Three years ago, we were inspired by the Duggar family of 19 kids and Counting to make laundry soap. It is suuuuuper easy, and even with the start-up cost of buying a new 5 gallon bucket to keep it in, it was cheaper than buying less than half the amount of detergent at Costco. Cool! The consistency was described as that of egg-drop soup, and it really is! You can see it in Sally's hand:
The smell is actually quite pleasant, kind of lemony but you can add essential oils for different scents.
Here is the Duggar's recipe: (slightly altered by us)
TIPS FOR LAUNDRY SOAP: We use Fels-Naptha bar soap in the homemade soap recipes, but you can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don't use heavily perfumed soaps. Washing Soda and Borax can normally be found on the laundry or cleaning aisle. Recipe cost approx. $2.
Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine-
4 Cups hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax
1. Grate the soap into a 5 gallon bucket. Boil the 4 cups of water and add to the grated soap in the bucket. Stir, and the soap will melt.
2. Add hot tap water to the bucket until half full. Add washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
3. The next day, stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel) **note-sometimes we don't dilute it half and half. You can use more detergent and less water if you like.
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- 1/4 Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)
(recipe copied from duggarfamily.com, and altered a bit)
*Arm&Hammer "Super Washing Soda". Baking will NOT work, nor will Arm&Hammer detergent. MUST be sodium carbonate. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.
We found all the ingredients at Food City, but the Borax was slightly cheaper at Walmart. If our calculations came out right, it costs about one cent (or a little less) per load. Not too shabby!!