Thursday, May 8, 2008

Homemade Laundry Soap

One of the ways that I've been trying to be a little more environmentally friendly is by making my own household cleaners. Truthfully, this has only made it as far as getting the books from the library, taking notes, and buying the ingredients. Mostly because I'm cheap and I refuse to throw away the stuff I already have. So, I've been slowly going through floor cleaner and bathroom cleaner and toiletbowl cleaner... Then, a friend sent me a link for directions to make your own laundry soap. At first, I wasn't thrilled because I don't really have the storage space for liquid laundry soap, I do live in a 700 sq. foot apartment, afterall. But, after a little more research I found a ton of links to making powdered laundry soap. I don't know why this intrigued me so much, but I had to go right out and buy the ingredients and make the stuff.

Powdered Laundry Soap
I ended up using the recipe that is on the Fels-Naptha Wikipedia page, go figure
  • 1 bar Fels-Naptha soap, grated (or any other PURE soap)
  • 1 cup washing soda (Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda)
  • 1 cup borax (20 Mule Team)

Combine grated soap with washing soda & borax. Use 1 tablespoon for light load, 2 tablespoons for heavy or heavily soiled load. Use half that for front-loading washers.

Note: I used the the grater attachment on my food processor to grate the soap. Because I have a front loader washing machine, I was concerned that the big grated chunks of soap wouldn't dissolve so I changed to the chopping blade and chopped it up as fine as I could. Then, I added the washing soda and borax and pulsed a couple of times to combine.

From what I've read some of these ingredients can be hard to find, but I didn't have a problem. Borax can be found anywhere. I got Fels-Naptha at Kroger and the Arm and Hammer Washing Soda at Meijer.

By the way, I tried to find out the environmental concerns if any for using Fels-Naptha soap and I couldn't find anything. I used it, but according to what I've read, any pure soap will work, like Dr. Bronner's soap, which would smell better anyways as I find the smell of Fels Naptha to be a bit much for my taste. Plus, it's probably easier to find as they now sell Dr. Bronner's at Target!

I've only used this on four loads of laundry and so far everything has come out clean and super soft. My husband was concerned because there was no sudsing action, but apparently that is the case. No suds! Anyone else out there making homemade laundry soap? Any tips? Comments?


Michelle said...

Hey Sharleen! I tried out the laundry soap. Whew! That Fels-Naptha is strong stuff! I always use "free and clear," so I think that made it seem especially powerful. I like the idea of it though. Maybe it will be better with Dr. Bronner's.

Sharleen said...

Hi, Michelle! yeah, I about fell over when I made it too. Next time, I'm going to do Dr. Bronners peppermint. I'm in love with that stuff.

Tonya said...

I want to try this, but I love my Gain and Downey combination. I know, so not environmentally friendly LOL I may make some to try though, I mean I can always go back. I just don't know if I can find the washing soda, I don't have a Meijer's. Is it really cheaper, as you can imagine I go through alot of Laundry products LOL

muralimanohar said...

Well, I have a friend who used to wash his laundry in Dr Bronner's peppermint liquid soap...I know he didn't do the whole proper recipe thing, just dumped in his peppermint soap, but I am still traumatized about his grey clothes (from the scum that Dr Bronner's gets), lol. As a result, I am just WAY too tilly to try out anything like that, so I think you are a brave, brave soul, lol.

Oh, by the way, you won!! Send me your addy! :D

Mountain Mom Alison said...

Good for you! I've made my own general cleaner out of vinegar, borax, baking soda and pure soap. And my next quest was to make a laundry soap too. Thanks for the recipe.