Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap

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I’ve been thinking about making my own detergent for some time, and this past summer I finally took the big plunge and did it ~ and haven’t gone back since! My fears of it being time-consuming and hard were so completely wrong. It seriously took me about 20 minutes from start to finish, and that includes the time it took me to walk downstairs and grab the boxes I needed as well as grate the soap.

These are the few simple ingredients I needed to make the soap and 9 oz {$3.95} cleaning bar will make two batches of detergent, enough for 128 loads of laundry. After figuring out the cost of the detergent, it works out to about 5 cents a load of laundry, and you'll have plenty of Borax and washing soda for future batches.

  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda {in the cleaning aisle}
  • Borax {cleaning aisle}
  • Laundry bar ~ I buy mine from Virginia Soaps and Scents
  • Water
Pretty basic and simple to make too!

The recipe that I use comes from the Virginia Soaps and Scents website and you can download a 4x6 folded recipe card here.

~ 4½ ounces of “Virginia Soaps & Scents” Cleaning Soap
~ ½ cup washing soda
~ ½ cup borax powder ~ grater
~ You will also need a bucket, 3-5 gallon size


1. Grate the soap and put it into a large sauce pan. Add 6 cups of water and heat until the Cleaning soap melts.
2. Add the washing soda and the borax. Stir until the mixture is dissolved. Remove from heat.
3. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir.
4. Add 22 cups of water and stir (22 cups = 1 gallon plus 6 cups).
5. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load.

Note: The finished soap will be in a gel form. It is a low-sudsing soap, so is great for front-loading washers as well as the top-load variety.

Our kids love it too, since they can easily scoop the detergent out themselves and help with the laundry {Mommy loves this part too!}.  Others have asked if we've noticed any change in our laundry ~ is it getting clean? Absolutely yes!  The bars are also unscented, so the detergent doesn't have any overwhelming smell either. Just 'clean'.

If you aren't sure that you want to make your own detergent and want to 'test the waters' to see if it would work for you, Virginia Soaps and Scents offers a Laundry Soap Kit for $4.95 that includes everything you need to make a batch of detergent ~ all you need to do is add water!

Just wanted to pass along a little something that is Working for Me!


  1. I've been making my own laundry soap for the last couple of months and have been loving it! Since I'm known to do things the easiest way possible, I came across Geek's lazy way in the Sonlight Forums that allows me to skip the grating and cooking step. :)

    1) Plop a bar of Fels-Naptha or other soap into a pitcher of hot tap water and let it dissolve as much as it can (saturated solution). Use 1-4 oz per load. (An old Oxy-Clean scoop is good for this.) As the liquid level goes down, add a little more water and stir well, allowing it to dissolve again to the water's saturation point.
    2) Mix washing soda and Borax together in equal proportions. Use 1/2 - 2TBSP per load unless dealing with extra stinky stuff or very hard water.

    I'm interested in trying the Virginia soap for my bar soap in this recipe.

  2. This is awesome.

    I have been thinking about making my own soap for awhile too, but hadn't done it fearing that it would be too time consuming (etc!).

    You've inspired me!

  3. I have a friend who did this and said the same thing.

    Oh all RIGHT. I guess I'll have to try it. :-) You just can't beat a nickel a load!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Oooh oooh, so excited!!! I love it! I love feeling like I'm a frontier woman or something! Ha ha! This is GREAT! We already have Borax in the house for something my husband cleaned recently, so I don't even need to buy that!

    Thank you thank you!

  5. Wow! I never thought of making my own soap, but I am really put out with the price of LD maybe I'll give it a whirl :)

    Thanks for inspiring me!

  6. I am soooo doing this asap. I think detergent costs a fortune! Thank you for this recipe. Jenn

  7. I know so many people that make their own and I just cannot bring myself to do it!! Thanks for sharing though. I love reading about homemade items.

  8. Thank you for sharing this! I have been thinking about doing this for the longest time and this is just the push I needed, seeing how easy and inexpensive it should be.

    I have a little one that chews on her blanket too and I have been wanting to do something like this to put my mind at ease for her too.

  9. I too am curious about the toxicity facor. What the heck is borax?

    A blog friend at also switched to homemade laundry soap and I've been thinking about it ever since.

    Maybe, just maybe! I do enough other things from scratch, most foods including the pork (raised pigs), eggs (we have chickens), etc

    Thanks for posting this!

  10. will be interesting to see how this turns out for you in the long run. My sister did it for a while and absolutely loved it. Over time though, some bad things were happening to her clothes, and now she uses Tide. Here's her story

  11. I started over a year ago and LOVE it! It saves so much money and I love how well it works, mine gets out so many stains that wouldn't come out with Tide!

  12. I did this too, and after 2 months, my clothes were so dingy! I loved the idea and it was cheaper, but over time, it just can't keep up with tide. We do live in an area with hard water though, so maybe this is a factor. Although, I read that Borax is supposed to help with hard water and rust problems, It has done neither for me. Good luck and I would love to hear how your clothes turn out! :)

  13. I've been doing this for a long time now-well over a year. I use fel-naptha.

    I mix all the ingredients together with the initial 6 cups of soapy water and then divide that in half in two scoopable litter containers(the big Tidy Cat ones) and then add the necessary water. This makes me feel better than having a big open bucket of laundry soap and I can SHAKE it up before each use.


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