Homemade Laundry Soap.

My sister-in-law, Laura, is one of a kind.  She is perky, smart and the most charming form of wacky.  More importantly, she is the most tenderhearted person I know.  She even cried in the movie, Bridesmaids.  I am not making fun.  She is absolutely loveable.  And graceful.  And beautiful even without makeup.  And tiny.  And insanely practical.

Here she is with her brother, Ross.

But sometimes her practicality takes on some interesting forms.  Exhibit A: Homemade laundry soap.  Seriously?  Why would one do that?  I dismissed the idea.  I did not have time.  What was the advantage?  I do not need to be that much of a purist.  Laundry soap isn’t that expensive anyway…blah, blah, blah.  But then, maybe a year after Laura started making her own, she started talking about how her clothes were staying nice longer, and were so soft when coming out of the wash.  Hmmm.  She had me thinking.

And one charming thing about the Buchholtz fam, including Laura, is that when she finds things she likes, she tells everyone about it.  Laundry Soap.  Outdoor showers.  Cast iron skillets.  I love that about the Buchholtz family.  Scott does the same thing.  About insulation.  He tells people about insulation and canned lights a lot.

So I had been hearing quite a lot about homemade laundry soap.

Then, I lugged a big thing of store bought laundry soap home from the grocery store and I began to think how nice it would be not to do the lugging.

And then my laundry soap got close to running out.

And then Laura convinced my friend, Emily, to try it.

And then, I bit the bullet and made my own.

I made a huge bunch.  It took about 5 minutes.  And I swear, I have enough laundry soap for a year.  And my clothes are soft.  And set to live a long, healthy life.

It looks a little like grated cheese, but that is really grated soap.

My food processor did not like grating Fels Naptha, but it did it…just with a little protesting.

Here’s the recipe.  (My two Tupperware containers is 6x the below recipe).

1 bar grated Fels Naptha laundry bar
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
At first I had trouble finding this stuff, but Walmart had all three things, on the laundry soap aisle, bottom level.
UPDATE: Laura had the brilliant idea of grating the Fels Naptha using the food processor, and then changing blades, adding the other ingredients, and mixing all three with the traditional blade.  That incorporates all three ingredients much more uniformly.  I tried it today and it works much better.
Use 1 tablespoon for high-efficiency, 2 tablespoon for old fashioned.
Would it be weird to give as gifts for Christmas?  I need to listen to Laura more often.  And look at me.  I am becoming a Buchholtz.  Telling the world about things I like.
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10 responses to “Homemade Laundry Soap.

  1. I support this! And can attest to the utility of Fels Naptha, I use it on all kinds of kid and grown up stains. It almost always removes the stain that Oxy Clean and Spray N Wash won’t. My question is how do you get the right proportion of grated FN to the powdered stuff in each scoop?

  2. Jennie plumlee

    2 teaspoons for an entire load of laundry??

  3. 2 Tablespoons…which STILL isn’t that much. And Susan: I mix the two powders together, add the grated soap, and then shake it up. It is not exact, but it works.

  4. I am intrigued….might have to give it a whirl.

  5. Susan, if you use your food processor to grate the soap, and then switch the blades, add the powders and “blend,” the soap gets really fine and mixes well with the powders. The other way to mix the soap and powders is by using a fine microplane grater for the soap, and then mixing with powders in a big bowl.

  6. Genius! I will try this! Thanks
    Also You can use the Borax in the water you wash your dogs in which will make them sparkly clean….safely. Borax is a water softener which aids cleaning action. The dogs come out soft and fluffy too! (but don’t put the dogs in the washing machine haha :-p

  7. please give Molly and I this for Christmas. I am perked.

  8. This is a tip for all you ladies out there. If you choose not to use the food processor method (which I highly suggest you do), here is the way to get your husband to grate FN for this project: When he is sitting on his favorite chair or couch watching a little TV, place it on the coffee table right in front of him. It truly is a mindless task and goes extremely well with whatever game/show is on TV. My only suggestion is to add one more ingredient to the list of items you lay out in front of him: his favorite beverage. Mix that with a quick tidbit of how much you saved, and voila. Instant grater!!

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Mother for sharing this little jewel with my lovely bride.

    While visiting my parents in TN this past month, I just now realized that the favorite beverage “trick” doesn’t cross State lines.

  9. Laurie D. Moreland

    Glad you joined us laundry detergent makers! I make a liquid, similar ingredients, but it seems to work better with front loading high efficiency machines. Let me know if you want the recipe for a change… That is in a year when you run out!

  10. Chelsea, I love this. If I tell my mom, she will do this and share it with her 80 year old, penny pinching, homemade everthing brother. My laundry soap is almost out! I am sans food processor right now, but I do have an extra microplane. I am excited about this. You can also use borax to dry flowers–just pack them completely in borax, like in a big container or bucket. AFter a few weeks (days? I’ll have to check with mom), they are perfectly preserved and dried. Thanks for sharing! I love that you’re a Bucholtz now!