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Topic: Make Your Own Laundry Soap & Save $$$

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Subject: Make Your Own Laundry Soap & Save $$$
Date Posted: 10/5/2009 7:55 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2009
Posts: 46
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Ok, I wanted to post some things I've learned and know work extremely well! You can save a lot of money this way and I know everyone needs that these days! I've not been able to find the Fels-Naptha here in town but it can be purchased online at www.soapsgonebuy.com for .99 a bar. Up to 7 bars gets flat rating shipping of $4.95.  I just used a whole bar of Zote (white bar).  You can get the washing soda at HEB or Brookshires and the Borax at HEB, Brookshires or Walmart.


Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

4 Cups - hot tap water 
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar (I substituted with 1 bar white Zote bar soap)
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda* 
1/2 Cup Borax
- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup (5 oz) per load (Approx. 180 loads) Use 2.5 oz undiluted or 4 1/2 tablespoons
-Front Load Machines- 1/4 Cup (2 oz) per load (Approx. 640 loads) Use 1 oz undiluted or 2 tablespoons

*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

TIPS: Instead of filling a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water just leave the laundry soap in the 5 gallon bucket, do not add the extra water and use 1/2 as much. I have a front loader so instead of using 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons or 2 ounces) per load I would use 2 tablespoons or 1 oz of undiluted laundry soap. This way you could put it in a little container and spoon it out with your tablespoon or get a 1 ounce pump and use one squirt. For a light to normal load use 1 oz or 2 tablespoons, for normal to heavy loads use 2 oz or 4 tablespoons and for heavy loads use 3 oz or 6 tablespoons. This is so cheap and works just as good, if not better than anything you buy at the store.


Powdered Laundry Detergent- Top load machine

1 Fels-Naptha soap bar 
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda* 
½ Cup Borax
-Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons. Yields: 3 Cups detergent. (Approx. 40 loads)

*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

TIPS: If you have a front loader and want to use the powdered version you can. Shred your Fels-Naptha and let it sit out and dry out so it can be crushed up even more into tiny pieces, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
TIPS FOR LAUNDRY SOAP: We use Fels-Naptha bar soap in the homemade soap recipes, but you can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don't use heavily perfumed soaps. We buy Fels-Naptha by the case from our local grocer or online. Washing Soda and Borax can often be found on the laundry or cleaning aisle. Recipe cost approx. $2 per batch.


Inexpensive Fabric Softener Recipes

Recipe #1 

1 Cup White Vinegar 
Add vinegar to rinse cycle. Works great. Removes stains, residue and odors. Also helps to keep washing machine and hoses fresh and clean too. Makes towels nice and fluffy too!
Recipe #2
1 Container of Name Brand Fabric Softener 
4 Inexpensive sponges, cut in half
Pour entire container of softener into a 5 gallon bucket. Fill empty softener container with water twice. (2 parts water to 1 part softener) Add sponges to softener/water mixture. When ready to use wring out extra mixture from one sponge and add to the dryer as you would a dryer sheet.

MORE Fabric Softener Money Savers...

1. Buy the fabric softener that you like - take a old washcloth (you will never be able to use it again and white works the best) and put it flat on a plate - take the fabric softener and pour over the washcloth - flip it over and completely coat it. Let it completely dry - this can take a day or two. Then take that and throw it into the dryer each time - you can use it almost 20 times before you have to "soak" it again. You just keep using the same washcloth! I love this - no more sheets to buy. I have heard people use flannel (an old shirt cut up) but I just use an old white washcloth that has seen better days!
2. Make your own using any cheap conditioner and vinegar - works great and super cheap. Use about 50/50
3. 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup baking soda, 2 cups water. 
Use 1/4 cup for average load in last rinse. 
Just be careful when mixing vinager and baking soda together because you will get a fizzing reaction.
4. Use white vinegar in the Downey ball just as you would regular fabric softner.
5.  Mix 1/4 cup cheap fabric softener to 1 gallon of vinegar and add some FO to the mix.  My neighbors love the smell when I do laundry and I love the way my clothes are clean and fresh smelling.

I really hope that this helps some of you fellow paperbackswappers out and saves you money. I know it will make your clothes cleaner so go ahead and give it a try and use that extra money on something you really need.

Date Posted: 10/7/2009 4:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2007
Posts: 135
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Food Depot near me sells Fels-Naptha soap for $2 a bar. We've done this, and love it!

Shaz H. (shaz) - ,
Date Posted: 11/9/2009 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 4/17/2008
Posts: 119
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Have you figured out the cost per use of making your own vs buying the least expensive brand per use?

Last Edited on: 11/9/09 10:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: laundry soap
Date Posted: 11/11/2009 5:41 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2006
Posts: 13
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I have been using this powdered soap for about a month. I love the way it is ecological (low suds, no phosphates, no plastic tub and much less material being shipped by truck around the country) and my clothes are soft and clean. For Xmas I am giving friends a small jar to try and see if I can get some converts...

Last Edited on: 11/11/09 5:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/6/2009 11:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2009
Posts: 53
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I also have made my own laundry soap & have loved it! currently am using biokleen laundry soap, and again, you are only using 2 teaspoons, so it costs an average of 2 or 3 cents a load;  what I have done for dryer sheets is I use a bottle of downy, put about a tsp on an old rag & toss in laundry; one tub of downy or whatever will last a year; I have another recipe for making your own; and have done that as well; you can do the same; THIS is so great cuz your LINT catchers actually get glazed over from the chemicals used in the dryer sheets!  And THIS is the # 1 cause of "dryer fires!"

Subject: this is the homemade softener that I use instead of dryer sheets
Date Posted: 12/7/2009 1:57 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2009
Posts: 53
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Subject: homemade fabric softener
Date Posted: 12/7/2009 2:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2009
Posts: 53
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sorry; got kicked out of the system;

6 c water

3 c vinegar

2 c hair conditioner

Use as you would any softener; won't leave residue on clothing; I get the ocean scented hair conditioner as I like the smell of it; reminds me of downy;  and you can get all kinds of home made laundry soap recipes on line play with it til you get the one that is good for you; hard water is a little different than soft water; so it must needs be adjusted; and I can get & post info here if you want; some GREAT sites are www.tipnut.com; www.budget101.com; www.frugalfun.com; www.tiphero.com; they have everything from powdered laundry soap recipes that you can make in bulk, and you can also use Ivory soap folks if you have little ones, just use the whole bar; to liquid laundry soaps; it costs aprox 3 cents or less to make your own laundry soaps;

Biokleen is chemical free, and costs $11.99 for 150 loads; again, you are simply using 3 Tablespoons full; the REASON you use so much more in bought detergents is that it is full of fillers to make us the consumer THINK we are getting more product for our money; and the fillers and chemicals used are what is so bad for us, the environment, and makes us break out, get drier skins, etc;

I tell everyone to make their own as it really & truly does save so much $; you can easily find & use great other cleaning products that will save you a mint on line as well; for everything;  the savings really & truly DO add up greatly!

Date Posted: 9/6/2010 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2010
Posts: 7
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I have been making my own detergent and using vinegar as softner for a little over a year now. Now my family has discovered a couple of things. 1. Their sense of smell has returned and 2. The cleaning aisle of all stores is gross smelling. It is amazing how much the perfumey stuff really does coat your nose or cover up the smell of other things. Hubby was caught in a rain storm one day on his way into a client's office. The client happens to be a doctor who had towels available. He was handed a towel to dry off. He said he wished he hadn't accepted it because all he could smell the rest of the day was the smell of the fabric softner perfume.

Date Posted: 11/5/2010 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2007
Posts: 681
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I am loving the fact that I stumbled in here this morning. The laundry soap ideas are great, I am gonna try it. We have 4 kids ages 4yrs-12yrs, my husband and I are full time students, he is a web developer from home and I am unemployed due to all of Oregon fighting for the same jobs, so what all that means, is money is tight and I have LOTS of laundry and house cleaning to do.

I am for sure going to try these...question though, the recipes that use vinegar, I know that it is great for cleaning, and I used to even due the Apple Cider Vinegar daily to drink, well, I hate the smell of vinegar, so will my clothes smell like vinegar if I use that in the wash? Because if they due, my whole house will be re-washed until I can't smell it anymore..just asking.

Subject: I'll echo this and also recommend wool dryer balls
Date Posted: 1/14/2011 3:11 AM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2011
Posts: 2
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Let me echo the above recommendations for making your own laundry soap.  We've been doing this for several months now.  Our clothes are cleaner, softer, and feel better than ever.  It only takes me about half an hour to make up a batch of the gel (I use the same recipe as the origninal post, which I got from the Duggars' website), and I've only just had to make a new batch.  It would have lasted a lot longer, except that I've been giving it away to friends and family to try to sway their habits...

We have also fallen in love with wool dryer balls from the Stoney Mountain Farm:


They come in a package of 3.  We have had almost no static despite colder weather setting in, and again our clothes are fluffier and have almost no wrinkles.

About using vinegar for rinsing, I have also heard this recommendation.  Sometimes I remember, but usually I don't.  If I use only a small amount of vinegar, I don't usually have any problem with a lingering smell.

Have fun!

Debbie Fields

Date Posted: 2/4/2011 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2011
Posts: 4
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I love making my own laundry soap too, but I switch it out with Shaklee and Seventh Generation products. Great stuff!

Date Posted: 3/2/2011 9:50 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2008
Posts: 1
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I love making my own laundry detergent, and have done for for almost 2 years.  The average cost per batch is around $3-$3.25 and it will late 6 months or more.  So, yes it's a LOT cheaper than even store brands or dollar store junk. 

Date Posted: 3/9/2011 7:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 644
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Wow I am so impressed..I would love to do this. I started making my own bath cleaner because the stuff was to strong for the kids to help clean. Also is saving me $3.25 a week. I clean the baths everyday. ( I get sick easily) cleaning everyday helps prevent me being even more sick. I am going to try some of these (esp softner) I shop at a Box Store to save money as we have growng teens that eat A LOT...lol But this will help even more thank you everyone....Oh and I have three of us who are severe skin issues..so maybe this will help.

Date Posted: 5/1/2011 10:03 AM ET
Member Since: 9/12/2009
Posts: 3
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I have been using the liquid laundry soap for about 3 years and we really like it. I add 1/4 cup of Dawn dishwashing liquid to each batch and it seems to help remove grease spots on clothes. For very greasy spots, we put a dab on the spot before laundering. 


Date Posted: 5/13/2011 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2010
Posts: 163
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is this laundry soap alright to use in the new HE machines?  We are getting one of those because of the HE part (high efficiency)?

Date Posted: 5/21/2011 12:06 AM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 8
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I made my own laundry detergent, but my husband and oldest daughter started getting a rash from it.  Did anyone else have this problem? 

Subject: liquid laundry soap using liquid castile soap ????
Date Posted: 5/29/2011 10:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2008
Posts: 32
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has anyone made liquid laundry soap using liquid castile soap instead of grating a bar of Fels-Naptha??


Subject: homemade laundry detergent
Date Posted: 5/30/2011 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2010
Posts: 86
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My wal-mart carries the Zote and the Fels Napta bar soap. It runs out quick so I stock up on it when I see it....

Also for those of you that can't find the washing soda or soda ash. You can get it in the pool supply dept of any store. I believe it is called Ph up. Just look at the ingredients and find the one that is ""SODIUM CARBONATE"" I buy a big jug and it last for 6 months. I just love the way it cleans clothes. And if you want a little smell good in it just mix a little of your regular detergent with it...

I just love this stuff

Date Posted: 8/24/2011 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I started making my own laundry soap (the dry powder) about 9 months ago.  I spent maybe $16, $17 on the ingredients and I've used about 25% of it.  It's just my husband and me, so we don't go through even ordinary detergent that fast anyway, but that this is going to last me more than two years.  Incredible.  My husband was skeptical--didn't think it could possibly be as good as regular detergent, but now when we're getting low, he reminds me to mix up another batch.

Date Posted: 11/6/2011 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2010
Posts: 482
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I just made the liquid detergent for a front load washer. I washed a load of clothes and they had no scent at all. I am going to try to add the lavender essential oil because I like a little fragrance.

I was googling recipes for dishwasher detergent and it uses basicaslly the same ingredients. Has anyone tried that?

Last Edited on: 11/6/11 3:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: homemade fabric softener
Date Posted: 2/1/2012 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2009
Posts: 4
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I have never made my own I'm going to try the vinegar,baking soda, water recipe hope the clothes don't smell like vineger.