- A bucket to mix all your ingredients in. I used a 2 gallon paint bucket (a 5 gallon bucket is too large!)
- 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha Laundry Soap (you can also use Zote, Octagon, or Ivory--amounts may vary)
- 1/2 cup Borax
- 1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
- A cheese grater and a medium to large saucepan (I prefer my spaghetti pot)
Step 1: Cut your bar of Fels Naptha Soap into thirds and finely grate one third of it. Store the other two blocks in a plastic bag for future batches of detergent.
Step 2: Put your grated soap in a pot, then top with 6 cups of water and heat on low until the soap melts. Don't let the soap boil. Once all the soap is completely melted, add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat.
Step 3: Pour 4 cups of hot tap water into your bucket. Add the soap mixture and stir it up. At this point you could add a few drops of essential oil like lemon, lavender or tea tree oil if you wanted your soap to have a fragrance. Add nothing and your clothes will simply smell clean.
Now add one gallon of hot tap water plus 6 more cups. I used my 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup but if I had had an old milk jug I would have just used that. If you are using a 2 gallon bucket it almost fills it to the top, at this point the measurements of water is unnecessary, however in case you aren't using the same size bucket, please follow the instructions! Give it another few minutes of stirring and then let it sit overnight.
Step 4: In the morning your soap might look runny, or like gel, or separated with big clumps of slime on top and water on the bottom. This is all normal! I would suggest that you take an immersion blender and carefully break up the jello-like consistency so that you may scoop out your detergent without any mess.
At this point you can be done and simply keep your laundry soap in the bucket and just scoop out
1/2 cup per load. If the laundry soap dries on your cup, it washes of very easily.
Note: The blogger I found this recipe from stopped using an immersion blender and found that funneling the soap into empty orange juice jugs that she can shake worked best for her. To each there own: do what you think will work best for you in the long run!
Step 5: (optional) If you have a Downy ball, you can put about 1/2 cup of Distilled White Vinegar in there and it will make an easy and cheap natural fabric softener. And no, your clothes do not come out smelling like vinegar. If you don't have a Downy ball just add your 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. I don't plan to watch my washing machine so I have a Downy ball.
I really love this recipe and it works great for my front loading, energy efficient washing machine! Please be sure to comment below if you have used this recipe and how you like it! I would love to hear from others about your experience with it!
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