Saturday, November 15, 2008

Homemade Laundry Soap

We tried making our own laundry soap about 4 months ago. I am excited to say that it has worked beautifully and saved us some money! I thought I'd pass along the savings and show you just how easy it is. A 5 gallon bucket of liquid laundry soap should make about 100-120 loads and costs about 1.50.

Here are the three easy ingredients:
  • 1 bar of soap - any will do (I use Fels Naptha because I've heard its great on stain removal and with little boys we have a lot of stains!)

  • Washing Soda - the box looks a lot like baking soda, but bigger. It is found in the laundry cleaning section of the store, normally on the top shelf. Not to be confused with baking soda! I had a friend try this recipe and she accidentally used baking soda, it didn't turn out the way she had hoped!

  • Borax - Borax is a "natural mineral: Sodium Borate." It is a white powdery substance that will turn your soap to "goo" as my son calls it. Borax will act as a whitener and deodorizer for your clothes. The brand to look for is 20 Mule Team. It comes in a 76 oz. box. You should be able to locate this in the laundry detergent aisle on the top shelf.

Step 1: Now grate 1 bar of soap and put the grated soap in a pot on the stove with about 4-5 cups of water. Leave until soap has melted and your left with soapy water - usually it takes about 10 minutes on medium heat.

Step 2: Grab a 5 gallon bucket, we use an empty Home Depot or (clean) cat litter bucket, and add 3 gallons of hot water (I used an empty milk jug to measure the first time, then added a marker line to the outside of my bucket to make it super easy to measure the second time around), then add 1 cup of washing soda and 1/2 cup of borax. Stir well!

Step 3: Mix the soapy mixture in the 5 gallon bucket and stir for 2 minutes. Then put on the lid and wait about 24 hours. Slowly the soap will gel together into a lovely "goo" as Drew calls it.

Use 1-2 Cups of laundry soap per large load; I also add oxi-clean to the load if the stains or smells are especially bad - like when we get back from camping and I want to get rid of that smoke smell!

* Side note - mix 50/50 borax and washing soda into a jar and use as dish washer detergent. I used a baby formula container and even used the powder scoop for measuring. If you want a rinse aid - just add vinegar (your dish washer should have a pull out nob that ejects the proper amount when necessary throughout the washing cycles).

* Once the soap had set for 24 hours I poured it in: two Costco liquid laundry dispensers (recycled my previous laundry soap containers). The mixture pours perfectly out of the normal pump spout and there isn't a mess or bucket taking up space in my laundry room.

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