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Laundry Recipe FAQs

Where can I find the ingredients to make the detergent?

Fels-Naptha® Laundry Soap Bar: Made by the Dial Soap Company, so any store that carries Dial should be able to get it for you. If they carry it, it will be found in the bar soap or laundry soap aisle at your regular supermarket. It is usually on the bottom shelf. I have found it in my area at Publix and Food Lion. Others have found it at Albertsons, Jewel, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, and Meijer. If you can't find it in your area, you can buy it online at

Super Washing Soda: This is not the same as baking soda. Baking soda SHOULD NOT be used in place of washing soda. They are completely different products, although they are both made by Arm & Hammer. Washing soda is harmful if swallowed. It releases no harmful fumes, and is generally safe. Just be sure to read more about it on the label. Washing Soda can be found on the laundry detergent aisle of your supermarket. It comes in a 55-ounce yellow box. You may find it at the following stores in your area: Giant, Fred Meyer, Safeway, Kroger, Publix. If you are having trouble locating this product, you may want to ask your local store manager to order it for you, or you can call 1-800-524-1328. In New Jersey call 1-800-624-2889. The UPC number is: 33200-03020 or 033200-030201. Or order online at

Borax: 20 Mule Team® Borax. Helps remove stains. It is also found on the laundry detergent aisle. This is also available at

What should the finished liquid detergent look like?
After your detergent is mixed it will take it awhile to gel up, but it can be used right away. I usually let mine sit overnight. After it sits overnight, it will look like a thick gel. If yours turns out to be thin with clumps of gel, that is fine too. I believe the lumps are caused by not mixing the mixture well enough before it cools.

What should the detergent smell like?
It will smell like whatever soap you are using. If you do not like the smell, you can add essential oils, or use a different brand of soap. Some people use deodorant bar soaps such as Zest to achieve a scent they like.

I tried one of the recipes, but it is not as thick as I would like it to be. What should I do?
The final product will vary depending on the soap you use, and how well you mixed the ingredients. If it is thin and lumpy, it will still work great - go ahead and use it. If you don't want to use the thin mixture, add more Borax or Washing Soda and mix well. You can add it after the detergent has cooled. Another method is to put some of the detergent in your blender and see if that helps.
On our recipes page, recipe #3 is the one that thickens up the most. I have read that some folks have added Gain liquid detergent to the recipe, and it comes out with a creamy texture (no lumps). The Gain has an ingredient that will prevent gelling, so if you want your product to gel, don't use it.

Do these recipes actually get the clothes as clean as store-bought detergent?
Yes - absolutely! Many who use it say, even cleaner! If you would like extra cleaning power, try adding Clorox powder.

Will these recipes produce suds?
There will not be any suds with these recipes - which is perfect for the new front-loading machines. Please don't think because there are no suds that the detergent does not work. This detergent does not need suds to work.

Which bar soap is best to use?
I would suggest using Fels Naptha if at all possible, as it cleans the best in my opinion. Some other bar soaps to try (that have been used successfully):
Safe Cleaning
Colgate Octagon
Pure and Natural
Kirk's Castile Soap
Dr. Bonner's Castile Soap (Australia, England, Japan, US, Canada)
Zote Soap
Lever 2000
Sunlight Bar Soap (Canada & Australia)

What if I have sensitive skin or allergies?
No one that I know has had problems with this detergent, but just in case... Try using the brand of soap that you bathe with. If you can use Ivory soap in your bath, you should be able to use it on your clothes.

Back to Laundry Detergent Recipes

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