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Laundry Soap for a Lifetime
Old 07-12-2010, 02:06 PM   #1
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Laundry Soap for a Lifetime

Well, yesterday I read about how easy it is to create homemade laundry soap that both saves money and is more green than using regular detergent from stores.

Of course, being a bit adventurous, I decided to give it a try. Bought the supplies I needed and finished the job today.

Seems to most popular method is to create the soap in liquid form and store that in a big container. The other method is to create a powerded version.

I chose the latter, and decided to create me enough to last me a long-long-long time (using 8 bars of ivory soap).

Here is what I followed:

Homemade Laundry Detergent - Simple, Easy, Fast, & Effective

I see that this discussion actually was here on a thread back in 2007 (before I had actually FIRE'd)

Homemade Laundry Detergent
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:10 PM   #2
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You are a good citizen, ES. That project looks like work. Too bad I invested in enough non-green detergent to last a couple of years. By that time, I'll have forgotten about this thread.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:17 PM   #3
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I used a food processor to mix the soap with the borox and washing soda. But in order to do it right, I really needed to grate the soap bars beforehand to work with the processor.

It is nice knowing I'm being green, also as I was waiting in line buying the processor I glanced over at the laundry detergent section. A bottle (pretty good size) was going for over $6. The homemade version is supposed to work out to only about 5 cents a load.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:43 PM   #4
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That looks cool--I'll have to give it a try. I love Borax as it is also great as a flea and roach deterrent/killer.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:55 PM   #5
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I make my own, too. My recipe proportions are slightly different than what the website is showing - I use:
1 bar of shredded soap
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax

The first couple of times I made it I used Fels Naptha and thought I might die from the awful chemical smell while I was grating it. It didn't seem very healthy to breathe those fumes in! I found another laundry soap called Octagon that has a more pleasant smell, and seems to work well.
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ksr View Post
I make my own, too. My recipe proportions are slightly different than what the website is showing - I use:
1 bar of shredded soap
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax

The first couple of times I made it I used Fels Naptha and thought I might die from the awful chemical smell while I was grating it. It didn't seem very healthy to breathe those fumes in! I found another laundry soap called Octagon that has a more pleasant smell, and seems to work well.
Looks like the recipie proprtions that you are using calls for doubling the amount of washing soda and borax. The others only called for 1/2 cup per bar of soap.

I used Ivory soap. That soap grates so easily (practically melts in my hand).

After using all 8 bars of soap and the powders, my finished soap powder box is only about the size of a shoebox. But that should last quite awhile as the directions call for only 1 TBSP per load.
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FYI - Borax toxicity
Old 07-12-2010, 04:31 PM   #7
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FYI - Borax toxicity

While making laundry soap has been done for many many years and may save you some money...

Be aware that Borax can be quite toxic and should be treated with respect and in a well ventilated area.

<from the Borax Information Page website - The Borax Information Page>

Borax information: what is it exactly?

The chemical formula for household borax is B4O7Na2. 10H2O. Borax is a name for several different similar chemical compounds, of which probably the commonest is sodium decahydrate. They all contain sodium and boron. Boric acid or boracic acid is an acid which can be derived from borax.

Boron, a valuable trace metal in foods and soils, is quite toxic in excess. In fact, it is so toxic that it can be used as a herbicide. Borax itself is also quite toxic, which means that safe handling and storage are imperative. It's toxic enough to kill ants, fleas and cockroaches and other unwanted insect life.

Its effects upon the environment are not yet well documented but it can be toxic to aquatic life if too concentrated. It is regarded by the Australian government as a low threat to the environment but a moderate threat to health.
Borax information: just how safe is borax?


This is the most crucial borax information - and yet reports about borax safety give a rather mixed message. Here's what I've gleaned about borax safety.
Borax needs to be stored carefully because it is toxic if ingested. While this may be unlikely to happen, even by accident, anyone using it should be aware because of the dangers of very young children playing with it.
Even as little as a teaspoonful could prove fatal if swallowed by a young child. For this reason, be very careful if using it anywhere near food and wipe up spills immediately. (See below for safety advice when using borax.)
There is a slight hazard of contamination through skin contact. It may cause irritation and redness from prolonged contact. If you have any cuts or abrasions on your hands you should use rubber gloves when handling it or using it in solution.

Picture, right: Borax can also be bought as a powdered hand soap.
As it comes in a stable, crystalline powder there's very little danger of inhalation. However, if you use it as a fine powder you should protect yourself against inhalation and wear safety goggles.

Borax is related to but not the same as boron - which is now thought to be an essential trace element in human nutrition. Some people take "Borax tablets" as a medicine for a variety of complaints. The amounts of borax contained in these preparations is extremely small and should present no health threat, used correctly.
It is probably easy to get unduly concerned about the safety of borax; if you look at the toxicology data for common salt, it is not that different! Even salt can be hazardous if you ingest too much of it. For most purposes, borax is quite safe if you keep it out of reach of children and take precautions if there is a risk of dust inhalation.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:29 PM   #8
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We make our own too. I didn't know Borax was that bad, but we don't have kids so we should be OK. I could use it when I have any ants problem...
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:48 PM   #9
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My long gone MIL made bar soap. She would save fats then would make a batch using lye. The result was actually very easy on the hands.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:17 PM   #10
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Thanks MasterBlaster for the caution. I think the washing soda even had a stronger warning than the Borax. One of the places I read about making your own detergent mentioned, yes, to be careful. In otherwords, one wouldn't want to go excessively handling regular detergent/laundry powder nor put that next to your food, and the same holds for the homemade powder.
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:01 PM   #11
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That looks cool--I'll have to give it a try. I love Borax as it is also great as a flea and roach deterrent/killer.
I have a different way of dealing with roaches...
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:06 PM   #12
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I have a different way of dealing with roaches...
Okay, I'll take the bait (no pun intended), how do you deal with roaches?
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:10 PM   #13
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I'm curious, for those that do make their own laundry soap, how would you rate the results vs what you'd by from the store?

I just did my first load using my homemade laundry soap. Washed a load of whites (nothing else, such as bleach etc. added in), using 1 tbsp of power. In a totally un-controlled test (I used my memory, only), I'd say the homemade works a little better than just regular detergent. It wasn't a miracle a the result wasn't totally white clothes, but definitely acceptable and I'd say brighter than just a cup of detergent.
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:13 PM   #14
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Okay, I'll take the bait (no pun intended), how do you deal with roaches?
Roach clip...
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:54 PM   #15
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Roach clip...
....walked right into that one, they did....
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:57 PM   #16
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....walked right into that one, they did....
No way they could see it coming through all that smoke.
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:16 PM   #17
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I'm curious, for those that do make their own laundry soap, how would you rate the results vs what you'd by from the store?
I think it works just as well as the store-bought stuff. What I like especially is that it leaves no fragrance whatsoever. I can't stand a perfume-y smell on my clothing after I do the wash.
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:14 PM   #18
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No way they could see it coming through all that smoke.
Cough cough cough cough cough cough cough...

Smooth...
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:18 PM   #19
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Hate to hiijack the hijinks, but I think CFB had the definitive answer on the subject:

Homemade Laundry Detergent

$7 for six hundred gallons at costco.
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:22 AM   #20
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I think it works just as well as the store-bought stuff. What I like especially is that it leaves no fragrance whatsoever. I can't stand a perfume-y smell on my clothing after I do the wash.

Yeah. I like the no fragrance too. I'm happy with the results.
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