As a lady who does hot yoga and whose man works in the automotive and construction trades, I do a lot of laundry. And because I choose to not use detergents that are damaging to our water systems and environment, it gets pretty expensive. My favorite soap of late had been Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, which runs about $13-$14 for a 64 oz container – approximately 64 loads.
Bouncing around on the intarwebs as I am wont to do sometimes, I came across a bulk detergent recipe created by none other than the Duggars – yes, that famous family of 19 children – and decided to try it out with some tweaks. Their recipe called for using a bar of Fels-Naptha soap, which I did not want to use because of the petrochemical content, so I substituted a bar of Dr. Bronner’s soap. You can use any bar soap you wish.
Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap
1. Grate the soap and add it to the 4 cups of water in the saucepan. It has to be grated well and melted and mixed thoroughly so that as it cools it doesn’t get all chunky. I cheated and used a food processor. Stir continuously over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
2. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add the melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Keep stirring until the powder is dissolved and you have a smooth liquid. Top off with more hot water if needed. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
3. The next day, stir it again and then fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. You will want to shake it up before each use because it will congeal and get kind of jello-like on you.
Optional: Add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. I used a combination of lavendar and rosemary oil, and my favorite essential oil perfume.
Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons. That’s about 180 loads in a top load machine (approx. 5/8 Cup per load) or 640 loads in a front load machine (1/4 Cup per load).
Bar soap = $3
Borax = $3 for 76 oz.
Arm & Hammer Washing Soda = $4.29 for 55 oz.
5 gallon bucket = $4
You do the math! Not only is it incredibly economical, you can make it smell like anything you want. Proven by my non-stinky yoga clothes to work!
*Arm & Hammer’s Super Washing Soda is hard to find. Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent – It must be sodium carbonate.
Photo: Toronto History.