Adventures In Homemade Laundry Soap

I’m blessed and honored to be guest posting here today at A Throw-Back to the Good Ole Days.  I’m very excited to meet some new readers and share my laundry soap experiences with you. 

I’ve been experimenting withhomemade laundry soap since March 2010.  Talk about a long-term project! Ihave scoured the internet for recipes and ideas. I’ve boiled, grated, mixed andstirred more times than I care to count and have lost track of exactly how manyrecipes I’ve tried.
I started with powderedvariations in early 2010. I changed variations several times but could neverfind anything that I felt got our laundry clean and left it smelling fresh…orat least not smelling the way it went into the washer.  I especially hadproblems with my husband’s work clothing and towels/sheets and anything thatgot especially messy like burp cloths and cleaning rags.
I used a liquid variation for afew months.  It was not complicated to make but it took more time thanpowder and I felt it was hard to store.  I tried using an old store-boughtbottle but both kinds I made separated (which the recipe indicated wouldhappen).The problem is it was very hard to shake it all back together.  Italmost needed stored in a bucket where you could stir it easily. 
My husband, bless his heart,helps me with laundry and there is no way he has patience to stir detergentevery time he does a load (I barely had patience to do it!).  Don’t writeit off because I didn’t like it though, see if it’s for you.  There aremany women who swear by homemade liquid and love it. 
I found that powder was the bestway to go in our house.  It’s easy to store and scoop. (I use a ¼ cupscoop that came from coffee or something like that.) An old measuring cup wouldwork too. 

My observations in laundry soap

·   Water matters. If you have hard water, softened water, salted water, or whatever it willaffect the effectiveness of your laundry soap.  Our water is salt softenedbut has a heavy clay residue.
·   Don’t expectsuds.  I get zero; none; nada, nothin’. 
·   Patience! Considerthis a long-term project.  Put it on your To Do List for 2012.
·   Experiment withrecipes and ratios.  If it calls for 1 cup of something, you may need 1 ½.It goes back to water and the dirtiness of your clothing. 
·   Don’t be afraid toexperiment
·   Adjust the amountneeded per load based on your needs. 
·   Keep some store-boughton hand.  No condemnation here.  Listen, if you’re experimenting andyour dogs pukes all over the foyer rug at 6am and you don’t find it till youget home at 6 pm USE THE STORE BOUGHT!You aren’t going to lose the mom of the year award.  I’ll still vote foryou – promise!
·   Distilled white vinegaris the best rinse agent.  Add it to your softener ball or softenerdispenser.  Vinegar helps remove any soap left in the clothing plus takesaway odor.  FEAR NOT! Yourclothing will not smell like vinegar when they come out. (I promise,again).  It will smell of vinegar while the rinse cycle is going but onceout and dry the smell is gone.

The What
I store it in a 2 gallon bucket with alid.  When I was experimenting I made ½ as much and stored it in a plastictub.  Whatever works for you.  I’ve included links to Amazon more sofor the picture in the event that, like me, you never heard of some of thebefore. I urge you to price check your local stores and online before you buy.
1 box 20 Mule Team Borax (4 lb box) (laundry detergent isle)
1 box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda(55oz)(laundry detergent isle)
3 cups of baking soda
1 bar Fels Naptha soapbar (laundry detergent isle)
1 canister Boraxo Powdered Hand Soap (16 oz) (hand soap isle)

The How

Combine borax, washing soda,baking soda and boraxo in a large tub. 
Grate bar of Fels Naptha with ahand grater into the powder using the finest side of the grater. (I have an oldone I keep especially for this job).   Stir together.  I take off myrings and use my hands to mix it.  You reallyneed to incorporate the ingredients. 
To make combining easier whenI’m dumping the dry ingredients I alternate some borax, some sodas, some boraxoand keep repeating that until they’re all in. 
Use between 1/8 and 1/2 cupdepending on size of load. (Experiment with what works for you.)
Fill your softener dispenserwith vinegar.  Wash in cold or warm water. 
I’ve read that hot water and theborax can create a chemical reaction which can take color out of somefabrics.  I have not had any problems doing towels, sheets and doggieblankets in hot water. 

More Notes

I recently came across the idea of using a food processor with the grating blade to grate the Felsbar.  I imagine it would work I onlyquestion if after continued use would it begin to smell like soap and thereforenot work so well when used with food again. It would surely cut down on time and let’s face it mama – time isprecious!
Add some essential oil if want ascented laundry soap.  I did this halfway though my last batch, at my husband’s suggestion, and it made a nicedifference.  I added 10 drops of lavenderessential oil to half my bucket.  Thelaundry now has a light lavender scent. The vinegar rinse probably dampens the smell but I wasn’t going for astore-bought lavender scent anyway. 
The great thing about thisis you can adjust the ingredients as needed.  I used the above minus theFels Naptha for my son’s infant clothing. I think the Fels is the key togetting really dirty clothing clean.  Of course if your husband has anoffice job, you have no pets, your kids don’t play in the mud and you neverspill anything on yourself you might be ok without the Fels. 
Try it and let me know what youthink. 
Until Next Time,
Be Blessed
Danielle is a wife ofone amazing husband, mother of one handsome little boy and daughter of onemighty King.  She works full time outsidethe home and is learning to balance being a full time homemaker with being afull time worker.  Her dream is to stayat home and raise her family.  Until thatday comes she is learning to balance the demands of life while building aChrist-centered home.  Read more at MoreThan Four Walls.
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3 thoughts on “Adventures In Homemade Laundry Soap

  1. Melina says:

    Danielle, you are awesome!! Thank you so very much for agreeing to guest post. I absolutely LOVE your laundry secrets, AND at the request of my stubborn (but wonderful) husband I bought Arm & Hammer detergent.. And grated a bar of Felz Naptha in… And EVEN my husband noticed our laundry didn't smell as fresh and deodorized.. And stains weren't completely removed.. So I told him I'd switched back to Arm & Hammer. He was impressed with your recipe and I'm proud to say I'll be making it this week AND from here on out!

  2. Melina says:

    Oops I must have deleted part of that last comment. He asked if I'd switche back to Arm & Hammer, what was it I was using when Daisy had her puppies (lots of nasty messes) and I told him it was you recipe… He was impressed 🙂

  3. Thanks Melina. I'm so glad it is working for you. I just bought double ingredients yesterday and I'm making a big batch for us again today after church.

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