toxicity; LD50 in rabbits is
    greater than 10,000 mg/kg of body weight. Borax is poorly
    absorbed through intact skin.
    Inhalation: Low acute inhalation toxicity; LC50 in rats is greater than 2.0 mg/L (or g/m 3).
    Skin irritation: Non-irritant.
    Eye irritation: Draize test in rabbits produced eye irritation
    effects. Fifty years of occupational exposure to Borax indicates no adverse effects on human eye. Therefore, Borax is not considered to be a human eye irritant in normal industrial use.
    Sensitization: Borax is not a skin sensitizer

    As you can see, Borax is poorly absorbed through intact skin. Even a healthy adult ingesting 1 tsp of this isn’t harmful.

    Considering that you are using 1 tbsp for a whole load of wash and that tablespoon is also mixed with the other 2 soaps, you are getting MINIMAL borax in your wash.

    After using this for MANY years (I won’t tell my age hehehe), my mom used it as well, I can say its one of the better cleaning products on the market!!ReplyCancel

  • Kate8.19.11 - 6:11 PM

    Just found your site through Pinterest. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely be trying this one.ReplyCancel

  • Susie8.21.11 - 10:04 PM

    I too have been making my own laundry detergent. Instead of FelsNaptha soap, I use Dr. Bronner’s Almond Soap. The smell is heavenly!! I have been making mine liquid, I like your idea of making it in powder form. A glass Ball Jar would look so much prettier than my big silver Lowes bucket! Getting into bed with freshly laundered sheets washed with this mixture, feels so good!!!ReplyCancel

  • Leah Bonebrake9.2.11 - 3:30 PM

    1/4 Cup of the liquid is what I use in my high efficiency washer.ReplyCancel

  • suzee9.6.11 - 8:28 PM

    I use these same ingredients.. but my recipe calls to melt the soap and add hot/cold water and it gels up.. I will make this method next!! looks sooo much easier! I love using mine! and yes it does smell so good!ReplyCancel

  • april9.10.11 - 10:59 AM

    how much do you use measuring wise to wash a load?ReplyCancel

  • Kim9.10.11 - 5:53 PM

    Hi April, just 1 tablespoon for a regular load and 2 tablespoons for a large load!ReplyCancel

  • Chris Salek9.11.11 - 1:38 PM

    Just made it…so grating the fels naptha was the worst part…but I put it in a glass jar and made one for my co-woker. Thanks for the info-will try it out in a wash tomorrow.ReplyCancel

    • Kim9.12.11 - 9:14 AM

      Chris, it’s true – grating the soap is quite annoying, but sharing bar-grate-duties with someone else halfway through helps! I like to guilt Scott into finishing up my half-done job :)ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer9.12.11 - 3:27 PM

    I love homemade laundry detergent! I keep giving little baggies to my friends so they’ll try it but none have made the switch yet.

    I substitute oxyclean for the borax and it still works fabulous! I buy it in bulk at costco and they regularly have $4 off coupons so it remains very frugal as well!ReplyCancel

  • cmedwards9.13.11 - 10:10 AM

    I have been using this detergent for a while. I found the recipe on mommyskitchen and never looked back. I would be afraid to use it on work/church clothes but I love it for bed linens, towels, bluejeans, husbands work clothes and such. My daughter even puts a little in a dish in her room because she loves the “clean” smell… Love this laundry detergent. It was hard to find Naptha soap at first but I talked to the lady at Ace Hardware and she ordered it for me (no shipping fees when ordered through the store). The next time I went in she said several people had been asking for it so they added it to the inventory.ReplyCancel

  • Joyce9.14.11 - 4:58 PM

    I read that you can throw a piece of aluminum foil in your dryer to prevent static.

    Made this and have been giving it out to everyone…works greatReplyCancel

  • happy zombie9.15.11 - 3:59 PM

    I am so going to trying this. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Joyce9.15.11 - 11:04 PM

    I have been using the first one I made for several weeks now and love it. I gave it to my daughter in law and she loves it too.

    I just made a second batch for a friend and noticed that I was grating a lot of soap. I realized I had a LARGE bar of Zote and wondered how I should change the amount of other ingredients. The first bar was only 5 or 6 oz. The Zote was 14 Oz.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Arnold9.17.11 - 10:53 PM

    I have just started making my laundry detergent….My husband is a farmer and does most of his mechanic work….I challenge anybody that has dirty work clothes to try this….I bought a HE washer 3 years ago….I hated it…my husbands clothes could not be gotten clean, I was using the best detergents and dry bleach…then I was soaking them for hours…..about 5 moths ago I went back to a top \loader…made all the difference in the world….then whenI found out about making my own detergent, his clothes are nice and clean and no soaking….after all what did our ansesters use as a basic cleaner for laundry?? laundry borax!!….and Fels Naptha soap……thank you for putting this recipe on Penterest…..I am totally addicted to it….also someone mentioned oxyclean…there is a recipe for it also….ReplyCancel

  • Sandra9.19.11 - 2:18 PM

    This doesn’t work for me. I followed the directions completely. My clothes do not look or smell clean. What could be the problem.ReplyCancel

    • Kim9.19.11 - 3:24 PM

      Hi Sandra, that’s strange! This is the first I’ve heard of this. You combined a bar of grated soap and 1 cup of washing soda and borax? Our clothes come out of the dryer scent-free, but they’re very clean. In fact, our whites are brighter than ever! I’m unsure what the issue could be, unless you’re using less than a tablespoon for a regular load?ReplyCancel

  • Sandra9.19.11 - 6:06 PM

    Thanks for answering me. Yes, that is the exact mixture I used, and I’ve actually been using 2 tablespoons per regular load. Should there be any sudsing? There is absolutely no suds. My clothes are coming out of the dryer still smelling prewashed dirty. Should I dissolve this mixture in hot water first?ReplyCancel

    • Kim9.19.11 - 6:32 PM

      Sandra, weird. Borax actually dissolves great even in cold water, and the mixture will not suds. An active ingredient is actually added to store-bought detergents that cause the sudsing, causing us to “think” it’s doing it’s job (when it’s not necessary). The only thing I can think of is that maybe you’re putting too many clothes in the load? To be honest, this baffles me since we’ve never had this problem. While the load comes out scent free, we at least have the faint smell of our dryer sheet!

      I wonder if adding essential oils like eucalyptus or swapping for a yummier scented soap might help – such as Dr. Bronner’s almond or lavender soaps.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra9.20.11 - 8:44 AM

    Thanks. Maybe I’ll try different bar soap next time. I even tried it in a very small load of clothes with 2 tablespoons. Maybe it’s our water, I’ve always said we have weird water.ReplyCancel

  • Peaceful One9.24.11 - 9:37 AM

    Did you know that liquid laundry detergent has animal fat in it? That is why washing machines get that rank, musky smell to them. To remove that smell, put 1/4 cup cascade dishwasher deterg and 1/2 cup bleach in washer, run it for a complete cycle (without any clothes).

    I will try the homemade laundry deterg recipe with some lavender soap too. Great idea and will also make a fabulous, inexpensive gift for a housewarming!ReplyCancel

  • Veggiechef10.2.11 - 10:21 AM

    Hey, has anyone used Ivory soap in this recipe instead of the Fels? I can’t find Fels anywhere, so I subbed with the ivory, and it does not dissolve well. I wonder how it is rinsing off my clothes in the rinse cycle if there are still little flakes of soap in the water? And where can I find Fels Naptha? I’ve looked everywhere! Thanks :-)ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.2.11 - 11:34 AM

      Veggiechef, I have heard of people subbing with Ivory, but even more popular is Dove or Dr. Bronner’s – all of which can be found at Target. We found the Fels Naptha at our grocery store, and it was on the very bottom shelf – out of sight! If you still don’t have luck, I would try one of the others I just mentioned. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Lynn10.10.11 - 4:06 PM

    Where is the most inexpensive place to buy Fels Naptha?ReplyCancel

  • Kim10.10.11 - 4:12 PM

    Hi Lynn,

    We get Fels Naptha at the grocery store for $1. It’s in the same section that you would buy bar soap, and in store, it’s on the lowest shelf there (most likely because it’s not very popular).ReplyCancel

  • […] ça? J’ai vu une «recette» sur un blogue et j’ai décidé de tenter ma chance. Au bout du compte, ça reviendrait pas mal moins cher […]ReplyCancel

  • jackie10.16.11 - 3:13 AM

    I’ve been making the liquid version for over a year. I use a bar of Ivory soap and the Borax & Washing Soda. I also use vinegar for my softener. I love it. I love the savings, my clothes are fresh and clean, and much softer than they were using commercial products.
    For the person who said their clothes don’t smell or look clean: Clothes that don’t smell like laundry detergent ARE clean. Clean doesn’t have a smell. Chemicals have a smell. As for your clothes not looking clean, that baffles me. But you mention that you used twice as much deterg as called for. Cut back to the recommended amount. Too much laundry deterg can be as bad as not using enough.
    For everyone concerned about the “dangers” of borax, please think about this: If you ingested your commercial brand of laundry detergent, or dishwasher detergent, … you would be in trouble. Dishwasher detergent is very toxic/corrosive and yet we think nothing of using on items that we use for eating. It amazes me that people won’t use Borax because they think it’s harmful. Think about all the products in some homes that could do serious harm if ingested. This is laundry detergent. It’s for your clothing. It gets completely washed out by a machine (and any residue will be washed out/neutralized if you use vinegar in your rinse anyway). The commercial fabric softeners most people use are far more toxic. Do some googling and you’ll be truly horrified. Just don’t pour Borax on your lawn! I washed our hockey gear with borax and water in the backyard this year, and the grass in that area took a hit.. That is not an indicator of toxicity though, so don’t panic. If I poured vinegar on my lawn, it would suffer as well, and yet, vinegar is perfectly harmless to humans and animals.ReplyCancel

  • Ashlee10.22.11 - 1:34 PM

    This is fantastic, thanks so much! I had a mini breakdown myself last week at the store about the cost of detergent. I’ve been wanting to slowly phase out store bought/purchased cleaners and chemicals… and this recipe makes it so easy and affordable!ReplyCancel

  • Miranda10.23.11 - 8:21 AM

    Awesome post! I tried this yesterday with Pink Zote soap and used a food processor for grating and mixing. I posted about it here: with credit to you. Thanks! :)ReplyCancel

  • Lynn10.26.11 - 10:47 AM

    I found that by putting all the ingredients in my blender after I mixed them together they didn’t separate while storing. I love this stuff!!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany10.27.11 - 11:44 AM

    I just found all three ingredients on Amazon for less then $25. I got two bars of the Fels-Naptha so I get free shipping. Sweet!!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah11.7.11 - 3:00 PM

    I’m from Canada and no sign of fels naptha anywhere, However we have been using a yellow bar of sunlight laundry soap -incredilble at getting out stains. my guess is it is the same thing. My mom has been using the sulight bar soap on stains for years! I surely do hope so because I made a double batch. Kim thank you for posting this and commenting on everyone’s concerns.ReplyCancel

  • Athaira11.8.11 - 7:23 PM

    Hi, I just found this and I want to try it. I have a Maytag front load washer and I was just wondering if I could toss in a tablespoon of this mix in with the clothes, or would I have to mix it with water and put it in the dispenser where regular washing detergent goes. And if I had to do that, how much water do I add? Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Kim11.8.11 - 8:02 PM

    Hi Athaira,

    I would put the detergent wherever you would normally put powder detergent in your front load washer. I know that it’s totally do-able and safe for front load washers, so if there’s a designated spot, then I would put it there! If there’s not a designated spot, I think you would have no troubles just throwing it in with your clothes since it dissolves SO fast. I doubt mixing it with water would be necessary, as this mixture is known for being easily dissolved in water (that’s part of why it’s so awesome), even in ice cold water.

    Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Athaira11.8.11 - 11:48 PM

    Thanks Kim. I’ll probably just toss it in with the clothes just to be safe. Doesn’t take any extra effort anyway :)ReplyCancel

  • Tash11.9.11 - 9:42 PM

    Hi there,

    I’m from little ole New Zealand, and we have Washing Soda, but I’ve never heard of Borax or the other ingredient. Could you give me some other examples? Could the soap be like Sunlight soap??ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.10.11 - 9:24 AM

      Hi Tash, yup – I’ve heard that Sunlight is the equivalent to Fels Naptha. As for Borax, you can find it right here on Amazon! Hope this helps.ReplyCancel

  • […] Time to get green and save some green! I first saw this laundry soap recipe here: […]ReplyCancel

  • Heidi11.15.11 - 9:59 AM

    As far as front loading washers go, the main thing is to make sure that the Fels Naptha is ground as fine as possible. I grated a few bars that seemed more “greasy” at the time and they didn’t grind down well in my food processor, but instead turned into round beads. They clogged a friend’s front loading machine and caused it to leak. In hind sight, I now let my bars sit out un-covered over night before I grate them, or let the grated soap sit out to “dry” a bit before grinding. Since I’ve done this I’ve not had any problems with the Fels Naptha beading up. So, as long as it’s ground as fine as possible, I don’t think you should have any problems.

    I love this laundry soap and use it on everything from my mechanic-husband’s greasy jeans to my newborns clothes. My husband’s work clothes in particular have never come out of the laundry looking and smelling so clean!ReplyCancel

    • Kim11.15.11 - 12:30 PM

      Heidi, thank you so much for these tips!!ReplyCancel

  • […] ***Original Site I got recipe from (credit goes where it’s due. Just saying )*** Share this:Share Posted in All About Home, DIY Cleaning Products, Random « The Comedy and the Tragedy… You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. […]ReplyCancel

  • Denee Koonce11.24.11 - 8:50 PM

    I have been using a variation on this formula for the last year or so, but the original recipe that I found also includes baking soda and slightly different proportions. Not sure what the baking soda adds, but I have gotten good results with this mixture. I have a lot of skin sensitivities (have always used All Free and Clear and Bounce Free before) and this recipe does not give me any issues. Have not tried Ivory yet. I grate the soap and then put it in the food processor to get it very fine. I usually make a double batch and it lasts for about 4-5 months with five people in our household which includes two little boys and a daughter that feels the need to change her outfit every time I turn my head. Am now trying a dish soap recipe which includes some of the same ingredients and have had good results so far.ReplyCancel

  • Belle12.4.11 - 9:09 PM

    I use this too, only thing is I’ve begun using Zote soap. Pretty pink and smells so good. I have an HE washer and find that it does well. I grate the soap and then mix it with the borax and washing soda and blend it in my ninja for about 10 to 15 seconds. I’ve also started using vinegar as a fabric softener! Love it all!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn12.6.11 - 8:20 PM

    I have been making my own laundry soap for a year. I use both the powder and liquid depending upon my mood. If you can have a mood for laundry. I also have front loading HE machines. I love the fresh clean smell, but do scent my batch from time to time. I store the liquid in upcycled Sunny D jugs. I add a little Calgon to my recipe because we have hard water. Have been using a vinegar rinse as well. If I want that “Downey” scent I add about a tsp. of liquid fabric softener to the vinegar (have also used hair conditioner mixed with vinegar). I also run my powder through my food processor to break up the grated soap a little more. Castille soap can also be used for the powder or liquid. I love the homemade laundry soap. Will never use store bought again. I love the storage ease of the powder, but prefer to make the liquid.ReplyCancel

  • Donna12.7.11 - 11:00 PM

    My grandson has eczema pretty bad. I use All Free & Clear and Downy no scent. I wonder if anyone that has made the homemade products has had any problems with it bothering skin conditions. My dermatologist told me not to use Borax on his clothes. Any one have any comments on this. I used to make homemade laundry powder, I haven’t ever tried the fabric softener, but don’t want to aggravate his eczema! thanksReplyCancel

    • Kim12.8.11 - 5:48 PM

      Hi Donna, I know that some readers have left comments saying that this mixture has actually improved any skin conditions, but I’m not entirely sure what the conditions were. However, I would definitely not use recipe as Borax is one of the main ingredients! I also wonder if anyone else has any input on this…ReplyCancel

  • JazminK12.14.11 - 8:13 PM

    Awesome to have found this on pinterest! If I use the dove soap as a replacement for the fels Naptha, do I have to turn the recipe into a liquid detergent? Or can I leave the soap shavings as is in the powder detergent?ReplyCancel

    • Kim12.14.11 - 8:37 PM

      Hi JazminK – I believe you can definitely use Dove soap in the dry powder version like mine. Other soaps people have used are Ivory, Dr. Bronners, and Zote. Happy washing!ReplyCancel

  • Beth Moe12.16.11 - 12:11 PM

    I make this soap as well here in Canada. The bar soap i use is Sunlight Laundry soap. I’ve always used it and it’s readily available at most grocery stores. I also add baking soda to the batch (1 large box) to help soften our water. And I love the lemon smell of the sunlight laundry soap. Works best if you grate it with a fine graterReplyCancel

  • Beth Moe12.16.11 - 12:13 PM

    Also sunlight soap is good for those who have exzema and dry skin. I’m one of themReplyCancel

  • Kasey12.19.11 - 9:11 PM

    I found this on Pinterest and made a double batch and have a load in the washer now! But, I found that after mixing all of the ingredients the powder sinks to the bottom of the jar. Is this typical and is there a way to keep that from happening or am I doing it wrong?ReplyCancel

  • Kim12.19.11 - 10:23 PM

    Hi Kasey, we’ve heard of some people using a blender or food processor to get everything as fine as possible (and preventing anything from settling in the bottom). Although, we think a good shake of your container should do the trick, too!

    We only slightly have this problem… I tend to shake the Ball jar before using my tablespoon, just to make sure everything is blended properly. I don’t know if it’s necessary, but I do anyway!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa12.20.11 - 5:57 PM

    I make my own laundry soap as well! In addition to the borax and washing soda, I use 1 cup of baking soda and 1 bar of Yardley’s pomegranate rose soap. I’ve been using this for over a year now and with four kids, two dogs, and a husband that works in construction, it has been a godsend. I have an HE machine and a septic system and it’s safe to use! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim12.20.11 - 9:23 PM

    Awesome, thanks, Lisa! I think this helps to answer a lot of questions about the HE washers and septic systems! Thanks for chiming in!ReplyCancel

  • kathy keating12.31.11 - 1:13 PM

    does the dry detergent work well in cold water and do you have to shake this up too? do the ingredients settle?looking at the jar it seems like every scoop would be different. thanks have made the liquid and love it,my clothes are so soft. if this works as well it just saves some steps.

    • Kim12.31.11 - 1:23 PM

      Hi Kathy, we haven’t noticed any problems with settling, but sometimes we give it a little shake before scooping the mix into our water. If you’re concerned, others have mentioned using a food processor to get your mixture really fine – although, we haven’t tried that and haven’t felt a need to do so. It works great with cold water, too!ReplyCancel

  • […] Make my own laundry soap. Using this recipe. […]ReplyCancel

  • Carrie1.3.12 - 1:11 PM

    I made the liquid version of this for us and it works great. It is a little more work and mess so I think I am going to make the powdered version next time. I read on another blog that instead of grating the soap (I use Ivory) to put it in the microwave for 90 seconds. You may want to cover it or you will be cleaning the microwave! It turns it into a powder. I will try that as well next time, maybe a little time saver but who knows.ReplyCancel

  • Tina1.3.12 - 7:27 PM

    I bought Zote soap. Do I still use the same amount? 1 bar? I sell doTERRA essential oils and plan to add those for a scent. I will add some lavender to vinegar to use as a fabric softener. I’ve been making lots of cleaners with my oils. Great stuff!ReplyCancel

  • Kim1.3.12 - 7:52 PM

    Hi Tina, I’ve seen others use Zote soap, and they use the same amount – just one bar. We’ve heard of the vinegar fabric softener, but we haven’t tried it ourselves – yet! happy soap making!ReplyCancel

  • Mindi1.8.12 - 10:20 PM

    I have been making this for over a year and couldn’t be happier with it!! I use the borax, washing soda, fels naphtha, a small bit of baking soda, and I add either dove, ivory, or irish spring soap. I just found Zote soap this weekend and am going to give it a try as well with my mix. I am very particular about my laundry…and I have to children…and I still love it!! Everything comes out clean and smelling great!! It costs me less than $2/mo to make and I do laundry every single day!! I put mine in a food processor and I do have an HE washer and have never had a bit of trouble. I also use vinegar as my softener but I do still add about 1/8 tsp fabric softener because I love how it smells. It lasts forever at this rate though. Good luck all!! I think you will love it!! Thanks for the info!ReplyCancel

  • Crystal1.10.12 - 6:51 PM

    So, I know the last comment was quite a while ago, but I’ve just started using this recipe after a friend gave me a jar for Christmas. I love it! We used 3 bars of Ivory and one bar of lavender castille soap, 4 cups each Borax and washing soda and a little lavender essential oil. We only used the lavender because my husband saw a Youtube video of the guy putting the soap in the microwave. It bubbles up and becomes extremely easy to make flakes – you just crumble it so no grating is necessary. The geeks in us were very happy. Anyway, love it, have sensitive skin and it doesn’t bother me at all, and it’s super easy and cheap to make.ReplyCancel

  • Kim1.10.12 - 6:58 PM

    Crystal, wow, that’s awesome! We’ll have to try that microwave trick and look up some videos ourselves. It sounds totally crazy! And we’ve been meaning to try the oils, too. We love this stuff!ReplyCancel

  • jim parsons1.11.12 - 12:17 PM

    I’ve been wanting to try this for quite some time and just ran out of my Tide. I’m going to take the plunge and go for it!ReplyCancel

  • Nita Ward1.12.12 - 11:35 AM

    I’ve never tried this soap, but I intend to try. Sounds good to me as I am sensitive to a lot of detergents.ReplyCancel

  • Bowie1.12.12 - 1:26 PM

    Does the water temperature matter? I try to use cold water as often as possible to save money. Would all of the ingredients dissolve in cold water and still get clothes just as clean?ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.12.12 - 2:17 PM

      Hi Bowie, we use cold water for the same reason (and to help preserve color in our clothing), and it dissolves with no problem. One of the benefits of this mixture is its ease to dissolve even in the coldest water. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Bowie1.12.12 - 3:27 PM

    Yes, it does. I will be trying this as soon as I can. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Chrystal1.16.12 - 9:57 AM

    I use this same blend! I actually just made my last batch with baking soda and oxiclean added too.ReplyCancel

  • Bernita1.17.12 - 1:37 PM

    I usually add Oxyclean also as oxyclean is so good for spot removal. Adds an extra boost. Love this soap. The entire house always smells very clean with this laundry detergent.
    I mix it all dry as it disolves so well. Why spent the time to add water and go thru the extra mess.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie1.18.12 - 2:10 PM

    In answer to Donna (Dec. 7), I was also using All Free and Clear for my girls with Eczema. I switched to this home made detergent and have had no problems with flare-ups.ReplyCancel

  • Kim1.19.12 - 9:49 AM

    Melanie, thank you for the input! I hope this helps anyone else wondering about Eczema.ReplyCancel

  • Faye1.19.12 - 1:17 PM

    Can you still use bleach for white clothes?ReplyCancel

  • Kim1.19.12 - 1:20 PM

    Hi Faye, yup! We do with no problems!ReplyCancel

  • Alana Watkins1.19.12 - 5:43 PM

    LOVE the idea! Can you tell me if I can use this in a High Effiency Washer?ReplyCancel

  • Kim1.19.12 - 6:28 PM

    Hi Alana! Yes, it’s actually very safe for H/E washers. Several of our readers with H/E washers have confirmed this. Happy washing!ReplyCancel

  • Shanell1.22.12 - 3:46 PM

    Will this harm gentle wash delicates? I’m with you on the ridiculous cost of laundry detergent but I don’t want to ruin all my nice work clothes.ReplyCancel

  • Kim1.22.12 - 4:20 PM

    Shanell, we use this with everything – including delicates such as under garments – but we take Scott’s nice work clothes to the dry cleaner. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to this, but we find it’s the perfect solution for our needs.

    Perhaps someone else will chime in with their thoughts?ReplyCancel

  • Kristen1.28.12 - 4:16 PM

    Made some today… and I have my first load in right now! Excited to see how it works! Hoping my clothing doesn’t fade..

    I tried to read through all the comments, however I’m not sure if this was addressed… how do delicate type items wash w/ this type of soap?ReplyCancel

  • Kim1.28.12 - 5:48 PM

    Hi Kristen, we use this on delicate items with no problem! We haven’t noticed any fading either, but we mostly use cold water and we line dry anything delicate. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Shanell2.1.12 - 7:12 PM

    Thank you. I’m making it tonight and I was so excited it cost me less than $10 bucks for everything. First time ever I’ve been excited to do laundry. :-)ReplyCancel

  • February Goals |2.4.12 - 5:06 PM

    […] gallon of laundry detergent is almost out and so I would like to make our own with this recipe instead of purchasing a pre-made […]ReplyCancel

  • Gail2.7.12 - 8:27 PM

    I have made this in the past on loved it! Everyone seems to have their own recipe and proportions. The only variation I had trouble with was substituting Ivory bar soap for the Fels Naphtha. I could not get the Ivory soap to dissolve. I had white soap flakes on my laundry. Not sure what I did wrong.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey2.12.12 - 10:41 PM

    I am curious, I just made this and the soap was all melted, and I did it just how you said. Now its sitting in the bottles and its almost completely separated. Is that normal.ReplyCancel

  • Kim2.13.12 - 9:34 AM

    Hi Kasey, I’m not sure what you meant by the “melted” soap… We use a grater to create soap flakes, and then we add the borax and washing soda. Sometimes the borax and washing soda will settle to the bottom of our jar, but before we scoop our tablespoon of mix for the wash, we just give the jar a little shake. Does this help?ReplyCancel

  • Tara2.13.12 - 11:02 AM

    We just made some of this last night, except we added baking soda and oxy clean to our mix. It is totally safe to use in HE and front loader washers. You do need to put the soap mixture directly in the wash though, not the dispenser. We also use 2 TBsp per load. The whites came out super clean, bright and fresh smelling! Love it! All the ingredients cost me $15 at the commisary and there is enough to last 9 MONTHS!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Darlene2.13.12 - 12:23 PM

    Is this recipe good for High Efficiency front load washers?ReplyCancel

  • Darlene2.13.12 - 12:26 PM

    Just read the post further up about H/E washers….Sorry, I should have read before posting!ReplyCancel

  • Dianne2.16.12 - 7:31 AM

    My Walmart carries Fels Naptha for .97 a bar…….sits right next to the Borax & Washing Soda….ReplyCancel

  • Tina2.16.12 - 10:20 PM

    I’m lazy! I use Ivory with mine. I cut the bar into several chunks, place a chunk or two in the microwave and “cook” for 45 seconds. After this cools, it crumbles into powder. I “sift” it through a strainer to be sure there aren’t any larger chunks and I use that with the borax and washing soda. Besides being easier on my Fibromyalgia, we all love watching what Ivory does in the microwave!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.16.12 - 10:57 PM

      Tina, I love the idea of microwaving the soap. We’ll definitely have to try that!ReplyCancel

  • jessica2.22.12 - 2:06 PM

    Instead of the Fels, I used Zote…It almost has a citronella smell to it. I also add a box of baking soda, oxyclean, and some Purex Lavendar crystals(for added smell). Love this!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Lampard2.26.12 - 3:41 AM

    Can I use soap flakes instead of grating a bar of soap? Sounds simpler and soap flakes are easy to find here, but not sure if they are different?ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.26.12 - 4:07 PM

      Hi Kim, we haven’t used soap flakes, but it sounds like it could be a possible replacement. As long as they’re able to quickly dissolve. Soaps such as Fels Naptha or Zote are made for laundry, so they dissolve quickly, even in the coldest water. If you’re unsure, you are able to buy these bar soaps online. Let me know if you have any other questions!ReplyCancel

  • veronica m.2.26.12 - 9:17 PM

    My daughter says she dislikes the smell of my vinegary smelling kitchen when I I am doing a new trial of mixing orange rinds and/or lemons with vinegar in a jar for 2 weeks.then useing it on windows and counters and such.I saw this on pinterest today and have to wait the time out but was wondering since lots of you all say to add vinegar for softeners I wonder if this would work for a pleasant smell?has anyone heard of this?ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.27.12 - 9:38 AM

      Hi Veronica, we haven’t tried vinegar ourselves, but I’m hoping someone else can chime in and let us know!ReplyCancel

  • Tina Newsome3.1.12 - 6:38 AM

    I added one half a bar of Lava bar soap to one batch for my my husband’s work clothes because he gets grease and other hard to get out things on them.Works great!ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah Blanchard3.2.12 - 2:06 PM

    I started using the liquid version of this recipe in January because I was having SERIOUS problems with itching. I’d seen every doctor imaginable and started taking pricey meds and used every scent free, dye free soap made (brand AND off brand) with no relief. Within a week I stopped itching! And I don’t take any medicines anymore. YAY!! Today I’m going to make the powder version because having to shake the container before each use drives me nuts!ReplyCancel

  • DIY laundry detergent3.2.12 - 6:37 PM

    […] good while after we started using Charlie’s soap, I read this post by Yellow Brick Home.  It got me thinking about homemade laundry detergent, but I didn’t […]ReplyCancel

  • […] online for Homemade laundry detergent and fell in love with this one.  Find original recipe HERE.  I read every review and fell in love with the comments and feedback right away.  I finally went […]ReplyCancel

  • Bridget Haig3.8.12 - 7:30 PM

    Made a batch, I just love it.! Everything is so clean and fresh smelling. Products for first batch cost just under $9.00. For the next 10 batches it will cost me $1.00 plus tax for the Fels Naptha. I checked the prices on the charlies soap are you people crazy.ReplyCancel

  • Deana Watson3.9.12 - 8:56 AM

    I have been using this for 4 months now. LOVE it! I have 5-10 friends who are using it and loving it too! Cheaper, softer clothes, and biodegradable. I can find not one negative!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn Jones3.12.12 - 10:57 PM

    I have been doing this for over a year & I love it! I have used a couple of recipes & Irish Spring, or any kind of good bar soap works well. It is just whatever your choice of scents is! Good luck & it sure beats grocery store! I love the feeling you get walking down that aisle & totally ignoring it!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Fletcher3.13.12 - 4:26 PM

    Hi, I made some a month ago and I love it. However, I was wondering if anyone has had rashes appear? I started to get rashes on the inside of my elbows. I was wondering if anyone knew I remedy I could use for sensitive skin?ReplyCancel

  • Kim3.13.12 - 4:52 PM

    Hi Julie, hmm, you’re the first person I’ve heard to get rashes. It seems that everything I’ve been hearing is how great it is for sensitive skin. Are you adding oils to your mixture that might be causing this? Just a though.

    Does anyone else have a recommendation?ReplyCancel

  • Julie Fletcher3.13.12 - 5:11 PM

    No, I’m not using any oils. I use borax, washing soda, and the felsnaptha soap, and I follow the recipe to the t. Could I possibly be using too much?ReplyCancel

  • Kim3.13.12 - 5:17 PM

    We use just one tablespoon for a regular load and two Tbsp for a larger load. Perhaps you can try using a different soap such as Ivory or Dove. People have used these replacements with success for those with extra sensitive skin. We haven’t tried that ourselves, but the only downside we’ve heard is that Ivory doesn’t dissolve as well in really cold water (whereas Fels Naptha will dissolve even in the coldest water!).ReplyCancel

  • Julie Fletcher3.13.12 - 6:27 PM

    I might try that. I do have some irish spring soap too. But I don’t know how well that would work. Thanks for the advice!ReplyCancel

  • Kim3.13.12 - 7:53 PM

    Good luck, Julie! Let us know how it works out – I’m sure other readers would benefit from your advice :)ReplyCancel

  • Danielle R.3.14.12 - 2:01 PM

    I’m just curious how I would make this into liquid form. I have a HE washer and anyway for us to save money is okay in my book.ReplyCancel