Making your own homemade laundry soap can save your household money. A lot of money. The batch I made that produced the three large containers shown here cost me just $1.06 to make! That’s a huge savings compared to the same amount of brands like Tide or All. But does it work?
I’ve been testing my homemade laundry soap for the last month or so, and I’m happy to report that, yes, it does work. In fact, I think I have officially converted and may never buy the ready-made stuff again, except maybe to use as a pre-treatment for stains.
Almost all homemade versions of laundry soap are some combination of the following three ingredients: a grated bar of soap, washing soda, and borax. Some recipes call for a laundry-type bar soap like Fels Naptha, however, I have been using a recipe that used Ivory soap and have been very happy with that too. You can purchase Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and 20 MuleTeam Borax on the laundry aisle of any grocery store.
A fellow blogger (Terre at Saving Your Green) shared her post with me about her positive experience with homemade laundry soap. She must have some better prices in her neck of the woods, because her cost for a batch came to only 87 cents! Her tutorial was super helpful and I would recommend you check it out:
Saving Your Green Homemade Laundry Soap Tutorial (This is also the recipe below for liquid soap and the one I think I am going to stick with -Thanks Terre!)
So, here’s what you need to know about homemade laundry soap:
WHITES ARE THE TRICKIEST
I did experience some “dingy” whites when I first started using the homemade stuff. After doing some internet reading, I found that people with hard water can have this problem. I now add a little scoop of Oxi-Clean to my white load and they come out fine. I also increase the amount of liquid soap from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup for a white load. If using the dry mixture, I increase it to 2 tablespoons.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE CONSISTENCY
Many recipes referred to the liquid soap version as “gel-like”. Some referred to it as a “snotty” consistency. My mixture is really just like a thick soapy water and not much like either gel or snot. Apparently this can also be a result of how hard your water is. The consistency seems to have no bearing on the how clean the clothes are getting, so don’t get too hung up on that aspect.
When you first make your batch of laundry soap, you should let it set for 24 hours before using it, giving it a stir every so often during that time if you are home to do that. It does thicken up a little bit during that time.
ONLY MINIMAL EQUIPMENT IS NEEDED
The main thing you are going to need is some kind of large container to make your mixture in. I used a large Rubbermaid container to make my mixture. I’ve since remembered we have some 10 gallon pails that we get our pool chemicals in and I think the next time I will try using that. If you are going to keep your mixture in the large container you use for mixing, make sure it has a lid. You can also transfer your mixture to other containers as I did in the picture above.
You may want to purchase a separate grater for grating your soap. I found that the Ivory soap grated up easily, but the Fels Naptha was a much harder soap and took a lot more effort to grate the entire bar.
I also keep a long-handled wooden spoon by my washer now and I give the mixture another stirring on laundry days. This seems to help too.
SOFTER CLOTHES, LESS STATIC, FRESHER SMELL
This was the biggest surprise for me. Our clothes feel much softer, and when I take them out of the dryer, there is much less crackling of static going on. And when I first started using the homemade soap, I was giving every load the sniff test, and everything smelled very fresh and odor free. I got a real kick out of Terre’s tutorial saying her soap “knocked the stink out” of restaurant clothes. My daughter worked her way through college waitressing at a Mexican restaurant and oh yeah, we know about that restaurant stink. I totally believe this soap can knock the stink out.
NO PERFUMES AND DYES MEANS NO ALLERGIC REACTIONS
My son has always had a sensitivity to certain laundry soaps. I used to try to sneak in the cheap stuff I bought with coupons and a few days later, he’d be all broken out in hives going “Mom, did you change the laundry soap?” After experiencing some bad mother guilt, I finally gave up trying different brands of laundry soap and just used the Arm & Hammer brand that seemed not to bother him. So I was a little nervous when he used my homemade stuff, but . . . No Hives! It seems to be a gentle soap and has no perfumes or dyes.
Are you convinced? Ready to save some big money? You can get started by trying one of the two recipes below – one for a liquid mixture and another for a dry mixture. I found they both work well and the matter of liquid or dry is simply a matter of preference.
HOMEMADE LIQUID LAUNDRY SOAP
1 Bar of Ivory Soap – Grated
4 cups of Water
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
3 Gallons Warm Water
1. In a saucepan, bring the 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the grated bar soap and stir until the soap is melted.
2. Fill a large pail or container with the 3 gallons of warm water. Add the washing soda and the borax. Stir until mixed.
3. Add the melted soapy mixture from your saucepan to the pail and stir.
4. Transfer to smaller containers, or cover your mixing container or pail with a lid, and let set for 24 hours, giving it a few stirs during that time.
4. Use 1/2 cup to 1 cup per load.
HOMEMADE DRY LAUNDRY SOAP
1 – 5.5 oz bar Fels Naptha soap – grated
2 cups Washing Soda
2 cups Borax
Stir together the grated bar of soap, the washing soda, and the borax and keep in a covered container. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per load.
A FEW MORE IDEAS
If you want even more ideas for homemade laundry soap recipes, here are 10 more recipes at the TipNut website: 10 Homeamde Laundry Soap Detergent Recipes