GOD's my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.
(Psa 32:7 MSG)


homemade laundry soap

i've been looking into ways to save money and came across the idea to make my own laundry soap. i was skeptical, but after learning that our local grocer carries all the "ingredients," i thought i should give it a try. i purchased what i needed on saturday and today i mixed up my first batch. it's really simple. i found a variety of "recipes" on a bunch of different websites. i just used the one that was easiest to remember.

Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap
2 cups grated Fels-Naptha (laundry bar soap)
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda

the hardest part is grating the Fels-Naptha. otherwise, you just mix the powders together with the grated soap. easy peasy! there's only one problem with it. my husband and eldest son are both super-sensitive to fragrances...especially those found in detergents. {in fact, we typically avoid detergent aisles while shopping because the smells give T a bad headache and plugged-up nasal passages.} i've been using fragrance free laundry detergents since early in our marriage when we found one that actually worked. anyways, the Fels-Naptha drove my eldest son right out of the kitchen where we had also been working on schoolwork. i think it has a sort of citrus fragrance, but it's quite overwhelming. and by the time i had finished grating what i needed for my recipe, the back of my throat was feeling irritated just from having to smell it. ugh.

i was then worried that using this scented soap would make our laundry smell too. i went ahead and tested it on a load of towels, and was pleased when they came out smelling fresh and clean. my hubby even stuck his nose into one of the cleaned towels and didn't have a reaction to it, so i was given the go ahead to use it as long as no one develops a skin reaction to it {these guys have also been known to get rashes from fragrant detergents}. i'm already thinking that when i make my next batch, i'd like to try a fragrance free bar soap instead of the Fels-Naptha. and someday i'm gonna try the "greener living" laundry cleaner: soapnuts.

i've also started using distilled white vinegar in place of fabric softener. i was running low on our fragrance free softener sheets and although i've got a bottle of fragrance free liquid softener, i don't like the spots that it sometimes makes on my clothes. i saw the vinegar tip on many of the same websites that listed laundry soap recipes and decided to give it a go as well. i just fill my washer's fabric softener dispenser with the vinegar. it's about a half cup that gets added during the rinse cycle. i read somewhere that you can also put it in a downy ball if that's how you add softener to your wash. i found that vinegar does a decent job of softening our clothes, but i do seem to have a little more static now. vinegar is tons cheaper though, so i'll probably continue using it. if you decide to try it too, don't be alarmed if your clothes smell like vinegar after washing. the odor dissipates as the clothes dry.

do you make you own laundry soap? have any other home-made cleaner recipes, tips or suggestions? let me know all about it by leaving a comment.

it's only been a couple days since i posted this, but i think i'm going to have to dispose of this first batch after all. i've only used it on one load of clothes, but the smell from just opening the container to scoop some out overwhelms us. it's not a good sign when the smell of your laundry soap gives you a headache. i'm going to have to see how much it will cost to buy unscented laundry soap bars online and see if it's still worth making my own.


  1. Yes, it's very hard to grate that stuff! I hate the smell of it simmering but don't notice it at all in the laundry. I also notice what you do with the vinegar so went back to softeners since our house is so "staticy" anyway! :)

  2. I haven't used fabric softer in quite some time, it's pretty yucky stuff I think. In the summer I use my clothesline to try (just about) all our laundry, and have -- for quite a while -- used vinegar in the wash. When I have to use the dryer I use dryer balls. We still have a little static, but less than we would otherwise and I can put up with a little of it to avoid fabric softener.
    I've seen recipes for homemade laundry soap, but have never tried one. We use the Norwex laundry soap. You literally only use 1/2 tsp in each load and it gets stuff clean. Amazing. The fact that you use so little makes it super cheap. I think my $23 bag will literally last me years (and I do LOTS of laundry!). Good for you for making your own. It's great to find something new and cheap that works for you extra-sensitive bunch!

  3. Sorry it's not working out for you! If I would have known (and thought of it) I would have send a little plastic tub of my Norwex stuff for you to try. I know I'm not sensitive like you guys are, but the powder doesn't smell a bit and I don't notice any fragrance at all on the laundry either. I could have easily sent a sample of it home with Roger and Margaret for you to try. Don't toss your batch though . . . after all that work! That would be sad. If you save it (sealed up so you don't get a headache) I'd use it on my laundry. But who knows when we'll be up your way next! Sorry it didn't work out like you wanted. Hopefully you'll find the right solution soon.

  4. i'll save it for you shana. that's definitely preferable to just throwing it away. i would love a sample {next time we see y'all} of the norwex laundry stuff to try. i'm curious how so little can actually get your clothes clean! and here i thought it was impressive that you only use 1-2 TBSP of this homemade soap, but 1/2 tsp?!? that's crazy! or really cool. :-)


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