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Saturday, July 3, 2010

How To Make Your Own Laundry Soap (Guest Blogger)

Amy Warden, owner of Great Cakes Soapworks has graciously offered to not only write a guest post for The Soap Bar but to share her laundry soap recipe with all of us. Thank you so much Amy. She makes yummy soap, so check out her website. This weekend she is giving away samples of her laundry soap!


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One of the easiest ways to save money for your family is to make your own laundry soap. You can do the math a couple different ways, but in my area, regular liquid detergents range in price from 7.3 cents per load up to 22.6 cents per load. Hypoallergenic liquids cost anywhere from 10 cents per load, all the way up to 27 cents per load! Even the least expensive warehouse brand costs 8 cents per load. I can make my own laundry soap for just 4.3 cents per load!

If you’re worried that it won’t work as well as your regular detergent, don’t be. I’ve been using the recipe I’m about to share with you on our family’s laundry and I haven’t noticed any difference in the cleaning power.

If you’re worried that it’s going to take a lot of time to make, don’t be. It’s quicker than whipping up a batch of cookies – even if you use the refrigerated dough.

If you’re worried that it won’t smell like detergent, you’re absolutely right! There’s no overpowering laundry smell, which is great for people with sensitivities to fragrance.

Ready to get started?

First, you’ll need to obtain the following items:

  1. 1 bar lye soap (needs to be 0% superfat, made with pure lard or coconut oil) – if you don’t make your own, I can humbly suggest that you try mine. It’s made with Orange Essence.
  2. 20 Mule Team Borax – you can find this at Walmart or in the laundry aisle of your local grocery store
  3. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda – NOT the same as baking soda! Not available at Walmart, but I found some in the laundry aisle at my grocery store.
  4. OxiClean (powdered) – or the generic version is available at Dollar Tree (this ingredient is optional)

Second, collect the following items from your kitchen:

Food processor, cheese grater, 1 cup measure, and ¼ cup measure.

Third, grate up the lye soap with the cheese grater:

Or, you can try using the grater attachment on your food processor – since you have it out anyway. I ended up with this last piece of soap floating on top of the attachment, which had to be grated manually.

Finally, insert the chopping blade in your food processor, add 1 cup each of borax and washing soda, and ¼ cup oxygen cleaner (along with the lye soap):

Give it a whirl until it’s chopped and mixed nice and fine:

Store in an airtight container. Use 1 tablespoon for light loads, or 2 tablespoons for large or heavy loads. I have a front loader washing machine, and it works just fine! You can also use ¼ c. of vinegar in the rinse cycle to remove the last bits of soap and reduce static, but your clothes won’t smell like vinegar! Add some essential oil to the vinegar if you prefer (20-30 drops per gallon). What I noticed was that our clothes were softer after the first time I used homemade laundry soap.

Which is why I’m offering free samples of this laundry soap, pre-made, to anyone who places an order at GreatCakesSoapworks.com over the 4th of July weekend only. Mention “laundry soap sample” in the Special Requests area of the shopping cart to receive yours! While supplies last. (Pre-made laundry soap is not available for purchase, but the Orange Essence Lye Soap is.)

Thank you, Jo, for the opportunity to share my recipe! I hope it has inspired your readers to try it out! If anyone has experience making their own laundry soap, I’d love to hear it! I know there are other recipes out there…

Amy Warden

Great Cakes Soapworks

Handmade Soap Blog

11 comments:

@Home-Mom said...

Oh i love your blog, I was googling soap batches and your post from '08 came up. My hubby and I are wanting to start making soap and sell it. (atleast use it ) I'm a new follower and will be back to look at all your yummy recipes!

We've been using our homemade detergent for a few months and love it! I was using oxiclean additionally but love how it's added in here.

Carmen Rose said...

Oh, this is exciting! I'm also interested in a recipe for soap for my dish washer that doesn't have anything toxic in it. Thanks for this excellent info!

TeresaR said...

Thanks so much Amy and Jo for sharing this!! I'm the most excited by the prospect that, if I decide to make this myself, I'll have an excuse to buy a newer and better food processor for kitchen use. Heh.

sherrieg said...

This is a great variation on a recipe I tried before- I'm excited to try it out. And for the previous commenter, a dishwasher detg substitute is equal parts baking soda and borax, with vinegar in the rinse compartment. :)

koinonia community said...

I use the same recipe Amy. I sometimes add some eo once I have everything blended. The last batch has lavender, rosemary, and peppermint and it makes the house smell so nice as the washer is running. My daughter claims a touch of fragrance remains in the clothes, but I haven't buried my nose in them to tell.

Sherri~ is that baking soda....not washing soda? I wanna make sure because I need to make some too.

TeresaR said...

Thanks, Sherrie for the dishwasher detergent recipe!

TheSoapSister said...

Hi Amy! What a great post -love the photos. I'm going to try this recipe -soon! Starting today I'm on the hunt for washing soda. : )
Thanks for the great info! ~Becky

TheSoapSister said...

Found the Washing Soda & Borax at the grocery store, came home a while ago and made a batch...super easy! I'm washing my first load of clothes with it as I type. What a fun project! Thanks again Amy!

Amy Warden said...

Isn't this just too easy not to try? I'm so glad the inspiration is out there and others are having great success as well! Thanks for the comments!

Amy Warden said...

Re: dishwasher soap - I've tried this too. The results weren't as good for me. Even with soft water and vinegar in the rinse cycle, our dishes ended up with a film on them. I hope others have better success!

Amy Warden said...

It absolutely works on my front loader without any problems. In fact, one time my daughter actually grabbed the large scoop from the store-bought detergent and put in WAY too much. The only thing that happened was extra soap residue on that load and it had to be washed again. I would caution against using superfatted soap on your clothes however. I understand it can leave a build-up.