You will need 3 basic ingredients; a soap of some sort, washing soda, and borax.
The Soap: The most typical type of soap to use is Fels Naptha. It is an old-fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle. The other options for soap are Ivory or another brand called, Zote. Any of these will work. I use my own homemade soap and find it works quite well, and I do have this for sale in my Country Store. If you use Ivory or your own homemade soap, you will need to use the whole bar.
Washing Soda: This is not to be confused with baking soda. They are not the same thing. Washing soda is sodium carbonate or soda ash (baking soda is sodium bicarbonate). It is a white powder. Its purpose is to help remove dirt and orders. The brand to look for is Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. I find it in the laundry section of my grocery store. Many people have a hard time finding this locally. I know you can purchase it on-line, even through Amazon.com. I would also suggest asking your grocery store manager if it were possible for the store to get it for you.
Borax: Borax is a naturally occurring mineral: Sodium Borate. It is a white powder. Its purpose is as a laundry whitener and deodorizer. The brand to look for is the 20 Mule Team. It comes in a 76 oz. Box. You should be able to locate this in the laundry detergent aisle. Again as with the washing soda, if you cannot find it, ask your store manager or look online.
This is the recipe that really got us interested in making homemade products. It has been figured that using this soap costs you about 1 cent per load, versus the average 30 cents per load when using a commercial brand. And if you are a mom like us, you do a LOT of laundries and every little bit of savings helps.
What you need:
1/3 bar of Fels-Naptha or 1 bar of Ivory soap, grated
½ cup washing soda (found in the laundry aisle in most stores – Arm & Hammer makes it)
½ cup borax powder (also in the laundry aisle – look for “20 Mule Team” brand)
~You will also need a small bucket, about 2-gallon size~
Put the grated soap in a saucepan. Add 6 cups of water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours, and it will gel (it’s a little like magic!). You use ½ cup per load.
We found that for easy storage and use, pour your finished laundry soap in two 1-gallon containers (we’ve used Gatorade and vinegar bottles – a great way to recycle!).
This soap does not foam, so don’t be surprised when you first use it. Also, it really has no scent, so if you’d like stronger-smelling laundry soap, add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil.