By Laura Killingbeck

Makes 5 gallons (over 500 loads)

Farmers tend to get dirty very quickly, so it’s extremely important for us to have large quantities of laundry detergent available at all times!  Shaun has been kind enough to make this recipe for the Round the Bend Farm laundry needs for the last several years. This detergent works well and only costs a few cents per load.  So it is truly “Farmer-tested, Shaun-approved.”  


1 bar (5.5 oz) Fels-Naptha soap

1 cup borax

1 cup washing soda

Optional ½ oz essential oils


  1. Boil four cups of water in a saucepan.
  2. Grate the soap with a cheese grater and mix it into the boiling water.  Stir for about 10 minutes or until the soap dissolves.
  3. Fill a five or six gallon food-grade bucket with four gallons of hot tap water.
  4. Add the dissolved soap and stir to mix.
  5. Stir in the borax and washing soda.  If using essential oil, add that as well.
  6. Top off the bucket with tap water until it reaches the five gallon mark.
  7. Cover loosely with a lid and let sit 24 hours at room temperature.
  8. At this point the detergent should solidify into a gel, and is ready to use for laundry.

Use about two tablespoons of detergent per load of laundry.