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How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent With Bar Soap and Washing Soda

How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent With Bar Soap and Washing Soda

Fast Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Here’s how to make a basic natural homemade laundry detergent recipe that is easy to make, and will get your clothes fresh in no time.

There are a ton of reasons to make your own homemade laundry detergent.  Personally I’m not a big fan of soaking my clothing in a bunch of chemicals that I don’t really know what they are.

Another reason I am starting to steer clear of store bought laundry detergent is it seems to me like so much detergent needs to be used compared to homemade detergent that it seems like there must be some fillers in there.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of paying for filler. Another reason many people might be looking to make their own homemade laundry detergent is that some laundry detergents can irritate some peoples skin.

This laundry detergent recipe is much less chemical laden and might be less irritating for those with sensitive skin.  There are other reasons to not buy store bought detergents but as for me, those are the ones that have driven me to try and make my own homemade laundry detergent.

Time: 10-20 minutes

If you are looking for diy laundry recipes then check out my post on using soapnuts for laundry detergent as well!


homemade laundry detergent ingredients

Here’s what you need to make your own homemade laundry detergent:

Step One

Shred the Fels Naptha soap for your homemade laundry detergent recipe

Fels Naptha

So the first thing you’re going to want to do is shred your bar of soap.

Liza was nice enough to comment and let me know that Fels Naptha can, after extended use (I’ve not yet had this problem personally), yellow your clothing. She instead suggests using Dr. Bronner bar soap, which I’ve recently just started using to wash clothes while traveling, and it has worked great so far.

So, instead of… I’ve chosen to use Fels Naptha for my laundry detergent. Try using Dr. Bronner for your homemade laundry detergent instead.  

Other soaps that work well are ZOTE, and Pure & Natural.  Both Fels-Naptha and Zote are called laundry soap, meant specifically for cleaning clothes.  Of course you can use your own homemade bar soap too if you want.

shredded fels naptha for homemade laundry detergent

Shredding the bar soap with a food processor is the easiest way to do it, but using a cheese grater works just as well.  

Shredding by hand will probably take for ever, buts its worth it to make your own laundry detergent. I know that the Fels Naptha looks like cheddar cheese, but it’s not, so don’t eat it.  Or maybe it’s just me that was tempted.

Step Two

1 cup borax

Next you will add in 1 cup of borax to the shredded bar soap. The purpose of Borax in homemade laundry detergent is as a detergent booster.  The borax helps to get clothes cleaner, and brightens and deodorizes clothes.

Step Three

1 cup washing soda

Then add 1 cup of washing soda and mix. Washing soda helps to clean the clothes, and also to freshen, and fight odor in you laundry.

Step Four

Mix it up

Then stir the bar soap, borax, and washing soda together.  Stir it all up for at least a couple of minutes to ensure that everything is mixed well. Or, if you have a big enough container you can just shake everything together.  I’m really good at making messes, so shaking everything together in a sealed container makes it a lot harder to make a mess.

Using Your Homemade Laundry Detergent

1 tbsp per load 1 tbsp should be enough for your average load of laundry.  However, if you’ve got a big load, extra dirty clothes, or just can’t believe 1 tbsp is enough to clean you clothes then use 2 tbsp, and that should be more than enough.

Storing Homemade Laundry Detergent

Keep it dry

You want to make sure you keep your nice new batch of homemade laundry detergent dry.  I personally like to use air tight glass jar so that I can easily see how much I have left.  Put in an air tight container so that no moisture can get in.  For good measure you should also keep it in a dry place just to be safe.

Does It Work?

For my first time making this homemade laundry detergent, I think it turned out really well.  After having used the entire batch of detergent I can say that it has been getting my clothes completely clean.  

There’s no oily feel, smell, or anything else unpleasant left after washing.  My clothes are left smelling fresh and looking great after several times through the wash. After using this homemade laundry detergent for a few months I am still super happy with how well it works!  

I haven’t seen any sings of yellowing in my clothing, but just the possibility is worrying enough to steer me away from using fels naptha for washing laundry on a regular basis.


How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent With Bar Soap and Washing Soda

how to make homemade laundry detergent

Here's how to make homemade laundry detergent quickly and easily. This homemade laundry detergent recipe will get your clothes clean naturally with bar soap and washing soda.

Prep Time 4 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 14 minutes


  • Bar soap
  • Borax
  • Washing soda


  • Cheese grater or food processor
  • Large bowl
  • Mixing utensil (optional)
  • Glass jar w/ lid or airtight container


  1. Shred the Fels Naptha soapShred bar soap with cheese grater or food processor.
  2. fels naptha for homemade laundry detergentPut in large bowl.
  3. Homemade laundry detergent, add boraxAdd 1 cup borax.
  4. homemade laundry detergentAdd 1 cup washing soda.
  5. finished homemade laundry detergentMix with hands or mixing utensil until well combined.
  6. Pour mixture into glass jar or airtight container & store in a cool dry place.
  7. how to make homemade laundry detergentAdd 1 tbsp. to an average size load of laundry and let washing machine do its thing!


Sunday 30th of June 2019

Thanks for the ideas, cant wait to try making my own laundry soap. I found Zote at my 99cents only store for only .59 cents a bar and just started using it as a stain stick. Loads if thanks!


Thursday 23rd of January 2020

What a deal! That's awesome Scott, thank you for your comment!


Monday 28th of April 2014

Lance, Fels will over time yellow and ruin your clothes. I find that using Dr. Bronners bar soap for dry detergent works the very best.


Thursday 1st of May 2014

Liza, thanks for letting me know that! Perfect timing! I actually just started using Dr. Bronners to wash our clothes while traveling and was thinking about updating the post with that instead. Thanks to your comment I'll make that change when we get home! Thanks for taking the time to let me know Liza.


Monday 4th of November 2013

I have been making homemade laundry soap for a year now and I love it. I have made liquid and powder soap and love them both. You can also try to use some oxiclean or I use Purex 2 powder. I noticed that my whites were looking a little dingy. This really helps.

Homemade Experiment

Tuesday 26th of November 2013

Thanks taking the time to leave this tip Charlene. I will have to try one of those out and see if my whites get a little brighter.

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