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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Old Fels-Naptha soap packaging, photographed a...

Green Living - Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

1 bar Fels-Naptha Soap, finely grated
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (DO NOT substitute baking soda)
1 cup Borax

5-gallon bucket
water

Pour washing soda and borax into a 5 gallon plastic pail. Pour and stir in just enough hot water to dissolve. Stir Fels-Naptha into the pail and whisk until mixed. Add very hot water (I boil several pots on the stove at once) until pail is filled within a couple of inches from the top (3-5 gallons total) and whisk again. Add a few drops of scent (essential oil) or not. Let stand for 24 hours. The mixture will thicken and mostly likely have a consistency resembling "egg soup". Carefully pour into empty laundry detergent containers that have been rinsed. Use 1 cup (using the lid of the detergent container) for light washes or 2 for extra dirty or super sized washes. (As it is a suspension liquid, shake the container before measuring out the amount for each load.)

A few notes:
This soap will not suds up, but don't worry, it's not the suds that are doing the cleaning. You still eed to pre-treat any stains just like you would with any laundry soap. Here are a few websites that will answer any and every question you could possibly have on the subject.

The Family Homestead - A great website with a Q and A section towards the bottom
The Simple Dollar - Another website with various laundry soap recipes
You Tube Video - A video on making liquid laundry soap
Powdered Laundry Soap - A previous post on Self-Reliant Sisters for powdered laundry soap.

Where to buy ingredients:

Borax: Wal-mart, or the laundry aisle in any grocery store
Washing Soda: Albertson's laundry aisle or Buy Harware Supplies.com
Fels-Naptha: Vons laundry aisle or Hard to Find Items.com

Prices vary, but ultimately it will come out at 3-10 cents a load for the homemade soap compared to the Tide Liquid Detergent 2x concentrated, 26 loads at $14.99 (sometimes upwards of $17.99) which breaks down to $0.58 a load.

Containers:
Start saving your liquid laundry containers instead of throwing them away. Or you can try using several clean, empty milk cartons. One other option is to just store it in the five gallon bucket you made it in.
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