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I tried the homemade Laundry Soap.....

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So, I made some of the homemade laundry soap.


I grated the Fels Naptha, added 6 C of water, heated it to melting, added the borax and washing soda...added it to HOT water.


Every now and again, I took a poke at it to see what it was doing...


Is it supposed to be 'soupy'?


Also, since soap is supposed to be an emulsion (like salad dressing) how do I know if all the ingredients are mixed correctly? In all my years of lab work (experiments and teaching) I've not seen soap like this.


This mixture seems to be more watery on the bottom than on the top.


Am I supposed to ABSOLUTELY NOT TOUCH IT for a FULL 24 hours?

Did my curiosity ruin it when I was poking at it?

Should the quart + 6 C water have been BOILING (I just used steaming hot tap water).


Also, how do you dispense this? Can you use an old laundry soap container to giggle a glop out? Do you just dip a measuring cup in?


Anyone? thanks

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C4C, I've made homemade laundry soap many times. I do bring my quart of water to a boil after I mix in the borax and soda. Then just stir until everything is dissolved. Then add the additional water. Stir. Mine is alway's "watery". The soap and water separate after sitting for a little while. All you need to do is shake it up to mix it before you use it. It will still be thin and in my case it was kind of "cloudy" colored. Not a lot of soap bubbles either. Works just great though. I store mine in an old laundry soap bottle and it works fine, just shake first, and use the lid for measuring. Hope that helps.

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I make mine in a 35 lb kitty litter bucket. It gelled up at first but is now like "slime". In fact, we call it slime. It works really great - not a lot of suds as Spider said. Just stir before using and I use an old 1/2 cup measure to dispense it. (I have hard water so I use 1 cup per load). I do heat the water to almost boiling before adding the soap and powders and then "cook" it a bit to be sure all is disolved and the water I add to the bucket is also almost boiling.

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So - please forgive the short soap 'teacher' lecture, but this will explain my questions....


Well, the idea behind any liquid soap is that as a liquid, it is easier to get into the dirt, remove stains, and penetrate fabric.


When you shave soap, like Fels Naptha, it actually takes heat to change the hard soap molecules to a different molecular structure so they accept water and other solids (like boraxo and soda) more easily, hence the 'slime' texture Finklet & Spider spoke of. It's this structure that makes liquid soap work 'better' than most solids for washing without a lot of scrubbing. Often, if you just toss in shaved soap into a laundry machine, you don't have enough sufficient sustained heat to melt the soap into a solution to clean properly. The soap shavings will often break up and end up all over your clothes, or worse yet, sift to the bottom of the wash tub and keep getting on clothes.


I re-heated the soap mixture today and will check it tomorrow afternoon and transfer it to a soap container. (I'm kicking myself for recycling 3 soap containers 2 weeks ago!)


I'll let you know how the soap turns out - if it is different from what I had before, etc.


Also, it remains to be seen if I can even use this type of soap - if my husband doesn't start the "itchy and scratchy show", I'll know I've found a good thing!


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I just wanted to add a note to this! If you live in an area that has hard water, I have found that doubling my washing soda and borax has been really helpful! smile It makes for a thicker soap too! If you live on a well with really soft water, you do not need to double it. smile

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I made my second batch and I love it more than ever. I put less time and effort into it, watched it less, and let the heat in the water do all the work. I stirred it occationally and the next day I transfered it to big bottles. This mix is as good or better than the gain I was using. Extremely inexpensive!


Just give it time to dissolve and stir it and you're good to go the very next day. smile

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Okay, I think I'm in love. banana


I re-heated the batch I made in 2 kettles (I couldn't get to my HUGE soup pot because its blocked by canning jars!) and once they were at a low boil, everything had melted AGAIN, I poured them into my bucket and let it sit 24 hrs.


When I came back the next day, I noticed MUCH MORE gelatinous matter, and less water separation. As I stirred it up, I didn't like the chunky blobs (sorry for those of you that don't like the word chunky!) that were even present with rigorous stirring. So as I bailed it out of the bucket with my 8 cup Pyrex and before I added it to my soap container, I just beat it lightly with a whisk to break up the big clumps. This container has one of those 'buttons' for soap dispensing. It worked fine and didn't clog because I 'whipped' the soap.


I had about 4 cups that didn't fit into the container, so I'm sharing with my parents and a friend. You were right, it does separate some as it sits, so I will need to shake it.


I did a load of towels last night and these were rather dirty and a few were downright funky. I didn't add any bleach, etc, just this new soap.


I think they came out just as clean if not CLEANER than when I use Cheer! And they smelled so nice, even without a dryer sheet! It reminded me of how my grandma's clothes smelled in the summertime after she brought them in from the line.


So, now the biggie is whether my DH or I will react to it.


I'm so thrilled I have a cheaper alternative to commercial soaps! I was really getting discouraged at these 'concentrated' formulas. I don't buy it that they were 'new' and 'concentrated' for it seems I have to use more to get my clothes clean.


Thanks ladies - also, I'm going to work up a cost analysis for this versus regular laundry soap...I'll let you know what I come up with!

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I am reading your posts on this with great interest. I will be excited to read more. The fragrance was part of what I was wondering about. Sounds really promising so far.

Thank you for sharing your tips on making this.


Oh, and I canned only 3 little half pints of the mushrooms, as this was all I could buy yesterday. I have more brine left for about 4 more jars. Three jars is better than none. Perhaps I will freeze the rest of the brine for later if I can't get mushrooms in the next day or so. I can't believe how everyone was going to throw it out. Such waste.



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Lady Violet,


I'm so glad you took the brine - if you didn't, I was going to! I can't bear to waste anything either! :feedme:


Well, the towels are folded and waiting for use. I'm really hoping that this will work out for us.




When I bought the Borax & Washing Soda at Winco, they were in small boxes, for an average of $3 each. The bar of soap was $1.12.


Washing Soda box (55 oz.); 6 1/2 cups of powder (13 batches).

(Each 1/2 C amount costs .23 cents)


Borax box (76 oz), 11 cups of powder (22 batches).

(Each 1/2 C amount costs .14 cents)


If you buy 5 bars of soap to use up the Soda, ($3 + $1.82 + $6 = $11, including tax) each BATCH of soap will cost you approximately $.90.


YES, around $1 for laundry soap! Wait, it gets better! :bouquet:


If you figure you use approximatey 1/2 to 3/4 (.5 or .75) of a cup per laundry load, (approximately 50 - 60 loads in a batch) each load of laundry costs approximately 2 cents, YES, 2 CENTS FOR SOAP!!!!


CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!?! :huh:


Almost a year's worth of soap (for my household!) for around $10-$12! If gasoline would be so cheap, I'd do a princess faint of excitement! :0327:


Just for fun, I've not checked Costco yet for their prices on Borax and Washing Soda....more for another post!




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Wow, what a deal ! Would milk jugs be a good way to store the soap ? Would it work for hand dishwashing,too? I seem to go through too much dish soap.

The mushrooms look great. I only have 3 half pints, but may go back and buy more mushrooms, as I still have brine left. They only had that many good mushrooms at Gateway yesterday for 98 cents a lb.

I need to go back, perhaps in a while I will. Winco is just behind Gateway, too.

We should have grabbed the aspargus brine, too. It would have been good for something, as well. They waste too much stuff !

I love the Lady Violet title !! Thank you for the lovely name !

PS. My daughter told me to not can the soap, LOL ! She knows me too well.


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Ummm...I heard from some local canning guru that canning bread, cakes, and butter was a no-no...maybe we should include soaps, too! rofl


I think milk jugs would be fine, I think. I would be concerned about a puncture in the thin plastic because of my sophisticated 'basement floor' soap rest. I feel more secure with a sturdier jug. We use box milk here, so I've no source for milk jugs. But - if milk jugs float your boat, work, and are easily accessible, hey - go for it. You can fill them with a funnel!


I can't wait to try the 'shrooms and have a lovely, tasty shelf full. We are doing nice gift baskets for the holidays. These, pie filling, and flavored vinegars will go in for sure!


When I washed the soap pots in the dishwasher, I cut back a little on the dishwasher soap. It seemed to clean okay. I'll try a bit more of it and let you know if I have suds overload. (My kitchen floor could always use a good cleaning.) With all the canning jars I'm washing, I'm running through the DW soap, too.


Hmmmm. Hand-washing for dishes....using this soap for washing dishes....I'll check some sources about exposing food tools to borax/soda and let you know what I find. Methinks I need to call up a professor friend/ chemist and pick his brain.

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Crazy I'm glad you are getting the same results as I am. Your cost is even less than mine, I am at $1.14 a gallon.

The thing I discovered is that commercial laundry soap is heavily colored and perfumed and does a mediocre job at a premium price.

This soap is not masked with perfumes, colors, or other strange ineffective stuff.

Both the wet laundry and dried clothes smell incredibly fresh and clean.

I'd like to try a batch with Zote laundry bar and see if it smells better than Fels Naptha.

It tickles me that the less work I put into making it, the better the consistancy gets. smile

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I will let you all try it in the dishwasher. Me, I am not wanting to clean my floor that badly ! I have a new floor and new dishwasher.

Well, at least your canner could possibly get very clean if you can soap in it. I will have to come up with a safe processing time and headspace, LOL. Perhaps I should freeze it. How about dehydrating it ?

Seriously, I do have milk jugs. My laundry room is inside and a nice vinyl floor, so no risk of breaking the jugs. I was more interested in the thickness of it, whether it would pour nicely from milk jugs.

Wait until I tell my dh I am going to cook soap like Granny Clampett ! He thinks I have lost it already. I never stop doing more things that seem crazy to him. One day he will thank me for saving all of this money. Not to mention when the stores are bare and at least we have things or the knowledge and skills to do them.


I have only 7 little half pints of mushrooms. Still have more brine ! The mushrooms were $1.98 at Gateway yesterday. Very fresh and they had small ones.


This year is already been a much more hectic than usual with people asking to learn to can. So many questions. My husband thinks I should figure out a way to charge for teaching some classes. It may get down to bartering, like folks used to do. I wonder if my doctor wants soap or canned goods ?

I made my daughter six nice fabric shopping bags. Found some drapery fabric for $3. Enough for all six bags. She will like that they are pretty, too. They are very easy to sew.



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I am going to need the directions for the soap. I got some ingredients. So, just ike Granny Clampett, I am going to cook some soap, too. If you could point me in the way of the directions, I would be most grateful.

I wonder if I can use my grating blade on the Cuisinart without ruining my machine ?? I will ask my husband for hs opinion first.

I sure don't want to ruin my Cuisinart over some soap.


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So here are the directions for Laundry Soap:


1/3 bar Fels Naptha (You can use Ivory or Zote, I've not tried those yet) Grated

1/2 C Borax

1/2 C Washing Soda


Grate the bar soap into 6 C of water in a saucepan. Heat the soap until it melts (almost a slow boil).


In separate pot, boil 1 gallon PLUS 6 cups of water.

As soap is heating, boil this water.


(I mixed mine up in a bucket because I didn't have a large enough pan.)


Once soap is melted in 6 C of water, add Borax & Washing Soda. Stir & heat until dissolved. Let it come to a slow boil as well. (Mixture will be thick).


Pour 4 C boiling water into bucket. Add melted soap mix and stir well. Add remaining boiling water, stir well.


Put it out of the way and DO NOT TOUCH IT for 24 hours.


After 24 hours, you will notice that you have a gelatinous mass on top of some 'water'.


As I stirred this up, it was definitely slimy and chunky, but smelled nice. I bailed it out of the bucket using my 8 cup glass pyrex so I could ladle it into a funnel. Before pouring, I beat every 4 C or so in the pyrex it with a whisk to get the 'chunky blobs' down and to help it fit through my funnel. I did have some soapy foam from 'beating' but this went down.


It will still separate, so this is why you shake it before using. I left a few inches of space at the top of my container for 'shaking room'.


Use 1/2 - 3/4 C per load. (Most dispenser cups are around 1/2 C)

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Lady Violet,


I just used my regular hand grater. Fels is a rather softer soap, so I had no problem. It only took a few minutes. I've no idea what Ivory or Zote would grate like - my next experiment! bounce


I thought about using my food processor, then I thought - "why bother for this small handful?" But, if your hands bother you, I would pull in the help of a friend, DH, DD, etc.


I just couldn't see using a processor for something that small...not to mention, my DH was sleeping and I didn't want to wake him. Would soap damage your processor? Dunno. I've grated bread crumbs and chocolate that's been harder than soap. BUT, my processor's rather new, so I didn't want to find out either. smile

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The link at the bottom has an article that tells how and why you can make your own washing soda. Scroll to the bottom of the article for full info. This was originally posted 4/27/08 in Kitchen forum regarding cast iron.



Want to make your own "laundry soda"? Take baking soda, spread it out onto a cookie sheet and bake it in the oven at a little over 300 degrees for an hour or so it will drive away a water and CO2 molecule thus making washing soda.

At temperatures above 300o Fahrenheit (149o Celsius), baking soda decomposes into sodium carbonate, water, and carbon dioxide.

2NaHCO3 -> Na2Co3 + H20 + CO2







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Houston, we have soap !! We made a batch. It did gel up, then my dh took a paint mixer and mixed it up to blend in the water, that looks like whey on cheese. The soap is a bit like egg flower soup or something. I got 2 gallon milk jugs full.

Will see how it washes later on. I really think I would like to add some orange or lemon scent. The soap is fine as is, though. Real fresh smelling. Both of us think that.

Thanks so much for all the helpful information.

That was fun !!!!!!


Not sure I want to make my own washing soda, but if worse comes to worse, it is always helpful to know these things.


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I have been making this recipe for over a year. I leave it at the dry stage and use 1 Tbsp per load as Violet wondered. It works great for us! I figured that if it didn't, I could go to the trouble of making it gelly, but since it works, why bother? It stores much easier to.


I am very excited to read about making your own washing soda. That's the most expensive part of the recipe for me! It isn't sold in any stores, so I have to get it at the pool supply store for more than it should be!


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How exciting! OK. I think I'm sold.


I'm going to try this. We spend WAY too much on laundry soap, because we have to buy the expensive stuff to get our clothes clean.


One question...I know what Ivory soap is, but what is Fels and Zote?


I don't care for Ivory, so can you tell me why it is used as opposed to other soaps, and why the other two soaps that I'm unfamiliar with are used. (Oh. That's 2 questions.)

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