Homemade Laundry Soap – Powder Version

Washing Soap

I’ve been making my own homemade liquid laundry soap since March – and really like it.

So when my friend Kimmer sent me a recipe for a powdered laundry soap a few weeks ago – I was curious.

I noticed right away that this recipe included many more ingredients than my first one.

Which got me thinking –  so what was really necessary to get our clothes clean?

I did some research on line (at Pinterest of course! ) and found that a basic laundry soap includes just three things – Borax, Washing Soda, and a bar soap (the  most common being Fels Naptha or Zote, but some even use a regular bar of Ivory soap or even a store brand).

The most basic recipe for powdered laundry soap is simple:

1 (4lb. 12 oz.) box of Borax
1 (3 lb. 7 oz.) box of Washing Soda
28 ounces of soap grated finely (this is 2 Fels Naptha bars)

Mix them together.

That’s it. Super simple. Use 1 tablespoon for a small load, 2 tablespoons for a large one.

Now – if you want to get fancy – you can also add:

1 (3 lb) Container of OxyClean- This will help with stain removal and will keep your whites whiter (I added it in this batch – and got a handy dandy scoop as an added bonus!)

1 (55 oz) Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener This will help your clothes feel softer and smell wonderful. (I did add it to this batch – my girls love the smell. It’s a nice touch if I have it on hand.)

The verdict – it was super easy to make – once the soap is grated you just have to stir everything together and you’re ready to use it. Our clothes smell clean, look clean, and there are no soap marks or detergent residue that I can see.

(Although I should admit that I have only used it in warm water loads – people claim the soap dissolves even in cold water – but I’m still a little skeptical.)

I still have my homemade liquid laundry soap on hand – same three basic ingredients, it’s just a little more involved to make it and I’m sure I could always add the Oxy-Clean and Purex Crystals to each batch if I want to.

So the big question is – liquid or powder?

Bottom line – I like them both.

It’s simply a matter of personal preference.

They both cleaned my laundry and saved me money.

And that’s what works for me!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

SoapOkay – I’m  jumping on the band wagon.

While I’ve seen recipes for homemade laundry detergent all over cyber space for some time – I never quite got my act together to make some.

Until now.

Yes – this country gal finally found the right ingredients – had them all on hand at the same time – and made a batch of laundry soap.

Believe it or not – it was easy. And uber-cheap.

My friend Kimmer sent me this recipe. She got it from her friend Cindy – who found it at Thy Hand Hath Provided.

Homemade Laundry Soap
This recipe makes 5 gallons of concentrate which equals 10 gallons of ready-to-use laundry detergent. 

1 five gallon bucket (clean and with a tight fitting lid)
a long handled spoon
an empty (used) laundry detergent container (or juice or vinegar container, clean)
hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap Bar
1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda)
1/2 cup borax

Grate the Fels Naptha laundry soap bar we used a cheese grater (Well, actually, it was Buddy who used the cheese grater. This was the most time-consuming part of the entire process making it the perfect job for an 11 year old boy. If you don’t have one – you could borrow mine- but he does eat a lot.)

Add the grated Fels Naptha to a medium sauce pan along with 4 cups of water.  Heat over medium high heat while stirring occasionally until the soap has melted completely. (The funny thing is – the grated soap looks like amazingly like grated cheese – causing some puzzled looks since we heated it up as we were making lunch!)

While it’s melting, fill your five gallon bucket half full with hot tap water. (At this point your house will be smelling very – well – soapy. Pedro commented that our house hasn’t smelled this clean since Matt got the air freshener for graduation!)

Once the bar soap has melted, add it to the bucket along with the washing soda and borax.  Stir it well until everything has dissolved.  Add hot tap water to fill the bucket and stir again.

Cover tightly with the lid and let sit overnight to thicken.  Stir well (it will gel and separate a bit).  You have just made concentrate.

When you’re ready to use it, stir the detergent well, then fill your empty detergent container half full with the concentrate.  Fill the rest of the container with water.

Shake before each use.  Use 1/4 cup per load for a front loading machine and 5/8 cup per load for a top loading machine.

 I must confess that I had trouble mixing the concentrate the next morning. It was pretty globby (is that a word?!) and I finally gave up on using a spoon and used my hands to squish the globs.
Finally I measured out enough to half- fill my empty laundry detergent container into a large container, added that much water and used my immersion blender to mix it up. Perfect!
Also – if you are needing a good bucket and lid – I would highly recommend using a 5 gallon bucket and a Gamma Seal Lid . These plastic lids fit tightly on the top of the bucket but easily screw on and off. I love them!
Happy washing!