Thursday, May 24, 2012

DIY Liquid Laundry Soap

For the past two months, I've been using homemade powdered laundry detergent for my warm loads (towels, sheets), but this weekend I decided to take the plunge and made a liquid laundry soap for other loads.  I found and adapted the recipe from The Family Homestead.

Why do this?  It's simple and cost-effective.  Depending on the cost of supplies in your area, you could potentially make a year's supply of laundry soap for about $10.

The Winco in my area carries all the supplies except the bucket.

  • 5 gallon bucket + lid
  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha soap
  • 1.5 c. washing soda (not baking soda)
  • 1.5 c. borax
  • water
  • 5 gallon bucket + lid -- $5
  • Fels-Naptha soap -- $1
  • Washing Soda -- $2.50 for 5 pounds (which is way more than you need)
  • Borax -- $7 for a 5 pound box (also way more than you need)

First, grate the bar of soap as finely as possible.

I used the food processor to grate and then put in the blades to get the soap into a powdery consistency (although this last step is not necessary for the liquid).
Please note: if you use a food processor then make sure you thoroughly rinse it before sticking it in the dishwasher or you'll get lots of suds!

Second, using a large pot, mix the soap, borax, and washing soda with 12 cups of water.  Heat and stir until dissolved.

Third, place 10 cups of warm water in your bucket.  Add the soap mixture and blend together.  Add two gallons plus ten cups additional water.

Your bucket should be nearly full.

Last, label your bucket, attach a 1/2 cup scoop, and you're done!  Use 1/2 cup per load.

The verdict: It smells clean.  In fact, my whole kitchen smelled like Dial bar soap when I was making this (which is not surprising, since Fels-Naptha is a Dial product).  I like that smell because it reminds me of my grandmother.  The soap itself is gel-ish, the laundry smells clean,so I'm satisfied.  Honey is skeptical, so we've agreed not to use this on work clothes until I prove that it doesn't fade colors.

Don't know where to get washing soda in your area?  Apparently you can make your own!

Of course now that I have this year's supply my sister told me about soap nuts.  They sound even easier than this and her friend gives them rave reviews, so perhaps that will be my next step on the path to Hippieville.

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