Homemade Laundry Soap

So today I finally did it!  I made my own laundry soap from this recipe.  Originally I was going to use this one — even to the point of searching high and low for a 5-gallon bucket at several local hardware stores — but today I decided that I really don’t have enough containers for almost 5 gallons of laundry soap (going out and getting more containers would contravene our family agreement to save money).

Here’s a basic recap:

  1. Grate and cook soap (1/3 bar of Fels Naptha, which I only found at my favorite hardware store — yes, I do have a favorite, especially after searching high and low for the bucket) in 6 cups of water until dissolved.  Do not do what I did and try to shortcut the grating with the thought that it will melt up nicely with the heat.  It won’t.  Grating isn’t fun, but it’s better than sticking your hand in trying to catch the undissolved bits.  Of course, a bar of hard soap is not the easiest to grate.  Of course, I managed to nick myself.  I seem to have to shed blood for my new projects.  But after grating and dissolving, it’s all easy.
  2. Add 1/2 cup each of borax and washing soda.  Let dissolve.  Remove from heat.
  3. Hot water in bucket.  Pour soap in bucket.  Add more water.
  4. Let stand overnight.

I’ll let you know what it looks like tomorrow.

The recipes I found have different ratios of soap, borax, and washing soda, which tells me that it’s not an exact science.  I can handle that.

If this works well and we don’t notice any difference in our clothes, this recipe will save us tons of money.   The calculations associated with the recipe I used show that the soap is $.01 per load.  Yes, 1 cent.  Having bought all the ingredients already, there will be no outlay for a while since I still have 2/3 of a bar of soap and tons of borax and washing soda.  I love that feeling.

I can’t imagine ever getting to the point in my back to the land adventures of giving up a washing machine, but I’m ready to give up the pricey soap!


2 responses to this post.

  1. awesome! Are you going to make your own bar soap next? My mom used to do that (her change in roles at her job ate up the free time). She made so many kinds and we all loved it, including oatmeal ones for dry skin, a lemon-y one with gritty stuff in it for after gardening and tea tree for those of us with bad skin. I’ll be sharing your recipe here with her, I think she’d be interested!


  2. Posted by waytogohomesteader on October 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    RL, that’s so neat that your mom made soap, but I don’t think that’s going to be next on my agenda. It’s because making our own soap doesn’t lead to a cost savings for us. Now that wouldn’t be true for every family, but for us it just doesn’t add up. I can buy soap through a local service from someone who does make her own for really cheap. Almost-Three uses a baby soap — maybe we can switch to something more economical for him, but he uses such a small amount that we’ve had a big bottle for ever. And Lionel doesn’t use soap. (He’s very clean — he just doesn’t use soap — and frankly I’m getting closer to that way of thinking.)

    I’m thinking more about making my own shampoo, dishwashing detergent, or cheese. I asked for the cheese-making stuff for my birthday (which is still a couple months away). Those are bigger savers for us. Though it would be cool to give soaps as presents. Hmmm.


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