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Making Laundry Soap From Scratch

January 12, 2010

I decided it was time to make my own laundry detergent. I’d already had all the ingredients, and it was just a matter of telling myself this was one more thing to take off the grocery list. I’m so glad I did it! It did not take long at all, and was quite easy. I’ll probably spend more time and energy creating this post than what I put into making about a gallon and a half of laundry soap.

I used a recipe I found and modified it slightly to accommodate my 1.5 gallon container (the recipe here creates two gallons).  It calls for Fels-Naptha soap, but I’d had a hard time finding it, so I substituted with an unscented-but-still-smells-great Dr. Bronner’s bar.

The ingredients are all environmentally friendly, and there’s only four of them: borax, washing soda, bar soap and water. It has to be better than buying it at Wal-mart.

With this recipe, I figure I’m spending about $.02 on a load of laundry. Yes, two cents. And if I’m hanging it on the line to dry, well that’s what I’m talking about!

As long as our clothes wind up really feeling clean (I don’t see how they wouldn’t), I’ll never spend $7 – $10 for a bottle of laundry detergent again. I think it’s worth it.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. allisoncoffin permalink
    January 12, 2010 9:57 pm

    Can you share the recipe? Mine takes 10-15 minutes to make–grating Fels Naptha is a lot harder than it sounds–so something that takes less time than a blog post sounds intriguing.

    • greenanthropology permalink*
      January 14, 2010 4:01 pm

      It seemed like a basic recipe: 1/3 bar Fels Naptha, two gallons of water, 1/2 cup washing soda & 1/2 cup borax. Grating the soap was the longest step in the process, but maybe the Dr. Bronner’s is easier to grate than Fels Naptha? Or most likely I’m just a VERY slow blogger!

      • allisoncoffin permalink
        January 14, 2010 9:48 pm

        I think the hardness of Fels Naptha is only slightly below that of diamond, so it might just be that it’s exceptionally hard to grate.

        And while I’m here…would you mind changing the link and name to my blog? I’m moving to http://www.leangreensuburbanmachine.com and I won’t be adding any new content to the old one.

  2. greenanthropology permalink*
    January 14, 2010 9:51 pm

    Awesome! Will do!

  3. January 21, 2010 9:33 pm

    I am really interested to hear how this comes out. This is something I’ve thought of doing as well. Do you know how long it lasts? (I mean, does it…go bad? lose its effectiveness? etc)

    • greenanthropology permalink*
      January 25, 2010 10:10 pm

      So far it’s doing great. I’m not sure about it’s shelf life or the affect age has on it’s effectiveness.
      I’ve been using it for almost two weeks now, and our clothes are softer than with conventional detergent, even when I hang it outside on the line. I’ve not had any problems with it getting out clothes clean enough and they always smell fresh.
      I know not everything in my homesteading experiments will work, no matter how badly I want it to. But I would say the homemade laundry soap is a huge success.

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