Friday, January 23, 2009

Making laundry soap

Ok, so you can imagine how much laundry we do... since our 10 year old Liberian son's birthday, I now only wash clothes for 6 people. We've since made it a 'rule' that once turning 10 years old, one is responsible for the washing, drying, folding and putting away of one's own clothes. Although our 8 year old daughter does plenty of laundry and is a huge help to me (for folding especially). Who knew that washing would be as big a job as cooking? I laugh, really, because I just might be one of those people that actually wears out a washing machine! **If I ever do, I would love to have enough $$ to purchase one of those fancy, front loading industrial sized washer/dryers!! :) Praise the Lord we're not washing everything by hand...

Anyway, for years now I've read several times about making your own laundry soap. I never gave much thought to it and really I thought it was kind of weird. Why on earth would you make your own soap? I do try to do a lot of things from scratch but laundry soap never ranked real high on my list. Afterall, it is soap isn't it?? How much more soapy can you get with soap??

I've been buying natural, super concentrated cleaning products for years and have enjoyed their results when cleaning everything from my floor to my tub to my laundry. When making yet another 'cost cutting' list- trying to save MORE money- I finally made myself seriously think about "how did grandma used to clean?" So, I started with an empty spray bottle and some vinegar. I made a diluted vinegar solution and started using that for counter tops, window cleaning and cleaning finger prints off walls and doors. It worked good, smelled clean and was CHEAP! Ok...I was on to something...

Then Angel Baby came along and I noticed that her skin always had little bumps. At first I thought it was just the whole 'transitional hormone changing' thing that happens with newborns after leaving the womb. I started using only Burt's Bees products (I LOVE them!) on her to see if that would make a difference. The bumps got better but never went away. I wondered if her skin was that sensitive?? I went to a weekend conference and on one of the give-away tables was a recipe for homemade laundry soap. I snatched one up!! Ok world, I'm going to give it a try! **Along with cloth diapers to help the cause....

So, after returning home from up north (and gathering supplies) we gave it a try. I've been using the laundry soap for almost a week now and I LOVE IT! I don't think I've ever seen Hubby's work clothes so clean (I thought they were clean before!). You can only imagine how filthy a logger can get! So, here you go world...homemade laundry soap! I hope you try it. It's so easy, fast and amazingly CHEAP. Not to mention a lot healthier for sensitive skin!


Washing Soda
Bar of Soap (Ivory, goat's milk or Phels Naptha...No tallow based soap)
Essential Oil (we used lemon or you could try lavender)
5 gallon bucket with lid

~In a large stockpot, grate a bar of soap. Add 6 cups of water. Heat on med-high until soap is totally dissolved. Keep stirring.
~While you are waiting, add 2 gallons plus 4 cups of cold water to your bucket. Sprinkle essential oil on top of the water. Have a paint stirring stick or a long handled wooden spoon ready.
~Once soap is dissolved, add one cup of borax and one cup of washing soda (dry measure). Stir quickly to dissolve.
~When it looks like foamy milk and all ingredients are dissolved, carefully pour this into your bucket and stir all together.
~THAT'S IT!! You may have to add a little more water if you want it more runny, or add less to thicken it up, do this one cup at a time.

I stir this before using if it's really thick and keep a one cup plastic measuring cup on top of the lid. I use one cup per load and sometimes add vinegar to the wash (or rinse) cycle. Total cost for all soap ingredients is less than $13 and it will make gallons and gallons of wonderful cleansing soap. I do not add fabric softener. You could use an allergy free dryer sheet if desired.


Shelley @ SIMPLE Reviews said...

my friend Andrea makes homemade detergent, but I can't remember how... I will have to send her your way and see if you guys have the same "recipe!"

Maury said...

We have actually just been talking about this. When we were a family of 8, I know I was spending over $20 a month on laundry detergent. I had to buy Tide to get daycare stains out. Anyway, I am back to using Gain, but still go through it quickly.

I couldn't find the washing soda at our Walmart, and haven't had a chance to go looking somewhere else. I am glad you mentioned how clean it is getting your clothes, b/c Clay and I had wondered how clean it would get them.

Thanks for posting about this, to encourage me to go ahead and do this!

Shelley @ SIMPLE Reviews said...

Becky, check this out, here's Andrea's

RavenLark Arts said...

Hey - I read in another blog that you can put vinegar in a downey ball and it works great as a fabric softener.I'll see if I can find the link.

Leslie said...

i followed some links here from a familiar path blog and had a quick question..i made laundry soap with my daughter this morning with your recipe. I used a dr bronners hemp based soap. When we got it all done it was not very think and had bubbles on top. Does that sound right?

Hannah Belle said...

Becky -- I linked over to this from, and I was just wondering -- where do you get the essential oils to make it scented? Just curious! Thanks!