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Fels-Naptha, modern packaging on kitchen counter

Fels-Naptha is an American brand of bar laundry soap used for pre-treating stains on clothing and as a home remedy for exposure to poison ivy and other skin irritants. Fels-Naptha is manufactured by and is a trademark of the Henkel corporation.


The soap comes packaged in paper similar to bar body soap and is most often found in the laundry section of a supermarket or grocery store. It is intended for the pre-treatment of stains by rubbing the dampened product on a soiled area prior to laundering. The manufacturer claims it to be most effective in removing chocolate, baby formula, perspiration, and make-up.[1] The brown soap is particularly effective in removing the sap of poison ivy, where it has touched the skin but not yet inflamed the area.[2]

The original Fels-Naptha, developed by Philadelphia manufacturer Joseph Fels around 1893, was used as a home remedy in the treatment of contact dermatitis caused by exposure to poison ivy, poison oak, and other oil-based organic skin-irritants. Washing the skin directly with the soap helps wash away the toxin. However, in its own caution use sheet, Dial Corp. stated that Fels-Naptha is a skin irritant and not to be used directly on skin.[3] According to the manufacturer, about 1/2 of a bar of Fels-Naptha grated and added to a wash cycle helps eliminate residual stains.[1]

Health Considerations[edit]

Fels-Naptha once contained Stoddard solvent, a skin and eye irritant. According to the ingredients list on the Fels-Naptha website, Stoddard solvent is no longer included in the soap.[1]