Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

Saving money is most times easier than making it and I have found a way to save LOTS of money.  In our home we seem to have mountains of laundry to be done but my honest first thought when I heard about making my own soap was - all I need is one-more-thing-to-do...was the extra work going to be worth it? 

I decided to give it a try for several reasons.  The first was my ongoing struggle with allergies.  I seem to be allergic to the strangest things and at times have a wallop of an attack.  Life with allergies is no fun so over the years I have looked at nearly everything I come into contact with to see if there was some way I could mitigate the allergic response.   The second reason is financial - we seemed to be constantly buying or running out of laundry soap.  Even though the cheapest brands weren't always satisfactory they seemed to give me less of an allergic response than the big name brands perhaps because there was less scent.  Homemade laundry soap has very little scent to it except clean. The third reason is storage which I will explain in a moment.

Making your own laundry soap might seem like something super-homesteading-large-family-enviromental-frugal people do.  Well - perhaps - but it's so simple it doesn't matter what your reasons are - this stuff is fantastic and inexpensive and doesn't make me itch or sneeze (except when grating the soap!) and it super-simple-easy to make and it can be used in a HD washing machine because of the minimual amount of suds AND it does a GREAT job of cleaning your clothes.

Here's what to do:
In a large pot on the stove combine:
about 8 cups of water
1 bar of Linda laundry soap grated
1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda
All these items are easily found in most grocery store laundry aisles - you've probably just not been looking for them.

I use a pot that is exclusively used for making laundry soap - use an old one or buy on at a thrift store.  some people say this is not necessary if you clean the pot out really well after you make it - you decide.  I also use a dollar store grater for grating the Linda soap - it's hard to clean afterwards so don't use it for food!

Over low heat and stirring often mix the contents until they are completely dissolved for about 20 minutes. Leaving it on the stove longer won't hurt it - but any shorter and you may not have it completely dissolved.

Add this mixture to a 5 gallon pail and fill the pail till about 2/3 full with hot water.  That doesn't sound very exact and that is because it doesn't seem to need to be.  Stir using a whisk, immersion blender or a hand mixer - whatever you have.  It should turn into a gel by the next day when it cools completely or it may look a bit watery like cottage cheese but either way it cleans your clothes very well.  You can re-blend it if it bothers you.  That's all there is to it! 

Use about 1/16 cup - a heaping tablespoon for the more visual among us - I have a small plastic scoop beside the bucket. If the clothes are particularly greasy or dirty use a little more.

The cost is approx. .05c a load by my last calculations. A pail like that lasts us at least three months (that of course depends on how many loads your family does each month) 

How does it save money???

Linda soap bar: $1.49 a bar
2kg. Borax: less than $5.00 (8.5 recipes)
3 kg. Washing soda: less than $5.00 for 13 recipes

But think about this... if you bought:
13 bars of soap $20.00
2 boxes Borax $10.00
1 box Washing soda $5.00
For a total of less than $35.00 you could make the recipe 13 times which would be enough for more than 3 years (39 months to be exact!)
That's less than $1.00 a month..

Can you see why I love this stuff!  We've been using homemade laundry soap for 5 or 6 years and I wouldn't switch back for any reason.  Frugal.  Practical.  Simple.

28 comments:

  1. Does this soap recipe work in the new High Efficiency front loading Washing Machines without 'gooping' or plugging it up, on cold water? Thanks. Allergies here too.....

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    Replies
    1. I have a HE washer but it's not a front loader. We have no goop :) It seems to clean the washer while it cleans the clothes. I'm not sure what would happen if you wash everything in cold water - I use hot for my towels etc. which may help keep it cleaner by "melting any potential goop".

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    2. Great! I still can't find the A&H Washing Soda here locally yet.....but I have everything else! I guess I'll keep looking.

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    3. I just checked the Home Hardware site on-line and they have it.

      http://www.homehardware.ca/en/rec/index.htm/Indoor-Living/Home-Commercial-Cleaning/Cleaners/Laundry/Detergent-Powder/3kg-So-Clean-Laundry-Detergent/_/N-2pqfZ67l/Ne-67n/Ntk-All_EN/R-I4527273?Ntt=washing+soda

      Is there a Home Hardware nearby? I know they will order things in if they don't have it in the store! HTH!!

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  2. Hello, I am also a frugal shopper from Alberta and I was wondering where you got your laundry soap bar. I tried Superstore, Sobeys, Safeway and Save-On and no luck. Superstore does have Sunlight bar soap however I would like it to be as non allergenic as possible. For those of you in Alberta wondering about prices, at Superstore Borax is $5.99, Arm and Hammer Washing Soda is $5.97. We do have a Whole Earth store where you can buy Washing Soda in bulk I don't know how much it is for the same amount however.

    Tara

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  3. Hello,
    I am also a frugal shopper and was wondering where you bought your Linda's Soap bar? I could not find it at Superstore, Save on, Safeway or Sobeys. I bought the Borax at Superstore for $5.99 and Arm and Hammer Washing Soda for $5.97. They do carry the Sunlight bar soap however I am looking for something that is non allergenic....
    Thanks, Tara

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tara, I've been able to buy it at the Superstore at least once. I usually buy it at No Frills if you have one near by. It's always in the laundry section. HTH!

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    2. I've been searching for prices and it seems the price has gone up significantly in the past year or so. I hadn't really noticed because I buy several boxes at a time. The price on the Home Hardware site on-line was $7.29 for a 3kg box. It's still much cheaper to pay that and make your own but that's at least a two dollar increase! I wonder if the interest in making laundry soap has influenced the price??

      I read this comment on another blog...interesting.

      Washing soda is just sodium carbonite. It is also used to help balance the pH in swimming pools. I ran to Home Depot and read the labels for the different bottles for pH balancing and sure enough one of them was sodium carbonite. It is called something else of course but the ingredients list showed it just has sodium carbonite in the bottle. I've been using it for about a year, along with borax soap and water, as my laundry detergent and love it!

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  4. Anita,
    I will check the other 2 Superstores here, however we don't have a No Frills would have to go to Sask or further East for that. If anyone has a Zeller's in their area they were bought by Target and are having Liquidation sales. Borax, which no one seems to be buying is $5.49 a box before tax. All the chemicals are 10% off.
    Also, I have noticed people copying your posts on other sites quite a bit...sad other people are not thinking for themselves.

    Have you ventured any further with other home made products, such as making soap? I have been trying to find lye to do soap making and it is next to impossible in Canada, unless ordered online. Plus you have to sign a waver....
    Tara

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    Replies
    1. Soap making is on my list of things to learn - the problem is the list is so long!! For now I am buying lots of soap and storing it. I would really like to find someone to teach me - I know there are lots of videos on-line but messing with lye is kinda a big deal in my mind.

      Yes, I have only recently found my posts all over the net! I also write for the Canadian Preppers Network and I had one post go viral this week - that was when I started searching and found certain posts copied. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm glad to be of help but it does bother me that no one ever asked permission and that they seem to be making money to boot.

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    2. Anita,

      I searched and searched and finally found a Laundry Soap bar at the Bulk barn that is made by Soap Works. My question to you is will it work the same? I was wondering if you could list the ingredients on the back of the Linda laundry soap to see if it is the same chemical make up, if its not too much trouble. I have been to as many stores as I can and surprise surprise only a few carry laundry bars. I know I can just make the soap and see... however I need to get more items to be able to do this. Plus I have to go through the 2 containers of Costco laundry soap I already had first!

      Thanks, Tara

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    3. Found Linda laundry soap at Giant Tiger Store in NS Canada

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  5. Hi, I do not think we have this brand of "Linda Soap" in Canada.What else would I be able to use?

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  6. I AM from Canada :) and we do have Linda Soap here however if you are unable to find it you can use any laundry bar soap - Sunlight for example. In the States people use Fels Naptha soap. Some people who couldn't find either of these used Ivory soap and they are still giving rave reviews. Another option would be bar soap from a health food store or Bulk Barn if you have one nearby. This "recipe" is very flexible!

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  7. I recently looked at a lot of posts about making home-made laundry soap and settled on one made from these three ingredients, except that it's dry. Cooking up a mess of liquid goop is too complicated to my mind. I found the Linda bar soap and Borax at my local Food Basics store (Sudbury, ON) and the SuperWashing Soda at Independent. Home Hardware also has the last two. I've never looked for Linda bar soap anywhere so I don't know who else sells it.

    According to the instructions I followed, you could grate the Linda bar soap in a food processor--so I did. It works wonderfully. (Then I let it sit for a day or so to get really dried out.) I ran the processor parts through the dishwasher two or three times and still had to clean it with my fingers, so I'll probably take your advice and buy a cheap hand grater for future use--though I would really rather avoid that tedium... :)

    The laundry I've done so far with the tablespoon of dry soap seems okay to me, so I'm happy to have found an easy to make and inexpensive laundry soap. Now to stock up on the ingredients for the future. The great thing about these ingredients is that you can use them for several things--including tub and toilet cleaner (just equal parts borax and washing soda) and the dishwasher (borax, washing soda, and citric acid). Now to find a dishwashing soap recipe for the sink... do you think it would be safe on your hands to use the borax and washing soda combo?

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    Replies
    1. I saw the dry recipe as well but I found it left more soap scum on the clothes - probably because we wash almost everything in cold water so we chose the liquid version. I've used the same recipe for dish washing soap - I kinda miss the bubbles though :) It works but it's something to get used to. DH uses it as shampoo and thinks it's great - for my long hair it's not so great but I can hardly get a comb through it with regular shampoo and conditioner. I am working on a shampoo recipe so I'll give a report if I find anything noteworthy!

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  8. Food Basics has the Linda Soap Bar and the Borax.

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  9. i've made this, too, but just as a powder with a bar of dr. bronner's. it was great on clothes but eventually, it didn't seem to rinse clean out of my diapers.

    i still need to try the whole no 'poo baking soda/cider vinegar trick for hair.

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  10. Another choice to reduce the cost more is to make washing soda yourself in small batches from using Baking Soda. You can buy Baking Soda in bulk instead of the small boxes in the store. The main difference between the two is washing soda is more alkaline then baking soda and in sense more cleaning potential. To make soda wash from baking soda simply heat the amount you require to use to make your soap to 450 for 30 mins on a cookie sheet. The carbon dioxide in the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) will vapor off leaving the more alkaline washing soda (sodium carbonate). Baking Soda can be 1/4 the price and can be done during regular baking or cooking in the stove to double up and save on the hydro.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing that tip!! I've never heard of that but it seems simple enough. I will have to find a bulk source for baking soda however because in the grocery store the price is approximately the same. I think I missed this lesson in chemistry class! :)

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  11. Please tell my why I can't get the "ring around the collar" stain out of my husbands clothes. He is an office worker but sweats more than usual. I have a new good quality shirt that he has worn five times and it is gross on the neck edge of his collar. Please help me solve this one. I also am baffled as to why his side of the bed makes our sheets look grey even though I launder weekly. I just can't get it clean.

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  12. Looking forward to making this thanks for sharing my dear friend!!

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