*Edited to add: Since sharing this we have enjoyed switching to different laundry soap. One that is plant-based ingredients and a little less prep work. However, the recipe in this post is a wonderful start to a cleaner laundry soap option to ditch toxins as well as reduce costs in your household!
I have to begin this post with the truth. This whole DIY laundry soap thing? Never my idea. And actually, when it was brought up I groaned and possibly rolled my eyes at the thought of making it ourselves. I mean, we are a busy family and sometimes it really is nice to just pay for convenience. However, knowing how much money it has saved us and the fact that our family is growing by yet another? I’m kind of glad this is our process because it has made a world of difference in the laundry department. Not to mention helping to reduce some of the chemicals and toxins in our home. And it’s all thanks to this guy. So if you are feeling like you want to make a change in this area, I wanted to share our DIY laundry soap recipe with you!
The Bearded Gent was the one that found himself griping about how much money laundry soap costs (and let’s be honest, it’s ridiculous), and with understanding more and more about the effects ingredients in our products have on us, he decided to change it. So he hopped online, found an original recipe, made the first batch three years ago, and has perfected it to what it is today. The original recipe was too watered down for our liking and never seemed to really get clothes super clean and stain-free. The Bearded Gent adjusted and perfected it and we have really loved the change. We constantly receive compliments on the way our clothes smell and one load of laundry is now costing us only $0.012 per load (how ya like that math?!) instead of what it was before with the store-bought stuff which comes out to roughly $0.30 per load.
(if you are not an Amazon shopper, all three can be found at Walmart – we have not been able to find all three in one place anywhere else):
(1) 3-pound box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
All of these ingredients will create one batch which is 5 gallons and you will have remaining supplies for next time aside from the Fels-Naptha. We are able to do approximately 250 loads of laundry with one batch of this soap (one batch = 5 gallons).
a measuring cup
a 5-gallon utility bucket with a lid
a cheese grater
a stirring utensil
a container or pitcher to add your new detergent to
First, begin by boiling 12 cups of water on the stove. While that is prepping, you will want to grate the entire bar of Fels-Naptha. Be sure and use the finest grate option on your grater because if it is too thick the Fels-Naptha takes longer to melt.
Once you have grated the entire bar, add it to your boiling water and stir until melted.
Next, fill your utility bucket up halfway with hot water from the kitchen sink. Then you will add 2 cups of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and then 2 cups of Borax. Stir those ingredients together until they have dissolved.
Next, you will add the pot of boiling water and melted soap to your utility bucket. You will then want to take it to the kitchen sink and fill your bucket up with more hot water. The Bearded Gent fills it up until about 3 inches are left at the top and then gives it another good stir. After that, you will want to snap the lid back on and let it sit for 24 hours to set up.
Our kids like to help with the next part. After 24 hours, the soap will have congealed and you will want to make sure and break it up and get it back to more of a liquid state. If you don’t do this step, your laundry soap will be clumpy and tough to work with.
Once you have finished all of that you are done! We simply fill up a plastic pitcher and the remaining amount is left in the utility bucket and stored in the laundry room until we need a refill. We also kept a lid from an old store-bought detergent bottle in order to properly measure each load. I also still purchase softener, bleach, and Shout stain spray for those loads and clothing that require them.
A bit of an effort, but convenience really hasn’t done much for our wallets or our health over the years, has it?
Here’s to saving money and the never-ending laundry battle. And here’s to being more intentional with what we are using in our home!
For more on our wellness journey and other things we have switched out in our home, you can browse here.