I’ve been making my own laundry soap for some time now, and I will likely never go back to brand-name laundry soap again. My clothes and massage sheets come out clean and fresh, I don’t worry about allergic reaction to perfumes, dyes, and other unnecessary ingredients, and it’s ridiculously economical – I don’t know the exact math, but it’s estimated at less than 10 cents per load. This is not a recipe I made up, I’m just passing it along for anyone who would like to try it out, along with a few tips that I learned making my first few batches.
Simple Laundry Soap
1 Cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 Cup Borax
1 5.5 ounce bar Fels Naptha soap*
1/2 cup baking soda
*You could also use Ivory bar soap or another natural bar soap if you like; you’ll want to use between 4.5 and 5.5 ounces.
Grate bar soap into fine flakes. You can do this by hand, or chop it into smaller pieces and put it into a food processor.
(Another option is to put the smaller pieces into a large bowl and microwave for about 3 minutes so that they puff up. Wait for them to cool, and crumble into powder. *Note* if you do this, wear gloves to keep your hands from drying out, and a mask; the dust makes quite a cloud. And open a window for ventilation. For all this trouble, I’m actually happier to hand-grate.)
Combine the grated soap flakes into a large bowl with the other ingredients and mix together well. You can add a few drops of orange or lavender essential oil if you like; 40-50 drops is sufficient. I prefer to add a few drops to the scoop right before putting it into the laundry, so that it doesn’t evaporate.
This recipe makes enough soap to fill a 32-ounce mason jar.
Use 1/8 cup per wash. Works best with warm or hot water, but if you think it’s not working as well with cold water washes, try dissolving the soap in a little warm water before adding it to the wash. To deodorize and soften fabric, use 1/2 cup of white vinegar as fabric softener in the rinse cycle. Use caution with the vinegar if laundering synthetic fabrics (like yoga pants), as the vinegar smell will sometimes remain after drying, until the next wash.