the domestic tales of four sisters

Homemade Laundry Soap

Can I tell you how much I love Pinterest, let me count the ways…

 I have often found myself sitting around wondering what life was like before Pinterest.  I always come up with the same statement – it was all about Google.  To which leads me to think…well what was life like before Google…and then I look at the 2,873,928 recipe books that are adorning the middle shelf of my corner hutch, the memories I have of being taught the “tricks of the trade” passed down through the generations, and things I have picked up from scanning the brilliancy of Real Simple as I stand in the grocery store checkout line.  From there I just decide to say…”Man, do I love Pinterest and am so very thankful for it!!!”  It might be an obsession.  And that obsession has only grown as Baby K’s due date quickly approaches.

 One of my reasons for the love of Pinterest is when we (Kelsea, Danielle, and I) all stumbled upon the homemade laundry soap pins…yes P-I-N-S.  You have your choice between liquid or powder.  And you have a ton of options as far as ingredients in them…though the type (liquid or powder) are very similar from recipe to recipe.  The tutorial I am going to share is of the powder.  I love it, but I am pretty certain that my husband loves it even more.  When I brought home the ingredients and he saw them piled on the table his reaction (I kid you not)… “Oh my gosh!  Are you making the laundry soap I love!?  I am telling you hon, the clothes get so clean and I LOVE the way it makes our clothes feel and smell.  Don’t you just love how it makes our clothes smell?!?!”  Anyone who knows me knows I have a scent issue…the hubs and I both do…Baby K is doomed.

 The ingredients needed are very simple and all can be found in your local Walmart laundry aisle, though you will need to go to the baking aisle for the baking soda.  I am all about giving credit where credit is due.  This recipe, as stated, was pinned on Pinterest.  Here, you can find a step-by-step tutorial (which includes step-by-step pictures) for your convenience.  While my method might be a bit different, this is what I used to create this beautiful concoction.  With that said…let us begin!

 Items needed:

LARGE bucket/tub/container for mixing

Mixing instrument of some sort (I used a wooden spoon)

Sealable container for storage

Well ventilated area

1 – 4lb 12oz box of borax

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

1 – 3lb container of Oxy Clean (I used the smaller container)

2 – 14.1 oz bars of Zote (or Fels Naptha)

2 – 2lb boxes of Baking Soda (Or 4 – 1lb boxes)

1-2 bottles of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener (I used 1)

1 cheese grater or food processor


**Please note: The Oxy Clean and Purex Crystals are completely optional.  However, the Oxy Clean is a great way to remove stains from whites and colors and the Purex Crystals not only offer a great scent, but they are your fabric softener.**

To begin, take your cheese grater or food processor and begin to grate your Zote or Fels Naptha.  Yes, you read that correctly, you need to grate your bars of Zote or Fels Naptha.  I use the smallest grate side possible, and have at it.  Once you have shredded your bars you have finished the most difficult, err tedious,  task.  After you have completed the shredding, you are good to mix all of the items together.  The original post suggests layering the items a little bit at each time.  I am more of a dump and stir person.  **This is where you will want to be sure you are in a well ventilated area.  As the ingredients are poured out of their containers/boxes there is bound to be some “wafting”.  By having a nice open area, you are allowing room for this to take place.**  Once all of your items are dumped, grab your stirring utensil and begin to stir.  If you trust the seal of the container you are using for mixing AND you are strong enough (this is heavy), you could probably pick it up and give it a good shake.  I’ll be sticking with the stirring technique.  Stir, stir, stir. Once you have it all mixed up, it should look something like this…


 Pretty colors, right!?  The pink is the Zote.  It also comes in white and Fels Naptha is yellow.  All work the same, they are just different colors.  Once everything is mixed, you will need to place the detergent in a tightly sealed container.  I first refill my Purex Crystal Fabric Softener containers.  The lids just pop off for filling and the nifty cap is how I dispense the detergent into the washer.  Anything that does not fit into the containers goes into a tightly sealed Rubbermaid container and placed in the laundry room pantry.



 Yes…that is 4 FULL bottles of detergent and a nearly full Rubbermaid container.  Total cost of homemade detergent… $19.00!!!  While that might seem a bit more expensive than the Tide you love…for a 72 count (so…72 loads) you are looking at $17.97 at Walmart.  Plus you need to purchase fabric softener or sheets.  The homemade “stuff” includes the softener and wait for it….lasts me nearly 6 months at approximately 7 loads of laundry a week.  For a total of 168 loads of laundry.  For all the non-math people out there…that is $0.11/load.  For the Tide…$0.25/load.  Some of you are wondering, is it “He” approved…you better believe it.  We just replaced our washer last spring, I do not fill it too full NOR would I put anything in there that is going to gunk it up.  Husband thinks I am over protective of the washing machine…I say I’m just ensuring it lasts us a good, long while.  🙂

Total time to prepare this beautiful concoction was approximately 30-35 minutes…that includes “grating time”.  If you have a food processor, you will cut that time down tremendously.  I have one, but putting a bar of soap-like substance in my food processor just didn’t seem right.  The grater, I clean by hand and can thoroughly inspect that it’s fully clean with nothing in the nooks and crannies.  And, if you are a faster grater, I am sure that will help cut back on the prep time.  All-in-all this household is very pleased with this product and I do hope that if you give it a try, you find great satisfaction in it as well.

On that note…off to finish preparing dinner.  Another Pinterest inspired creation: Grilled Pesto Shrimp Skewers.

Happy grating…


6 thoughts on “Homemade Laundry Soap”

  • i did this with the same recipe, but instead of the purex crystals, i used the gain fireworks fabric softener nubbins. i did 3 short bottles. (they were on clearance at kroger 🙂 ) i found the scent more appealing and the clothes a bit softer and more fragrant than when i used the purex. fantastic stuff!
    i wear a white chef’s coat when i work at bonefish grill as a server and they are near IMPOSSIBLE to get clean and non-dingy. this cleans so well i don’t even have to bleach them! not to mention the sheer nastiness of smells that are found on food industry clothing.

    i also found a 4 or 5 gallon trashcan with a lid for like $5 at Rose’s. it’s perfect for this, though it only fills it about halfway.

    i rate this FANTASTIC.

    • To our knowledge it is ok to use in an HE washer. Sami uses it in hers. She uses the scoop (top) for the Pyrex crystals to measure (between the 2nd and 3rd line). Hope that helps!!

    • We usually use the measuring cup/lid from the Purex container. Top line for a full load and one of the other two lines (depending on the size of the load) for smaller ones. Thanks for stopping by!

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