We are officially a DIY laundry soap family. My sweet friend Kristina at Joyfully Smitten tried to convince me to join the club just before Chipmunk was born, but I loved my Tide too much to jump ship. It’s what my grandmother always used. There is just something about freshly washed laundry that smells like Grandma was the one in the laundry room. Needless to say, I was emotionally tethered to the pricey liquid stuff. Now that we have transitioned, Husband and I both wish we had done it sooner!
It cost approximately $25 to make.The picture above shows the laundry soap after more than two months of use. It lasts for ages! I’m estimating a year for this batch. Tide is super expensive and we replace it every month or two. Suffice it to say, this has already become a major money saver for us. We have a front loading HE washing machine and this detergent works great with it. We have not experienced any problems with it.
Around the time I decided to make this we started having our groceries delivered by Wal-Mart (this isn’t advertising – just a fact – we are actually fairly dedicated Target shoppers). First, I do not plan to return to grocery shopping ever again. Having a week’s groceries delivered when it is convenient and without dragging a toy-hungry toddler through a store is fantastic. Second, the timing of my grocery delivery discovery was perfect because I was able to add all the laundry soap ingredients, including the glass jar, to my delivery order. It appeared on my front step and 20 minutes later I had a jar of laundry soap ready to go!
There are several DIY posts out there on how to do this, making mine one of many, but they are all essentially the same. I personally started with this version. Because of the Borax, this was not a Chipmunk project. It is a good idea to do this when little ones are napping or otherwise occupied.
1 – 4 lb 12 oz box borax
3 bars Fels-Naptha soap
1 – 4 lb box baking soda
4 lbs Oxiclean (store brands like Up & Up work just as well)
1 container scent boosting crystal like Purex Crystals, optional
Five gallon bucket
2.5 to 3 gallon sealing storage container
1. Line a five gallon bucket with a trash bag.
2. Grate the Fels-Naptha soap into the bucket. I bought a cheap grater from Ikea to avoid combining anything with our food via the kitchen’s grater.
3. Combine all other ingredients (borax, baking soda, Oxiclean, scent boosting crystals) into the bucket. In the picture you can tell we added the scent boosting crystals as an after thought a few months later. It did not get evenly distributed.
4. Transfer the mixture from the the five gallon bucket into a sealing container of your choice. The jar we bought from Wal-Mart does not seal, which is a problem. Moisture causes the dry ingredients to clump and harden. We are on the hunt for a gasket to adhere to the lid.
5. If you so desire, label your detergent container. Since presentation is so important to me, we used a vinyl label I found at Etsy’s bwordy. It cost $5.00 and was shipped promptly. It came with application instructions and even an extra, slightly flawed vinyl label to practice!
It only takes a few tablespoons of soap per load. After almost three months of use, we are hooked on the detergent. Even Husband, who loved the smell and feel of our laundry when we were dedicated to Tide, is raving about it. We still add our own fabric softener to the washing machine, so we are not saving there. Dryer sheets are cheaper, but they don’t do the job as well as liquid fabric softener. We also aren’t fans of finding wayward dryer sheets in our clothes during business meetings or in the middle of medical calls. Liquid it is!
Do you make your own laundry soap? Have you ever been tempted?