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Uses for Fels-Naptha Soap

By on May 6, 2010

fels naptha

Fels-Naptha soap is a multi-use product that’s been around for over 100 years. It’s manufactured by Henkel Consumer Goods Inc. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times as an ingredient to make homemade laundry soap ( But it can be used in many other ways in your home and garden, too. If you’re unable to find it (and other hard-to-find products such as washing soda) locally, it can be bought cheaply from Soaps Gone Buy ( Owner Stephanie Woods was kind enough to share some of the many uses for Fels-Naptha, so I’m passing some of them along to you.


Rub a nonabrasive scouring sponge with a wet bar of Fels-Naptha and start cleaning. It will take a little hard work the first time you use it but it will be a breeze after that.


Fels-Naptha Soap has been used for over 100 years for the treatment and prevention of poison ivy, sumac and oak rash. If you think you have been exposed to poison ivy, oak or sumac, shower immediately with Fels-Naptha to remove the resin from your skin, and it will help to dry up the rash, as well. This will greatly reduce and in most cases prevent any skin reaction to the poison ivy oil. Make sure to launder your clothes in some shaved or grated fels naptha (about 1/16th of the bar) to remove the resin from your clothes. Poison ivy resin can stay on your clothes for over 1 year even if the clothes have been washed with normal detergent.


This requires a little work and smells bad but it works.
1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap — grated
2 bunches of scallions — chopped
2 heads of garlic — separate the gloves but don’t peel
4 eggs — whole
1 small can of chili powder

Fill a 5-gallon bucket with a lid about half full of hot water. Pour the grated fels naptha into the water and stir to dissolve. Put all the other ingredients in cheesecloth or pantyhose and place in bucket of soap mixture. Take a spoon and crack the eggs against the side of the bucket. Fill the bucket up completely with hot water, leaving the cheesecloth submerged. Put in a shady place for about seven days with a lid on it. Hold your breath and place small amounts in a garden sprayer and spray where the deer are foraging. Reapply after each rain or about every 14 days.


It works especially well on oil-based stains. Just rub the stain with a wet bar of Fels-Naptha Soap. Let it sit for a while and launder as usual. It works great on baby clothes, which often have formula stains.
— Chocolate smudge on clothes. Rub the stain with Fels-Naptha Soap and let sit in your filled washer with 20 Mule Team Borax for 30 minutes. Launder as usual.
— Clean white canvas tennis shoes. Work the Fels-Naptha Soap into a lather and use a soft brush to work into the canvas. Launder as usual without chlorine bleach.
— Remove old stains on colored clothes. Make a solution of 2 cups warm water and 1/2 cup white vinegar. Pour on stain. Let soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse well and work in Fels-Naptha Soap. Launder as usual.


  1. Suzanne R.

    5/6/2010 at 10:24 am

    I’ve used the Fels-Naptha soap to make homemade laundry detergent, and am looking forward to trying some of the other uses listed here. I’m particularly eager to try it for cleaning the tub and shower, as that would mean I could do away with the more expensive cleaner I’ve been using!

  2. Nancy

    5/6/2010 at 1:25 pm

    I will have to look for this at my store ~ I’ve never even heard of it. Thanks for the informative post!
    .-= Nancy´s last blog ..Au Gratin Potatoes =-.

    • sara

      3/20/2013 at 1:04 pm

      I get mine at wal-mart for less than 1.00 a bar. look in the laundry section. (it is usually in a hidden spot.) if you can find the borax it is usually close by.

    • GailA

      11/14/2013 at 11:59 pm

      You find it usually in the LAUNDRY isle of grocery stores or Walmart.

  3. Gay

    5/7/2010 at 4:29 pm

    HI! This soap is wonderful; I remember my mom always having a bar near her wringer washer for spot treatment. I make my own laundry detergent with it, and won’t ever go back to anything else. I have read where it might be a little rough on darks, but I haven’t noticed anything different with ours. Going to try it on the shower and tub next.

  4. Linda

    5/9/2010 at 6:57 am

    Thanks for the link to “Soaps Gone Buy”. I do want to try the home made laundry soap, and noticed that it is good for HE washers, which I have. Detergent for HE washers tends to be more expensive, so that will be a real money saver.

  5. Michelle S.

    5/10/2010 at 4:47 pm

    I had no idea it could be used for poison ivy, etc. or that it was a good stain remover too. I have a bar that I was going to use to make homemade laundry soap, but then dh told me that he didn’t want me to. So I’ve had it for a while just waiting for new ideas to use it up. Thanks 🙂

    • Maggie M.

      10/12/2012 at 5:53 pm

      I have to agree that with your “DH” remark. I have been using this for a while. I love it. The borax is an awesome ingredient, and like the Fels, it has a ton of uses, even good for your face. These are down to earth ingredients, good for your skin and your clothing. I suggest you whip up a batch and pocket the money you would have spent on the expensive detergents, and go buy a treat in about 6 months. THIS IS GOING TO SAVE A TON OF MONEY IN 6 months! You will see! Not to mention, it will also save the earth, you will no longer be contributing to the massive amount of plastics going into the landfills and ocean. Follow your instincts on this one, it is a no brainer. It will not hurt your clothing, or machine, and your whites and colors will be cleaner & brighter than ever.

      Have an awesome vintage day!

  6. connie fay

    5/10/2010 at 11:24 pm

    i just bought my first bar and i am in love.
    it turned a white cotton shirt that was a dingy grey cuz of grease turn white again. friggin awsome.

  7. Vicki

    5/11/2010 at 8:19 am

    I have been able to find Fels-Naptha soap and washing soda at Ace Hardware and their website. Just FYI!

  8. Darlene

    5/11/2010 at 9:26 am

    Who knew? I’ve heard my neighbor, who does a lot of gardening work, mention a soap she uses right away if she’s come in contact with poison ivy but she always said the name very quickly, this is the one, lol. I’m going to have to pick up a bar of this on my next shopping trip to keep in my laundry area to pre-treat and in my linen closet for the “first aid”. Thanks for all the information!

  9. amy gage

    5/23/2010 at 7:21 pm

    I use Fels-Naptha to make my homemade laundry detergent and I love it! I buy mine at Schnucks in the laundry aisle. It’s fairly cheap and I make 6 months of detergent with 2 bars.

    • Diane

      5/2/2011 at 10:26 am

      How is this done, sounds interesting and economical

  10. LJ

    5/23/2010 at 9:44 pm

    I have loved Fels Naptha since my mother introduced me to it when I was growing up. It takes out things other soaps and detergents don’t touch. Even blood and mustard are no problem with this soap!

    It didn’t work for me on the poison ivy, though. It was my first case of it, and I tried the soap, but it spread….

    • Karon

      5/17/2014 at 8:57 pm

      Fels naphtha soap is awesome when it comes to poison ivy. Bathe in it everytime time you shower or wash up. while you are home dampen the bar with a little water and rub it all over the poison ivy and keep it there. This will help to dry up faster. Just keep on washing in it and keep it on the rash and it will work.

  11. Anna

    5/28/2010 at 1:42 pm

    Hunted down a case of Fels Naptha a few weeks ago and have already converted my neighbor. I keep a bar in a recycled plastic peanut butter jar next to the washer and we just wet and rub anything with a stain then toss it into a bucket of water until wash day. It works better than soaking alone (which by itself is also surprisingly effective on many stains) and at $1.29/bar it’s a lot cheaper than those spray stain removers. Will try the laundry detergent mix next, though at $2.99-on-sale per 32-wash bottle our store brand works pretty good and is cheap ($.09 cents) enough that it may not be worth the effort. I ordered a case at the Ace hardware buy-and-ship-to-store website (free shipping to store) and had it within 5 days.

  12. CH

    8/9/2010 at 11:17 am

    I clean my glass shower door with white vinegar, 1/2 c. to a half gallon of water. Sponge it down, squeegee it clean. No scrubbing. The vinegar dissolves the soap scum on contact. I have new brushed nickel hardware and cannot use any commercial cleaner on the finish, so I use the vinegar/water solution to clean the hardware and dry/buff with a clean lint-free cloth.

  13. Pingback: 6 Alternatives to Expensive Household Cleaners | Money Talks News

  14. Kay

    4/13/2011 at 9:40 am

    Fels Naptha can also be used to treat acne. Usually clears it up in about a week. Don’t use after it’s cleared. Fels can be very drying to the skin. I wonder why it isn’t as available as it used to be. Anyone know?

  15. Megan

    5/24/2011 at 4:58 pm

    You can buy this at some Wal-Marts for only $.97 a bar! We also found washing soda and borax.

    I’m so excited because we moved down here not to long ago and have been using Purex because we couldn’t find the ingredients for our laundry soap.

  16. Denise

    6/24/2011 at 10:16 am

    I LOVE Fels Naptha soap!! I started using it as a child when I would help my mother with the wash and have used it ever since. Gets out baby stains wonderfully, always got out the grass stains from my Son’s uniforms for baseball, soccer and football, (we use to use a lot back then…lol) and now I am making my own laundry detergent with it and will never use anything else. My Son got married in December 2010 and I have been introducing my Daughter-in-Law to the joys of making your own products and she loves it too. They have a baby on the way now and I am sure she will enjoy getting all the stains out of the baby’s clothes when he or she comes. Walmart sells it pretty cheap too. I will look into the case from ACE though as the cases online that I have found, seem to be a little more costly then buying it from the bar at Walmart.

  17. Wendy

    6/26/2011 at 7:16 pm

    My grandmother who is 87 used it when me and my sister were small. Grama swore by Fels-Naptha. She even made a poltice out of it to draw infection out. My sister said she used granulated sugar and worked it her hands for awhile. Has anyone heard of this? My son has a nasty bump on the back of his neck that wont go away. It’s like a pimple or a boil, and the odor from it (when pinched) is foul. Gonna give it a try!

    • Michelle

      5/5/2012 at 2:51 pm

      Pleasr have that boil checked by a doctor. Foul smelling could mean an infection that could spread into the blood making him septic. I don’t want to frighten you, but people have gone into septic shock and not fared well. Please have him checked first.

      • martine dalo

        3/4/2017 at 11:19 pm

        I agree i had a boil that smelled and the doctor gave me antibiotic pills .It went away after 2 weeks.

    • Barb

      9/14/2012 at 11:33 pm

      My mom (who would have been 100 this year) used fels for laundry and also for poison ivy exposures. I recently got fed up with recurrent cold sores/fever blisters and used it to wash affected area on corner of my mouth when [very expensive] drugstore remedy wasn’t helping. Dried up the sores and they disappeared in no time. Seems very similar to your grandmother’s poultice!

  18. tc

    8/7/2011 at 11:59 am

    Can I use it for a stain on silk, or is it too harsh?

  19. grace

    8/11/2011 at 6:45 pm

    I had a bad case of chigger bites. Was about to go crazy, remembered I had Fels naptha in the bathroom closet. It relieved the itching in a very short time. I now use it daily when I shower. No scent or perfume in it and it lathers beautifully, my skin feels great afterwards.

    • Alice Carrera

      12/16/2014 at 11:58 pm

      You say it’s olay to shower daily and there should not be any problem with the skin. does it help to repel insects?

  20. Betty Emery

    1/20/2012 at 4:33 pm

    Try a little on the underside of the silk item. Depends on the silk itself, or whatever else is combined in the material. Does the laundry instruction say it can be washed or dry cleaned? That will be a clue.

  21. Mollie

    2/21/2012 at 10:52 pm

    I have used Fels Naptha soap on car grase on my winter jackets, and boy does it work!!!! ( a little elbow grease helps). The grease stain was fair thick too. Gave a bar to my friend and her hushand used it to get stains out of their carpets as thier dog had a few accidents & her husband was really impressed with the product.

  22. Kim Kelley

    3/1/2012 at 6:16 pm

    How do I use this as a flea & tick on my pets?

  23. AmStationEngineer

    3/15/2012 at 3:08 pm

    I restore antique Zenith and Philco table top radios, and was told by a friend from Portugal to try something called “blue bar soap”, which is not easily available here. I figured the North American equivalent would be Fels Naptha, and to my delight, with a little “elbow grease”- a damp cloth- and a wee bit ‘o pasty soap, the aluminum chassis on my radio shone like the day it departed the Zenith factory in Chicago in 1963. Use caution to not get near any components, and use common sense (never work on a radio when powered-up). It also works well on stained bakelite and molded plastic tarnished by years of tobacco smoke.

  24. shirley doucette

    4/3/2012 at 10:32 pm

    My friend has alot of trouble with her feet and hands and has tried all kinds of creams and also prescription ones to no avail.I was wondering if she could use it on her feet which turn red and rashy and her hands .Her fingertips all split.Very soren.Would washing it with Fels naper soap be of any help.She is desperate.
    Thank you.

    • TJ

      7/4/2012 at 5:43 pm

      Fels-Naptha can be a bit too harsh for skin. I wouldn’t recommend using it especially if your friend has problems. Perhaps jojoba oil for moisturizing and a chemical/fragrance-free natural soap, if she hasn’t already tried that.

    • Tami

      11/24/2012 at 11:22 am

      Tell her to try LANOLIN for any split skin. It can be found in Walmart in the baby section for mothers when they are breast feeding. Tell her to rub it in and put on some cotton gloves. This works great on cracked heels too.

      • helen ramos

        8/12/2016 at 4:15 am

        on normal skin types lanolin and petroleum based products work well but for sensitive skins that break out they may need a natural or more water soluble that doesn’t close skin pores which is what starts the blistering effect, which creates the skin itchiness

    • helen ramos

      8/12/2016 at 4:00 am

      sounds like my skin if she breaks out with tiny blisters that itch like the dickens it might be a form of Dyshidrotic eczema the Fel-Naphtha soap may help before the blisters break… try to dry blisters before popping it is the fluid that continues the cycle. If you can’t get that drying them I have had luck with tea tree soaps the drying is backed with a antibacterial property that helps kill fungus type situations which is what eczema is. good luck

  25. Joe

    4/17/2012 at 2:19 am

    It can also be used to tan deer hides

    • Mary Peters

      10/27/2012 at 10:38 am

      I don’t know where you are from, but that is exactly what we used it for when I was growing up in Alaska!

    • Deanna

      3/4/2014 at 2:23 pm

      Fels Naptha can be used to tan hides? can you tell me the process?

  26. Beth

    4/22/2012 at 8:33 pm

    When I was growing up my mom would use Fels-Naptha soap to strip old wax off the kitchen floor with a scrub brush on her hands and knees. She’d wet the brush in a bucket of water then rubbed the brush across the soap then scrub the floor, then rinsed with a rag and clear water. Took the wax right off. When dry, she’d re wax the floor with Johnsons floor wax.

  27. Marce

    4/24/2012 at 12:23 am

    When I was a kid, I played in tall grass and got sand flea bites everywhere…my father made me bathe using the felsnaptha soap to take the itch away and soothes the itch from chickenpox too. A little rough on your tender skin, but it did the trick! Makes sense now, after reading about the poison ivy.

  28. Kristine

    6/11/2012 at 6:54 am

    I would NOT recommend bathing with this soap or using it on any skin condition other than ONCE for poison ivy (to get the resin off your skin of only the affected area).

    The reason being is that Fels Naptha dissolves protein & oil…great for removal of stains BAD for skin. If you hand wash clothing, wear gloves, it will turn your hands red & itchy. The scent also is strong & hurts many peoples sinuses. It gives me a headache & makes me sneeze if I leave an unwrapped bar in my laundry room.I keep my bar in a lidded plastic container. It is a wonderful cleaner though.

  29. ThunderShovel

    7/2/2012 at 6:30 pm

    Use it to plug a hole in a gas tank…Fill the hole and swear it over the hole into a patch. Remember to paint this path after it dries to prevent rain water from the road washine away the soap. It works I know cause I have used it. I drove a car with this patch for another 5 years.

  30. Aaron

    7/12/2012 at 10:11 am

    I’ve also heard that a bar mixed with 5-gal of water can be used as an alternative to insecticides (similar to the deer repellent) on fruit and vegatable plants. Spray full strength (above) once before the fruit comes in (around flowering time) and again after the fruit has started to grow (but is far from ripe). I found out to late for this years crop, but I’ll definitely be trying it next year.

  31. Ladydy

    7/14/2012 at 3:21 pm

    This stuff is awesome! I have a really good leather bag and it got stained and dirty….tried this and it took out the stains with very little rubbing, Also used it on leather car seats…just conditioned them with leather CPR afterwards!

  32. crys

    9/3/2012 at 11:35 am

    I have a bar in my laundry cabinet for stain treatment but have never tried it on colored because I wasn’t sure if it would mess up my clothes. I get mine in the laundry isle at Walmart for less than a dollar, which I why I even tried it to begin with… We were on a tight budget when my husband lost his job so I figured it wouldn’t hurt my wallet to try. Been loyal since;) & the bar lasts for such a long time!! A lot cheaper than other stain treatments AND it works. I’m so trying out the bathtub one & a cpl others:) thx for the post!

  33. Jenn

    9/8/2012 at 12:24 am

    I used the bar to make liquid laundry detergent. When I proudly shared some with my mom last week (she’s an avid DIY’er/recycler/frugal type), she told me about some other uses for Fels Naptha. Tonight I tried them and will share on here, because this bar is going to replace so many expensive, toxic cleansers I have!

    Rub the bar in a wet, soft cloth and wipe kitchen cabinets. Use a damp cloth to go over them again and remove soap residue. Stand back and look at the beautiful result.

    Rub the bar in a wet cloth or nonabrasive pad. Wring out slightly and go to town scrubbing your no-wax floor. My mom’s floor is wood laminate and mine is laminate tile. I went over the floor with a mop/warm water and I swear my floor has never been cleaner!

    Use the Magic Eraser to clean walls? Use a cloth with the soap rubbed in instead. I was amazed. And it smelled much better, too!

    Finally, I used it to wipe down the exterior of my microwave to remove greasy handprints, etc. it shines like it is brand new!

  34. Ethel

    11/9/2012 at 8:52 pm

    Just bought a bar of this soap at a local store. I have found no other store that sells this so I had to shell out an equivalent $2.67. Too pricey, but I have tried the soap last year and it works beautifully! I also love the smell.

    • Krusatyr

      4/4/2013 at 10:08 am

      Fels Naptha: $0.97 per bar at Walmart, in Laundry Aisle, below eye-level, near Stain Removal products.

  35. Elena

    1/4/2013 at 1:39 am

    I found 2 pars pack together in a bag at a thrift store for $1. I bought it because I remember my Grandmother and Mother using it before. Tonight, I moistened the bar and rubbed it on a grease spot on a grey sweater……WORKED! It took the stain out!!! I am so happy, this was the best $1 ever spent.

  36. Cindy

    3/19/2013 at 2:15 am

    How much shavings to into a large load of clothes? Do you add vinigar also?

  37. tanya

    4/1/2013 at 3:48 pm

    i made laundry soap, dish soap, hand soap. it’s great stuff. just dissolve in hot water and add 2x the amount of water for dish soap and i did the same for hand soap but i added tea tree oil-just a few drops. I also cleaned my coffee pot and kitchen sink with it. now i’m gonna see how well it works on the car and the kids bike…… a bonus my hands are soft!

  38. BETSY

    4/10/2013 at 1:51 pm

    can you use on carpets

  39. Pam

    4/21/2013 at 5:13 pm

    Removes wring around the collar. Just rub the bar on the collar, rub with soft brush and lauder as usual.

  40. Debbie

    7/2/2013 at 5:44 pm

    I read that it can be used to deter wasps, hornets and yellow jackets from building nests. The research indicated that birdhouse builders often spray the inside of the bird house to deter those stinging pests. I made a solution of Fels Naptha soap melted into warm water to spray under my pool decking 7 years ago and have not had a single hornet/wasp/yellow jacket nest until this year. I will have to make up a new batch and respray.

  41. Eric

    7/5/2013 at 6:59 am

    I use this soap in my garden to keep bugs off my Tomato Plants.I grate the soap, and place it in a spray bottle with warm water and mist my plants.I have a large garden.I never have a pest problem.I also use it to make my Laundry soap for my wife,it beats Tide hands down for washing I get real dirty at my job I also use it to wash with too.This soap is the best will last a very long time for 97 cents you can not beat it!

  42. Yahannah Yisrael

    7/8/2013 at 1:59 am

    A friend told me that Fels Naptha will get rid of lice on a child’s head and fleas on dogs. How do I do that. Has anyone tried it?

  43. istanbul temizlik şirketleri

    10/18/2013 at 9:46 pm

    I run a blog that is very similar, is there any way you would write a guest post on it? Shoot me an email if you are interested!

  44. Telzey Amberdon

    9/11/2014 at 11:17 pm

    I went to Parson’s (the New School for Design) and we were taught to wash our paintbrushes in Fels Naptha soap to keep the natural bristles soft.

  45. Kim

    8/16/2015 at 2:36 pm

    The Wal-Mart stores have stopped carrying the Fels-Naptha and when I looked online, the price has quadrupled. Does anyone have a good, cheap source for ordering? Thanks

  46. Chip Eckert

    12/30/2015 at 11:43 am

    Regarding the deer repellent. DO NOT put an airtight cover over the brew! It breeds anaerobic bacteria only and makes it stink like rotting roadkill. The repellent works fine, but for your own and your neighbors sake, let it breathe air while it ferments! I’ve been using this for decades in my garden and it works fine. I only made the mistake of keeping a sealed lid on it ONCE…

  47. Kagar

    4/14/2016 at 1:21 pm

    My husband often came home with oil all over his clothes. For a particularly bad stain, I dampen a bar of Fels Naptha and rub as a pre-treater. Make sure to put white vinegar instead of fabric softener in the load; it cuts the grease. Color-safe bleach and warm water is a must as well!

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