Sunday, January 29, 2012

Home Made Laundry Soap

I have been creating my own laundry soap for almost two years. The first recipe I tried was a powder recipe and I consider that a big FLOP. It came out chunky and was just a big headache. The second recipe was a one batch liquid version posted by another blogger (I apologize but I do not remember who the blogger was, however the recipe, instructions and photos were very well done).
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 front-loading machines: Use 1/2 cup per load (equals 320 loads - approximately one year)
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 cost per recipe above: $1.82!
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.

Compare to: Costco Kirkland 28 lb powder detergent use 200 loads. Approx $18 a bucket ($36-$54) a year).

Do you buy a seperate fabric softener? You can save money by using a small amount of white vinegar in each load insteads!
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).


  1. Ginger this is awesome! I've tried the powder one and it was ok. I use it for kitchen towels and misc. loads of stuff, but not our everyday clothes. :O) I have been making my own dishwasher detergent for about 6 months now and love that!

    Can you tell me where you buy the Zote soap? I've only found Fels-Naptha but I'd like to see what the other bar smells like. Thanks for posting this. I think I might try it and I'm going to send it to my mom. She has such hard water where she lives she can only use liquid laundry detergent.


  2. Kim - I believe I bought the Zote from Walmart, its in the laundry section. If it wasn't Walmart than it was Fred Meyer (I have a bad memory, and last time I bought it I bought like 6 at one time!) I've used the Fels Naptha also, but I really like the Zote better.... it smells better and its PINK! Haha. You can add essential oils to your bucket though to create any scent you want as both Fels Naptha and Zote mainly just have a 'clean' scent.
    I haven't tried dishwasher detergent yet, but I plan on it. So kudos on that one! Do you have a good recipe to share? I also plan on making hand soap and some day I'd like to make my own shampoo and conditionor. I have lots of plans!

  3. You make it sound so easy! Love the step-by-step instructions with pictures. I'll have to bookmark this page and come back to it when I'm ready to try it out.