Instructables

Liquid Laundry Soap (Basic)

video Liquid Laundry Soap (Basic)
This is a shockingly inexpensive way to make an effective liquid laundry soap. This is a very basic recipe, and easy to do; later I'll be showing a more advanced recipe that has more cleaning power than this one; however, please note, this laundry soap IS quite effective.

Ingredients:
14 oz. Bar of Soap
1/2 Cup Borax
3/4 Cup Washing Soda

Materials:
5 Gallon Bucket
Stick Blender
Food Blender
Cheese Grater
Small Pan

You can also make this recipe with a traditional "Fels Naptha" or "Zote" brand bar. Both work very well, however I prefer to use my homemade soap. If you happen to make some homemade soap and accidentally used too much Lye, making the soap permanently caustic... don't worry... it works GREAT for laundry. Just follow these instructions and put it to good use!

Grate the 14 oz. bar of soap into "Soap Noodles." Process the "Soap Noodles" into "Soap Particles" in your food blender.

Bring 6 Cups of water to boil. Add the 14 oz. of processed soap and whisk completely. All soap particles should be dissolved within 1-3 minutes.

Fill the 5 Gallon Bucket half way with Hot Water. Add the liquified soap, Washing Soda, and Borax. Blend the solution completely with Stick Blender. Fill the 5 Gallon Bucket to the top with warm water, and seal with lid.

After allowing the soap to rest for 12 hours you will be rewarded with a gelatinous liquid soap.

1/4 cup per laundry load yields good results. Don't be surprised if it sets up like jello, just stir it up, and it's perfectly fine.

Enjoy this inexpensive alternative to expensive laundry soaps.

Southernelle4 months ago

I have a front load washer and it says to only use (he) products...will this work in mine?

masoon1 year ago
Thanks for posting this! I made 5 gals yesterday and its almost as solid as jello, which you said would happen. I followed another recipe last time and used dove bar soap instead of the Zote, - it wasn't as solid. Do you know if Zote makes a thicker final product? The other recipe called for cutting the final product half with water and then its easier to shake every time you use it( I pour mine into used liquid laundry detergent jugs with the spouts on the side). Then you use 1/2 cup instead of 1/4 cup. Do you keep yours in an lidded 5 gal and simply scoop it out? Do you think it degrades the soap to dilute it? Thanks
IconicIdea (author)  masoon1 year ago
I keep my sealed in a lidded 5 gallon bucket & use a scoop to dispense the soap. You can cut a 5 gallon batch into 10 gallons - but I think it weakens the final product. It will still be an effective soap, but you may have to use more. Zote makes a good laundry soap - Dove never will. Dove is not a soap, it's a detergent bar, it's made from petroleum products, it doesn't have the same chemistry as soap. It's not even advertised as soap
You're right, I halfed a single gallon last night to see what would happen and used a half cup. The laundry came out of the washer still a little dirty.
Okara1 year ago
Located your video about how to decide on ingredients. Your delightful accent prompted me to hop over to soapcow.com where I discovered an online games site. LOL

So I tried soapcal. No luck. But google asked if I meant www.soapcalc.com. Got it now. :)

Thanks so much for your tutorials, common sense approach and great sense of humour. Bookmarked now.
Okara Okara1 year ago
PS I can't find that video now!
MissaBee1 year ago
I do have an issue with using Borax as it has been said by the EWG to cause skin irritation. A few sights recommend using Baking Soda, Lemon Juice or Vinegar in place of Borax. I'd like your thoughts on using these items in the processes of making this soap.
IconicIdea (author)  MissaBee1 year ago
Borax, in most instances, is a safe substance. But those that have hypersensitive skin reactions, should stay away.

Borax not only is a cleansing agent but also thickens the liquid soap, it's a main ingredient. Without it the soap will not thicken you you'll wind up with nothing more than soap water which can evaporate quickly and will not gel.

I've never tried this recipe with Baking Soda, but I highly doubt it will have the same effect, Baking Soda is a completely different chemical. With a different chemical reaction. Give it a try if you like. Lemon Juice or Vinegar? Vinegar would smell terrible and Lemon Juice would likely go bad. Give it a shot though, let me know if any of your methods work.
britsa2 years ago
You have a great concept here--DIY laundry detergent, but as far as chemical toxicity goes, borax is not the gentlest on the body. Be especially careful with borax and exposing children or animals!!

From wikipedia.com on borax:

Borax was added to the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list on 16 December 2010. The SVHC candidlate list is part of the EU Regulations on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals 2006 (REACH), and the addition was based on the revised classification of Borax as toxic for reproduction category 1B under the CLP Regulations. Substances and mixtures imported into the EU which contain Borax are now required to be labelled with the warnings "May damage fertility" and "May damage the unborn child".[24]
MsJan britsa1 year ago
Can you imagine what the other soaps on the shelf can do? Honest they do much worse. I do use Borax sometimes. A third of a cup with a third of a cup of baking soda than put white vinegar in the final rinse. No smell and I do feel way saver than any other soap on market shelves.
Hi:0) What is the difference between washing soda, and baking soda?
IconicIdea (author)  porcupinemamma2 years ago
Washing soda's chemical reaction was found to be too strong for cooking/baking purposes. Baking Soda is more mild and ideally suited for cooking. Washing soda is also chemically different.

Baking Soda: Sodium Bi-Carbonate
Washing Soda: Sodium Carbonate.
They are close chemically, but very different 'animals.' Like comparing a car to tractor.
dangerine2 years ago
No electric grind - My family grinds the lye soap using an old fashioned meat grinder. It comes out in fine little noodles that would be "grate" for this process.
kowens2 years ago
I will definitely try this recipe for laundry soap. The cost of buying soap is ridiculous! To expand on britsa's comment the whole section from Wikipedia says this:

Borax, sodium tetraborate decahydrate, is not acutely toxic.[19] Its LD50 (median lethal dose) score is tested at 2.66 g/kg in rats:[20] a significant dose of the chemical is needed to cause severe symptoms or death. The lethal dose is not necessarily the same for humans. Sufficient exposure to borax dust can cause respiratory and skin irritation. (I would think for individuals working in the industry that produces Borax, they would need to be careful.) Ingestion may cause gastrointestinal distress including nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Effects on the vascular system and brain include headaches and lethargy, but are less frequent. "In severe poisonings, a beefy red skin rash affecting palms, soles, buttocks and scrotum has been described. With severe poisoning, erythematous and exfoliative rash, unconsciousness, respiratory depression, and renal failure." [21] A reassessment of boric acid/borax by the United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs found potential developmental toxicity (especially effects on the testes).[22] Boric acid solutions used as an eye wash or on abraded skin are known to be particularly toxic to infants, especially after repeated use, because of the slow elimination rate. (I think this is of concern if you are washing your child in a Borax solution, but not their washed and throughly rinsed clothing.) [23] Borax was added to the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list on 16 December 2010. The SVHC candidlate list is part of the EU Regulations on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals 2006 (REACH), and the addition was based on the revised classification of Borax as toxic for reproduction category 1B under the CLP Regulations. Substances and mixtures imported into the EU which contain Borax are now required to be labelled with the warnings "May damage fertility" and "May damage the unborn child".[24]

My mother added Borax to Ivory Snow to keep my baby clothes clean because other detergents would irritate my sensitive skin. I think any one who is concerned needs to make sure that all of the Borax is dissolved and/or rinsed from clothes during washing.

britsa does make a valid point, if you are concerned about the chemicals that you are putting on your body or in your body, throughly research the information.
This is AWESOME!

It took about 20 minutes to make using stuff I had around the house (except for the washing soda, but that was easy enough to grab during a grocery run). I gave it overnight (about 10 hours) and found it had set up like jello. No problem: I stirred it up with a spoon and loaded some into an empty laundry detergent jug using a funnel. I filled my front-loader with the machine-recommended amount and let'er rip. It worked great and while I'm not ready to say it unequivocally, I think my clothes are cleaner than ever!

I don't expect that I'll ever buy laundry detergent again...
IconicIdea (author)  Shawn Stanford2 years ago
I'm glad you approve, and I'm glad that you're awesome! Let me know if you have any suggestions, I've thought of numerous ways to improve this 'build' but haven't implemented any yet.
Very nice! Does it have a scent?
IconicIdea (author)  Penolopy Bulnick2 years ago
Yes, Lavendar. It inherited the scent from the bar of soap. However you can add an essential oil at the end of the process too.
mrmath2 years ago
What's your motivation for making your own soap and laundry detergent?

(I can think of three good reasons off the top of my head--you enjoy it, it saves money, avoiding stuff in commercial soaps--so please don't take this the wrong way. I'm just curious.)
IconicIdea (author)  mrmath2 years ago
Power. I can make an essential in a time of crisis with nothing but ashes, rain water, and oil; and all the other things you mentioned. Those are also very valid.
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