Homemade Laundry Soap Using Fels Naptha

Category Laundry
Fels-Naptha is a common ingredient in homemade soaps. You can make your own homemade laundry soap using Fels- Naptha.


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June 2, 2015

Homemade laundry soap is a combination of Fels Naptha, borax, washing and baking soda. Take 3 bars grated Fels Naptha soap, 1 box of borax, 1 box washing soda, and 1 box baking soda. Mix it all together and use it as detergent. Your clothes will not have any odor when done. You can also add Downy Unstoppable or Pyrex crystals to the mix, if you want.

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March 7, 2012

I would like to make my own laundry soap. It calls for Fels-Naptha laundry soap, borax, and Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda. I cannot get the soap and washing soda in my area. Would it be okay to use Sunlight pure soap and just regular Arm and Hammer soda instead?


By Pam


March 7, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Washing soda is very much different than baking soda. The two do not inter-change well, (trust me I know, I tried it the first time I made detergent). However, you can use:

Dawn dish soap (the blue, original kind)
Washing Soda

Anyhow, what local grocers do you have? I know Wal-mart has these items. However, in my small-town area, the local grocer carries these items all in the laundry aisle, but sometimes if you ask a manager the stores can and will order you these products. It's worth a try! Good Luck!

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March 7, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Patricia is right, you can't replace baking soda for washing soda, it is very different. You can replace the Nels with Zote Soap, however. It comes in large pink and white bars and is the laundry aisle of many grocery stores.


It is very good for hand washables also. It is inexpensive.

As for the washing soda, besides Walmart, you can buy it at Kroger Grocery Stores and is probably available at home improvement types (Ace Hardware, Lowes, Home Depot) stores also, I haven't actually checked on that in a while, though.

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August 16, 2010

How do I make laundry soap with Fels Naptha soap?

By Koposhi from Decatur, IL


August 19, 20100 found this helpful
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One very important thing to remember about using the Fels Naptha soap is that you should always remove the wrapper from each bar of soap and let it air dry out. Otherwise, you will experience a problem because the soap will be much too soft to grate. If you are having trouble finding Fels Naptha soap, try a hardware store, which is where I buy my soap.

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January 25, 20140 found this helpful
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The Fels Naptha is in bar form so you can grate it first before putting into the hot water. The first time I made detergent I made the powder form which suggested putting the bar (Ivory in place of when making for gentle washing) in the microwave for, I think a minute or so first. The Ivory bar poofs out about ten times its size (it's really fun to watch). Then I put it into my food processor. It crumbles perfectly!


However, I would NEVER use those recipe directions again because it took months for the smell (and taste, whether physiological or not) to be rid of in the microwave. The next time, I made the liquid (gel) form. But be safe! You don't want to be doing this unless you can open the windows and turn on any exhaust fans. Even with taking the precautions the smell can be quite strong. I wouldn't suggest little ones (or asthmatics) be around when making it. I would assume this stuff is made in factories with enormous exhausts and safety gear. Fels Naptha

Soap bar is an excellent and very inexpensive staple in my laundry room. It has been for years. It's excellent for pre treating! I see it popping up more and more as there are more and more thrifty seekers out there. Thank you Thrifty Fun!

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I would like to try the homemade detergent that I have read about on this site, with the ingredients, washing soda, borax, and Fels. What is the amount for each one to do a full load? What is Fels? Thank you for any help.



September 17, 20170 found this helpful

Homemade laundry detergent is popular and there are dozens of sites with instructions available on the Internet.

  • Basic ingredients may vary with some recipes but mostly stay the same. Some prefer one brand of bar soap over another (Fels is a bar soap and available in stores and over the Internet - similar to Ivory).
  • Each batch yields approximately 32 ounces (between 32-64 loads based on how many Tbsp used per load). Ingredients - 1 bar (or 4.5 ounces) shaved bar soap (Dr. Bonners, Kirts Castile Soap, Ivory, Zote, or Fels-Naptha) + 1 cup borax + 1 cup washing soda
  • Directions - Thoroughly stir together for several minutes. You can take this a step further and blend the mixture in a blender or food processor to create a powder that will dissolve easily even in cold water. Store in a sealed container with a small scoop.
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  • To Use: Use 1 Tbsp per small load (or 2-3 Tbsp for large or heavily soiled loads).

Here is a link to full instructions and also a recipe for liquid homemade soap.


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April 20, 20180 found this helpful

I use the smallest measuring scoop that comes on the ring. I also make my soap a little different now. I find it very easy and it requires no shaving of soap. Unless of course I find it for a buck or less.

This awesome is at the dollar tree and it's nice. I use this entire container. They have a very good power to it. I use a entire box of borax and washing soda. I will add in scented beads when they have them. There have been times I found a few small packs of the small soaps on sale. I pick up a few and toss it in.

There have been people happy to come get a zip lock bag of my soap. I have yet to tell anyone what it is. I have used this over a few years now. It's truly a blessing to be frugal. Thumbs up.

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October 20, 2017

Depending on the recipe and method you use to make your laundry soap, it may not turn out the liquid consistency you wanted. This is a page about homemade liquid laundry soap didn't gel.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

September 5, 2010

I have read different articles on how to make laundry detergent, and tried our own recipe last week. I used Fels Napa bar soap, grated it up, put it on the burner with water covering it until it melted. I then added a box of baking soda which I had diluted using a quart of hot water. I put them together and added two gallons of water and let them boil together for awhile.

We cooled it down and put it in 2 one gallon bottles. It looks like it separates, but we shake well before using and add one cup to each load of laundry we are doing. I was amazed at how bright and clean our laundry has become.

After reading others instructions about having to use borax or laundry soda, I am questioning why. This has worked really great for us and hopefully by going "green" we can save money.

By Denise from IL


Homemade Laundry Detergent

Quite frankly, adding borax and/or washing soda are just different recipes. You can only use grated soap, or can add table salt. The amount you use depends on your washer capacity, the hardness of your water, how diluted you make the recipe, and how dirty your laundry is.

Personally, I prefer the recipe with borax and washing soda since I can only use 1/4 cup per load, making it cheaper for me to make. I also use regular bar soap slivers left over from our shower bars or small motel bars. I've even used homemade soaps. I remember decades ago, my grandfather making homemade soap from used fats and cooking oils, then grating it for laundry soap. This isn't a recipe set in stone. You can make it with whatever you have or can find. It still works amazingly well. (02/20/2010)

By susan

Homemade Laundry Detergent

We use the Duggar family recipe 1 fels-naptha bar grated and put in saucepan with hot water (about 4 cups) stir slowly (to avoid bubbling) until soap melts. Fill a 5 gallon bucket 1/2 way with hot water, add melted soap mixture, 1 cup washing soda (not baking soda, though washing soda is made by Arm and Hammer too and is the brand I use), and 1/2 cup borax. Stir until dissolved, then fill the bucket to the top and stir again. Cover and let sit over night. We have empty laundry detergent bottles we fill with 1/2 water and 1/2 soap mixture.

We used to mash the soap gel in a bowl 1st with a masher or use a hand mixer. Now we dilute it by taking half the bucket of concentrate and putting into a 2nd bucket and filling each half bucket with half water and using a mixer then we have 10 gallons. It works great! You can add 20-40 drops of essential oils once cooled for fragrance, but we think it smells great without it! The whole 10 gallons cost less than 2 bucks. (02/20/2010)

By amy

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January 10, 2011

By Shaunta Alburger

I make my own laundry detergent using Fels Naptha bar soap, Borax and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. I was able to find the ingredients at my local market. If you can't find them there, they are available online, through www.soapsgonebuy.com but the shipping cost will eat up any savings. What I can buy locally for $11.35 would cost more than $30.00 if I bought it online.

Before I started making my own detergent, we used detergent in 40-load containers for $2.89. That's slightly more than 7 cents a load. Since we were using cheap-o detergent and Las Vegas has very hard water, we always add Borax to the wash, about a cup per large load, for an additional 26 cents. Bringing the total to 33 cents a load.

Ruby, our baby, has very sensitive skin and cannot wear clothes that have been washed in this way. The cheapest baby detergent I've found is All for babies, which comes in a 25 load bottle for about $4.00. Or, 16 cents a load, plus the 26 cents for Borax is 42 cents a load.

To make enough laundry detergent for 100 loads of wash I would need three bars of Fels Naptha soap, one box of Borax and two boxes of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. That's eleven cents a load, a savings of half over cheap detergent with a Borax booster.

All the ingredients in the homemade detergent are safe to use on my baby's clothes, even with her extra sensitive skin. The homemade stuff is an even deeper savings for her clothes.

The is also the extra bonus of the stain removing properties of both Borax and Fels Naptha. If I have an item that is stained or yellowed, I can stop my washer and let the whole load soak right in the detergent. Or just rub some detergent right into the stain before washing. No more Spray N' Wash.

And, lastly, if I buy Fels Naptha in bulk from www.soapsgonebuy.com I can get each bar for about half of what I would spend at the grocery store. Bringing my total cost down to 9 cents a load, with an initial outlay of $45.00 for 40 bars of soap (that's a LOT of laundry detergent!)

The verdict? The homemade detergent is a savings over what I was doing. And, if I buy the soap in bulk the cost will come down to about the same as the very cheapest way I can think of.

To make homemade laundry detergent, grate a bar of Fels Naptha. Mix in an airtight container with one cup each Borax and Washing Soda. One tablespoon is enough for most loads, use two tablespoons for tough loads.

About The Author: Shaunta Alburger publishes The Penny-Wise Journal, a print newsletter for those who want to use a short period of very intense thrift as a means of getting out of debt and building savings.


Homemade Laundry Detergent

Arm and Hammer has a toll free locater line dedicated to locating their washing soda is your area. Number is on the box or maybe you can access them via internet. (02/17/2006)

By Linda

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I don't know that I'd go so far as to make my own laundry detergent but I do like that Fels Naptha for stains. I bought a bar at Wal-Mart I think. It's a big bar too and I think will last a long time. I tried it today just as it recommends. You just wet the area, rub the bar on it and then I worked it in a little by rubbing together, then wash as usual. I did not have any remaining stains. It worked great! I just put the bar in a ziploc snack bag so that I open and then hold onto half of the bar while still in the bag and don't have to actually touch the soap. (02/17/2006)

By Debbie Dzurilla

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I started making my own laundry soap when my son was diagnosed with eczema. I grated pure and natural soap from the Dollar store then. now that I know that detergents and such don't make it any worse, I use Zote soap from the grocery store. They sell it for 69 cents for a huge bar, which is much cheaper then their Fels or Kirks. I grate about 3 at a time and add several cups of washing soda (I even used plain baking soda when I couldn't find washing soda) and borax. Just 2 tablespoons a load makes them smell very clean and my whites stay white. (02/18/2006)

By kimberly

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I buy the Zote bars to wash out my undies in the shower. Once when I had none to wash with. I put the zote bar in my machine while the water was filling up with lemon juice and shampoo (suave). They came out clean (11/15/2006)

By giftsandbags.com

Homemade Laundry Detergent -Las Vegas Suppliers

I called Arm & Hammer for suppliers of A&H Super Wash (UPC#33200-03020) in Las Vegas, they said Smith's only one that carried. Went there and don't carry-had 4 lb box baking soda box next to 20 Mule Borax. Smiths was over $1.00 more than Wal-Mart ($2.12). Went to 99 Cent store for 7 oz bars of Zote @ 50 cents each. Also, thought about grating the little leftover pieces of bar soap and mix in. Good? Bad? Suggestions. (05/20/2008)

By Sue

Homemade Laundry Detergent


You can find where Fels Naptha soap is sold in your area. Choose laundry care, then Fels Naptha soap bar, 5.5 oz. then put in your zip code. Walaaa! it is so close to my house! who would have thunk it! :0) (08/13/2008)

By amber

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August 16, 2010

I have saved a ton of money by making my own laundry detergent. I grate a bar of Fels Naptha soap (I buy it in the grocery store for about 79 cents) and add 4 cups of water to it.

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