Homemade Laundry Soap Detergent Recipes

Remember making your own laundry detergent is a discipline and it’s not for everyone, but it definitely saves money. Quantity Verses Quality: You’ve probably noticed most of these recipes have you putting anything from 1 tablespoon to ½ cup of the completed mix into each wash. Don’t panic! Remember these recipes are tailored to be safe, effective with greasy mechanic workware (compliments of my husband), and most importantly “Green”. Given that most commercial laundry detergents use a lot of fillers and chemical additives that are not good for the environment (or cloth diapers/sensitive skin) it makes sense they ask that far more detergent be added to the wash to get the right results. There’s also a difference between a detergent and a soap- soaps often bubble while detergents need soap additives to bubble- and bubbles means build-up, not cleaning action! Don’t worry if your recipe does not bubble, it’s still cleaning. Although several of the recipes have the same ingredients, the measurements are different–some contain a higher soap to water ratio. Test and see which works best for your laundry needs. For the bar soaps required in the recipes, you could try Fels-Naptha, Ivory soap, Sunlight bar soap, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile, and Zote. Don’t use heavily perfumed soaps. Washing Soda and Borax can normally be found in the laundry and cleaning aisles. Some people with really hard water or well water may have to adjust the recipes if the clothes look dingy. Containers: If you can get your hands on a few empty liquid laundry detergent bottles they work great for storing the detergent. Just make a big batch and pour in bottles, cap then use as needed–shake before use. Some of the recipes call for large amounts of water. Check with a local restaurant to see if they have any empty large pails from deep fryer oil–that’s how many restaurants buy the oil. See if you can have one or two of the pails after they’ve emptied it–just wash them out really well before using. They’re big, heavy plastic and very sturdy when stirring the soap and hot water. Cloth Diapering Note: Recipes Specifically for cloth diapers are notated with “CD Recipe”, are tested and will not affect the absorbency of your dipes. Most homemade laundrysoap recipes are NOT good for dipes. Grated bar soap, which is true soap, should never be used for dipes because it will cause buildup (you can use detergent, not soap, they're not the same thing). Build-up can seriously affect absorbency. For use with powdered detergents essential oils are added directly to the washing machine water before adding material, very common with cloth diapering. Remember to go easy on additions of oils as they may affect the absorbency of your dipes, limit to two-three drops per wash. Liquid Detergents Note: Soap will be lumpy, goopy and gel-like. This is normal. Just give it a good stir before using. Make sure soap is covered with a lid when not in use. You could also pour the homemade soap in old (and cleaned) laundry detergent bottles and shake well before each use. Options: Essential oils like Tea Tree and Lavender are often used to deodorize and help eliminate bacteria. You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade laundry detergent. Add once the soap has cooled to room temperature. Stir well and cover.

Recipe #1
Andrea Erickson 12/11/2008 From Internet and Verbal Sources

1 quart Water (boiling) 2 cups Bar soap (grated) 2 cups Borax 2 cups Washing Soda • • • • Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted. Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved. Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed. Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).

Recipe #2 Hot water 1 cup Washing Soda 1/2 cup Borax 1 Soap bar • • • Grate the bar soap and add to a large saucepan with hot water. Stir over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. Fill a 10 gallon pail half full of hot water. Add the melted soap, Borax and Washing soda, stir well until all powder is dissolved. Top the pail up with more hot water. Use 1 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).

Recipe #3 Hot water 1/2 cup Washing Soda 1/2 cup Borax 1/3 bar Soap (grated) • • • In a large pot, heat 3 pints of water. Add the grated bar soap and stir until melted. Then add the washing soda and borax. Stir until powder is dissolved, then remove from heat. In a 2 gallon clean pail, pour 1 quart of hot water and add the heated soap mixture. Top pail with cold water and stir well. Use 1/2 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).

Powdered Laundry Detergent - Recipe #4 2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (finely grated - you could also try the other bar soaps listed at the top) 1 cup Washing Soda 1 cup Borax • Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.
Andrea Erickson 12/11/2008 From Internet and Verbal Sources

Use 2 tablespoons per full load.

Recipe #5 Hot water 1 bar (4.5 oz) Ivory Soap - grated 1 cup Washing Soda • • • • • In a large saucepan add grated soap and enough hot water to cover. Heat over mediumlow heat and stir until soap is melted. Fill a large pail with 2.5 gallons of hot water, add hot soap mixture. Stir until well mixed. Then add the washing soda, again stirring until well mixed. Set aside to cool. Use 1/2 cup per full load, stirring well before each use (will gel)

Recipe #6 2.5 gallons Water (hot) 1 Bar soap (grated) 3/4 cup Washing Soda 3/4 cup Borax 2 TBS Glycerin • • • Melt bar soap over medium-low heat topped with water, stir until soap is melted. In a large pail, pour 2.5 gallons of hot water, add melted soap mixture, washing soda, borax and glycerin. Mix well. Use 1/2 cup per full load.

Recipe #7 2 cups Bar soap (grated) 2 cups Washing Soda 2 - 2.5 gallons hot water • • • Melt grated soap in saucepan with water to cover. Heat over medium-low heat and stir until soap is dissolved. Pour hot water in large pail, add hot soap and washing soda. Stir very well. Use 1 cup per full load.

Recipe #8 2 gallons Water (hot) 1 bar Soap (grated) 2 cups Baking soda (yes baking soda this time–not washing soda) • • • Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until soap is melted. In a large pail, pour 2 gallons hot water. Add melted soap, stir well. Then add the baking soda, stir well again.
Andrea Erickson 12/11/2008 From Internet and Verbal Sources

Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.

Powdered Laundry Detergent - Recipe #9 12 cups Borax 8 cups Baking Soda 8 cups Washing Soda 8 cups Bar soap (grated) • • Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub. Use 1/8 cup of powder per full load.

Recipe #10 - (Powdered) 1 cup Vinegar (white) 1 cup Baking Soda 1 cup Washing Soda 1/4 cup liquid castile soap • • Mix well and store in sealed container. I find it easiest to pour the liquid soap into the bowl first, stirred in the washing soda, then baking soda, then added the vinegar in small batches at a time (the recipe foams up at first). The mixture is a thick paste at first that will break down into a heavy powdered detergent, just keep stirring. There may be some hard lumps, try to break them down when stirring (it really helps to make sure the baking soda isn’t clumpy when first adding). I used 1/2 cup per full load with great results.

CD- Recipe #11 - (Added directly to wash water) 1-3 Tbs washing soda 1/2 Tbs Simple Green (usually 4 squirts) • Put above into washer as it fills (don’t try to mix them together first or you’ll end up with a brick!)
• Vinegar 1/2 - 1 cup WHEN ABSOLUTLY NEEDED

CD- Recipe #12 - (Powdered)
1 cup Washing Soda 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax 1 cup Oxyclean Free • Mix it well and Combine in a sealed container. • Use 2 tablespoons for a small load, 1/4 cup for a large load.

CD- Recipe #13 - (Powdered)
1 55 oz. box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 1/2 cup Mule Team Borax 2 Cups Oxygen Cleaner-She recommends Sun ($5 @ Dollar General) 1/2 cup Simple Green 1/2 cup Calgon Water Softening Powder • Combine into a sealed bucket and mix well. Andrea Erickson 12/11/2008 From Internet and Verbal Sources

• •

Use 1 heaping scoop (1/8 cup) for diapers, 2 scoops for regular laundry. After the maker used this for a while she had to increase to 2 scoops for diapers, 3-4 for regular laundry....you will probably have to experiment a bit to see what works best with your water.

What Is This Stuff??: Pictures and a few explanations.
Zote Laundry Soap Bar: Made by the (Fabrica de Jabon) La Corona Company in Mexico, ZOTE is a laundry soap made with coconut oil and tallow. In the case of blue ZOTE It contains salt (sodium chloride), glycerin, perfume, optical brightener and dye. Found in most Mexican stores and discounted market places (Dollar Tree, 99 Only Superstore). Oddly enough some use it as catfish bait. Go figure. Fels-Naptha® Laundry Soap Bar: Made by the Dial Soap Company, so any store that carries Dial should be able to get it for you. If they carry it, it will be found in the bar soap or laundry soap aisle at your regular American supermarket. Kinda harsh so this is not a good choice for sensitive skin. Super Washing Soda: Baking soda SHOULD NOT be used in place of washing soda. They are completely different products, although they are both made by Arm & Hammer. Also known as sodium carbonate or soda ash, Washing Soda is harmful if swallowed. It releases no harmful fumes, and is generally safe. Just be sure to read more about it on the label. Borax: 20 Mule Team® Borax is the most common brand out there. Normally in a green box and can be found in your American supermarket laundry aisle. Helps remove stains. Simple Green: Very common household cleaner known for its simple recipe and safety, can be found in most all American supermarkets.

Andrea Erickson 12/11/2008 From Internet and Verbal Sources

Vinegar: Distilled white Vinegar can be found in most all supermarkets, any brand will do as long as it’s distilled white. There are many different types of vinegar, but this type is most commonly used in home canning. Essential Oils: Normally found in small drams (or rubber topped vials) of 4,6,or 8 ml glass bottles. You’ll need a pure essential oil uncut with any other oils. Not to be confused with oils for burning, incense, or massage. They can be found at your local specialty store like a homeopathic, natural living, or aromatherapy dealer. Read the ingredient list to be sure of the purity (should only list “blank” essential oil, no other fillers like coconut or mineral oils). Easily found online at most cloth diapering and natural foods websites. Liquid Castile Soap: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Liquid Castile Soap is a very common American brand found in most American supermarket laundry aisles. Normally under $10.00 for a 16 oz bottle. Best choice is the Baby Mild Liquid Soap (light blue label on the far back left of the grouping) since it has no perfumes and, as advertised, is safe for babies with ultra sensitive skin. Chance of staining from essential oils has been seen in some cases.

Andrea Erickson 12/11/2008 From Internet and Verbal Sources

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