Laundry Soap {Tutorial}

I like to save money whenever I can.  With only one spouse working (did I mention he is a full-time student too?), I try to stretch our dollars.  I started making laundry soap months ago when a friend introduced me to it.  I searched online for recipes, which there are many.  After making the recipe I chose, I adjusted it a little.  I still use stain treatment like Shout for more soiled areas, but I no longer have to spend lots of money on soap.  I use Zote soap, which you can find at Wal-Mart, and it has a clean, nice scent.  I have heard Fels-Naptha works well for pretreatment.  I cannot find that near me, so I don't buy it.

*Update 4/2012- I was able to find Fels Naptha!  So I picked some up to try it out.  I loved it!  I love Zote too, but if I had to choose between the two, I would pick Fels Naptha.  It is buttery soft and has a nice scent.  Zote works just as well as Fels, but Fels has an irresistible texture to it.  Something that has nothing to do with performance, so buy whatever you like to use.

1 bar of Zote, cut into several pieces  OR 1 bar of Fels Naptha cut into pieces    
1 Cup Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
1 Cup Borax

Place the bar of Zote in 6 cups of water in a crockpot set on high.  Don't worry about your crockpot.  It's just soap!  Let the soap melt.  This will take several hours.  Stir every once in awhile.

Once the soap melts, add the washing soda and the borax to the soap mixture.  Stir.  *The soap will not completely melt, but you want to get as much of it dissolved as possible.

Add 26 cups of hot water to a large bucket.  Owen and Walker wanted to help out.  How could I say no to that face?

 Place bucket in a sink or tub, and dump the hot soap mixture into the bucket.  Be careful of hot splashes.  Stir until all is combined.

Let your soap sit overnight, and make sure you store it in an airtight container.  The next morning you will find your soap congealed.  No worries.  You will need to stir and stir until it becomes soft.  Each time you use your laundry soap, stir it around before adding it to the washer.

Use 1/4 cup for front loaders and 1/2 cup for top loaders.  Use a little more for heavier soiled items, if you like.

*You can see in the picture there are a few small clumps of Zote left, but I try to smash those against the bucket with a large Teflon spoon.  It's okay if you find a few of these in your bucket, but you don't want a bunch of fist sized clumps in there.  By the next morning, those small clumps should be gone.  If needed, smash the small clumps between your fingers.

I would love to hear about your experience with this tutorial.  Good luck!

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  1. Looks easy! I have made a similar batch of laundry soap, using Fels Naptha. We just grated the bar, added some water, and cooked it on the stove top to melt. Then we added the soda and borax, and then diluted it. It ended up making 5 gallons for similar measurements of ingredients.

    Also, I don't know how Zote works, but if you leave clumps of Fels Naptha in the detergent, they won't rinse out completely in the wash. So we strained ours. Also, you can add essential oils if you want fragrance (I personally prefer the clean, neutral smell of Fels Naptha).

    Great tutorial for saving money!

  2. It is really easy to do. I have heard great things about Fels-Naptha, but I can't get it where I am at. I don't want to drive out of my way either just for soap. :) This recipe works well for our family, so we use it.

    As for the clumps, if you let it sit overnight, the small clumps go away. It is the large clumps you will need to break up the day of making, if there are any.

    I have heard of people adding essential oils, but like you, I like the clean scent of Zote.

  3. I went searching for a Laundry detergent and found yours! I am in the process of making it right now. I have my soap in the crockpot!!! I am so excited to get this done and start using it. A friend of ours (Kayla >>> www.KayalsCreastionss.blogspot.com) is also making it. We would love to have you come to our blog www.sewstylishboutique.blogspot.com and link this recipe up to out Crafty Lassie Tuesday Link party we are having. We are also having a giveaway, just leave a comment and either link up and/ or also follow us. We hope to see you there!
    Thanks, Heather & Rose

  4. Hi Rose and Heather! I hope the soap works out for you and your friend. If you are using Zote, you may need to use a pretreatment like Shout because Zote doesn't treat as well as Fels-Naptha. I can't get Fels where I live, so I am limited.

    Best of luck! (Oh, I linked up the soap to your site)

  5. I see you linked up! Thanks so much, my soap is done and I have done two loads now. We couldn't find the Zote but we did find the Fels-Naptha. So far I am very pleased. One thing I did notice was that I dont see the soap suds like i did when I used the all free and clear. I have a front loader, did you notice this too?

  6. Well, you are in luck because I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Fels! From what I know, Zote and Fels DO NOT produce suds, but it is working! :) I am not familiar with free and clear. Is that a brand or type of soap? I have a top loader. I'm jealous of your front loader! Glad you like the stuff! It was easy, right?

  7. I did smell the fels on my clothes :0) The ALL Free and Clear is a brand it is just free of all dyes and things. I am so pleased with how my clothes look and smell! I was just wondering about the suds and your answer helps! Thanks so much and I love my new laundry soap and it was so EASY!!!!!

  8. Thanks for linking up! We have featured your Laundry Detergent, so come on over and grab our featured button!
    Heather & Rose

  9. Thank you for posting this essential how-to. You have definitely got me thinking over here about changing to a home-brewed laundry soap!

  10. I'm really interested in doing this, but was wondering how you store the soap that you make?

    1. Hi Jenn. I store it in a pretty glass container with a glass lid from Wal-Mart. You can easily store this in a bucket, or any other container that has a lid (doesn't have to be airtight). On one occasion, I thought I would try storing it without a lid, and the water evaporated over time leaving a harder soap. I didn't like that. :)

  11. Wow. That is awesome! I didn't know it could even reach powder form. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Hi there, found you from pinterest! I have to say that I am super impressed! I have tried two other DIY laundry soap recipes (stove top) and have never had the soap melt all the way which usually resulted in residue on our clothes and had to do a second rinse cycle, UGH! The crock-pot idea is genius, it melted the Fels-Naptha in the crock-pot on low in as little as 3 hours. I have no signs of residue on my clothes now and they are super clean and fresh ! Thank you... I almost went back to store bought soap! Excited to explore your blog!

    1. Awesome! I am happy to hear you loved it so much!

  13. Also to other reviewers, this made exactly 2 gallons + 1/2 cup, and stores perfectly in 2 old milk gallons. ;)


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