Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent....by request

jasdipJune 28, 2009

I mentioned I make my own laundry detergent on another thread and Alisande ask that I post this.

I LOVE this stuff! Hubby insists that his darks look better than ever. I've used the concentrated to remove grass stains from the knees of my jeans, and a friend who I gave the recipe to, got all the juice stains out of her daughter's t-shirt.

A 5-gallon pail cost me $1.70 to make, and that's Canadian prices. You can cut the recipe in half, if you have a smaller pail or don't want to make such a large batch the first time.

HOMEMADE LIQUID LAUNDRY DETERGENT

4 cups hot water

1 Ivory or Sunlight bar soap (I prefer the Sunlight)

1 cup washing soda

½ cup Borax

Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan of hot water. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until soap is all melted.

Fill a large kitty litter bucket or 5-gallon pail ½ full of hot water. Add melted soap, washing soda and borax. Stir well until the powder is dissolved. Fill bucket with more hot water.

Stir, cover and let sit overnight.

The next morning the pail will be all gelled and very thick. Stir with a stick to break it up. Fill a laundry jug half-full of the detergent, and top with more water.

Shake before each use.

Use ½ cup for top-load machines, and ¼ for front-load.

Use the thickened, undiluted soap as a pre-treater.

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alisande

Wow--I wish I had known about this back in the days when every day was laundry day! Thanks, Jasdip.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 8:37AM
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marilyn_sue

I had previously copied your recipe Jasdip and plan on making it one of these days. I have a nice clean 5 gallon bucket with lid that I bought laundry detergent in long time ago. It may be awhile before I get around to making it though. So much going on right now and I have some detergent on hand. I don't think I have ever seen the Sunlight brand, but then again, I don't look at bar soap often. Will check it out though.

Sue

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 9:17AM
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pattico_gw

Do you get much suds with it?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 9:32AM
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OklaMoni

For some reason I am having a hard time finding a bar of ivory soap. That's the only ingredient missing for me making this soap.

I shall do this, as soon as I get back from my next extended trip, which I am going on tomorrow.

Thanks again for sending the recipe to me, as well as posting it here.

for those getting the funny symbols too:
The recipe calls for a half cup of borax

use a half cup for top-load machines, and a quarter cup for front-load.

Moni

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 9:40AM
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jasdip

You can use Ivory, Naptha or Sunlight....really whatever laundry bar soap you prefer. I don't have any skin problems and I like the smell of Sunlight. Mmmmm grating it, the kitchen smelled like a lemon candy!

This recipe produces no suds, so it's perfect for front-load machines. No soap scum trace on any darks either.

Thanks Moni, for mentioning the quirky symbols. I don't see anything wrong with the recipe on this end, but obviously some of you are.

This takes all of 10 minutes to make. I made another batch last weekend (I had sold some jugs of concentrate to people so they could sample it, before making a batch for themselves). When I was done and it was in the closet to sit overnite, Hubby said, "Is that all it took?" He's amazed at the speed and the quantity. lol

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 10:08AM
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doxiemom

I just made a batch of powdered laundry detergent yesterday. I had to quickly wash a load of clothes to see how I liked it--it made the clothes so soft and clean looking. I used one bar of Fels Naptha--grated then processed to a powder, half cup of washing soda and half a cup of borax. You just use 2 tablespoons in each load of wash. I used a coffee scoop to measure it out--worked really nicely. Sheila

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 10:25AM
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RuthieG__TX

I was just going to tell oklamoni that it doesn't have to be Ivory ....
the recipe has been around the saving money boards forever and it calls for Fels-Naptha, Lever 2000 etcetc...

Here is an article in the going green section of Discovery Dot com telling how to make it or telling how to make the powdered version.

Here is a link that might be useful: Make your own Detergent

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 11:01AM
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rthummer

Jasdip, I just finished yesterday making my first ever batch. I used your recipe that you had posted on the frugal post awhile back....That stuff will last forever, won't it? LOL I was wondering if you could add a fragrance or two? Do you know how?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 11:05AM
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OklaMoni

Oh, laundry bar... I just thought ivory soap...

Well, that's a different story... and might be even harder to find...

Moni

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 11:15AM
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jasdip

Rthummer, someone suggested adding a drop or 2 of essense of fragrance.....lavender or something you like. I haven't done it, as I don't particularly care for frangrances.
If you use fabric softener (I use vinegar) that would add a bit of scent to your laundry.

I'm always looking for things to wash, I love this stuff so much.
I actually sold some jugs of commercial soap on Kijiji.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 11:22AM
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littlebit_gw

I have been making my own for over a year now. In the beginning I used regular IVORY bar bathsoap any bath soap will work, but a couple of months ago a local store has started carrying Zote laundry soap in the mexican aisle, I made my last batch using that.

littlebit

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 1:00PM
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bigbaby

That sounds great and I'm going to try it. What the heck is washing soda, though?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 2:15PM
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coffeemom

I was wondering the same thing, so I googled.

Here is a link that might be useful: washing soda

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 2:34PM
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liz

I added a bottle of citrus essence the last time I made it...but I make a triple batch when I make it...sure beats the 20.00 or more you spend for a bottle or box of soap...this breaks down to pennies a load!!

I find washing soda near the mule team borax!!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 2:46PM
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jasdip

I usually explain what washing soda is to fellow Canadians.
It's made by Arm and Hammer, and it's sold in a blue box here, in the laundry aisle. I've seen pics of it in yellow boxes, which I'm sure is what is sold in the US. Usually next to the Borax.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 2:47PM
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bigbaby

Thanks Coffeemom.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 4:29PM
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des_arc_ya_ya

Okay, now I am REALLY confused! LOL Are washing soda and baking soda the same thing? I didn't think that they were. (Think that I've seen washing soda in WalMart before, but now can't find it.) Then I go to the site given and it shows a box of baking soda with the words Baking Soda on the front of the regular, old yellow box! LOL

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 7:16PM
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jasdip

This should help YaYa. Baking soda is NOT Washing Soda.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 7:58PM
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des_arc_ya_ya

Okay, thanks. I didn't think so, but that site showing the box of Baking Soda made me wonder....LOL

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 8:14PM
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izzie

I have been searching for washing soda, still haven't found. Even checked in a few more rural stores/farming areas and no one has it. I googled and found a link to garden web laundry forum post and there is a 800 # to call. I copied and pasted it below. Of course they are closed today for 4th of July so I will try on Monday.
(the sarting date of this thread was 08-28-06.
------------------------------------

RE: where can I find washing soda?

clip this post email this post what is this?
see most clipped and recent clippings
PrintPage

* Posted by
John
(johng@effingham.net) on
Mon, Feb 25, 08 at 11:14

Call this phone number 1-800-524-1328 and have the UPC code 33200-03020. The service will ask for your zip code and then tell you places in your area that sell the item. I believe this service will locate most items if you have the UPC code number. My area said the Kroger store.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 11:08AM
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marilyn_sue

I bought mine at Meijer, next to the Borax. I found Fels Naptha with the bars of soap in the detergent isle.

I plan to make it next week.

Sue

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 11:19AM
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stargazzer

I see ivory at the Dollar Tree. Sounds like a good recipe, I would have tried that years ago. I don't have much laundry any.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 11:33AM
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minnie_tx

I posted this on an AOL board and was asked "Anyone know if these homemade versions are bad for septic systems?"

Does anyone know ??? Thanks in advance

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 6:35PM
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des_arc_ya_ya

Made a batch today. I found the washing soda at Kroger. I wondered about the septic system thing, too. Although I don't know which of the ingredients (or any) might cause a problem.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 7:03PM
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stargazzer

Doesn't sound like any of those products would be a problem. Most are household items people use for other purposes.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 7:06PM
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lisa_fla

-Bought both the borax and washing soda at Publix today. Already had the Fels. Can't wait to make it! I need to use up the stuff in my laundry jug first.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 7:54PM
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jasdip

I just finished reading some comments about the detergent.
It seems that the liquid recipe (this one) is fine with septic tanks. Even better, if you use vinegar in the rinse cycle.

I've been using vinegar for years, just on my darks mainly and it works great as a softener.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 8:43PM
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minnie_tx

Thanks for the info

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 9:50PM
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Terrapots

I have a question. The liquid detergent produces about 10 gallons of detergent and 1/2 cup is used for 320 top loads, right? That's a lot of laundry. Then the powdered recipe posted by Doxiemom makes about 2 cups of detergent and uses 2 tablespoons per load. Big difference. What am I missing here?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 6:30PM
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mrsmarv

First off, thank you to jasdip, who posted and started this very timely thread. In our current state of the economy it certainly is helpful. I'm always looking for ways to cut corners, save $$$, and help the environment, so this is a great.

I have a question, too ;o) I made the liquid mixture using Fels Naptha laundry bar (which, BTW, has a very nice fragrance and is wonderful at getting stains out of clothes). I used 1/4 cup for our FL washer. I noticed that it did not make suds at all. I'm guessing that's because commercial laundry detergents add "something" to make theirs suds so that consumers are led to thinking that because it's sudsing, that means it's cleaning.

Anyone care to offer their thoughts or expertise on this?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 11:04AM
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jasdip

MrsMarv, the homemade detergent does not suds.
You're absolutely correct in thinking that commercial detergents have a sudsing agent added to them. Consumers equate "suds" with "clean".

This is why this recipe is perfect for front-load machines. Too many suds are the enemy in front-load machines.

I've heard back from a few people who have used my recipe and they love it. Friends offered to buy laundry jugs of pure concentrate from me to see if they like it, before making a large batch for themselves. They are now telling me how well it works, and they're making it for themselves.

FYI, the Dairy Queens here give out their pails/lids that the fruit and whipped cream comes in. I've gotten a couple from them.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 1:17PM
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jasdip

I saw a display of a large jug of liquid Tide yesterday for $24.99!!!
I couldn't believe it!! I was thanking my lucky stars that I saw the news program that featured this recipe.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 1:22PM
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mrsmarv

I made the large batch, trusting our knowledgeable GW'ers to know what they're talking about LOL. I knew it wouldn't be a waste and that I'd like it. We have quite a few clean 5-gallon spackle buckets around, so I used one of those to mix it in. I had saved a few liquid detergent jugs, so that's what I put the finished product in. I gave one jug to DS and his GF...share the wealth ;o)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 2:12PM
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stoneybaloney

I made it last weekend, and boy! it does a terrific job!
Used the Fels Naptha bar, and it smells soooooo good. DH saves old milk jugs (after cleaning them out, of course) and I filled nine of them and the 10th is pure concentrate.

The first loads I washed were throw rugs that the dogs muddied up, I had two loads of them. Did the pre-soak thing and then wash, and they came out beautifully. Then came the really TOUGH stuff ... DH's jeans. He's been helping out various neighbors with trees that were damaged in recent storms, and they were just filthy. I pre-treated them as needed, and the grass stains came right out. If they weren't so worn, they'd have looked like new again.

jasdip, Thank you! I'll be making my own laundry detergent from now on!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 2:41PM
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izzie

Finding washing soda:
The phone # and upc code I listed in my July 3rd post under this thread worked to find washing soda.

I mentioned to a friend I was making this laundry soap. She said she started doing this about 3 months ago. A lot of people at her church are doing this to help save money and she got reciepe from them. The receipe she had was almost the same but no borax, she going to use borax nest time. I hadn't got myself to store to get w.s. yet she gave me some of hers and I gave her 2 of my empty cat litter pails...I made it.

----Easier than grating soap--------
use a potato / vegetable peeler
I have a too sharp one I have been afraid to use
Almost cut my finger tip off a few months ago

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 3:09PM
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monarae_gw

Dang it! I went shopping today, and forgot the "recipe"! I so want to try this, as I am recently laid off, with a son about to start college. I love to find ways to cut expenses!
I will print the recipe, and put it in my purse, so I have it next time, no matter what!
Thanks!
MonaRae

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 7:13PM
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jimrbto

If you can't find "washing soda" in the market go to the area that has the swimming pool chemicals. Get a jug/bottle of "pH+" it is pure sodium carbonate which is just what you need.
Jim

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 7:36PM
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marilyn_sue

Guess what I saw on our channel 13 this evening? A woman in Kokomo was on there with her homemade laundry soap! It showed her making the very same recipe that Jasdip has. However she didn't grate it, she put it in a ziplock bag and whacked it with a hammer over and over! She had a homemade label on hers too. She used Fels Naptha. Thought you might like to know about the show.

Sue

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 8:20PM
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rthummer

I have been using this liquid deteregent every since jasdip posted it.(well, I mean when I made the formula up in a five gallon bucket left over from detergent I had gotten from Sam's) I LOVE IT!! Plus I feel like I am saving my dh some of his hard earned money. I am tickled that someone took the time with great info. THANKS!!!!!(again) I copied and e-mailed formula to my DSILs and friends. I hope they give it a try..I am convinced it gets your clothes CLEANER than store bought detergent.

Darleen

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 9:28PM
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moonie_57

I haven't been able to find the washing soda any place in my area. Maybe when I get up to Virginia sometime next week the Kroger there will have it. I'm anxious to make up a batch and share with the rest of the family.

Also wondering how many of you have used the colgate octagon bar. So far I haven't run across the Fels Naptha either, and many of you have loved the scent.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 10:18PM
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izzie

Moonie

Call this 800 phone # they will tell you what store in your area sells washing soda. It worked yesterday for me.

FINDING WASHING SODA

Call this phone number 1-800-524-1328 and have the UPC code 33200-03020. The service will ask for your zip code and then tell you places in your area that sell the item. I believe this service will locate most items if you have the UPC code number.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 8:46AM
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izzie

Ok I made this yesterday. This morning it looks like and is the consistency of whole milk. It didn't gel as was described but maybe I misunderstood what gel is. I swear I have a high percentage of things not turning out when following recipes. My husband did not marry me for my cooking abilities.

Did I do something wrong?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 9:15AM
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jasdip

It definitely gels. It's thick and gooey and gummy on the top portion of the bucket.....not all the way to the bottom. You can squish it between your fingers.
It's not white like milk either. It's kind of transluscent. Hmmm, you melted the soap, and then mixed the borax and washing soda in the pail with the soap? I'm not sure what went wrong.

You could try using this on some (old) clothes as a test. Since it didn't gel, you can probably use this full strenght, just at half the amount. e.g. 1/8 cup for front-load and 1/4 for top load machines.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 9:42AM
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izzie

I made it yesterday morning and I checked on it about 3-4 times and stirred it each time I looked at it. Maybe the gel that would normally be at the top I stirred in. I guess I should have left it alone just couldn't help myself. Otherwise I followed the directions. I did heat up some water on the stove when mixing it all together but mostly used really hot water from faucet...does all the water need to be heated up on the stove maybe?

This kind of thing with not turning out right is really par for the course with me. I am jinxed or something.

My mom bought me a Frig magnet that says: Dinners not done until the fire alarm goes off.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 10:02AM
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trishaw

I am going to give this a try this coming weekend. My Dh is going to think I lost my mind!

Trish

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 10:07AM
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jasdip

Hahaha Izzie, you were just too curious! You didn't let it set on its own. Hot tap water is perfectly fine in your pail. You only need to melt the bar soap on the stove.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 11:18AM
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bearcat_va

Question: When you use this recipe in a front load machine, do you still pour it in the dispenser that is on the top of of the machine?

Also, any Viginian's out there find these ingredients?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 11:26AM
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jasdip

yes to your first question Bearcat.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 11:38AM
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bearcat_va

thanks! Can you make the powder version for a front load HE machine, too?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 11:56AM
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jasdip

Here is a powdered version. Basically 2 parts laundry bar soap, 1 part Borax and 1 part Washing Soda.

* 2/3 bar Fels Naptha Laundry Soap (equivalent of 1 cup grated)
* ½ Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
* ½ Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda.
* Container large enough to hold 2 cups of laundry detergent

Directions:

  1. Grate the Fels Naptha laundry soap with a grater or use a food processor. Approximately 2/3 of a bar of soap will make 1 cup of grated soap.
  2. Add the ½ cup of Borax and ½ cup of washing soda to the grated soap.
  3. Shake and/or mix well

Use:

One tablespoon of detergent is sufficient per load of wash. If you have a high-efficiency machine, you might want to experiment with using a little less detergent for normal loads. If your clothes come out feeling stiff, lower the amount of detergent. For clothes that are heavily soiled, add a teaspoon more of the detergent..
Yield:

The recipe yields 2 cups of laundry detergent. If you use 1 tablespoon per load, you will be able to wash 32 loads of clothes.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 12:41PM
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mrsmarv

Great thread...I keep coming back to see "what's up"!

I bought my Fels Naptha at our local True Value hardware store. A small home town store is more likely to carry it.

The powdered recipe is easier, but I would use the liquid if you have a septic system.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 1:14PM
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bearcat_va

Good advice! I'm on a well/septic and have an HE front loader. I'm going to hunt around for the ingredients today and make up a batch of the liquid stuff! And yes, I'll keep the 5 gallon bucket out of the reach of the baby's little hands so he doesn't drown :)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 1:19PM
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doxiemom

Moonie,
I'm not sure where you are located in NC but I am near Greensboro. If you are near a Harris Teeter, they have the washing soda and the Fels Naptha. Well actually they have all the ingredients--I used the borax that I had bought at Wally World--I always have that on hand. I have a septic system and have noticed no problems but now y'all have me thinking--maybe I should make the liquid instead. I find the amount I use makes my laundry so soft that I haven't even been using fabric softener. Sheila

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 4:48PM
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jimrbto

Just a question please. I looked at bars of laundry soap and see that they come in all sizes (weight). What would be the proper weight of a bar for this recipe? I see sizes from 4.5 ounces to 14 ounces.
Thanks much
Jim

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 9:25AM
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jasdip

Hi Jim,
14 oz? Wow that's huge. Based on that, I would use the 4.5 oz. The reason I don't know the exact size, is because I'm Canadian, and the sizes are in grams. To give you an idea,
the Sunlight bars here are sold 2 in a pkg. Each bar is 130 grams. As a gauge, Dove bath bars used to be sold in 135 grams and the personal size were 120 grams. Like everything else, they've gone down in size. So the size of bar you would buy would be a bath size if it were a bar of soap for showering.

Now that you're completely confused, I'm sure someone from the States will jump in and help you.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 9:57AM
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jimrbto

jasdip thanks for our response. A 130gm bar is just about exactly 4.5oz. So I will try that and see what the wash water looks like and adjust the amount of soap accordingly.
Looked at bars this morning, Fels-Naptha = 155gm, Zote = 400gm
Jim

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 12:35PM
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jasdip

I know that Fels Naptha is used by this group the most.
I've never seen Fels nor Zote here, ever. Thankfully I love the Sunlight bars.
Good luck making it! I love making a batch!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 1:39PM
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lilliepad

I am just getting around to reading this post but can't wait to try this soap.We are leaving for NM again Monday and will get the ingredients when I get there and make up a batch.Twins make a lot of laundry so I think this will pay off! I can hear DDIL now though,"Are you sure this is OK for baby clothes?" LOL I'll make some for myself later when we are home again. Thanks Jasdip!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 5:13PM
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liz

Here's the recipe I've been using for about three years...I get all my ingredients at our local Krogers...I also add a bottle of oil of essence I find at Hobby Lobby or Michaels...otherwise it has virtually no smell! I also picked up an empty pool chemical bucket last summer at a garage sale for 50cents...it's a little over 6 gallons and I can triple the recipe...

Laundry Soap

You will need 3 basic ingredients; a soap of some sort, washing soda and borax.

The Soap: The most typical type of soap to use is Fels Naptha. It is an old-fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle. The other options for soap are Ivory or another brand called, Zote. Any of these will work. I use my own homemade soap and find it works quite well. If you use Ivory or your own homemade soap you will need to use the whole bar.

Washing Soda: This is not to be confused with baking soda. They are not the same thing. Washing soda is sodium carbonate or soda ash (baking soda is sodium bicarbonate). It is a white powder. Its purpose is to help remove dirt and orders. The brand to look for is Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. I find it in the laundry section of my grocery store. Many people have a hard time finding this locally. I know you can purchase it on-line, even through Amazon.com. I would also suggest asking your grocery store manager if it would be possible for the store to get it for you.

Borax: Borax is a naturally occurring mineral: Sodium Borate. It is a white powder. ItÂs purpose is as a laundry whitener and deodorizer. The brand to look for is 20 Mule Team. It comes in a 76 oz. box. You should be able to locate this in the laundry detergent aisle. Again as with the washing soda, if you cannot find it ask you store manager or look online.

The Recipe

1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap, as listed above

½ cup washing soda

½ cup borax powder

~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load.

Optional: If you want your soap to have some sort of scent you can scent this with ½ to 1 oz. of essential oil or fragrance oil of your choice. My favorite scent is orange essential oil.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 6:52PM
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arkansas_girl

I'm bumping this thread up to the front because I was searching and searching for the recipe since we've been talking about it. Maybe others might need the recipe too!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 5:23PM
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