Thursday, January 20, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap and Liquid Fabric Softener

I know. I was a little aghast that one could make their own laundry soap, too. But as that thought always does, it ended with a 'well why not'? Someone has to make the stuff that is on the store shelves. Not only that but pioneering women had to make their own soaps for centuries. So why not?

It's not the science experiment you might imagine it to be. You still use some store bought products, but the benefit is that it's much more economical...Less than $1.00 a GALLON! It also won't contain the heavy perfumes like commercial soaps (which frankly give me a headache). Unless, of course, you add them yourself.

The things we need for the Laundry Soap are found in the laundry aisle in my local super store chain, Meijer (but I haven't found Fels Naptha in Walmart). You may have to do some looking or ask an employee, though, as they aren't as commonly used as they once were. The ingredients for the Fabric Softener are common and can be bought at many Dollar stores.

Laundry Soap

You Will Need:

  • Fels Naptha Bar-Less than $2
  • Washing Soda (Not Baking Soda)-Around $3 for a large box
  • Borax-Around $3 for a large box
  • Containers enough to hold 2 Gallons
  • A Large Pot , and Utensils: A Spoon, A Grater, and A Funnel not used for cooking 

1.)  Grate 1/3 of the bar of Fels Naptha and melt it in the pot with 6 Cups of water.

2.) Add 1/2 cup each of Washing Soda and Borax, stir until disolved.

3.) Add 1 Gallon + 10 cups of hot water and stir well. *I use a 5 gallon bucket to add the soap mixture to the water, but this is optional.*

4.) Pour into your containers (I use a cleaned out milk jug and a vinegar jug).

Use 1/2 cup of soap for a normal load of laundry.

You can use the soap right away, but it will set as more of a thin gel over night. You will want to periodically shake the containers to keep it from clumping. I do this by keeping them on top of the washing machine for a couple of days and letting the spin cycle shake it for me. I also give it a good shake before I pour it.

Liquid Fabric Softener

Liquid Fabric Softener is mixed right in the jug. For 1 jug simply mix: One 15 oz. Bottle of Hair Conditioner (the one pictured is 32 oz. and purchased at the dollar store), 3 Cups White Vinegar (no, your clothes won't smell vinegar-y), and 6 Cups Water.

Shake it up to mix, and use as you would with the store bought stuff.

P.S. There's an awesome giveaway from Fat Quarter Shop over at Adventures in Dressmaking... check it out!


  1. What do you do for h*e washing machines? I love that I can make my own laundry soap, especially because one of my girls has sensitive skin to all the perfumes they usually put in there!

  2. I'm told it's low sudsing, so it should be OK for front loaders but you might need to experiment with the amount of soap used as you may need less.

  3. It has no suds, I use it all the time.