Soap Project: Laundry Soap and Dishwashing Soap

imageWe made a huge batch of Laundry and Automatic Dish Soap last night.  This was a great Family Home Evening Activity!

I quadrupled each recipe and we came up with a large batch of each type of soap.  We wanted to experiment with both dry and wet soaps to see which works best.  I have been using the Laundry Sauce for the past four months with great success…

Here are the recipes.

Jenny Hatch


Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Author: Karrie

Recipe type: Cleaning


  • 1 Cup Washing Soda (cleaner)
  • 1 Cup Baking Soda (cuts out grease)
  • 3 packages unsweetened lemonade drink mix (added cleaning power, antibacterial and smells awesome)
  • 1 Cup of Kosher Salt (reduces hard water build up – you might be able to reduce this amount if you have soft water)
  • 1 Cup Water


  1. Mix all dry ingredients together.
  2. If you are using this as a dry powder: Omit the water. Then pour all dry ingredients into an airtight container. Consider adding in a bag of uncooked rice in a clean cloth to help keep the dry mixture from clumping. Add one tablespoon of dry powder mix to your dishwasher dispenser. Also use vinegar or jet-dry in your rinse dispenser too.
  3. If you are making tabs: Add water, wait for fizzing to stop (about 1-2 minutes). Then add your mixture to ice cube trays, pressing with your fingers or back of a spoon. Let dry in a warm and sunny spot for 24 hours or till completely dry. Remove and add to an airtight container. Add one tab to the dishwasher dispenser. Also use vinegar or jet-dry in your rinse dispenser too.

Buy a little container of citric acid from the canning supplies section at the store and use it instead of the lemonade mix. It’s way more cost effective! Also, use vinegar as your rinse agent and there will be no more streaks on your glassware! I make my own using 1 c borax, 1 c washing soda, 1/2 c kosher salt – mix in a large canning jar. Use 2 TBL in the dishwasher and sprinkle with citric acid (small pinch). That’s it!

Mom’s Homemade Laundry Sauce:

Ingredients: Serves: 128

Yield: 2 quarts Units: US | Metric

1 fels naptha soap bar    (Yes, the ENTIRE Bar!)

1 cup twenty-mule team borax

1 cup arm & hammer washing soda         (NOT BAKING SODA!!)

4 cups hot water


  • Quick Note: Follow the directions Carefully, adding the ingredients at the wrong time will result in a grainy textured detergent that will not dissolve well in the washer.
  • Put 4 cups of water in a large heavy saucepan over high heat. While that is heating, mix the borax and washing soda together in a bowl, mixing well, set aside.
  • Grate the Fels Naptha- the easiest way to do this is to cut it into several smaller chunks and then run it through a food processor- otherwise, you can just grate it with a hand grater or shave it with a knife (I grate it with the fine blade in my food processor. otherwise you’ll never get it to melt).
  • Add the freshly grated soap to the water in the saucepan, stirring almost constantly. Reduce the heat to medium, It will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes for the Fels Naptha to complete dissolve.
  • If it takes longer, your heat wasn’t up high enough. Alternatively, you can melt the fels on the stove over low heat without water then add the water afterwards, stirring it in, as the original recipe called for. I find that it’s much easier to melt IN the water.
  • Absolutely do NOT let this Boil over, or you’ll have a sudsy mess that you do NOT want to contend with!
  • It should be a rolling, simmering boil where you must stir Constantly but it does not foam heavily or seem to “creep up” the saucepan.
  • Once the fels naptha has completely melted, remove the pan from the heat and add in the Borax and the Washing Soda, stirring constantly until the powders are completely dissolved, this will take about 3-5 minutes. Do not under-stir or your soap texture will be very grainy rather than smooth. (You can fee the “graininess” on the bottom of the pan, once you can’t feel it, it’s incorporated fully!).
  • Add just enough water to bring the contents up to the “shoulders” or Rounded part of the jar, leaving approximately 1 ½ inches of headspace.
  • Put the lid on the jars and turn them UPSIDE DOWN and let them sit a few hours. The reason for this is that the soap is going to Separate into layers while it’s resting and occasionally will form crystals on the bottom.
  • Rather than waste these trying to scrape them off, in the next step we’re going to incorporate them easily! Btw, if you leave it overnight it will have a slightly grainier texture than if you whip it immediately after 4 hours.
  • The Layers will separate after a few hours.
  • There are two ways to do this next step, depending on what you have for equipment. Here’s how I like to do it- unscrew the blade and bottom from your blender and screw them onto your regular mouthed mason jar containing all of your ingredients.
  • Place the entire mason jar on the blender and whip until smooth and creamy throughout, about a minute. Flip back over, unscrew the blender blade, attach a cover and seal.
  • If you don’t have mason jars or a blender, pour the contents of your settled jar into a large bowl, be sure to scrape down any remaining from the jar to get it all. Using a Hand mixer, Whip the ingredients until light and fluffy and well blended. Transfer the ingredients back into the jar, cover and store until needed. If you like, add a tsp of glycerin per jar.
  • To use, add 1 Tablespoon to a load of laundry in any type of machine, conventional, Front Loader, High Capacity & High Efficiency (HE), etc. Do not add the detergent to the “detergent compartment” but instead directly with the dirty clothes. The detergent is Smooth and creamy with the same Look and consistency of Mayonnaise. Be sure to label the jar to prevent accidental ingestion!

For a visual tutorial on how to make this detergent without cooking it click HERE.


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