Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Homemade laundry soap

I changed my "recipe" just a bit and started adding Kirk's Hardwater Castile and Biz to my soap. I have used about 1/4 scoop of Biz for a few years in my laundry to help remove stains so I started adding it directly to my soap, but I cut down on the Borax so there wasn't too much stuff in there.
Now I use:
1 bar Fels Naptha
1 bar Kirks Hardwater Castile
2 cups Arm & Hammer washing soda
1 cup Borax
1 cup Biz

************Original Post*****************
OK, so I don't have 18 kids like the Duggars but that didn't stop me from using an idea I saw on their show: making your own laundry soap. The links I found online made the liquid version look like something from a science fiction movie in the 80's so I opted for the dry powder version instead. It seems weird to use something "homemade" to wash my clothes instead of the standard Tide that I've used for over a decade but all the comparisons I found online seem to point to the homemade detergent cleaning just as well as Tide or other name brand detergents. It is frugal and best of all, phosphate free so I am doing one more part to earn my crunchy halo. I made one batch for our laundry last weekend and so far, so good. I made a larger batch today to donate to a shelter that is in need of laundry detergent and documented so you can learn too; aren't you thrilled?
Recipe I used:
2 cups soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

I used Fels-Naptha soap in our recipe. It is an old laundry soap that has somewhat of an industrial, clean smell to it. I think you'll either love it or hate it; I'm weird and fall into the middle but everyone else in the house really likes it. You can use other soaps (make sure it is soap and not a beauty or deodorant bar) such as Ivory, Kirks Hardwater Castile or Zote. Next time I will most likely use Kirks because it has a very light fragrance and I can add my own essential oils.
Borax can be found at most grocery stores in the laundry aisle although you may have to find a smaller grocery store for the washing soda and Fels-Naptha.
1. Cut up the soap into small pieces or use a grater. I used the grater on the food processor the first time and cut it into chunks this time; I think the grater worked better.
2. Grind soap into a powder using a food processor.
3. Add Borax and washing soda and mix thoroughly; I used the food processor for this too.

That is all! Store in an air tight container. Some sites say to use 1 tablespoon, some say to use 2 tablespoons. If you have figured out the secret to kids keeping their clothing clean you may only need 1 tablespoon. The clean kid fairy hasn't blessed me yet, so I use 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons per load.
This soap does not create suds, don't be alarmed when your water looks as though could not possibly be cleaning dried dirt off your children's clothing. It would be a perfect soap for HE machines.

This particular batch used 2 1/3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap, 1 2/3 cup Borax and 1 2/3 cup washing soda. The total batch was just over 6 1/2 cups of powder. Using 1 TBSP this powder would wash 104 loads and using 2 TBSP it would wash 52 loads. Total cost for this big batch was approximately $3.50.


  1. skittles1
    aren't you the clever one.. that it pretty tricky.. I may have to ask Santa for a food processor!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Just saw your reply in Mckmama's comments. I've never made the powdered version but I do use the Duggar's version for the liquid. Well, until I went crazy buying detergents at the store recently. I might have to try this one soon.

    Did you ever have any issues of it not thoroughly mixing in the water? I know a lot of people complain of that when using powders.