Yesterday Rosanna wrote about doing laundry. Today she shares her homemade detergent formulation. Detergent bills can really add up, but we have a recipe for homemade laundry soap that has gotten the stamp of approval for its cleaning power from hundreds of sisters in our church.
Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap
1 bar (5.5 oz.) Fels Naptha soap bars
1 ½ cup Borax
1 ½ cup washing soda (Arm & Hammer)
Clean, 5 gallon bucket
Grate/shred the Fels Naptha soap into a large pot. Add 3 quarts of water to pot and dissolve soap over medium heat. Meanwhile, mark the 4 gallon level on the side of the bucket. In a bowl, dissolve the Borax in 2 quarts of cold water. In a separate bowl, dissolve the soda in 2 quarts of cold water. Mix the soap, soda and Borax all together in the bucket and fill immediately with cold water to the 4 gallon line. Let the mixture set for 24 hours, giving it an occasional stir. This will congeal slightly. Use ½ cup per load, or ¼ cup for front load washers.
These ingredients can be mostly found in the local grocery store. If you have trouble tracking down the Fels Naptha soap bars, Lehman’s sells it through their catalog and website. 877-438-5346 is their catalog phone ordering line or Lehmans.com. For that matter, Lehman’s will conveniently sell you a whole DIY laundry soap kit for upwards of fifty bucks. They calculate that it costs less than seven cents per load to use homemade laundry soap. Considering the price of laundry soap and the fact that there’s always laundry to do, this homemade stuff suddenly sounds attractive. Plus, it doesn’t take much more time to mix up a batch of homemade soap than it does to try to locate your favorite detergent after the stock boy has re-arranged the detergent aisle. I am personally not sure just why this has to be the Fels Naptha brand of soap, other than the fact that it is simply a really good soap for clothes and stains. Perhaps the regular bar soaps are too geared toward cleaning skin instead of fabric. It would be fun to experiment with, perhaps, but I have never heard of using anything but the Fels Naptha. That’s possibly a good sign that this is simply the best choice in soap for laundry.
Another washing secret not many folks know is the easy substitute for fabric softener. Most fabric softeners are petroleum based and leave an inky residue that can build up and eventually leak back onto your clothing. A great replacement for fabric softeners is vinegar. Just one tablespoon of either apple cider or distilled vinegar will have the same fluffy effect on clothing while also keeping the washer cleaner.
Now, I’m sounding like an old married lady, going on and on about washing day. But it is an huge part of our everyday life, and everybody has it. So there, folks can’t say I don’t talk about personal things, because I just wrote an awful lot about my family’s dirty laundry!
I was wondering about the cost difference in the homemade detergent vs store bought detergent. I guess I could look at my laundry detergent container and do a bit of math, but honestly, I'll probably not ever make the homemade detergent, even though it sounds intriguing. Very interesting about the vinegar instead of fabric softener. Now that's one hint I may have to try!
Yea, it would be interesting to figure out the exact cost analysis....Rachel may actually try to make the homemade stuff, so we'll let you know if our bill goes down, Marie:)
I would love to try this home made clothes detergent but not sure how my ultra sensitive skin would react.
I will try the vinegar idea though. Thanks, Rosanna!
I had read recently that fabric softener leaves a residue in the dryer. I will try the vinegar now. Thanks for the tip.
I have been making my own soap for almost 2 years-so easy! Altho I do the dry mix-to me it is easier than having to cook it up! I use 1 bar grated Fels Naptha, 1 cup Borox, 1 cup washing soda, and 1/4 cup Oxy Clean. All ingredients I purchase at our local Walmart! Grate the Fels Naptha-I use my old food processor. Then add the other ingredients and mix well-I just dump it in the food proc. with the bottom blade which mixes it well. Use 1-2 TB per load-works great in my front loader machine. My daughter figured out measurements to use up the the boxes for large batches-12 bars Fels Naptha, 1 box Borax, 2 boxes washing soda and 3 cups Oxy clean. This large batch will last 9-12 months for me! Huge savings!!
Thanks for sharing this, Joyce!
ive heard that home made laundry detergent makes your whites very gray after awhile. Does anybody know if that is true