DIY Laundry Soap for a Penny a load

I have been making my own laundry soap for several years now. I originally got the idea to try it when a friend posted a link on Facebook about it. (This was pre-Pinterest people.) The reason I tried it was because it was cheap, easy and I love that it eliminates a lot of unknown chemicals from our lives and wastewater. I have continued making it because it is cheap, easy and I still love not having those chemicals in our lives.

This recipe uses only four ingredients. Washing soda, Borax powder, bar soap and water. I double the original recipe and end up with about 4 gallons of laundry soap.


First you grate up your bar soap. I use my mini food processor. I usually just grate up the whole bar of soap and measure out the amount I need and put the rest in a baggy or container for future batches. If using Fels Naptha then you would use 2/3 of the bar or Zote you would use 1/4 of the bar, which equals about 2 cups of grated soap. A soap like Ivory, Dr. Bronner’s or homemade, use two whole bars.


Next you put approximately 2 cups of grated soap and 8 cups of water in a pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the soap is melted into the water. Next add 1 cup of Washing Soda and 1 cup of Borax powder. Stir until they are dissolved. (Usually takes a minute or two.) Remove the pot from the heat.


Put 8 cups of hot tap water into a 5 gallon bucket or pail. Next dump in the mixture from the pot on the stove. Now add 44 cups more of water.


The whole process takes about 15 minutes.

Let it sit over night. I highly recommend covering your bucket or putting it somewhere out of the way lest your child fall into it (yes that really happened) or your curious, and not so smart dog, drink it (also really happened).


The next day your soap will have gelled at the top. Different bar soaps will have different amounts of gelling. Now you stir your soap so the gel breaks up and mixes in to the watery rest. I usually hit it with my immersion blender and that mixes it up nicely. If you only mix it with a spoon you will most likely have some gelly lumps but that is fine. It washes clothes all the same.


Ladle your soap through a funnel into some empty containers. I use some empty OJ containers. It will bubble and foam up a bit as you get to the top so you may want to do this over a sink or a towel. Especially if you have a propensity towards making messes as. I do. Once full, rinse your bubbly mess off your containers, cap them and your soap is ready to use.


Pour 1/2 cup into each load of laundry. I also use a downy washer ball with white vinegar in it for fabric softener.

Now for the cost break down:
Bar soap (varies depending on what soap you use) Fels Naptha $1.29 (makes 1 1/2 batches) So $0.86 per batch.
Washing Soda $3.49 for a 55 oz. box = 6 1/2 cups per box So $0.54 per batch.
Borax powder $3.79 for 76 oz. box = 11 cups per box So $0.36 per batch.
Water free-ish
For a grand total of $1.76 for four gallons of laundry soap.
Using 1/2 cup for each load that is 128 loads. Which works out to $0.01 per load.
A pretty great value if you ask me. And you have complete control over the ingredients.

Quicky, easy, cheap. Love it!


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