Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Green Living - Homemade Laundry Soap

While watching The Duggars on TV one day, I noticed that they make their own laundry soap. I had read that making your own soap was a lot more Green and decided that I would try it!

I originally posted about homemade laundry soap back in November 2008.  This is the post that I get the most questions about.  I originally decided to try and make my own laundry soap in order to help the environment.  It was also amazingly cheap to DIY this liquid laundry soap.  I decided that it would be something I would do in order to help our household save money.

This recipe is for a liquid laundry soap.  It is safe in HE washers, as ours is a HE washer.  The liquid soap does not turn into 100% liquid.  It is actually 30% liquid and 70% gel.  I think that this may turn some people off, I know the uniform consistency of the major brands is appealing, but it does work well!

You will need these household tools:
a large measuring cup for liquids
a 1 cup measuring cup for solids
a cheese grater
a large pot
a large wooden spoon
a laundry soap storage container with a lid that closes tightly

Here is the recipe (I'll tell you where to buy it, below):
1 bar of Zote Laundry Soap.  Shred this into small pieces.
1.5 cups of washing soda
1.5 cups of borax powder
lots of water

What to do:
First, put 18 cups of water in the pot.
Add the shredded soap and heat on low, stir occasionally.
Once the soap is melted, add the washing soda and the borax.

When the mixture is dissolved, turn the heat off.

Add 12 cups of hot water to your storage container.
Then add in the soap mixture.
Mix this well with your large wooden spoon.
Now you need to add 4 gallons + 2 cups of warm water to the storage container.
Mix this well with your large wooden spoon.

Close the container and leave the soap alone for at least 24 hours.

Some notes:
(1)This will make a LOT of liquid laundry soap.  I suggest a big container.  It may seem like I am using a lot of ingredients compared to other recipes out there.  My reasoning behind this is that I want to use up an entire bar of Zote soap.  Some people may suggest leaving the bar of Zote out, unwrapped for a while to season it.  For this liquid laundry soap recipe, I do not recommend that.

this is a very important note!!  They are 2 different things.  You will find baking soda in he baking aisle next to the flour and sugar while you will find the washing soda in the laundry aisle next to the dryer sheets and stain removers.

(3)1 gallon = 16 cups of water

(4)The liquid soap does not turn into 100% liquid.  It is actually 30% liquid and 70% gel.

(5)I do recommend Zote Laundry Soap - but if you prefer another soap, you are welcome to try it. Please post back and let me know.

(6)You could add some essential oils for fragrance once you get to the stir-in-the-storage-container part of the process.  I figure that there is enough scent going on and that I don't need any more.  If you try it, please post back and let me know which scent you choose and how it works.

(7)This mixture does not produce a suds-ey laundry soap.  If you have a front load washer and watch the cycle, do not be alarmed when you don't see suds forming.  (I was quite alarmed the first time that I saw this lack of suds).

(8)You should use a 1/2 cup scoop in a conventional washer and 1/4-1/2 in your HE machine.  Since this is a low suds recipe you can use as much as 1/2 cup in your HE machine.  I only do laundry 1/2 a week so I use a little less than 1/2 cup for each load.  My loads are quite full.

(9)This laundry soap can also be used as a spot-treater.  Just pour some onto the stain and rub it in.  I sometimes use a cleaning brush to really rub it in.

(10)Where to buy everthing:
You shouldn't have any trouble finding the borax or the washing soda at your local grocery store, Target or Walmart.  The soap is probably going to be the tricky part.  Luckily my Super Stop & Shop still carries the Zote laundry soap.  I have not seen it at Target or Walmart lately.  You can also buy all 3 of these items online at  I have added links to the recipe above.

(11)Here is my storage container:

one of my next projects is going to be an attempt at powdered laundry soap!

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