No Grate Laundry Detergent Trick

No Grate Laundry Detergent Trick at

The number of people making their own laundry detergent, powdered and liquid,  is growing and growing. Most of my Facebook friends, from all over the US, are making homemade laundry soap. I love it.

However, I think there should be even more people making laundry soap. Well, this no grate laundry detergent trick will help us DIY-ers take over the world!

If you have ever made laundry detergent- you know the worst part of it all is grating the bar of soap.

It has turned many people away from the huge money savings because they just don’t have the time or patience to deal with grating soap.

If you are one of those people- this trick will change your world. Well, maybe that is a bit dramatic- but still slightly true!


No Grate Laundry Detergent Trick

So a friend posted on a Facebook that she was making a batch of laundry detergent. She mentioned that a site she visited suggested microwaving the soap bar to save the time of grating it. My first thought was- ‘that doesn’t make sense’. But the more I thought about it- the more excited I became to try it.

I like to dry my soap out before grating it. It makes it a lot easier.

The Microwave could help move that drying process along!

Or it might just explode in the microwave. Or maybe melt into a buttery mess.


Time for a Pin Test!

How Does She shared their homemade laundry detergent recipe and suggested that microwaving would save you the time and energy from grating the soap. They used Zote but I use Fels Naptha. I decided to give this a try with my soap to see if it really works.


Step 1.

Before Microwaving to Grate- Cut soap bar

Cut bar of soap into 5 pieces and place on microwave safe plate.


Step 2.

Microwave Fels Naptha for Grate Free Laundry Soap

Microwave soap. I had to microwave the Fels Naptha for 1 minute and 45 seconds. However, the original post used Zote and microwaved for 1 minute. Use your best judgement- microwave until your soap looks like its expanding and turning into a loaf of soap bread.


Step 3.

Let the soap sit and cool down– all the way. I would just walk away and let it sit for like 20 minutes. Have patience. If you try to crumble your soap too early- you will burn your hand. I may or may not know all about this. I may or may not have a burn mark on my hand. But if I did- it would all be for the cause.


Step 4.

How to make laundry soap without grating!!

The soap should actually crumble easily! It first crumbles in big pieces. Then you will want to take it between  your hands and rub it back and forth. Most of it becomes a fine powder. The more you do it- the finer it will be.


Does the No Grate Homemade Laundry Detergent Trick Work?

I will never grate another bar of soap again in my life!  Seriously.


But will it work with my soap?

Fels Naptha worked in this case.

Zote reportedly worked at

However, during a Facebook conversation- one person said “The Dr. Bronner’s does not fall apart in the microwave. It just gets hot and sticky.”

Have you tried this No Grate Laundry Detergent Trick with a different bar of soap? Let us know if it works by leaving us a comment.


  1. Nicole S. says

    Not sure it works with Kirk’s castile. I did for a minute and 20 but it was “smoking” and I was afraid it might blow up. Some of it got that spongy look, some stayed solid. Some of the spongy part started getting dark, almost like burnt. So I’m thinking I just ruined a bar of soap.

    • Pikkewyn says

      Thanks for posting. I also used Kirk’s Castile and I was wondering about that, too. I won’t sacrifice a bar now. 🙂

      • Brittney says

        Hi Nicole! The reason it doesn’t work with Kirk’s castile soap is because castile soap doesn’t contain animal fat which is what allows soap such as zote and fels naptha the expand and crumble after it dries up. Try grating it after chopping your bar into small chunks. And also, it’s great that you’re using castile soap because animal fat in zote and fels can cause moulding and odour in your washer.

        • Daniel Vargas says

          I just put kirks in the microwave 5 minutes ago. High heat for 2 minutes. It fluffed up and crumbled great!

  2. Nancy says

    I make my own powdered laundry soap. I started making it because I just didn’t have the money to buy detergent at the store. Now that I see how easy and cheap it is to make my own, I don’t think I will ever buy any again.

    I use Ivory soap. I also microwave it for 1 minute or so. After it cools (and I don’t have any burn marks either! 😉 ), I break apart into pieces and put it in my mini food processer. It grates it easily and perfectly. I then put in all the other ingredients and I have laundry detergent.

  3. Elizabeth says

    If you have plenty of time and are making liquid soap, you can just put your bar of soap in a container with water. You can start smaller and move it to a bigger one to make more “gel.” I think it takes about a week.

  4. MsKat says

    I did it with a regular bar of bath soap, Yardley I think? To make some liquid hand soap-worked just fine. I like to do maybe 45 seconds to a minute at a time to avoid burning or melting. Also I’ve done it with unsliced Fels Naptha with no problem, although there was a small scorched spot. It didn’t cause an issue in the laundry detergent I made. If you have a particularly fresh bar of soap that you can dig a fingernail into and leave a mark without chipping some soap away, let it dry a week or two before you microwave it. Be aware it is not all that great to breathe in all the soap dust as you crumble it; I usually put it in a zipper bag, squeeze out most of the air and seal it, then crush it up. I do one bar per bag, that way there’s no measuring later. You can do your bars any time and store it in the bag then just mix when ready-you can reuse the bags over and over. I use a big zipper bag then add all the dry ingredients after I crush the soap, then when I need to mix some up all I have to do is heat my water (and glycerine, jojoba, etc if I am making hand soap), sprinkle my ingredients in slowly stirring as I go, then put my bag away for next time.

  5. J.P. says

    I experimented with Fels Naptha and Ivory. The Fels Naptha created such a stink in the house we decided to not even use it as detergent. The whole purpose for us to make our own detergent is to avoid harsh chemicals and fragrances. Fels Naptha has fragrance, and my whole microwave and home are still trying to recover from the fumes. Our project did turn out just as it is shown above, the picture is almost exactly what we experienced, however, we decided to just keep the Fels Naptha crumbles in a separate container, but not mix it into our detergent mix. If something needs spot treatment, we plan to experiment with it as a spot cleaner or deodorizer, then wash again and give an extra rinse.

    • Jenn says

      I make my laundry soap with the felznaptha and there is a light scent to it (I make the concentrated stuff) after it is made (it does have a stronger smell when you are making the detergent) that goes away in the wash and there is no scent at all when it comes out of the dryer

  6. Sara S. says

    I have used a bar of Ivory and actually had kids watch it “cloud up”! Neat trick, too! Just make sure the bar of soap is new-ish. If it’s old, it’ll only cook the bar and you have a smelly lump in the nuker.
    To get the soap into a powder, let it cool and then place it into a gallon sized zip-lock type bag and shake!! No sneezing from the fine particles of soap go up the nose to tickle it and that is another thing the kiddos can do to help (free slave labor, hehehe)

  7. says

    If you have a particularly fresh bar of soap that you can dig a fingernail into and leave a mark without chipping some soap away, let it dry a week or two before you microwave it.

  8. Patty says

    Let me tell you… Zote soap bar cut into five pieces and put into a 1000 Watt microwave for 1 minute and allowed to sit for 20 minutes does not crumble and turn into small bits no matter how much you manipulate it.

  9. Laura says

    I’ve been working with a bar of pink Zote for about the past hour and a half…it has yet to crumble! It’s more of a sticky mess. I don’t really know what to do with it now!

  10. Sharon says

    Well, here I am trying this for the first time! I did however, when done with the soap in the microwave…put it outside, (tis winter!) and because it starting snowing, I just stuck it in the freezer. Worked fine and much faster!
    I do have a question, can you use any type of soap so you can perhaps get a smell without using oils? Say like, Irish spring or of that sort? Thanks for any help!

    • Brittney says

      Hi Sharon! I’ve been making laundry detergent for months now and I’ve tried all sorts of bar soaps. Fels naptha seems to be one of her more popular ones, I ordered it from amazon because we can’t get it here in Australia. However, it’s full of harsh chemicals and isn’t as natural as most people think. I’ve also tried irish spring and although irish spring is a body soap, it is a known stain remover and it works just fine. But try to avoid using too much because it contains more fat in it to moisturize skin because that’s what it’s made for, the excess fat will make your laundry dingy. I also recommend using vinegar as a softener to cure dingy laundry.

  11. marty says

    Love working smarter, not harder! Thanks so much for posting this suggestion! Yes it works, but it definitely leaves behind a strong aroma.

  12. Tammy says

    I have done this. The only problem is that every time I microwave something, the entire house smells like Fels-Naptha. Sometimes my food tastes like it as well. I’m trying it right now and covering the soap with cling wrap to see if that helps.

      • Brittney says

        Hi Tammy! Avoid using cling wrap because it will melt in the microwave, it also releases chemicals when it is heated and is known to cause cancer. Try letting your soap dry out for a few weeks and then microwaving it. I also don’t recommend using fels naptha because it contains several of harsh chemicals that although are great for laundry, are not so great for your health. These chemicals can cause reproductive problems and even cancer! You can try zote, I’ve used zote in he past but have starting using castile because it doesn’t contain animal fat (it can’t be microwaved because only soap containing animal fat will expand in the microwave)

    • Mike says

      after cooking the soap, fill a small bowl with white viningar and cook like five minutes till its just about boiling over, great way to clean the microwave and kill the perfumishness left over by the Naptha

      • Mike says

        after cooking the soap, fill a small bowl with white viningar and cook like five minutes till its just about boiling over, great way to clean the microwave and kill the perfumishness left over by the Naptha. Be sure to wipe down afterwards.

  13. Danielle says

    I’m having the same problem as Patty!!! pink Zote is refusing to crumble. It poofed up and I let it cool, but it’s still sort of..moist? and sort if squishes about when manipulated instead of crumbling 🙁 I’m hoping it will still dissolve in the wash. I don’t have a blender or anything to try to crumble it mechanically so I’m just going to hope for the best

  14. Stephanie says

    Pinterest FAIL. Glad it worked for you, but I have a huge mess of partially foamed, partially melted, partially hard soap and a house that wreaks of Zote. I will be throwing wht remains in my food processor. Such a bummer. I was really hoping to avoid having to use my food processor.

  15. SheShauna says

    I tried this for the first time today and it worked wonderfully!… You do have to adjust your time because all microwaves are not the same… Once my soap cooled off completely I crumbled it up by hand and then put it into my food processor to make it even finer… I’m so glad I found this tip!… Making my own detergent will be much easier from now on… Thank you so much!!…

  16. Jeanene says

    Don’t use a bath or beauty bar of soap to make laundry detergent. It will probably work fine, but there is too much oil in them (they are purposefully “superfatted”, that’s why they are so mild.) Look for a “laundry bar”, like the castille soap mentioned, or Zote or Fels-Naptha. That’s why they are so hard, there is less oil in them. Also, about the microwave trick…FYI, I make my own soaps, and it did NOT work to put them in the microwave, but they have more oil content, maybe that’s why???? I don’t use my own soap for my laundry detergent, but am thinking about making some specifically for that purpose.

  17. Kathie says

    I nuked a bar of Zote after cutting it up into 5 slices. Started out at nuking it for 1 min. It puffed up nicely like cotton candy. But after pulling the top part off (after cooling a bit and using a fork to lift the stuff up) I found that the bottom soap didn’t melt. So, I repeated this 4 more times. Now it’s completely melted for the most part, there are tiny bits that are dark pink. What I would do next time?
    1. Cut bar into slices then cut each slice into 4-5 slices
    2. Nuke the soap in several batches at 45 sec, check to see if soap if all melted and if not melt again at 15 sec intervals
    3. Wash out microwave with baking soda solution

  18. ann says

    I was looking around on the web to find out what to do about Poison Ivy. I ended up at this page. I put the Fels Naptha into the microwave about half an hour ago. I haven’t touched it yet. I’m freaked out that my microwave smells like the soap. Will it effect my food?

  19. Krystal says

    OMG!!! You just saved me an hour’s worth of struggling to grate my Fels Naptha!!! I haven’t tried this trick yet… but I sure as heck will now!! And I found this just as my supply was running low!

  20. Angi says

    I LOVE this! I had no idea you could microwave Fels Naptha. I’ve made my own laundry detergent for almost a year now and we just recently ran out of the last batch. I was so dreading having to grate the soap that I was planning on going back to store-bought detergent. I found this trick yesterday and decided to give it go. It worked perfectly! I didn’t even need my food processor. I just put the puffy soap in a zipper bag and whacked it a few times. It turned into a fine powder. Easy peasy!

    Thanks for the tip!

  21. Alexa D says

    Thanks sooo much! This is my first time making detergent and my arms are aching from all the grating. Wish I had googled this yesterday. 🙂


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