How to Make Laundry Soap And Homemade Fabric Softener

Learn how to make laundry soap and homemade fabric softener with this step by step video. Where to find ingredients to make homemade soap and how to do laundry for 5c a load!

I’ve been making my own homemade laundry soap for about 8 years now. It is extremely inexpensive, works great, and there’s something satisfying about the fact that I know exactly what is in my cleaner (no harsh chemicals or fillers here!) Plus, it smells so good!

In addition to learning how to make laundry soap, you can also make your own homemade fabric softener, all by using some common ingredients found at most Wal-Marts. Watch the video and then read the step-by-step instructions below.

How to Make Laundry Soap – Supplies & Ingredients

5 Gallon Bucket WITH Lid

Large Pot

Cheese Grater

Old Laundry Soap Container or Gallon Jug

Fels Naptha Soap, one bar, grated

1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

4 1/2 gallons water

How to Make Laundry Soap – Finding Your Ingredients:

You can find new 5-gallon buckets pretty cheap at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Make sure you buy a lid for your bucket. They are sold separately for around a dollar. Of course, if you already have a 5-gallon bucket handy, recycle it and save yourself a few dollars.

Fels Naptha soap is usually available in the laundry department at Wal-mart or Target, but if you cannot find Fels Naptha, you can use Zote, which seems to be more readily available. This should cost you around a dollar.

The 20 Mule Team Borax is usually found in your local Wal-mart or Target as well. If you cannot find it, ask the department manager to special order you some. Borax is pretty inexpensive, usually around $3 for a box of around 4.5 lbs. You only need to use 1 cup per 5-gallons of laundry soap.

Arm and Hammer Washing Soda is also found in the laundry aisle. Make sure you get the Washing Soda and not the Baking Soda which is found in the baking aisle. Baking soda will not work for this recipe. The Washing Soda is also inexpensive, again, around $3 for a box of about 3.5 lbs. And you’ll only need a cup per 5 gallons.

Make Your Own Laundry Soap
You’ll start by grating your Fels Naptha soap with the cheese grater. We bought an old cheese grater at GoodWill for about a dollar and use it exclusively for grating laundry soap.

Next, put the soap in your pot and cover it with about an inch of water. Cook on low until the soap is fully melted. Stir frequently; you don’t want it burning on the bottom. Of course, your pot will clean up pretty easily!

Next, add a cup of borax and a cup of washing soda. Again, add more water, stirring on low until the borax and washing soda are completely dissolved.

Now put the mixture into your 5 gallon bucket, adding hot water to fill the 5 gallon bucket. Stir as you go.

I like to leave mine to sit overnight to cool, but if you need to do some laundry right away, it is perfectly fine to use at this point.

If you do let it cool, the next day, you will find your laundry soap has congealed in the 5 gallon bucket, with a consistency similar to Jell-o. Simply squish it around through your fingers until it is a uniform lumpy texture.

Save your old laundry soap container. Ladle your homemade soap into it, and use the same amount as you’re used to. If you don’t have a laundry soap container, you can use a gallon jug and measure out 1/2-1 cup of detergent per load.

Now I’ll show you how to make your own fabric softener!

How to Make Laundry Soap – Make Your Own Fabric Softener

Very large bowl

Empty gallon water jug or recycled fabric softener bottle


Baking Soda

Distilled White Vinegar


Essential Oil (optional)

Make Homemade Fabric Softener

For the fabric softener, you’ll need distilled white vinegar, a gallon water jug, baking soda (yes, actual baking soda this time, in the baking aisle), water, a big bowl, a funnel, and essential oil.

The essential oil is optional. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, use essential oil. But do understand that the vinegar will rinse out in the wash, so even if you don’t use essential oil, your clothes will not smell of vinegar. But the bottle of fabric softener will. Plus, the essential oil will make your clothes fragrant.

Ok. First, measure out 1 cup of baking soda and pour it into a large bowl. Add 1 cup of water, and swish it around to dissolve it. Now this is where it gets fun.

Add 6 cups of vinegar. You’ll notice right away the chemical reaction going on. This is why it is critical that you have a large bowl, otherwise you’ll have a large mess. Once those 6 cups are in, you’ll add 6 more cups water, and 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil.

We’re using spearmint here, which I do not recommend unless you want your clothes to smell like toothpaste. I just couldn’t find my lavender for this video! Good scents for fabric softener are any flower based oil like lavender, or even tea tree oil.

Once your oil is in, stir it up, and then pour into an empty gallon jug, or recycled fabric softener bottle. Use one cup during your rinse cycle.

I hope you have enjoyed this video on making homemade laundry soap and fabric softener.

Have you made your own laundry soap? How did it turn out?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *