Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent Using ZOTE Soap

Zote Homemade Laundry DetergentI’ve been dabbling in making my own laundry detergent for about a year now, but I think I’ve finally hit on the right ‘recipe’ for me.  I’ve previously made both the powdered and liquid version using Fels Naptha soap, and was generally pleased with the results.  Truth be told, the liquid version was really quite messy to make and to have sitting around, so I decided to stick with the powdered version.

Zote Soap - Homemade Laundry Detergent RecipeI had been reading about making detergent with Zote soap.  It seemed to be the Holy Grail of soaps; I could not find it anywhere.  But I happened to stop in at Big Lots one day just to look around, and THERE IT WAS!  The huge pink bars of Zote were just 90 cents.  The bars weigh over 14 oz. and smell heavenly (a very clean, citrusy, sweet scent).  Plus I love the pink color – so happy!

Easy Homemade Laundry DetergentSince the Zote Bar is so huge, I was having a hard time converting it to the Fels Naptha recipe.  I happened upon the 2:1:1 formula of Zote: Borax: Super Washing Soda.  I tried this and voila, perfection (in my book)!  Here goes:  grate a bar of Zote soap (I use a cheese grater dedicated to soap-grating).  The grated Zote is equal to about 6 cups, so using the 2:1:1 formula, add 3 cups of Borax (I use 20 Mule Team), and 3 cups of Super Washing Soda (I use Arm & Hammer).  Mix it all together in a large container, and store covered.  Simple.

Finnfemme making homemade ZOTE laundry detergentI use anywhere between 2 Tablespoons and 1/4 cup per load, depending on how dirty the laundry is.  It will get your laundry super-duper clean!  Plus, I absolutely love the scent of this; it’s addicting.  I air-dry all my laundry, which adds to the clean experience.

Update: I made a YouTube video on how to make this detergent. You can view it here: How To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent With Zote Soap

Happy Washing! ~ Marilyn


114 Responses to “Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent Using ZOTE Soap”

  1. CHRIS

    I microwave 1/6 of the bar for i minute each then let cool then put in blender. makes powder like

  2. finnfemme

    I have friends who do use this in their HE washing machines. It is low-sudsing so it works well. Just toss it on top of your load at the start of the cycle.

  3. Jim Franks

    Hi! Thanks for your post. I’ve been doing my DIY recipe for a year or so and love whole process – mostly from the self-sufficiency aspect. I also like knowing what ingredients are going into my soap since the clothes will be against my skin!

    As my supply dwindled, I didn’t look forward to another half hour of grating a 1/2 bar of Zote. I thought I try my blender instead. Boy did it work well. Half a bar leftover from past hand grating cut up into half inch strips and added to the blender with washing soda. I was concerned it might cause of mess, but it did not. My Kitchen-Aid kitchen blender ground the soap into extra fine particals (mix setting). It also helped that the half bar had been sitting out for months and had dried out somewhat. I immediately unwrapped the other Zote bars to let them dry.

    Not only did it not cause a mess, but my blender container is now sparkling clean! It’s soap!

    After the initial grinding I added the rest of the Washing Soda and Borax and it does a great job of mixing it all up. Thanks again.

  4. finnfemme

    Hi Jim,
    Thanks for your super-duper newfangled method! It sounds fantastic. I, however, will stick to my grating method for now because I do not have a blender! Maybe I’ll pick one up on one of my thrift store adventures. If I get one for cheap, I can dedicate it to detergent making. It seems like it would create a much finer blend.


  5. Linda Pina

    I have been making my own laundry soap for about 6 years now. I have never made the dry laundry detergent, but after reading your post, I believe that I’ll try it. My liquid recipe is very similar: 1/2 bar Zote, grated; 1 c. washing soda; 1 c. 20 mule team borax; 1 c. oxi-clean. Put all in a 5-gallon bucket and add and stir in 5 gallons boiling water. When it has cooled down enough to handle, stir well and funnel into old detergent bottles. I always add 1/2 c. of regular baking soda and 1/2 c. white vinegar to my wash and 1/2 c. vinegar to my rinse to remove all soap residue from my laundry and to keep my washer in good working order.

  6. Sandra

    Hi there could I use a food processor to grate the soap? I have the proper blade.

  7. Christa

    What is your idea for fabric softer, homemade.

    Thank you

  8. Carolyn

    Just curious if your water is softened by a water softener or you had hard water or not?

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