This post originally appeared on Hipster Housewife.
So one day after we moved this fall, my husband sent me an email. It contained a link to a Lifehacker video about how easy it is to make laundry soap and its subject was “LET”S DO THIS!!!!!”. I watched it and was immediately convinced that we had to try making our own laundry detergent. I am here to tell you that it was a huge success and you should try it, too.
But Cat! Why would anyone want to make laundry soap? We can buy it at any store.
Friends, the benefits to making your own laundry soap are many:
- It’s super cheap.
- It’s phosphate free.
- You can control the scent of your detergent.
- You can feel awesome and self-reliant when you make it.
Part one: INGREDIENTS
You only need three things for this product: Fels-Naptha Soap, Washing Powder and Borax.
I did have a bit of trouble finding these, even though they’re super basic cleaning materials. With more patience I’m sure I’ll have zero problem getting a local hardware store to order the washing soda and Naptha in.
I ordered the Fels-Naptha soap on Amazon, and ended up ordering the washing soda as well. Borax was easier to find. The soap and washing powder were quite a bit more expensive online than they should have been. Still, I spent a total of $16 on enough supplies to make soap for less than five cents an ounce. That’s about half of the best price on Amazon.
Two: MAKING SOAP
THIS WAS SO EASY. Do you see those capital letters?
I used a slightly different recipe — same ingredients, different proportions. This recipe makes about 2.5 gallons of soap, not the 5 from the recipe in the video.
First, grate up a third of the Naptha bar. Dissolve in 6 cups hot water on the stove. When dissolved, add 1/2 cup each of Borax and washing soda.
Add the soap mixture to 26 cups of hot water in a five gallon bucket. Stir.
Let the mixture gel for a day and you’ve got about 2.5 gallons of soap.
I stored the fresh soap in three clean two liter bottles, and we use about a half cup per load.
Really, all my concerns were alleviated once I tried out the soap:
- I was unhappy that I’d ordered a scented Fels-Naptha. You can definitely smell the soap, and I don’t like perfumey scents — but it’s so mild that you can’t smell it on the clean laundry. A friend recommended that I try adding a tea tree oil in the next batch — and I think I will! What’s better than my own custom laundry scent?
- Some recipes suggested that homemade laundry soap isn’t good for stains. Now, we’re not a super stained household, but I haven’t noticed a problem.
The soap goes a looooong way, and we’re definitely saving money over other laundry detergents — especially unscented ones, which are usually marked up. But the savings and eco-happiness are dwarfed by the fact that every single time I do laundry I’m like, “DAMN, girl! You made this!”