DIY - Laundry Soap

fn fringeYesterday's Wordless Wednesday picture definitely resembled a block of cheese. It's actually soap (which a number of you guessed - though I thought the fungi guess was quite interesting!).

A number of years ago, I read about making your own laundry soap from Mary Hunt. She offered recipes for both liquid and powdered soap. Seeing how the liquid took a little more work, I opted for the powdered version.


Powdered Laundry Detergent:
1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap
1/2 cup washing soda (I use Arm & Hammer)
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team borax

Mix and store in airtight container or bag. For light loads use 1 tablespoon. For normal loads, use 2 tablespoons. For heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons. Cost per "normal" load .15.


You can purchase these products in the laundry section of your grocery store or Target and probably others (assuming they carry them). If not, try Soaps Gone Buy. In fact, you can get the Fels Naptha Soap on sale for 99 cents a bar right now. And please note that it's WASHING soda, not making baking soda. Also be aware that Arm & Hammer makes a powdered laundry detergent that looks quite similar to their washing soda. If you buy the wrong one, you'll essentially be using their detergent that you've supplemented with Fels Naptha and Borax. Not that I've ever done that personally or anything. Um, yeah, right.


The first batch was REALLY hard to make because we (I had to have help) grated the soap by hand. UGH! I would not really recommend this method. If you have a food processor, a rotary cheese grater, or something, then go for it.


Fels Naptha is a very versatile, useful bar of soap. Here's an extensive list of all the great things you can do with it. In addition to cleaning, you can use it to treat poison ivy and deal with plant pests.

You will not see a lot of suds with this, but it is awesome! Clothes are clean, they smell FRESH, not like detergent, and it's much better in terms of what it's NOT putting into the waste water. It also seemed to cut down on the need for fabric softener and/or dryer sheets most of the time. Mine is stored in an empty Boy Scout popcorn pail. I have a 2 tablespoon scoop from a container of flax seed that works wonderfully.

Give it a try!

ps - you can find other follow-up stories to Wordless Wednesday posts at Tell Me Thursday.


Sallie said...

Aw, ok!! I have fels naptha.. I rub it on stains but I haven't made my own soap yet. I use and like Charlie's Soap but I have considered making this version.. just can't find the washing soda anywhere local :-(

Have a great holyday season!!

Quiet Mom said...

Yep this is the soap we use now - although a few weeks ago we got soap nuts to try too. I still prefer this.

We use the dry version and then add a little water and stir it in our soap cup for the washer just to help get it all in (HE washer). Works great and it's CHEAP!

Thanks for the post!

Tell Me Thursday said...

Great post. Love the soap picture!

Amber @ Classic Housewife said...

Thanks for the Fels Naptha link!
I always made the liquid version, because I was greedy - it saved even more money and was about 5 cents a load. BUT, that's because you diluted it with water, basically. It worked but Hubs (who I should note is a smoker) was never 100% satisfied with odor removal and felt that the fresh smell didn't last all day. So I switched back to regular detergent with softener in it AND dryer sheets but he still had the same problem and it finally dawned on me that DUH, he's a smoker and I probably have to wash his clothes in extra soap - like my best friend who makes her own soap, too and washes her husbands clothes (he's a chef, his clothes smell like kitchen grease etc.) in a double portion of soap.

SO. All that to say (yeah, there really was a point!!) I think I'd like to start making my soap again and make this dry version you've supplied here, since it IS a little more concentrated and try washing his clothes with extra and see how that goes. Thanks Dianne!!

kayerj said...

how interesting--I use that bar soap for tough stain removal. It's a wonder bar.

Ali said...

I have been making this for months now! Except I have been using the recipe off of the Duggar Family's website. It sure does save money! And it works just as good as the store bought stuff.

When I get an article of clothing come through that has a stain on it, I throw in in the sink with hot water, some of the homemade detergent, and some hydrogen peroxide. Works like a charm!


Beth said...

I would love to try this, in fact, have been trying to find the ingredients, but I always get stuck on the washing soda. I can't find it anywhere! I'll keep looking....

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