I’ve read countless recipes for laundry soap online, and I have made several batches. This recipe is the one I’ve found to work the best.
The biggest difference between most recipes and this one is that I make the soap in concentrated form and reconstitute it for use. Many of the other recipes tend to be clumpy. This one makes a very smooth detergent like the commercially produced kind.
2 bars Fels Naptha, $1.39/bar
4 c. Super Washing Soda, $2.99/box
4 c. Borax, $3.99/box
Dawn dish soap, $1/10 oz
Assuming 1/2 the box price of the washing soda and Borax, the total cost for this recipe is $7.28.
This recipe produces 4.5 gallons of soap concentrate or 9 gallons of reconstituted detergent. Each load requires 1/2 c. of detergent (64 loads per gallon.) 9 gallons x 64 loads = 576 loads of laundry.
$7.28 divided by 288 loads = ~ 2.5 cents per load
Compare to the bulk (by the case on Amazon) price of:
Tide, ~ .29/load
All, ~ .19/load
1. Grate bar soap.
I use a mini food processor to grate the soap to get consistent small bits for melting. You can also use a manual cheese grater or just cut or slice bar soap into small bits.
2. Melt soap in pot
I add about 16 cups water into pot with soap bits.
Use low-medium heat. You aren’t looking to boil this or to bring to a particular temperature, just to melt the soap bits into the water.
Stir until all soap bits have melted.
3. Add Washing soda and Borax.
Unless you are using an aluminum pot, you can mix the powders into the melted soap mixture right in the pot. Aluminum reacts to Borax so if you aren’t sure what the makeup of your pot is, safer to just mix into your 5 gallon bucket.
Stir until all powder is dissolved.
4. Pour soup mixture into bucket, add Dawn dish soap, stir well.
5. Top off bucket with water. Cover.
Before topping off, take note of bucket location. Make sure it is placed in a spot where it won’t be in the way for the next 24 hours or so. Also, be sure to keep away from small children and pets.
After adding the dish soap, there will be suds on the top of the detergent. Once water is added and stirred well, leave to gel for 24 hours.
What the soap looks like 4 hours after setting, with suds layer scraped back.
The finished soap concentrate is the consistency of Jello.
So thick, the spoon stands up on it’s own.
A scoop of detergent Jello slime on a plate.
6. Fill empty laundry detergent bottle 50/50 with soap Jello and water.
Store laundry detergent concentrate with lid or plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
A Few Notes:
- This detergent, despite the suds during the stirring and shaking process is a low/no suds soap. This is one thing that takes some getting used to after using commercially produced detergent.
- Fels Naptha has a pleasant, strong scent but clothes come out washer with no smell. I’ve tried varying the bar soap, I’ve used strongly scented bath bar soap, and nothing, nada, no smell.
- If you prefer a scent for your clean clothes, use any fabric softener or dryer sheet as usual. Here is my recipe for home made dryer sheets.
- I’ve found the Fels Naptha in most grocery stores next to the bar soap in the grocery section – not the HBA section. The washing soda and Borax were found near the bleach or other laundry additives. This will vary from store to store, but I almost always find everything right in stock at Meijer. Unfortunately, most of this doesn’t go on sale. The Dawn dish soap does, of course, but everything else I find I have to pay full price.