Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

May 24, 2013

New-Improved Laundry Soap Recipe


Friday is cleaning day here on Front Forty Farm, so I thought it would be appropriate to share my new-improved, laundry soap recipe today.  At first I hesitated to post the recipe simply because there are hundreds of great blog posts about homemade laundry soap already out there, but this one is different than most I have seen, so I decided it was worth sharing.
Living in the country, on a farm with ten kids, lends to loads of very dirty laundry.  I need to use a soap that is tough on all kinds of dirt and that won't break the bank.
I started with the basic recipe of Fels Naptha, Borax, and Washing Soda, and each time I needed to make a new batch, I tweaked the recipe a bit by adding  or taking away baking soda, Oxi-Clean, and/or Purex Crystals. I changed the amounts of each item. I tried the liquid version, but I was never completely satisfied with the results. I noticed my whites were getting dingy, and nothing had that crisp, clean look anymore.  I even blamed my washing machine (an older model, Kenmore front-loader), but after it bit the dust, and I was able to replace it with a beautiful, new, front-loading Maytag, I realized the washer wasn't the problem either.  Even this heavy-duty machine with all it's bells and whistles wasn't able to get my family's clothes as clean as I would like them.  Well, I wasn't ready to give up on making my own laundry soap yet...not yet...I didn't want to admit defeat, so I did some heavy research of my own.


   I found this blog post about making your own laundry soap, and after reading it, I reconsidered using Borax in my recipe. According to this blogger's research...

  1.  Borax and washing soda are never used together in commercial laundry detergents.  Borax is used only in liquid detergent, and washing soda is used in the powdered versions.

     2.  Borax needs the hotter temperatures to be effective. Many of us now use cold water for washing, so unless you dissolve the borax before adding it to your laundry load, replacing your borax with washing soda increases the powerful cleaning abilities of your detergent.

I also went to this data base that was mentioned in the above blog and researched the products used in Tide.

The main ingredients in Tide include the following:
     * enzymes
     * surfactants
     * sodium carbonate
     * sodium aluminosilicate (caking agent...unnecessary in homemade recipe)
     * sodium carbonate peroxide
     *optical brighteners
     *fragrance
(Notice that Borax is NOT included in this list)

I researched what could be used in my recipe to mimic the Tide ingredients. Please keep in mind, I am not a chemist...just a house-wife, trying to get my laundry as clean as possible.  The following is the recipe that I came up with:

1 60 oz (3.75 lbs)Box Biz, (enzymes)
8 Bars Fells Naptha, finely grated (surfactant) 
4 Bars of Zote (14.1 oz), finely grated (surfactant and optical brightener)
4 Boxes (55 oz) Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)
1 Lg Tub (5 lb) Oxi-CleanStain Remover (sodium carbonate peroxide)
1 Lg Bottle Purex Crystals for Baby (fragrance...optional.  I don't always use this, but my girls requested it in my new batch.) 

Editing to add...A kind commenter mentioned that she replaces the Purex crystals with Epsom salts to help with static and avoid the fragrance.  I gave it a try, using a 1:1 ratio of Purex to Epsom salts, and I am very happy with the results. I have stopped using the Purex Crystals.

This is a very large batch; it fills my grandmother's old pickle crock.  For most, it could easily be a one-year supply, or more...for Front Forty Farm, it will last two months.  I use about 3 TBS per load, a bit more for heavily soiled items, and 1/4 of a cup of white vinegar for the rinse.


 I am very pleased with the final results...my laundry is finally coming out clean, and my whites are staying white.  By adding the the Biz, Oxi-clean and Purex Crystals to my recipe, the cost per load increases a bit, but it still is much less expensive than any commercial detergent I could buy, and the results are clean, fresh-smelling clothes.



Now if the skies would turn back to this beautiful shade of blue, I could hang my linens outside in the fresh, country air.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!



43 comments:

  1. Can you buy the Zote and Washing soda at the supermarket? I am old school and prefer powdered laundry soup and would love to try making my own! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Jeanette, both the Zote and washing soda can be found at most supermarkets. In my local store, the washing soda, Fels Naptha, and Oxi-Clean are near each other, but the Zote is in a different isle. I couldn't find the Zote at first because I assumed it would be near the Fels Naptha. Don't give up if you don't find it immediately; check all the isles related to laundry soap and cleaning.
      I'm excited to see that you are going to try making your own laundry soap, and I would love to hear how you like it.

      Delete
  2. Hi Emily. I also make my own laundry soap. I use just enough warm or hot water to dissolve it and then continue filling up the tub with cold or whatever... I don't put any clothes in until I know that all is dissolved. So I can use the Borax and the Soda together (which I like). I found Zote at Home Depot and Walmart. It comes in pink and white bars. One is a hand soap and one is a laundry soap. I have used both. I tried FelsNaptha once but found it very difficult to grate. I love how my own soap cleans. I will not buy another box of Tide. Have a great day...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Where can you purchase the Biz enzymes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Autumn, I found my Biz enzymes at Walmart in the laundry soap isle.

      Delete
  4. Do you leave your crock uncovered? I've read in other blogs that there is a problem with clumping and or hardening of the powder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kim, no I don't leave my crock uncovered. I have an enamel pot cover that fits nicely on top of my crock. It is not air tight by any means, but I do keep it covered, mostly to keep the Littles from playing it it. ;) I have never had a problem with clumping or hardening, but I use my batch up within a month or two...it doesn't have time to clump. I also give the top a little stir with my scoop each time a do a load of laundry. If it were to sit untouched for a couple of months, I imagine it would eventually harden or clump a bit.

      Delete
  5. By large tub of oxyclean, do you mean Costco size or lg grocery store size? I'm excited to try this, I've had the same frustration with the standard homemade recipe leaving things dingy. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry, Michelle, I should have been more clear on the size of the oxi-clean tub. It's the large grocery store size...I think it's 3 lbs.

      Delete
  6. Thanks so much for sharing with Adorned From Above's Blog Hop 55. We can't wait to see what you have for us this week. This weeks party is live.
    Have a great week.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above
    http://www.adornedfromabove.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. Did you use the 7 or 14.1 oz bars of Zote?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use the 14 oz bars of Zote. I will note this is the recipe above...thanks for asking, and I hope this recipe works as well for you as it does for me.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for getting back to me. I used 75% Zote and 25% Fels with the rest of the recipe and I was shocked at how well it cleaned. I washed a load, then rewashed it with my regular soap and the water was almost totally clear!
      This washes better than the other formulas floating on the net and is cheaper to make. Thanks again!

      Delete
    3. You are very welcome! Thanks so much for letting me know how well this recipe worked for you.

      Delete
  8. Also forgot to ask which size Biz? Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure of the exact size...I think it may be the 38 oz box. I don't have one on hand right now, but the next time I go to the store, I will check the size and make a note of it in my recipe. It's the only size my store sells.
      Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

      Delete
  9. Just made this recipe tonight and we are super excited to try it! I cut it in half so as to make a decent amount but not a full amount but am wondering how you managed to grate the Zote finely. I found that soap to be softer and therefor harder to finely grate. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so happy that you are giving my laundry soap recipe a try...please, do let me know how you like it.
      As far as grating the Zote...good question, and one that I should have addressed when I posted the recipe. Since the Zote is so soft, I buy a number of bars at one time (more than I will need for the recipe) and take the wrappers off, storing them in a basket, open to the air. They will harden with a bit of time (the longer they sit, the harder they will be) making them much easier to grate. I actually use my food processor to grate the bars, then I process the grated soap until it is very fine. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

      Delete
  10. Do you use the 3 tbs in a HE Washer or an old style top loader. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use 3 TBS in an HE washer, but we live on a farm, and my kiddos aren't easy on their clothes. I use 1-2 TBS for less soiled items or small loads.

      Delete
  11. How much do you recommend for a regular top load machine?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would start with the 3 TBS...you can always adjust the amount to suit your needs...less for smaller or less soiled loads or more for heavily soiled or extra large loads. I came to using the 3 TBS through trial and error.

      Delete
  12. Hi Emily! I made your recipe and halved it for our household. I am having a bit of trouble with the bits that are left over in the wash. I have them on the clothes and have to shake them out in order to put them in the dryer. I want to get every ounce of the super cleaning power in the recipe and the bits are a nuisance to me. I have taken out about two cups from the batch and run it through a food processor to make the bar soap crumbs finer but that still isn't helping ride me of the bits in my wash. Any suggestions? Please?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmmm...that is a good question. I will try to answer it the best I can since I have not encountered this problem. As soon as I began reading your comment, I was going to suggest running the soap through a food processor (if you had one available), but then I saw that you already had done that. I always run my new batches through the food processor to make the pieces very fine. My next thought was your water temperature. Are you using cold water? I generally use hot or warm water, but if you want to use cold, I would try dissolving the soap in a jar of hot water first, then add to your washing machine. I hope this works for you. Thanks for giving my recipe a try. :)

      Delete
  13. This laundry soap is amazing. I had a towel that was used to wipe up spilled cranberry juice. I threw it in the washer a week later with 2 scoops total 4 tablespoons of the laundry detergent in a regular wash. When it came out there was no sign of the juice. I'm sold on this recipe, I have tried many different recipes but this one actually worked. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello,
    I am wondering if you could clarify a bit. Many of the products listed such as oxyclean has many products and sizes. Most of your ingredients like oxyclean just says "one large box oxyclean" What size in ounces? IS that the oxyclean stain remover or laundry detergent? Same issue with the washing soda... This will be so helpful in getting my mixture right the first time.
    THanks,
    Daniel

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for sharing this tutorial, Emily. It really feels good to be able to make your own cleaning agents. The main reason is that you have the control on how much chemical you’re going to put. Plus, you can also save up a little. This is very exciting!

    Weston Adams

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've been making my own laundry detergent for over 2 years, both liquid and powder versions. They were ok, but never seemed to get clothes quite clean enough. I've done a few loads with this recipe and so far, so good. I still have trouble getting tougher stains out, but I had that issue with store bought detergent too. Overall, I'm satisfied. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am always in search of different recipes for home made or natural soap, detergents. Thanks for this recipe. I would like to share it or apply if you don't mind.

    ReplyDelete
  19. We've been using this for about 6 months and it gets everything clean (even the potty-training kid's poopy pants)! I use plain epsom salts instead of the Purex crystals, since I am very "scent sensitive", and we haven't had much problem with static. Thank you for your recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joyful, do you replace the purex with epsom salt 1:1 ? Thanks for posting this variation to the recipe!

      Delete
    2. Joyful, I'm so glad you shared this tip about replacing the Purex crystals with epsom salts. What a great idea! I stopped using the crystals about a year ago because my daughter suffers from eczema. I have started using the epsom salts and love the results.

      Delete
    3. HCTx, I did use a 1:1 purex to epsom salt ratio and was happy with the results.

      Delete
    4. Joyful, do the epsom salts just cut down on static or do they serve another purpose as well?

      Delete
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Emily, thanks for the great recipe! I've been wanting to add enzymes to my recipe for some time and now I feel like I have a great way to do so. Just curious, what is the purpose of using both oxiclean and Biz? I was under the impression they are the same except for the Enzamix in Biz. Don't want to mess with an obviously effective recipe but the idea of using less ingredients is appealing to me also :) thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Morgan,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and comment. I do appreciate the feedback on my laundry soap recipe, and I am delighted to read that it works well for you. As far as using as few ingredients as possible, I whole-heartedly agree. I've tried the laundry soap using only Biz and only Oxi-clean, and I found the best results when using both. Oxi-clean and Biz do both work differently on different stains. Biz, because of the enzymes, targets organic stains such as food and grease (it also works well for those washing cloth diapers). Here is a link to a good explanation of the two stain removers.
      http://www.livin-vintage.com/2013/02/oxiclean-or-biz-is-there-really.html?m=1

      You could try using only one of the two, depending on what type of stains you tend to deal with most. Elimination of one of them may work for you. I find home-made laundry soap to be such an individual thing...what works for one, may not work for another. Try experimenting with small batches.
      I hope this answers your question.

      Delete
    2. It certainly does, thank you! I have been doing some trial and error and also found both work best :) so excited have been using this recipe for months and have never been happier with any other soap whether detergent or diy! I find it is very popular with my hunting friends and family as well since it is virtually scent free. I now have to make the full recipe instead of half because so many people request some of it for themselves so I give about half of it away every time I make it lol! Definitely a testament to its effectiveness! Thank you again!

      Delete
  22. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
    Chaffey Cleaners

    ReplyDelete
  23. Here's an easy, natural way to make your own enzymes if you want to really go DIY!
    http://www.reviewed.com/science/diy-make-your-own-enzymatic-laundry-detergent

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...