Wherein I attempt to make my own laundry soap

On Sunday, I was in a bind.  I had put my last disposable diaper on C and was waiting for the order of EcoSprout laundry soap to arrive to clean my cloth diapers.  I realized that no mail was going to be delivered the next day since it was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  A trip to Target was in store but not just to get more disposable diapers.  You see, I needed to wash those cloth diapers stat before they became a biohazard!  I looked online (really, just on pinterest) and searched for DIY laundry soap.  I found a recipe that required three simple ingredients and I happened to already have two of the three!  All I needed was some Arm and Hammer Washing Soda.

So off to Target we go.  M decides she wants to spend her saved up birthday/Halloween money to get a toy.  We look for the washing soda but no luck.  M still gets her toy and makes her mama proud by not just using her money towards a toy for herself but also spends half of her money to buy her little sister a toy.  Very cool.  And totally her idea.

Since Target was a disappointment, I decided I had to enter no man’s land.  Yep, Walmart.  I despise Walmart.  I. Do. Not. Shop. There.  But the word on the street was that they sold this washing soda and desperate times call for me doing things that I really don’t want to do.  So I go to the store whose-name-I-can’t-type-anymore and there is the washing soda.  Yay.

The other two ingredients beside the washing soda is borax and fels-naptha soap.  The basic idea to make the detergent is to shave the soap and then mix it with some borax and washing soda.  It is not fun to grate that soap so I ended up only doing about 1/3 of the bar.  I then mixed it with 1/2 cup of both borax and washing soap.  Even though I didn’t grate that much soap, I still had so much detergent!

I ended up washing not just the cloth diapers (an entire diaper pail full of them), but also five loads of laundry.  I still have detergent left over.  Some of the laundry was pretty stained and was pre-treated and ALL came out looking and smelling clean.  There is a lemony scent to the soap but your clothes DO NOT smell lemony.  They just smell clean.  I like that smell.  Much better than the smell they started out as.  Especially the cloth diapers.

DIY Laundry Soap Recipe:

For about 15 loads or so.

1/3 shaved/grated bar of Fels-Naptha Soap (grater is from IKEA and is highly recommended!)
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

Mix all together and place into a jar.  Use 1 tablespoon per load.  Adjust as needed.


  1. WOW! I’m impressed! So, is this a cheaper alternative? A friend offered to send me some recipes for some earth-friendly cleaners and I said that while I am lazy, I am also cheap, so…

  2. I think it is a cheaper alternative. I am not sure how many loads you would get if you shaved the entire bar of soap and added the other ingredients, but I know with the little soap that i used I still have a lot left to use for future loads. A bar of the soap is $1.00 and the borax and washing soap are each about $3.00, but again you are going to be able to use this soap a LONG time. Just my thoughts.

  3. We use this recipe on our regular laundry all the time. I haven’t bought detergent in over a year (except diaper detergent… for some reason I haven’t been able to bring myself to use homemade on the diapers… it’s stupid, I’m aware). It is cheaper and I love that my laundry doesn’t have that gross detergent perfume smell anymore. I use half a cup distilled white vinegar in place of softener, which works better in my opinion, keeps lint away and makes the clothing soft without adding chemicals to the clothing!

    For future reference there is usually washing soda at most local grocers in the laundry aisle! I’m surprised Walmart had any, they usually don’t carry it, not in my nearest 3 stores anyway.

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