Welcome to my blog

Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Liquid laundry soap recipe

Last night I talked with my friend Martha who lives in Indianapolis. She gave me the formula for making my own liquid laundry detergent. She was excited at how clean her laundry was now that she makes her own. I was excited too and wanted to try it out.

I got to thinking.... do I need laundry detergent? I decided to locate all my stashed bottles to find out. I've kept these in different places around the house because I didn't have room for them in one spot. I knew I had a lot because I found them while moving stuff after the construction guys left. But.... little did I realize I had so many. There are 6 more bottles not pictured.

Geeze, talk about over abundance! I bought these in my couponing days. I stopped couponing several months back. Yes, it will be a long time before I need liquid laundry detergent again.  Hmm... some of these need to go to the homeless family shelter.
I thought I'd give you the recipe so you can make your own if you want. I didn't ask Martha where she got the recipe so I can't give credit to anyone. I believe she may have told me it was on a tv show or something about the economy. Martha has a front load machine and says she uses 1/4 cup per load. For top load machines use slightly more.

Caution! Some people are allergic to Fells-Naptha so please check before washing with this.


4 cups hot tap water
1/2 cup borax (this would be something like 20 mule Team Borax)
1 cup washing soda (not baking soda, I think Arm & Hammer makes it)
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 pot large enough to hold 4 cups of water and the other ingredients
1 Five gallon bucket (preferably with a lid) for mixing after cooking.
A funnel, cup for dipping, and a wire whisk
Several empty old laundry soap containers or milk jugs (10 one gallon size for the recipe but any size will do)

This recipe makes 10 gallons. All these ingredients should be sold in the laundry isle of the stores. I've been looking for the Fels-Naptha for a few weeks because I like it for spot cleaning before washing. I've not found it in my area yet or else someone buys them all before I get there.

Use a food grater to shave the Fels-Naptha bar into little pieces. Place it into a pot with the water. Over medium heat, stir constantly with a whisk or slotted spoon until the soap is completely dissolved.  Caution!Don't put it all in at once or you'll have a big lump of wet soap.  Put  in a little at a time.

Turn off the heat then add in the washing soda and borax and stir. When these are completely dissolved pour it into the 5 gallon bucket. Fill up the rest of the bucket with hot tap water. Leave enough room at the top for mixing. You don't want to spill any of it on the floor because it will be very slick and thick. It's very time consuming to get spills cleaned up because adding water only multiplies it more. Stir the mix in the bucket, cover, and leave over night. If your bucket doesn't have a lid then cover it with plastic wrap.

Next day, take the lid off and stir. You might need a broom handle or something sturdy to mix with. (Personally, I would use an electric drill with a paint stir attachment to make it easier.) The mix will be gloopy but will become smoother with mixing.

Take one of your clean empty containers and fill it "half full" with the mixture. (That's where the funnel and dipping cup come in handy.) Fill the container to within about 2 inches from the top with hot tap water. Put the top on and shake like crazy to mix it up. That's why the extra room.... it makes it easier to shake it up. (Repeat this step until you fill up all your containers.) Give the container another good shake each time you get ready to put some in the washer.

Whatever size container you use.... the formula is 1/2 mix with 1/2 hot water. There won't be any bubbles with this laundry detergent. Bubbles don't get clothes clean, the chemicals do. Putting lots of bubbles in cleaning mixes was some guy's idea for making "woman's work" fun in long ago times. His idea caught on and still today people believe..... without bubbles it ain't working.


Beth said...

Anita, I have tried this with fels-naptha but you can use other soaps if you dont' like that one. I also don't use much softener...I usually use vinegar. ESPECIALLY on towels. I found if I used the commercial stuff, the towels would not absorb ANYTHING. They just pushed it around! With the vinegar, they come out nice and fluffy...and dont' smell like vinegar at all.

Anita Estes said...

I didn't know you could use other soaps for this. Martha didn't tell me that. Would bars of soap like Ivory or Castile work?

I've used vinegar as a fabric softner for several years. I first started using it during the "polyester leisure suit" days. I use it for mopping and cleaning just about everything around the house too.