Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap {Tutorial}

I have been seeing a lot of homemade cleaner recipes all over blogland.  My first thought, was, "What a pain!" and "Do they really work as well?"  Then I read a post about homemade laundry soap written by Kadie over and Seven Alive who wrote this great tutorial for powdered laundry soap.  Kadie totally changed my mind.  I decided to try out my own laundry soap.  I was very interested and asked her if she knew if her recipe was safe for high-efficiency washers.  She gave me a link to where she found her recipe, and I was able to find a liquid soap this is He safe.  So, I am going to share with you my adventure in making my own laundry soap.

I found these simple ingredients at my nearest Walmart in the laundry soap section.  They were surprisingly easy to find, and extremely affordable:

Fels-Naptha Soap Bar ($0.97)
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda ($3.24)
Borax ($2.98)
(You will also need one 5 gallon bucket with a lid - I also found this at Walmart for a total of $3.71)
(You can also add 1-2 drops of essential oils per 2 gallons once it has cooled)



 The first thing you'll need to do is add 4 cups of hot tap water to a large saucepan.  Then, grate the whole Fels-Naptha bar into the pan.


 Stir continuously over med-low heat until the soap is dissolved.  This took about 45 minutes.  Your house will smell soapy and clean.

 Then fill up your five gallon buck halfway with hot tap water.  Once it is halfway full, add the melted soap mixture, 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, and 1/2 cup Borax and stir until well-mixed.  I used a plastic spoon with a really long handle.

 Add more hot tap water until the bucket is full, and stir to mix.


 Cover your bucket with the lid and allow to sit overnight.  The mixture will gel.  When I read this from the recipe, I figured it would be this consistent-looking yellow gel.  Well, guess again.  I was wrong.  It looks like something you may have seen in a science class.


 Yep.  That's what it looked like after sitting all night.  I became very skeptical at this point, and wondered how this was going to work out.  THAT is supposed to clean MY clothes?


 I grabbed my plastic spoon and started stirring.  I had to put my hand in it a little bit to reach the bottom.


 Then, I thought of this amazing idea, that I introduced yesterday.


 It worked so well!  I still had to use the spoon to stir up the stuff from the bottom, but it worked so fast!  I was so excited to try it out!  If you are using an empty laundry soap container, fill it half full with the soap and half full with water (the total yield is 10 gallons).  Also, it is important to shake before each use because it will gel and separate!


I used this bowl to try it out with.  All you need is 1/4 cup (1/8 c. soap + 1/8 c. water) for each load if you have a front-load washer and 5/8 cup for a top load.  This is extremely frugalistic soap.  There is a total of 640 loads (front-load) in this 10-gallon recipe with a total cost of about $1.60 per batch.  (This costs $0.075 for 30 loads!)

I was very pleased with how well this soap cleans.  The last time I bought laundry soap, I got the cheapest one I could find (and it doesn't clean at all!).  With this recipe, the clothes come out smelling clean and they feel clean too.

76 comments:

Tara @ Tales of a Trophy Wife said...

I may need to try this. If you have a moment I'd love for you to link up to this week's linky party : http://trophyw.blogspot.com/2011/08/linky-4-will-craft-forcomments.html

Unknown said...

Yay!!! Great Job!! I am so glad that you found a soap that works in your washer. And your idea with the drill is amazing. Thanks for the shout out! :)

Amanda Joy Petersen said...

I am excited to try this. My husband just started couponing for my since I don't have the patience for it... he will love this idea:)

Bina Ross said...

What an amazing idea. I love how cheap it is and eco friendly.

sstone said...

I make something like this, and i put it in one of those plastic water containers that you can put in your fridge. It has the spout, and I just shake it up every day when I go to use it.:)

Unknown said...

My mom made some and I loved how clean it smelled. My sis and I have been meaning to do it, but I was a little nervous. Now it doesnt look so bad! We store it in old juice bottles. Thanks for linking up with DIY under $5!

WhyCuzICan said...

I've HEARD of this homemade laundry soap but never knew the exact recipe-- thanks for sharing!

Visiting today from LadybirdLn linky party,
~Suzanne in Illinois

Debbiedoos said...

Awesome tip Stephanie! Did you see you won my burlap giveaway? I need your address. Thanks for joining my newbie party.

Rose and Heather said...

I just got mine all mixed up! Can't wait to start using it. I have heard everything good and nothing bad about this.
We would love to have you come link up to our Crafty Lassie Tuesday Link Party. http://sewstylishboutique.blogspot.com/
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Eve said...

As a mother of 6 kids I do a lot of laundry. I have been thinking about trying this out and you post just put me over the edge. The ingredients are now on my shopping list and your post has been pinned. Thanks for the great info

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Lolly Jane said...

thanks for linkin up! will be featuring this at our wkdn party tonight. i'm definately trying it too!! (:

xoxo, kelli & kristi

Cindy said...

I must say, I was skeptical about making/using this but I made some a couple of weeks ago and have been using it on all my laundry. My laundry is cleaner, smells great and as an added bonus my front loading washer doesn't have that sour smell after sitting empty for a couple of days like it did when I used the store bought detergent. I can't believe this works so well. I'm gonna keep using this and telling everyone I know about it too. Thank you soooo much for sharing!

Mimma said...

I am going to make this detergent soon! I have one questin though, on the box of Borax it says that you can add 1/2 cup to each load of laundry as a boost to detergent. Why is there only 1/2 cup in the entire recipe for this detergent? Just curious.
Kelly~

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if you've had any issues with skin sensitivity, rashes, or reactions with this homemade detergent? I really want to start making my own (WAAAAAAAY cheaper and eco friendlier), but I'm apprehensive about how my skin will react. It's not generally sensitive, but I just wanted to know if you (or anyone else who has read this tutorial) has had any problems!
Thanks,
Ashlee

Theresa said...

We have friends that started using the homemade detergent that have a daughter that could only use the detergent for sensitive skin. Her daughter has not had any reactions to the homemade detergents at all. She is pleased & wishes she had known about it when her children were younger.

dl said...

I had used this recipe a couple of years back. I was very happy with it for money and cleaning. One thing to take note of tho is that every so often you will need to do a napisan/ soaker kind of wash on your whites as they do tend to go grey. I think this is still feesable tho so don't let that put you off.

You can grate in a napisan or soaker into your wash or you can just do a bulk wash on whites when needed.

Unknown said...

wow! I'm going to try it!


Beijinhos Ana

Unknown said...

After reading several recipes for homemade laundry soap, I finally decided to try it myself. I haven't used it yet as I have just a little bit of the store bought left; but already I think it's going to do fine. I did have trouble finding the washing soda. I looked several places and no one had it. I live in a small community and Walmart is almost an hour away. I substituted a generic brand of oxyclean. I'm wondering if you'd ever tried anything other than the washing soda. Also if you had experimented with any frangrances and if it was cost effective to do so? Thanks for the great tutorial. http://blakestr.blogspot.com

mom22evs said...

I just wanted to let you know you can purchase a paddle for your drill that is for stirring 5 gallons of paint, that said I just mixed my first batch and can hardly wait to try it. Thanks

finallysoontobemomma said...

Has mom22evs stated you can buy a paint mixer they are only a few bucks.

However, I believe I am a bit confused on a couple items that was mentioned towards the end.

It states If using empty laundry soap containers use half soap mix and half water.

The second item is the statement All you need is 1/4 (1/8 soap + 1/8 water)

So is this stating that once this laundry soap is made it is not just ready to use? Are you stating that even though I follow the directions and ingredients I still have to add water to the soap every load?

~Chavygirl said...

Instead of mixing with water every load can't you just mix it into 2 five gallon buckets right off? I had a tough time finding Borax and Washing Soda too-checked Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes and found nothing--Finally found it in a my grocery store (Hannaford) so I bought two boxes of each before I realized that I only needed a small amount--I'll be set for life with the those and the 5 bars of Fels Naptha I bought LOL The few drops of Essential oils for scent works great too- I'm liking rosemary-mint or grapefruit right now! Oh-and the paint stirrer is AWESOME! I use it for many things around the house :)

Diana Davis said...

I'm wondering how this will work in an HE washer? Will it be too sudsy?

manielee07 said...

What does it smell like?

Anonymous said...

Am also curious as to how this works in an HE washer. I'd love to use it, but don't want to get stuck with 5 gallons of it if it won't work in my washer.

jdsaxony said...

Mine didn't turn to "gel" and is still super liquid - did I do something wrong or just disolve it really well? I used boiling water for the whole thing... I also used Castile soap instead of the one u suggested because i couldn't find it. U think it will still work???

jdsaxony said...

Mine didn't turn to "gel" and is still super liquid - did I do something wrong or just disolve it really well? I used boiling water for the whole thing... I also used Castile soap instead of the one u suggested because i couldn't find it. U think it will still work???

Blkeyedgrl said...

Mine turned to gel, once mixed it seemed the right consistency for the washer. I used it as you posted and it seemed so watery. Can you use it straight as made?

Unknown said...

Instead of using your mixer blade, try using a drywall or paint stirrer on your drill, it will reach the bottom of that bucket.

Kourtney O said...

If I use a different soap, do I still just use one bar? I heard that ivory is just as pure and safe as the fels naptha, but it looks quite a bit smaller in size...?

Heather said...

How long did you mix the soap with your drill and attachment?

Heather said...

How long did you mix the soap with your drill and attachment?

Linda said...

I guess I don't understand why anyone would mess with all the liquid when this same recipe can be made as a powered. No need to mess with all the mixing buckets and shaking each time it is used.

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed reading your article. I found this as an informative and interesting post, so i think it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the effort you have made in writing this article.





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Michelle said...

Great recipe...seems a little thin and watery though. Is that normal? Thank you for posting!

Michelle

thriftyblessings.com

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Tresa said...

I was sceptical but it tried it and it worked! My skin is so sensitive. The homemade detergent worked beautifully. And it didn't break me out. A+ for this. Thank you.

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What is the best laundry detergent?
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Jean R. said...

Once you have made your investment in Borax and Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, it is really inexpensive to make? I did the cost per ounce and total it was $1.98 per recipe. 10 gallons of detergents for $1.98. WOW!!! I don't use the essential oils as I was well stocked on unstoppable s.

Meghan Jones said...

Home made laundry detergent is better than any toxic detergent. So you can use it & try to your home.

Unknown said...

I have been making this soap for a couple of years...I use a 5 gal. paint stirring stick to stir it, available where they sell paint.

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Jean R. said...

I have been using this recipe for many years. Frugal . . . It is almost free. The next batch you make you will only have to buy your Fels Naptha Soap. This recipe is wonderful.

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