Homemade Cloth Diaper Laundry Soap Recipe


If laundry detergent has you scratching your head now, and wincing when you look in your wallet, you should know that you can make your very own laundry detergent that’s cloth diaper safe!

Our friend Amy, at Inspirations by Amy shared, with me this laundry detergent recipe that is tried and true!

NOTE:  This laundry detergent WILL NOT suds… so don’t worry when you put it in your washer and it doesn’t. It is HE washer safe.

and NOTE: Also, there were concerns on our Facebook wall that Borax was not a safe cleaning solution for new babies and perhaps babies with sensitive skin. Please know that we have only been using this solution for the last year and have not “tried and true” with a newborn. Here is a great website that goes into the ingredients a little deeper if you would like to look into them. This laundry soap is one that we have been using in our home with our family, along with many friends in our cloth diapering community. We love this laundry soap recipe and just wanted to share how we do things.


This recipe makes 5 gallons of laundry soap.  Think of how long 5 gallons of laundry soap will last you!!  I found all the ingredients and tools to make this at the local hardware store and the grocery store.

I’ve heard of people using Ivory bar soap, and Castille soap as well. I’ve only used the Fels-Naptha though so I can’t comment if the other soaps work differently.

What you need to make cloth diaper laundry soap

  • 5 Gallon bucket with a lid
  • Old cheese grater (will be used to grate the soap)
  • Funnel
  • 1 Bar Fels-Naptha heavy duty  laundry soap bar (5 1/2 oz) – $2
  • 20 Mule Team (brand name) Borax- $3
  • Arm & Hammer all natural super washing soda – detergent  booster – $3
  • Long mixing stick – any kind will do.  I used a long spare piece of floor trim, LOL
  • Old laundry soap containers (# depends on how much you’re going to make – You can keep the detergent in the 5 gallon bucket, and just distribute what you will use in the near future into the laundry soap containers). I also use plastic juice containers (orange/apple juice)
  • Natural essential oil of your choice (optional – added for scent) I use Tea Tree oil but its not needed because this will smell amazing on its own.
  • Water… of course


  • Grate the entire Fels-Naptha soap bar into an old pan (pan can be used each time you make the detergent) add water (no exact amount.. fill pan about 3/4 way full ..may need to add more water as it boils) and boil until no soap chunks remain
  • Fill 5 gallon bucket with warm water (leave about 2 inches at the top)
  • Add 1 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax
  • Add 1 cup of Arm & Hammer all natural washing soap – mix completely
  • Add boiled Fals-Naptha soap liquid – mix completely
  • Add 50 drops of essential scented oil (optional) – mix completely
  • Secure bucket lid tightly
  • 24-hours later – open lid and mix again (will likely be separated – water/soap, stir and break up the congealed soap)
  • Distribute into old laundry bottles with funnel (detergent can be kept in the 5 gallon bucket – don’t need to distribute ALL of it into the laundry bottles.
  • I only use around a 1/2 cup to each load but you can experiment with more/less

You’ve made your laundry soap…

Because you only need 1 cup of the Borax and washing soda per 5 gallon bucket.. those boxes should last you a LONG time ;)  The only thing you’ll need to buy to make your next batch will be the Fels-Naptha soap bar!

(Remember that the most important ingredient to washing clothes is WATER)

If you would rather not make liquid soap, simply grate the bar of soap into the Borax/Washing Soda mixture, mix well and you’re done! I would only use about a tablespoon or two of this since it’s concentrated more than the liquid type.


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