Saturday, January 14, 2012

Liquid Laundry Soap

This morning I decided to finally make up a batch of liquid laundry soap. I've been wanting to do this for a while but, not wanting to spend money on something new to store it in ( frugal and recycle!), I waited until I had emptied out a few vinegar jugs as well as a large kitty litter container. Even if I don't use all of these, they do come in handy for other things, so I'll store the the unused containers on the shelf in my laundry room for future use.
There are all kinds of recipes for this on the internet, but the one I chose was here at Rhonda's wonderful Down-To-Earth blog. She also has pictures along with her recipe that you might want to look at, too.

1/2 cup Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1/2 cup Twenty Mule Team Borax
1 cup grated Fels Naptha or Zote laundry soap

Note: One thing before I go any further concerning the grated soap. It seemed like it took FOREVER to completely dissolve, so I decided that next time I will put the grated soap in my food processor to chop it into finer pieces to cut down on time!

In a saucepan, pour in 1 quart of water and add the Washing Soda, Borax, and grated soap. Heat this and stir until everything is completely dissolved. Just make sure you don't do this on a heat high enough to boil or you will have a big mess to clean up!
Next, pour 8 quarts of cold water into a clean bucket (I used a 5-gallon bucket we bought at Home Depot ages ago).
Once the hot soap mixture is done, pour it into the bucket and stir. You'll notice that it will start to gel fairly quick and that's ok. When you fill your containers, leave a good 2 to 3 inch space at the top so you can shake the liquid before each use because as it sits, the soap will separate but that's normal.

   You can see that the larger jug held most of the liquid!

I don't have the exact cost of this, but my husband and I did a rough estimate. For a little over 2 gallons of laundry liquid we figured it cost somewhere around $1.75 to $2.00. Compare that to an equal amount of the big name brand liquids and the savings is tremendous, not to mention that you're only using a 1/4 cup per load (maybe a 1/2 cup for larger, heavily soiled loads).
For me, the cost savings also goes further because I no longer use liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets. Apart from being expensive, they have a lot of chemicals, dyes, and fragrances that can irritate your skin and really, just aren't necessary! I use a cup of plain white vinegar in the rinse cycle. Vinegar not only kills germs, it also cuts any remaining soap from your clothing AND is a natural fabric softener. Even taking clothes out of the washer, I can barely get a hint of vinegar and once the clothes are dry, there is no odor at all (just in case you were worried about that).
If you happen to notice that your whites are graying slightly after a while, Rhonda suggests adding a scoop of Oxy Clean, or something similar, to the wash load every so often to remedy the problem.
Please let me know how this works for you, especially if you've never made something like this before. I've done a few loads of clothes while writing this, and everything looks wonderfully clean and smells great!

Happy washing!   :)


  1. Hi Denise;
    I'm planning to make some myself once I've used up all the store bought detergent I have on hand. I use Clorox 2 in every load as I have a front loading machine and it gets to smelling if I don't use a sodium percarbonate product like Clorox 2 POWDER (not the liquid) or Oxiclean or Biz. We used to buy Target's brand but they no longer carry it; which really upset us as it cost us half of what the name brands.

  2. Hi Becky,
    I used to use whatever cheap laundry soap I could find at the store, usually the big jug of Purex, which worked well enough but now that I'm making my own I'm saving even more.
    My washer gets a 'sour' smell to it once in a while. Mostly in warmer weather, but since I started using vinegar in the rinse I really don't get that any more. Is that the same smell you were talking about?
    I was going to add some Oxy Clean to the liquid laundry soap, but on the container it says once you mix it with water you have to use it within 6 hours. Must become inert or something after that so I don't see any point in wasting it. Walmart has their brand of Oxy Clean and it's cheaper, but I haven't tried it yet.
    Keep in touch and let me know how this liquid works for you. It doesn't produce any suds at all, so this should do just fine in your machine.

  3. Perfect timing!!! I was just out of laundry soap and ready to make another batch. My hubby still isn't sure if this is just an on again off again hobby or if I've gone off the deep end. = ) A few dollars here and the adds up to big savings.

    1. I think most people think we've gone off the deep end (or even old-fashioned) with some of the stuff we're doing, but I know my husband supports whatever I want to do and in the end, he's all for saving money!
      He's a pretty awesome fella! :)