Last year when my sisters were here visiting I told them about the homemade laundry detergent recipe that I'd run across on another blog, so we decided to whip up a batch. It was simple. It was so easy that my kids can do it, and Natalia usually helps me throw a batch together.
Everything that you need should be available at your local Wal-Mart or grocery store. Our Win-Co grocery store carries them all, but I haven't checked any other stores.
Grate the whole Fels-Naptha bar and put into a medium to large sized pot.
Add 4 cups of hot tap water.
It will look like you're trying to boil some shredded cheddar, but the scent is way different. The Fels-Naptha soap has a strong, clean scent to it.
Heat on a medium-low until the soap is dissolved into the water. It will take about 15 minutes or so. Stir a couple of times. When it is mostly melted (there will be some teeny pieces that don't seem to melt) pour into a five gallon bucket.
Add 1/2 cup Borax. You can add up to a cup of Borax if needed, maybe if you have especially grungy clothes that you wash.
Then add a cup of Washing Soda.
Stir well and fill the bucket up with hot tap water. Stir again, then cover with lid and let sit overnight to thicken.
The liquid will turn into more of a thick gel.
Just stir it up again, and it will be a watery, clumpy gel. Now you have 5 gallons of concentrated laundry detergent.
Then fill an old laundry soap container HALF full with the detergent and fill the rest up with water. Give it a good shake, and shake before each use. I use a half a capful for each load, a little more for an extra-large or extra-grungy load.
This batch will last me 3 months doing laundry for 6 people and a dog. To make it even easier to make another load I printed off the instructions, put it in a cut-off clear sleeve and used packing tape to tape it to my bucket. No searching for the recipe needed.
And here is how I store a year's worth of laundry detergent. On half a shelf, too!
A couple of notes on how I do laundry:
- There are recipes for powdered laundry soap, too, but I've almost always used liquid. When we had some plumbing work done on a house we lived in there was powdered detergent clumped up in the pipes. Ever since then I've used liquid detergent.
- I wash everything on cold
- I use a pre-treater when something has a stain. You can also use a Fels Naptha bar for pre-treating.
- I pour the detergent in with the water, before adding the clothes, and don't pour directly on the clothes. My mom tried this soap and had problems with spots on her laundry. She didn't know if it was caused by her hard water or what, but I would recommend making a 1/2 recipe and splitting with a friend to try it out if you're not sure about it.
A rough cost estimate of the laundry products:
- Fels-Naptha Heavy Duty Laundry Bar Soap - $1.00 (x4 for a year's supply for our family $4.00)
- 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster - $3.38
- Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda - $3.24
Grand total for 1 year: $10.62, plus the cost of water, which is pennies for us.
Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap
4 Cups hot tap water
1￼ Fels Naptha or Zote soap bar
1 Cup Super Washing Soda￼ (NOT baking soda)
½ Cup Borax￼ powder
5 gallon bucket
Empty Laundry Soap Dispenser (save your last one)
Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water.
Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water.
Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax.
Stir well until all powder is dissolved.
Fill bucket to top with more hot water.
Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
- Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
- Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
- Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)