Saturday, May 15, 2010

Laundry Soap

Do you remember that shelf in my mind that I told you about recently?  The one that I place (seemingly) “impossible” tasks on…and leave them there…for a long time!  Well I don’t know if it’s the spring season, finally growing up, or perhaps even something I ate, but I have been bringing all sorts of  “things” down off that shelf and into my life lately!  It’s actually been quite fun.  A tad scary, a bit nerve-wracking, and the chance of epic mess and failure is always close at hand…but I’m doing it!  And loving it!

The latest conquest? 

Laundry Soap.

I have wanted to make my own laundry soap for quite a while, but it has sat on that  “impossibles” shelf surrounded by nagging questions.  Where would I find a good recipe?  What is even in  a good recipe?  How much would all those supplies cost?  Is it safe to work with the cleaners around children?  I have hard water…will homemade detergent work?  Will it be able to clean gardening and child romping adventure clothes? 

Yes…I’ll admit it…I have a problem with doubting questions!!  But finally it just came down to the fact that I wanted to do it…and that I really started to believe the many sites that I read that discussed the value (economically, environmentally, and effectively) of handmade laundry soaps.  So I just did it!  And loved it! 

Now I don’t really love doing laundry…who does?…but it sure does make me happy to pour a bit of handmade goodness into the machine to get to work.  So very happy! 

May 121

Here’s what I learned.

  • My favorite site for recipes and clear information is  She also features a FAQ questions that helps a lot with specific concerns such as water types, machine types, laundering cloth diapers, laundering heavily soiled items, etc.
  • I was able to find all the cleaners required for the recipe I was interested in at Ace Hardware.  If you don’t have an Ace store in your area check your local hardware store…and of course all items are available online in many locations.
  • I was not able to locate Castile Soap locally…it is available here with free shipping though!
  • 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap will make 2 cups of grated soap flakes. 
  • It is very simple to make…just follow the recipe and mix well. 
  • ~1.5 cents per load….definitely worth it! 

Here’s the recipe I tried.

3 cups Borax

2 cups Baking Soda

2 cups Washing Soda

2 cups Fels-Naptha soap (grated)

Mix ingredients well and store in sealed container. 

Makes 1/2 gallon of detergent.

(I’m so glad I am happy with it…because it made a lot and at 1/8 cup per load it’s going to last a long time!

I am excited to try this recipe too (also from the list on…once I get a hold of the Castile soap.)

1 cup Vinegar (white)
1 cup Baking Soda
1 cup Washing Soda
1/4 cup liquid castile soap

  • Mix well and store in sealed container.
  • I find it easiest to pour the liquid soap into the bowl first, stirred in the washing soda, then baking soda, then added the vinegar in small batches at a time (the recipe foams up at first). The mixture is a thick paste at first that will break down into a heavy powdered detergent, just keep stirring. There may be some hard lumps, try to break them down when stirring (it really helps to make sure the baking soda isn’t clumpy when first adding). I used 1/2 cup per full load with great results.


Happy weekending my friends!