He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

06 January 2011

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

"I did it! I did it! I said that I would do it and indeed I did!"

Sorry, please pardon my over-excitement. I'm just glad to have finally run out of the store bought stuff thus I was "forced" to make my own! Why bother? For one, it's significantly less expensive! The Simple Dollar did a comparison and discovered that Tide With Bleach Alternative broke down to roughly .20 cents per load while this recipe rounded off at .02 cents per load. More importantly, for me, I like to know what goes into the products I use; especially when those products are up against my family's skin and potentially absorbed or breathed in by them all day.

I considered this to be simple. I did lots of research on how to do it. Originally I heard about it from a friend who heard about it on the Duggar family's website. Their recipe was a bit vague so I went online for some tutorials on youtube.com. YouTube did not disappoint. Though all of them have the same or very similar ingredients, the methods all vary a little. I specifically reviewed these three and adapted them al:
The Guy With The Iowa Wine
The Lady with The Great Soundtrack
The Not So Interesting But Informative Lady

Okay, enough with the chatting... here you go!

What You'll Need:
1 bar Fels Naptha {Any pure soap will do. I've even heard castille soap works.}
1 c washing soda {This is not the same as baking soda! See above picture.}
1/2 c borax
{I purchased all of the above in the laundry section at my local grocery store. You can usually find pure soap at the dollar store.}
6 c warm water
5 gallon bucket with lid {got ours from Home Depot}

What To Do:
Grate your bar of soap using a box grater. {I used Fels Naptha soap which was fairly soft so this took me less than five minutes to do.}

In a large soup pan mix all ingredients. {Be careful with the borax, it has been known to irritate breathing in it's powder form. I had no problems, I just avoided leaning over the box when I opened it or scooped it out. Consider using gloves while handling it.}Bring to a boil. You want a pot with tall sides because as this comes to a boil it foams a bit.
Turn the burner down to a simmer and simmer for 10 or so minutes. This just allows all ingredients to dissolve and mix. Stir periodically to incorporate.
Add about a gallon worth of warm/hot water to your 5 gallon bucket {easiest to do this in your bathtub}. Add soap mixture. Stir with a large spoon {I felt comfortable using a metal spoon from the kitchen to do this}. Fill the bucket the rest of the way with hot water and stir again.
Let sit in a warm spot for 24 hours. {I left my bucket in the tub for a day so that it was out of the way.}
After 24 hours you'll find that your liquid is a large batch of jello-like stuff. {I assumed the jello-y stuff was on the surface. Oh no, my friend, it goes all the way to the bottom of the bucket!}
Now comes the part where you have options....
Out of everything I read and watched I found no consistency in the concentration of usage. In other words, you can use 1/4 c of the congealed mix straight from your bucket or you can consider it a concentrate and dilute it by half with water. {We don't usually have heavily soiled clothing, even with the kids, so I opted to dilute it.}
To dilute it, the bucket "blob" needs to be stirred and broken up. A spoon just didn't cut it here so I dug my arm in and mixed it by hand. {As a person with sensitive skin I expected to irritate my skin but I had no reaction.} I broke all the large chunks down, by hand {maybe 5 minutes of mixing} then filled an old plastic liquid detergent bottle half-way with the soap, using a funnel, and filled it the rest of the way with hot water. I put the lid on the rest of the detergent left in the 5 gallon bucket and put it in the basement for when I need more.
This stuff does separate when it sits so I need to shake the bottle before dispensing it but I've been using 1/4 c per load and have haven't noticed a difference from my usual detergent. I'll keep you posted.


  1. I haven't bought laundry detergent in five years. We had bought a water softner system for our house in OK shortly after we moved in and it came with cases of soap. (laundry soap, dish soap, shampoo, concentrated cleaning solution, etc.) I'm just about out of my laundry soap and was not looking forward to having to add detergent back into the budget so I think I'm going to have to give this a go! Yeah for Krystle's genious!!! Tim will probably think I'm crazy, but I'll deal with that later. ;-) Oh and if you are ever down this way, I have a speaking engagement for you! (non-paid though). I your clean-living stuff would be a great challenge for our MOPS group.

  2. Okay... just checking... just in case :)

  3. Um I accidentally used baking soda.(it was right next to the washing soda) do you know if this will cause problems

  4. Probably no harm, baking soda is good to soften the clothes, but won't do the same job in cleaning as washing soda


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