DIY Laundry Soap

Hello friends! It has been quite a while since my last post. You might see more posts from me here in the near future…but I’m also going to be working on a joint blogging effort with my mom, so stay tuned for more on that!!

I’ve been dying to share this ever since I gave making homemade laundry soap a shot, because it was a HUGE success! I don’t know about you but I was getting so very sick of paying around $10 for a bottle of my favorite Tide laundry soap, and it never lasting as long as I want it to! I needed something that would clean my clothes to my somewhat of a clean freak standards but not kill my wallet. And I found just that. This laundry soap recipe uses only 3 ingredients, and it will clean around 128 loads for less than $2!

A couple disclaimers before I get into the details:

1) This is not an all-natural, chemical free recipe. While this recipe eliminates a lot of the unknowns, it contains a base of Fels Naptha soap, which is not organic or 100% naturally derived. Just want to make that clear, in case you are looking for a purely natural or organic alternative to typical laundry washing solutions. This is not the blog post you are looking for. :)

2) Perhaps the biggest disclaimer is that I did not invent this recipe or methodology! I found this tutorial, and gave it a shot! I am going to post my notes and pictures here, but I want to make it clear that I do not claim ownership for this idea at all. :)

Alright let’s do this!

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The Ingredients:

1 bar of Fels Naptha

1 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax

1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

4 cups of water

*You’ll also need a large saucepan/pot, 2 quart size jars, a mixing bowl, a blender and a grater.

Just a Note:

The original tutorial I used kind of put the fear in me about everything needing to be exact or it will fail. While I completely understand and respect that. I was way more nervous than I needed to be while following these steps. In all honesty, I don’t even think my soap turned out as perfect as hers and it still works perfectly for washing clothes. That being said, I would definitely recommend reading through the steps before you get started. Also, I wouldn’t do this while you are doing 20 other things, because you do want to make sure that your soap dissolves beautifully so that your clothes come out of the dryer lovely and fresh with no residue.

The Method:

1: Gather your ingredients! Make sure that you get Washing Soda rather than Baking Soda. They are soo not the same. In all honesty, I can’t remember at all how much I paid for the borax and washing soda, but my bar of Fels Naptha cost me 97₵ at Walmart. The original tutorial says she paid about $5.30 total for both. The two quart size Mason jars that I used to put the soap in I had on hand.

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2: Once you have your ingredients ready, you’ll want to grate the Fels Naptha soap finely, using either a grater or just kind of shave it with a knife. [I will mention here that I left my bar of Fels Naptha in our little utility room that gets pretty hot from the dryer for a few days, and when I started grating it, it was easily grating into a powder form, which I was not expecting. Perhaps the heat made it into that powdery texture?] It will look smilier to shredded cheese if you have a ‘fresh’ bar.

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3: Go ahead and put your 4 cups of water in a nice size saucepan and turn the heat on high. Make sure it’s big but it doesn’t have to be the world’s largest pot (like I used).

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4: While the water is heating, mix together the 1 cup of washing soda and the 1 cup of borax in a bowl.

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5: Add your grated Fels Naptha to the water. I stirred mine constantly, and I would suggest that. The goal here is to maintain a simmering boil so that the Fels Naptha dissolve nicely in the water. It took about 15 minutes for this to happen for me.  The original tutorial I used mentioned that you do not want the soap mixture to boil over because you’ll have quite a sudsy mess on your hands. I was a bit paranoid about this and had my heat lower than probably needed.

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You’ll definitely want to make sure your mixture doesn’t have too much foam, but if you notice it foaming too much, just turn down the heat a bit. It really shouldn’t take much longer than 15 minutes, but it doesn’t matter as long as you get the soap dissolved fully.

6: Once your soap has been melted entirely, go ahead and take the pot off the heat and stir in your borax/washing soda mixture. Make sure you stir this really well so that there isn’t a grainy texture. (grain = less likely to dissolve in the washer)

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It took almost 10 minutes the borax and washing soda to dissolve in my case, but again I suspect it took more than the 5-7 minute suggestion because as I mentioned my heat was a bit lower than needed. You’ll be able to feel the graininess at the bottom of the pot – just keep stirring until it’s gone!

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7: Now go ahead and pour your liquid mixture equally into two quart size jars, and add water until the jar is about as full as pictured here. The original tutorial says to fill it up to the jar’s shoulders.

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8: Put the lids on the jars and set them on the counter upside down. They are going to need some time to let the layers separate. To be honest I have no idea what the science is behind this part of the process, but let’s just trust whoever invented this recipe. :) They are going to need to rest for about 4 hours or so to let the chemicals separate. I ended up letting mine set overnight because I started doing this at about 9pm and realized I did not want to stay up until 1 or 2am to finish the process. I would just do 4-5 hours but mine turned out fine after sitting overnight.

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[Once your soap has set for a while, you’ll see some layers defined. Mine didn’t separate as much as the original blogger but it wasn’t a problem in terms of the results.]

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9: We are almost done! So after the layers have separated, you are going to need to blend them up to make a creamy texture. You can spoon the mixture into a blender and then put it back in the jar, but personally I would hate doing that because it sounds like a pain. What I did was a little deconstruction to my blender so I could put the blade straight on the jars. There are a lot of blenders that can do this. All you have to do is unscrew the attachment that contains the blade from your blender “pitcher” and screw that part on the blender.

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[It took about 30 seconds or so to blend these up to the right texture. At this point I noticed that my consistency was smooth but a tiny bit grainy. I can tell you that it still dissolves perfectly in warm water. You don’t want a ton of graininess but a little is fine!]

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10: BOOM. Once you have blended it up you are done!

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**To wash with this soap, just add 1 tablespoon (no more, no less) to your washer full of water and clothes and wash away! 

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Some final notes:

I have a regular washer, but it says on the original tutorial that it CAN be used for an HE washer. The soap smells great and will leave your clothes smelling fresh but if you are washing something really gross and stinky and need an extra scent boost, I would add something like Downy UNSTOPABLES™. I am sure you could add any essential oils to this recipe for extra scent if you want but I haven’t needed to. If you have any questions or comments about your experiences, please comment. I will be sure and answer them!

♥ Lacey Jane

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