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Laundry Soap is expensive and it's something that we have to buy whether we want to or not. This is a recipe for making your own laundry soap. It is easy to make and very inexpensive. If you are concerned with saving money or are a do it yourself type of person, you will love this recipe. Your total cost for 5 gallons or so of soap should be under $1.50.


1 bar heavy-duty laundry soap (found in the laundry aisle) Example: Fels Naptha

1 cup washing soda (This is not the same as baking soda, although Arm and Hammer does make the product and it's called "Super Washing Soda", the box looks like a large size box of baking soda.) You should be able to find it in the laundry aisle.


1. Grate the bar of soap into a saucepan. Use the part on the cheese grater that is for hard cheeses and chocolate. Add sufficient water to cover the soap about 2 inches. Let it soak up the water overnight. (This step is not essential, but will make it much easier to melt the soap.

2. When ready to make soap, fill a 5 gallon bucket with enough warm water to fill it to within a few inches from the top. This will be easier if you set it in the bathtub.

3. Put the saucepan with the soap and water on the burner on medium-high heat. Cook, stirring with a whisk continuously until soap is melted. When melted, pour the hot soap into the bucket then add washing soda. Do not reverse this order. Allow the mixture to cool. When cool, stir again well.
You can make it easier on yourself by separating the mixture into empty gallon jugs. Be sure to not fill the jugs completely so that you can have room to shake the solution before use.

4. Use about 1 1/2 cups of this soap per large load.

You can use less water and get a more concentrated version by using 2 gallons of water instead. It will be much thicker, so you might need to put it into a container with a large spout. You will only need to use about 1/2 a cup of this concentrated mixture.

Do not expect this soap to lather up. Just because we don't see a lot of suds, doesn't mean it isn't working. In fact, some of the commercial soaps are hard to rinse out and leave a sudsy film on your clothes. Try washing some of your clothes that have already been washed without adding any additional soap, you will be surprised at the amount of suds that come out of the supposed clean clothes. These suds tend to cause allergic reactions and also make your clothes appear dull.

Since no one wants dull clothes, the manufacturers can get you to spend more money on extra products to help with this problem. You will probably find that you don't need to add any additional fabric softeners when using this homemade recipe.

It won't look much like commercial soap either. Remember that the soap you buy is full of dyes and perfumes and has gone through many processes to make it look nice and to maintain a uniform mixture. You will need to stir your soap every time you use it.

You can modify the recipe and add other ingredients if you have problems with allergies or hard water. For allergies try using bar soap that you've had success with. Make up a small batch first and test it.

If you have hard water problems, try using a soap that is especially made for hard water like Kirk's Castille soap.

Other ingredients that can be used are:

Borax (for more cleaning power)
Clorox color-safe bleach

*Add about 1 cup of the additional ingredient to begin with and add it at the same time as when you add the washing soda. You can also make a version for delicates by using a mild soap like Ivory. This is good for washing baby clothes.