I’m always looking for new ways to save money on common household expenses, and several months ago a reader on this blog shared with me a link (to Jammerill’s site Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling here ) on how to make your own homemade laundry soap. I’ll admit that I was a little dubious of this idea. After all, years ago, when I still had very young children, I had some kind of recipe for laundry soap, and it didn’t work very well…or maybe we just had lots more stains back then.
I’ve been using this for several months now, and recently had to make a fresh 10 gallon batch of it. The results are in: I love it. More impressive: hubby loves it.
While talking with him about needing to make some, he said to me, “What have you been using for the laundry lately?”
“Why? Do you love it or hate it?” I was cringing inside, hoping he wasn’t going to say that he didn’t like the texture or smell or something. Personally, I thought the clothes felt, smelt, and looked better than ever, but you never know.
“Oh, whatever soap you’ve been using, everything is so much cleaner and they feel nice too!”
He was pretty surprised that I was using the homemade laundry soap. He works in tool and die, and so clothing takes a beating with him, and there is often small grease stains on his work clothes. So, for a guy to even have noticed is saying a lot.
Even more impressive is the price. All of the ingredients all together were $11.42, with sales tax, and that was enough ingredients to make a dozen batches (except for needing an additional bar of fels naptha). that may not sound like a savings, because as you probably know, name brand laundry soap is about that much on sale. The difference is, this will make many 10 gallon batches. I have since found those other ingredients cheaper at another store.
Putting my math skills to the test, I discovered that a 10 gallon batch of soap came out to around $2.15! Even with coupons and sales, I can’t top that.
It seems, lately, that everyone is making this. Or, maybe it just seems that way.
This past weekend, I had to buy a bar of Fels-Naptha to make my fresh batch, and saw a well dressed, professional-looking woman with the exact same recipe in her hand, looking for the ingredients at a grocery store near us. Being a sociable sort of person, she and I started talking, and she was excited to try this, as her household income had crashed around 40% this past year , so like everyone else, she’s looking for ways to save. Her sister told her about this recipe. She was laughing about making it because she said she burns food and isn’t very domestic, but I assured her that this was pretty no-brainer. The hardest part is grating the fels-naptha, and that’s only because I usually wind up taking parts of my knuckles off when using a box grater.
The biggest word of caution is to use a pot big enough when cooking down the fels-naptha or you’ll wind up with an extrodinarly clean stove top. hee hee.
Making Homemade Laundry Soap:
The ingredient list is simple. Most grocery stores now carry these items, but if your’s doesn’t, then check the local hardware store.
- 1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap (be around $1 – $1.30)
- 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (should be about $5 dollars for a box)
- 1 cup of Borax (again, should be about $5 a box)
Start by grating the bar of Fels-Naptha, adding 4 cups of water, and setting it over low heat until melted, stirring frequently. This does tend to boil over, so as I said, use a larger than apparently needed pot.
In a large bucket or container with a lid (I used a 10 gallon Rubbermaid storage tub), mix about 5 gallons of hot tap water, the washing soda and borax. Stir it well until everything is dissolved. Pour in the melted Fels Naptha.
Put a lid on it, and let it set overnight to gel.
I use my laundry soap in a 1 gallon jar, refilling from this tub as needed. I fill the jar 1/2 way with soap gel, then the rest of the way with tap water. Then I put the lid on and shake. Add essential oils if desired.
For top loaders, use 2/3rds of a cup of soap. For front loaders, use 1/4 cup. If necessary, I pre-treat with oxyclean which I stock up on with coupons whenever I can.
Homemade Dryer Sheets
Another tip from Jammerill’s site, which I’ve also enjoyed, is homemade dryer sheets. I took a few cheap sponges (dollar store) and cut them in half (so as to denote what we were using them for — I didn’t want them to wind up in my kitchen sink)…and an old ice cream pail…and some fabric softener that I got on an extreme deal with coupons and sales….After pouring the fabric softener on the sponges, I then filled the fabric softener bottle up with water 1 1/2 more times to dilute the fabric softener. When we throw something into the dryer, I wring out a sponge, and toss it in.
If you’re using essential oils in your laundry soap, make sure you pick a complimentary scent for the fabric softener.