Make Your Own Laundry Soap…and Save Money

Now that you’ve saved all kinds of money shopping at thrift stores and recycling your things– why not go the extra mile and try making your own laundry soap? It’s really quite easy and cost effective– coming in at just pennies a load.  I found a ton of “recipes” out there for laundry soap– both the liquid type and powdered type. Personally, I prefer the powdered variety for homemade soap.


Here are a few tips before getting started:

  • For the bar soaps required in the recipes, you could try Ivory soap, Sunlight bar soap or Kirk’s Hardwater Castile. Don’t use heavily perfumed soaps.
  • Washing Soda and Borax can normally be found in the laundry and cleaning aisles.
  • Some people with really hard water or well water may have to adjust the ingredients if the clothes look dingy.
  • Some of the recipes call for large amounts of water. Check with a local restaurant to see if they have any empty large pails from deep fryer oil–that’s how many restaurants buy the oil. See if you can have one or two of the pails after they’ve emptied it–just wash them out really well before using. They’re big, heavy plastic and very sturdy when stirring the soap and hot water.

Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe:

Hot water; 1/2 cup Washing Soda; 1/2 cup Borax; 1/3 bar Soap (grated)

  • In a large pot, heat 3 pints of water. Add the grated bar soap and stir until melted. Then add the washing soda and borax. Stir until powder is dissolved, then remove from heat.
  • In a 2 gallon clean pail, pour 1 quart of hot water and add the heated soap mixture. Top pail with cold water and stir well.
  • Use 1/2 cup per load, stirring soap before each use (will gel).

You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade detergent. Add once the soap has cooled to room temperature. Stir well and cover.  Essential oil ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

Powdered Laundry Soap Recipe:

12 cups Borax; 8 cups Baking Soda; 8 cups Washing Soda; 8 cups Bar soap (grated)

  • Mix all ingredients well and store in a sealed tub.
  • Use 1/8 cup of powder per full load.

Laundry Disasters Happen– here’s how to recover quickly

Picture this you just got home from work, started dinner and tossed in a load of laundry.  Oops- disaster strikes. You find an exploded pen… or maybe your load of perfect whites is now a lovely shade of light pink. Yikes!  When disaster strikes here is how to recover quickly.

1. Dried Stains.

Once a stain has dried, it’s usually difficult to remove.  More than likely you’ll need to soak the stain or use a more aggressive stain remover.  On white clothes, try using lemon juice and placing the garment in the sun.  Both the lemon juice and the sun will work as bleaching agents. Be sure to rinse the clothing thoroughly before rewashing.

2. Dingy Whites.

White fabrics can become yellowed or grayed and dingy.  For gray and dingy whites try the triple soak.  Soak the whites first in a solution of a bucketful of water and 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Next rinse out the whites and soak in a solution of 2 tablespoons of ammonia and a bucketful of water.  Next, rinse out the whites, and soak in a bucket of warm water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Rinse thoroughly and dry.  This soaking method will leave your whites bright and clean.

3. Wrinkled Clothes.

If clothes have been neglected in the dryer for too long they are likely quite wrinkled.  To smooth out the wrinkles, put the load back in the dryer with a damp towel (for a medium-sized load) or a damp sock (for a small load).

4. Pink Whites.

A red sock in the washer with your whites can leave you with some weird rose-colored laundry. To try to fix this problem you’ll need Rit Color Remover.  This product works wonders on white laundry that had dye transfer on it.  The Rit Color Remover can also be effective at removing dye on some colored or patterned backgrounds, although you run the risk of having the original color or pattern of the garment damaged.

5. Crayons in the Dryer.

I’ll never forget the time I looked in the dryer to see streaks of red crayon melted around the drum.  To get rid of it,  start with scraping off as much of the wax as you can.  Using something like a credit card doesn’t scratch the drum, but does a good job of removing dried on wax.  Depending on how tough the wax is to remove, you might need to use a blow dryer to remove the wax.  Hold the dryer 6 inches away from the drum.  It will heat up the wax, allowing you to wipe it away.  Next, you’ll need some WD-40.  Spray it on a cloth and wipe at the waxed areas until the wax is gone.  For your final step, use a mild detergent like dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner and warm water to do a final wipe down of the drum.

6. Mildew Smells or Stains.

Did you forget about the clothes in the washer and now they have a sour smell?  If the clothes smell, but aren’t stained by pinpoint sized dots of mildew, you may be able to rewash them with a helping of bleach for whites, or color-safe bleach for colors.  If you indeed have mildew stains, washing with chlorine bleach will remove the stains from white clothing.  For colored clothing use a mixture of color-safe oxygen bleach (1 teaspoon) , and hydrogen peroxide (1 cup)  to sponge the stained areas before rinsing thoroughly and rewashing. Clothes may also benefit from soaking in a borax solution.

7. A Pen Explodes.

If a pen found its way into your laundry,  it can wreak a lot of havoc before it’s found.  Whether you realize there are ink stains after clothes are washed, or after they are dried, the steps are the same.

The first solution to try is rubbing alcohol. Place the clothing on top of a clean white towel. Be sure to test in a hidden spot before applying rubbing alcohol to the permanent ink stain. Blot rubbing alcohol onto the stain. The towel underneath will become wet and discolored from the ink. Be sure to move the garment to a clean dry section of the towel as this happens. Continue until no more ink stain can be removed. Make sure you rinse the stained area completely free of the rubbing alcohol. Next try fingernail polish remover. Blot in the same way as you did with the rubbing alcohol, moving the stained area to a clean dry section of a towel as the ink stain is removed. Rinse thoroughly.  This will work more effectively if the clothes haven’t been dried, but it can still work on set in stains, it will just take a lot of patience.

Boost Your Laundry Power & Save Money with White Distilled Vinegar

Prevent lint from clinging to clothes by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the wash cycle.

To remove soap residue that makes black clothes look dull use white distilled vinegar in your final rinse.

Get stained white socks and dingy dishcloths white again. Add 1 cup white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water, bring it to a rolling boil and drop in the articles. Let soak overnight.

Some stains on clothing and linens can be soaked out using equal parts milk and white distilled vinegar.

Before washing a mustard stain, dab with white distilled vinegar.

Attack spaghetti, barbecue, or ketchup stains
with a white distilled vinegar and water solution.

Remove perspiration odor and stains on clothing, as well as those left by deodorants, by spraying full-strength white distilled vinegar on underarm and collar areas before tossing them into the washing machine.

Forgot that you left wet laundry in the machine and it now smells moldy? Pour a few cups of white distilled vinegar in the machine and wash the clothes in hot water. Then run a normal cycle with detergent.

Remove smoky odors from clothes by filling the bathtub with very hot water and 1 cup white distilled vinegar. Hang the garments above the steaming water and shut the door so the steam can penetrate the fibers.

Keep the steam iron clean and in good working order by getting rid of mineral deposits in steam vents and spray nozzles. Fill the water chamber with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and distilled water. Set it in an upright position and let it steam for about 5 minutes. When the iron is cool, rinse the tank with water, refill and shake water through the vents onto an old cloth. Test before using.

Remove scorch marks from an iron by rubbing it with a warmed-up solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and salt. If that doesn’t work, use a cloth dampened with full-strength white distilled vinegar.

Remove musky smells from cotton clothes by sprinkling them lightly with white distilled vinegar and then pressing them.

Get water and salt stains off shoes and boots by wiping them down with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water.

Give patent leather shoes and bags a better shine by wiping them down with white distilled vinegar.

Get cleaner laundry! Add about 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar to the last rinse. The acid in white distilled vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, yet strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents. Besides removing soap, white distilled vinegar prevents yellowing, acts as a fabric softener and static cling reducer, and attacks mold and mildew.

Eliminate manufacturing chemicals from new clothes by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the water.

Remove soap scum and clean the hoses of your washing machine with white distilled vinegar. Periodically run the machine with only a cup of white distilled vinegar in it—nothing else added to the wash cycle.

Bring out bright colors by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle.

Fluff up wool or acrylic sweaters (hand- or machine-washed) and rid them of soap smell with 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar in the last rinse water.

Get rid of the tiny holes left along the hemline when you take out the hem of any garment by moistening a cloth with white distilled vinegar, placing it under the fabric and ironing.