Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap

Our stake recently had an opportunity to purchase supplies to make our own laundry soap.  I finally got around to doing it. I must admit, I am a laundry soap snob, and really like Tide products.  However, I really don't like paying for Tide products.  So, I thought I would give it a try.  I told myself that as long as my clothes are clean, I would be OK.  The thing that I was most excited about was the cost!  It ends up costing about .70 cents per BATCH, and each batch makes 2 gallons.  You only use 1/2 cup of detergent per load.  The final cost is  approximately .01-.02 cents per load.  WOW!  However, if you are unable to order the bulk quantities, it will cost more than that.  Even paying retail for products at the grocery store, the homemade stuff is only a fraction of the cost.  Our supplies (borax and soda) came from www.brenntag.com in Odgen, UT.  A 50 pound bag of borax was $24.17, and a 50 pound bag of washing soda was $11.50.  This also included shipping.  I purchased the Fels Naptha bar at Macey's grocery store for $1.59.

The recipe:
1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of laundry bar soap
1/2 cup washing soda (It MUST be washing soda- baking soda will NOT work!)
1/2 cup borax powder
*You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size*
(I tripled the recipe and did it in a 5 gallon bucket.  Obviously if each batch makes 2 gallons, and I tripled it, that would be 6 gallons.  I omitted 1 gallon of water, making it a little stronger concentration.  Hence, I use a bit less than 1/2 cup per load).  

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.  Now add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  You use 1/2-3/4 cup per load.  You can also add some "blueing" agent for whiter whites, available at most stores on the laundry aisle.  I did not do that.  The verdict?  After trying the soap on colors and whites- I really like it!  The clothes smell nice- a good clean smell.  The fresh Wendy's Frosty stain on my sons shirt is gone.  Everything looks good!

A few things to not about the soap:
  1. The finished soap will not be a solid gel.  It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an "egg noodle soup" look.
  2. The soap is a low sudsing soap.  So if you don't see suds, that is ok.  Suds are not what does the cleaning, it is the ingredients in the soap.
  3. If you want your soap to have some sort of scent you can add 1/2-1 oz of essential oil or fragrance oil to your batch.  
  4. You can pour into empty milk jugs and store that way.
Grated Fels Naptha


Washing Soda (It MUST be washing soda!  Baking soda will NOT work!!)

Fels Naptha Bar

The Fels Naptha and water in pot. 

The finished product before putting in gallon jugs.

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