Ma's Liquid Laundry Soap

READY IN: 24hrs 20mins
Recipe by Maeven6

I came up with this recipe when my boys were just being…boys. Their clothing was not getting clean with the standard Fels soap recipe. I found myself adding more of this and that and so I just designed this recipe. I make no claims except that it works for my messy, grass stained, paint slathered, dirt ground in boys clothes.

Top Review by Leaceae

Like other reviewers, I wasn't satisfied with the results of the traditional Fels recipe. I just made this receipe and it's currently cooling so I haven't used it yet so can't comment on effectiveness, but I will update. The cooking process took quite awhile, because I added the soap flakes all at once and they clumped and took a long time to melt. Next time I will add the soap flakes a little at a time, and this should reduce the prep time quite a bit. I was very careful to ensure that all the soap was melted and I stirred the mixture constantly throughout the whole process, and I still had a lot of clumping and separating on the surface of the mix. It looks and feels like soap curd (bathtub scum), so my theory is that this separating is due to the hard water minerals in my tap water. I just skimmed this curd off the top, like how you do when making clarified butter. I figure that the resulting detergent will be much better for both my clothes and the washer (Gramma Rox - maybe doing this would make the detergent safe for your washer?). Next time I'm going to try distilled water, and I'm hoping this will eliminate the separating altogether.

UPDATE: It worked out so much better this time! What I did differently: I used distilled water (heated on the stove prior to adding soap); I shredded my soap flakes much finer (by scraping with a serrated knife, instead of a cheese grater) , and added them to the water a little at a time to keep them from combining; I kept the heat on very low - at first a "2" on my electric stove, then a "1". I stirred the whole time while the soap was melting, and this took about 10-15 minutes. I added borax first, and it became very creamy. Then I added the soda and it became almost cottage-cheese like in texture. When I added it all to the hot distilled water in the bucket, I used an immersion blender to mix it up. Every time I stirred the mixture, I would stir first with a wooden spoon, then with the immersion blender. No soap curd at all, and a nice homogenous mixture.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 23 bar fels naptha laundry detergent, grated
  • 23 bar kirks castile soap bar, grated
  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 2 cups borax
  • 14 cup glycerin
  • 2 gallons hot water
  • 20 -30 drops essential oils, suggested Rosemary, Lavendar, Tea Tree


  1. Place 1 quart of water into a medium pot over medium heat. Add the Fels and Kirks and stir until melted.
  2. Add the Soda and Borax and mix until the mixture thickens.
  3. Place one 1/2 gallon of Hot water into a three or four gallon bucket and then pour into it the soap mixture and stir well.
  4. Add the glycerin and essential oils to the mixture and fill to the two gallon mark on your bucket or simply add another 5 quarts of hot water.
  5. The glycerin acts as a stain remover and the essential oils suggested have antibacterial and/or antifungal properties.
  6. Set in a safe place to cool for 24 hours.
  7. Stir and use 1/2 cup to 1 cup per wash load depending on size and level of soiling.
  8. You can also use this directly on stains as a pretreatment.

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