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?