homemade laundry soap

Homemade Laundry Soap (Detergent, Dye and Fragrance Free)

I made homemade laundry soap to replace my commercial detergent. It's detergent free, fragrance and dye free and my clothes came out clean and fresh as ever!

4 large bars of Ivory (bath/bar) soap (Fels Naptha, Ivory)

2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
--Washing Soda is sodium carbonate and baking soda is sodium Bicarbonate

Grate bar soap or soak in pan of water overnight or a couple of days to soften to mush. Melt (don't boil) soap on stove in about 1/2 gallon of water. After all soap is dissolved, stir in the Borax and the washing powder until well mixed. Meanwhile, boil about 2 gallons of water in another pan (I used my canning pot). Pour soap mixture into 5 gallon container. Add 2 gallons of boiling water and stir. Add 2 1/2 more gallons (1/2 to 1 gallon at a time) of water (from the tap is fine) and stir.

As the mixture cools it will want to separate. To prevent this, stir the mixture once or twice every hour or so until it's completely cooled. This will keep the mixture more homogenous. You may need to stir or shake your mixture occasionally before using in the wash if you allow it to set for long in cooler temperatures.

Use 1/4 cup of final mixture in your wash cycle. To prevent soap from settling on your clothes, it's best to pour the soap directly into the water before adding your clothes.

If you have hard water, or if you'd like to save money on fabric softener, add some vinegar (about 2-3 Tbs) to the rinse cycle either manually or via Downy Ball (use the markings). The soap will rinse cleaner and your clothes will be soft and static free. And the smell - there is none (I PROMISE).

This soap is healthier, less harsh on your skin and your clothes and it's cheaper! It also takes pee-pee smells from kids and pets (cats too!) out of clothing and bedding without pre-treating.

Here's an approximate run-down on your cost.

4 bars soap $ .88 (found bulk at Wal-Mart for $ .22 a bar)
2 c Borax $ .80 ($4/box 7-8 batches from one 76 oz box)
1 c Washing Powder $ .84 ($3/box 6-7 batches from one 55 oz box)

TOTAL $2.52 for 7 gallons of soap

7 gallons / 1/3 cup = 336 loads of clothes
$2.52 / 7 = $ .36 per gallon
$2.52 / 336 = $ .0075 per load (less than 1 cent per load)

I have been known to use 2/3 cup for heavily soiled loads (cat pee, hub’s work clothes, etc.) which would work out to 1.5 cents per load. Still a bargain any way you look at it.

I just recently made powder and am trying it out. It takes a bit more soap to laundry ratio so costs maybe 2 to 3 cents per load instead of 1, but it takes up less space and is faster to make. I think maybe it takes more because the soap flakes don't dissolve quite as well as the pre-dissolved liquid; however, i haven't found any soap residue left on my clothes YET. will report back if problems arise. i used all the same ingredients (even grated the soap) but then put all the ingredients in my 8 cup food processor and ground until very fine. a large ice-cream bucket holds enough of the powder to last me at least a year (4 person family). a friend of mine also adds baking soda and oxy clean. use 1 to 2 TBS per load and use the vinegar/downy ball as well.

Added 2011, 0822.
I just made another batch of the powder. I'm very happy with it this way. Less hassle than the liquid. I decided to stick with it, but to make it stretch and a bit more powerful, at the suggestion of a good friend, I added 2 cups of generic oxygen powder, 2 cups of baking soda and 2 cups of cheap table salt. I also used 4 bars of Kirk's Coconut Bar Soap. I don't use Ivory any more. Seems to be working really well. Happy Laundry

Everyone be blessed.

If you like this recipe or are interested in some more opinions or possible recipes, come join us at welltellme.com. There is a whole thread dedicated to homemade laundry soap.

1 remarks: on "homemade laundry soap"

foxfirehands said...

What is your recipe for the powder laundry soap? Sorry if it is there and I just don't get it :-)

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