21 October 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap Review

A long time ago I briefly looked into making my own laundry soap. I didn't research thoroughly, and assumed that it would not save very much money based on the ingredients. Then one of my friends explained that the ingredients make a liquid soap, which lasts far longer than I was assuming it lasted, taking the cost of laundry soap from 12 to 15 cents per load down to 1 to 2 cents per load.

I was convinced to try it.

My friend sent me this recipe (we altered it a little)
1 bar Fels Napa soap

1 C 20 Mule Team Borax
1 C Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda

Grate soap in a food processor or cheese grater as small as you can. (If you don’t, it won’t dissolve. She has a cuisinart that worked spectacularly.)

In a large stock pot, heat 1 gallon of water and add the soap granules. Heat until all the soap is dissolved, but do not let it boil.

When the soap is dissolved, add the Borax and washing soda and dissolve these in the water.

Dump this liquid into a 5 gallon bucket and add 3 more gallons of water. Stir.

She and I both use the Kirkland brand laundry soap rectangular bucket with the lid, which fits almost exactly the four gallons.

Add 1/2 cup of this liquid to the washing machine for an extra large batch of laundry.
I am now into my second batch, and I plan to continue using this stuff. After about a month using it, I started to miss the perfume from normal laundry soap. This soap gets laundry clean, but doesn't scent it. So I bought another box of Gain (my favorite) and now include a couple of teaspoons in each load.
I am still tallying the number of loads per box of Gain I get to see what this does to the cost, but that tiny bit of the perfumed stuff makes it so I can tell if something is freshly laundered or not.
One thing I like about this homemade soap method is that the items I hang to dry are far less stiff from the detergent than they were before.
If you are very attached to your current brand of soap, you might consider storing the ingredients and recipe as a method of provident living, because they take up much less space than a year's supply of anything else would.


amy said...

I use this exact recipe and have been satisfied both with the soap and with myself for being so cool as to make laundry soap. I'm not surprised you do this, as I consider you a domestic paragon. I didn't know not to let the water boil--thanks for the tip.

amy said...

Actually, I don't have a large enough container for the full recipe, so I just make a half batch in a large laundry soap jug (2 gallons or thereabouts) and keep the remaining false naptha as a stain treatment-it's fantastic.

The Stratton's said...

I've heard of a handful of people doing this... I even tried some that was made then given to me. We seemed to think it made the whites kind of dingy. What do you do to help that?

Jen said...

Andrea, I felt the same about the whites. That was another reason for starting to include the Gain in them, and I think it has made the difference. I also tried using a spray on the most soiled areas, and bleaching what I could.

michelle said...

I have heard that if you put some lavender oil, or whatever smell you like that comes in oil form in with the mix that it will give you the nice smell again. I'm hooked on Green Works detergent and don't think I could use something else though!

The Yoder's Four said...

Fels Naptha is God's gift to mothers! But it stiiiiiiinks so badly. Does the finished product smell like it? Does it tinge it yellow? I have not made my own detergent, but my mom and sister in law Monica have and like it. I'm not sure how a bucket would fit in with my laundry room decor, though. Ha!

Dansie Family said...

i'm just about out of laundry soap so i need to try it out this month. i think i'll add some essential oils to it to scent it. my friend does doterra and sent me a sample. i'm excited to give it a whirl.