139. Project homemade laundry soap

Whew.  Can I just say I’m wiped out from the last few days.  After three busy nights at work, entirely too little sleep and an all day trip to Holiday World after only getting four-ish hours of sleep, I have no desire to much of anything today.  Summer has made me lazy as it is, but coupled with four very busy days in a row and virtually no chance to recuperate, holy crap, I am exhausted.

Thankfully, I don’t have much I have to do today.  House work, laundry, play with the little ones, study and do homework.  It’s the whole studying and doing homework that I’m dragging my feet with.  I think it has to do with having spent the bulk of my life associating summer with being the time to take a break from the books.  I was okay until I hit a delay in getting my patho final scheduled (long story).  I’m a little hesitant about starting statistics until patho is out of the way.  Darn self paced learning.

Well, none of this talk about being lazy has anything to do with todays topic: making my own laundry soap.  For Father’s Day, my mom got my husband everything we would need to start making our own laundry soap: a 5 gallon bucket with a lid, washing soda, borax, and a bar of fels naptha soap.  My husband and I have talked about making our own laundry soap for a while now to help balance out our grocery budget.  Between eating virtually all organic and going with eco friendly house hold cleaning products (laundry soap included), our grocery budget is borderline outrageous.  We’re okay with it being on the high side because we’re not about to start pumping our bodies with residual chemicals, hormones, artificial food coloring and flavors, etc or filling our house with harsh chemicals.  We switched a while ago to using vinegar based cleaning products, which, by the way, I’m quite pleased with, and made our own dish soap, all of which have helped with the grocery budget.  Making our own laundry soap seemed like the next step.

So, we were quite pleased with my mom’s gift.  She’s recently started making her own for financial reasons.  She went with the following recipe, originally found on the Duggar’s website.  I think we figured the cost per load of laundry is about $.09.  How crazy is that?!  We ended up substituting a bar of Dr Bronner’s castile soap for the fels naptha because we wanted something without any animal bi products in it.


4  Cups – hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

– Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

Perhaps due to our castile soap substitution, our first batch was a little watery, so we filled our empty laundry soap buckets 2/3’s of the way full instead of 1/2.  We researched it a bit before doing it, and everything we found suggested it was an acceptable substitution.  The castile bar wasn’t quite the same weight at the fels naptha bar (1/2 an ounce less), and my guess that’s what caused our soap to be a little watery.

And here’s the review of the recipe:

Just like when we switched to making our own cleaning products, the laundry soap seems to work just a well as our store bought stuff.  I wish we would have figured this out years ago.  Hopefully, I’ll continue to love the laundry soap.  My husband and I laugh at how many things we’ve forsaken the “modernized” approach to.  We cloth diaper, hang our clothes outside to dry, eat food we grown and now make our own stuff to keep our house nice and clean.


3 thoughts on “139. Project homemade laundry soap

  1. Wow – I am impressed. I have never heard of making your own laundry soap – maybe this is something winging its way across the Atlantic as we speak. We did cloth diapers, hang our washing out and love Bicarbonate of soda for cleaning. Will have to investigate if there is a UK version for laundry soap yet! No doubt it won’t work out as cheap but has to be worth a shot.

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