May 16, 2012

Saving with Homemade Laundry Soap

Making frugal laundry soap is one smart, easy way to steward our resources purposefully. I spend no more than ten dollars per year on laundry products, total.

The original recipe was given to me at one of my bridal showers along with a ready-made five-gallon bucket full of the laundry soap (a genius gift, by the way!). We used that original bucket of soap for the first four months of our marriage before I finally got to make my own batch. Each bucket full since then has lasted the two of us about four months, and each costs me less than $3.00 to make.

We love how this laundry soap cleans and the way it smells! I've simplified the original recipe that was given to me, just a tad.

Without further ado...

1 bar Fels-Naptha laundry soap, grated
1 ½ cups Borax
1 ½ cups Washing Soda

In a large pot, heat 12 cups water. Pour grated Fels-Naptha into it and melt.
Once melted smooth, add Borax and Washing Soda until well mixed.
Pour mixture into 5-gallon bucket. Add hot water to bucket until full, stirring to keep well-mixed.

Use ½ cup - 1 cup per load.

That's it! I use a long scrap of wood to stir this large amount of detergent; something like a sturdy yardstick would work well. It's okay if the detergent separates a bit and becomes lumpy. I usually just give it a quick stir before I start using it.

Although the soap smells lovely on its own, sometimes I add a few drops of essential oil. I personally like a combo of patchouli and lavender oils.

Another tip: I've found it extraordinarily easier to put the Fels-Naptha bar into my mini food processor rather than grating it by hand. The smaller the particles of soap, the smoother and easier it will melt.


  1. do you use this with a front load washer? or is your washer top loading?

  2. My washer is top loading, but from what I understand, this is fine to use in any washer, including HE machines.
    I've also heard that you can make a powdered version of this by simply combining the dry ingredients. Of course, in that case you would use a much smaller amount per load.

  3. Can this be poured into gallon jugs or best left in pail ? Jugs would be easier for storage.

  4. I think that gallon jugs or old containers from commercial liquid detergent would be ideal.