I started making my own laundry soap a few months ago, and now I’m not sure I would ever go back.
I’ve made both a liquid detergent and a powdered detergent with basic ingredients that I was able to find all at Hy-Vee in the laundry aisle. I found the powdered detergent to be a lot faster and easier to prepare and use, but I suppose using liquid vs. powdered is a personal preference. Both rock in terms of getting things clean, even when dealing with my stinky running clothes.
These are the basic ingredients, and what I paid for them at Hy-Vee back in October:
- Fels-Naptha bar soap: $0.93 for 5 1/2 oz
- Borax: $3.79 for 4 lb 12 oz
- Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda: $2.68 for 3 lb 7 oz
Powdered Laundry Soap Recipe
- 1 bar Fels-Naptha
- 2 cups Borax
- 2 cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
- Grate Fels-Naptha.
- Add Borax and Washing Soda. Mix to combine.
- Use 1T for regular loads and 2T for heavy loads.
Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe
- 1/2 Bar of Fels-Naptha Heavy Duty Laundry Soap
- 1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
- 1/2 Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
- Big pot to combine and cook ingredients
- Long spoon
- 5 gallon bucket
- 2 large empty containers, like old Tide bottles
- Large measuring cups
- Cheese grater
- Cup of your favorite coffee
- And about 1/2 hour
Heat 6 Cups of water in large pot on stove.
Grate 1/2 bar of Fels Naptha Soap.
Add grated soap to hot water and stir until melted. (At this point the scent of the Fels-Naptha started to overpower me and I had to open all the windows and doors. Just so you know.)
Stir in 1 Cup of Washing Soda and 1/2 Cup of Borax. Stir to dissolve.
Cook for 10-15 minutes at a hard boil. WATCH FOR FOAMING!
Warning: Do not, I repeat, do not leave boiling pot to check Facebook. ;)
Drink coffee while waiting. (Do not skip this step.) Once time is up, remove pot from heat.
In a 5 gallon bucket, put 1 quart of hot water, and add soap mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
Add 1 gallon, plus 1 1/2 quarts (or 5 1/2 quarts) of cold water to make approximately 2 gallons. Stir until well blended.
Pour mixture into 2 big empty bottles to store.
Use 1/2 to 1 Cup per load of laundry. And SAVE TONS OF MONEY!
Why would you want to make your own laundry soap instead of just buying it from the store?
1. Cost. I calculated out the cost of the liquid version of this recipe, and it came out to $0.04/load at 1 cup/load. Using 1/2 cup would bring it down to $0.02/load. This was even with buying the basic ingredients at Hy-Vee, which tends to not be the cheapest place in town.
For comparison, liquid Tide at Walmart on Rollback sells for $17.97 for 78 medium loads. This comes out to $0.23/load, which is 5.75 times more expensive than the DIY liquid laundry detergent. Even cheapo Sun laundry detergent comes out around $0.05/load.
2. These laundry detergents are made from basic cleaning products, so you can make any quantity you like. And the raw cleaning products have multiple other uses, so you can maximize what you’re able to clean with just a few products.
3. Making your own allows you full control of what ingredients you use. Standard cleaning products tend to be questionable in terms of health and environmental impacts.
That said, the next step in my DIY laundry plans is to research the ingredients of the cleaning products used in these recipes. I haven’t done so so far, so I can’t vouch for their safety, although it’s hard to imagine that they would be any worse than the ingredients in purchased laundry detergent. I have seen some rumblings from folks who don’t like the ingredients of Fels-Naphtha and have suggested a few alternatives. Researching a more natural (and maybe even greywater-friendly) version of this recipe will be my plan of attack for the next go-round.