BAR FIGHT: Fels Naptha vs Zote Laundry Bar Soap

20140525-193814.jpg White Zote, Pink Zote, and Fels Naptha

Battle of the bars!

In a battle of laundry bar soaps, which one is champ? Didn’t know there was a battle of laundry bar soaps? Or didn’t know there even where laundry bar soaps? I didn’t exactly know until recently either. And they don’t fight each other, but they do fight tough stains and dirt!

Both Fels Naptha and Zote are bar soaps made specifically for laundry, though you may find other uses. From washing dishes or treating poison ivy to catfish bait. I kid you not.

** Note that the English version of the Zote website seems to be either down or gone for good. All links that went to the English version of the Zote website no longer work. Sorry about that. I’ll update all the links, below, as time allows (if posssible). In the meantime, here’s an English translation of their current website.**

The Winner

Because of its simple ingredients, amazing size, and low price, the winner in my court is Zote. Both Fels Naptha and Zote put up a good fight and cleaned extremely well. Using these for laundry has me questioning why other types of detergent were ever made in the first place. Expensive liquids and powders left behind several spots and stains that both bars have busted. I’m really impressed!

Zote is a HUGE bar — more than twice the size of Fels Naptha for the same price.

Zote is all natural with very few ingredients and no fillers. Check out the ingredient list, below. I find the fragrance to be fresh and pleasant. It’s citronella, but not like a patio candle. Fels Naptha doesn’t specify its fragrance.

Zote was easier for me to find in local stores, and I found the softer consistency was easier to work with. My arm muscles got a nice mini workout from grating Zote, but it doesn’t feel like they’re about to fall off. Fels Naptha is much harder like really hard parmesan cheese.

Both soaps can be used to spot-treat laundry stains, as a laundry detergent booster, or as a component of homemade laundry detergent itself. Find my recipe for Homemade Laundry Detergent here. Both bars do the job surprisingly well! Individual results may vary. You may find one bar works better for your needs or preferences. Details below.

You may have trouble finding one or more of these bars in a grocery store near you. If you don’t find them in the laundry section, check near the other bar soaps used for washing your body. You might also check hardware stores. Can’t find either, try regular ol’ Ivory soap. It actually works too. Or if you don’t want to use an animal-based** soap look for castile soap like Kirk’s Castile.

What do you use?

The Details

Fels Naptha:

SIZE: 5.5 oz, 165 g
COST: from $0.97 (at a Walmart, only price I found so far)
COLOR: yellowish, semi-transparent
CONSISTENCY/TEXTURE: hard, grates like a hard Parmesan cheese (mmm, cheese)
RESIDUE: none noticed when grated, pulverized, or powdered pieces are used. Larger slices may not dissolve all the way, but they’ll be transparentish. May depend on water temperature used and water conditions in your area.
FRAGRANCE: soapy, clean, similar to Dial soap
INGREDIENTS: “Soap (sodium tallowate*, sodium cocoate* (or) sodium palmate kernelate*, and sodium palmate*), water, talc, coconut acid*, palm acid*, tallow acid*, PEG-6 methyl ether, glycerin, sorbitol, sodium chloride, pentasodium pentetate and/or tetrasodium etidronate, titatium dioxide, fragrance, Acid Orange (CI 20170), Acid yellow 73 (ci43350)
*contains one or more of these ingredients”
VEGAN: probably not**
HOW IT WORKED: Useful for spot treating. You’ll need to either moisten the end of the bar or the area of the stain before you can rub much soap onto the stain. Rub firmly and thoroughly to cover the stain with a film of soap and let sit a bit before laundering. Since this bar is yellowish it will likewise leave a yellowish spot where you rubbed it. The stain will probably look worse, eeks, but at least you can easily see where you put the soap. Wash. Spot comes clean. Works especially well for oil-based stains like the greasy chicken I dropped down the front of my shirt.

To use in your laundry as actual laundry detergent you’ll need to grate it with a cheese grater or pulverize it in a blender or food processor (cut into medium small chunks first). You can also put smaller slices into the microwave and zap a couple minutes until the soap foams up. It will look a lot like shaving cream is growing out of the piece of soap. It’s way awesome fun to watch! (Maybe a little too much fun for some of us.) Let the foamy mound cool completely, then just crumble it to a powder with your fingers. Add to laundry per directions or use in an online recipe for homemade laundry detergent.


SIZE: 14.1 oz , 400 g
COST: $1.99, $1.27, $0.97 (prices from Home Depot, H Mart international grocery, and a Walmart respectively )
COLOR: comes in white and pink, both semi-translucent (The two colors have identical formulas with the exception of non-staining color added to pink. The white is natural and free of added color.)
CONSISTENCY/TEXTURE: firm but pliable, like slightly warmed candle wax
RESIDUE: None noticed when used grated, pulverized, or powdered. Larger slices may not dissolve all the way. May depend on water temperature used and water conditions in your area.
FRAGRANCE: clean, soapy, citronella***
INGREDIENTS: for white: “sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate, fragrance, optical brightener.” (And that’s it. Which is pretty cool if you ask me.)
For Pink, all the above plus “violet 10.” And that’s it.
OTHER INFO: 66% fatty acid. Alkalinity of 0.04% (bath soap is 0.02%) Website claims some folks use it to bathe. Everything but the optical brightener is just soap, right? Maybe it will impart a bright, glowing complexion. Who can say?
VEGAN: no **
HOW IT WORKED: Useful for spot treating. Fresh out of the wrapper you can squish it with your hands like firm clay. It was soft enough to rub directly onto the spot or stain with no water. It leaves a wax-like film. But the bar seems to get a little firmer once opened for a while so you may find it helpful to either moisten the end of the bar or the area of the stain. Rub firmly and thoroughly to cover the stain with a film of soap and let sit a bit before laundering. White Zote leaves a cloudy colorless film, while pink Zote leaves a pinkish film where you rubbed it. Let sit a bit. Wash. Spot comes clean. Like Fels Naptha, it works especially well for oil-based stains.

I was able to remove some exceptionally tough stains by adding a little hydrogen peroxide to the stain along with the Zote treatment. There were some really hideous stains at the underarm area of a cream-color, short sleeve sweater I rather like. How did I sweat that much? Maybe it was some icky brand of deodorant that left the stain? Anyway, I tried several commercial spot removers as well as pre-treating with conventional laundry detergent and adding a small amount of bleach to the laundry. But those stains did not budge until I rubbed liberally with Zote and added a little peroxide. Then I let it sit a bit and laundered with a homemade laundry soap (made with Zote, washing soda, and borax). The stain was darn near 100% gone except a small streak right at the seam which probably didn’t get as much Zote.

To use in your laundry as actual laundry detergent you’ll need to grate Zote with a cheese grater. A blender or food processor might work, but because it’s softer it may also clump unless you let the bar cure and firm up first. You can also put slices into the microwave. Cutting into manageable slices is especially important with Zote since the bars are HUGE. So, really, cut maybe 1/16 off and then zap that. It would take forever to heat the entire bar all the way and even if you managed without destroying your microwave, the resulting foam would take up more cubic inches than can fit in a microwave. Maybe more than a whole kitchen! This might be amusing for some, but it would be bad. Just bad. So smallish pieces, okay? Zap a few minutes and it will also look like shaving cream is growing out of the piece of soap. It’s also way awesome fun to watch! Who needs a TV? And it leaves a fresh scent in the microwave for a little while. Let the foamy mounds cool completely — they’ll deflate some. Then crumble. Add to laundry per directions or use in an online recipe for homemade laundry detergent. Zote’s website also offers a recipe for making liquid Zote by cooking it with water on your stove until it dissolves. You can let it cool to a gel for future use. Check out the list of other uses for Zote! Wacky. Use per directions.

***OF NOTE: Neither Fels Naptha nor Zote is fragrance free. I thought they were before I purchased them. Lots of recipes for homemade laundry detergent for sensitive skin call for one of these bars. Perhaps the bars are already more skin-friendly as they’re really just classic soap and not not a blend of strong detergents. I find that the scent in these bars is not overwhelming and doesn’t stay with my laundry for long. Neither bar irritates my skin or causes itching. If you have very sensitive skin you may find that one works better than the other for you. On their website Zote specifies citronella oil as the ingredient used to fragrance their bars. It’s natural and diluted citronella oil is skin friendly for most people. Plus it can keep mosquitoes away! Though I don’t find that the fragrance stays on the clothing for very long. Fels Naptha does not specify anything other than “fragrance” as far as I can tell, but it smells more like a blend of somethings to me. I’ll update if I find out.

Can be good at removing the oil of plants like poison ivy. Use before rash shows up for best results.

**Neither bar is vegan — both do or probably* do contain tallow / tallowate which is usually derived from cow fat. Presumably the tallow is a secondary product of the meat industry and cows aren’t actually slaughtered for the exclusive purpose of making laundry soap. Because yeah. The same could be said about most commercial body bar soaps on the market. Which is pretty creepy if you ask me. I’m glad they use as much of the animal as they can if they’re going to slaughter at all. But it kind of gives new meaning to body bar soap, no? Ack. I’ll probably get over it for laundry purposes for now …

Looking for a vegan suitable bar? Kirk’s Castile Soap is made of mostly coconut oil. Castile soaps are, by definition, vegetable-oil based soaps. Other tallow-free soaps include Dr. Bronner’s, Kiss My Face, Burt’s Bees, and Zum Bar. Amazingly you should be able to use any of these on laundry, but A.) They usually cost way more, though I found Kirk’s Castille soap for only $1.29/4oz bar at MOM’s Organic Market — not too bad, really. B.) Be careful to use a lighter-color bar as darker ones may have clay, charcoal, or other ingredients mixed in. Those could potentially stain your laundry.

Copyright 2014 Debora Kapke

Updated 8/10/2014 to add a link to my recipe for homemade laundry detergent (above).

Updated 09/23/16 to add a link to a temporary English translation of the Zote website and some notes.



47 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Dirty Laundry Come Clean: A Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe | alightningbug
  2. Trackback: What kind of freak uses laundry BAR soap? | alightningbug
  3. Heather
    Jan 15, 2015 @ 18:41:15

    Thank you for the info! Had been using Fels Napatha, had to switch to Zote when the store ran out of FN…I agree 100% that it works better and now I know the ingredients are better, too. PS thanks for pointing out that tallowate means more thorough use of a slaughtered animal…not icky, good use of natural ingredients (i am a montana gal!)!!


  4. Heather
    Jan 15, 2015 @ 18:46:46

    Quick follow up…i looked up optical brighteners – definitely not natural, but i dont stress out too much over that with an otherwise natural product. And they are used in cosmetics, but, yeah, I a, not sure I would bathe with it either. But i use kirks, oats and herbs to make a crazy cheap body wash etc…but for really nasty messes on people, it might be a good option, especially if, like me, you dont keep detergent or deodorant type soaps around.


    • Susan
      Oct 10, 2015 @ 10:26:30

      will you share your body wash recipe with me, please? I make my own toiletries also. Thank you


      • alightningbug
        Oct 11, 2015 @ 12:05:24

        Hi Susan, I don’t actually make a body wash from Zote or Fels Naptha. I think they would be a little too drying for regular use. I have used Zote to occasionally wash my oily skin. It did a good job, but the pH is harsh for long-term use. I’ve seen both laundry bar soaps recommended for people who have poison ivy or oak. They do a really good job of stripping those plant oils off your skin. What I would suggest for skin is Castile soap. I love liquid Castile soap, but it’s not cheap. You could use Kirk’s Castile bar soap to make a more reasonably priced bar soap and I’ll post that soon.

      • alightningbug
        Oct 12, 2015 @ 14:37:04

        Reasonably-priced liquid or gel soap is what I should have typed in that last sentence. My fingers had bar soap on their mind.

      • alightningbug
        Oct 13, 2015 @ 16:54:57

        Hi again, Susan. Until I read this Reply thread on my actual laptop/desktop computer I didn’t realize that you’d asked the commenter above you for the body wash recipe. That makes so much more sense! When I read Replies on my phone I have to really dig to see all the replies as opposed to just the latest ones. So sorry for all my comments about not using Zote or Fels Naptha to make a body wash. Yes, Kirk’s Castile soap is the way to go. Whether or not you hear back from, Heather, above, I’ll have a recipe soon. My recipe probably won’t be the same — like I probably won’t use actual herbs in mine but use essential oils instead. Not sure about the oatmeal either but I might try it. I’d worry that it could grow mold if you don’t use it quickly enough though. Herbs and oatmeal would probably be fine in a bar soap as there is little water in bar soap so nasties can’t grow. A body wash, however, would have a much higher water contend, and I fear oats would just provide food for mold and bacteria to grow… But I could be wrong. I hope this helps. Thank you for visiting!

  5. Ana Espinoza
    Jun 06, 2015 @ 16:59:21

    I actually have used Zote to bathe. I used it as an emergency once i thought i had body wash and didn’t. I went to my laundry room and grabbed a piece and washed my whole body with it. I have oily skin hand have to say my skin was left dry for the rest of the day which i loved since usually I use other oil control products. Also, noticed that it leaves my underarms dry and will not smell for like two days. Ever since I use Zote for my face and underarms. I still use deodorant just because it’s a habit but at night after bathing with Zote i skip the deodorant.


  6. Trackback: Accidentally Froze a Bar of Fels Naptha | alightningbug
  7. Scott
    Nov 03, 2015 @ 14:56:56

    When I first was your title Bar Fight my mental images were hurtled back to the Colonial Inn in Charleston SC in 1957. A bar fight between a man’s’ wife and his girlfriend. I hung around until I heard the MPs coming.


  8. Connie Webb
    Nov 16, 2015 @ 19:36:44

    I prefer to use Fels Naphtha as it does not contain optical brighteners and it is made in the United States as well as it does a great job of cleaning the laundry.


    • alightningbug
      Nov 17, 2015 @ 08:19:47

      Thank you for visiting, Connie! I agree it’s great to buy American-made products.
      I like Fels Naptha and Zote. They both do a really good job of cleaning.
      You should know that the formula for Fels Naptha has changed slightly since I originally posted this comparison. I will have an update this week.
      While Fels Naptha doesn’t contain “optical brightener” per se on its list of ingredients, it does contain ingredients like tetrasodium etidronate (which some folks may want to avoid) and triclocarban titanium dioxide (which has antibacterial properties and *may* be used as an optical brightener as well). The triclocarban titanium dioxide used to be only titanium dioxide in Fels Naptha. Also they’ve changed the dye that’s used to color it.

      I still find both bars to be preferable to most liquid laundry detergents.

      If you really want to avoid optical brighteners you might want to try Kirk’s Castile soap (or other Castile soaps which usually contain fewer additives).

      Happy washing!


  9. Sue M
    Nov 24, 2015 @ 00:09:28

    Thank you for this interesting article. I saw both bars at the store today and was searching to find the ingredients! You saved me work and provided all the information I was looking for. I am going to buy Zote (white) to take care of some stains on clothes that haven’t come out with “regular” laundry detergent. Then I will give your homemade laundry soap a try. And thank you for tip about using hydrogen peroxide with the soap.

    My first visit here but I will be back as you have wonderful information!!


    • alightningbug
      Nov 24, 2015 @ 09:27:33

      Thank you for visiting! I’m glad my blog could be helpful! Soon I’ll post some updates on laundry bar soaps. Zote ingredients are the same as far as I know, but Fels Naptha has changed a little. Also, I know more about using both of them now. I hope you’ll visit again. And I hope Zote works out well for you. If you have questions let me know. I’ll do my best to answer. 🙂


  10. alightningbug
    Nov 28, 2015 @ 12:49:47

    And … still working on updates to information about laundry bar soaps. Soon.


  11. Kim
    Jan 09, 2016 @ 07:02:19

    I use my blender with zote and powder ingredients at the same time. I cut the zote into cubes and work in small batches. If you don’t use the powdery ingredients at the same time (washing soda, etc.), it will clump. Using the blender makes it a total snap and I do a double batch which lasts us over a month (three people). My laundry detergent is a dry powder, btw, not liquid.


    • alightningbug
      Jan 09, 2016 @ 11:23:31

      That sounds like something I should try. Thank you, Kim! And thank you for visiting my blog!

      I used to use a fairly large cheese grater for grating Zote. It was both easy and fast. I’ve switched to a medium size grater (the holes are medium as opposed to small or large). It works great in the mix and washing machine, but it takes a bit longer to grate. I’m all for saving some time, so I may have to give the blender a try. Thank you again.


    • SHELIA
      Apr 04, 2017 @ 07:07:00

      Unwrap leave the Zotes bar soap out for a day or 2, let dry out and it will not be sticky. It will work in blender with dry ingredients well.


  12. Alicia Bailey
    May 07, 2016 @ 00:34:15

    I use zote soap as a “stain stick”. Just wet stain and rub bar over stain. Then hold stain between your hands, and put hands together, and rub fabric vigorously. This really helps get the stain out. I’ve had success with Zoe and dark pink lip gloss. 50%peroxide and 50%dawn dish soap is good too. I’ve gotten sticker residue off of a coat with this.


  13. Kevin G
    May 17, 2016 @ 13:37:02

    Just so everyone knows, Zote is going to make the fabric “look” whiter/brighter because of the optical brighteners. They are chemicals that adhere to fabric and absorb ultraviolet light and re-emit the light in the blue-spectrum. Giving the illusion of a cleaner-brighter white.
    It basically is partially covering up the stain and not really removing it.


    • alightningbug
      May 18, 2016 @ 16:30:50

      Hi Kevin, thanks for stopping by. You are correct for the most part. Optical brighteners can make fabric look brighter and whiter. However, brighteners probably wouldn’t actually cover most stains. It may make a stain look brighter though. And it can make fabric look overall less dingy, which gives the illusion of being cleaner. The portion of Zote that I use in my laundry is so small that I don’t think the effect of the brighteners is noticeable. FWIW, Fels Naptha still has optical brighteners too as far as I can tell. They just don’t label them in the ingredient list as “optical brighteners.” Instead you’ll see chemical ingredients some of which are brighteners. The soap portion of Zote and Fels Naptha is still soap which is good at actually cleaning away stains, grease, and dirt. Folks who want to stay away from optical brighteners may want to try soaps made for washing skin like Dr. Bronners or Kirk’s Castile. However, because they are made to be gentle to skin they may not be as tough on stains. They still clean pretty darn well though.


  14. Jammie Wharton
    May 29, 2016 @ 22:54:48

    Can anyone tell me… Is Pink Zote bar ok for HE washers? I want to try pink Zote to make my homemade detergent since I couldn’t find the Fels Naptha bar at the store. When I found the Zote bars, I also saw a box of pink Zote pieces that said it was not to be used in HE washers. But the bar does not say one way or the other. Any help?


    • alightningbug
      Jun 06, 2016 @ 08:44:19

      Honestly, I’ve read both that it is and that it isn’t. It is low-sudsing though. So that part says yes. All bar soaps can leave behind mineral deposits if you’re not careful, though, so that part says maybe not. I think when mixed with Washing Soda, it reduces the deposits. So that might help. If I find out more info, I’ll post it here.


  15. creatorworship
    Aug 15, 2016 @ 09:38:23

    Thanks for the informative blog. Thorough information is hard to find.


    • Alissa
      Aug 31, 2016 @ 19:31:23

      I don’t know if they named the soap zote because in spanish jabón zote means big soap but I always thought the word play funny


  16. Kimber Barton
    Sep 23, 2016 @ 10:17:03

    I wanted to let you know the link to the Zote website is no longer valid.


  17. alightningbug
    Sep 23, 2016 @ 11:04:52

    Thank you, Kimber! It looks like they have a new website and were either merged with or purchased by another soap company. Not sure yet if the new website is in English. I’m only finding Spanish right now. I’ll update shortly.


  18. alightningbug
    Sep 23, 2016 @ 11:12:26

    Or possibly just the English version of the website is gone or down for now. Here’s the Zote website in Spanish.

    Your browser may offer an option to translate to English. I’m working on an updated page of Zote and Fels Naptha anyway, so I’ll have updates soon. Thank you again, Kimber!


  19. Trackback: Zote Soap in English | aLightningbug
  20. alightningbug
    Sep 23, 2016 @ 12:59:06

    Here’s a very rough translation of the Zote soap website. I’m making a note, above, to link to this page. Other Zote soap website links may still be broken for now.


    • Kimber Barton
      Sep 23, 2016 @ 13:31:45

      I agree, keep it, just because…

      Do you have a guess for what it means by “toilet soap?”

      I read on Wikipedia that optical brighteners can be irritating for skin. It also said:

      “… are chemical compounds that absorb light in the ultraviolet and violet region (usually 340-370 nm) of the electromagnetic spectrum, and re-emit light in the blue region (typically 420-470 nm) by fluorescence.”

      The optical brighteners are used in place of bluing, that was historically, to whiten clothes. Tangent: we used to use bluing on my horse’s white socks to brighten them for horse shows…

      So they are chemicals… I would think that someone that is making their own laundry soap to have something that is chemical-free, would not want ‘optical brighteners.’

      What are your thoughts on this?

      Also, I tried making laundry soap (with Kirk’s coconut soap in place of Zote or Fels Naptha), but found that none of the ingredients really dissolved reliably / consistently). Especially considering I wash almost exclusively with cold water.

      How have you solved this? Sorry if it’s already been addressed on your site.


      • alightningbug
        Sep 23, 2016 @ 18:00:28

        Pretty sure they mean bath soap (body bar soap) when the say toilet soap.

      • alightningbug
        Sep 23, 2016 @ 19:41:55

        As for optical brighteners, that’s not really a simple answer. The term “chemical-free” is itself pretty tricky. Can’t make any soap at all without chemicals. So even vegan Kirk’s Castile soap is made with chemicals (probably lye, also known as potash, aka potassium hydroxide). Don’t forget even pure water is a chemical (H2O). Really, virtually everything is made of chemicals. What most people mean by “chemicals” is whether or not something is chemically inert and/or biologically compatible and/or non-irritating. Different people are going to be sensitive to different things — some folks have sensitivity to even the most natural of substances. So it’s not simple. For what it’s worth, some of the same substances that can be used as “optical brighteners” in soap may also be found naturally occurring in teeth (they often glow under UV light just like optical brighteners). From my experience and what I’ve read or heard from others, Zote and Fels Naptha are fairly gentle on sensitive skin when used as a laundry soap. If anything, Fels Naptha is more highly scented, so it may be more irritating to some folks. Kirk’s is quite gentle (especially since it is made for skin). But everyone is different. I personally haven’t had any problem with any of these bar soaps when used in my laundry. But it is hard for me to find a commercial liquid laundry detergent that doesn’t make me itchy. I hope this helps!

    • Kimber Barton
      Sep 23, 2016 @ 13:35:58

      From what I saw, the domain is up for grabs.


  21. Richard White
    Oct 17, 2016 @ 10:13:39

    I started making my own soap years ago and finally settled on a formula using partially hydrogenated soybean oil, coconut oil, and a touch of olive oil. Then I learned how to make laundry soap, so I made some bars using only soybean oil (the coconut oil makes the soap lather, and you don’t want that in your laundry). I also learned about Fels Naphtha Soap and tried it.

    The problem with that was that my wife found its “fragrance” (somewhat citrus-like) overwhelming. This was from gating it, not from using it in the wash. Even storing it in Zip-lock bags wasn’t enough.

    Then one day I found Zote in the local H-E-B (we live in Austin), and thought I’d give it a try. My own soap gelled in the bucket haphazardly, but the Zote gelled all the way to the bottom. Moreover, we found that it cleaned better. Even mixing Zote with my soap (I also saved and grated the slivers left over from the bath) was less satisfactory.

    We’ll be using Zote for the laundry now without mixing in anything else.


    • alightningbug
      Nov 09, 2016 @ 08:47:48

      Thank you for visiting, Richard! (I meant to reply sooner. Sometimes life happens.) I’ve been happy using Zote too. The results are consistent and the fragrance is not overpowering. Fels Naptha was a lot stronger smelling and especially so when I grated it. I do like adding washing soda to the Zote, but it’s not as economical that way. It can always be added per-load for extra heavy loads.


  22. Kristina
    Dec 01, 2016 @ 15:08:41

    I used to make my own laundry detergent using soap flakes, washing soda and baking soda but I just didn’t feel that it was super effective at getting stains out. I switched back to a natural liquid detergent but I know I’m spending more money this way. My sister in law makes her own detergent with Zote, Borax and Super Washing Soda. It got me thinking again. I’d like to try it so I’ve been researching Zote but can’t find too much info on it. I have tried my hardest to rid my house of chemicals so I want to make sure that Zote fits the bill. From all I have read on your page here it seems like it may be what I’m looking for and still be effective at cleaning! With 2 small boys I definitely need a good laundry detergent! 🙂 Any more info and advice would be super helpful! Thank You!!!


    • alightningbug
      Dec 03, 2016 @ 15:14:47

      Thanks for visiting, Kristina!

      Yes, Zote is pretty basic as far as ingredients. It’s mostly just a big bar of good ol’soap (and there are people who actually use it on their skin).

      If you have specific spots /stains then consider spot treating with a little soap then spray on some hydrogen peroxide (like what they sell in the first aid department for use on cuts). Together they really seem to work well for stains like food and sweat.

      I think the biggest reason some homemade laundry detergents don’t work is that people use too little in the wash. I’ve seen some recipes call for such a small amount of homemade detergent per load that it’s really not cleaning any better than plain water. Experiment to see what works for you. It can still be very economical!

      Feel free to ask questions. I try to answer the best I can.


  23. Noeleen
    Aug 12, 2017 @ 10:43:35

    I wish we could get Zote soap bar’s for £1 each in the UK. Amazon is the only website I can find but the cheapest is £30.00 approx $50 a bar. I will have to wait until someone is going to the USA on holiday before I can have my first Bar. I can’t find laundry bar soap in the UK. We can not Buy Borax in the shop’s over here either.


  24. Janika
    Oct 25, 2017 @ 12:00:12

    I use zote soap for cleaning makeup brushes it work excellence for cleaning my brushes I just get my makeup brush wet and swirl it across the zote bar then I then I swirl my brush over my brush egg (a brush egg is something with ridges to help clean makeup brushes) then I rinse it and it usually clean after the first time it depends how dirty my brush is but zote soap rinses really fast and it will even clean a beauty blender or beauty blender knockoffs really well too


  25. Nicole
    Mar 25, 2019 @ 14:45:52

    Hi! Can I use a tin storage container (like the Christmas ones for holding goodies) to store this cleaning powder? I have a large one that contained flavored popcorn and it’s a great size for a large batch. Just wondered if the ingredients would react with the metal. Thank you!


    • alightningbug
      May 09, 2019 @ 08:23:40

      It may react with the metal and cause rust or corrosion because there is moisture in the soap and soap is a base (alkaline). Coated metal will probably be okay for a while though. You may want to line the tin with a plastic bag to keep the soap from directly contacting the metal. Glass is probably safest as far as not reacting with the soap. But glass is heavy and there’s risk of breaking.

      Thank you for visiting and good luck with the soap!


  26. GypsieCat
    Nov 09, 2019 @ 08:06:29

    I’ve been using Fels Naptha for years because of my allergy to commercial laundry detergents and their chemical base. I started adding Zote to the mix and found that if Zote and Fels Naptha are NOT both in the mix, I itch to kingdom come from Zote. They have different properties and do different things for laundry. I mix the bar soap with 20 Mule Team Borax and Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (1 box each to 1 bar each) My laundry has a nice fresh fragrance, I just wish I had a clothesline to get that really great fresh air smell!


  27. Dave
    May 27, 2020 @ 00:53:55

    I had a few questions about both of these soaps.
    This precise, well written and easy to follow article covered mountains of more information than I could have hoped for.
    Thank you for putting this together!


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