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Frugal Living: Homemade Laundry Soaps

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Forum: Frugal LivingReplies: 220, Views: 7,560
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Newark, OH
(Zone 5b)

May 15, 2001
1:21 AM

Post #4861

I found these on Themestream, which has since gone out of business. The search engine had a cached copy of the page, thank goodness, so that saved the re-typing! Here are several recipes, along with some tips, quoted from the author of the article, Sandy Shields.

Liquid Laundry Detergents


Recipe #1

3 Pints Water
1/3 Bar Fels Naptha Soap, Grated
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
2 Gallon Bucket
1 Quart Hot Water
Cold Water

Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints of water, and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart Hot Water to 2 Gallon Bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket with cold water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture is gelled.
Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.


Recipe #2

1 Cup Soap Flakes
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
2 Tablespoons Glycerin
2 Cups Water

Mix all three ingredients together. Add glycerin and water.
Use 1/2 - 3/4 cup per load. Best when used with cold or warm water.


Recipe #3

1 Bar Soap - Any Brand, Grated
5 Gallon Bucket
1 Cup Washing Soda
4 1/2 Gallons Water

Place grated soap in a small saucepan and cover with water. Heat on low until dissolved. Fill bucket with hot water, and add soap. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup washing soda and mix well. As it cools it will thicken. May be used immediately. Use 1-2 cups per load.


Powdered Laundry Detergent

1 Cup Soap Flakes
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax

For light load, use 1 Tbsp. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tbsp.

Edited 11/01/2003 to add this: Original article said to use 1 cup or 2 cups, depending on soil; however, the correct usage measurements is most likely 1 Tbsp. and 2 Tbsp., respectively.



Liquid detergent can also be used as a pretreater for stains.

Deodorant Soaps and Beauty Bars can be substituted for regular bar soap.

Essential Oils can be added to soap for fragrance.



Fels Naptha is in the bar soap aisle at your regular supermarket. I have found it in my area at Publix.

Washing Soda is made by Arm & Hammer. It comes in a 55 ounce yellow box. This is not the same as baking soda. It is found in the laundry detergent aisle of your supermarket. If you are having trouble locating this product, you may want to ask your local store manager to order it for you. It may be helpful to provide the UPC number: 33200-03020. To see what the package looks like, click here.

Borax is usually made by these brand names: MULETEAM or BORATEEM. It is also found on the laundry detergent aisle.

Ivory Snow used to make soap flakes, but I think that they have stopped making them. To make your own soap flakes just grate a bar of Ivory soap. (Hint: let your kids do this part!)


Fels Naptha Soap $.90 - $1.00 per bar
Borax $2.99 per box
Washing Soda $1.99 per box

Each box of Borax and Washing Soda will yield 30 gallons of laundry soap mix. 5 bars of soap will yeild 30 gallons. (Buy your soap on sale, and save even more!)

It costs $9.48 to make 30 gallons of homemade mix.
That is approximately $.30 per gallon!

1 gallon of pre-made, store-bought detergent can cost between $4.00-$7.00. If you normally pay $5.00 per gallon, after making 30 gallons of your own mix, you will save $141.00!!!

Start saving today!

Edited to make comment on the powdered detergent recipe.

This message was edited Aug 10, 2004 3:31 PM

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