Posted in Homemade Cleaners & Detergents, The Hen House, The Scoop from the Coop

The Scoop on Homemade Laundry Detergent & Stain Remover


Check the link at the bottom for my Final and Much Loved Recipe Update!!!!

Below, I will give you the recipe to Liquid and Dry Laundry Detergent and Homemade Oxy or Stain Remover….

How it all began . . . .

My niece found a recipe for homemade laundry detergent (I’ll include it below). I did some research, found about the same thing she found with a little bit of this or that changed. This had me really intrigued. I mean, everywhere I looked, every person out there who had the recipe kept saying that this cleaned as good as Tide and equaled out to be about 4 cents a load. Whaaat? How could I NOT try that? Plus, it’s supposed to be nearly all natural and that’s what I’m going for. Isn’t that what we are all going for? I mean, let’s be honest, nearly all of us are tryin’ to be kinder to the environment and do what’s better for our own health especially if it doesn’t mean we have to bend over backwards twice and do a one handed cartwheel.

But the stuff has to clean! Know what I mean? That’s the catch. And that’s what I wanted to find out. My husband owns his own masonry company and then with three kids, well, these clothes of ours can  some serious stains! That’s not even talkin’ bout what I pull out of my Salon room after doing hair. That being said, I wasn’t lookin’ for anything to actually remove the color stains from my towels – nothin’ is takin’ out that – but I do want clean. CLEAN.

I should add quickly, that I have an (He) washer. I also want to add, I found a liquid version of this recipe and a dry. I opted for the dry on my first run simply because I was out of my Tide and the Liquid said something about waiting 24 hours before I used it. Also note, everything can be found at Wal-Mart and places like that.

Now, here is the short list with the gest of it, but don’t worry, I’ll explain each ingredient afterwards.

Supposedly, this makes about 5 hundred something loads. That averages out to be about 4 cents per load (according to the experts) if you use the two tablespoon measurements that the other websites recommend. I am using 1/3 of a cup for each load. Call me paranoid cuz this ol’ gal don’t wanna wash no clothes twice! Even with my measurement, though, this still works out to be quite the deal. I usually have to buy a big bottle of Tide once a week because I wash so much, and here it is Friday, and guess what, I don’t need laundry detergent.

b91ee19700988feb383766a6cc42492d(Drum roll please….)

THE Ingredients & Instructions for DRY Laundry Soap

  • 1 box of Arm & Hammer SUPER WASHING SODA (3lb 7 oz.)
  • 1 box of Borax (4lb 12 oz.)
  • 1 box of Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda (4lb) (Some recipes called for this and some didn’t. I use this stuff anyway, so I added it just to be on the safe side. See more below.)
  • 3-4 bars of Fels Naptha or Zote Soap (Some people say you can use whatever kind of soap you want. Fels Naptha and Zote is actual laundry soap, though, so I went with that.
  • Other Ingredients : Some recipes said you can mix Arm & Hammer Clean Sensations in, Purex Crystals or even Oxyclean. I wanted to know what happens without this stuff and if I have to buy actual Oxyclean, well, I might as well buy my Tide, right? (I have a recipe for Oxyclean too, though.

Basically what you do is, take a food processor and grate up the Fels –Naptha or Zote Soap. I used the grate option, then put my blade in and broke it down extra fine after that. Then, you simply mix up all the ingredients and away you go.  

For liquid, you will need…

  • 5 Gallon Bucket
  • HOT Water
  • Everything listed above EXCEPT you are going to use less of the ingredients like this:


  • I cup of Borox
  • 1 cup of Washing Soda
  • 1 bar of Fels Naptha (grated)
  • 1 cup of Baking Soda (if you are including this.)
  • Purex Crystals or Scent — I wouldn’t add it to this. Just add it to the wash. Reason being, it mucked with mine a bit. Taking some of the suds away. Even though this is low suds, I want all I can get. That’s up to you and it could all be in my head but I think softeners mess with surfactants and their ability to clean.


Directions: Add the grated soap to a big pot on the stove with 4 cups of HOT water. Bring to a simmer/low boil until the soap dissolves.

Now some people skip this next step but I find it makes things easier if I add it —

Add the Borax, Super Washing Soda.

You want to heat this, especially the Borax– until everything dissolves. If the Borox doesn’t dissolve, then the liquid will be grainy and icky once it all cools down. That, and, I found that Borax and my (He) washer doesn’t like each other. Stuff doesn’t want to dissolve.

Fill the 5 gallon bucket half way with hot water—add the liquefied soap and if you are adding scent (optional) like essential oil, Crystals, now is the time. And add your Soda if you are using it.  Get a long spoon and or broom handle and stir real good (till the cows come home, or it will seem like – lol) and when done, put a lid on and let it sit for a good twenty-four hours.When its done, it will be clumpy and gellish. Just stir it up and realize that this is normal.

Use 1/3 – 1/4 cup with every wash. If using an HE washer– add it before you add your clothes.


For smell, (optional) Some use essential oils. Those can be expensive and most people are not gonna shell out big bucks especially if they are just trying this recipe out for the first time. I bought Purex Crystals — supposed to be 97% all natural. Now, Arm & Hammer has some pretty potent Clean Sensations – like Purex Crystals—but I’m not sure how natural those are. Some recipes said you can mix these in with the detergent recipe but I just add them on my own to each load. I think adding this to the detergent itself, messes with the cleaning power of the detergent. If you dont believe me, test it on your own. Pour some Dawn in a Dish Pan. Add a Softener. See how the washing power is knocked down ?  

A more natural way to soften clothes, remove smells and help with stains,   is add a cup of vinegar to each load. Winking smile Vinegar helps with cleaning power too. 

What’s the Scoop from the Coop?

The dry…I think it works great for normal laundry (laundry with no hardcore stains). You need something for stains, though. I need something for stains.  For example, my son plays baseball. Gettin’ the red clay and dirt out of his ball pants—pain, pain, pain. And if my daughter spills red snow cone syrup on a shirt – pain. Make sure to pretreat hardcore stains before washing  because well, with kids, anything can and will happen. Everything else came out clean as a whistle. Without added scent, smells clean, not strong and overwhelming.For He washers, and for those who wash in Cold, you may find that the detergent doesn’t want to dissolve. If this is the case, try adding the detergent first before the clothes. Still doesn’t dissolve? Try washing in warm to hot water. Don’t wanna? Just make the Liquid.

What about the Liquid? Works the same as the dry BUT without the extra added step (where I told you to heat up and dissolve the Borax) it turns out too chunky for me if I dont heat and dissolve and if its not dissolved, there still maybe a problem with it NOT DISSOLVING in the Washer. Watch out for this.


CONCLUSION—I’m still gonna play with recipes (found one below) to find one that works for me.


Alrighty then, what’s with these ingredients?

1 box of Arm & Hammer SUPER WASHING SODA : This is an all natural and environment friendly. Basically, it’s a booster to kick the heck out of stains. It contains sodium carbonate. Can come from salt, limestone or other natural deposits.There are recipes where people are adding Epson Salts. Honestly, this Super Washing Soda does what the Epson’s do. And this softens water — for those who have Hard Water.

1 box of Borax (4lb 12 oz.) : I bought 20 Mule Team, which is what is sold around here. I found it at Wal-Mart, but it is also at the Dollar Stores, etc. Borax is a mineral and another booster for cleaner. You’d be surprised but this stuff is used in all sorts of things including toothpaste. It’s a mineral made of water, sodium, boron, oxygen. It doesn’t dissolve easily, though. Thats what makes it a good abrasive cleaner for tubs, pots and pans, etc. You may need to dissolve it as I explained above for the Liquid if the Powder is funking up your clothes and washer.

1 box of Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda (4lb) (Some recipes called for this and some didn’t. I use this stuff anyway, so I added it just to be on the safe side. See more below.) All natural and when you use with bleach, it packs a punch. This stuff keeps clothes fresh as well as acts as yet another booster.Honestly, though, if you are adding Washing Soda, you don’t need this one. Its another good Water Softener, though,but the same as Washing Soda.

3-4 bars of Fels Naptha or Zote Soap : This stuff is rather old school or rather what I used, which was, Fels Naptha because I couldn’t find Zote. After doing some research, though, I found out that this soap is used for all sorts of things from stains to poison ivy. I’m not sure if it can still be used for dermatitis or ivy because the ingredient that used to be in it for these, is no longer. I don’t think this soap is all natural, however, you can use other things like Castile or some people even said Ivory? If I find Zote soap, which I am told Walmart carries, then I may try that next time.

Oxyclean — I didn’t use this because I am back and forth about it. Some recipes called for it. Some did not. Oxyclean is basically hydrogen peroxide. If I have a stain that needs it, I can add that myself. You can actually mix equal parts of Peroxide, Washing Soda and Blue Dawn Dish detergent for a stain fighter. Some also use Ammonia.

How to make Homemade Oxyclean?

This may be the reason I had trouble with the ball pants. I didn’t know this but when you make homemade oxyclean or any stain fighter involving Peroxide, you have to make it fresh each time. AND you have to soak the clothes with the stains in it for several hours, sometimes overnight or during the day while you’re at work. If you don’t make them fresh, then they lose their punch. So, to make homemade Oxi…..

1/4 cup Blue Dawn

1/2 cup of Hydrogen Peroxide

1/2 cup of Washing Soda – NOT baking soda. There is a big difference between these two.

Remember, this loses its punch after 4-6 hours, so make it fresh. And soak the clothes in it if the stain is a monster. 

Stain tips – if it’s a greasy stain, add some Dawn Dish Soap but the best help for any stain is to catch it fresh or as soon as you can and use club soda on it. ONLY use COLD WATER, too. In fact, if you soak the clothes or wash stained clothes, skip the hot water. Hot water has a way of setting stains the same way a dryer does.

Oh, and P.S.

After playing around with recipe after recipe, I finally came up with one that works for me and the mess my kids, animals and husband gets into. To see that new article, click :




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