DIY Laundry Soap

I’ve been using DIY laundry soap for two years now.  There’s not one thing I don’t like about it–clothes get clean, and gone are the days of hefting the Costco-sized tub of detergent, which my lower back appreciates.   It’s so cheap it’s ridiculous–I’d say I spend maybe $15 a year for laundry soap.

There’s plenty of recipes online for this stuff–I really don’t need to be adding to it.  But, I just need to put this out there:  YOU DON’T NEED TO GRATE OR COOK THE SOAP.  OK, the recipes actually call for melting it, but that qualifies as cooking to me.  And that’s AFTER you GRATE it.  GRATE IT.  Ugh.  You also don’t need to make up a massive 5-gallon bucket when you have no place to store it other than the bedroom closet or the middle of the back hall.


Simplify and reuse, I say.  Put some Borax in an old jar or tub (like the kind Costco stuff comes in).  Grab another similar container and dump in some washing soda (laundry aisle, not baking aisle).  Take your old laundry container and rinse it out…or, if you’re short on storage, just grab a pitcher.  Plop in a bar of Fels-Naptha soap (laundry aisle)–an old laundry container will require you to cut the bar into strips just wide enough to fit in the opening.  Fill with warm water.  Shake.

For a full load of clothes, start the water running BEFORE you put the clothes in and toss a tablespoon of EACH of the powders right where the water hits the bottom of the tub.  That way the powder has a chance to dissolve.  Toss in about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the Fels-Naptha/water concoction.  Add the clothes, close the lid.  Ponder your own cheapness and rejoice greatly.

So why don’t you have to grate the soap??  As the Fels-Naptha dissolves, it saturates the water.  Once the water is fully saturated, the soap stops dissolving.  Yes, I know it sounds weird–that’s why it’s fun to use a transparent container the first time so you can actually see what happens to the soap.  When there’s no more liquid to pour, just add more water.  With fresh water, the soap will start dissolving again and saturate the water.  Repeat, repeat, and repeat–for 9-12 months.  I’m not kidding.  It’s a beautiful thing.

And I’m not a fan of grating much-loved cheese, so why on earth would I grate soap?

Go forth and grate no more.

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12 Responses to DIY Laundry Soap

  1. How dare you contradict me!

    Hee hee, just kidding. Neat trick on that though! The only problem I would have with it is that it would make it too complicated for Elias to handle doing his own laundry. He can handle “fill the lid of the detergent bottle” but a “a scoop of this, a scoop of that and a scoop of some other” would completely flummox him. I’m pretty pleased with our soap. If he ever manages to get it together enough to handle more “complex” instructions, I’ll give your method a shot 🙂

    • marriedminds says:

      😀 You and everyone else on the web;). I guess you have a good excuse, though;).

      At first I put both powders in one container, but never felt like they were evenly mixed and it annoyed me. So there’s my issue for you;).

      Really, though, if I hadn’t read about the soap/water saturation thing on a homeschooling forum of all places, I’d have never even tried to make laundry soap. That’s how strongly I feel about grating. 😀 Power to the grater haters! 😀

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m with you on the grating!!! Now I MIGHT consider making my own detergent!

  3. Angie W. says:

    The idea of grating wouldn’t have stopped me but this IS easier. I do mix my borax and washing soda but I think you are right–I haven’t always been sure they thoroughly mix. When I mix the combo up in a container, I do a scoop of one then the other alternating layers until my container is about two thirds full. Then I shake it. I could certainly just put a scoop of each in. What a novel idea. And nix on the whole “cook your soap” thing. I don’t even like to cook my food. 🙂

  4. My personal way of simplifying laundry detergent is to get a tub of Charlie’s Soap.

  5. coming over from your reply to Meg’s post….I have to say I loved your idea and have been using it ever since we talked last fall! A full bar of Fels-naptha in an old milk carton lasted about 6 months and I just keep adding water when it got low (and yes i used cold water). Thanks for the great advice! I love it and LOVE the price. 🙂

  6. BruCrewMom says:

    I, too, hate grating. I did grate a soap, and make my own once, but I didn’t cook it. I never was sure about the amounts. I like this idea, but how would you do it for front end loaders?

    • marriedminds says:

      I have a top loader, so I’m no expert on the front loaders. I hear you can’t put powder into them, though. I know some people mix the powder in with the liquid–seems like that would fix the front loader issue. I’m not sure of the amounts to do a whole batch like that. Another option might be to use hot tap water in the laundry cup to dissolve the powder first–which would be a bit annoying, but…I’d google for recipes specific to front loaders and see if someone has come up with something brilliant:).

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