Homemade Laundry Soap Review

Like many other people these days, I have started making my own laundry soap.  I've made it a couple of times now, and am just loving it.  There are recipes and directions available all over the internet, so this post is more a review and my experience with homemade laundry soap rather than focusing on the how-to.

If you'd like to make your own too, just Google it, there are several websites and blogs with recipes and directions posted, I'm not going to link to any particular one.

I first heard about it several years ago on a popular mothering forum, and was tempted to try it then -- it only takes a couple of common ingredients -- but ultimately didn't for a couple of reasons. For one, the directions sounded  just a bit...involved.  Not difficult, really, it seemed fairly simple, but like more than I wanted  to do.

Additionally, I didn't believe that it could really work that well. Sure, it would save money, but I had to wonder what the savings would be in the long run if it didn't really work that well.

The original directions required mixing one solution on the stove top, and another in a five gallon bucket, then combining the two solutions in the bucket, stirring, letting gel overnight, adding more water, mixing, and then filling individual containers. Some recommend using a paint mixer on an electric drill to mix it. Many people choose to just store the liquid laundry soap in the 5 gallon bucket and scooping out portions, but getting the bucket down to the basement after making the soap didn't sound appealing.

Of course, this method is to make a liquid version -- you can just mix the dry ingredients and make it powdered instead, which is quick to make and store, but one caveat is that it doesn't dissolve as easily in cold water wash.

As for how well it worked, several reported that it worked well, but there just weren't enough reviews to satisfy me, I guess.

Fast forward a few years, and now it seems that people all over the blogosphere -- as well as some frugal forums and mom forums -- are now making their own laundry soap too. With the gain in popularity, there are now several bloggers who have done tests on how well it works and posted pictures.  In addition, I've been able to read hundreds and hundreds of comments and reviews.  The result is that reports show that the cleaning power of homemade laundry soap rivals that of Tide, one of the most expensive laundry detergents available.

I am now on my second batch and am happy to report that it works excellent for me. In fact, step-by-step my clothes seem to be getting cleaner with each wash, as for years I've used a number low cost laundry detergents. 

I'm also getting more stains out the past couple of washes, because I discovered the idea of using it as a stain remover as well. I've had many stained clothes, especially the children's clothes, as I'm often out of commercial stain remover such as Shout. I've tried a couple of recipes to make my own stain removers without much luck.

Well, I had read where several people used the Fels-Naptha laundry soap bar as a stain remover stick by simply wetting it and rubbing it on the stain. Well, Fels-Naptha is the laundry soap that I used in this recipe, so it finally occurred to me to just pour some on the stains and rub it in. IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM  on some very severe stains, including some unknown greasy, oily black gunk from the back of Baba's pick-up truck that Miss Sunshine had gotten all over a pair of her pants.

Now I'm almost anxious to get back to doing laundry after vacation, so that I can try to get more stains out of clothes.  This also makes my stain remover much cheaper. 

The ingredients for the laundry soap are 20 Mule Team Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda), and one bar of laundry soap. The soap that is easiest to find and is used most often is Fels-Naptha, but you can also use Zote, Lirio, Octagon and others. Some people also use Ivory or Dial soap.

I now use this method at One Good Thing By Jilly. You just make one simple solution and pour it right into containers. It's easier than making macaroni and cheese from a box.

It does involve grating a bar of soap, which seems to put some people off, but using a hand grater it takes me under three minutes to completely grate one bar.

The liquid version is a bit like a runny gel, and will thicken up in between uses. Just give it a shake before using.

The recipe I used is cited as making both 3 gallons and 5 gallons on different sites.  I go somewhere in the middle making about four gallons (actually 3.75), filling up old detergent bottles. I have one bottle that's a bit smaller that I send home with my brother-in-law.

I make a 4 gallon batch for less than $3.00.  Even buying less expensive detergents such as Arm and Hammer would cost about $25.00 at Walmart. An equal amount of Tide would cost about $57.00.  All for under $3.00, which is extremely awesome.

Fels-Naptha is now owned by Dial Corporation, and unlike in the olden days, it no longer contains any solvents or petrochemicals. Although it has a very strong scent, the ingredients are are all quite safe, some of which are ev7en food additives. It has a kind of citronella, citrusy, strong industrial smell that I love. It reminds me of the soap that my grandfather used to get the oil and grease off of his hands after working on farm equipment when I was a child. In fact, I think that may even have been Octagon.

Octagon is an old-fashioned laundry soap that I've only found online so far, but if I ever come across it, I'm definitely going to try it.  Zote comes in pink and white, and is sometimes found in Walmart but is available in most Latin American markets. Lirio is also found in Latin American markets in white. The original Lirio was gold, but it contained phosphates and is no longer available.

There are also a couple of Italian brands available in Italian markets that get good reviews. I have a feeling that there may be an equivalent in most ethnic markets.

Some other popular choices are Kirk's Castille soap bar and Ivory soap.

I'd like to try the Zote next, because lots of people enjoy the citronella scent, and I think it will be fun to have pink laundry soap. It is also highly recommend as a stain remover,especially on baby stains.

1 comment:

  1. I had never thought to make my own but your post really does a great job of making me want to check it our further, thanks


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