Homemade Laundry Soap – First Try

I have a LOT of catching up to do regarding the pregnancy, but first I promised I would share our experiment with homemade laundry soap.  Shane and I want to use fewer chemicals with the new baby (in our food, cleaning supplies, products, etc.) so making our own laundry products seem like a good place to start.  Plus, we have no jobs and no money, so we need a few cheap ideas to stretch every penny we find on the streets.  I went to my favorite honey hole for ideas……Pinterest, of course.  There are an overwhelming number of recipes and ideas there……I just clicked on a few until I saw what looked to be an easy recipe from someone who had tried a few processes out first.  Blogger, One Good Thing by Jillee, gets all the credit for the directions.  I dang sure didn’t re-invent this wheel!

(and as I found out today, I am SO far behind the 8-ball on making my own soap.  I was ‘bragging’ on Facebook how we were doing this today and I got crazy-feedback from these die-hard mommas who have been doing this for years.  Yah to me for catching up!)

Here’s how it goes down –


  • 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap (could also use Ivory, or Dr. Castille’s Baby Soap) ($1.19)
  • Borax powder ($3.50)
  • Washing Soda powder ($4.00)
  • (All of the above were at Publix)
  • Empty milk jugs, water bottles, mason jars, OJ containers, whatever (we ended up with 3 gallons worth)
  • soap







  1. Grate the soap (we used our cheese grater)
  2. But in large pot and add 8 cups hot water.  (I read a LOT of reader comments on the blog.  Consensus was to use a stainless steel pot, otherwise you could corrode your non-stick linings, etc.  We used our soup/shrimp boil pot.)
  3. Bring to slow boil and stir until all soap is dissolved. (Another caution from blog readers – the boiling soap is strong-smelling.  We cracked a window and turned on the fan and even my super-sensitive pregnant self was fine, but just a warning for you.)


    Boiling Soap

  4. Add 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda.
  5. Bring to boil, then take off heat.
  6. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT – let cool slightly before transferring to your PLASTIC jugs.  We dumped a semi-boiling concoction into our OJ bottles and they started to melt!!
  7. Here is where I deviate from the recipe, because of said ‘melt down’ experience.  We went ahead and filled our empty containers 1/2 way with warm tap water and THEN added the melted soap, in equal portions, to temper the soap mixture.

    im melting

    He doesn’t know the container is about to melt!


OK, here is another lesson learned……..we followed the recipe and filled 2 OJ gallon jugs with the mixture.  Within MINUTES, the soap solidified!  We dumped it all back in the pot, added another 1/2 gallon of water, stirred it up and then put it into 3 jugs, each a gallon each.  Jillee had said if the soap was too thick to only use 1/2 a bar of grated soap, but we had no way of knowing it would be.  She also advises that the mixture may separate or try to solidify after some time, but she just shakes it up and maybe adds a little more water as needed.

I’m Melting! and solidifying!

So with that, we washed out first load of clothes – a mix of our clothing – with a single 1/2 cup of the new soap.  We are adding white vinegar as fabric softener (in the dispenser) until we mix up some fancy homemade fabric softener concoction, but that was it.  Clothes came out smelling like, well, smelling like clothes.  Nothing fancy, but nothing yucky or weird either.  I don’t need my clothes smelling like a ‘spring meadow’ to think they are clean!  If you DO need that, Jillee suggests you can add 3 tablespoons of  a product like Downey Unstopables (scent booster) to each gallon of soap.  Gives it a touch of color and scent.  You could also scent with essential oils, but we are actually going to work on making a fabric softener with some essential oils to maybe add some scent and control our hard water and static.

I’ll update you again soon on our status and how we feel after we wash our bedroom sheets – the ultimate test of a good wash – but so far, so good, and SO cheap!  ($3/gallon!!)

3 final gallons


One response

  1. I mixed mine up and keep it in a five gallon bucket. I use an old store-bought laundry detergent jug to refill from the five gallon bucket as needed. If it gets too thick, I shake the bottle. Simple. Welcome to the world of cheap laundry detergent!

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