Making Laundry Soap That Is Unscented: Is It Possible?

by Dawna

Dawna asked this question about making laundry soap for her family, which was unscented.

Dawna asks:

My family is very sensitive to scents. Are there any bar soaps that are scent free?


I absolutely hate the smell of Ivory and can't imagine anyone agreeing to fels naptha soap. HELP...

Taylor's Answer:

Dawna, thanks for asking this question.

You're right that one of the main ingredients in many homemade laundry detergent recipes is bar soap, and many of them on the market which are suitable for the purpose of making your own laundry soap are already scented.

That can be a problem for many people, such as your family (and mine) which are very sensitive to scents, and therefore wish to use unscented detergents and other scent free laundry supplies.

The most commonly used bar soaps which are shaved and melted down as part of common homemade liquid laundry soap recipes include:All of these bar soaps have a scent.

***Update: I actually learned later, from a reader, Heidi, that Kirk's has an unscented castile soap bar (see below for full details.) ***End Update

I am actually at a loss, personally, for what to suggest to you, because that is a real dilemma.

I would love to hear from others who've got similar issues with allergies in the family, who also make their own laundry detergent, to share what ingredients they use to keep their clothes clean, and also their family healthy and without allergic reactions at the same time!

If you've got a suggestion please tell me here, and I'll add it to the page as a resource. I know Dawna is not the only one who has this problem!

In addition, I responded (but unfortunately couldn't answer) this question as part of the section of my site dealing with common laundry questions and problems. Feel free to ask me your own questions, or see what other things I've already answered!

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I Use Dove Sensitive In My Unscented Laundry Detergent Recipe

by Rhoda

I use Dove Sensitive (green label) for our homemade laundry soap.

It is the only bar soap our allergist recommends for bathing, and it works well in our laundry soap as well.

I do try to keep a watch for sales and coupons to keep the overall cost down, but I've been happy with the performance this past year.

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homemade powder laundry detergent ingredients


Photo courtesy of trenttsd

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Two Recommended Unscented Soaps For Homemade Laundry Detergent

by Heidi P.

There are two unscented soaps I can personally recommend that I have used for homemade laundry detergent. However, you will have to order them online, at least, one you will anyway.

Kirk's makes a fragrance free soap bar. Just go to their website and you can order it if they don't sell it near you.

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The other soap I can recommend is MoSoap. Go to MoSoap.com. She makes several different types of soap. What you need is the basic lye soap. It's not superfatted and specifically for house cleaning. Plus, it has no scent.

If you decide to go with MoSoap, you can buy the soap in bulk, which saves money and is essentially a soap log you cut yourself at home.

I hope this helps.

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Will Zote Soap Bar Work For Those With Laundry Detergent Allergies?

One reader, Dorothy, wrote in to tell me that "The white Zote brand is supposed to be unscented," when I originally asked this question of the site's Facebook readers.

However, upon further research although there are three different colors of this soap available -- pink, blue and white, I found that there is no formulation difference between the different color varieties, except the addition of dyes to the pink and blue varieties.

That means all varieties of this soap have a light scent of citronella oil. Therefore, my response was that I didn't think that will work for Dawna, even though I appreciated the thought.

However, when this same discussion came up yet again another time, another reader, Donna, shared how she used this brand of soap in her homemade recipe because it was the only one that didn't bother her allergies.

Recalling this previous discussion I asked her what it smelled like to her, and she responded:

"It has what I call a mild soapy smell like castile soap. I'm so sensitive I have to use unscented deodorant."

So, bottom line -- be careful with this particular brand, just because it does have a scent although it does not bother some people, even those with allergies to many scents.

Of course, also see below where another reader found her son did develop a rash from Zote, so clearly it isn't going to work for everyone with allergies!

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Fels Naptha Has Worked Even For Our Sensitive Skin And Allergic Family

by Jennifer

My husband and children all have extremely sensitive skin and allergies.

We have always used special lotions and soaps from the pharmacist and used dye/fragrance free detergents too.

However, I wanted to give the homemade detergent a shot.

I ended up using the Fels-Naptha soap and as I was grating it my husband absolutely hated the smell and left the room.

I stayed the course and made the detergent using the borax and washing soda recipe.

I have to admit that after washing and drying my clothes they have no scent!

I think it's the washing soda that neutralizes odor.

Even my husbands work out clothes that always had a residual odor (body oils maybe) with our old detergent smell completely fresh and clean now!

We have had no reactions in our family so far and that's saying something considering our track record with new scents!

Hope this helps somebody!

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I Used Ivory Soap Because Other Bar Soaps Caused Rash

by Kelli

My son gets a rash fron Fels Naptha and Zote... So this last batch I used 3 bars of Ivory Soap, box of Borax, box of Washing Soda.

I use 1 tbsp per load.

I also use white vinegar in place of fabric softener.

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Make Own Homemade Bar Soap For Unscented Variety

by Woodwife

Making homemade soap

Making homemade soap

Woodwife shared her idea for how to make an unscented version of laundry detergent, since it appears many of the laundry bar soaps have a scent already in them.

Woodwife says:

We've been making our own laundry soap of years.

When I was a kid Fels Naptha didn't have the horrible perfume fragrance it has today. So to avoid this, we use our own homemade bar soap.

While making several kinds for a recent craft fair I allowed a kettle of oil to overheat. Remembering that the oils probably contained some harmful free radicals from being so hot, I didn't want to make it into a bar to be used on skin so I pondered alternatives.

Then it hit me!

Why not make it into an unscented laundry bar?

We add our soap to washing soda and borax anyway, so I added them into my soap batch.

The results are excellent! You can rub it on a stain, grate it into the washer! Hope this helps.

Taylor says:

Thanks for your tip Woodwife.

I think the next step is to learn how to make homemade bar soap, but I don't currently have any instructions here on the site since I've personally never tried making it before. Anyone got a recipe you could suggest?

You can share your homemade cleaners recipes here if you've got a recipe to share!

Photo by mommyknows

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Washing Detergent Guide: Essential Facts & Information

Lots Of Homemade Cleaners & Laundry Supplies Recipes

Stain Removal Help And FAQs

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Comments for Make Own Homemade Bar Soap For Unscented Variety

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Soap is not detergent
by: Betty

I am looking for a way to remove fire retardant from bedding as it makes me cough. Looking for unscented soap brought this site. Are all bar soaps actually soap or detergent? Dove makes an unscented bar soap, but I'm not sure if it's actually a soap or a detergent. Thanks.

I'm allergic to anything with fragrance, so here are my recipes
by: Kerrie Brown

I am allergic to fragrance in everything. If you are allergic to fragrant soaps make my own laundry soap.

Recipe: Grate the bar soap or mix in food processor until finely ground. Use the soap of your choice. I use ivory bar soap. In a large bowl, mix 2 parts washing soda, 2 parts Borax and 1 part grated soap. (Add a few teaspoons of baking soda if desired). Store in closed container. I keep mine in quart or half gallon mason jars. If you are using a big enough container, you can skip step 2 and just put all ingredients in storage container or jar and shake. Use 1/8 to 1/4 cup per load of laundry.

To make liquid Laundry Soap: Grate one bar of soap with cheese grater or food processor. Put grated soap in pan with 2 quarts water and gradually heat, stirring constantly until soap is completely dissolved. Put 4.5 gallons of really hot tap water in a 5-gallon bucket (available for free in bakeries at grocery stores, just ask them) and stir in 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda until completely dissolved. Pour soap mixture from pan into 5-gallon bucket. Stir well.Cover and leave overnight. Shake or stir until smooth and pour into gallon jugs or other containers.

response to question from Philomena
by: Taylor

I'm not personally familiar with Surcare, but you need to be careful with any dish soap that you use for laundry soap (just the same as any laundry soap bar you use) that you don't get too much suds, especially if you have an HE machine. Does anyone else have any experience with this issue that could help Philomena?

unscented soaps
by: Philomena

I used to use Biokleen but the place I bought it from have discontinued it. It was fragrance free and cleaned beautifully, and it lasted for 126 washes. We can't abide essential oils. They make my sinuses go haywire.

I bought some BioD laundry liquid, but all my whites are going grey, so I thought I would make my own laundry detergent, but all the recipes say to use grated soap. I was wondering if using Surcare unscented washing up liquid would be OK and if so, how much do I use as opposed to 1 bar of soap???

Allergic reaction to Fels Naptha
by: Pat

I get a terrible itchy rash from Fels Naptha soap. It was an ingredient in a recipe for a homemade laundry soap.

Unscented castile soap bars
by: Anonymous

Just ordered this past week a bar of unscented castile soap from this place that makes all soaps organic. This works well for me and since the soap is unscented the detergent will be as well!

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