10 February 2010

Give Me Some Dirty Laundry (kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down...)

I finally got around to trying something that I've been want to try for a while now: making homemade laundry soap! It was really fun! (Yeah, I know, the things that excite me...haha).

Here are the ingredients:
  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • 20 Mule Team Borax
  • bar of Fels-Naptha soap
  • 5 gallon bucket w/lid
  • water
  • essential oil for fragrance, if desired
The first step was to grate the bar of soap and put it into a pan full of hot water on the stovetop. *Cook* it on high until the soap is completely dissolved, stirring with a wooden spoon (but don't let it boil).

Next get your bucket and put in 1/2 cup of the Borax and 1 cup of the Washing Soda. Then pour in your soapy water mixture, stirring until the Borax and Washing Soda has dissolved. Then fill your bucket nearly to the top with hot tap water. Using a very long spoon, mix it well. This is also the time to add a few drops of your essential oil (like lavender) if you are using that.  Stir very well then put the lid on and let it sit 24 hours.

After 24 hours are up, go check out your soap. It will have turned into a thick, gelled soapy substance. I suggest you use a large stainless-steel spoon to stir it up, because a wooden one just isn't strong enough to stir through the gel at this point. (Trust me, I speak from experience).

After you've stirred it all up, you can fill up a recycled laundry detergent bottle using a funnel. Then you're ready to wash clothes! Just use 1/2 cup of detergent (basically a cap-full) with a full load of {even very dirty} laundry.

I can't believe how little this stuff costs! The boxes of detergent were just around $3 each (and I'll get many batches of this soap with them!), the soap was just a couple of dollars and the bucket & lid only cost $1.47 at Wal-Mart. So you really are washing your clothes for pennies a load! And I am very pleased with the results of my laundry~it's washing everything very well.

This post is linked to Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home.


Anonymous said...

Good morning! Thank you for sharing your laundry soap experience. I am excited to try the "recipe" myself, but have one question: Does this formula work in a front loading machine? Is the consistency the same as liquid detergent?

Lori said...

Hi there. I have been using homemade soap since November and I am still in shock at how good it works!!! I have an HE washing machine and only have to use 1/4 cup for each load. One gallon lasted me over a month..and I do two loads everyday.

Talk about saving lots of money! :)

Enjoy your soap!

Lora said...

The consistency is a little *lumpier* than store-bought detergent, but works the same. I don't know much about front-loading machines, but I would think it would work the same.

Michelle M. said...

I am SOO excited about this! Do you think it is safe for cloth diapers, too?

Elizabeth G. said...

I will definitely have to try this. It sounds very environmentally friendly, too! :)

Lora said...

I would think it would be just fine. My son has excema I have to use a more gentle detergent and no fabric softener. He seems to be doing fine with this so far. Also, for a natural fabric softener I am using vinegar. Just add about 1/3-1/2 cup of vinegar to your fabric softener spot (or Downey ball) and proceed as usual. There is no smell, it washes out, but softens your clothes naturally.

Michelle M. said...

I think I am really going to do this. The baby has eczema, too. I already use vinegar with my laundry for its disinfecting properties (especially with the cloth diapers). Thanks!

tlmcmurray said...

I use the same ingredients and just leave it as a powder. Easier for me than trying to cook it.

Lori said...

I just shared this on my Facebook. I so want to try this! Thanks for showing me how!


summer said...

hey. i just found your blog thru another homeschooler site. i use the same ingredients in my laundry detergent...only mine is powdered. found it online somewhere (sorry, i usually give credit where credit is due)... 1 grated bar of ivory, about an inch grated bar of fels-naptha and about an inch grated bar of zoto soap (huge pink bar you can get at walmart or target) - these add stain removing qualities. add grated soaps to 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup borax. mix and use only 1 tbsp/load!! for really dirty loads, i sometimes sneak in 1 1/2 tbsp. i keep it in a large reusable lidded bowl on top of my washer. And i haven't used powder in YEARS before this, due to the clumping/dust issues. i have a front load he washer and have not had any problems!! and i gotta say, being pregnant with my second (and having way more nausea with this one)...honestly, i could lose my breakfast, that i haven't even had, just looking at the gel process! LOL so, powdered works for me!