She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Proverbs 31

Friday, March 28, 2008

Frugal Living ~ Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe

With prices going up, up, up on everything from fuel to food items, we are on a mission here at our home to stretch our income.

This week I came upon a recipe from Toni of Amazing Grace for making your own laundry soap. My early calculations suggest that the cost of this recipe is about 1/4 the cost of the least expensive commercial soaps.

So I cooked up a batch last night. Already, I have washed 3 loads of clothes with this soap including a batch of yucky, sweaty, rambling through the woods boys clothes ... and I am really pleased.

Here's the recipe:
16 cups water
1 bar of soap (your choice but many sources suggest Ivory, Fels-Naptha, Sunlight Bar, Castile or Zote)
1 cup of baking soda
1 1/2 cups borax

Before beginning, finely grate your bar of soap.

Boil the 16 cups of water in a large pot. While boiling, add your grated soap and whisk continuously until it completely dissolves. Remove from heat.

Next add borax and baking soda. Whisk it up really well. Continue to whisk throughout the day as it cools. It may begin to gel over the next 48 hours, but you don't need to wait to use it.

You may store in old commercial detergent containers or any other covered container as well.

I followed Toni's directions and added 1/2 cup of the soap per load. My clothes came out fresh and clean. And if my estimates are correct, this recipe is going to save us some money that could be better spent elsewhere. Isn't that just wonderful?

I've read several other homemade soap recipes at MJF and other sources that require using "washing soda" which is a bit different from baking soda. I have yet to find a local source, but I'd like to try that as well.

I welcome your comments & suggestions! Check out Toni's Link in my sidebar!

Give it a try!



Toni said...

Hey lea!I`m glad it worked for you!I used a recipe that called for washing soda.It worked well.I switched to baking soda because we could include it in our food budget,and it is easier to find.I`ve also heard of using essential oils to give your soap a scent.Have a blessed weekend!!---------------------------------------------------------------------------

lindanuts said...

This looks so easy. Did you use an old laundry soap jug to store it in? Did you mean to list the 16 c. boiling water twice?
Thanks so much for all your kind comments on the kitchen blog. We do seem to have an awful lot in common. I would love to be your neighbor so we could visit back and forth. Yes, I notice everything in your pictures. I'm just that kind of person. Before gas got so high, I could talk the hubby into taking me for drives. In daylight hours, we'd check out other people's yards; landscaping and flowers and veggie gardens; their siding and roofs and fencing--grills on the patio or as part of the patio--firepits or much to look at.At night, we'd go to other towns and drive the neighborhoods to see whose houses we could look into. I'm always interested in the wall treatments and decorations, do they have a big wall clock, do they have drapes or a piano and oh, my, if I can see into their kitchens, I am in 7th heaven. I am not a pervert. Iam a sort of a voyeur but I have no interest in the people--just their decorating sense. Today, I saw someone had an enamelware pan wireed onto their garden fence as a bird bath. I am doing that tomorrow. Maybe, I'll put some pics up of the outside of our place. Maybe after it's not so wintery; a bit more spring-like. Hubby put the martin house up this week and plans to clean up the bird feeder station tomorrow. All kinds of bulbs have broken through the ground. Soon there will be a riot of color.
Thanks again for the soap recipe. Maybe I can get one of those Sunday drives with the money we'll save!! Do you coupon shop?

lindanuts said...

Two things i forgot once I got rolling. Arm & Hammer does make laundry soda. I buy it in a 2# box at WalMart and it is NOT expensive. I use it when clothes are especially smelly.Now I will use it to make laundry soap.
Second, we went to the Mennonite bulk store today and they have a huge fabric department. I found a child's bib apron for $4.85. I am using it as a pattern to make aprons for all the granddaughters. They all love to help cook and they will be so cute. I thought of you and your love for aprons. I will post a picture when I get one done....

nancy huggins said...

I can't wait to try that recipe lea...It is now after midnight and I have been sitting in front of my computer browsing all over and finding lots of patterns...even found some cute ones for baby slippers...and some really neat apron patterns that were really simple. Can't wait to go to the junk store (a new one and is only 3 miles from me) tomorrow with DH to see what all I can find that is early attic and I can make it into vintage and prim.
Maybe I should give the soap recipe to my DD and tech her how to save some money too.
I love coming to your blog...wish mine was half that wonderfull..I am just to "DUH" to know how to do much on my blog....thank goodness for Cora's help and Dani's too.

Beemoosie said...

I've been a little hesitant to try, but like you said if it saves money and works, how can I now try it!!! So what are you storing it in?

Katy said...

So glad you tried it Lea! We have been making our own laundry soap for a lil over a year now, i think....and it saves a TON of money!!!! It is really great! :)

Farm Chick Paula said...

Wow, Lea, that's a neat recipe! I may have to give it a try... I'm always telling Hubby- if we didn't have to wash ourselves or our clothes, our grocery bill wouldn't be bad at all! LOL
I got a chuckle after reading Linda's comments... I can just see her perusing a neighborhood with a pair of binoculars trying to look into people's kitchens! LOL BIG TIME

Cora from Nelia's Primitive Place said...

I LOVED linda's comment's, too! Com'on, ladies! Admit it! We ALL look at everyone's yard, house, gardens, stuff, and even inside if we can see in! I'm as nosey as the rest. But for all the same reasons. I love getting ideas from other people's decorating. LOVE going through home models, open houses, etc.

Gotta try this soap!


April said...

Hey Lea. I have been seeing this on other blogs, and have wondered about it. I really may have to try it out. I agree with prices going up on everything, families really do have to try to stretch the dollar!

Lea of Farmhouse*Blessings said...

Thanks, Linda, for pointing that out! No you don't boil it twice ... my fingers just didn't listen to my brain. LOL

I love to window peep too! There are just so many creative folks out there not too! LOL I can't wait to see that enamelware bird bath! What a clever idea!

My Walmart doesn't sell washing soda. Rats! But I have scouts scouring our countryside hunting for it. Already 3 local friends are making their own soap this morning! LOL Look what you started Toni!

Nancy, can't wait to see your thrify find! You'll never believe it, but I found an apron at our local thrift last evening! I was tickled pink. I'll be posting it next week.

You can store the soap in used laundry detergent containers which is very convenient. Right now, I am keeping mine in the enamelware pot with a tight seal on it until I can get some used containers from friends I haven't converted to handmade yet! LOL


Sue Neitzel said...

I just love this idea, always have and when it comes to being thrifty, it pays to try this stuff out, anything to save! Thanks for sharing!

Nancy Jo said...

That looks like a really good idea. Now I have to talk myself in to giving up my TIDE.This could be traumatic, I might have to lay down.
Nancy Jo

Dani said...

thanks for sharing this Lea....I will make some as soon as my regular is out and use the same container..with
two boys who dirt bike..I am always washing.......


Debbie said...

Hi. I buy Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda at our local Kroger store. That's about the only thing I buy there. It's pretty reasonably priced but all the other stuff is too expensive. I shop at Walmart and they don't have super washing soda. Hope this helps!

Lisa said...

Lea, I am trying right now ... waiting on water to boil. I am also posting at my blog and will link back to yours for comparison. Thanks for the money saving idea! Have a great day!!

Cora from Nelia's Primitive Place said...

RATS!!!! Went to the store today and got all I needed to make this soap, and forgot to get the bar of soap!!!!! I want to try this so badly!!!! Cora

Linda said...

Hey Lea! :)

I finally tried this laundry soap.. I've been meaning to make it the day you put the post up, but I hadn't got time until now....

It worked brilliantly! I was a little concerned at first, because with store-bought soap, there have been numerous times when I get something out of the washing machine to find it still dirty (I mean, I have a 2 year old.. that says enough!)

But this got my whites ALL WHITE again! ;) I'm not sure if I used the right 'borax' though.. I think I might have added washing soda, as they don't sell borax overhere..

And I used a bar of homemade soap.. so I payed even less for it *lol*

Thanks for the recipe!
greetings from the netherlands..

MEME16 said...

I did try this soap a few years ago and I did not like it - it could be our water -but it did not clean or brighten whites and hubby's work clothes - and the soap developed a nasty smell after a while--also it left a ring around in the washer - however I re did the recipe but did not use the water- instead just used the dry mix including a good grated soap meant for clothes- it does great on towels etc but still does not do a good job on stains- I did price comparing and found I would not save money- I think a lot depents on what kind of water, machine and clothes we have-

Anonymous said...

Love the recipe...I actually bought (I know, I know but I really wanted It called for the same ingredients as yours with the washing soda. I made the batch that came with my paid for and need to make more! Also for really tough stains...the fels nappa bar soap is great! Simply damp the area that is soiled and rub in the fels nappa soap. I let mine sit for a few minutes then toss it in with the rest of the wash! thanks so much for sharng! So glad I found your blog =) Oh and I too love finding inspiration by peeking through windows
Many Blessings~

moyer_m said...


I am just getting into this "frugal" way of doing things. I love the cleaning supplies and knowing I'm NOT putting more hazardous chemicals into our environment or in my family's home! However, I just had a quick question about the laundry soap. Can you use it in a front loaded washer the HE kind? I know the soap sometimes can be too much for them. Do you use only half as much as you suggested? Any help from anyone would be appreciated! By the way, I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves to gain ideas from others - peering into homes! LOL God Bless and Have a wonderful day. Mary Ann