Homemade Laundry Soap With Fels Naptha

You can save money and avoid using unnecessary chemicals to your household and the environment by making your own laundry detergent at home using Fels-Naptha soap. The process of creating homemade laundry detergent isn't terribly time-intensive, nor does it require a lot of effort. For approximately $20 in raw materials, you can make enough detergent for several hundred loads of laundry in one weekend.

Man's hand putting on the table a jar of gel for washing clothes. Against the background of a pile of towels and soap
credit: Vladdeep/iStock/GettyImages
Homemade Laundry Soap With Fels Naptha

What is Fels-Naptha?

Fels-Naptha is a brand of bar-style laundry soap that is currently manufactured by the Dial Corporation. It's used primarily for pre-treating laundry stains. It's also believed to be helpful for treating poison ivy and other skin-irritating conditions.

Fels-Naptha soap was first created by Fels & Company of Philadelphia in the late 19th century. Originally, Fels-Naptha contained naptha, a flammable liquid that is made from distilled petroleum. Naptha has many industrial uses, such as lubrication of oil pipelines as well as the processing of high-octane gas and lighter fluid.

Although the inclusion of naptha into Fels-Naptha soap increased its efficiency as a cleaner, it was eventually removed as a potential cancer risk. However, even without the substance that gave it its name, the soap remains an effective laundry aid and a popular addition to homemade laundry detergent recipes.

Liquid Laundry Detergent Recipe With Fels-Naptha

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Borax
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • Fels Naptha bar soap
  • Water
  • Five-gallon bucket with a lid
  • Essential oil for scent (optional)

Directions:

  1. Grate the Fels-Naptha soap.
  2. Fill a large pot with 4 cups of hot water.
  3. Add grated soap to water and set to medium high heat. Stir until melted completely (approximately 10 minutes).
  4. Fill the five-gallon bucket halfway with hot water.
  5. Pour in the soap mixture, stirring.
  6. Add borax and washing soda, continuing to stir.
  7. Add essential oil if desired (approximately half an ounce).
  8. Add more warm water until the bucket is completely full. Stir the contents once more, then secure the lid and let the mixture sit for 24 hours.
  9. After that time is up, the mixture will be mostly watery with globs of gel. This will not impact its effectiveness in the washing machine, but you can stir the mixture before using if you like.

Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe With Fels-Naptha

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 1 cup of Borax
  • Fels Naptha Bar Soap

Directions:

  1. Grate your soap thoroughly into a large bowl.
  2. Add 1 cup Borax and 1 cup of washing soda to the grated soap.
  3. Stir until thoroughly mixed (you can use a food processor for this if you like, but be sure to wash it thoroughly with very hot water and dish soap to remove all traces of the detergent before using it in food preparation).
  4. Store the powdered detergent in an airtight container.
  5. Use approximately two tablespoons per load.

Using Fels-Naptha as a Stain Remover

On its own, Fels-Naptha bar soap is an excellent stain remover and pre-treatment for laundry. It effectively removes many types of stains, including some of the most stubborn such as grass, mud, blood and red wine.

To use the soap as a stain remover, wet one corner of the bar and rub directly onto stained clothing. Alternatively, use an old toothbrush, rub it into the bar of soap with a bit of water, then scrub out the stain with the toothbrush.