First, here is how I made my laundry soap. I used this recipe:
Homemade Laundry Soap
1/3 bar Fels Naptha soap or one whole bar of Ivory or homemade soap (I used Ivory)
1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup borax powder
2+ gallon bucket, for storing
1. Grate the soap and place in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups of water and heat until the soap melts.
2. Add the washing soda and borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat.
3. Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bucket. Add the soap mixture and stir. Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.
4. Store your laundry detergent in the bucket, covered. (I put plastic wrap on the top of mine, and I also left my long plastic spoon in the soap to stir it briefly before each use.) Use 1/2 cup per load of clothes.
Now, for my review of the soap!
I like it.
It's very inexpensive, and will save us a lot of money! At a penny or so per load, it's a really good deal. It was easy to make, and will last a while. And I feel soooo frugal!
The good news:
This soap seems to work well for washing cloth diapers. It gets them really really clean and rinses out well.* I had been using "All Free & Clear" on my diapers, about a tablespoon per load, and it was still difficult to get rinsed out.
This soap is also working well for our normal, lightly-soiled laundry.
The bad news:
I double the amount of soap per load when I wash Joshua's work clothes. After I've washed Joshua's work clothes in this soap, they smell and look just like they did before they were washed. (He works in a factory.)
So I'm going to either have to increase the amount I use by a lot, or just use regular detergent from the store. I'm really not sure if this soap gets his work clothes very clean. Cleaner than before they were washed, yes... and I do use warm water. I'm just not satisfied with how the soap has worked for them so far.
But, even if I keep using store-bought soap for Joshua's work clothes, I am still saving a lot of money by washing our other laundry with the homemade soap!
I have also read from various sources that you can add essential oil to your soap to make it scented. I want to try this but right now I only have tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, and clove oil, and Joshua and I weren't so sure we wanted any of our clothes to smell like those scents. ;)
Here is an interesting discussion thread all about making homemade laundry soap, from the Well Tell Me forum. Lots of people talk about the way they made theirs and what they like/don't like. Overall, it seems like this homemade soap gets good reviews for washing laundry.
Crystal Miller's recipe for homemade laundry soap, which is where I got the base for my recipe, also tells more about each ingredient used and the price breakdown, for those interested. She also has a step-by-step illustration of making laundry soap, which (of course) I found after I had already taken pictures of mine... ;)
*Here is a quick run-down of how I wash my cloth diapers. Keep in mind that any poopy diapers are pre-scrubbed, so I skip the pre-wash soak.
1. Run large load of COLD water and add 1/2 cup of my homemade soap. Set washer to longest wash cycle and allow to run completely through.
2. Do a second rinse in WARM water. Line dry in the sun.
Edited to add: There are SO many different kinds of cloth diapers out there, and I can't recommend this homemade detergent for them all in good conscience. I used this on my thin(ner) prefolds just fine -- but that is a far cry from all the many types and thicknesses of diapers you may have. If you really want to use something homemade on your cloth diapers, I recommend making this detergent without the bar of soap.
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