Sunday, July 10, 2011

Brand Name Laundry Detergent’s "Last Stand"!

brand-name-laundry This post is brought to you by Amazon where you can get deals on household cleaners!

So a couple of weeks ago I had HAD it!

I was FED UP!

I could not bring myself to buy ONE MORE bottle of over-priced, wastefully-packaged laundry detergent.

I just couldn’t do it!  

Now, I’m no eco-nazi (far from it), but buying those big bottles of laundry detergent, lugging them home and then turning around and throwing them away was definitely starting to get to me.  I mean seriously….what a monumental waste!

Not to mention the COST!  $15 for a bottle of Brand Name Laundry Detergent that’s smaller than my fountain Diet Coke??  I won’t do it!

It was about this same time that I just happened to come across a picture someone posted on Pinterest.com of their “Homemade” laundry detergent!  Call me naive, but it had never even occurred to me that you could MAKE your own detergent!  I did a little research online and decided to give it at try.  It turns out it’s actually quite easy.

The first batch I made…I followed this recipe from The Rachel Berry Blog.

Liquid Laundry Soap-Family Sized Batch

1 bar grated Fels Naptha soap
5 gallon bucket
1 cup washing soda (Again, Arm and Hammer)
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
4 1/2 gallons water

I use approximately 1/2 – 1 cup per large load (depending on how dirty the clothes are!) 
For those of you with HIGH EFFICIENCY washing machines…this should work just fine in it. (There are dozens of comments below from people who have been using it in their HE machines with no problems.)

Worked out great. I’ve been very happy with it!  The main thing you have to get used to is it hardly make any suds at all.  At first this is a bit unnerving (especially for my husband!)…but the more I read about it online…I realized that “suds” are not what gets our clothes CLEAN.  As a matter of fact, as with dishwashing liquid, the suds are totally cosmetic and add no cleaning value. Less suds is actually better for our clothes.

Today I realized we were getting close to the end of the first batch…so I decided to make some more.

This time I followed a slightly different recipe I found online at Why Not Sew?

1 bar of soap (any kind you want)
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda
a big pot ( that holds more than 2 gallons)
a grater
a funnel
a long spoon
2 empty gallon jugs/containers

I use approximately 1/2 – 1 cup per large load (depending on how dirty the clothes are!)

The main difference is that it makes a more manageable 2 gallons (instead of 5 gallons) and you can make it in one big pot on the stove, instead of having to use a 5 gallon bucket.

Here are the two gallons I made today.

homemade laundry soap

———————————–

UPDATE: (10/2/11)

After months of making this laundry soap now….I have started dividing it into THREE gallon jugs instead of TWO.  I was always adding water anyway because it gets very thick! So I just decided to add a 3rd jug and now it seems to be just about right. :-)   Just an FYI!  STILL LOVIN this stuff!

homemade laundry soap

 

If you are a powdered detergent fan…you can also make a DRY version of the exact same soap.  Here is a recipe I found at LittleHouseInTheSuburbs.com:

Powdered Laundry Soap:
2 cups finely grated soap (Ivory, Fels Naptha, Zote, homemade, or a combination)
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda

Mix and store in a coffee can or what have you. Use 1-2 T per load.

Since there is no water added…it is very concentrated and you hardly use any per load!

So….if you have reached the end of your “soap rope” when it comes to the high price of laundry detergent…I would whole-heartedly suggest giving this a try! I’m no math wiz…but from everything I’ve read online…this homemade stuff costs roughly .01-.03 cents a load!  I think I’m safe in saying I will never go back to lugging those big plastic bottles home from the store again.

My next project………..homemade “Oxy Clean“.  I’ll definitely let you know how that turns out as well. :-)


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453 thoughts on “Brand Name Laundry Detergent’s "Last Stand"!

  1. Anonymous

    FYI – If you are using Ivory soap – the easiest way to make powdered soap – put the bar of soap in the microwave for 1 minute and then take out the "glob" and place in a large bowl and place the remaining "core" back in the microwace for an additional minute and repeat – once cooled crushed in your hands and it will make a finr powder – you might want to do this outside and wear a mask – but it is the easiest way to make the powder.

    Reply
    1. Sheri

      Using this method right now. It’s taking 3-4 minutes for each Ivory bar at minute intervals. I opted to put the “glob” into a gallon size zipper bag. You can then easily turn it into powder with limited mess this way. Each bar yields approximately 2 cups of powder. Careful–the glob does get fairly warm.

      Reply
      1. Tanya

        I haven’t tried Naptha but I made the powdered version with the pink Zote… Along with the Zote, the washing soda and borax I also added regular baking soda and oxyclean….this works great!!!. And I made my own softner with vinegar, water and hair conditioner…smells great and the clothes are soft!!!

        Reply
        1. Karen

          Fels Naptha works well in the microwave too – only thing I do different is to cut it up into 1 inch chunks – keeps from having to put the core back in the microwave. I also use the zip bags for crushing – keeps it neater and easier to work with. I like both Ivory and the Fels Naptha soaps.

          Reply
      2. Debbie

        I haven’t tried this yet, but I want to. I have used Fels Napha soap though. It is great for removing stains. When I make this, I will probably use the napha soap for that reason.

        Reply
      3. Suzanne Conrad

        It works great with Fels Naptha. I did 1/2 bar at a time for a total of 90 seconds on 80% power. I flipped it half way through. My very first bar burned in the center on high.No problems since. I put the soap into a zipper bag when it cooled and mainly worked it with my fingers through the bag. Turned into a beautiful powder.

        Reply
        1. Mary

          Cn anyone tell me how well this home made detergent works on whites? My kids’ socks get dingy after a while and I just hate using bleach.

          Reply
          1. Erin

            This works great on whites! My husband was skeptical, but loves how clean his clothes are now. Also, we love how my HE front loader doesn’t smell yucky!

            Reply
      4. Annie

        I used 6 bars of fels naptha grated, 3 cups ea of borax and arm & hammer laundry soap.
        The total cost was about $15.00. I use 1-2 tbsp depending on the size of the load. My clothes smell cleaner and feel better. I also use 1 cup white vinegar for my fabric softener. I use wadded up aluminum foil in my dryer instead of dryer sheets. I have already talked my cousin into using the homemade soap and her husband really like it. I probably have enough homemade laundry soap to last a year.

        Reply
      5. Shelbie Belcher

        Allie. Ive tried it with the Naptha soap and it works perfectly but it smells kinda old fashion (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve smelled it before lol) I like using the pink Zote soap. It smells waay better and a little bit stronger so you actually smell it on your clothes but its not over powering and it works great! Its in the laundry section at walmart where the Naptha soap would be too.

        Reply
      6. sue

        my sis uses sit i used it when i stayed at her house—it is ok but, it does not get out stains, even with shout and or spray and wash

        Reply
      7. Jane S

        I always use Fels Naptha soap. I tried Ivory a couple of times, but my clothes didn’t have as clean a scent when I used that version. My grandmother used it when I was a child in the 1950s, and always swore by it. Great stuff–and very inexpensive!!

        Reply
    2. Melanie

      We started using the dry detergent method a few months ago, and love it! I was so busy one Saturday, that DH offered to help by grating the Ivory soap. He cleverly put the bar in the freezer before grating and found that it worked great. So, you will find bars of Ivory soap in our freezer for that reason. I will have to try the microwave method next.

      Reply
    3. KFox

      If you take a knife and cut the bar into about 4-6 strips then put it in the microwave it will all puff up really nice then dump into a bag to break it appart. you can then use it for laundry soap or just add water and make homemade soft hand soap for your bathroom or body wash….. the possibilities are endless :)

      Reply
  2. Jill Nystul

    Anony…well that is cool! I want to try it just to see how it works. lol. I usually use Fels Naptha…but I'm always willing to try something new! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Tina

      want to try this but can’t find arm & hammer washing soda?? Couldn’t find the fels naptha but you have already answered that with the idea of using any kind of bar soap.

      Reply
      1. Bonnie

        Tina-Fel naptha is at available at Kroger and walmart in the laundry detergent isle. I also found A&H super washing soda in laundry detergent isle at walmart.

        Reply
        1. kissy

          i found fels naptha and washing soda at my local hardware store. i have also tried zote soap (found at mexican grocery stores or 99 cent only stores in CA). target carried borax when i bought it about a year ago. i am sure that walmart would carry it as well! =)

          Reply
            1. Susan

              Just made some over the weekend and it works GREAT, the only issue I have is that it almost turned solid after I put into the gallon containers. I originally made 3 gallons with the recipe above BUT now I am diluting each gallon container into 2. You really have to shake it up once you start to dilute it but it works great and doesnt smell bad once clothes are washed and dried.
              Less than 6.00 total and will end up with a ton of laundry soap.
              Thanks

              Reply
              1. Lana

                I’ve been making and using the “dry” version of this recipe for about six months now and I love it. I just made another batch on Monday and broke the cost down per load and found out it is only costing about .06 per load!!!

                Reply
                1. BeezeyD

                  Hi, When making the dry version, is it 1-2 tsp per load or 1-2 Tablespoons per load? I really want to try this as I feel I am constantly buying detergent. Also, I use Free & Clear, so does that mean I need to use a certain bar of soap or something over the other? Thanks for any info!

                  Reply
                  1. BeezeyD

                    Okay, so after I posted this comment I kept reading and now know it’s Tablespoons per load for the dry detergent and that yes, it should be fine for sensitive skin. Thanks!

                    Reply
                    1. g

                      I don’t mix anything beforehand. At the beginning of the wash cycle, I add 1 tsp of washing soda, 1 tsp of borax, and 1 tsp of Dawn dish detergent (or 1 heaping tsp of grated Zote or other bar soap) to my extra large capacity top loading machine. I’ve been doing this for several months, and it works very well. Storing jugs of mostly water isn’t an option for me.

              2. kristin

                I am going to try the powered method. It also calls for the purex fabric enhancer. Haven’t tried it yet. I hope it works seeing the $$ I have spent on the products.

                Reply
              3. Shelley

                Mine did not turn out. It didn’t thicken up. How long are you supposed to boil it? I boiled it a very long time but it never coagulated. Any suggestions??

                Reply
        1. leigh

          I make the dry version and we loveeeee it! I have used both the fels naphtha and the zote. My family like the smell of the fels naphtha better. I also add 2 large bottles of purex crystals as well. I have used the lavender scent and my sister uses the blue one. They both make your laundry smell FANTASTIC!! I even put a little in a zip-lock baggie and put it under the seat in my suv. My car even smells wonderful! Love it!!

          Reply
          1. Alicia

            I Love the Purex Crystals! I used them before separately but then added them to my homemade liquid laundry soap after it thickened and it gave it the perfect scent!
            I also took new dryer sheets, put a Tbsp of the crystals in the middle and tied it with a small rubber band. I put one in each dresser drawer in the house! Keeps all the clothes smelling so fresh! I hadn’t thought about doing it for the car!

            Reply
      2. Annie

        I get my fels naptha at Wal Mart and my borax and Arm & Hammer there also – In fact – at the Wal Mart I go to – they are right next to each other in the laundy soap aisle.

        Reply
      3. jean

        I find the arm and hammer, fels napha and borax at krogers. I wasn’t crazy about the Fels smell, so this time when I melted the soap I added Gain crystals made to make your clothes smell fresh. It worked out very well and gives your laundry that fresh clean smell!

        Reply
    1. tina

      i have an HE washer and i think it is better for them because if you notice, the HE washing powders and liquid are low suds. since this recipe has hardly any suds at all, it has to be better. i have been using it since February and i love it!!! plus it made the musty smell in my washer go away.

      Reply
      1. Michelle

        I want to give this a try, but my husband is hesitant with the HE machines. I’d hate to hear “I told you so.” =) Still no ill effects on the HE machine?

        Reply
        1. Jenn

          Michelle, I use it in my HE machine and it has not done a thing. In fact, I find the mildew smell is gone so I am not cleaning my washer all of the time. I don’t know why but my HE front loader was just getting stinky and was making me clean it after every load, probably the rubber around the door seal.

          Reply
          1. Susan

            Water gets trapped in the rubber gasket of the front loaders plus under the tub. man. recommends leaving the door open for a while to dry the inside. No more musty smell.
            Putting vinegar about a cup into a load also works to get ride of the smell.
            So glad to have come across a make it yourself great laundry det.
            Thanks

            Reply
            1. Laura

              I have an HE machine I LOVE but the best way to keep the mildew smell away is 1) keep the door open all the time, 2) occasionally take an old towel and wipe out the insides of the rubber seal (it can be pretty nasty if you wait too long to do this and so I just throw it in with a load of dirty jeans) , 3) use a Q-tip to clean out the 3 drain holes at the bottom inside part of the rubber gasket so the water can drain out of the seal, and 4) lastly, get the tablets to rinse out the entire machine and be sure and select the Cotton cycle with Hot water, Extra Rinse Tub Clean. My repairman told me about #3 & #4! The first time I used the tablets I had to do it twice to clean out the washer and get rid of the smell, but it is all worth it for benefits of an upright machine.

              Reply
        2. Lynn Holom

          I’ve been using it in my HE machines for over a year and I do not see any reason why it would be bad for the machine. You can also throw it in the door with the clothes if your worried about putting it in the slot. Try it you’ll like the soap and the savings.

          Reply
          1. leigh

            I have been using the dry version in my he machine and since it does not sud it works great!. Just sprinkle it in the bottom of your tub before adding your clothes.

            Reply
  3. Jill Nystul

    Hi Anony….I have read up on this a LOT…and while there is no clear YES from any manufacturer saying it's just fine to use homemade laundry soap in HE appliances (I suspect they don't want to upset the soap manufacturers)….I have read dozens of comments from people who have HE washers and have been using this stuff for years with no problems. This soap have virtually no suds…(which takes some getting used to at first) so it's actually perfect for HE washers because they require low-sudsing detergent. Bottom line…if I HAD a high efficiency washer…*I* personally would not hesitate to use this. :-) Hope this helps!

    Reply
    1. Ashley Mac

      Would you recommend using the dry detergent or the liquid detergent in the HE washers? Not sure if it matters really but I think some recommend only using liquid.

      Reply
      1. Kelly

        I originally made the liquid recipe using fels naphtha. Now I use the powder recipe because my husband comes home with grease and diesel on his clothes. I needed to be able to use more detergent. The liquid wasn’t concentrated enough for his clothes. I use 3 Tbsp with his work clothes.

        Reply
      2. leigh

        I was told to add the dry detergent to the bottom of the tub instead of putting it in the cup. My washer says to only use the liquid in the cup. So I sprinkle the bottom of my tub with the dry before adding my clothes.

        Reply
  4. Cori

    I followed the directions on your other post (with all of the pictures) and it still said 2 gallon jars so that's what I did. Is it going to be fine or should I somehow change it to 3? I do have an HE front loader so maybe I could just dilute as I put in (except since I don't have a sink near-by it might be a pain. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  5. Jill Nystul

    Elizabeth…I think, Yes. :-)

    Ruth…not dumb at all! I grate the soap using my cheese grater. :-) I use the Fels Naptha soap you can find in the laundry soap aisle of the store…but I've read that many people just use a bar of ivory soap. I actually think whatever kind of soap you have on hand would work.

    Danielle…my hubby is ALWAYS unsure about the "crazy" (like a fox!) stuff I come up with…but he always comes around too! :-)

    Cori…i wouldn't worry about it at all. The first several batches I made were in just 2 bottles. It's just a LOT thicker, making it a little more difficult to "pour" out of the bottle. I would just keep adding water to the bottle each time you use some of the thicker stuff until it's about the consistency you like it. But I really wouldn't worry about diluting it before using. Just use a little less. With it divided into 3 bottles…I tend to use a little MORE each time. Hope this helps!

    Jane….that is awesome! It's nice when the husband gets on board with these things. :-)

    Reply
    1. Tamsyn

      I have been making my own liquid laundry soap for a couple of years and I use the Sunlight bar because I have yet to find Fels-Naptha (I’m in Canada). I just grate it up with a cheese grater like Jill and make around 15 L at a time. I find it does need a shake before using so I use old laundry soap containers like Jill :)

      I have been told by other DIY-ers that you can use glycerin soap as well but don’t use Dove because of the lotions added to it. They leave white marks on your clothing.

      Reply
      1. Demaroge

        Hi Tamysn ~

        You can order Fels-Naptha online if you really want it. It has a nice smell. It has maybe tea tree or eucalyptus oil?… not sure but just a touch of it. I have read that it is not a completely “natural” product so if that is important to you then don’t worry your pretty little head about it, eh. ;)

        Reply
      2. Jane

        I use my own pure castile soap (www.smallbones.ca). It works fine. However, I made the liquid version here & it separates with the powders becoming relatively hard & all the shaking in the world doesn’t help. I even brought it all to a boil a second time, but it still separated in a couple of days. I used to make liquid laundry soap with just grated soap & rain water (for softness) & that works fine, so it’s the powders that cause the problem. I can always add washing soda to especially dirty loads.

        Reply
  6. Anonymous

    Love, love, love your recipe. I made a dry batch with Ivory soap. I grated it, let it dry on waxed paper in the wash room, then used my food processor to mix. I stored it in a plastic container (saved from take out Chinese). When I was at Wal-Mart the other day I picked up a bar of Fel Naptha to use in my next batch. Sat it on the dryer in my wash room and I can't believe how good that stuff smells…like a scented candle burning in there. I'll be checking out your homemade laundry line up soon. A funny thing happend at WM…I usually chat with the lady that answers the phones and monitors the dressing rooms…there was a box of washing soda sitting on her desk. She said someone had called to ask if they carried it. She didn't know what it was. I explained to her about Pinterest and all the goodies on there…love sharing!!! Chat with you later, gator!

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Does this clean as well as Tide with Bleach Alternative? Do your clothes fade or pill? I've used a lot of detergents and always come back to the Tide with Bleach because my clothes don't fade or pill with it. But I don't like the new scents. Also, if you come up with a home made version of Tide's new stain releas in-wash booster PLEASE let me know! That stuff is incredible, takes out stains Oxiclean won't touch, and is very expensive.

    Reply
    1. Karen J Moseley

      I swear by Dawn dish soap! I put a dab on any spots and rub it in. Takes out the stain every time. In the comments above, someone said they always add a tsp. to their wash. I will be trying that. I’m thinking that it would only be for the Whites, as it contains bleach.

      Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Can you use Dove go fresh scented bar soap? Also does it get too thick that you couldn't put it in the old soap containers I keep them sometimes and have them around the house so I was wondering if i could put it in there and dispense it that way? Thank you Becki

    Reply
  9. Julie

    I was wondering for a large load how much detergent you use. Do you divide the soap evenly between the three, one gallon containers, then fill up with water?

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Your second recipe calls for any bar of soap yet from your posts, if I'm following correctly, you are using the Fels Naptha soap. Is the Fels Naptha soap the same size as a bar of soap? Looking at the link for the Fels Naptha soap it appears to be a larger size than the normal bar of soap. Could this be why you are dividing by three gallons rather than two?

    Reply
    1. Kayla

      Fels-Naptha is a 5.5 oz bar. It is longer than most soaps but it’s also skinnier. I personally use Fels-Naptha, but I grew up with it in my Grandmothers house. She uses it to pre-treat stains or wash clothes by hand.

      Reply
    1. Demaroge

      Wal Mart

      I have seen them at Kroger and Publix as well.

      You can order online if you can’t find them locally. Even with shipping it would save you a lot of money….

      Reply
  11. Anonymous

    I am ready to make this in the dry version… but I wanted to know if I will need to use hot water to get the soap to dissolve. I have been reading the posts above have noticed some clumping stated, just wondering if the dry version does this. The only items I wash in hot water are my whites, with bleach… which will hopefully change soon too,
    many thanks from…
    "things are a changing around here…"

    Reply
    1. Kstrack

      I grate my fels naptha with my kitchen aide, I recommend grating it fine, but it dissolves just fine grated thick. Never had clumping problems, I keep it in an air tight container.

      Reply
    2. Anna

      I typically wash with child water as well.I use the dry homemade version and haven’t had any problems. If you like a little more scent, my sister got me started putting gain unstoppables (their little scent crystals) in it and I love it!

      Reply
  12. Jodi~GettingRaw

    I'm SO excited to find your blog- Thank you Pinterest! I've been up late reading thought all your DIY cleaning and laundry posts and can I tell you I have never been so exited to get cleaning things!?! or anxious to run through all my existing store bought stuff. LOL! I guess I have to wait for now (or at least until morning to get started) and then until I run through my supplies. Then I'm off to find some ingredients to get cleaning! Thanks for giving me a whole new outlook on household chores. My hubby won't know what happened to me! ;-)

    Reply
  13. The MacMama

    I love your blog! MOST DEFINITELY keep the great ideas coming. I can't wait to try all of your ideas. I love to make everything from scratch so this blog is right up my alley. Thanks again!

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    I use the water bottle jugs at walmart with the spout on them… found in the rubbermaid isle. I make the detergent in a gallon milk jug and pour it in the water jug. It holds a gallon and a half so there is plenty of room to shake. it sits on top of the washer and I just slide it over the detergent dispenser and open the spout! Very Handy!!

    Reply
    1. Amber Gross

      ah….I just mentioned that myself. Came up with it back in January. Did you pin my pin??? Great minds. I actually have a measuring cup that had a loop in it. The measuring cup hangs on the spout snd I pour in liquid into the cup and voila! I love the dispenser! So I mix my stuff up in the rubbermaid (3 galloon) tub and then funnel into my dispenser. I make half batches at a time so I don’t have to store so much. However, since I have 2 of those beverage dispensers (one stays empty in the fridge) I may simply go ahead and figure out how to have 2 dispensers full of laundry soap. Less pouring in the short run! But really it’s worth the work to save so much money! I’ve only had to make 1 1/2 batches since January and I usually wash anywhere from 12 to 14 loads a week. Love the stuff- love my dispenser!

      Reply
  15. Holly

    I have been making homemade dry laundry detergent for about 6 months now. At first I was hand grating the feltz-naptha THEN my wonderful wonderful hubby suggested I use the food processor to grate the soap! So now I grate the feltz-naptha and the when I get the bar of soap grated I switch to the grinding blade, add the soap, borax and arm and hammer washing powder and pulse! So much easier! Love the homemade dry laundry soap!

    Reply
    1. Joan

      Try putting Fels bar in microwave in 30 minute increments on a plate -salad size is what I used. I cut bar in half – it will swell and have small holes / pores in it. The outside you may have to put back in for 15 to 30 seconds more after you cut out middle swelled part- let it cool then put in processor with blade. It processes easier as it puffs and drys a little.
      Zote soap cut into cubes put on plate for about 1 1/2 minutes until they look somewhat like marshmallows and cool and process with blade.
      Ivory soap makes a glob you remove and you microwave the rest longer until it makes – cool – process with blade or rub hands together to powder. > someone else posted this one for Ivory so I tried the others.

      Reply
      1. Pati

        I made the dry laundry powder tonite and I cut each bar of Fels Naptha in 6 pieces and put about 10 pieces on a paper plate in the microwve for 3 min. then put in the food processor. It turned into a VERY fine powder that mixed GREAT with the rest of the ingredients. I washed clothes tonite for the first time with it and let me say that it is WODNERFUL !!! The towels were fluffy and soft and the entire load smelled wonderful . LOVE IT ! Will NEVER go back to the expensive stuff !

        Reply
        1. Shaina Reynolds

          How many bars of fels did you process for the dry recipe? It says 2 cups grated but I don’t know what that translates too once you put it in the food processor? Did you just use 2 bars? I am planning to make this tomorrow since my Tide is gone! So excited but need to know how much. Please help!

          Reply
  16. Jill Nystul

    Someday I'm going to have to give the dry stuff a try. Just for the heck of it. :-) The food processor sure would be easier! My arm gets tired by the end of the fels naptha bar! lol. That bar of soap is hard as a rock!

    Reply
      1. Jillee Post author

        I think you could just wash it since the fels is just soap. But if you are worried about hurting your food processor you could maybe find a cheap one at a thrift store to use for the soap.

        Reply
        1. Kyra

          Jillee I make the powder version and after grating it with the large grater instead of the small one, I put it in my magic bullet and in about 15 seconds one bar is very finely grated and it blends so much better with the borax and washing soda. I have found this is soooo much easier than mixing with water and/or cooking it. 2 tablespoons per large load. 1 bar of FN in fine powder comes to about 1 1/2 c, plus 3/4 c borax and 3/4 cup washing soda comes to 3 cups total. Using 2 T for a large load comes to about 24 loads per 3 cups….talk about a space saver. I keep it in a zip lock bag right on top of the dryer.

          Reply
  17. Anonymous

    well there is another difference between your first attempt and your second, less water in the recipe means your soap is more concentrated, so unless you use smaller amounts of soap in each load your cost per load has gone up slightly as well… i for one am actually going to try your more concentrated method because i have found that this soap works great on day to day dirty laundry, but it still doesnt work quite as well as brand name, on my husbands heavily dirty greasy work cloths… for that i have still had to keep a small bottle of tide on hand.

    Reply
  18. Anonymous

    This was my firs attempt at making homemade laundry detergent and i can say that it came out great and actually works just as well as the name brands. The only problem i have had, which may not be a problem, is after it sits there are what looks like small chunks that pours out of the bottle when i use it. Is this normal or do i need to do something other than shake it well beforeeach use and let the lumps remain?

    Reply
  19. Becca

    Do you know if there are any recipes that use like Dawn dish soap instead of bar soap? My husband is a mechanic and I was thinking maybe the dish soap would work better on grease??? Really not sure, nor am I sure if you can make laundry soap with the dish soap. I have also made my own oxy and used as a booster……but spot treating really isn't much of an option usually due to the large surface areas affected.

    Also, my first batch came out rather clumpy after it sat between washings. I tried shaking it up, but it is still rather clumpy. Is this normal? Just wanted to make sure.

    Reply
    1. Tamsyn

      I have been told by other DIY-ers that you can add a few drops of dish soap to your load for greasy items but I haven’t tried it myself. Good luck!

      Reply
    2. Sherri P.

      For the liquid soaps made with Fels Naptha (and other soaps, I guess) soap, I have added marbles to the bottom of the bottle of soap. Actually they are from a bag of flower arranging glass “marbles”, not kid’s toy marbles. Anyway, I have several bottles that have pump-tops on them, so I don’t have to worry about the marbles falling out, but I just shake up my soap really well before each use, and it pumps out just fine. When the bottles are almost empty, I simply pour more soap from another bottle without a pump, through a funnel into the empty bottle. Works great!!

      Reply
  20. Jill Nystul

    Becca…you read my mind! I was JUST thinking about that this morning. A reader sent me a "recipe" to try with Dawn and I was going to mix up a batch and try it today. I'll keep you posted! :-)

    A few answers to questions/comments above:

    I add just enough water to the pot to melt the soap, washing soda and borax (keeping in mind it WILL expand. Heat low and slow!) Then I divide THAT between (3) 1 gallon containers, then add the water. See this post for LOTS of pictures! :-)
    http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/01/complete-photo-guide-to-making-your-own.html

    The "lumps/clumps" in the homemade detergent is just fine. Some OCD people (their words, not mine!) will mix it all up with a paint mixer to avoid the clumps…but they don't bother me. :-)

    Melissa…I would definitely try it again. See my Step by Step photo tutorial…it should help a lot! NO MORE $13 TIDE! ;-)

    Gale…I must know where you got linen scented essential oil! That's my favorite type of smelly stuff. :)

    Jeannie….OOPS! Been there, done that!! Bet your stove top was nice a clean afterwards though? :-)

    Tammie R…you are most welcome! So glad you love it as much as I do!

    Reply
  21. Gale

    Jill, I got the Linen scented essential oil at Wal-Mart! I'm loving this laundry soap! Thanks so much for posting the "recipe", along with all of your other useful ideas! Absolutely LOVE your blog!!!

    Reply
    1. Joyce

      Walmart doesnt sell “essential oil” they sell room spray and other oils. If you want real essential oil a craft store will have a varity or you can order online. Real essential oil will always be in a dark glass bottle. hope that helps.

      Reply
  22. SarahF0428

    I just bought all of the ingredients to make it and I am about to try it! Has anyone tried using scented soap (ie. Irish Srping, Dial)? For a better scent maybe? This is probably a dumb question, but could the oils make the clothing greasy?

    Reply
  23. Amanda C.

    Hobby Lobby sells scents specifically for soap making. For the powdered soap, I use a couple drops to make it smell yummy. They have lots of scents, too.

    Okay…back to reading other comments. =)

    Reply
  24. Anonymous

    I made the powder version last night. I was able to find everything I needed at Walmart. I used my food processor and added a few laundry crystals…I was done 5 mins later! My husband was rather impressed by how good it smells.

    Reply
  25. Anonymous

    LOVE it! I just found you through Pintrest today and excited. :)

    I'm curious, has anyone tried to put the liquid into one of the containers that has the "spigot" on it, where you just push the little rubber button to pour it? I think for me with some weakness and disability, that would be easier for me, than to have to lift and pour. Thanks! ~Pamela in Puyallup

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      That is exactly what I do. I mix a batch up, then use a funnel to pour it into my old brand name spiggoted bottle. Give the bottle a shake before each use.

      Reply
  26. Anonymous

    I'm going to buy the supplies today for this. As someone else commented, I was wondering about scented soap. I'm thinking about getting a good scent at Bath and Body Works, but do I need a bar or can I go with liquid body wash? So excited to try this!

    Reply
  27. Anonymous

    Fels Naptha Bar Soap: $.97
    Borax: $3.38
    Washing Soda: $3.24
    3 reusable 1 gallon bottles: $8.31
    End result: 3 gallons of laundry detergent, with enough ingredients left over to make this batch another 7 times, with a total cost of $15.90.

    Basically, $0.61 per gallon of laundry detergent. (ingredients only)
    Cost of one gallon of Tide at Walmart: $15.33 (calculated per ounce)

    Feeling so self satisfied: Priceless.

    Reply
  28. MandaRoo

    Oh I am SO excited to try this. Hittin target this afternoon! I'll have to go for powdered soap because we don't have any big pots. Would a scented soap work alright? I love just a hint of the floral smell but my hubs and son are sensitive to perfumed detergents but neither seem to have an issue with scented bar soap :)

    (also I'm right in the middle of following your "clean dishwasher" instructions, so happy to have found this blog!)

    Reply
    1. Tamsyn

      I use an old 15 L tub to mix it all in and add the boiling water to the dry. Stir and let it sit in between pots of water so it doesn’t foam over.

      Reply
    1. Demargoe

      Mix it with a hand blender otherwise known as a “stick” blender. If you don’t have one ask your closest male with a drill if he has a paint mixer attachment! You could whisk it if your arms need a workout!

      Reply
  29. Tasha

    I am going to try this and I have a front loading H.E. machine. I think this would be perfect for H.E machines because the only difference between regular soap and H.E soap is that it has been formulated to suds up less. The soapy suds from regular soap can build up and leave a nasty residue in your machine. Those are the words of my owners manuall.

    Reply
    1. tina

      you wont be disappointed. i have been using a powder version since February and i love it!!! the musty smell that was in my washer is gone now. i think it is the best thing i have ever made. i will never buy laundry detergent again.

      Reply
  30. yellowrose

    @mandymel5… I heated mine in the pot while stirring all the time just until the soap shreds dissolved. I should have gone with the suggested 3 gallon containers instead of the two because once it had cooled completely, it thickened and set up like jello! :-)… When I went back to use it, I had to work and work to thin it down enough to divide the first bottle off into another jug so that I could then thin them a little more. Do, indeed, go with at least 3 containers and leave enough head room that you can thin it more, if needed. I'm pleased with the job it does cleaning, though. Even worked well on my husband's nasty, nasty white socks that he wore while mowing. Has anyone else had the problem with it thickening up so much?

    Reply
  31. Jeni

    Having used a recipe similar to this religiously for the past year and a half (Thanks Grams!), I have a few things to add to this already amazing recipe! 1) I throw my soap bars into the freezer for a few hours in a zip-loc bag before using my hand grater. I do this to make really small flakes that easily dissolve in cold water and to keep the soap from dissolving on my hands 2) For those of you using a food processor to grate your soap, toss in 1/2 cup of baking soda with your soap chunks. It helps keep the soap from gumming up the blades AND it helps soften the water a bit more

    Reply
  32. ruth

    I have tried several homemade laundry soaps . Think I will try the dry one next . The one I am using now is from the website whitesilkpurse.com this is just the same as the ones you use water with and you let it set for 8 hrs and them put in a food processor and whip it comes out looking like butter and you use 1-2 T per load works good , but think will try the dry one next . really like every thing on your blog. you have a way of connecting.

    Reply
  33. Trisha

    Do not use baking soda; it is definitely not the same as washing soda. I have been using the Fels-Naptha recipe in my HE washing machine for almost a year now and am so happy with it. It has a nice clean smell, gets the clothes clean and is so cheap to make. I make mine in a 5 galllon bucket with a lid and just refill an old empty bottle (that previously held commercial laundry soap). It does tend to clump, but a quick shake before opening takes care of the problem. Doesn’t really seem to matter if its “clumpy” though; works great.

    Reply
  34. Karen

    I’ve been using homemade laundry detergent for almost a year now. I raise and show dogs and have LOTS of nasty, dog towels and bedding. It works great! A friend of mine made a suggestion which has REALLY helped with getting the dirtest things clean – add a little TSP (tri sodium phosphate) in the formula. You can get it at the paint section of Home Depot or Lowes or a place that sells pool supply stuff. It has made all the difference.

    Reply
  35. Elizabeth Orrick

    I made my first batch of this soap – I did 1 cup of baking soda ($2 for 10 cups) baked at 300 deg for 1 hour and added it to a cup of borax ($4 for a 5 lbs box) and a full bar of fels naphtha soap ($1) grated and added to a gallon of water and heated until combined. When it cooled I added equal parts of hot tap water to the container I was going to use right away (50% soap 50% water) and poured the remainder into a 1/2 gallon canning jar for storage. I used it on my worst load- kid clothes, dishtowels, cleaning rags, all of them came out perfectly cleaned and unharmed- I used it on my delicates in a tub with 2 tablespoons of soap and a gallon of warm water everything again unharmed, and clean. I think I’ll switch to this for good- Thanks so much for saving us so much money. Usually a gallon of liquid soap lasts us about 6-8 weeks and with all the allergies and sensitivities we buy “free and clear” costing about $20. This ends up being less than $1 a gallon. savings of $19 a gallon- over $200 a year. I’m pleased- beyond pleased- ecstatic with this. THANK YOU.

    Reply

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