What Is Zote Laundry Soap? Here's How to Use It

Zote soap bar in front of folded towels

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins - 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5-20

Zote Laundry Soap is available as a bar or soap flakes for stain removal or general laundry washing. It is part of a line of laundry products offered by Fabrica de Jabon La Corona, a Mexican manufacturer of soap, detergent, toothpaste, and cooking oil. Other products available in the United States include Foca and Roma Laundry Detergents. While the company was founded in 1920, distribution of its products outside of Mexico began in 1986 to meet demands from the United States, Canada, Central, and South America.

Once you have Zote in your laundry room, it can be used in multiple ways from hand-washing delicates to stain removal to creating a DIY laundry detergent.

Fun Facts

In addition to laundry care, fans of Zote insist it can also be used in these creative ways:

  • Catfish bait: Fishermen soften the bar of soap in the microwave and cut it into slices to bait fish hooks. They swear it attracts catfish.
  • Skin soother: Fans use it to soothe poison ivy rashes or mosquito bites. They rub the bar of soap on the affected area to reduce itchiness and irritation, soothe swelling, and expedite the healing process.
  • Mosquito repellent: This one might just work because the bar contains citronella oil commonly used in candles to repel insects.

Zote Laundry Soap Basics

Ingredients

  • Cymbopogon nardus (Citronella oil)
  • Basic Violet 10 (Dye)
  • Tallow
  • Sodium tallowate
  • Sodium cocoate
  • Cocos nucifera (Coconut oil)
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Sodium chloride
  • Glycerin

The product is sold in both seven-ounce pink or white bars (no dye) and as white Zote Laundry Soap Flakes (17.6 oz. boxes) with no dye. It can be purchased in LatinX groceries, some mass-market stores, or online.

Detergent Can be combined with other laundry detergents and products
Water Temperature Can be used in any water temperature
Cycle Type Can be used in any washer cycle
Special Treatments Used a stain remover, hand-washing, or as an ingredient in DIY laundry detergent

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Washing machine
  • 1 Laundry sink or plastic tub
  • 1 Grater
  • 1 Measuring cups and spoons
  • 1 Resealable plastic container
  • 1 Plastic gloves
  • 1 Large spoon

Materials

  • 1 Zote Laundry Soap Bar
  • 1 Zote Laundry Soap Flakes
  • 1 Baking soda
  • 1 Washing soda
  • 1 Borax

Instructions

Materials and tools to use Zote laundry soap

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Use Zote Laundry Soap Bar as a Stain Remover

  1. Identify the Stain

    If possible, identify the stain. Zote will be the most effective on stains caused by food, drinks, and oil. It will not work well to remove ink or dye-based stains.

    Food stained blanket held up next to pink Zote soap bar

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Rub the Stained Area

    Use the Zote bar to rub the stained area. Work the soap into the fabric with your fingers and let it sit for at least 10 minutes to begin breaking apart the stain molecules from the fabric.

    Pink Zote soap bar rubbed against food stain on spotted blanket

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Wash as Usual

    Wash the garment as usual by hand or in the washer with your regular laundry detergent. Check the stained area before placing the garment in an automatic dryer. If the stain remains, repeat the steps or try another type of laundry stain remover.

    Spotted blanket placed in washing machine for regular cleaning

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Use Zote Laundry Soap for Hand-Washing Clothes

  1. Create Flakes

    When hand-washing clothes, it is important that the detergent dissolve and disperse throughout the water. If you are using the Zote bar, use a grater to finely grate about one tablespoon per gallon of water. Or, you can use Zote Laundry Flakes.

    Pink Zote soap bar grated to create thick flakes next to tablespoon

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Mix a Washing Solution

    Fill the sink or plastic tub with cold to warm water. If using cold water, dissolve the flakes in one cup of hot water before adding them to the sink. Use sufficient water so the clothes are not crowded in the sink.

    Water poured into white bin for cleaning solution

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Add the Clothes

    Add the clothes to the sink and depending on the type of fabric, handle them gently by squeezing the water through the fabric or scrubbing sturdy fabrics together to release the soil.

    Tip

    Allowing clothes to soak for at least 10 minutes or longer will help release the soil.

    Wet fabric squeezed after dipped in Zote cleaning solution

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Rinse and Dry

    After the clothes are clean, rinse in cool water. They can be dried flat, placed in an automatic dryer, or hung from a clothesline or drying rack.

    Spotted fabric rinsed under running faucet water

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Use Zote Laundry Soap in DIY Detergent

  1. Grate the Zote Bar

    Use a grater to create one cup of Zote Bar flakes or measure out one cup of Zote Soap Flakes.

    Pink Zote soap bar grated by hand with flakes in clear container

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Combine the Ingredients

    In a large, resealable container, combine the one cup of soap flakes, one cup of baking soda, one cup of washing soda, and one-half cup of borax. Mix the ingredients well with a large spoon. Store the container in a cool place and keep it well-sealed.

    Warning

    Washing soda (sodium hydroxide) is caustic to the skin, so wear rubber gloves.

    Zote soap flakes poured into plastic container with baking soda, borax and washing soda

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Use in Washer

    • Use one-half cup of the mixture per load of laundry in a standard top-load washer.
    • Use only two tablespoons in a high-efficiency top or front-load washer.
    Zote laundry mixture poured in washing machine dispenser

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Originally written by
Erin Huffstetler
Erin Huffstetler is a frugal living expert who has been writing for over 10 years about easy ways to save money at home. She's covered money-saving advice and tricks for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Forbes, among others. She is the owner of "My Frugal Home," a money-saving, frugal living how-to guide.
Learn more about The Spruce's Editorial Process
Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Emergency and Continuous Exposure Limits for Selected Airborne Contaminants: Volume 2National Research Council (US) Committee on Toxicology. 1984