Homemade Laundry Soap Separated?

October 10, 2004

Homemade laundry soap ingredients.I just made my first batch of laundry soap (fels naptha, washing soda, borax combo). After sitting for 24 hours, it didn't gel up like it should have. Instead, it serparated into liquid with a waxy, 1 inch top (kinda looks like how fat rises on soup when refrigerated). What did I do wrong? Can it be fixed by re-heating the batch? I thought I followed the directions exactly.


Leann D


October 11, 20041 found this helpful
Best Answer

Ok, I fixed the batch, and now it's gelled nicely (I re-heated the whole batch and stired it every hour or so until it cooled). Here's the recipe:
1/3 bar fels naptha laundry soap - grated
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax
Put fels naptha into a pan and add about 6 cups water. Heat, stiring constantly, until soap is melted. Stir in washing soda and borax. Continue stirring until dissolved. Fill a 2 gallon bucket with hot tap water. Add soap mixture and stir well to combine. As it cools it will turn into a gel. Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry.

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November 4, 20051 found this helpful
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I have some more specific intructions for it. The first time I made it it came out a little too watery and lumpy. After practice I have it down and it is a nice gel consistency.


Liquid Laundry Detergent

3 Pints Water
1/3 Bar Fels Naptha or Ivory Soap, Grated
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
4 Quarts + 1 Pint Boiling/Hot Water
optional: 15 drops Lavender Essential Oil (or whatever EO you prefer)
optional: 10 drops Tea Tree Oil

Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints of water, and heat until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Add another 2 quarts boiling hot water and 1 additional quart plus 1 pint hot water and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.

I use cloth diapers on my two boys so I have a lot of laundry. I make up the detergent two batches at a time in a 5 gallon bucket. I love this stuff!

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June 1, 2022

I made 5 gallons using a recipe from TikTok. Because of the quantity and frequency of our laundry, I diverted a little. I used one full bar of fels naphtha, 2 cups borax, 2 cups of washing powder and added essential oil for fragrance.

Also added 1/2 cup laundry sanitizer, and 1/2 cup of softener. I'm having the same separating issues. Is there anything I can do in the main bucket before I put it in the smaller use container?


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
June 1, 20220 found this helpful
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As a general rule, most DIY laundry soap/detergents recipes are left in flaked/granular consistency and an appropriate amount measured for each load. This type seems to be the most popular.


However, since you already have 5 gallons mixed, you may have a problem dividing this into smaller containers.
There are so many 'great' DIY soap recipes on TikTok it would be difficult to locate the one you used.

Did you shred the Fels Naphtha?
Did you use the exact products the recipe called for?
Did you follow the instructions exactly as stated?
Did the recipe call for one gallon and you made five?
Did your recipe call for using boiling water to dissolve the soap?
Sorry, but any one of these answers could be why you're having this problem as most DIY recipes have to follow the original instructions exactly.

Smaller quantities of liquid are always better because liquid DIY detergents usually always have to be stirred/shaken before measuring the amount to use.


Mixing cold congealed soap is not always easy to mix in a small container but most people put their mix in a gallon jug so they can just shake it up before using.
You probably filled your 5-gallon container to the top so mixing will certainly have to be gentle.
I think if I had this problem, I would find a large kitchen whisk and try gently stirring close to the bottom and keep moving around the container and hopefully, the top clumps would get caught up in the swirls.
The only other suggestion would be to fill a pot with your detergent and heat it before pouring it back into your 5-gallon container. It would probably take several pots of hot detergent to stir up/dissolve/melt the clumps but I think that would work.

Hopefully, another member will have more useful suggestions but maybe next time you could make your mix and not add any liquid until you're ready to make a gallon.


Maybe make your recipe for one gallon and store the dry mix in sealable containers so you have a mix ready for your next gallon.

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March 18, 2014

I started making natural laundry detergent in my home, but when I put it in the gallons it separated. What is the cause?



Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
March 22, 20141 found this helpful
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That's normal. You just shake it before using.

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July 3, 2018

I made laundry soap, but when I put it in the bucket it separated how can I fix it?


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
July 4, 20180 found this helpful

I think giving it a solid shake will do the trick.

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July 5, 20180 found this helpful


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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
July 25, 20180 found this helpful

this may be just inherent in the product because fo the different viscosity and density of the materials used - just like with oil and vinegar they will always separate nd you always have to mix it beforehand, unless you purchase/add a binding agent


this is a very interesting post discussing the perils of 'home made laundry soap'

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April 24, 20220 found this helpful

Use glycerin only a table spoon to a gallon. Shake well

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March 15, 2019

I am looking for DIY hacks to keep homemade liquid laundry soap from separating.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
March 15, 20190 found this helpful

You have to gently shake the detergent before each use, as it does separate.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
March 16, 20190 found this helpful

Keep it in a bottle with a good lid and shake it...I have not found a recipe yet that does not separate. It does not hurt anything. I look at the shaking part as exercise :)

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December 28, 20200 found this helpful

Try adding a squirt of dishwashing liquid. I read somewhere that it helps with splitting.
I used to have the issue of my homemade liquid splitting and I use the borax washing soda and soap recipe.
I tried extra blending with a hand blender and also used a jug blender but it still split after a few hours.
I did a trial... about a cup of the liquid and about a teaspoon of dish soap mixed in a small jar checking for 2 days and it worked splitting.
I now add a squirt to each 2lt bottle I use to store and have not had any splitting what so ever.
I have not added it to the main pot... only added after, when separating into smaller bottles. I still shake prior to use as it does tend to get a bit thick at the top but it evens out.

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