Keeping it Clean: Making Our Own Laundry Soap

I don't know how I stumbled on it, but a few weeks ago I came across this recipe for DIY laundry soap. Intrigued (especially by the low price), Brian and I decided we had to give it a try.

Surprisingly, it worked! I'm not going to go through all of the instructions since the link above does such a good job, but here's a few photos and notes on our laundry-soap-making-process.

The Budget 101 page says you can make a batch big enough for 128 loads for about $1.76, which was almost true for us. I think the reason our batch came out to about $2.25 was because the Fels Naptha soap was a bit more expensive than it was for the original poster. Still, our breakdown of cost was pretty good!

Even with the higher cost, it's still under two cents per load. We also had no problem finding all of the ingredients in the laundry/cleaning aisles of our local Kroger, but I can't vouch for any other stores.

We did our best to follow the directions: grating the Fels Naptha, mixing the Borax and Washing Sodas, and melting everything down per the instructions. But somehow when we put the soap into the jars, it barely separated the way it was supposed to, even after waiting the four hours that was recommended.

In the photo above, the clear and cloudy parts should be just about even. Fortunately, the recipe mentioned that if it didn't come out right, you could simply dump the contents back into a pan, reheat, and try again.

This time we had much better results. Within 20 minutes, they were completely separated (though we still left them for the full four hours). Because we don't have a traditional blender, we used our stand mixer to "whip" the laundry soap.

And then bottled it in some of my mom's vintage Mason jars.

We just tried it yesterday for the first time, and it seems to be working! Ours didn't quite come out to the smooth, "mayonnaise" like consistency it was supposed to, but it wasn't at all grainy and didn't leave any residue on our test towel. We'll probably try it on a few more less important items before we start using it regularly, but so far so good!

On a side note, I just now saw that there are two recipes for "no cook" versions of this soap at the bottom of the original article - I haven't tried those but may see how they work next! The good thing about this recipe is that the washing soda and Borax come in large boxes, so whenever we work our way through 128 loads of laundry all we'll need to grab again is another bar of Fels Naptha.

Have you ever tried making homemade laundry detergent? How did it come out?

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