I decided that if I can’t have my beloved Tide, I might as well try my hand at making my own laundry soap. There are lots of instructions out there. I picked a simple, straightforward approach that uses only 4 ingredients.
2 Cups Grated Fels-Naptha Bar Soap
2 Cups Borax
2 Cups Washing Soda
2 Gallons Plus 1 Quart Water
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap
1 Box of Borax
1 Box of washing soda
Large stainless pot
Large bucket with lid for storage
Now, there are lots of different brands of soap that you can use. Some recipes call for Ivory, some Fels-Naptha, some just specify “bar soap”. I chose Fels-Naptha because I’ve used it for years to treat stains and I know it works wonders. You can find your soap, Borax and washing soda in the laundry soap aisle. The washing soda that I bought was Arm & Hammer. Washing soda is different from baking soda! Make sure you get washing soda.
First, place one quart of water in the stainless pot and bring it to a boil. While the water is heating, grate the bar soap. You should end up with 2 cups if you use Fels-Naptha. The recipe I used stated 2 cups of grated soap, so if you use Fels-Naptha it will come out correct. Dump the grated soap into the boiling water, turn to low heat and stir occasionally until it is all dissolved. This took quite a while. I would say it was on the stove for at least 45 minutes. Make sure you stir because it WILL burn. I also had a few little scraps of other hand/bath soap around the house that I threw in. Waste not, want not! Might as well use it.
Once the soap is all dissolved, pour the mixture into your bucket and add the Borax and washing soda and stir until dissolved.
Once the 2 powders are mixed well, add 2 gallons of water and stir.
That’s it! You’re done! The finished soap will be a little gel-like. You can either store it in jugs that can be shaken prior to use or just stir your mixture in the bucket prior to each use. Use 1/4 cup per load.
If desired, you can scent your soap with essential oils. I have a pile of oils around the house because I used to make bar soap. I didn’t scent the whole batch. I put a quart of the liquid soap into a Rubbermaid 2 quart “juice” storage container and scented that much. I added about 3 drops each of 3 different oils…patchouli, cedarwood and sandalwood. This way, I keep the bulk of the batch unscented and I can enjoy multiple “scent” options without committing to 2 gallons of the same smell.
So, is it really “cheaper” to make your own? The answer is yes. You’re not going to use the savings to go on vacation or purchase a new car, but it definitely is cheaper than buying laundry soap. For instance, I figured up the cost of using my beloved Tide….$0.18 per load. Surf came in at $0.09 per load. My homemade soap costs merely $0.02 per load. Not a fortune, but a savings nonetheless. Plus, like I said…..if I can’t have Tide, I’d rather be able to scent my own soap. Now the real question is…..how does it compare for cleaning power? We shall see!