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Friday, January 18, 2013

DIY Laundry Detergent for 1/4 CENT Per Load

I have decided I want to make my own laundry soap.
I'm tired of being held captive by large corporations

Because of my MCS, 
I have been using Arm & Hammer Unscented Laundry Detergent for a few years. 
I like the way it cleans plus it has no scent. 
However, it's quite expensive.
At the end of this blog, 
I will show you the compared prices of the DIY and the store-bought detergent.
You may be in for a surprise!

I've searched the web far and wide 
and the recipe for DIY Laundry Soap that I keep coming back to
is the Duggar Family recipe.

For those who do not know the Duggars,
they are a family with NINETEEN (19) children!
I figure if this recipe works for them,
it'll work for me!

So here it is, step by step.

Duggar Laundry Soap Recipe
Step by Step

I purchased ALL of my supplies, including the 5 gallon buckets, at WINCO.
At the end of this posting, I will list prices.

It's possible if you shop around, you can find these items for less, 

but I was happy to find them all in one store.

* * *

4 Cups - hot tap water


1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap

1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (see notes)

½ Cup Borax

One 5 gallon bucket.


Grate the bar of soap.
Normally I would have used my Cuisinart, 

but I'm at my mother's house

so I used her small hand grater.

It took about 4 minutes.

Add the soap it to a saucepan with 4 cups of hot tap water. 

Put this on the stove on medium heat.

Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted

Put the washing soda and borax in the 5-gallon bucket.

Fill the bucket half full of hot tap water. 

Stir until the powders are dissolved.

Add the hot fels naptha soap mixture to the bucket.

Stir well until all is dissolved. 

Fill bucket to top with more hot tap water. 

Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

Tomorrow morning, this bucket will be full of soap GEL.
This is only 1/2 of your soap.
It is double-strength and will be cut 1/1 with water.

To break up the gel,
I just stick my arm in and start squeezing
until it's pretty much liquified.
Then I put it into smaller containers,
or sometimes I just leave it in the bucket
and dip out what I need.
But if you put it in containers, 
you do need to shake it before each use.

Storing the detergent

I've gathered used laundry soap containers and washed them.
I'll be storing as much of my soap as possible into these.
I will need enough bottles to hold 5 gallons,
and I'll store the second 5 gallons in a bucket in the garage.

I will fill each used, clean laundry soap container half full with my DIY soap gel,
then fill the rest with water.
Be sure and shake before each use.

Other storage ideas:

You could put HALF of the gel into a second 5 gallon bucket,
and fill BOTH buckets with water,
giving you TWO full 5 gallon containers of laundry soap.


You could put HALF the gel into a second 5 gallon bucket and store it.
Fill it with water when you are ready to use it.
In the meantime, fill your first bucket with water and take out 
what you need each time you do laundry.

It's really up to you.
The point is,
you will have TEN GALLONS of laundry soap.
If it sits, it will gel, and all you have to do is shake it before each use
to be sure it's mixed.

I want my soap unscented,
but if you like, 
you can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons
once the soap has cooled.

To use the soap:

Top Loading Machine - - 5/8 cup per load (approximately 250 loads)
Front Loading Machine -- 1/4 cup per load (approximately 640 loads)

Baking soda will NOT work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent. 
 You MUST use sodium carbonate.  
If you can't find it, you can MAKE it from Baking Soda!!  
I will post instructions in a later blog. 
It's simple.

* * * * * * * * *

Works great in traditional or HE machines! 
Is low sudsing. 
Gel is normal. Stir or shake before using. 
If laundry is especially stained, use Zout, Spray 'n' Wash, or Oxyclean. 
Safe to use with bleach in whites. 

* * * * * * * * *


* * * * * * * * * *

WASHING SODA: 55 ounces = $3.09

There is enough washing soda in one box to make 7 (10-gallon) batches of soap.

20 Mule Team BORAX: 76 ounces = $4.23
There is enough Borax in one box to make 21 (10-gallon) batches of soap.

Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap: 5.5 ounces = $1.22
You will need one bar per batch

If you buy
1 box borax
3 boxes washing soda
21 bars Fels-naptha
you will have enough product to make
210 gallons of laundry soap 
at a cost of $39.12

This seems like a very inexpensive and useful long-term storage item!

* * *
$39.12 divided by 210 gallons = .19 cents per gallon!

.19 cents divided by 16 cups in each gallon = 1 cent per cup

And it only takes 1/4 cup per load

so you are getting 

4 loads of laundry per PENNY.

Is that hard to believe?

Do the math and see!

Not bad!


  1. I'm on my phone so can't correct this until I get home but if you store the soap in a bucket, you would stir it rather than shake before each user, of course. A paint stirrer works great.


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