Frugal/ HEALTH/ HOME/ Homemaking/ Natural Products

My Daughter’s Homemade Laundry Detergent Science Project


Store Bought Vs. Homemade Laundry Detergent
My 5th Grade Science Experiment
{From Amy’s 5th Grade Daughter}
Does Homemade laundry detergent work better than store-bought laundry detergent?
My Hypothesis is that the home made laundry detergent will work better than the store bought laundry detergent.
To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent:
1. I grated 1 bar of soap.
2. Then I brought 1 gallon of water to boil in a large pot.
3. Then, I put the grated soap into the pot, and stirred until dissolved.
4. I added once cup of Borax Powder and 1 cup of Washing Soda into the pot.
5. I turned the heat down and stirred until combined.
6. Once cooled, I stirred it again and put into containers.
A large spoon, large pot, measuring cups, grater, containers to store detergent, labels, water, borax, powder, washing soda, bar of soap.
1. Both shirts were stained with 3 stains.  Strawberry jelly, BBQ Sauce, and Spaghetti Sauce.
2. Both shirts were washed in hot water on the same washing cycle.
The second shirt stain set longer, due to the amount of time the first shirt took to wash.
I washed the 2nd shirt in ‘All’ Clothes Detergent.
According to Why Not Sew, the estimated cost is $6.00 for 576 loads.  That is quite the savings!
“Using a bar of Ivory soap makes our cloth diapers come out so white!  You’d think I’d bleached them.  They have no odors, no dinginess, just super bright whites.”–Pinterest Reader Who Used This Recipe
My hypothesis was wrong.  Store bought laundry detergent works just slightly better than homemade laundry detergent, at least on the stains.  Homemade laundry detergent seemed to make the shirt as a whole whiter, though.  My mom and I decided that due to the savings, and how easy it was to make, that we would continue to make our own homemade laundry detergent!

Recipe For Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
from Why Not Sew {click through for step by step pics}

1 bar of soap (any kind you want, I used Ivory)
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda
a big pot (that holds more than 2 gallons)
2 empty gallon jugs/containers

Grate your bar of soap into your pot.  Fill one gallon jug and pour water into pot with grated soap. Cook until the grated soap dissolves. Add the Borax and washing soda. Bring to a boil. It will coagulate. Turn off the heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water. Stir well. Pour 1 gallon of your detergent into each container.

Now you have 2 gallons of homemade laundry detergent. I use 1/2 cup per load. With the prices of detergent being outrageous, I feel really happy every time I make a batch of this.

This won’t make many, if any, suds. Suds don’t equal clean. It took a while to get that into my head. This detergent cleans wonderfully!

Hints From Why Not Sew:

* I now just keep my detergent in the pot I cook it in with the lid on. When I run out I make up a new batch in that pot and it’s ready to go. I like saving the step of transferring into the jugs.

*if the detergent becoming too thick, try using 1/2 of a bar of soap instead.

*the detergent should thicken / coagulate when it cools. Usually within 24 hours! 

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  • nancy u
    March 14, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Here is how ive been making it about 3 years with no problems. Grate 1 lg bar of pink zote (smells so cleancitrisy!) Let it set spread on newspaper a few days. It will get dry and crumbly. Add 2 cups each washing soda and borax. Grind small amounts at a time in my magic bullet. A food processor or blender works too. I use 2 tab, or 4 for extra stinky loads. I use white vinegar in the rinse, and clean the washer once a month with the affresh tablets. The grinding will turn it into a fine baby powder like mixture. I do it outside, as opening the top will get a puff of powder. Dont breathe it. Ive put it in pretty containers with a 2 tab coffee scoop, bow or ribbon on top, and given as christmas gifts. This stuff is very cheap to make, and does a wonderful cleaning job. On my towels, kitchen rags, socks, undies loads, I put in 1 scoop of oxy clean. I use warm or hot water. I sometimes add a little of a scent crystals if I want. But the basic recipe is zote, borax, washing soda. Some people use white zote or fels naptha, but I prefer pink zote. I wont go back to bought detergents.

    • Anonymous
      January 12, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      I have been using this laundry soap for about 4 years now and am very pleased with the results and the money I have saved

  • Cleaners Shepherds Bush Ltd.
    September 8, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Fantastic article! I made the dry version. It was awesome. I am so glad that children pay attention to this kind of projects. If we teach them to use non-toxic ingredients, they will have healthier life. Thank you for sharing your post. Best regards!

  • Sandy
    July 18, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I make the dry version, but I like my clothes to smell nice. So I add 1 cup of blue Purex Crystals to the mix. Love it! I give mason jars of homemade detergent with the recipe as gifts!

    • Grace
      March 15, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      That’s so cool how you made it smell cool

  • Cheryl
    May 30, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    I make 5 gallons of laundry soap for .97 cents and 3 gallons of stain remover or heavy duty laundry soap for .97 cents.

    1 bar pink ZOTE, grated (I use the food processor)
    5 gallons of water
    . . .5 gallon container with lid.

    Dump the grated ZOTE into an empty 5 gallon bucket. Add 1 gallon of boiling water. Stir until ZOTE is melted. (I use an old immersion blender)
    Add gallon of hot tap water, stir well.
    Alternate adding hot tap water and stirring until bucket is full.
    Put on lid. Let sit 24 hours.
    After 24 hours open and stir really well. It will be gloppy and thick. Stir until it is like thick hair conditioner. Put some into a manageable container. I use an old gallon jug that used to hold fabric softener.
    3/4 cup for regular loads
    1 cup for dirty or extra large loads
    DO NOT NEED FABRIC SOFTENER!! the clothes will be very soft. If you have a static problem : make 3 balls of aluminum foil and toss in the dryer. These will last thrust several loads.

    Stain Remover
    1 bar of FELS NAPTHA
    3 Gallons of water
    . . .3 gallon bucket.
    Make exactly as above.
    I use a paint brush to brush on stains. Let sit a little while. Then wash. This remover even gets out axle grease! For really filthy, greasy clothes, use 3/4 to 1 cup of remover as laundry soap.

    • Mary Jane
      March 17, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      When I made it I left it a few hours, came back, and there was a thick hardened layer on top of liquid/water . how do it keep it from seperating so much? Did I do something wrong ? 🙂

      • AmyNewNostalgia
        March 18, 2016 at 9:28 am

        I shake mine before I use it each time. I usually get a gelled layer on top…that is normal…shaking should mix it all together.

  • Halle Fegler
    February 1, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I am doing a science project with the homemade laundry detergent. I am wondering what the price different is? I have to list the price difference store bought powder verses homemade powder how do you determine this?

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    • Barb Wheeler
      October 7, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      If you use fels napta soap it helps with the stains

  • sheila
    May 18, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I use same ingredients as you guys use! I also use oxi can get Fels soap at Walmart for around 97c ..I love my washing powder on my personal clothes ..But my towels when I wash them with homemade recipe ..after dried.. want soak up water.. Any one have this problem ? If so what did you do?

    • Jo
      June 30, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Use vinegar! 1/2 – 1 Cup in wash will help remove stains & odors as well as prior detergent & fabric softener residue. Also, use it in place of fabric softener. It reduces static cling, softens your clothes & your towels will be super absorbent. It’s super cheap too! Your laundry will NOT smell like vinegar once they are dry.

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  • Trish
    April 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    This is awesome! Thank you all so much! I use amonia for stains, etc. It works great and doesn’t bleach your colored clothes.

  • Anonymous
    February 2, 2014 at 2:58 am

    How does this work foe HE washers?

  • Angi W
    October 15, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I put this formula (I use a felspar (sp?) bar) in a shout bottle with a scrubber on the end and pretreat stains.. It works great.. takes out stuff the shout and spray and wash would not.. even after being dried and rewashed!

  • Anonymous
    July 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I did not read through all the comments here, so I don’t know if someone already made the suggestion. But, hot water sets stains, washing stained clothing in cold water is a better choice than hot water. I use an anti-bacterial soap in my home made detergent (half regular soap, half anti-bacterial), so washing cold is not something I worry about when it comes to bacteria on my clothing.

  • Les Caudill
    July 22, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Amy, you did a great job on your project! I would like to say, though, that you did NOT prove your hypothesis “wrong.” You proved it to be false – you were not wrong! A statement cannot be right or wrong, only true or false. You did a fantastic job and don’t make it seem as if you did something incorrect.

    As a science teacher who just retired this year, I wish most of my 7th graders could have done half as well!

  • Beth Mcgwire
    June 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Try making laundry soap with kirk’s coco coconut soap instead of ivory bar soap. Love it! Also, add a cup of regular baking soda to your recipe. For easy storage and ease in production, I skip the liquification step. Grate the soap, then blend it in the food processor. Add the other dry ingredients and continue blending. To stop the fine powder cloud that occurs with dry soap making, add a few drops of non-staining oil. Liquid coconut oil works well. I actual use a food flavoring oil, like jasmine oil, normally used in baking. I just like the smell. This recipe is great for HE washers and it’s fabulous for cleaning clothes, even smelly boy clothes. I do have to use 3 or 4 tbls for my boys’ clothes.

  • Anonymous
    April 29, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    If You Use FeL Nephta Soap As Your Bar Of Soap, It Works A Lot Better Than Store Bought Detergent! 🙂

  • Chelsea
    March 8, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Great science project! And she did an awesome job of presenting her experiment. I also make laundry detergent and use a similar recipe but no water – just the soap, borax, and washing soda. One thing to note is that different soaps wash better/worse. I use Fels Naphtha, which is specifically a laundry soap. It would be interesting to further compare two homemade soaps using a different bar of soap.

  • Anonymous
    January 21, 2013 at 2:32 am

    i make powdered homemade laundry detergent and it works GREAT

  • Anonymous
    January 13, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    My friend adds bluing to her homemade laundry soap. It’s sold at wal mart as well

  • Anonymous
    December 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I’m a chemist and a patent examiner and see many patents for laundry detergents. Great job with the experiment. I love to see the curiosity of kids in action. As a scientist, I just thought that your daughter may be interested to know that the reason that the clothes look whiter with the store-bought detergent is that companies add “blue-ing” agents to their detergents to make clothes look whiter. It’s not a dye, but intended to add a blue hue to counteract the yellowing of white fabrics. A whiter looking shirt doesn’t necessarily mean a cleaner shirt.

  • Anonymous
    November 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I would love to make this but I have Eczema and my doctor told me to use unscented laundry soap. I have noticed my skin has been clearer since I switched. Would Fels Naptha irritate my skin? I think I will like this version better than the dry one if I can make it for sensitive skin.

    • Anonymous
      April 13, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      For those with sensitive skin, from wiki:
      [The original Fels-Naptha, developed by Philadelphia manufacturer Joseph Fels around 1893, was used as a home remedy in the treatment of contact dermatitis caused by exposure to poison ivy, poison oak, and other oil-based organic skin-irritants. Washing the skin directly with the soap helps wash away the toxin. However, in its own caution use sheet, Dial Corp. stated that Fels-Naptha is a skin irritant and not to be used directly on skin.] Edit: I’ll bet Dial’s attorneys had them add that caution part.:)

    • Jo
      June 30, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      I make a similar recipe, given to me by someone with psoriasis and eczema. She uses it Minus the Arm & Hammer washing soda and says she does not suffer any skin reactions.

      • AmyNewNostalgia
        July 1, 2014 at 10:07 am

        that is good to know. My youngest had eczema but no longer now that we eat clean and use natural products…especially natural laundry detergent!

  • Kush
    November 22, 2012 at 4:26 am

    Is this a good option for those of us with super sensitive skin? I use only 2 brands of detergent out there because of my sensitivity and can only shower with Dial hypoallergenic bar soap. If i just used the Dial soap in place of the Ivory Soap would that be ok?

    • Rhonda
      November 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      Our whole family has sensitive skin and I use the Fels Naptha as my bar soap and none of us have ever had a reaction! And we react to just about everything.

  • ~*LaMona*~
    November 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I’m apparently a little late on jumping on the bandwagon with this homemade washing detergent, but with 5 kids I will try anything. I am using Dial soap as opposed to ivory, I cannot stand the smell of it ( probably too many times of having it in my mouth as a kid lol.) I will leave another post as soon as I get a chance to try it, which as you can imagine with as much laundry as I have, it will be in about 2 hours lol. thank you for the recipe!

  • Anonymous
    November 1, 2012 at 7:26 am

    God bless your sweet daughter. Children are our future, and I know she will make our world a better place to live in, with interest like this.
    Now, I have a dumb question…What is an HE and a non-HE washer? I have a front-loader which uses less detergent than a top loader. What amount of detergent would be used for this?
    Thank you for taking the time to answer this. Have a blessed day! <><

    • Amy Bowman
      November 1, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      HE stands for high efficiency washer.

      I am not sure what the perfect amount would be. I would start with cutting it in half, so maybe 1/4 cup? If that doesn’t seem to be cleaning well, add more.

      Blessings back to you!

  • Anonymous
    October 24, 2012 at 3:52 am

    I used the fels naptha bar soap and although it had a very powerful smell when grating and mixing, it leaves virtually no smell in the clean laundry.

  • Lindsay @ Kinky Tail
    October 9, 2012 at 1:58 am

    Great experiment!

  • kathy
    October 7, 2012 at 4:16 am

    i did my own experiment similar to your daughters. there was a slight edge for store bought on the chocolate stain. mustard,ketchup and coffee stain were same or slightly better for homemade. if i had any of these stains i would pretreat and they would (and have) come out with the homemade.

  • Anonymous
    October 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Can I make this to wash cloth diapers besides buying the rocking green soap? What soap to use for that? Any bar soap?

  • Lynnette
    October 2, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    A couple years ago I gathered laundry detergent recipes from across the web, and then I tinkered with it a little to come up with a recipe that I think is great. Besides the fact that I make a larger quantity than you do, there are really only two differences between your recipe and mine. I always use Fels Naptha as my bar soap, because it’s a proven laundry soap. I’ve read a few blogs like yours that say any soap will work, and I’ve read others that say Zote is a good choice. I’ve only used Fels Naptha and have been very happy with the results. The other thing might be a more important difference — IE, I add Sun Oxygen Bleach to my mix, to give my detergent a real cleaning power that some other homemade detergents don’t have. Sun Oxygen Bleach is similar to OxyClean — it’s not like chlorine bleach, so you don’t have to worry about fading colors in the laundry. I have used my detergent for cleaning the upholstery in our car, for removing stains from the carpet, and even for cleaning our tile floors. It’s amazing to me what a good job it does on the laundry AND all these other cleaning needs. You can find my recipe on my farm blog at — There’s even a link to an easy-to-download PDF for printing.

    By the way, I have found all of the ingredients at my local Walmart store.

  • Anonymous
    September 24, 2012 at 2:55 am

    In this economy, anyway to save money is good, especially on detergent! I am interested in the Fels Naptha…I have never heard of it, where do you buy it?? Also, i think I read above that you only use 1 tbsp per HE load, is that amount correct? Great job on the science project, too!

    • Anonymous
      October 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm there is a list here of places to buy the Fels Naptha soap.

    • shurdell
      January 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      The link no longer works?

    • Anonymous
      April 13, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      You can google fels naptha & their page will come up.

  • Anonymous
    September 10, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Wonderful experiment! I notice the experiment was done on white shirts and people commenting about it making their whites whiter (sounds great!!). Is this alright to use for colored clothing as well?

    • Amy Bowman
      September 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Yes, totally is…we use it everyday!

  • Anonymous
    August 31, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Where do you buy the Fels soap? This is a great experiment Im going to make this and give it a try

  • Anonymous
    August 13, 2012 at 1:01 am

    If you use 1/2 c of detergent per load – how do you possibly get 576 loads out of 2 gals of detergent?

    • Amy Bowman
      August 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      The 567 loads number came from estimating cost. One recipe does not make 576 loads, but the amount of recipes you can make from just one box of borax and one box of washing soda equals 567 loads.

  • Anonymous
    August 12, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    I just noticed that on the experiment recipe, you said to only use 1 gal of water, but below that, is the same recipe useing 2 gal of water. which is the correct amount?

    • Amy Bowman
      August 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      It is 2 gallons total, but you use just one gallon to dissolve the soap in, and add the second gallon later. It is a bit confusing, but the directions in the recipe make it more clear.

  • crystalrhiannon26
    August 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I make the dry version with fels soap have to say im loving everything about it the smell and stain removing powers and my whites look.much whiter! I deff want to try this sometime but I just made a batch of dry which lasts a yr so it’ll have to wait till then

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I used Dr.Bronner’s Tea Tree oil bar soap to help my kids’ clothes detur ticks and other biting insects. So GLAD I finally tried making my own–Will NEVER go back to overpriced store-bought!

    Great Job on the experiment–And THANK YOU for doing it! I wondered myself how it stacked up, in a scientific sorta way. 🙂

  • Rotating My Crops
    July 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    A woman scientist in the making! Awesome experiment! Maybe someone else mentioned this, but there sure are a lot of homemade stain remover recipes out ther (Pinterest), so your recipe with that = clean! 🙂

  • CJHatch
    July 17, 2012 at 1:31 am

    If you use Fels soap instead of Ivory it will work better on stains.

    • Denise C. Brenner
      July 31, 2012 at 12:05 am

      I believe so. It has been awesome in my homemade soap. been using it for two years now. I also keep a 1/2 bar in an old peanut butter jar to pretreat stains. just wet the bar a little, rub over the stain, wet the stain a little and rub. comes out every time. 🙂

    • Brandy S.
      September 10, 2012 at 3:53 am

      I keep a spay bottle full of just water to spray the stain then rub the fels naptha bar on it.

    • Brandy S.
      September 10, 2012 at 3:55 am

      I fill a spray bottle with water to spray on the stain then rub with the fels naptha bar. it works great

  • Amy Bowman
    June 20, 2012 at 12:41 am

    it was ALL brand laundry detergent

  • Anonymous
    June 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Sounds amazing to save that much! I’m curious as to what store bought detergent did she compare it to?

  • Viking Jones
    June 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    If you use Ivory soap for this and don’t want to grate the soap (especially if you’re making a large batch) pop the bar of soap in the microwave for a couple minutes on a piece of parchment paper. It puffs up like crazy (great to do with little kids, my 3 year old loved it). When you take it out it will crumble into a powder. This is what I use to make my liquid detergent. The Girl gets entertained and I don’t have to grate soap. 🙂

    • Anonymous
      March 13, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      I wonder if that would work with fels naptha soap too?

  • Denise
    May 13, 2012 at 1:48 am

    I have started making homemade detergent…love it. To add a nice fragrance I add Purex Crystals to my mixture. Smells great! I pick a fragrance …then go find a soap that compliments the scent of the crystals.

  • Maggie
    May 4, 2012 at 12:13 am

    I used the Same amount in a 5 gallon Bucket & get the same result….our soap is Fels-naptha..I use an immersion Blender to make it smooth and pourable…My Laundry container is a 1 gallon LOCK-Lock Pitcher & we have been useing it for 4 years…So your going to enjoy the Long term benefits of this Exsperiment!

  • Anonymous
    April 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Your daughter did a wonderful job! I’m going to make some myself can’t wait to start saving money! store bought is just way to expensive.

  • Amy Bowman
    April 20, 2012 at 3:10 am

    most grocery stores carry it. Walmart has it, too.

  • Anonymous
    April 20, 2012 at 2:56 am

    Great science experiment! I’d like to try this –but where do you get washing soda??

    • AuntB
      May 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm


    • Anonymous
      August 31, 2013 at 10:22 am

      You can buy it at Walmart in the Laundry Asile

  • Anonymous
    April 17, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    For those stains I use Dawn dish soap! It works wonders!

  • Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts
    April 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Hi Amy-
    This is a really cool science experiment. It’s fun and actually useful! Great job your daughter did 🙂
    xo Erin

    • Denise
      May 13, 2012 at 1:49 am

      I agree!

  • Julie
    April 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    What a great idea for a science experiment with some usable data for the average person at the end.

  • Savannah
    April 10, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Been using this recipe(but with Fels Naptha) for 3 years now and I love it! I am a stay at home mom and it has saved us so much $. My husband is in construction and his clothes are super dirty- so I use a homemade stain lifter of proxide and dawn dish soap. The savings and natural aspect far outway the chemicals and dyes! Great project! I think it is so great to teach our children that you can make so many things we take for granted and just buy.

  • Nikki
    April 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Would Fels Naptha work better??

    • Anonymous
      April 10, 2012 at 1:46 am

      I use Fels Naptha – and make the dry version….works wonderful!

    • Denise C. Brenner
      July 31, 2012 at 12:02 am

      Fels Naptha would have helped the stains along a lot better. It has cleaning agents in to specific to laundry. It also is a great home remedy for poison ivy. 🙂 🙂

    • Amy Bowman
      September 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      It might, I just don’t care for the strong scent of Fels Naptha

    • amy
      October 7, 2012 at 2:38 am

      I agree with the scent 🙁 I don’t like it at all. We use Dr Bronner’s unscented bar.

    • Jenna
      December 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      I add essential oils to the liquid, covers the smell of Fels-naptha

  • Sarah @ Natures Nurture
    April 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    This is so great, Amy! I make both the liquid and dry versions and would never go back to store-bought again – as your daughter concluded, the savings are just too much to ignore! As an elementary school teacher by profession (and SAHM by choice), I just love seeing our young people bringing the natural, homemade lifestyle into the classroom to share with their peers. Your daughter has done something amazing by choosing this as her science project and we’re all very proud of her! You’ve done a wonderful job 🙂

  • Anonymous
    April 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I do pretty much the same as Mandy. 1 bar Ivory soap, grated. 1 cup Borax. 1 cup Washing Soda. Mix it all together use 1 T for HE machines. (I can’t remember the recomended amount for non-HE machines–it’s either 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup.)

  • Mandy
    April 7, 2012 at 4:52 am

    we use the same recipe, but dry…and only 1 tablespoon. i just coarsly shop the soap, and then throw it all in the food processer:)

    • Rachel
      October 25, 2012 at 2:22 am

      I buy it at Walmart. It’s in the laundry isle right by the Borax and the washing soda. Watch out because the big boxes of Baking soda look very similar to washing soda:-)

  • karen gerstenberger
    April 6, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Now that is a truly educational science fair project! Well done!

  • teachersrock1971
    April 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Made mine a few months ago. It is super thick! Any suggestions on how to thin it out?

    • Amy Bowman
      April 7, 2012 at 2:48 am

      ours thickened up quite a bit, too. I’ve see the suggestion of using 1/2 bar of soap instead of whole. I just use a little less detergent since it is 1/3 of a cup instead of 1/2. It thickened after sitting all night. I’d rather have it too thick than too thin!!

    • Jenna
      December 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      The recipe I have uses a half bar of soap (Fels-naptha) and has you add another 2 gallons of water after it thickens. I still use 1/2 cup in my front loader. I tried using more to see if it made a difference, but not that I could see. The next time I make a batch, I’m going to try not adding the extra water and just using less. It would be easier to store!

    • Gordon Newberry
      January 13, 2013 at 5:36 am

      I have actually increased the water by half a gallon and after it cools down a lot I add a half a cup of softner and it make the consistancy perfect without affecting the way it cleans! I love this stuff and will never use store bought again.

    • Anonymous
      August 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      My recipe is nearly the same as yours but we make 5 gallons of the detergent by adding the dissolved bar to a 5 gallon bucket and adding water to the top. It gels completely too. Then we add the detergent to empty laundry detergent bottles up to half full and fill the rest of the bottle with water. It works quite well, and I only have to make it a couple times a year. I also use white vinegar for fabric softener, but since it washes away traces of soap, I do not add it until later in the wash cycle or I use a Downy softener ball. Using a half bar for your recipe would not harm it at all.

      Also, I keep a bottle of the undiluted mixture to use as a stain-treater. If it doesn’t work on stains, I use Dawn dish detergent.

      Great project by the way…your daughter did an excellent job.

    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2013 at 12:08 am

      Add more water to the mix, I have made my own laundry soap for about 3 years. Same recipe different measurements. 🙂

  • Anonymous
    April 6, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I would be curious (and grateful!) if your daughter did a further investigation to determine if these results hold true (i.e. the All-washed shirt came out cleaner) if the three stains were pretreated with a stain remover like Shout. For that matter, does Shout work better than the homemade stain remover you referenced here: ???

  • elaine @ peace for the journey
    April 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    What a great science experiment! I give her a 110%!


    • Amy Bowman
      April 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      My girl read your comment and was like “Ummm-hmmmm, 110%! 🙂 Thanks for the comment, Elaine,made my girl smile!

    • Anonymous
      January 4, 2013 at 4:25 am

      Did it win?

    • Anonymous
      January 26, 2014 at 12:56 am

      I, too, loved your daughter’s experiment. She’s also learning VALUE at a young age 🙂 GREAT IDEA!!!!!

  • jeana
    April 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Great experiment!

  • rkbsnana
    April 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks for the info. Using the dry now. Smells great.

    • Anonymous
      May 7, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Im doing one to

  • Anonymous
    April 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I’ve been using the liquid version in my he machine for several weeks now after reading several posts saying it was safe. HE machines require low sudsing detergent which this recipe is.

    • Anonymous
      April 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      I use the DRY version for the past 6 months in my HE and low suds is the only difference between HE and NON-HE.

    • Amy Bowman
      April 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      I’ve made a dry version too, this version seemed easier to make.

  • lindarm
    April 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Great science project! Any idea how this works in HE machines? Use more or less than half-a-cup?

    • Amy Bowman
      April 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      I’d start with 1/2 cup. It is low sudsing which is good for HE washers.

  • Kara Snider
    April 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Does this work in HE washers too?

    • Anonymous
      April 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm


  • Megan Farkas
    April 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    YAY!!! I was just looking at my almost empty container of store bought detergent and thought “I should really make my own when I run out”… I already use home-made dishwasher detergent! I will definitely give this a try!

    I love that you captured the quote about cloth diapers b/c I’m planning on using them when my little one comes in July and was wondering if home-made detergent would be ok to use!

    🙂 Thanks a lot!!!

    • Amy Bowman
      April 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Awesome! Love knowing that it helped!!

    • heather
      September 6, 2013 at 3:12 am

      How did you make homemade dishwasher detergent?

    • Sherri Hannahs
      December 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      why couldn’t you add peroxide to the laundry detergent for that stain removing effect?

      • Michelle
        May 6, 2015 at 1:10 pm

        @ Sherri, only use peroxide on whites. It WILL fade colored clothes.