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    • Fels Naptha vs Zote

      Fels Naptha vs Zote - the true laundry challenge! For years we've offered a multitude of homemade laundry detergent recipes and then we created our Original Super Laundry Sauce recipe... which works wonders on the laundry. The issue? Many folks didn't have access to Fels Naptha, one of our Original ingredients and wanted to know whether or not they could use ZOTE in it's place. So we accepted the challenge, and we made both, side by side to test. Here are our results . . .

      To begin with, you're probably wondering what the difference is between Fels Naptha and Zote:

      Fels Naptha: Fels main ingredients are Soap, water, talc. It's a Has a light fresh scent, the smell does not stay in the clothing past a day or so. It is most effective on oil-based stains such as body soil (aka accidents!), chocolate, make-up/sunscreen, etc. It is quite effective at dispersing and removing urishol oil (aka poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac oils) from clothing and skin. Fels Naptha has been around from over 100 years.

      Zote: Zote is 66% Fat- derived from Animals- the main ingredients are Beef Tallow and Coconut Oil, contains citronella essential oil & therefore smells like citronella, zote is much softer and has a lighter/more airy consistency, the smell of zote will linger in clothing for days, Zote contains Optical Brighteners. . Since Zote contains citronella - it helps repel mosquitoes from anyone wearing clothing washed in it. Zote comes in 2 different options: Regular White Zote- more whitening power and Pink Zote- for delicates, kids clothing, those with skin allergies/sensitivities, etc.

      In this challenge we're using our Super Laundry Sauce for Dummies Recipe- this is the NO Cook Version that takes about 5 minutes of actual effort in all.



      A regular sized bar of Fels Naptha is 5.05 oz, whereas a regular sized bar of Zote is 14 oz. They're both around $1 to purchase (actually a little less than that at Walmart) In order to make a single Jar of Laundry Sauce, you need a half bar of fels, about 2.5 oz. So we used a Half bar of Zote in this recipe. Rather than try to match it ounce for ounce. The Zote has a lighter, whipped, airy texture to it, much like a bar of Ivory soap, so to be fair, we decided to go with half a bar, 7 ounces.

      Challenge to See which one works better

      Since they are the same price, it doesn't change the expense of the Homemade Detergent.

      In following the Super Laundry Sauce directions, we put our half a bar of fels and zote in jars and added hot water.



      We waited patiently overnight. This is how they appeared the next morning:



      Note that the Zote also gels like the Fels. They are very similar in texture and consistency at this point.


      Next, we added our remaining ingredients as per the Laundry Sauce Recipe.

      We screwed on the blender blade on the top of the jar and whipped the contents of each jar:




      Now comes the Real Test... Washing our Sons Work Clothes... you see, he works at a Fast Food Restaurant as a Cook so his clothes are rather saturated in Nasty Fast Food Grease smell when he comes home. Lucky for us, he had to work the morning shift today and his clothes are especially grimy from preparing Onion Ring batter and pan after pan of bacon!

      We washed the soiled clothes in Warm Water with Cold Water Rinse. Disclaimer, we use city water NOT well water to wash our clothing so the mineral content is Neither High Nor Low. Your results may vary based on the type of water you have, well, Artesian well, city water, hard water, etc.

      How we washed the clothing in Both Tests:

      Add the Clothing to a Top Loading Machine.
      Added 1 Level tbs of Laundry Sauce on Top of the Clothes.
      Shut the lid and selected Warm Wash/Cold Rinse.
      Started the Machine.


      The results:

      Fels Naptha
      : Fantastic, only a Tablespoon was needed to get out the offending smells and stains in the fabric. We like that the smell doesn't linger after washing so we can use perfumes/colognes or essential oils without smelling like we got Maced when we walked by the perfume counter at Macys. It dissolves fine in cold, warm or hot water, making it useful for most laundry.

      Zote: Failed, miserably. The zote did NOT dissolve in Warm water, it left considerable streaks of white on the clothing and gobbed up into a ball in the machine. It would appear that it is great for hand-washing delicate clothes in very HOT water and is effective at removing body oils and light soil. In our experience, It is not an effective stain remover for heavily soiled clothing or for use with cold or warm water temperatures.

      Conclusion: What it comes down to is personal preference and what you're using it for. If our children were still little and just playing outside with regular sand/dirt/grass stains, I'd probably go with Super Laundry Sauce made with Zote.




      Since our kids are now teens that go Paintballing, work in fast food restaurants, mudding/4-wheeling, etc and dh is a contractor that frequently gets tar, spackle, caulking, glue, etc all over his clothes when he works, we'll have to stick with the Fels Naptha Super Laundry Sauce, which seems to get out the majority of the stains with minimal effort.

      Buy Ingredients Now:


      Fels Naptha is currently $1.09
      with free shipping if you're a Prime Member


      Zote Prices start at .98 + Shipping


      Our Most Popular Laundry Detergent Recipes:

      Comments 36 Comments
      1. nani8046k's Avatar
        nani8046k -
        Just made first batch of super laundry detergent. Excited about the cost! Done a load of dishtowels and rags and felt they came out a bit stiff. Will need to continue using liquid fabric softeners. Thanks for this great site
      1. Liss's Avatar
        Liss -
        Quote Originally Posted by nani8046k View Post
        Just made first batch of super laundry detergent. Excited about the cost! Done a load of dishtowels and rags and felt they came out a bit stiff. Will need to continue using liquid fabric softeners. Thanks for this great site

        They came out stiff? Did you hang them out to dry or are you talking that they felt stiff right out of the machine??

        If so, test your water to see if it's Hard.
      1. daubjm's Avatar
        daubjm -
        What about using Sunlight Laundry bars instead of either Zote or Fels Naptha? Has anyone tried that? If so, what were the results?
      1. Mommybott's Avatar
        Mommybott -
        I haven't made either version yet, but am planning on making the Fels Naptha one tomorrow. I was just wondering if you had used the same 2.5 oz. of the Zote bar instead of using half of the bar maybe it wouldn't have been so sudsy. Either way, I'm looking forward to making this soap and saving my family some money. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes and this amazing site. It has been so helpful!
      1. T.Ann's Avatar
        T.Ann -
        Great info...I was wondering about the difference in these two soaps. I have made powder with Zote but the clothes weren't as clean as I like. I will use Fels next. Thanks this is a Great site.
      1. dlpmck4908's Avatar
        dlpmck4908 -
        I just made this recipe using Zote before I found this forum. Lol check it out tomorrow in the laundry. I have used the Zote before but not in this concentration.
      1. MichelleBrogdon's Avatar
        MichelleBrogdon -
        This is great to know, because I was wondering if I could substitute the Zote for the F.N.... Now I know that come payday, when I try my first batch of the super duper laundry soap recipe, I will stick with the original recipe!
      1. Vicki1947's Avatar
        Vicki1947 -
        Been using this for 2 weeks the clothes and linens we regularly wear and use all are clean and do not irritate my skin. I am sensitive to soaps every year they
        'new & improved' all detergents out of my comfort zone.
        This Laundry sauce does not offend my skin or nose..
        Thank You so much
      1. dixiesmom's Avatar
        dixiesmom -
        Love,love the Fels recipe and it really does get the clothes clean, I do use the homemade softener when I wash using the hair conditioner recipe . It makes the clothes pleasantly soft.
      1. OmaDucky's Avatar
        OmaDucky -
        Quote Originally Posted by Mommybott View Post
        I haven't made either version yet, but am planning on making the Fels Naptha one tomorrow. I was just wondering if you had used the same 2.5 oz. of the Zote bar instead of using half of the bar maybe it wouldn't have been so sudsy. Either way, I'm looking forward to making this soap and saving my family some money. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes and this amazing site. It has been so helpful!
        My first batch of the super laundry sauce was a comparison between the two soaps. I cut the zote into 1/4 's so it was approx 3.5 oz .

        It disolved fine in my H.E. It cleaned as well as the liquid detergent made with the zote.

        After having made the liquid detergent for many years, I agree that fels naptha cleans better. Zote tends to leave the clothes dingy unless you hang the wet clothes out in the sun, then the optical brighteners activate.

        For me, actually making the soap, I prefered to use the zote. Fels naptha has a scent that sends my allergies into high gear. But the super laundry soap has solved that.

        DH chopps the soap and puts it with the water in the jar over night. The next day, The soap is jelled, so nothing is "airborne." After blending and adding the essential oils, the smell doesn't bother me at all.
      1. MyMichelleg691's Avatar
        MyMichelleg691 -
        I've made the original recipe & love it. My honey does home remodels & my son lives in dirt. My laundry has never looked or felt better! I went nuts & made it for my family/close friends, they love it too. We've also found it works great in our carpet steam cleaner!!! Great value & multipurpose.... can't go wrong!!!
      1. hunneysue's Avatar
        hunneysue -
        I use Fels Naptha in my laundry detergent. Although I have been using a different "recipe" which involved cooking on the stove, I am going to give this one a whirl. But hands down Fels Naptha cleans a lot better. Since we started making our own soap the whites are brighter and the colors have actually faded less than with store bought detergents. Throw in some vinegar based fabric softner and even the dogs' blankets come out clean and smell fresh (a feat in and of itself since I have 4 dogs)
      1. countrygirljess's Avatar
        countrygirljess -
        I use the laundry soap recipe but I add more water so its more of a gel than the sauce...and I use the homemade fabric softener recipe, which is mainly vinegar, which makes our clothes remarkably soft....the vinegar is what softens the clothes...and if you have hard water, mix in a couple tbsp of epsom salt to help with that!
      1. Unregistered's Avatar
        Unregistered -
        I use the zote in my home made laundry detergent. It never leaves any issue on my clothes, my washer comes out cleaner, but the difference is that I use it in the dry homemade laundry soap, not the liquid. That may be the difference. We grate it in with the borax, baking powder, washing soda, oxiclean, and if we want, a bar of whatever bath soap smells good. Last round we used Ivory and our clothes came out with absolutely no scent, which is good for our baby girls. Fels naptha is not sold in any of my local stores, so i had to make do.
      1. yoopermom's Avatar
        yoopermom -
        thanks for the tip i have yet to make it but i am gonna get the stuff tomorrow an try to make it
      1. Gypseywolf's Avatar
        Gypseywolf -
        I was able to buy all my ingredients for the original laundry sauce at Walmart in our house hold soap isle, between the dawn and the tide.
      1. KHardin's Avatar
        KHardin -
        I am at the very end of my DIY dry laundry soap. My only issue with it has been the whites look dingy. I am excited to try the Laundry Sauce with the Fels-Naptha. Maybe this will make my whites sparkle more and my Hubby's socks not look so grey.
        I do have a question though, since I was using a dry detergent I was able to add Scent Crystals to my soap. Will I be able to add those to this liquid Laundy Sauce? I really enjoy the clean fresh scent and Not having to use any seperate fabric softener. Help, please.....
        Desperate and Dingy.....
      1. lilmoma225's Avatar
        lilmoma225 -
        Quote Originally Posted by KHardin View Post
        I am at the very end of my DIY dry laundry soap. My only issue with it has been the whites look dingy. I am excited to try the Laundry Sauce with the Fels-Naptha. Maybe this will make my whites sparkle more and my Hubby's socks not look so grey.
        I do have a question though, since I was using a dry detergent I was able to add Scent Crystals to my soap. Will I be able to add those to this liquid Laundy Sauce? I really enjoy the clean fresh scent and Not having to use any seperate fabric softener. Help, please.....
        Desperate and Dingy.....
        I haven't used it with this recipe yet, but I have "grated" FN &/or zote into my laundry many times as detergent 1/16 of bar is the instructions. If I remember correctly the FN is 16oz bar, & the instructions are to use 1/16 per load. I usually do both if that's all I'm using for detergent. If it's whites I'll add a cup of peroxide (by diluting it in the running water), & it will get clothes whiter than even bleach in my experience!! Like when my children wear their socks OUTSIDE for shoes!!! 😁 bleach won't get them white again unfortunately, but peroxide will. I use it & baking soda for a lot of cleaning, including laundry(must liquid y'all under running water to avoid discoloration & clumps). I bought a flat grater from $$ tree & measuring cup I only use for laundry/cleaning. I've mixed the peroxide, baking soda, & even vinegar in w these 2 soaps as well for whitening, odor removing, softening, etc. they all work great! I'm REALLY excited to be able to make it in bulk like this though so I'm not grating for EVERY load. Only thing I do t know is how to incorporate any of those 3 things in super sauce, but since 2 are liquid seems like last minute addition won't be bad!! 😃 I think I'm going to make a zote/pink batch for my "gentle" clothes w/per oz recipe VS 1/2, & then maybe try incorporating baking soda in somewhere, although it may have the same properties as "baking power" in recipe already. Gonna have to play with it. Hope that helps, I like the sun drying method too for the white zote. Of course I always "fluff" line dried stuff for 10min on med or < heat to get stiffness out. Hope that helps.
        I also found "white brite" @ walmart which is $3-4 a bottle, & lasts WAY longer than any $5 tub of oxy clean (like 1/4), & whitens BETTER than bleach & oxy clean combined!!! Just be careful, bc u can't put ANYTHING but whites in!!! Examples:will discolor any towels w colored trim, dish rags, socks w/colored trim, etc. all those things I previously washed in a white load w/bleach, peroxide, &/or oxy clean, but that white brite is NO JOKE!! It gets out sweat stains on shirts I previously couldn't get out w anything else, socks work a shoes become WHITE again, etc.!!! It doesn't seem too harsh either I do all towels, rags, & all white socks in it. The ingredients are basically some form of hydrogen peroxide, I'm guessing just very concentrated, bc it's the hands down best whitener I've EVER used!! I use no more than 1/4 cup per full lg load, & it often comes w/a-$1 coupon=$3(lasts for a few months w a minimum of 1lg white load per week). Hope 1 of these helps, & I'm looking fwd to trying my tricks w my HM laundry sauce!!😉
        \

        Quote Originally Posted by KHardin View Post
        I am at the very end of my DIY dry laundry soap. My only issue with it has been the whites look dingy. I am excited to try the Laundry Sauce with the Fels-Naptha. Maybe this will make my whites sparkle more and my Hubby's socks not look so grey.
        I do have a question though, since I was using a dry detergent I was able to add Scent Crystals to my soap. Will I be able to add those to this liquid Laundy Sauce? I really enjoy the clean fresh scent and Not having to use any seperate fabric softener. Help, please.....
        Desperate and Dingy.....
        I can't tell if my other lengthy reply on "dingy" came thru, but I'd suggested peroxide as a whitener & "white brite"(walmart). Anyway, I also suggested baking soda
        (Not knowing if it was in sauce recipe) it is though!! 😃 the A&H washing powder. So that leaves peroxide to try adding per load, making sauce w/white zote & sun drying, OR trying the "white brite" from walmart. Hope that helps, if my other reply didn't come thru I can attest that white brite is extremely economical, seems to be a concentrated form of hydrogen peroxide, & gets everything really white again!! Don't include any colors/colored trim in load though(like w bleach), they'll be lightened too!! Hope this helps! : )
      1. denisern's Avatar
        denisern -
        I'm really excited to try this! Really need to save money, and I too have a teen that works in food service!
      1. gameg33's Avatar
        gameg33 -
        Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
        I use the zote in my home made laundry detergent. It never leaves any issue on my clothes, my washer comes out cleaner, but the difference is that I use it in the dry homemade laundry soap, not the liquid. That may be the difference. We grate it in with the borax, baking powder, washing soda, oxiclean, and if we want, a bar of whatever bath soap smells good. Last round we used Ivory and our clothes came out with absolutely no scent, which is good for our baby girls. Fels naptha is not sold in any of my local stores, so i had to make do.
        I prefer Zote. My clothes come out much brighter than with Fels-Naptha; and I don't like the smell of the Fels-Naptha. I also use my dry homemade laundry powder. So I agree I that the powder vs liquid could be the difference.


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