Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap Tutorial

With the economy the way it is these days, I have been asked to teach a class at church once a month on money saving tips. Last month we made Homemade Laundry Soap for PENNIES!! I have had a lot of people ask for directions so here is a tutorial:

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap:

You will need 3 basic ingredients:

• Fels Naptha (1/3 Bar)

• 20 Mule Team Borax (1/2 Cup)

• Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (1/2 Cup)

Fels Naptha Soap: It is an old fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle. The other options for soap are Ivory or Zote. If you use Ivory or any other common bar soap, you will need to use the entire bar.

Washing Soda: This is not to be confused with Baking Soda. They are not the same thing. Washing Soda is “Sodium Carbonate” or “Soda Ash”. (Baking Soda is “Bicarbonate”). Washing soda is a white powder and its purpose is to remove dirt and odors. The brand to look for is “Arm & Hammer”. It can also be found in the laundry aisle.

Borax: Borax is a natural occurring mineral: Sodium Borate. It is also a white powder and its purpose is as a laundry whitener and a deodorizer. The brand to look for is “20 Mule Team”. It can be found in the laundry aisle.

**You will also need some sort of grater (food processor works great), a 2 gallon or bigger bucket for mixing and a large pot.

Grate the soap and put it in the pot. Add 6 Cups of water and heat it until the soap melts…stir often. It’s best if you grate the soap very finely, it will melt faster. Add the Borax and Washing Soda. Remove from heat.

Pour 4 Cups of hot water into your bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Then add 1 gallon plus 6 Cups of water and stir. Let the mixture sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.

**A few things to note about the soap**

This was taken after it set for 24 hours and after I stirred it...before it's stirred it will be even more gelled...

**The finished soap will not be a solid gel. It will be a gel on the surface and once you stir it will be watery. Sometimes it has an “egg noodle soup” look.

**The soap is a low sudsing soap. This is OK. Suds are not what do the cleaning, it’s the ingredients in the soap.

Options: If you want your soap to have a fragrance you can scent with ½ to 1 oz. of essential oil of your choice. Lemon or Orange is a popular choice.

Cost Breakdown:

The cost of making the above recipe of laundry soap is about .77 cents (average). With a 2 gallon recipe you will have enough to do about 64 loads of laundry, depending on how much you use and how big your family is!

1 bar of Fels Naptha is: $1.59  
1 box of Borax is: $4.99
1 box of Washing Soda is: $3.19

Per Gallon:
1/3 bar of Fels Naptha = .53 cents
1/2 C Borax = .52 cents
1/2 C Washing Soda = .39 cents

Total: $1.44 cents ...for 2 GALLONS = .77 per GALLON!!
If you have a new front-loader washing machine, you may only need 1/4 - 1/3 Cup or even less depending on the size of the load.


1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap (Grated very finely, even into a poswer if possible...a food processor is the best)

1/2 C. 20 Mule Team Borax

1/2 C. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

Mix all ingredients together and use only 1 Tbs. (yes, it's true) per load. This makes about a 6 month supply.

Also, if you put in 1/4 - 1/2 C White Distilled Vinegar with each load instead of expensive Fabric Softener, it will rinse your clothes and leave your whites whiter...there is NO vinegar smell when they finish their cycle...I PROMISE!!

I have been using this soap for the past 2 months and have noticed that my clothes come out feeling cleaner and my whites are definately whiter AND I LOVE having the extra money to spend on other things!!


Lynn said...

Thanks for the tutorial! This is awesome with the pictures and all.

Love Being a Nonny said...

Not sure I am up for soap making, but I know someone who IS...so I will pass this along. Thanks for the great tutorial.

Connie said...

You have become quite the domestic lady . . . Is this because you moved to the country?? LOL
Great idea. I love my whites white . . . thus the clothesline in my back yard. Yes, it is still there and gets used weekly even in the winter time if the sun is out.
Thanks for the tips!! I'm goint to try this!