Friday, 18 September 2009

Free Recipe Friday - Laundry Soap

We have a lot of people in this house and that means those people make a lot of dirty clothes. Laundry is a big chore. I do between twelve and thirteen loads of laundry a week. As you can imagine we also go through a lot of laundry soap and laundry soap is expensive. This summer I started looking around to see if I could make an easy, environmentally friendly laundry soap that worked on messy kids clothes for less than I could buy one. Well, after some research and some trial runs I have something that I am happy with so I thought I would share. To set the parameters we have a regular washing machine, it is a top loader and I like to wash all our clothes in cold water except for my boys white socks which I often have to wash in hot. I pretreat any stains with a bar of Sunlight soap. This recipe takes me about 15 minutes of actual prep time. It is really easy and anyone can do it. My kids love to grate the soap. This recipe costs me about $2.13 to make about 5 gallons (80 cups) of concentrate.

Even if you don't want to make your own laundry soap try to use a natural detergent and make sure you use the smallest amount of detergent that will get your laundry clean. The fill lines on the inside of the dispensing cup of your laundry soap is often hard to see so make sure you check! Excess detergent can be difficult for machines to rinse out and may make your laundry dingy and gray because the alkaline residue left behind tends to attract dirt. Many consumer studies have shown that you can often use half the detergent that is recommended on most commercial laundry soaps and still get your clothes clean. Remember if you use more, you buy more so it is in a company's best interest for you use more than you actually need.

McGibbon Laundry Soap
2 Sunlight Soap Bars
1 ½ Cup Washing Soda
1 Cup Borax
12 Cups Hot Water

Large Pot
Box Grater
Long handled Wooden Spoon
Measuring cups
5 gallon bucket with lid

Fill your pot with 12 cups of water. I fill it with hot so it heats faster. Put your burner on high. Grate your sunlight soap directly into the water using the fine grating side. (When my kids help I get them to grate it onto a plate and then I pour it in.) Stir your grated soap until it is dissolved into the hot water. In your bucket measure your washing soda and your borax. Once the water/soap mixture has boiled and the soap is dissolved pour very carefully into your bucket. Stir until completely dissolved. Carry your bucket to a place where you can get hot water. I use my kitchen attachment but if you don’t have one a laundry tub or bathtub will work. Fill your bucket nearly full with hot water (about 80 cups). Make sure you fill slowly or you will make too many bubbles and you won’t see where the water line is. Put your lid on the bucket. Then lift it to where it can sit for 24 hours. PLEASE NOTE: This will be very heavy. Be careful not to hurt your back. If in doubt, get someone to help you. 24 hours later your mixture will look like a gooey gel. This is your concentrate. Fill your laundry soap jug (I use a funnel to help with this process) just over half full with your homemade soap concentrate and then add half full of water and shake until dissolved. I don't add any fragrances as some make me sneeze but you could easily add some drops of essential oil if you like a particular fragrance. Use 1 cup for a large dirty load. This soap is not as thick as commercial variety and it does not sud a lot in the washer but it cleans our clothes really well and is just pennies a load!


  1. are my hero! Laundry soap IS expensive...nice work! If we end up having to come home for awhile, with no money AND no job, i can assure you that this mama will be making some homemade laundry soap:-) I love you, April

  2. Kimberley, I made this soap in late September and it has lasted all the way to now Jan 1st--thanks!