Monday, April 16, 2012

DIY Laundry Soap or...Gasp! Am I Turning Green?

I have been reading blogs and following websites that explain in plain words how to make your own this and natural that.  Well, I never intended to do any of that...I'm basically lazy in my old age.  Little did I know that just reading that kind of stuff could literally change my reading cells to action cells.  Phffft...I actually made my own laundry soap
Thanks in large part to DIY Natural and Frugally Green blog, I am going green in my laundry room.  I started by shopping for the ingredients.  There are loads (giggle) of recipes online and most are pretty much the same.  I used the one from Frugally Green blog.  Both sites are very helpful and I highly recommend them both!
DIY Laundry Soap
  • You'll need a bucket ~ I found a 3 gallon bucket at Walmart that worked great.
  • 1/2 Cup Borax
  • 1/2 Cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (this is not the same as Baking Soda!)
  • 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha Soap (or Ivory if you prefer)
These ingredients can be found in the laundry aisle at Walmart, some can be found at, and I am sure other major grocery stores carry some or all.  Hint: The Fels Naptha soap was waaay cheaper at Walmart than Amazon.
Grating Fels Naptha soap
      First:   Cut the bar of Fels Naptha soap in thirds and grate it fine.  (Ivory soap   will shred itself in the microwave according to what I read.) 
    Save the Soap
    Next:  Save the unused portion of the soap bar for another batch or two.
    Melting the soap on low heat
    Third:  Heat the grated soap on low heat with six cups of water until the soap melts.  Don't let it boil.  When it is melted, add the Borax and the Washing Soda.  Stir until it is dissolved.  Keep stirring until it gets sort of thick.   Some directions give the impression that it must be thick, but after some research, it seems that as long as it is all dissolved, it will be fine.  It will thicken overnight, so don't stress over it not getting thick.  Mine was thicker than water, but not real thick.
    Pour melted soap & water mixture into bucket
    Four:  Put four cups of hot water from the tap into your bucket, then pour in the soap mixture and stir.  If you want to add fragrance, now is the time to put a few drops of your favorite essential oil into the mix.  Now, add one gallon plus six cups of hot water from the tap to your bucket and stir another few minutes.  Let sit overnight.
    Ta-DA...finished product!
    Five:  Next morning rush into the kitchen (or wherever you left the bucket overnight) and GASP(!)  you have laundry soap!  It may look runny or, as mine did, like pudding on top and watery on the bottom.  Just stir or use a paint mixer, hand mixer, immersion blender and whip it up to get the lumps out.  If you are like me and you don't have any of those handy, just shake it and stir it. 
    Six:  Use a funnel or measuring cup and pour into your final container.  I found a 2.5 gallon beverage dispenser that has a spigot, which works great for me.  You could also use an empty commercial laundry soap bottle, or any other suitable container.  Milk cartons are not a heavy plastic and will eventually break down, so I don't recommend those for long term use.
    Lastly:  Add stick on hooks to hold your measuring utensils if you like, and Voila!  You are the proud owner of DIY laundry soap!
    P.S.  I washed two loads with the new soap, and each smelled nice and clean and I could be mistaken, but I believe my whites were actually whiter.  I like it, and I will continue to use it and save money!  By the way, according to one blogger who figured it out, commercial laundry detergent can cost 27 to 28 cents per load, whereas this mixture comes out to around 1 (yes, one) cent per load.  Can't beat that in this economy!  I'm sold!

Huge Green Hugs,


  1. Great post Pat. I will have to ask the doc if I can use this. The savings is tremendous.
    BTW, I tried to come here by the button on your sidebar. It doesn't work.
    It takes you to thriftyfrogblog/
    I was getting an error message.
    Hugs, Ginger

  2. Ginger - Thanks, I fixed the problem. I appreciate your help! Thanks, too, for the follow! I see some blog hopping in my future! Ha!
    Huge green hugs,
    Pat @ Thrifty Frog Blog

  3. love the stick on hook idea. the batch we make is larger as it uses the whole bar of soap (recipe found on the Duggars website). My husband plans to take a plastic food (frosting) bucket (from bakery for free) & add a spigot to it...then we'll have a large dispenser for our soap.

    1. WiJoy Mom - Thanks for stopping by! The bucket idea is a good one. I'm glad you added it here! And, free is even better! Woo-Hoo!
      Huge green hugs,

  4. The soap is marvelous. It seems wierd that it does not suds up, but my clothes come out clean and a nice unallergic smell. no suds makes me curious, but then I am not good at new tricks. I think it needs some lemon juice or something for a soft smell

    1. Louise - Thanks for your input. The low sudsing makes this a good choice for those with front-loading machines.
      Hugs green hugs,


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