Anna’s Nest

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

7 April 07

Ingredients for Homemade Laundry Detergent

Who knew laundry detergent was so easy to make? S.O.‘s Homemade Cheap Laundry Soap (follow this link to Modern Cottage for the recipe!)

It’s super easy. Just a bit of grating of Fels Naptha soap (my cheese grater just happens to be super clean now!), mixing of the other ingredients (all of which I found in the laundry aisle of our grocery store), and “voila!” Laundry detergent! (Check out the link above for more tips and info about making your own cleaners.)

Homemade Laundry Detergent

This is a super cheap (only about 5.7c per load), and also environmentally friendly alternative to the stuff you buy in the store (most laundry soap is pretty yucky stuff for our world).

I’m actually having a bit of a hard time not feeling smug about the whole thing.

Update: This experiment has been a wild success! Check out my recent post about safe cleaning for more information.

Filed Under: Being Green, Tutorials

  1. This is very intriguing. Please let us know how well the detergent works!

    Amy    Apr 16, 07:10 PM    #
  2. So far, so good. The clothes smell great and they’re clean. Hard to really offer up much critical opinion about laundry detergent… the clothes out of the washer not dirty. What else can I say?

    Brian Warren    Apr 17, 07:36 AM    #
  3. Heheh. Sounds like a winner, then!

    John Mark    Apr 17, 09:35 AM    #
  4. I have made this and like it, but “Naptha” – I figure it’s okay just because it is so diluted. ?

    Ms. Maya    May 7, 01:11 PM    #
  5. Hi, Ms. Maya – I’m not sure I understand your question – are you saying you prefer not to use the Naptha soap? If your recipe is working for you, I say go for it! I prefer to add it for my soap, as it’s inexpensive and easy for me to find. Also it adds a bit of stain-removal “oomph” to the mixture. For the record, I have had some trouble getting it to dissolve (I usually do my laundry with cold water). I’ve been doing fine starting it out on hot or warm, and then changing to cold once everything’s all dissolved, but I think next time I’ll try a recipe that dissolves the soap ahead of time, essentially making liquid detergent. I’ll keep you updated on how that goes.

    Anna    May 8, 09:35 AM    #
  6. Fels Naptha is a fairly harsh soap. I have read on other blogs that you can substitute a bar of pure castile soap for the Fels Naptha. I am actually thinking of making this in two versions, one with Fels Naptha and oxyclean for whites and one with castile soap and no oxyclean for everything else.
    Now that we have the laundry soap dilemma resolved, someone please come up with a version that’s save to use in dishwashers, pls.

    Shay    May 23, 09:08 AM    #
  7. Hi Shay! Thanks for your comment! I haven’t heard the bit about Fels Naptha being harsh, but you could well be right. So little is used in this recipe, that I’m not too worried, but if your skin is sensitive (or you are concerned for someone else in your family) I definitely understand you not wanting to use it. I too have heard that castile soap works well. I’ve actually heard that you can use any kind of bar soap that you want – check out this recipe from the Simple Dollar for a “bucket of slime” :u) I haven’t actually tried this recipe myself, but might for the next batch of soap – I’m starting to run a little low. If you try it, please let us know how it works for you!

    Anna    May 25, 07:34 AM    #
  8. ps – I agree about the dishwasher soap – it would be great to have a homemade version! If anyone knows where to find a good recipe, please let me (and Shay!) know!

    Anna    May 25, 07:38 AM    #
  9. I have recently discovered that I’m allergic to this soap. Upon reading other testimonials, I came upon one that uses 1/4 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle to remove excess soap. I am thrilled and excited to try this since I have several itchy patches on my torso. I hope this helps people with sensitive skin.

    Julie C    Jul 6, 10:54 AM    #
  10. To the person asking about the safety of naptha in detergent—if you are referring to true “naptha”, the main component of old-fashioned lighter fluid, do not worry. Despite the name, Fels Naptha brand soap does not contain naptha. It is basically a laundry equivalent of Dial bath bars.

    JenB in Texas    Jul 8, 04:56 PM    #
  11. Can you use Fels-Naptha to clean a wood floor? I think my mom use to. Anyone know?

    Mary Kay    Jul 27, 10:44 AM    #
  12. Hi All,
    I was doing a search for Fels-Naptha and happened upon this blog. I have a recipe for Dishwasher Powder: 1 c Borax, 1 c Baking Soda, 1/4 c Salt, 1/4 c Citric Acid, 30 drops Orange essential oil or another citrus e.o. Mix in a mason jar and use 1tb in the wash cup. Costs about 8Cents/load.

    Cireena    Nov 3, 06:25 PM    #
  13. Hi, Mary Kay – The short answer, to the best of my knowledge, is yes. I read in Karen Logan’s book Clean House, Clean Planet (a wonderful resource!) that you can use a liquid detergent solution if you feel the need, and Fels-Naptha is basically bar soap, so it would probably work just fine. I don’t think you really need to use soap though – my understanding is that the best thing to clean wood floors is to keep them fairly dust-free, and give them a little rinse with a vineagar/water solution when they need it (dry afterward, though, so the water doesn’t damage the wood). I’ve just started reading it, but so far Logan’s book is a great resource for all kinds of alternative cleaning solutions – I highly recommend it!!
    Cireena – Thank you for the recipe! It looks like a winner!

    Anna Warren    Nov 12, 01:56 PM    #
  14. Hi everyone, I’m getting ready to make this laundry soap also, and just wanted to let you know that on the bar of Fels-Naptha that I just bought, it says there is NO naptha in it. Also, you can also call the company and find out the ingredients. Actually, I did that once concerning Ivory soap—I was really curious about it being “99 and 44 hundreths pure”, so I called P and G and asked and they told me that it was made up of over 99% beef tallow! Made right here in Cincinnati.

    Also, I’ve read about how people a long time ago made soap, and if I recall, they would save their ashes from their stoves and fireplaces, and also save cooking grease, and then somehow melt the grease over the ashes and also added lye! It worked for them, I just don’t like the idea of using animals to clean my body and clothing.

    Dianne in Cincy    Mar 6, 05:24 AM    #
  15. If you are having an allergic reaction try a different bar soap. Many people are allergic to Dial and Dial makes Fels-Naptha. You can use Zote or any other bar soap instead.

    SM    Apr 24, 04:54 PM    #
  16. I made the dishwasher soap by mixing equal parts of washing soda and borax. 2T per load…awesome!

    Tish    May 2, 08:44 AM    #
  17. Fels Naptha has been around for a long time! Great stuff. I look forward to making all these recipes!

    Just a word to the wise – DO NOT use vinegar or water on true natural hardwood. You will strip your woods finish – and void all your manufacturing warranties. Bona products are best for natural hardwood. Or better yet, always, always read your manufacturing warranty information and maintenance guide – and better yet look them up on line and read about them in detail and all their exclusions. I did flooring claims for over 10 years for a flooring company and most claims were denied due to “consumer neglect”. Meaning, all that little writing no one looks at. Protect yourself. Read. Educate. Learn.

    Julie    Oct 9, 11:01 PM    #
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