the farmwives kitchen… easy homemade laundry soap

So, maybe this recipe isn’t necessarily something to eat, it is nonetheless what is happening in my kitchen. Laundry soap.

I usually purchase an eco-friendly laundry soap through my local co-op. But that order happens once a month, and even though I have an entire month to make lists of household items and food we are running low on, I have this tendency to wait till the last minute to figure out my order, and well… more often than not I forget something. Ahem.

The laundry doesn’t seem to wait around for me to have soap, I’ve noticed. And I live in a location that doesn’t have a hip little health food store where I can zip in and grab what I need. In fact, the nearest jug of eco-friendly laundry soap is about an hour’s drive, one-way. It wouldn’t be very ‘eco-friendly’ of me to hop in the van to fetch my soap, now would it?

So, leave it to my dear mother… She’s been making her own laundry soap for years now. It was time I followed in her footsteps. So I got her recipe. The ingredients are relatively benign (except where noted) and readily available. (I’m not sure of the original source, but thanks to whoever deserves thanks here.) Without further ado:

Ingredients: 1/3 bar FELS NAPTHA laundry bar soap (grated) (I want to look for an alternative here, as this particular soap has “fragrance” and coloring agents, plus a few other ingredients I can’t pronounce, which is always questionable. I have used a gall soap (from here) as a stain remover in the past, and I suspect it would serve a similar purpose in this recipe, any suggestions out there?); 1/2 cup BORAX; 1/2 cup WASHING SODA; and a two gallon bucket.

Directions: Step 1) Grate 1/3 bar FELS NAPTHA (or other) bar soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat until soap melts. Step 2) Add WASHING SODA and BORAX. Stir until dissolved. Step 3) Pour 4 cups hot water into 2 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture. Step 4) Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let stand for 24 hours and soap will gel. *Use 1/2 cup of soap per load. (This is not in the original recipe, but the addition of an essential oil. like lavender, mint, or something citrusy seems like a good idea.)

How about you? Does anyone else out there have a laundry soap recipe you would like to share? If so, post a comment below. I would love to experiment… 

2 thoughts on “the farmwives kitchen… easy homemade laundry soap

  1. when i am in the mood for a fragrance-free version, i use kirks castille unscented bar soap instead of fels naptha. it doesn’t seem to quite gel up in the same way… but it cleans just as well in my opinion. Libby gets to mix up the fragrance of essential oils to put in…. its lovely, easier on my hands since i do “hands on washing” and soooo super inexpensive. Also- if you lack the storage space for a giant container of liquid laundry soap… you can make the same formula- soda, borax and grated soap- mix well and leave it in it’s powdered form, in which case it only takes about 1/8 of a cup per load. Happy washing!

    • cool… thank you! I just got a recipe for making a lye based bar soap from my sister-in-law’s mother-in-law which she uses in her own homemade laundry and dish soap. I’ll post the recipe(s) here sometime soon.

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