How to make Homemade Laundry Soap, a powder

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are not offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. Instead, we are sharing how to make your own Homemade Laundry Soap.…

I have tried a couple of homemade laundry powder "recipes" and, this one is a keeper. It is easy to make, but more importantly, it cleans your clothes. Your laundry will come out of the washer clean, fresh-smelling and did I mention clean? In addition, this laundry powder is not over perfumed, contains harmful ingredients or phosphates.

How to make How to make, Homemade Laundry Soap, nothing artificial and you get clean clothes!
How to make Homemade Laundry Soap
In my childhood home, our large family (5 kids and 2 adults) used a wringer washer. I use to help my mom with the laundry, I thought the wringer part was fun, as I placed the clothes into the spinning wringer wheels. The washer was rolled over to the laundry sink to be filled with hot water, directly from the water heater.

Clothes were washed in sequence, first the whites, then the towels, and then the blue jeans and dark clothes.

And yes, all from the same soapy water, unless someone had been ill. Those clothes were washed in a separate load.

Which means I have been doing laundry for a very long time! Clothes and linens used on a regular basis will get a bit dingy and that will happen with any laundry product used, homemade or purchased. The difference between commercial laundry powders and this homemade version is that with the commercial product the extra cleaning chemicals used to prevent any dingy build-up, are in every load of laundry and going down every drain, each time you wash a load of clothes.

That seems to be a lot of unnecessary chemicals, load after load. Week after week.....

To prevent that dingy look, every six months (or so)  I will give the whites an extra little tumble with additional Oxyclean, but otherwise, this is a complete laundry powder. The only thing to make my laundry perfect would be a clothesline to hang them on to dry.

How to make Woolen Dry Balls for your laundry and eliminate fabric softener sheets for good!
Make your own Woolen Dryer Balls and eliminate dryer sheets!

Let's get started, but only if you want to save some money and still get clean clothes.  All of these cleaning products are easily obtained from our local market. Making this a great solution for your laundry needs. By the way, if you would also like to eliminate fabric softener sheets from your household, you might be interested in making a few Woolen Dryer Balls, it is very easy and a great way to repurpose old or no longer needed wool sweaters.

Homemade Laundry Soap, a Powder
Largely adapted from: Love made the radish grow
and countless other internet searches!

Note:  the photos below show the use of a food processor, but this single batch is super easy to do with a hand grater.

1 bar Fels Naptha soap
2 c borax
2 c washing soda
1/2 c baking soda
1 c Oxyclean or oxygen laundry additive

Note:  I usually make a double batch to save time, the ingredients in the following photos are for a double batch.

How to make homemade laundry powder, for your homemade household.

Cut soap in half, grate using grater attachment. Empty into a large mixing bowl, change to the chopping blade.

Pulse mixture until the volume is reduced by half, making small pebbles of chopped soap.

How to make Homemade Laundry Soap, a powder
Homemade Laundry Soap, a powder

Return the grated soap to the mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients. Please note, you may need to press the baking soda and washing soda through a sieve to remove any lumps. Combine until completely mixed. Package into a sealed container, we use empty coffee cans.

Use a coffee measuring spoon, 1 slightly rounded scoop for a small load, 2 scoops for a large load. If you are washing really dirty clothes, add up to 1/2 extra scoop.

When my original processor bowl became scratched worn, I turned it into the soap processing bowl. I have the recipe taped right on the side.  This way I do not have to be concerned about soap flavor getting into the new processor bowl, I use to cook with. This soap bowl just goes back on the storage shelf in the garage, ready to use again.

I hope this recipe works as well for you as it does for us.

Thank you for visiting Our Sunday Cafe, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

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You may enjoy reading about our life and family changes since this blog began, you may find that post here. 

PS, you may also, enjoy our Homemade Household page, it can be found right at the top of the blog!

UPDATE: I have now adapted this recipe for a big batch, which for some folks might be easier, I know it is for us. You can find it here. 


  1. I buy the Seventh Generation but I think that was a great tutorial for making the soap.

  2. This is very similar to the laundry soap I make. I use the Fels, the washing soda and the borax. I've haven't added the oxy-clean or baking soda before, but I can see how it might help. I also love how this soap smells!

    My food processor will allow me to use the grating blade and the chopping blade at the same time, so I only have to run the Fels through one time. This processor is on it's last legs, though; I hope my next one will also allow me to use both at the same time.

  3. That is so cool,, making your own soap.I think this is the same soap The Duggers make.The big family with the reality show.She said it cleans great too.My daughter would love this recipe for sure.Thankyou for sharing this,

  4. These are great instructions to keep on hand. Thanks for sharing them with us. I found the information you share with your readers to be really helpful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  5. I use this recipe too without the baking soda. I also dry most of my clothes on a line in the summer. I don't use fabric softner in the washer, but after my clothes are dry, I usually throw them in the dryer with a Bounce sheet for about 5 minutes to soften them up. This recipe is very low sudsing so it works perfectly for my HE washer.

  6. Wow! Melynda! This is great, I have never seen homemade soap before, this is new to me! I have learnt something interesting today! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Very interesting. Where do you buy all those ingredients?

  8. This is very cool! I have never tried to make my own laundry detergent. I really should give this a go. I'm going to try to find the Fels.
    My Mom makes her own window cleaner that works amazingly well. I need to get her recipe for it. She usually just brings me a gallon when she visits..LOL.

  9. I've seen similar recipes before that involved grating the soap by hand. I wasn't that wild about the idea. You're so smart to use the food processor.

  10. Thanks for this, I'm going to make some! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  11. I have not tried this - I am on the lookout for a cheap, used food processor - I only have one - to try this.Thanks for linking this to the Hearth and Soul Hop!

  12. I wonder how well this formula would work with my homemade soap. I have seen similar recipes, but without the oxyclean and baking soda. I think I will try this. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Thanks for sharing them with us.
    I do remember how wringer washer,Did you ever get anything caught in a wringer?or ruined a couple of shirts?

  14. Melynda, I'm going to share my Mom's window cleaner "recipe" this week (she just e-mailed it to me :) and I'm going to feature your homemade laundry detergent as well.

  15. Melynda, this is such a great idea - it's so much better to know what is actually in the products you are using to clean your clothes and your home, especially these days, and the only way to do that is to make them yourself. Thank you for a really interesting post and for sharing such a useful recipe with the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop

  16. I just made this! Trying it now lets see how it works!!!! Thanks!

  17. Thanks for the tutorial!
    May I use SUN bleach (like from Dollar Store) instead Oxu clean?


  18. Sun Bleach should work if it is an enzyme cleaner, let me know, thanks for visiting!

  19. I am new to soap making. Will be making a second batch now that I found the recipe again. The first recipe is in the house somewhere. It cleans the clothes and towels nicely. Only a couple of times were stains left, had the item been pretreated it would have washed out. The detergent I have been using for years was starting to offend my nose. I want to try ivory and see how that works in place of the Fels Naptha. Thanks for the recipe.

  20. I made this last week and love it! Thank you!

  21. I have been using this recipe for several years, but we make a big 5-gallon bucket of it at one time. I don't have a food processor, so my kids take turns grating the Fels Naptha soap on our hand grater. It works great, I love this detergent! A 5-gallon bucket lasts us about 6 months, and we do about 7-8 loads of laundry a week. Costs approximately $20...

  22. My recipe is similar, too, but like Annie (above) I don't use oxyclean or baking soda. I started making it with Octagon soap, but we didn't care for the scent. Now I use Yardley soaps; my favorites are lemon verbena and vanilla. The baby soap is nice, too, but my guys don't always want to smell like baby powder. ;)


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