I finally broke down and made some homemade laundry soap last week.
I’d seen recipes online for a while, but was hesitant to use them because most were liquid/gels and looked sort of gloopy and messy [I don’t even like commercial liquid detergents].
I found a recipe for a powdered laundry soap, made from the same ingredients, minus the water, and thought it looked good. I’ve done 3 loads of laundry since, using homemade fabric softener as well, and the clothes are coming out clean and good-smelling, so I consider it a success.
The homemade soap powder recipe I used was:
2 parts [3 cups total] SOAP – I used 1 bar Octagon & 1 bar Ivory, because I couldn’t find Fels Naptha or Zote
1 part [1 1/2 cups] *Washing Soda – Couldn’t find this either, made by heating baking soda for 2 hours @ 375°
1 part [1 1/2 cups] Borax
*Just a note – WASHING SODA IS NOT THE SAME AS BAKING SODA!!!
Several people have tried similar recipes with baking soda, and it does not work. They are different chemically. You can make a washing soda by heating baking soda in the oven for an hour or two at 350-400°, but do not use this for other household uses afterwards. It is still best to find and buy “Super Washing Soda” [Arm & Hammer brand] in the laundry aisle or online.
This is so easy to make – grate the soap on the fine side of a cheese grater, then powder and mix together in the food processer, and just add to water to do your washing.
I also added 2 scoops [about 3 Tbsp] of generic Oxyclean, and some leftover Tide detergent [maybe 1/2 – 3/4 cup]. I’ve been using 1 heaping Tbsp for most laundry, and 2 Tbsp for the dirty stuff, and this is working great, even in our cold water washer.
I had trouble finding some of the ingredients at Wal-Mart & Food Lion , but soapsgonebuy.com sells a kit with everything included, or you should be able to shop around and find it all locally.
I also added a homemade liquid fabric softener made from vinegar, baking soda, and water. The recipe I used for this was:
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups baking soda
4 cups water
Mix the vinegar and baking soda in with 1/2 the water each & add the soda/water very slowly to the vinegar water, giving time for it to fizz up and then die down before adding more [use a very large container, to allow room for the foam]. When it’s settled down, por into an airtight container, and use 1/2 to 1 cup per load. I poured mine back into a fabric softener bottle, with about 1/2 an inch of softener in the bottle to add scent, and am just adding a cap full to the laundry.
Another fabric softener recipe is:
2 cups hair conditioner [one regular size bottle is almost 2 cups – close enough]
3 cups white vinegar
6 cups water
Mix these together and use as you would store-bought softener. You can also put this in a spray bottle or baby wipe container and use to soak or spray and saturate a clean rag or squares of flannel, then toss it in the dryer with your laundry for easy homemade dryer sheets. [Several homemade sheets can be left soaking in the container, ready to use, or just use the spray bottle to saturate a new rag/cloth each time you dry them].