homemade laundry soap

I seriously can’t believe that I forgot to post about this earlier, and i realize there are a thousand other posts on the web with pretty much the same recipe for making laundry soap. I didn’t invent it but I sure the heck am glad that I found out about it! After making her own batch first, my sister in law convinced me to try this out during an exchange of emails bemoaning the amount of plastic we use in our homes and trying to find ways to cut down on our use of the stuff. I pointed out that the biggest plastic source in my home has always been laundry soap- usually a bottle a week. If you’ve ever met my kids, you understand the amount of laundry I do each week. So anyways, she suggested I try making my own in a huge batch to cut down on the plastic. Then when I figured out the cost of a batch versus what I spent on detergent each week I was totally sold on the idea. It’s been eight weeks now and we still haven’t finished the first batch- and we average 3 loads of wash per day. The supplies cost $10 (the 5 gallon Home Depot bucket was gifted to me by my kind sister in law, otherwise there would have been an additional one time purchase for that).

So the recipe for homemade laundry soap happiness:
1 cup 20 mule team borax
1 cup Arm and Hammer washing soda
1 bar Fels Naphtha soap
1 five gallon bucket
Hot water

In the bucket stir one cup borax and one cup washing soda.
Grate up 1 bar of soap (I snagged an old metal grater from my parents basement and have designated it for this particular job.
In a saucepan stir grated soap in 2-3 cups hot water until it melts.
Pour the melted soap liquid into the bucket with the powder mix.
Now fill the bucket with about 3 gallons hot water (about 3/4 full) and stir stir stir. Then stir some more.

Put the lid on the bucket and set aside for 24 hours.
When we opened it we found that it had solidified into a gelatinous blob, but that’s just fine. I pour about 16 oz into a large glass jar that has a screw on lid and add hot water to fill it, add the lid, and shake it well. We use about 3/4 cups per load – sometimes more depending on how dirty the stuff is. How well does it work? Well, we are 8 weeks in and still using it. The clothes smell fresh and clean and seem to be free of dirt. I have tried it on a few heavily soiled items and had to then treat them again with stain remover to get them fully clean- but honestly not many detergents will get extreme dark chocolate ice cream out of my girls clothes on the first try anyway.

We are sold on the stuff and I am already happily counting the savings we are racking up, not to mention all the plastic jugs we are no longer buying.

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