Friday, February 12, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent/Stain Remover

Here is the last of my installments for the natural cleaning class I went to a few weeks ago. The only other thing we made was an all natural "409" multi-purpose cleaner that I already posted last year. Click here for that link. It works amazingly well on carpets, counters, sinks, stoves, etc. It costs less than $2.00 for 10 gallons of homemade laundry soap. You can't beat that!

OK, back to laundry soap. I had to order Fels-Naptha soap and Super Washing Soda from our local hardware store. Borax was easy to find in the laundry aisle. Fels-Naptha is kind of a mystery as to what is in it, but it does say it contains no Naphthalene. You could also use 2 bars of Ivory soap instead. Grated "Zote" is another option that is cheap and more natural than FelsNaptha. If you really want to go all natural, you can use Dr. Brommer's castille soap (not sure how much to use), but it is much more expensive.

Homemade Laundry Soap:
1 grated bar of Fels-Naptha, Zote or 2 Ivory bars laundry soap (can use a food processor to grate)
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup Borax

Grate bar of soap. Add it to 4 cups of hot water and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until soap is dissolved and melted. Fill a 5 gallon pail halfway with hot tap water, add melted soap, washing soda and borax. Stir until dissolved. Fill bucket the rest of the way with hot tap water. Cover with lid and allow to set overnight. In the morning, stir and fill a clean laundry container (I just use another 5 gallon bucket or milk jugs work, too) half full with soap, then fill the rest of the way with water. Stir or shake well. You can add 10 to 15 drops of essential oils if you want it scented. Shake before using. Use 1 cup with top loader machines.
My laundry came out looking great. If it still isn't getting clothes clean, keep increasing the amount until you're happy with the results. Also for whites, I add 1/8 cup borax to a large load of whites and use hot/warm water. If my whites are really dirty, I let them soak for an hour. Borax is an optical brightener.

Stain Remover:
Oh, do I hate having to buy Spray and Wash. It is so expensive and half the time I have to spray everything down twice because it didn't get it the first time. Mary suggested that instead of using Spray and Wash, we simply rub some of the undiluted laundry soap directly onto the stains. I tried it and it worked great! If my kid's clothes are really bad, I simply dip the whole garment into the bucket of detergent.

I had seen this recipe on someone else's blog and I thought it looked complicated. I watched Mary go through the whole process and I was amazed at how easy it was to make. I've got no excuses now. Boy, does it save money, too. Not only in laundry soap but stain removers, too.

Well, I think I've got all my cleaning basis covered, so this will be my last cleaning post for awhile. Hope you have enjoyed learning about these things as much as I have.

God Bless,

FYI - Just did some research and found that the Felsnaptha bar soap I use in my homemade laundry detergent is made from petro-chemicals. I found a safer alternative that is the same price, called "Zote". It isn't perfect, has some dye, but is sounds a lot safer than Felsnaptha which has toxicity issues when used over a long period of time. Zote is safe enough that you can use it to wash dishes. Zote Soap has non-abrasive ingredients and no salts that could massively deposit in the clothes, it can be used for delicates. Zote Soap contains optical brighteners chemically designed for hand washing. Zote Soap has no chlorine, and thus bleaches without fading color. Ingredients:   Zote Soap is made with coconut oil and tallow. It contains sodium chloride, glycerin, perfume, an optical brightener and dye. Zote Soap is scented with citronella oil, making the soap fragrance long lasting.

If you want to make your own all natural homemade laundry soap, instead of using Felsnaptha or Zote, click here for instructions.


He & Me + 3 said...

Thank you for posting this again. I really need to make my own I was just talking to hubs about it. He is a little skeptical, but i want to try it.

Deb said...

I've been making my own laundry soap for several months now and I am quite pleased with it! My recipe is almost the same as yours. The last time I made it, I used 2 bars of Ivory Soap instead of the Fels-Naptha and I'm really happy with that change!
Have a super blessed day!

Lisa said...

I saw this recipe a year or two ago, but still haven't made it. I'm very impressed that you did!!! There is so much we can do to live a cleaner, healthier, more natural lifestyle if we're just willing to put forth the effort to do it!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

I have been making my own laundry soap for about a year now. Like you I do not dilute it when I place it into my detergent jug. Also since we have hard water deposits (lime, rust, etc. even with a water softner) I use 2 cups of washing soda and 2 cups of borax. Even with doing this extra it is still SO much cheaper than what you can get at the store and much better for my family. I never thought of using it as a stain remover...I am going to try that out today!

Anonymous said...

I just started making ours a few months ago and we've loved it too! I didn't know about using it as a stain remover though. That's awesome! :)

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

I can't WAIT to start using this stuff!

Catherine Anne said...

This is what we use... Love it

Cat said...

There is nowhere in my town to get the washing soda, in fact, Ace wasn't even interested in ordering it for me! Maybe when I go to the big city next month, I'll be able to find it.

Taryn said...

I do this- but don't actually make it into a liquid. So much easier to just grate it all up. I think it works fine.

Taryn said...

Oh yeah- I was also going to say that I use Ivory soap and regular baking soda instead of washing soda. Baking soda really works fine. Plus, I have sensitive skin, so I was afraid washing soda would irritate it.

Taryn said...

If you are going to use the powdered version- in a top loader or front loader- all you need is 1 tbsp per load. If the load is super dirty, you could use 2 tbsp. I would also suggest adding 1/2 cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle (in place of fabric softener). The vinegar helps to make sure that you rinsed out all the soap.

If you want to see my recipe or pictures of what the powdered stuff looks like- visit my blog here:

Good luck- I haven't bought laundry detergent in over a year- and to be honest- I don't miss it one bit.

Crys said...

Our Family has used a powder version of the homemade laundry soap for a few months now. I love it! It's so easy and cheap to make and our clothes are softer than they have ever been.

christy rose said...

I want to try this too. I can not find any stain remover that

Regina @VestPocketFamilyFarm said...

I don't know why my home made soap wouldn't work. I just need to check how many ounces to grate. I need to do a batch of blender soap with pics. Makes home made soap so doable.

Anonymous said...

We have been making this for a year or so.Love it.

coley said...

we have been using homemade laundry detergent about a year. pretty similar recipe, but i do use dr.bronner's soap (solid bars), grate it in a food processor. and regular baking soda. a few drops of essential oil just to make it smell yummy...... lavender & basil or grapefruit & lime. :)

Anonymous said...

I use a concentrated version of this recipe! I found that it saved water and space. And I can use it like a gel type stain remover with fantastic results. (Always a use for leftover dish soap containers!) Also, I no longer cook soap on stove (I love the smell, but think it's a little too strong when on the stove.) I put grated soap & powders in the bottom of my 5 gallon bucket and add boiling or steaming water (your preference. Boiling dissolves much faster.) Stir until dissovled, let sit overnight, stir in the morning and your done! Should have no seperation, although when you stir in the morning it might take a little arm strength.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Thanks for sharing your recipes and what works for you. I love hearing of variations on this recipe :)

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Dannie & Connie Cummings said...

Hey Jackie!
I have been using this mix for about a month now from another friend. I'm going to use your suggestion for Zote as I'm not really a fan of FelsNaptha smell. I am so happy you post these receipes..I think I'm going to try the dishwashing powder next!
Connie Cummings

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Connie, I really prefer the Zote soap, too. It does a better job and is way more natural than using Felsnaptha. When you make the dishwasher soap, make sure you add a splash of vinegar to keep your dishes from getting cloudy.

Tyler B. said...

My wife did this and I have to say that I'm pretty impressed! I was fairly skeptical but it works just as good as commercial detergent. It's a great thing to do if you're tired of spending $10+ every month (or less).

Alysha King said...

i love your site. im a 21 year old mom to a 3 year old and also married. and i make my own laundry soap, have been for a few months now. but i didnt know about the stain remover part. and i love all the other posts for cleaning products. i plan on making it all and getting rid of the toxic stuff. so glad i found this. now i dont have to worry as much and itll save us way more money since im always cleaning. everyone i know is amazed as to the fact i make home made laundry soap and im so young. ive actually gotten a few people to switch over. and thanks to your site ill be making all kinds of cleaning products and getting other people to switch more of their stuff.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Tyler and Alysha, I'm so glad you've found this recipe useful and I'm very glad you are saving money! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

God Bless,


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