Monday, January 2, 2012

DIY Laundry Soap

*****UPDATE (1/31/12) FOUND HERE*****

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Since we are almost done with our last bottle of laundry soap and I am trying to make more of my own cleaners this year I decided to set out and gather the ingredients for DIY laundry soap.  It was way cheaper than I thought it would be and that made me one happy momma!  I scoured the Internet for all different types of laundry soap until I found one which I felt would best suit my families needs.  I have a tomboy 10 year old daughter who is always climbing in trees and running around outside getting full of dirt, grime, and grass stains.  I also have a very busy 3 year old boy who gets into everything possible from food, paints, markers, and anything else you can imagine.  The best recipe I found was on a blog called Being Creative to Keep my Sanity.  She seems to have the same issues with kids getting messy :)  There are many other recipes I found as well, Tip Nut seems to have the most variety for different laundry soap recipes.  I prefer powder detergent so that cut my list down dramatically.  You can see there are many more for liquid soap than there are for the powder version.

Here is a breakdown of cost for the version I made:

1 - 3lb 7oz Box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda $3.24
1 - 4lb 12oz Box of Borax $3.38
1 - 2lb Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda $1.19
2 - Sun Oxygen Cleaner (off brand OxiClean) $3.92
3 - Fels Naptha Soap Bars $2.91

Total Cost: $14.64

I found all these items at WalMart in the laundry section except for the baking soda.  That I found in the baking isle.  You will notice in my recipe I only used 2 lbs of baking soda where as the one I was referenced called for 4 lbs.  Honestly, my WalMart didn't have the 4 lb box and from everything I read the baking soda is mainly to help if you have hard water or well water which we have neither so instead of skipping it altogether I decided to just use half of what she called for.  Also, if you are not brave like me you can half this or reduce it for your trial.

Just to give you an idea of how much this recipe makes when I placed the soap in my containers they yielded 7.5 quarts.  That is a lot of soap!  To try and figure the cost it got a little tricky.  I have no way of really knowing how many loads I will get out of them other than to do a google conversion into tablespoons.  That means there are 480 TBS in 7.5 quarts.  Each load will only require 1-2 TBS depending on the size and filth of the load.  Since I know my family will make messes I will estimate 300 loads meaning more often than not I will probably use 2 TBS.  That means $0.05 per load!  Definitely a money saver and it takes less than 30 minutes to make!

Here's a little comparison for you:

Tide Original Powder, 80 loads 116-ounce:  $21.99 or $0.27/load
Gain Original Powder, 150 load 172-ounce:  $30.99 or $0.21/load
Cheer BrightClean Powder, 120 loads 169-ounce:  $33.17 or $0.28/load
Arm and Hammer Powder, 100 loads 6.61 lbs:  $16.94 or $0.17/load

That's enough for me to spend 30 minutes making laundry soap!  Here is how you make it:
  • Use a hand held grater (the finest one) to get your soap into the consistency of shredded cheese.
It should look like this...pretty much like cheese, but don't eat it LOL
This is the most time consuming step and really where all the work is, but it's really worth it.  I even recruited my daughter to help and she was VERY eager.  In all fairness she was just trying to extend her bed time since it was approaching rather quickly ;)
  • You will need a large 5 gallon bucket to do the rest.  I forgot to pick one up so I enrolled my husband to help me mix it in a garbage bag.  Just dump everything in and mix well.  It's really that easy! 
NOTE:  Anyone who has respiratory issues may want to use a mask.  This is a fine powder and just as you would with any other soap product you do not want to inhale or ingest.  Just remember the people who work in factories making these types of detergents use protective equipment so you may want to just as a precaution. 
Mixed powder laundry soap
  • Once everything is fully mixed you will need to transfer the soap into containers.  I had some old containers we used for snacks and cereal in the past  with a screw top so I know they will stay closed tightly.  I also saved one of the Oxygen containers for easy transport to the laundry facility (we are in an apartment and don't have our own right now).
Laundry Soap with scoop and for ease of transporting
I completed my first 3 loads and the verdict is.................IT WORKS!  I had a Kool-Aid stained sheet from my son and I purposely did not pre-soak it because I wanted to know how the new soap would hold up.  I am satisfied so far.  My clothes did not smell.  There was actually no scent at all, but that was done purposely so I could tell how clean the clothes really were.

I did not use any vinegar or other rinse aid with my initial loads, but most likely will add some sort of pretty smells in the future.  You can always add fabric softener or vinegar to your rinse cycle, downy ball, or fabric softener compartment if you wish.  The true test to me was whether or not the clothes would come out stain free, odor free, and just overall clean.  I am thinking I will add essential oil scented vinegar for the pretty smells :) 

I know there are lots of questions out there about making your own laundry soap.  And I wish I had the answer for everyone.  I found a great FAQ section HERE.  If you still can't find your answer feel free to ask me and I will do my best to answer any questions you have.

I am hoping this is a sign of good things to come, but as with everything else in life you need to find what works for your family.  If you have hard water you will want more baking soda.  If you have allergies or sensitivities only use what you know will not irritate your skin.  Test small amounts and play with it until you find what works for you.

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  1. I've been wanting to try this, one of these days I will get around to it. Some of the stuff we get irritates me. Anyway, my name is Sarah, I found you at Blog Hop Thursday and am following via GFC, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Feel free to stop by and follow back.


  2. Welcome Sarah! We are LOVING this so far. It gets the clothes clean and the great thing is if you do have sensativities to perfumes, dyes, etc that you can control all that. It is really easy to make and very affordable too!

  3. wow amazing
    new follower of ur blog
    now follow my blog

  4. This looks awesome! Thanks for linking up at my Pinned it, Made it! Party :) This was the most viewed link this week!! Drop by and grab a Featured Button :D

    1. That's awesome! Thanks so much for hosting :) What a great linky party!

  5. Hi Erika,
    I've been making the liquid version of this is 5 gallon buckets. I'm going to try your powder now! It would be easier for me to store! Nice blog btw! I just started mine and you give me inspiration! If you have any suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them!

    His Frugal Wife

    1. I really like the powder because it is so much easier to store. I have never tried the liquid, but the powder is working great :)

      Thanks so much for the kind words and I am happy to give inspiration. I wish I could be more help about blogging, but I recently started actually reaching out. The best way to get the word out is to get into social media. Create a facebook page, twitter account, etc for your blog. Also link up to "linky parties". Other bloggers are usually the most appreciative to what you are doing :)

      One of my favorite sites is Frugality is Free. She has some great blogging tips! Check her site out. Here is the direct link to the blogging tips.

  6. thanks for the powder recipe. I didn't want liquid because I can spill anything, I'm such a klutz! looking forward to trying this.

    1. I completely understand! I do the same thing :) I hope you like it! We are loving it and have no plans on changing it anytime soon


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