Fels Naptha Soap: Here’s What It is & How to Use It!

bars of Fels Naptha Soap with a handmade knitted kitchen dish scrubbie
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Fels Naptha soap is one of the oldest household products that are still available to this day.

It’s quite popular and has been labeled a super product as it has been suggested to have beneficial skincare remedies, as well as laundry and household cleaning benefits.

bars of Fels Naptha Soap and a handmade knit scrubber

It’s essentially a laundry soap bar and stain remover that was first manufactured somewhere around 1894.

It became increasingly popular during the Great Depression because it was surprisingly inexpensive and could be used to clean most things around the house.

Fels Naptha Ingredients

This soap contains sodium palmate, sodium tallowate, and sodium cocoate. It also consists of talc and water. Fels-Naptha soap ingredients work together to tackle your toughest stains.

Fels Naptha Laundry Bar is also the perfect pre-treatment for tough grease stains. It is a fantastic degreaser.

You may be wondering where to buy Fels-Naptha soap, look at large store like Walmart, Ace Hardware or Amazon.

A Word of Caution

As with all cleaning products, use extreme caution and always use Fels Naptha Soap in a well ventilated area.

Safety of Purex Fels Naptha Soap

Make sure to protect your skin from exposure by wearing rubber gloves at all times while using this soap.

Remember this is a heavy duty cleaning bar so use with caution. With that said, make sure to look at this information on the safety of Fels Naptha.

For reference, here is a copy from OHSA for all hazardous type materials.

10+ Fels Naptha Uses

Fels-Naptha was typically used for making a homemade laundry soap, but that is just one of its many uses that most people aren’t even familiar with.

If you’re curious about this super product, read on to find out 5 amazing Fels Naptha bar soap uses in and around your house.

1. Pre Stain Treatment

This household soap is the perfect pre-stain treatment for ring-around-the-collar and cuffs. It is easy to use and works extremely well.

This Fels Naptha laundry bar soap is idea to keep in your wash area.

Simple wet the area with water and rub the bar of Fels Naptha soap into the fabric. Create some lather by rubbing the fabric.

Or, make the spray bottle version as listed below with 1/4 cup grated Fels Naptha soap to 32oz of hot warm. Melt and pour into spray bottle.

This step helps tremendously in getting your clothes super clean.

2. Homemade Laundry Detergent

This simple laundry soap recipe is one to love! Click on it for a printable version.

Yield: Small Batch or Large Batch

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Still Life of Natural Cleaning homemade laundry soap shavings and a metal grater

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent & Save Money!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Fels Naptha® Bar Soap (5.5 ounces)
  • 20 Mule Team® Borax
  • Arm & Hammer® Washing Soda
  • Baking Soda (optional but helpful for hard water)
  • Oxi-Clean (optional but helpful for stains)
  • Favorite Essential Oil
  • Find instructions for Small Batch or Large Batch below.


  • Box grater
  • Measuring cup
  • Rubber gloves (washing soda can irritate your skin)
  • Canning Jars or Some Type of Storage Container


  1. Instructions for Small Batch or Large Batch

1 Bar of Grated Soap
Borax - 2 Cups
Super Washing Soda - 2 Cups
Oxi-Clean or Store Brand - 2 Cups (optional)
40 drops of Essential Oils (optional)
For Hard Water add 2 Cups of Baking Soda
Carefully mix to combine and store in a sealed jar or container

3 Bar of Grated Soap
1 Box of Borax (4lbs size)
1 Box Super Washing Soda (3lb 7oz size)
1/2 container of Oxi-Clean or Store Brand (optional)
2 teaspoons of Essential Oils
For Hard Water add 1 Box Baking Soda (4lb size)
Carefully mix to combine and store in a sealed jar or container

  1. Use either the small batch or large batch quantities and follow the instructions.
  2. Grate a bar of soap into flakes using a box or hand grater into a bowl, whatever you have available. You can grate more than one bar; it just depends on how much laundry detergent you’re planning to make either a small batch or large batch
  3. In a separate container, mix together borax, washing soda, baking soda, & Oxi-Clean.
  4. Add the grated soap to this mixture
  5. Add essential oils if desired.
  6. If you wish to make more, you can increase the quantity as long as you’re keeping the ingredients in the right proportion.
  7. Thoroughly stir the ingredients together and there you have it; your homemade laundry detergent is ready to use.


  • Store in a sealed jar or container with a scoop.
  • Use 1 to 2 tablespoons for small loads of laundry
  • Use 4 to 6 tablespoons for large and/or dirty loads of laundry
  • If you want your laundry detergent to have a fresh and long-lasting scent, consider adding Purex Crystals. (but, if you staying more natural then look at the next tip)
  • You can also create your own naturally scented crystals with essential oils and use them instead of the Purex crystals. The ones that I like are orange, lemongrass and lavender.
  • 3. Bathroom Air Freshener

    Need a simple but effective air freshener in your bathroom or closet?

    If so, then simply place a bar of Fels-Naptha Soap under the sink or on a shelf. The freshness is amazing!

    Make sure to place the bar of soap in a small dish or on a plate of some type to protect the cabinet or cupboard surface.

    Also, look at how you can use Thieves Oil as a Bathroom Air Freshener.

    4. Fels Naptha Soap Poison Ivy Treatment for Clothing

    Fels-Naptha can help you get rid of poison ivy on your clothes.

    There is also some information suggesting that Fels Naptha can be used on your skin to treat poison ivy but be very careful

    5. Protecting Your Garden from Aphids

    You can also use Fels-Naptha to protect your garden from bugs.

    A simple recipe for Aphids:

    • Dissolve 1 tablespoon of grated Fels Naptha soap in 1 gallon of hot water
    • Stir to dissolve, cool and pour into a spray bottle.
    • Spray aphids weekly until gone.
    • The spray once a month as routine maintenance.

    For your vegetable garden, make sure to you an safe organic product like on that is approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)

    Maybe try something like Safer Insect Killing Soap for your garden veggies.

    Or, make your own DIY insecticidal soap from a milder safer liquid soap.

    6. Protecting Your Garden from Deer:

    If you need to protect your yard or garden from deer then consider this recipe:

    • Grate 1 bar of Fels-Naptha and
    • Dissolve it in a 5-gallon bucket filled halfway with hot water.

    Take a 12″ x 12″ piece of cheesecloth and add the follow ingredients:

    • 2 Bunches of Chopped Green Onions
    • 2 Heads of garlic (unpeeled)
    • 4 Whole Eggs (do not crack but leave whole until next step)
    • 1 Cup Chili Powder
    • 1 Cup Cayenne Pepper

    Chop the green onions and garlic or process in a food processor.

    Place the chopped onions and garlic , the 2 whole eggs, chili powder and Cayenne Pepper in the middle of the piece of cheesecloth.

    Tie this bundle with string to secure.

    Once you’ve tied it up nicely, put the bundle of cheesecloth inside the bucket and then crack the eggs. Add more hot water to the bucket and top it with the lid.

    For your vegetable garden try something that is approved by the Organic Material Review Institute (OMRI) like Safer Insect Killing Soap for your garden veggies.

    Place in Sprayer Bottle

    Let it sit in a safe place for a week and then pour the mixture into spray bottle.

    Spray this mixture on any areas that you want to protect from animals.

    Plan on respraying your garden or yard with this mixture about every 2 weeks or after any heavy rains. Use either a hand sprayer or a pump sprayer.

    Here’s a printable recipe for the Fels Naptha Deer Deterrent Spray.

    Do not spray on any edible plants in your garden! Remember for your vegetable garden, use a safe product reviewed by Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)

    Use a product such as Safer Insect Killing Soap for your garden veggies.

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    7. Cleaning Your Sink

    You can use Fels Naptha to get your sink to look shiny and spotless; with its grease cutting property, this works great to clean your kitchen sink.

    Just lather up some Fels Naptha on a soft cleaning cloth or soft brush, scour the sink, and then rinse.

    Or, make the spray bottle version as listed below with 1/4 cup grated Fels Naptha soap to 32oz of hot warm. Melt and pour into spray bottle.

    This soapy mixture works great on grease and grim!

    Once you’re done washing and rinsing, use a dry cloth to wipe the sink and gently rub to a shine.

    This will give your sink the smooth polished look you’ve been hoping to see.

    8. Clean the Bathroom

    Make a simple spray to clean your bathroom. Grated and dissolve 1/4 cup of Fels Naptha Soap into one quart (32oz) of hot water.

    Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and use to clean and freshen your bathroom.

    Use on the following:

    • Sinks
    • Toilets
    • Floors
    • General Cleaning
    • Laundry Stains

    9. Mold and Mildew

    Bathroom mold and mildew is nasty especially as it builds up in your tile grout. Take preventive steps to keep mold and mildew away.

    Using a dry bar of Fels Naptha soap, simply rub the bar into the grout and scrub with a brush to help clean mildew and mold from damp places. Do this weekly to keep your shower free of mildew.

    10. Cleaning Stubborn Stains on Your Carpet

    Have a stubborn stain on your carpet? Feel free to use Fels-Naptha to get rid of it within minutes.

    All you need to do is grate a bar of Fels-Naptha soap and then dissolve it in hot water. Take a scrub brush to get the stain out or your use the hot water mixture in your carpet cleaner for even better results.

    Make sure to do a small test area to make sure this mixture is safe for your carpet or rug.

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    Bonus: The List is Long of the Fels Naptha Benefits

    Fels Naptha soap is one staple product to have on hand. Here is an overview of the possible uses for this simple soap.

    • Odor Eliminator – place unwrapped bar of Fels Naptha and place in area to freshen the air.
    • Use as a Magic Eraser on counters and floors to remove black marks. Make sure to wipe up on floors so they are not slick.
    • Clean and freshen refrigerator and fruit/vegetable drawers
    • Garden Insecticidal Soap Spray for aphids
    • Garden spray to repel animals
    • Laudry Pre-Treament
    • Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe
    • Carpet Spots and Stains (always do a pre-test)
    • Ring-Around-The-Collar Pre-treatment
    • Air Freshener Bar
    • Clean Outside Lawn Furniture

    Final Words

    This soap has stood the test of time. Although there are a ton of spot and stain removers available on the market, I find I reach for my bar of Fels Naptha soap more and more to remove stubborn stains and it still works the best!

    But, as with all cleaning products, use extreme caution and use in a well ventilated area. Protect your skin from exposure by wearing rubber gloves at all times while using this soap.

    While Fels Naptha laundry bar is a fantastic product, it only has a C rating from the (EWG) Environmental Working Group.

    One of my reader’s pointed this out, so I wanted to pass this on so you have the information to do your own research on this product to find out if this will work for you.

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    • Brenda Kay Webster
      May 24, 2021 at 4:29 pm

      When you use Fels-Naptha as a stain treatment, do you rinse it out before putting in the washer or do you just throw it in the washer with the Fels-Naptha still on it?

      • Original Homesteading
        May 26, 2021 at 6:00 pm

        I just throw it in the washer. This method has worked well for me. I love this soap as a pretreatment and have used it for decades! ☺

    • Elizabeth
      June 14, 2021 at 11:11 pm

      If you swim in a lake that has “the Itch,” rub a bar of Fells Naptha soap on your skin and you won’t get it.

      • Original Homesteading
        June 16, 2021 at 12:57 am

        That’s fantastic…thanks for sharing this information!

    • Robert
      August 26, 2021 at 2:54 pm

      Been using it about 20 years for poison oak and Ivy. Got curious and Googled it. Thank you for all the info and suggestions. FYI- 97 cents for a bar at WalMart, August 2021.

      • Original Homesteading
        August 26, 2021 at 5:59 pm

        Great news…..a bar of Fels Naptha Soap is so inexpensive and has so MANY uses! Hope this works for YOU!!! Thanks for writing!

    • joseph
      October 6, 2021 at 2:55 pm

      I use Fela- Naptha for cleaning dishes, pots and pans. It works very well. as a matter of caution, use gloves.

      • Original Homesteading
        October 8, 2021 at 12:54 pm

        Thanks for the tip on using gloves!

    • Kathi Mag
      December 28, 2021 at 1:01 am

      I have super sensitive skin, cannot use Noxema which removes a layer of skin and leaves my skin weeping serum, but have used Fels Naptha on my face, body, and hair with excellent results. I figured it would be ok for my skin, as my mom always washed us down with it when we got into poison ivy on camping trips. It leaves my face clean and soft, and my hair clean and shiny.

      • Original Homesteading
        December 28, 2021 at 2:16 pm

        There are some that do not like to use Fels Naptha on their skin so this is very interesting. Thanks for sharing!


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