Back in May, I posted about wanting to cut some chemicals out of our lives. One of the steps in doing this is to make some laundry soap. A couple of weeks ago, I made up a batch of homemade laundry soap. There are some blog posts around the Internet about how to make laundry soap, but since we are finally using the soap, I should write-up how I made it.
There are just 3 ingredients involved.
The Borax and washing soda are easy to find. I have seen these in every grocery store I’ve ever looked in. The Fels-Naptha was the difficult one to find. I checked several grocery stores and had resigned myself to buying it online. But I stopped in Walmart to pick up some items and figured I’d look for it. I was shocked to find it in the laundry aisle. So I bought 4 bars of it.
There are a couple of pieces of equipment needed to make the laundry soap, but most people will have them on hand. You will need an 8-quart stock pot. A larger pot can be used, but we need to heat a little less than a gallon of liquid. Next item is a cheese grater to grate up the soap. At least a 2 gallon bucket with lid. I used a plastic fermentation vessel that had scratches so I couldn’t use it for fermenting. The last item is something to stir the mixture with. A large plastic spoon would work fine. I used a plastic stirring paddle that came with my original beer brewing equipment kit.
Most recipes call for 1/3 of a bar of the soap. I find it easier to just cut the bar in half. Grate the 1/2 bar of soap. Put 6 cups of water into the stock pot and begin heating. Add the soap to the water. Continue stirring the soap water until the soap is completely melted. This should only take a couple of minutes. Do not allow the soap water to boil or it will likely foam up and out of the pot and make a huge mess.
Add 1/2 cup of washing soda and 1/2 cup of the borax powder to the pot. Continue stirring until the powder is dissolved.
Remove from the heat. Pour 4 cups of hot water into your bucket. Add the soap mixture and stir until it is mixed well. Add an additional 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water to the bucket and stir until everything is mixed well. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours. The soap mixture will become a loose gel.
We have been saving the old laundry detergent containers to reuse for our laundry soap. I wash them out well and refill them. The gel will separate, so this laundry soap needs to be shaken well before each use. Some other instructions say to use about 1/2 cup of the soap per load. My wife just fills the soap reservoir to the recommended level. We’ve only used it for a couple of loads, but so far we like it. The clothes are nice and clean.
I guess the next step is to find a good replacement for the fabric softener that my wife likes to use.