Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap...Update

Almost two months have passed since I first posted about our laundry soap making. Here is the update I said I would post about how it turned out and our experience...

The actual making of the soap was fairly simple and very inexpensive to make. The recipe for the liquid laundry soap is at the bottom of this post with step by step instructions. I have put the cost and purchase location next to the ingredients to provide you an opportunity cost analysis.

With doing as much laundry as we do...at least one large load per day (sometimes 2), our detergent has lasted over 2 months (I have enough to get through the end of October). I figure we spent approximately $2.72 to make 6 gallons of detergent. I used to spend about $20 for a super-sized Gain powder detergent at Sam's lasting about the same amount of time...therefore, we are saving over $17 to make our own detergent.

My overview of this detergent:

  • I believe it is effective and the tea tree serves as an anti-bacterial in the soap.
  • It does not leave a heavy fragrance (faint if any) on our clothes.
  • It is not a sudsy soap...saving water needed to rinse thoroughly.
  • It is gentler than heavy chemical detergents, which will help preserve the wear and tear of our clothing...allowing them to wear longer (unless you have boys that play hard and then the clothes will wear out before they normally would anyway ~ we have our share of hard-playing boys )
  • I still pre-treat stains with diluted Simple Green (found in the automotive section at Wal*Mart for about $5) as I find it to be necessary in our home.
  • I would also recommend removing washed clothing soon after washing is complete, otherwise they may get a sour smell if they sit too long (I'm talking hours here.).
  • It is not too time consuming...about 15 minutes to make with an additional 24 hour waiting period...which makes it an money saving benefit.

Happy washing...Jarnette

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Proverbs 31:27



1 bar of Fels Naptha soap (97 cents at Publix)
Arm and Hammer Washing Soda ($2.29 at Publix)
20 Mule Team Borax ($3.36 at Wal*Mart)
Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap...I use 16 oz Tea Tree scent ($8.39 at Target by the Burt's Bees display)

  1. Grate 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap into a pot with water and melt over medium-low heat...stir often.
  2. Pour 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and 1 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax into a 5 gallon plastic bucket.
  3. Pour 1 gallon of VERY hot water into the bucket.
  4. Stir melted Fels Naptha into the bucket and stir until well mixed. Add VERY hot water until the bucket is filled within a couple inches from the top and stir well again.
  5. Add 1/8 cup of Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap and stir again.
  6. Let sit for 24 hours before using.

The soap will transform as it sits into a watery, gloppy gel. You can at this point (after waiting 24 hours) transfer some of the gel to an empty liquid laundry detergent pump container, filling container with equal parts of the gel soap and additional water. Shake well before each use and pump one cap full per load for standard washers...1/2 cap full for front loading washers. (I didn't have a pump container so I use 1/2 the recommended amount, as it is concentrated in the 6 gallon bucket...hope that makes sense.)


Rosario said...

thanks for the recipe.

Mrs. Burnsed said...

Thanks so much!
We plan to give it a try now!

Emily Rachael said...

We've been looking for an ingredient to make laundry soap!
I think we'll probably try that!
Thank you for the review! :)

Family Balance Sheet said...

How would you rate the homemade detergent? Does it clean just as well as store bought? I have read that clothes discolor over time with homemade, especially whites. Have you found this?

Seasons of Life said...

To answer "Family Balance Sheet's" questions:

I would rate the homemade detergent adequate. Of course, it is not store bought...BUT it is ONLY a fraction of the cost to make. (Before making homemade laundry soap, I used Gain which I was very satisfied with...but the cost was high due to the amount of laundry we do.) I use 1/4 cup of bleach and a Tbsp. of Oxy-clean (generic brand...also a fraction of the cost) with every "whites" load. I did this when I used store bought detergent, too, so I have not increased my laundry cost...just an FYI. This, I believe, still makes the laundry clean and I haven't noticed discoloring in my whites (I've been making homemade laundry soap for over a year). For especially tough dirt (we have boys so there usually isn't a lack of dirty clothes ;-D), I pre-treat by either soaking in a small bucket of hot water, item sprayed with diluted Simple Green and a small dash of Oxy-Clean or I will just spray with Simple Green and throw in the washer. If the stains are caught early (just like with most clothes) they usually come clean. For us, the cost benefit analysis makes using the homemade detergent economically the best choice. Once again, all of the additional items listed above to further treat our clothing (bleach, Oxy-Clean and Simple Green) I was doing before we made homemade detergent, too, therefore I have CUT our laundry costs simply by changing to homemade soap.

The biggest difference from switching to homemade soap in comparison to the store bought is that the homemade version doesn't suds as much or leave a heavy fragrant scent when clothes are finished washing. The children miss seeing the bubbles, but they've adjusted.

Since a I have been using our homemade laundry soap for over a year, I believe enough time has passed to be able to share our experiences with the results. Thank you for your interest and asking questions...

Blessings in Him,

Family Balance Sheet said...

Thanks for the info. I'll have to consider trying homemade.