Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chemical-Free Homemade Laundry Soap

My friend and fellow deckhand, Janelle, turned me on to some of her homemade laundry detergent. I did my laundry with the 2 gallons she gave me. It not only cleaned my clothes as well as store-bought; but, it smelled way better, too!

It is really really simple to make! Check out the recipes below.

Being a poor white old lady, I've decided to save money and ensure my soaps no longer contain all the chemicals corporate soap companies love.

Besides being free of all those chemicals, you can make 3x more for 1/2 the price of the cheapest laundry detergent on the shelves. A 5-gal bucket of soap is a LOT of soap! Oh, and I use less per load than the store-bought crap.

I have found some laundry soap recipes all over the net. These have been tested by other homesteaders; however, not by me. So, the jury is out on which is simplest, cheapest, and best-cleaning. I'll be making the first one this week so I'll post how easy/hard my new adventure was.
Be creative with your ingredients
By the way...
  • You'll need bars of soap (you can make your own, of course) I'll be testing out these every time I make a recipe: Fels-Naptha, Ivory, Pure & Natural, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile, and Zote. Don’t use heavily perfumed soaps (really, why would you?)
  • Washing Soda and Borax can normally be found in the laundry and cleaning aisles.
  • Some people with really hard city water or well water may have to adjust the ingredients if your clothes look dingy.
  • Although several of the recipes have the same ingredients, the measurements are different–some contain a higher soap to water ratio. Test and see which works best for you.
  • Soap will be lumpy, goopy and gel-like. This is normal. Just give it a good shake or stir before using. To remove unwanted lumps and bumps - add tons of chemicals :D
  • If you can’t find any of these basic and common ingredients like Fels-Naptha locally, buy it online.
  • You can add between 10- to 20- drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade detergent. Don't add until the soap has cooled to room temperature. Stir well.
    Essential oil ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil
  • You can make huge pails of this at once, or smaller quantities. Also if you can get your hands on a few empty liquid laundry detergent bottles they work great for storing the detergent. Just make a big batch and pour in bottles, cap then use as needed–shake before use. My friend Janelle uses (empty and cleaned) gallon milk containers.
  • Some of the recipes call for large amounts of water. Check with a local restaurant to see if they have any empty large buckets they get ingredients in. We use them daily to wash our boats...they’re big, heavy plastic and very sturdy when stirring the soap and hot water. And, of course, reusable!
  • If you have questions, here are a few FAQ links:
Tipnut     Family Homestead     DIY Naturally     

Wash 'n Wondrous
1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
(Washing soda is also known as Soda Ash. If you don't see it at Wal-Mart, Freddies, or your grocery store, it can be found at art supply stores like JoAnne Fabrics or Michael's)
  • Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted. 
  • Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved. 
  • Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed. 
  • Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).  

Sudsy Su 
1 quart hot water
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup Borax
1/3 bar soap (grated) 

  • In a large pot, heat 3 pints of water. Add the grated bar soap and stir until melted. Then add the washing soda and borax. Stir until powder is dissolved, then remove from heat
  • In a 2 gallon clean pail, pour 1 quart of hot water and add the heated soap mixture. Top pail with cold water and stir well.
  • Use 1/2 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).  

Powered Pretty
12 cups Borax
8 cups Baking Soda
8 cups Washing Soda
8 cups Bar soap (grated)
  • Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub.
  • Use 1/8 cup of powder per full load.

1 comment:

  1. I just read somewhere you can probably buy all the ingredients at the DOLLAR STORE! Same product for $1 instead of $10!

    That works for me!