Call me pioneer lady. Or call me self reliant. You can even call me cheap. I just really love exploring simpler times when most household items were made at home. I bottle fruit. I sew. I bake from scratch. I dig do it yourself projects. So when my daughter shared with me how to make homemade laundry soap, I was all for doing it myself.
Making homemade laundry soap has made a resurgence the past year or so. I've seen numerous blog posts on it, read articles in the newspaper, and know several people (including a 70-something lady friend and a niece-in-law) besides my daughter who tout the low cost, low hassle, better for you, homemade laundry soap. Once again, peer pressure and my personal intrigue won.
I couldn't wait for my store bought, full of chemicals and dyes, laundry detergent to run out. That wonderful event occurred just last weekend. Off to Walmart I went to buy the necessary ingredients. Funny how Walmart had all the required items sitting together on the same shelf in the detergent aisle. I guess even Walmart knows how big of a trend this homemade soap is turning out to be. Very convenient.
Here is my recipe and the steps to make your own homemade laundry detergent:
DIY Laundry Detergent
4 cups hot tap water 2 cups Washing Soda 1 cup Whisk 1 Fels-Naptha bar of soap 2 cups borax (optional) 1- 5 gallon bucket with lid
(I skipped out on the optional borax. I hear it is kind of harsh. Plus it wasn't on "the shelf" with
all the other ingredients)
1) Grate the bar of soap and put in to a saucepan with the 4 cups of hot water. The soap is
somewhat porous so it is easy to grate. Try to grate it as fine as possible because that speeds
up the dissolving.
2) Stir continually over medium/low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. This took me about 8 minutes.
3) Fill the 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. I did this step in my bathtub. It made it easier
and more manageable to fill the bucket. Add in the melted soap, and washing soda. If you
decided to use borax, you would add it in now as well. Stir well with a paint stick until all of the
powder is dissolved.
(At this point, I totally felt like I was making meth. Not that I know what that making meth is like
or anything. I have read a lot and seen movies on the topic. And my 78 year old mother has
shared with me how to make meth. She once sat on a jury for a court case where the defendant
was accused of making meth in her house. The jury apparently had to be well versed on the
complete procedure in order to be able to honestly decide the case. Seriously).
4) Fill the bucket to the top with more hot water. Stir, cover, and let sit overnight to thicken.
I found this step actually took a couple of days for the soap to reach the normal consistency of
5. The soap is already pretty clean smelling, but if you want a "prettier" smell, you can add 10 to15 drops ofessential oil once the soap has cooled. Recommended scents would be lavender, rosemary or tea tree oil. Instead of adding the essential oil, I put in half a canister of Downey Unstoppables since I am such a huge fan of that product.
6. When it is time to do the laundry, add 1/2 cup of the detergent to a top load machine or 1/4
cup to a front load machine. This yields enough soap to do approximately 320 loads in a top
loader and approximately 640 loads in a front loader. No bottles or tubs of laundry soap in the
store can make those kind of claims.
The total cost for this little project: $14.33 plus tax. About what I pay for the jumbo size at
Costco. Do the math. It is literally pennies per load of wash.
I used my homemade version for the first time yesterday. My clothes cleaned beautifully; there were no stains left on the fabric. They felt soft and they smelled good too.
While it took a little time to prepare, I am now set for a year and three months worth of laundry Impressive.I am sold.