A wise mama knows…..how to pinch pennies, and laundry detergent is expensive!!!!
When you live in a house with four boys, and a husband, on a little happy homestead, them boys get dirty! And I mean DIRTY!!!! It never ceases to amaze me the new ways they can find to cover themselves in an a who-knows-child-what-on-earth-you-have-gotten-into-mess, but it happens…repeatedly 🙂 So for all you other mamas and families out there, I am sharing my laundry soap recipe. It works great, uses simple ingredients, and is a cinch to make!!!! The cost works out to be pennies per load! I have been using it for so many years now, that I can’t remember where I got the recipe from to give credit to. It may have been from a CountrySide magazine from years back….
Mama’s Homemade Laundry Soap
Some thoughts on soap: I use Fels Naptha, it delivers a great result for my dirty family, and is extremely cost-effective! Our local grocer carries it, as we have a large Amish community in our rural area and they use it too! Your local hardware store may also carry it, or be able to order it in for you…I know you can order it online if you need to, but please try to support your local businesses first. In a small rural town, your business does make a difference to support the business of another family. Ivory gives a gentler/weaker soap, but is suitable for babies with very sensitive skin & diaper washing.
1/3 bar of Fels Naptha, Ivory, or Castile Soap
1/2 c. Washing Soda
1/2 c. Borax
2+ gallon bucket with lid
Grate soap (I use my food processor, it is soap after all, and it does wash up nicely). Put soap in a large kettle, and add 6c. of water. Heat and stir until the soap melts. Add washing soda and borax, stir till dissolved. Remove kettle from heat. Pour 4c. of hot water into your bucket, and add hot soap mixture from kettle. Stir together until well combined. Add 1 gallon, plus 6c. more water. Stir to combine. Let sit for 24 hrs. to gel. (Results in a weird watery gel-like consistency, kind of like clumpy egg white, but cleans like a mother). You may add 1/2 to 1 oz. of essential oil if you like to fragrance your detergent. (I don’t usually do that to save on cost, as I use expensive therapeutic grade essential oils, and it feels like too much to me, and I also have sensitive boys that don’t care for a lot of perfumey smells on their clothes. The soap has a nice clean smell to it on its own.)
Use 1/2 c. per load on a regular top-loading machine, or 1/4 to 1/3 c. in a front-loading HE machine. You can use more or less depending on how dirty the load is 🙂
Gather up your goodies. You will need the Fels Naptha bar of soap, (mine is half gone, this is the second batch of laundry soap that I have made with it) Borax, Washing Soda, large kettle, food processor, or grater, measuring cups, large spoon for stirring, 2+ gallon bucket with lid, water, and essential oil, if you are using for scent.
Grate your soap, either the easy way, or the hard way. It’s up to you…. as you can see, I choose the easy way 🙂
Place grated soap into your large kettle on the stove.
Add 6 c. water, heat over med. high heat until grated soap melts. Stir a few times while heating.
This is what your soap looks like once it has melted.
Add Borax, and Washing Soda. Stir and heat until they dissolve. This only takes a few minutes. You do not have to bring it to a boil.
Add 4 c. of hot water into bucket. Pour kettle of hot soap mixture into bucket. Be careful, the soap mixture is hot & steamy! Be sure there are no kiddos or critters who could get into the mix!!!
Pour 1 gallon + 6 c. of water into the bucket with the hot soap mixture.
Add essential oils for fragrance now if you would like. Stir well to combine. Place lid on the bucket, and let stand overnight, or until cool. Soap will thicken as it cools, so you will want to give it another good stir before you use. It will end up being kind of lumpy, gelled egg-white consistency. Strange, but effective.
Happy Washing!!! 🙂