Thursday, May 6, 2010

homemade laundry soap

i keep losing my recipe for laundry soap, so i'm going to put it in my blog. a lady i met on a women's retreat last year told me all about making her own laundry detergent. she has 3 little boys and a husband to wash clothes for, which can get pretty expensive. i started making it, and then got my mom into making her own too. the ingredients are so cheap, i think it ends up costing just a few cents per load of laundry. there are several recipes out there, but i like this one.

* 1 bar of ivory soap, or 1/2 bar of zote
* 1/2 cup arm & hammer washing soda (not to be confused with arm & hammer laundry detergent or baking soda - the washing soda comes in a yellow box)
* 1/2 cup borax
* a few drops of essential oils (optional)
i think i found the washing soda and borax in the laundry detergent isle of the grocery store. to be extra thrifty, you can buy it in bulk at sam's club or costco.

1. grate the bar of soap and place it in a large pot (or use a small pot and then transfer everything to a large bucket for step 5)

2. add about 6 cups of water to the pot and heat, stirring, on the stove until the soap melts/dissolves

3. add the washing soda and borax, stir until dissolved

4. remove from heat

5. add about 26 cups (1 gallon + 10 cups) of hot water to the mixture, stir. the total volume will end up being about 2 gallons.

6. add a few drops of essential oils if you want a specific scent. this is optional - it just smells nice and clean without any oils.

7. let the mixture sit for at least 8 hours to gel. it will look and feel kind of gross and snotty after it gels, but that's normal. you might need to get your hands in it and squish up any big clumps to be able to transfer it to bottles.

8. transfer the detergent to empty bottles (leftover store-bought detergent bottles work great!)

9. use 1/2 cup detergent per load of laundry. shake the bottle before pouring it out, as the soap separates a little when it's just sitting there. the soap will not make suds when you run a load, but that's ok - it washes laundry just as well as the store-bought stuff.

hooray for saving money! also, it's good for the environment, so you can be politically correct. :-P


  1. Haha, nice! I think if I did it, I'd at the essential oils. Just because I like them.

  2. the zote at my store comes in 7 and 14 oz . so is it half of 7 or half of 14?

  3. i'm pretty sure it would be half of the 7 oz. i've actually never used zote, but my mom has. i think she used too much of it once and the detergent came out too thick. there are lots of recipes online, so you could look at a few of them and see what proportions other people have used. here are a few websites: