Thursday, October 13, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

I attempted a creative title for this post, BUT I failed. I guess after 5 loads of laundry today, my brain is not feeling too creative.

Expenses can be a pain in the bootie when you are managing a large family, for sure. I have learned to cut corners in a few areas and making my laundry soap is one of them.
Sure I tried "couponing" for the HE detergent for a while but honestly, this is cheaper and easier and my inner- hippie loves it so much.

I use this in my HE washer and have not had any issues. This recipe makes 10 gallons of soap (you only need a 5 gallon bucket) that is concentrated and use 1/4 C for a HE load or 1/2 C for regular washer load. It also washes GREAT!
Check it out.

 First you will need a 5 gallon bucket with a lid, a bar of Fels-Naptha soap, a box of Super Washing Soda, and a box of Borax powder.
The bar soap can be found at some grocers. I found mine at the local hardware store and it cost $1.29. The other items are usually at the grocery store in the laundry isle. They cost roughly $4 a box. You will use these for many batches of soap. Promise.

 Start by grating the soap into a pot. I use my cheese grater and it will come clean in the dishwasher.
 Add 4 C hot water to the soap and cook it over medium heat until the soap dissolves. Keep stirring it some while it melts.
Fill your bucket halfway with hot water and then add the liquid soap mixture. Stir and add 1 C washing soda and 1/2 C borax. Stir.

You might get a large paint stirring stick at the paint center to stir this all up.

After it is mixed together well, add more water to the top of the bucket, snap the lid on and let it set OVERNIGHT.

 The next day it will be all gelled up like jelly. Stir it well. I use my hand so I can squish up any large jelly-like clumps.
 Now find a container to put some soap in. If you were smart (unlike me) you would save your last laundry soap container that has a wide mouth on it. Since I was not the brightest crayon in the box, I use an old vinegar container and use a funnel to get it in there neatly.

Fill your container halfway with soap and then add water the rest of the way. Give it a good shake to mix it up before each use.

This bucket of soap lasts me about 4 months. I figure about $5 for 4 months is great savings compared to $10-$20 a month with regular HE.

Yes, I wash my cloth diapers with this stuff too.

So, what other ways can you save a buck or two with a large family?


  1. I started making my own laundry soap about four months ago. I'm almost finished with my first batch. I use the exact same recipe as you. At first my husband was skeptical and even complained that it didn't look and smell like Tide. After the first couple of weeks and once he saw the savings he has been bragging to everyone about his wife making laundry detergent. He is currently working on his bachelor's degree and wrote a paper about it last night. I feel virtuous and my inner-hippie is pleased as well. -Serena Morrow

  2. I always have been intrigued by this. I first saw it on the Duggars shows and their website. I was worried it would be messy etc..We get a powder from TJ and we have a HE also. I would bet it lasts close to 4 months and if we use the right amount is about the savings you describe. However our clothes are not as "fresh" as i would like..You have inspired me to MAYBE try this

  3. Serena, that is awesome that your hubby is so proud of what our "inner hippie" can do! :-)

    I am not familiar with TJ. Is that a store in your area?

  4. She might be referring to Trader Joes???

    I have made my own laundry detergent in the past too. It was a powder mixture and I was not pleased with it so we switched back to Tide. My hubby got laid off last week so we are cutting as many corners as possible. I remembered seeing this awhile back on your blog and searched for it this am. I love how it makes so much more than the recipe I had. I now plan to make this! Thank you so much for the recipe :D

  5. Can you add essetial oils to it to make it smell more like store bought? Also, is this recipe safe to use with a septic system?

    1. Yes you can add some essential oils. In my experience I could not tell the oils were in there. Fels Naptha soap has a fairly strong smell. This soap is perfectly safe for your septic system too!

  6. I made two batches of this stuff today. One for me, one for a friend. The one I made for my friend had small jelly like clumps in it and it had a whitish look. The batch I made for myself had a color just a bit lighter than the soap and NO jelly like clumps. I made them exactly the same. The only difference I could find was hers was made with city water, with chlorine and mine was made with well water. Can this difference in water make a difference in the laundry detergent?

    1. Patricia,

      Usually the soap will have the jelly clumps after sitting al night. I suppose the difference could be the water, although I have well water too. Try it out and see if your clothes come clean. Let me know. :-)


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