Sunday, October 9, 2011

How To Make Your Own Laundry Soap (A Tutorial!)

Ok, I'll start this off by saying that this post has NOTHING to do with weight loss, or being fat, or eating, or any of that regular stuff I write about.  This post has to do with making your own laundry soap.  I've been doing this for a while now and I've got the process down pretty good.  When I post on Facebook that I'm doing it, I get a lot of requests for the recipe I use.  Honestly, I just Googled a recipe and tried it, then tried another after that one until I found one I like.

I have a family of four plus an in-home daycare with four extra full-time children.  That's a lot of laundry each week, and I usually make a double batch of what I'm about to teach you how to make - and it typically lasts us about 6 months.

Here's how you do it:

Tools You'll Need:

  • 3.5 gallon bucket or larger
  • medium saucepan
  • grater
  • wooden spoon
  • bowl or cup for dipping
  • dry 1-cup measure
  • funnel
  • wet ingredient measure
  • clean and empty detergent containers

(Note - all my tools are used only for soap making.  I find the idea of using the saucepan I melt soap in to make pasta a little disgusting)

Ingredients You'll Need:

  • one bar of soap (I use Ivory)
  • 2 cups powdered Borax
  • 2 cups washing soda (NOT baking soda)
  • water

You can find the Borax and washing soda in the laundry section of just about any supermarket (including WalMart)

What To Do:

Pour 1 quart of water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.  While this happening, get out some of your aggressions on the bar of soap and use the grater on it!  Although it'll look like grated cheese when you're done with it, I swear it tastes NOTHING like grated cheese.  Don't eat it!

When the water has come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the grated soap.  Continually stir until the soap is melted.  It's going to take a little bit, so be patient.  While melting, you'll have to squish the clumps of soap up against the sides of the saucepan with your wooden spoon.  Even though it doesn't seem like it will all melt, EVER, it will.  I promise.  When it's melted, it'll look a bit like this:

Now, dump this melted soap mixture into your clean bucket.  To that, add the 2 cups of Borax.  Continually stir until the Borax is dissolved  Don't get freaked out, the stuff is going to gel up - that just means the Borax is doing it's job!  Once it's all dissolved, it'll look like this:

I know, I know.  It sort of looks like grits.  Again, don't eat this stuff.  Totally does NOT taste like grits.

Next, add the 2 cups of washing soda and stir until dissolved.  This time, your mixture will get all milky-looking and although it's still a bit gel-y (new made up word!), there will be a litlte grittiness to it when you're done.  That's ok! Keep stirring a little while longer.  The mixture will be thick.  When done, it will look like so -

Next, you need to add 2 gallons of water to this stuff.  Continually stir as you add, so everything's incorporated as it should be.  This is an easy step, so no detail is necessary!  When it's completely mixed, you'll get a big bucket of laundry soap looking like this:

It's time to transfer your concoction to your containers!  Do this carefully as the stuff will still be warm.  For goodness sake, DON'T SPILL IT!  Set up your filling station like this -
This is where the bowl comes in.  I use it as a dipper.  Go slowly.  Wipe down each bottle after filling. Give the mixture a stir after each filling to prevent settling.

Then guess what?  You're done.  Clean all your materials, and then store them.  I store everything in the bucket.

I use 1/2 - 1 cup of this soap per load of laundry, depending on the size & nastiness of the load.  Be sure to shake the container of soap well before each use.  It will separate and gel, but a really good shake before use will combine everything again.  I make a double batch of this for about $5 and as I said, it lasts me 6 months.  So essentially I spend $10 a year on laundry soap, and I know exactly what's going into my soap.

I should add that this detergent won't suds up much (if at all), but don't worry - your clothes are getting clean!

If you give this a try, please let me know how you like it!


  1. I've been wanting to try making my own laundry detergent for awhile. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I'll have to pick up a grater the next time I go to Goodwill and give this a try.

  2. I think I will have to give this a go! Does it have a lot of suds in the washer, I have a front loader and a lot of suds is not good?

  3. I forgot to mention about the sudsing! It does not suds up much at all (if any)! I don't have a front loader myself, so I forgot to mention that!

  4. I promise not to eat the grated cheese or the grits but darn if they don't make me hungry.


  5. Thanks for posting such good directions. I too make my own laundry soap and have a few hints for those that haven't made their own yet. When making a batch I use a portable burner(Walmart) on the bathroom floor and my buckets, containers etc all go in the bathtub and the mess stays contained. I also didn't think my whites were getting white enough so I add bleach to every 3 wash of whites. I also used Dr. Bonner's soap from Whole Foods also instead of ivory adds so fragrance. That's all I can think of for now. Hmmm not sure how to do this profile thing. sorry for anonymous

  6. I use this recipe and my clothes smell so good & r really clean & white - I also use white vinegar in place of Downey - I love this recips. thanks for sharing


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