Doing laundry for 8 people can get overwhelming so I do about 1-2 loads each day to keep it under control. Doing laundry daily means lots of laundry detergent. I started making my own soap about a year ago because buying detergent frequently was getting annoying & frankly expensive. I talked it over with a good friend of mine and we thought it didn’t seem too difficult and we were right. I found a few recipes I thought looked manageable and ended up going with this one. It yields 10 gallons of soap because it is concentrated. It IS safe for use in high-efficiency washers and as mom of 5 boys I can also attest to its ability to get out stains.
DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent:
1 Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 1/2 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 Bar Fels- Naptha Soap**
#1 5-Gallon Bucket with a lid (Don’t forget the lid it is VERY important!!)
The main ingredients are easily found at your local Walmart at a very reasonable price. I don’t have to buy them very often which is great. I have all of the ingredients on hand in my laundry room to make a new batch when I need it.
1. Put 4 Cups of water in a large pot on medium heat.
2. Cut up the bar of soap. You can grade it by hand but I prefer to cut it in half the long way and use an electric grader. It’s so slick!
4. While the bar is melting in the pot fill the 5 gallon bucket half-way with hot water.
5. Once the soap is completely dissolved in the pot pour it into the 5 gallon bucket and stir it with the existing water.
6. Add 1 cup of Borax to the 5 gallon bucket
7. Add 1 & 1/2 cup of Washing Soda to the 5 gallon bucket
8. Stir until powders are completely dissolved.
9. Fill the 5 gallon bucket to the top with hot water.
OPTIONAL: Once the liquid has cooled to room temperature you can add any essentials oils. Personally I like to add tea tree oil. You can buy it at Walmart in the first-aide aisle near peroxide, betadine.
10. Stir again & then put the lid on and let it sit overnight.
11. The next day it will look like a big pile of gel. You will now want to mix it with a large/long stirring stick or if you have a paint mixer that can attach to a hand held drill that works great too. (That’s what I do)
Now you are ready to use your home-made laundry detergent*! You can store it in an ice-cream pail or refill any existing laundry detergent container. I have an old Tide one I use because I like the dispenser. Whatever you use fill it half way with the soap and the other half with hot water because this is a concentrated recipe. (front load washers use 1/4 cup, top load use 5/8 cup per load)
*just a heads up the soap will gel and must be stirred up before you use it each time. I just shake the jug before pouring.
**if you have someone with sensitive skin, want a different sent, or dispose Mosquitos I have found that the pink ZOTE soap can be substituted for the Fels-Naptha bar. Using the pink ZOTE makes a laundry soap similar to Dreft and it also contains citronella so it actually repels bugs for a few days worth of wear. (There is also a white ZOTE soap that works well too).
If you conquer this recipe and want to give fabric softener a try I love this one which I found at fabulously frugal.
DIY Fabric Softener:
3 Cups White Vinegar
2 Cups of your favorite conditioner (Pick a sent you like)
6 Cups Hot Water
- Mix ingredients into large pitcher or bucket
- Pour into fabric softener dispenser
- Ready to use (1/4 cup for front load washers)
Happy Washing 😀