Homemade Laundry Soap
I’ve been wanting to try making my own homemade laundry soap for a while now. I’m not sure what stopped me. Maybe I thought it was really hard or complicated and I was just too busy? I guess another concern I had was would it really work as well as the commercial stuff?
My family is really hard on clothes. I realize that it seems like everyone says that, but I really mean it. We live in Arizona and the summer heat here is extreme – what I mean is we sweat a lot for several months of the year. My youngest daughter is a professional when it comes to making mud pies. I’m sort of amazing myself when it comes to procuring stains.
When it comes to trying new foods, I frequently tell my kids “you won’t know if you like it if you don’t try it!” I decided it was time to take my own advice and give homemade laundry soap a shot.
Homemade Laundry Soap – The Recipe
I’ve seen a lot of recipes out there – they mostly all contain the same basic ingredients in varying quantities. Some make a liquid and some a powder. I have always used liquid in the past, but thought I’d give powder a shot because it’s that much faster to make. Ultimately I used the quantities and basic outline of the recipe from here.
- 1 box of Borax (4 lb, 12 oz)
- 1 box of Super Washing Soda (3 lb, 7 oz)
- 1 box of Baking Soda (4 lb)
- 1 container Oxygen Bleach (3.1 lb)
- 2 bars soap (14.1 oz each)
There are a lot of much simpler recipes out there, but I thought if I was going to try this, I’d need the super-powered version (i.e. as much odor and stain fighting power as I could get!)
Some comments on the ingredients I chose:
- I used Zote brand soap because it smells nice, is cheap, and has a great reputation for getting tough stains out. Another popular option is Fels Naptha soap.
- I also opted to include an oxygen bleach to help fight stains and odors. I went with Seventh Generation brand because it was a decent price and didn’t contain a lot of extra junk – just the sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate I was looking for.
- 20 Mule Team is what I’ve always used for Borax…in all honesty – I’ve never seen another brand as widely available.
- Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and Super Washing Soda are easy to come by and very inexpensive. Plus, they work great!
Homemade Laundry Soap – The Step by Step (with Pictures)
Putting this together is a super duper piece-of-cake! You’ll need a big bucket to mix it in and a sturdy spoon as well as a grater and a smaller bowl to grate into. And I recommend smaller containers to keep it in once you get done mixing it up – easier to deal with something smaller in the laundry room.
1. Grate your soap
The original recipe I found had an awesome suggestion to cut the bars of soap into chunks and microwave them to dry the soap out therefore making it all nice and crumbly. Sounded a bit easier than hand grating the soap so I gave it a shot. I tried this and apparently did something very wrong! It was more cotton-candy-like and made a huge mess! I found that grating was quick and easy (the Zote soap is very soft so grates easily). So much for shortcuts!
My fail pictures are below:
You should have seen my microwave!!
Anyway…the final product with half grated and half crazy microwave chunkiness.
2. Mix it all together
It definitely works best to layer a little, stir, layer a little more, and stir again. Otherwise you need a strong arm and a strong spoon!
Since we did the layering approach my very cute helper could handle stirring it all on her own.
This soap works fine in both HE (high efficiency) and traditional washing machines. HE machines require low sudsing formulas. Luckily – that’s exactly what this is!
Homemade Laundry Soap – The Cost
My two big reasons for trying this were controlling the ingredients and the cost. So let’s break the cost down and see what it looks like.
- Borax – $5.99
- Super Washing Soda – $2.99
- Oxygen Bleach – $9.99
- Zote – $3.46 for two bars
- Baking Soda – $3.99
Grand Total = $26.42
Depending on where you live – I’m sure you could find these ingredients for even cheaper than I did.
For each load of laundry you need 1-2 Tablespoons (Tbsp). It makes a TON (more than 16 pounds of laundry soap!) I’m guesstimating that this is enough laundry soap for my whole year and we do 10 or more loads a week. Plus, I don’t have to add the oxygen bleach separately because it’s included!
Homemade Laundry Soap – Results (Does It Work?)
Yes! It does. It smells really nice and so far so good on stains. I’m going to continue with it and see how it goes (I’m curious to see if I experience any long-term fading or color funkiness). At this point – I’m definitely going to keep making it.
Have you tried making laundry soap yourself? I want to hear about it! How’d it go?