Pros And Cons Of Homemade Laundry Detergent

I found a recipe for homemade laundry detergent I would like to try:

Powdered Detergent

  • 1 Cup Grated Fels Naptha Soap
  • 1/2 Cup Washing Soda
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  • 1/2 Cup Borax

For light load, use 1 tablespoon.

For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 tablespoons.

I was wondering if any one has used this or similar recipes and if any one can share the pros and cons. I would also like to know if these recipes are more environmentally friendly then store bought. I look forward to your advice! Thanks!

Tracey from Duluth, MN

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August 3, 20070 found this helpful

I have used that recipe and was pretty happy with it, but I used a bit more like 3T. One thing is to dissolve it before I put it in the laundry. Just put some in a jar of warm water and shake it up. The Fels Naptha was not grated as finely as it should gave been because I just used a hand grater, not a food processor like some people do. It seems to work better than some of the cheaper boughten detergents.

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By Carol in PA (Guest Post)
August 6, 20070 found this helpful

I would like to point out that your recipe is for laundry soap and not laundry detergent. Fels Naptha is soap. The only other product that is for washing clothes that I'm aware of that is soap is Ivory Snow and perhaps Dreft. All other clothes washing products are detergents. I dont think soap does as good a job on really dirty clothing. Its intended to be used on a person's skin or body. Also, I do not think it rinses out off as well as detergent. But this is only my opinion.


Best of luck.

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By (Guest Post)
August 6, 20070 found this helpful

Fels Naptha soap is not for a person's skin or body. It is for laundry use only. And great for stains I may add. Don't know about this formula, but I have grated it in my laundry before and it works well.

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By (Guest Post)
August 6, 20070 found this helpful

Make a half of batch and try it.

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By Leigh Ann (Guest Post)
August 6, 20070 found this helpful

This is the exact recipe I have used nearly exclusively for a number of years. I have recently used Lever 2000 soap for the fragrance difference. I have 8 and 10 year old boys and a husband with a somewhat dirty job some days. I have had no problems. I usually keep a high quality, higher priced laundry product on hand for my best clothes, but for everyday use we are happy with it.


I can't begin to think of going back to $pending so much on laundry. I use my blender to pulverize the bar soap to a powder form. I don't think you'll be disappointed if you like the Fels Naptha fragrance.

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By Lila arroyo (Guest Post)
August 7, 20070 found this helpful

I use this recipe also, but as I have a large load washer I use a 1/4 cup in a load. I have even gone farther and made my own soap, so I have eliminated the Fels Naptha. I am happy with the results and you do not have to use fabric softner in the wash. Saves on a lot of additives

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By (Guest Post)
August 7, 20070 found this helpful

is this recipe safe to use with bleach ?

Editor's note: This should be fine to use with bleach. Bleach reacts with vinegar and also with ammonia but none of those are in this recipe.

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August 8, 20070 found this helpful

Thank you all for your help! I will be trying this recipe when my gigantic container of laundry detergent runs out. Since posting this I have found out a little bit on if this is eco friendly.


The green guide posted a similar recipe(liquid castille soap or plain soap flakes with either borax or washing soda)as an alternative to the super expensive eco friendly detergent brands on the market. Once again thank you for all of the advice!

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August 10, 20070 found this helpful

If I have a load of extra dirty clothes, I just soak them a while before I finish the load. It seems to cut through all the dirt and grease, and the clothes come out nice and clean. The amount you use will depend on your water type. Original laundry soap bars were simply soap with borax added to them, so this is not a new idea. Also, since it doesn't suds, it works great with the newer front load or low water usage machines.

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February 4, 20110 found this helpful

Where do you buy washing soda? Never saw it.

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February 26, 20111 found this helpful

I use the same exact recipe-i get 10 gallons for probably under 2 dollars, it smells wonderful and does a good job-no complaints at all! Yes Fells Naptha is a soap, but when mixed with the other 2 ingredients it makes laundry detergent, trust me.


Washing soda is available in the laundry aisle, usually on some bottom shelf or right next to the borax. Try the recipe. You wont regret it!

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