::Making simple things beautiful::

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Homemade laundry soap

It is very fulfilling to me to hand make things for my family.  Part of my joy is that it is one way I can show my family how much I love them, but it is also so much less expensive a lot of the time.  It is also nice to know exactly what goes into something, and how it is made.  Laundry soap is no exception, and who would have thought of it!

Here are the ingredients (besides water) that go into a batch of soap.

::Fels Naptha soap bar
::Washing soda
::Essential oil of your choice (optional)

You will also need a bucket, a towel and a hand mixer.

If you currently use liquid detergent, save your empty containers to store your homemade soap in.  Ask your friends to save them for you too, as you may want to double or triple the batch each time you make it so that you have plenty.

::Grate 1/3 of the soap bar

::Combine the grated soap with 6 cups of water and heat in a pot on the stove until the soap is completely dissolved.

::Add 1/2 cup of washing soda

::Add 1/2 cup of borax
::Continue heating until all of the powder is completely dissolved

::Pour 4 cups of hot water into bucket
::Pour heated mixture from pot into bucket and stir

::Add 22 cups of water to bucket
::Add 1/2 oz. essential oil

::Cover bucket with a towel and let sit for 24 hours to gel.
::Uncover, mix with electric mixer, and funnel into containers.
::Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry

Is this soap any less expensive to make?  Funny you should ask, yes it is!
Fels Naptha bar $1.12  Borax $3.27  Washing soda $2.23
After calculating how much of each goes into a batch of soap, the magic number is $.71 per batch of soap!!!  Each batch will wash approximately 64 loads of laundry and voila, $.011 per load!
Note-this calculation does not include the cost of the essential oil.  I added lavender to mine, but I am not sure that I will next time.  The Naptha soap has a strong citrus fragrance, so the soap smells just fine without adding anything to it.  If you use fabric softener, you will definitely not need to add any fragrance.

It works great too.  Every ingredient in the detergent has a specific purpose.  For example, the soap bar is a stain pretreater/remover.  Borax is a laundry whitener and deodorizer.  Washing soda removes dirt and odors.
This detergent removed a blackberry stain from my sisters white shirt!

You may not think you have time to do something like this, but just block out an hour of your evening, invite a sister or friend and have fun doing something new.  My sister and I had a lot of fun doing it, and we have gobs of detergent to show for the time we spent together.  Give it a whirl and let me know how it turned out!


  1. Hi Brittany, I was wondering where you found the Fels-Naptha bar? I really want to try this out! Thanks, Bren

  2. I get mine at Fred Meyer. All three of the ingredients are sold at our Fred Meyer near each other on the laundry soap aisle. You are going to love this soap. It also makes a great stain pre-treater and works better than anything I have ever bought. Good luck : )