Thursday, November 10, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap 101

Hello Friends.. On the first post of WEEKEND NOTES I told you guys I was going to do a post on home made laundry soap.. So that's what this post is going to be about.

First off. I do use Tide on my clothes. That's my preference because I kinda have an obsession with getting my clothes as clean as I can get. As I told you in THIS POST I did a experiment and found that the Tide Powder was true to the amount of loads you get vs liquid detergents. Also in THIS post that you will find coupons in the Tide Powder where as if you use the liquid, you never will get them.

Now, I do keep a jar of the home made laundry soap for a few reasons. If by some chance I run out of the good stuff, I have this for back up. I also like using it for rugs, pet beds, curtains, kitchen towels, anything other than my clothes. Again. Its works just fine for clothes but I just can't get away from Tide. I know I should just totally switch, and maybe I will. 

But lets talk more about homemade laundry soap..

Making your own laundry soap is pretty easy. Sometimes the hardest part has been tracking down the ingredients but if you can't find them where I suggest, you can always order them online. 

This is also a much greener way to do laundry and also save money. - if you do it right it cost just pennies a load! I mean who doesn't love that right!?

Most of the recipes out there call for a bar soap. You can use Fels-Naptha, Sunlight Bar Soap, Kircks Hardwater Castile, Zote, or I choose to just Ivory Soap ( because it's easy to find! ). You want to stick to soaps that are not too heavy perfumed. You can also use Irish Spring and Lever. Just be sure you are using REAL SOAP and not beauty bars with added oils like Dove. 

Also you will need to use Washing Soda and Borax. You can normally find these in your local grocery store in the laundry and cleaning isles. Sometimes you will have to go to store to store but you can generally find these locally. You can also use Amaze by Sunlight for the washing soda if you have trouble finding the just Arm and Hammer Washing Soda. I actually ordered mine online. Walmart normally carries it but at the time, I could not find it.  If you need to order it online just do a search for " Arm & Hammer Washing Soda " and you will find where to buy it. Also try asking your local grocer to order it for you. The UPC code is 33200-03020 or 033200-030201. Also you can call the makers of Arm & Hammer 1-800-524-1328  and give them the UPC and they can tell you the closet place to you to buy it! 

If you are going to be using the Fels Naptha , you should also look in the laundry isle at Walmart. You can click HERE to find the closest store to you that carries this soap. 

I have made both liquid and powder. If using powder you can just store it in a glass jar as I do. If you use liquid, I have used a big bucket with a lid but also if you have left over liquid detergent bottles, they will work just fine. And it makes it easy to store too. 

If you make the liquid the soap will be lumpy and gel like. This is totally normal. For me using the big lidded bucket, I kept this really long wooden paint stirrer that I used to mix it up well before using. If you use the left over liquid detergent bottles, you can just give it a good shake!  With the powder you will not have to shake or stir it. 

You can also add 15-20 ( per 2 gallons ) of essential oil after it has cooled like lavender, rosemary or tea tree oil. 

Also you will have to grate the soap. I use a handheld cheese grater that I got at a thrift store. I do not recommend using the same one that you cook with!!! You can also use a food processor but you will either want to grate the soap first before adding to the food processor and chop until fine. You better really make sure to clean the food processor after too!! I don't use my food processor for this.. I just don't find it necessary. You will want to grate it fine. It dissolves better in the washer the finer it is. 

Here is how the soap is going to look after you grate it.. 

Also if you have a HIGH EFFICIENCY WASHER., I have read that its just fine to use this. Homemade laundry detergent is low sudsing which is important for HE machines. 

You can still add a laundry booster to this if you have hard water. I suggest baking soda or vinegar at 1/2 cup per load or use oxy clean or something like that. 

And bleach is fine to use in addition to the homemade laundry soap as long as you have NO VINEGAR in the washer. Vinegar reacts bad to bleach! 


Ok.. Here are the 2 recipes I have made, used, and tested.

Liquid Homemade Laundry Soap

1 quart Water (boiling)

2 cups Bar soap (grated)

( This will be about 2 bars of soap )

2 cups Borax

2 cups Washing Soda

  • Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.

  • Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.

  • Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.

  • Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry.

 Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).

Powder Homemade Laundry Soap

2 cups Fels Naptha Soap

(finely grated – you could also try the other bar soaps listed at the top)

 This will be about 2 bars of soap

1 cup Washing Soda

1 cup Borax

  • Mix well and store in an airtight container.

  • Use 3 tablespoons per full load

Now with this one.. the powder, I make 3xs the amount of the recipe so it last longer. I store in a glass jar with a lid and put it on a shelf in my laundry room. You can find these glass jars with lids at Walmart or any store like that. Super Easy to find!!

So there is all the information you need to get on your way to making homemade laundry soap. 

I hope you try it. I have used both these recipes on our clothes and on my kids clothes and it got them clean with no problems. Just because I like Tide for my clothes, don't let that influence you. I just don't make changes that easy! But I still use the homemade soap too. And I might just end up switching totally over soon! It does save a lot of money and if you have a big family, this really is the way to go.

I want to hear all your thoughts and comments on this. I want to know if you have ever tried homemade laundry soap, if so what did you think of it. I also want to know if you are going to try either of these recipes and your thoughts when you do. Also, if you have any questions about anything, please don't hesitate to ask!! Just email me ALL YOUR THOUGHTS to

K Jaggers

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