Since I’ve been making my own laundry soap for over a year now, I decided this morning while making a new batch I should share. With limited time, I wasn’t sure I would be able to commit to something like this, but after doing it for over a year now, I can tell you it’s very easy, doesn’t really take that much time, and well worth it!
I had been noticing homeade laundry soap makers and recipes for many months before I actually tried it myself. I had really wanted to try it before, and had actually been on the search for the proper ingredients, but had never found what was recommeded to use, and didn’t really want to search the internet to order the stuff. The opportunity came over a year ago, when I was blessed with review privileges of a company called Virginia Soaps and Scents. Our TOS Crew received a little laundry soap kit with all ingredients already premeasured, that made 2 gallons of soap. For my original small batch, I used an old pitcher to hold my soap. After following the recipe that came with the soap kit, I was ready to test the soap out. We had just moved to a house in the country with well water(needless to say my laundry wasn’t seeming as clean!), and I had a brand new front load washer and dryer, so I was eager to see how it worked. Now I must say I was a bit skeptical, because we produce some pretty dirty laundry here at our ranch. I was actually amazed at the way the soap cleaned. I do tend to go for the fragrant detergents, because I just love the smell of fresh laundry. But I had been noticing that my clothes sort of had a not-so-fresh-yet-flowery smell. Meaning, they didn’t seem to be smelling real clean, only being masked by the fragrance. This I point out because I must say that the clothes I wash using the homemade soap seem to just have a fresh smell, without being masked by any fragrance. Again, I was a bit skeptical before I tried this because in my opinion, the soap kind of stinks, LOL. (Now that I’m used to it, though, I actually like the smell!)
For extremely dirty loads, I will still add a laundry booster like Oxy-clean (which is made from some of the same ingredients in the soap), or Resolve, or Spray and Wash or one of the other brands of in-wash stain removers.
Also, I had tried using no drier sheets, but instead homemade fabric softener with a towel dipped in it added to drier, a rag with essential oils, etc. My favorite it still good ole Bounce. So that does add a fragrance to my laundry, but not overwhelming, and my basic laundry is so clean anyway.
I immediately placed an order with VSS for more laundry bars. They come in a 9 oz. bar which actually is cut in half to make one batch of soap- and it only costs $3.95 per bar! I already had one of the other ingredients needed for the soap- borax, because I had used it in my laundry already for many loads. But my problem came in locating the washing soda. My inability to locate washing soda had been one of the things that had deterred me from trying the homemade soap in the past. But I just kept looking, and was thrilled to find it in a grocery store one day. I bought two 55 oz. boxes and just opened the second box today, over a year later!
So here’s the recipe which I use from VSS, adding my own comments.
*4 1/2 ounces (cut the 9 ounce bar in half) VSS cleaning soap. ( I substituted Kirk’s Castile soap bar once to see how it would substitute. About the same results, but I like the VSS better. Some recipes call for a cleaning bar called Fels Naptha which I have never laid eyes on despite my looking for it. I have heard many people who use it, but many comments that it is harsh to the clothes and the skin. I’ll stick with my VSS bar.)
*1/2 cup borax powder
*1/2 cup washing soda.
*3-5 gallon sized bucket for the soap.
*soup pot to make soap in
Add 6 cups hot water to a large saucepan or soup pot. Grate the soap into the pan. It is important to grate the soap because chunks take much longer to dissolve in the water.
Heat until the soap melts. I probably wouldn’t boil. I have gotten it hot enough before to boil because I wasn’t watching it, but I prefer to keep it mid heat and stir until dissolved.
Once the soap is melted, add your 1/2 cup of borax and stir.
Next, add your 1/2 cup washing powder and stir.
I like to to stir with my grater because it mixes it up well, and cleans my grater. 🙂
Once it’s dissolved well, which doesn’t take very long, add 4 cups of hot water to your 5 gallon bucket (or whatever you are using to hold your soap. I jsut bought a 5 gallon plastic bucket with a lid from the paint section at Wal Mart, but you can use anything you have that holds at least 3 gallons.)
After adding 4 cups of hot water (just hot water from the tap, no need to heat it on the stove), pour your soap mixture in the bucket with the hot water and stir.
Next, add 22 cups of water. I do this using my 2 cup pyrex measuring cup and adding 10 cups hot water from my tap to the empty soap pan, then pouring it into the bucket, then adding 12 cups of hot water to my soap pan and adding that. Silly, I know, but it gets out the residue from my soap pot, adding it back to the soap, and helps clean my pot! (Years of learning from my Mom to rinse out the spaghetti jar with a bit of water, and scrape the batter from the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula, add a bit of water to the shampoo bottle and shake until no more suds! My Mom was a fabulous teacher!)
Mix it all up in the bucket. It will be watery at this point. Over the next 24 hours it will turn into a consistency of that funky hand gel my father used to use to get the grease off of his hands. I try to pick the bucket up by the handle and swirl it around as much as possible every few hours when I walk by and see it to break up the gelatinous consistency. You can wait until the next day and use a wooden spoon or your grater to break up the jello type consistency too, and you may have to stir it a bit over the first few days of use to keep it at an egg drop soup consistency. I love having mine in a bucket because I can just pick it up by the handle and rock it back and forth to mix it, and I like having a lid for it so it doesn’t get yucky stuff in it.
You can use it right away at the liquid stage if you forgot to make more before you ran out completely, but I like to make a new batch while I still have enough left to do the days laundry on the day I’m making my new batch. I just pour the remainder of my soap into another container to use and rinse my bucket before making a new batch.
So that’s it. Oh, and cost? Well, I wish I had kept better track of the amount of bars I used over the year and how often I made the soap. I belive in addition to the original kit that I made the soap about every month and a half, and ended up using about 8 bars. At $3.95 per bar, that’s $31.60.
The borax is about $3.50 per box, and I still have the original box I purchased over a year ago. The washing powder was about the same, and I just started my new box. So you can technically do a year’s worth of laundry for about $38.60. (Again, I’m estimating because I don’t remember the exact cost of the borax and washing powder, or exactly how many bars I used in the year.) I could have spent that in a couple of months buying laundry detergent from the store, and this works so much better! I also do buy stain boosters and spray and wash type products still. I try to use other natural stain removers when I can, too though.
Best part is, the clean laundry! I love the smell of fresh clean laundry!