One of the first overpriced items I stopped purchasing from the store was laundry soap. I found several recipes and used a couple different ones that worked well, until I finally came up with the one I have been using for almost 2 years now. It is simple to make, remains in powder form, so there is no melting, mixing, re-mixing or wait time for use. It is a simple matter of measuring the ingredients and combining them with a grated bar of Fels Naptha or Zote soap, your preference or what is available in your area. This is not the simplest recipe I found, but even though it has 5 different products it does a good job, along with my home made stain remover on even the dirtiest of our farm clothing. I also use it on my work uniforms, and the navy blue pants do not fade nearly as quickly as with commercial laundry detergents. The Zote soap is 3 x the weight and volume of the Fels Naptha for the same price, but I still use it in place of two pars of the Fels Naptha. So here is my recipe.
1 Bar Zote Soap OR 2 bars Fels Naptha-grated
3 cups Borax
3 cups Washing Soda
3 cups Baking Soda
1 1/2 cups Oxygen cleaner (Oxyclean or store brand)
The first step is to grate the soap into fine shreds. This can be accomplished several different ways. You can use an electric food processor with the grating blade, a hand grater or if you have one, a hand food slicer with the grating blade. I found the one I have on Craigslist, dirt cheap. It has different cones for thick slicing, thin slicing, French fry cutter, and grater. This is invaluable in my kitchen.
After grating, add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands. This only takes a few minutes.
I then pour the mixed ingredients into a seal-able container and have a supply of laundry soap that will last Papa and I 6-8 months for under $8.00. I know there are concerns regarding the use of Borax, so if you have those concerns, leave it out. I find it is a great booster for deep cleaning the clothing and we have no issues, but for those who do, you will still have a great cleaning laundry soap. Papa is actually very sensitive to may commercial detergents, but has had no issues at all since we switched over to using this. Here is a cost breakdown of the ingredients:
Zote (2) 1.94
Baking Soda 2.24
Washing Soda 3.97
Oxygen booster 3.86
Total for 2 batches $15.98 (this will last us at least a year).
I like this process for many reasons, no the least of which is the ease of making it. I work a full time job away from the farm, and it keeps me away at least 48 hours a week. Many weeks I am on the clock for 72 hours. I need something that I can whip up in a hurry and not take all day doing it. This fits the bill. I am able to save many dollars over the course of a year, know the ingredients I am using on clothing that will touch our skin and still be able to fulfill my other work and family obligations. This batch was whipped up in less than 15 minutes, and I have enough ingredients on had to make another batch. This is the kind of DIY that allows me to be a Modern Missouri Pioneer and be grateful for the life we live.