I have an intense itch to make my own soap, partly because my past attempts to clean with vinegar and baking soda were so successful. If I can make my own cleaning products for less that work, why not?
My sister used to own a soap business so I know making bar soap is a huge ordeal that involved vats of olive oil and lye, a dangerous chemical.
But there is another option. Laundry detergent, which I am also low on. My friend Matt Jabs of FiveCentNickel made his own laundry detergent and reports “I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW INCREDIBLY FAST & EASY IT WAS.” (His caps, not mine.)
Matt’s recipe calls for 55 ounce box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, a 76 ounce box of 20 Mule Team Borax, and 10 pack of 4.5 ounce bars of Ivory Bar Soap (or another cheap bar soap.)
I plan to add a few drops of essential lavender oils to give my clothes a nice scent. I hope to pick up these ingredients later this week and will let you know how my first soap-making adventure goes!
UPDATE: Reader Pauline recommends an alternative to Ivory:
The best soap to use is Fels Naphta, a bit more expensive but worth it. Where does Matt purchase the Washing Soda? Thanks
Rabbi Wendy has a great tip for home made cleaners.
The most amazing and effective book of recipes for household products is “Clean House, Clean Planet” by Karen Logan. It is still in print, with plenty of copies on Amazon. The recipe for spray cleaner on page 85 is the best spray cleaner I’ve ever used, hands down. Logan is so thorough in her explanations. She even sells bottles for the finished products. It’s a fun read, even if you don’t make any of the cleaning products. Check it out!
I went ahead and checked Amazon, which has Clean House, Clean Planet for $10.76 (orig. $15). I might buy it if my library does not have it.
SECOND UPDATE: Susan warns:
I made this detergent a few months ago, a word of caution, my dark purple towels faded a little using it. I now use it for whites and light colors but not black or really dark colors. Also the arm and hammer super washing soda is sold at Albertson’s. It is the only place around the valley I could find it.