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

What Is Zote Laundry Soap?

Zote soap is a laundry detergent soap marketed under the Zote brand name. It comes as small pink bars of soap usually wrapped in paper. Zote soap has been around since the 1920s and has a distinctive floral, rosy scent.

Some key facts about Zote laundry soap:

  • Manufactured by Unilever, it is one of the most affordable laundry soaps available.
  • The main ingredients are fatty acids, perfume, and pigment. It contains no phosphates.
  • It is a non-bleaching detergent safe for most washable fabrics. The pink color helps visually trace where soap has been applied.
  • It can be used for hand washing delicate fabrics, pre-treating stains, and in place of regular laundry detergent.
  • Zote is concentrated and a little goes a long way. One bar can wash up to 100 loads of laundry.

Benefits of Using Zote Laundry Soap

There are several advantages to using Zote soap over regular laundry detergent:

  • Cost effective – It provides an very economical way to do laundry. One bar lasts a long time.
  • Versatile – It can be used to hand wash delicates, scrub stains, and clean laundry machines.
  • Delicate fabric safe – The soap formulation is gentle enough for silks, wools, and other fabrics prone to shrinking.
  • Clean rinsing – Clothes rinsed in Zote do not retain soap residue that can lead to stiff, scratchy fabrics.
  • Hypoallergenic – The fragrance free version does not contain dyes or perfumes problematic for sensitive skin.
  • Environmentally friendly – Zote contains no phosphates, enzymes, or other harsh chemicals that pollute waterways.

How to Use Zote Laundry Soap

Using Zote laundry soap effectively requires some different techniques than regular laundry detergent. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Washing Clothes by Hand

  1. Fill a sink, tub, or bucket with warm water. Swirl a Zote soap bar in the water until it produces suds.
  2. Add clothing and gently move it around, allowing soapy water to penetrate the fibers. Let soak 5-10 minutes.
  3. Agitate clothes by moving them repeatedly up and down. The pink soap will help identify unwashed patches needing more scrubbing.
  4. Rinse clothing thoroughly, changing the rinse water several times to remove all soap.

Tackling Stains

  1. Wet the stained area of clothing and rub a Zote bar directly on the spot.
  2. Let soak 5-10 minutes to allow the soap to break down the stain.
  3. Use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub the stain.
  4. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if stain persists. Allow to air dry and check if stain has lifted.

Washing Clothes in a Machine

  1. Grate a whole Zote soap bar using a cheese grater. You can also cut into chunks.
  2. Place grated soap into a mesh laundry bag. Tie bag closed to contain the soap grains.
  3. Add bag to washing machine tub along with clothes. Use hot water for heavily soiled loads.
  4. Wash as normal. The bag will release soap as the machine agitates.
  5. Remove bag before drying cycle. Discard leftover soap grains after wash.

Cleaning the Washing Machine

  1. Grate a Zote bar and add to empty washing machine. Use 2 bars for toploaders.
  2. Run a hot water cycle to allow soap to dissolve and penetrate inside tub.
  3. If machine has a cleaning cycle, use it. Otherwise do a rinse cycle.
  4. Repeat if needed to fully eliminate soap residue and odor. Wipe down any exterior soap buildup.

Other Cleaning Uses

In addition to the laundry uses above, Zote soap can be used to clean many other things:

  • Mix a strong solution in water to mop floors or scrub tile grout.
  • Use a damp Zote bar to scrubbathtubs, sinks, showers, countertops.
  • Make a paste with water to scrub stovetops and stainless steel.
  • Rub on outdoor furniture, grills, or playground toys to remove dirt and grime.

Tips for Using Zote Soap Effectively

  • Always wash with cold or warm water, never hot, to avoid shrinking delicate fabrics.
  • Avoid using too much soap as it can be tricky to rinse out fully. Start with a small amount.
  • Double rinse clothes to remove all soap residue which can cause irritation.
  • Let heavily soiled clothes soak overnight in sudsy Zote water to loosen stains.
  • Hang clothing to dry rather than machine drying to prevent damage to delicates.
  • Store unused Zote bars in a dry place. Wrap in plastic wrap if the scent is bothersome.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Zote laundry soap really gentle enough for hand washing silks and wools?

Yes, Zote contains no bleaches, enzymes, or brighteners that damage delicate fabrics. Many vintage clothing collectors use Zote specifically to hand wash fragile textiles.

Why does Zote have such a strong, floral fragrance?

The distinct perfume scent helps mask underarm odors on clothing. Most consumers don’t mind it or become used to it. There is also an unscented version.

Does Zote actually get clothes clean or just soapy?

Zote is a true soap containing fatty acids that break up dirt, oil, and grime when used properly. The key is fully rinsing away all soap residue.

Can Zote be used in high efficiency (HE) washing machines?

Yes, but you’ll need to use grated soap in a mesh bag. HE machines need soap to dissolve quickly so solid bars don’t work as well.

Is Zote soap okay to use on baby clothes?

The sensitive skin version is ideal for babies. Otherwise, thoroughly rinse all regular Zote from fabrics as the fragrance could be an irritant. Many moms do use it safely.


Zote pink laundry soap is a laundry staple that has been used for generations thanks to its extremely affordable price and versatile cleaning power. Following the proper techniques for hand washing delicates, pre-treating stains, and machine washing ensures Zote effectively cleans all types of clothing and fabrics. With its hypoallergenic options and eco-friendly ingredients, it is no wonder frugal and environmentally-minded folks appreciate the power found in this iconic pink bar of soap. Give Zote a try the next time your laundry needs a deep clean!