I don’t buy laundry soap: why my clothes smell like nothing at all

Okay, here’s the deal: I would rather make something than buy it. I’ve always been this way, even when I was a little kid (not that I had a ton of money as a kiddo, but still). And, if I want something and can’t find the quality/comfort/size/color I want for the price I have in mind, I will figure out a way to build/make said item. (I have this awesome pair of leather sandals I made because I couldn’t find quite what I was looking for…)

Anyway, I’m getting off track. Laundry soap. I think it’s a bit of a silly thing: you buy a jug of perfumed slime and then promptly pour it down the drain. And these jugs of slime aren’t cheap. And they smell silly. Why do I want to perfume my clothes? I don’t even perfume myself. I went on an internet quest to see if I could make liquid hand soap last year, and haven’t purchased a single drop of liquid hand soap since. So, I thought that perhaps I could make laundry soap too. Sure enough I can!

I looked all over to get the general idea of what goes into laundry soap making. I decided that I would prefer a container of powdered soap over a few jugs of slime (we are short on space and I like to eliminate excess items from our inventory list : ) So, I bought the necessary items:


  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 2 cups finely grated bar soap (I used Ivory)
  • 1/2 cup grated Fels Naptha (old school heavy duty laundry bar soap)
  • 1/2 cup baking soda

This recipe is a combination of the info I found on the web…and a little improv on my part. I suppose I make soap the same way I cook…I understand how things bake, and then I make it up half the time. Okay, what next? Finely grate the soap. I used a cheese grater (which, by the way, is really clean now : ) and got fine curls, which I smashed up with my hands. Not as fine as I’d like, but good enough. The Fels Naptha on the other hand, crumbled into a wonderful yellow powder.

Measure out the all of the powder ingredients and alternately add them to your clean tub, along with the soap powder. Once all ingredients are in the tub, use a spoon to thoroughly mix everything together. When I use this, I mix it up a little bit with my measuring spoon.

To do the laundry: measure out about 2 Tablespoons of your powder into the washing machine with the water running. Add clothes and enjoy!

I looked around my house for a spare Tablespoon measuring device and came up short (again, nothing extra on the inventory list). So, I looked for a substitute and settled on a contact saline bottle I found in our recycling bin. I chopped off the bottom, filled it with water to see how much it held, cut off a bit more plastic, filled it with 2 Tablespoons water and decided it would be perfect to stick in the tub of laundry detergent. I then wrote the correct measurement on the inside of the measuring device so myself and the writer would not forget how much to use. (I am a fan of being kind to my future self). I also wrote the recipe on the lid of the tub so I could refill it easily without pulling out my computer to find the recipe!

A bonus: I get to use the washing soda and Borax around the house as general cleaners. I currently only own a can of comet, a spray can of Whistle glass cleaner, a bottle of dish soap, a jug of white vinegar, a jug of bleach, and a box of baking soda. How many people get to use their laundry soap to clean their house?!

Report: each load of laundry we’ve done since using this recipe has smelled like absolutely nothing. Nothing! What a wonderful smell.