Green is soooo hip, which means that many simple recipes and brands that were once consigned to the bottom shelf or stores have been repackaged, showcased and increased in price to take advantage of consumer consciousness (and some say, guilt). But truth be told you can make your own for a fraction of the price if you’re willing to invest a little elbow grease. Just to be clear, these aren’t your craft, artisan soaps, but practical laundry detergent for real people. This recipe comes via a friend-of-a-friend but many people’s grandparents will probably recognize it and similar concoctions.

Get yourself an large, old, cheap saucepan. No need for non-stick magic here; any old thift store cast-off will do. Although not toxic, the ingredients you’ll be working with aren’t exactly appetizing so keep your soap-making pan separate from your food-making pans.

  • 1/3 – 1/2 Bar Fels Naptha (or Zote or Ivory) soap
  • 1 Cup Washing Soda
  • 1 Cup Borax Powder
  • 1/2 Gallon Water

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.   Boil and stir on low/medium heat until it is dissolved.

Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.  Add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.   A couple old, clean mllk or soda jugs will serve for mixing if you don’t super-heat the ingredient.  A funnel is indispensible for this stage as well if you have one.

Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  You use ½ cup per standard washing machine load.

A Few Things To Note About The Soap

The finished soap will not be a solid gel.  It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an “egg noodle soup” look.

The soap is a low sudsing soap.  So if you don’t see suds, that is ok.  Suds are not what does the cleaning, it is the ingredients in the soap.

Additional Research: