Sunday, February 14, 2010

Liquid Laundry Soap ...the Adventure Begins

Don't you just love the Internet?  It's literally like having a whole library at your fingertips!  I found this recipe at and it is purported to cost approximately 3 cents per load.  Yeoldfurt and I made up a batch a little while ago and it was so easy, it was ridiculous!  The hardest part was grating the Zote soap and Yeoldfurt did that for me, so I didn't find it hard at all! Here is the recipe we used:

1/3 bar Zote Soap ( Ivory and Fels Naptha will also work)
½ cup washing soda (found in the laundry section at most stores)
½ cup borax powder (the 20 Mule Team brand is a good choice)
2 gallons water

The 2 gallons of water is incorporated a little at a time, 6 cups here, 4 cups there and finally 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water at the end.  The total amount of water is 2 gallons.  Since the 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water at the end did not need to be heated, I placed that amount of water in a large plastic jug before we started.  This jug actually held cat litter at one time and I saved it, knowing it would come in handy one of these days.  It is large enough to accommodate the 2+ gallons of soap for the recipe with plenty of headspace left over, and sturdy enough to withstand a good shaking to mix the soap gel.

After the 1 gallon plus 6 cups water was measured into the jug, I cut off 1/3 of the bar of Zote soap and Yeoldfurt grated it into a deep pot.  We added 6 cups of water and heated it slowly, Yeoldfurt stirring constantly until all of the soap was melted.  He kept stirring while I slowly added the 1/2 cups of washing soda and borax powder.  The mixture began to gel fairly quickly after the powders were added.  We turned the heat off and he kept stirring while I heated 4 cups of water in the microwave.  We put the hot water in a 2-gallon bucket and poured the soap gel in with it.  Yeoldfurt held the soap pot over the bucket while I scraped the sides with a rubber spatula.  When it was all in the bucket and well mixed, we used a wide-mouth canning jar funnel to pour the soap gel into the mixing jug with the water.

Yeoldfurt screwed the cap on the jug and shook it until it was well mixed.  We then used a regular funnel to transfer it to one of my old 175 oz laundry soap jugs and a smaller
78 oz jug.  The recipe made enough to fill the big jug and about 1/3 of the smaller jug.  We used the homemade soap to wash a rug and some towels and it did a great job! 

I was really skeptical about how much labor and mess would be involved in making my own soap.  But I am pleasantly surprised on both counts.  The ingredients cost me less than $4 including tax and I have enough of the two powders to replicate this recipe at least 60 more times before I run out.  The bar of Zote soap will only last for two more recipes, but at 78 cents per bar, it's still a great cost savings over store-bought laundry soap.  So...what's in your laundry soap jug?


  1. I was having difficulty finding washing soda in a 100 mile radius (we are very rural).

    So I simply used a 1/2 cup scoop of my regular powdered detergent (Sam's Club) + the 1/2 cup of borax.

    Worked like a charm.

    So if you have a little leftover powdered detergent, you could use it in place of the soda.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Anon. That's good to know about leftover powders. I started using liquid laundry soap years ago and never went back to powdered, so I don't have any leftovers. But I'm all about not wasting anything ...thanks for the tip!

  3. I wanted to make this months and months ago but could not find the soda. Will have to go on a hunt again.

  4. I was surprised to find it at my regular grocery store but there it was. Sure was easy to make!

  5. Thanks for the recipe HB :)

    Add me to the list that can't find washing soda locally. I needed some awhile back to clean my sterling silver, couldn't find it anywhere. I ended up ordering it off-line from Amazon.

    I'll keep looking for it local though, it's bound to appear eventually.

    Have a great day!

  6. I'm really fortunate that my local HEB carries it, same shelf as the 20 Mule Team Borax and Zote soap. If I had to pay online prices plus shipping, I would still save money but not as much. : )

  7. I'm so glad you commented, so I could come over here and see your blog! I'm also glad you shared this recipe. I'm almost out of the powder I made, and wanted to try liquid. All the other recipes I'd seen before made SO much...thanks for sharing this.

  8. Welcome to my blog, Jayme. We were real happy with the recipe on every level ...cost, ease of preparation and it seems to do a really good job!

  9. The best part is it isn't full of "foo foo". It's hard to find soap that isn't full of man made stink that somebody seams to think is necessary. "Fresh" heh.

  10. Sometimes I like 'foo foo' but it's a Venus thing. : )

    I tried making the soap because it was cheap and I hoped it would work well. But I expected it to take a lot more effort to make and create a much bigger mess. I was pleasantly surprised on those two counts. So now I don't know what my favorite thing about it is ...that it's really CHEAP or that it really works GREAT or that it's so EASY to make! I just know it'll be a very long time and rare occasion before I buy it off the shelf at the store!

  11. I've wanted to try making my own for a while, but wanted to know how well it worked first. I guess I didn't realize just how inexpensive it was to make, or I probably would have just taken my chances. Thanks for the post! I'll definitely be trying it now!

  12. I'll think you'll be pleased with how easy it is to make and how well it works, Paula. I know you'll be pleased with the cost savings!