Saturday, September 5, 2009

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Today was my first attempt at making my own liquid clothes detergent. I read several differnt blogs,such as New Life on A Homestead,Little House in the Suburbs and Down to Earth. Each one has a variation on liquid clothing soap,but the ingredients are the same,so I just picked one. I picked the one posted by Kendra at New Life on A Homestead.
The first thing I had to do was find the main ingredients:
- Fels Naptha Soap
-Washing Soda
I had heard of Borax,but I had never heard of Fels Naptha soap,or of Washing Soda. So I checked out Walmart first,since I happened to be in there one day. I may have not looked in the right place, but I couldn't find the Fels or the Washing Soda.
Then,when I went grocery shopping at Market Basket, I checked there. I found the 20 Mule Team Borax and the Arm and Hammer Washing Soda in the detergent aisle. So far, so good. Where was the Fels? It was in the Health and Beauty aisle!!!! Before I bought anything, I wanted to make sure that it was going to be cost efficient to make. I wrote down the cost, but I think I may have thrown it out. I do remember the Fels was .99 a bar. I can tell you that the three ingredients cost no more than $7.50,max. One batch makes 2 gallons,which means for $7.50, you can make several gallons of clothing soap,which is much more cost efficient than buying it. Plus, you reuse the container it's kept in,so that keeps plastic use at a minimum!
Even though I have a headache today, I was determined to make my soap. I was finally out of my store bought soap,so it gave me more incentive. This is what I did,taken from My New Life on A Homestead.

Liquid Laundry Detergent
3 Pints ( 6 cups) water
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap,grated
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
2 gallon bucket (8 qts or 32 cups)
1 quart Hot water (4 cups)
Hot water

Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints waer,and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax.Stir until thickened,and remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to a 2 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture,and mix well. Fill bucket with hot water,and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours,or until mixture thickens. Use 1/2 cup per load.

The first thing I did was break down the measurements to cups and/or quarts. I had a large cat litter bucket set aside,and it is larger than two gallons,so I wanted to make sure I didn't put too much water in. Since it' suppose to equal 2 gallons, I subtracted the 4 cups that is initially put into the container from the two total gallons,so it came to 1 gallon and 3 quarts.
Grating the soap was very easy and took no time at all. The Fels Naptha has a very nice,clean,lemony scent. I dissolved that,which took a few minutes,while my 3 pints of water was heating up. Then I dissolved the Washing soda and the borax in the Fels Naptha water,until the mixture thickened. The only thing was that not all of the powder had dissolved all the way when it thickened up,so I let it go another minute. I put the hot water into my litter container,and poured in the soap mixture. I mixed that up while the remainder of the water heated up. Once it was hot,I poured it into the container,stirred it,and now it is sitting. While the directions call for it to sit 24 hours or until it thickens,some people posted on Kendra's blog that it really didn't need to sit for that long,and some of them used it right away. Some other people who tried it said that their whites eventally started graying.Others said they had no problem. I assume this has to do with what kind of water you have,whether it's soft or hard. You can put a bit of Oxyclean in with it,or use it separately. I always use Oxyclean with all my laundry,anyway,putting it in right after I pour in the detergent,so this will not be an issue for me.
As I type this, my detergent is still hot,and therefore not thickened yet. As soon as I use it, I will post my results.


  1. Yay!! I'm so glad you tried it and liked it! I'm having the hardest time finding the washing soda. I think I'm going to have to try a different recipe which doesn't call for the soda. Thanks for sharing your results with us!!

  2. Thank you,Kendra! Your blog helped inspire me to pursue a more simple way of life! In fact,I am getting ready read it right now.