Then I came across a recipe posted by the Duggars on their website. The recipe I use now on a regular basis, is adapted from their recipe and from a generic liquid recipe found throughout the internet. You can find the Duggar's original recipe here. I consider this recipe VERY easy to use!
My Adapted recipe is as follows:
- 3-4 cups hot tap water (enough to cover the top of the grated soap inside the saucepan)
- 1 bar of Zote Soap (or Fels-Naptha)
- 1 cup of Super Washing Soda
- 1 cup borax
- Essential Oils (optional)
(picture above shows a bar of zote soap already dissolved in the water on the stove top)
- Grate the bar of soap and add to your saucepan (I have a special grater and saucepan I use just for this purpose). Stir continually over medium to low heat until all of the soap flakes/granules are dissolved.
(picture above is after mixing the dissolved zote, borax and washing soda)
- Put the 1 cup of super washing soda and the 1 cup of borax into a 5 gallon bucket. Add the melted zote and water mixture to the washing soda and borax. Stir until all of the powder is dissolved.
- Fill the 5 gallon bucket to the top with warm/hot water and stir well, then place the lid on and let the mixture thicken overnight.
- The next day, stir the mixture (I usually use a paint stick to stir) as it will most likely be a solid gel. Take an empty plastic laundry bucket (empty, clean cat litter bucket or equivalent will work just as well) and fill it half full with the soap mixture. Then add water to fill it to the top and stir. Your soap is now ready to use! Store the original 5 gallon bucket out of sight, and use it to replenish your laundry bucket with as needed.
For top-loading machines: Use 1 cup per load (equals 160 loads - approximately two per year)
The cost breakdown (please note ingredient cost is approximate as price varies per region):
- Fels Naptha or Zote: $1.19
- Washing Soda per recipe .33 (3.5 lb box has 7.3 cups at approx $2.40 a box, 1 cup used per load equals .33)
- Borax per recipe .30 (cost of one 12 oz box is approx $3.00 and has 9.9 cups, 1 cup per recipe equals .30)
Total yearly laundry detergent cost for a family of 5? $3.64-$5.46 depending on if you make the laundry soap two times or three times.
Washing something particularly nasty? Pour 1/2-1 cup of baking soda into each load for extra cleaning power (and a splash of vinegar if you wish).