Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap Even HE safe

Pin It Hope everyone is enjoying their Holiday's and time with Loved ones, I know we have been!


Tonight I want to share with you homemade laundry soap and homemade fabric softener. I have been wanting to make this for months just never did it. But, while struggling with a gift idea for a family member and I came across this blogger who made homemade laundry soap and it was in this super cute container and thought oh that is it. So, the research began. I read blog after blog, review after review, ingredients reviews everything. I came to the conclusion I found the best recipe and was time to get busy.




This is what you need, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, Borax, and Fels-Naptha. I purchased all three items in the laundry isle in Walmart and spent less then $6.00. I know at this point I was excited, excited about the fact I was going to make 160 loads of laundry soap for $6.00. Oh little did I know, the price for this soap is much much cheaper then that! (Keep reading I will do a cost break down later).


I also went to my local hardware store and purchased a 5 gallon bucket with a lid (about $4.00).  Now I was ready to make soap.


You will only use 1/3 bar of the Fels-Naptha soap per batch (2 gallons) so begin with cutting it into three equal pieces. Go ahead and shred 1 piece of the bar just like shredding cheese.



 I kept a empty milk gallon for easy measuring and used my immersible blender for final mixing



Now to make soap:


I started with 1/2 gallon of water in a stainless steal bowl on the stove
Bring to a boil




Add your 1/3 bar of shredded Fels-Naptha and bring back to boil.
Once your Fels-Naptha has completely melted add
1/2 cup of Borax 
1/2 cup of Arm & Soda washing soda




You are going to let this boil (not to hard) for about 5 minutes, it will become thicker as you continue to stir it and all the soaps combine together.


Add 1.5 gallons of COLD water to your bucket and pour your soap into the cold water and start to stir. You will see it start to gel immediately.




This is where I used my blender if you don't have one you can do it by hand or I have read about people using their drill with a paint mixer on the end of it.


Let sit for about 30 minutes stir again really well.




Once you are done stirring it, go ahead and pour it into your container and it is ready for use.
1/2 cup per load




This is 2 gallons and laundry soap and almost a gallon of fabric softener.




Fabric Softener


What you need




2 cups of Suave Conditioner (I used lilac scent)
3 cups of White Vinegar
10 Cups of Water


 Mix these three ingredients in your bucket (do not shake or you will get alot of foam like I did)
Use with a downy ball or 2 tablespoons in the dispenser in your washer.


Ok now let me give you a few pieces of advice, make sure you let your soap boil long enough. My first batch I did not boil, just hot enough to melt the soap and it separated BIG TIME.


(See the separation) UGH See the cute containers? Yeah not a good idea. The soap will separate SOME no matter what, so you will have to shake it slightly before use. Now that is a 2 gallon container and weighed at least 10 lbs full of soap, not ideal for a quick shake.


2nd one is the fabric softener (mentioned above) stir it do not shake or you will get alot of foam on top that did not go away after a week.


3rd you have to make this soap liquid, the stain fighter and spot remover is the Fels-Naptha and it will not dissolve in cold water. So unless you do all your laundry in hot water you have to premelt the soap.


4th this soap is totally safe to people with allergens to fragrance and other soaps (like I am).
Along with being compatible with HE machines.


Ok onto the cost
After I broke down how much soap you use per batch (2 gallons) it looked like this
Fels-Naptha = $0.46 a batch
Washing Soda $.029 a batch
Borax $0.17 a batch
So for 64 loads of laundry soap it costs $0.92 that is $.014 a load!
Fabric Softener per batch
Conditioner  $0.82 a batch
Vinegar $.34 a batch
So for 202 loads of fabric softener (a batch) it cost $1.26 that is $.006 per load!
A grand total of 2 cents per load of laundry! Oh and under a hour to make both, I can handle that! :)


Now let me give you alittle testimony on it:
(Weak stomachs turn away)
Our little 3lb dog has been sick lately and has seemed to throw up or have diarrhea on pretty much every rug in my house. So our first load of laundry consists of a rug with throw up on it, 2 bath room rugs with diarrhea on them, a dog blanket, and some hand towels used when making chocolates, with chocolate and oils stains on them. I washed this load in hot water and 1.2 cup of soap along with a downy ball with fabric softener. EVERYTHING came out beautiful and soft. We even seem to think the towels came out cleaner then before
Ok not totally fair since I had to wash in hot water, so the next load was uniforms (my son goes to private school so he wears uniforms everyday) so school bells pants (like a dockers type pant) and polo shirts, along with a pair of black dress pants and a button up dress shirt. Washed in cold, 1.2 cup of soap and downy ball again everything came out perfect and felt so good. My son was concerned because the softener was lilac scented but you could not smell it after it came out of the drier also there was zero static cling.
Since this I have washed regular clothes, sheets blankets, towels, no need to any bleach type products and I have have no zero allergic reaction to the soap or softner.


Well there it is one of my many homemade Christmas gifts along with my new favorite homemade product! Let me know if you try it or already use homemade laundry soap.


Jeanne

209 comments:

  1. Awesome Jeanne!!! I just made the fabric softner, I had everything I needed in my cabinets already and it only took me 5 minutes from from start to finish, and that included clean up. It works just as well as any I have ever bought. I will never spend extra money on fabric softner again. Thanks again!!! This will put a couple hundred dollars back in my pocket every year. :)

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  2. Thanks for sharing all your homework on here Jeanne! I did some research and tried this on my own a year or two ago. Wasn't super pleased with the results. I'm trying again by your instructions and so far a much better experience!

    Tina P.

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    1. I also made this several years ago and have not made it since. Your directions are much simpler so I too will be trying this again. Thx for posting such handy tips.

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  3. great gift idea... did you take a pic of the container before you gave it away?

    I can't wait to make this. Im going to start making my own soaps and toothpaste as well. Going to teach my children to be money wise and aware of the chemicals we are subjecting ourselves to.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

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  4. I am so thankful I found you ;)

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    1. I just made the laundry soap, and I'm not sure how it's going to work. First of all, when I added the washing soda it bubbled up and over the pot. Then when I added the cold water, it doesn't seem to be making a gel. I guess I'll try a load of towels to see how well it works.

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    2. Great homemade cleaning products!! I make homemade detergent, but I make it powdered. Jeanne, I grate the Fels Naptha really fine and haven't had any problems with it dissolving when using cold water. With the dry 2 tbsp will do the trick. Also, white vinegar is a natural softener by itself. Adding the Suave is a good idea, though, to make it more like store bought fabric softener.

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    3. I also make the powdered version (except I also add no-brand OxyClean powder), wash almost exclusively in cold water, and have had no problems with the soap dissolving. I do use the smaller side of the grater when grating.

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    4. I use the powdered kind also, but instead of FelsNaptha, I shred up White Ivory Soap Bars. FelsNaptha has a lot of chemicals, and Ivory is more sensitive to my skin. We also add in Purex Crystals, and there is no need for fabric softeners or dryer sheets, and it smells GREAT!. 2 Tbls a load makes for a cheap awesome smelling load of laundry! :)Plus the container from the Purex Crystals is refillable and we put our detergent into it.

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    5. What is your recipe for the dry detergent?

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    6. 1 bar of fels-naphtha or ivory shredded
      1 cup washing soda
      1 cup borax

      Mix together. The recipe says to use 1T, but I bought coffee scoops and use 1 per load.

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    7. Use the food processor to grate the soap extra fine. Put the bar of soap in the freezer first. I used my ninja, and it saved tons of time.

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    8. I have been using the powdered form of this for over 10 years now. And it removes the tough stains even in cold water. Sometimes I use the fels-naptha, but not always, I have also used Ivory and a Lavender bar of soap we had. Each time I finely grate it, not the shreds like in the picture. I wash in cold or warm, hardly ever hot. I only use 2 tablespoons per load and it lasts a long time. Our city water has started smelling musty, so the last batch I made I also added Purex Crystals. I store mine in the Quart Mason jars, the Purex Crystals give it a nice decorative look.

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  5. Do you think you could use half the water for the laundry detergent and then only use 1/4 cup of it?

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    1. Yes Kim you can. My Mom has a brand new he machine that will only hold 1/4 cup. So she doubles the soap but not the water ans uses 1/4 cup instead of a half cup.

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    3. So you have to double the soap in addition to cutting the water? And are you talking about the washing soap? Thanks!

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    4. No, she uses 2 gals of water and doubles the soap then uses 1/4 cup of that solution. So ur thoughts of cutting the water in half and using the same amount of borax etc, then only using 1/4 cup in the wash would work too.

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    5. Thanks again! I just made a double batch like your mom does, and I am so hoping it will clean well. The fabric softener did not work for me at all (probably because we have hard water), but I really hope the detergent works well.

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    6. Hi Kim.
      I have read that people with hard water just make the fabric softener with less water. One woman says with 6 cups of water instead of 10 it worked best for her with hard water.
      :)

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  6. I found you on Pinterest, by the way. :)

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  7. I've been making this same laundry soap recipe for over 2 years now, but the recipe I have makes 2 gallon, which I store in 5 old laundry soap bottles, and the instructions say to use a tablespoon per load, and my laundry comes out really clean. I just use white vinegar as a softener, and although I don't have a "nice" smell, my laundry just smells clean. I just might try your softener recipe however, and see how we like it. We are retired, but my husband works outside in flower & vegetable gardens all day from early spring to late fall, and he comes in dirty from head to toe, and his clothes come really clean. I would love to know how much money I've saved in more than 2 years, and I could kick myself for not finding these wonderful recipes a long time ago! Thanks so much for the info you've provided. (My recipe is a bit different--1/2 bar of Fells Naptha, 1/2 cup Borax, and 1/2 cup A&H Washing Soda, and enough water, (some boiling), to reach 2 gal mark on bucket. Let set 24 hours, then pour into containers, and use 1 tablespoon for regular loads, and 2 tablespoons for extra soiled loads). Oh! I'm going to try your other recipes also!

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  8. I use Fels-Naptha in my powdered laundry soap with cold washes all the time & I've never had a problem with it dissolving! :)

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  10. Awesome.. I am so into CHEAP and Homemade lol..

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  11. This is so great! Thank you for sharing! I'm a college student, and this could really help. I do have a question, though. What is the purpose of using conditioner in the fabric softener? Is it just for the sent? And I'm also afraid that it might leave some sort of residue on my clothes.

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    1. Well the conditioner helps give the softness to your clothes and yes the smell. You can use just vinegar in your wash as an added rinse aid and fabric softener but you can smell the vinegar. I have had zero issue with the fabric softener and I use it in a downy ball.

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    2. I've been using vinegar in my rinse cycle for years and never had a problem with my clothes smelling vinegar-y. I also use wool dryer balls and aluminum foil balls instead of fabric softener or dryer sheets. It's magic!

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    3. Sarah, that is awesome. I used it once and smelt it. :(. But I also have a very old machine, so I do use a half if cup of vinegar in a empty load to clean the musty smell out of it and love that. Ok you have my curiosity, what is aluminum foil balls?

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    4. I use wool dryer balls that I made, they are the greatest thing. http://www.crunchybetty.com/how-to-make-felted-wool-dryer-balls
      I wrapped mine with left over wool yarn and have now used them for years, and given lots as gifts. I suppose foil balls are the same idea

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  12. I made a small batch of powdered to see if it would desolve in cold wash (it did) and because mixing 3 dry ingerdients seemed easier than boiling soap water. Although the dry works fine,I am a liquid kind of girl so I cut it in half and made 1 gallon to try it out (and I didnt have 2 empty containers)Today is wash day hope it goes well Because I live the savings factor!!!

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  13. When you use the liquid laundry detergent in a HE, Front-Loader, do you still put it in the dispenser on top of the machine, or do you put it in the wash drum? That's my big fear with homemade detergents, that I'll put it in the wrong spot and ruin my machine...

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    1. The dispenser. You might want to make sure your dispenser will hold enough liquid. Alot of the new machines only hold 1/4 cup, if that is your machine read the comment above about making the soap double strength and using less.

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  14. I used to use the homemade laundry soap in the powder form years ago & it made my clothes feel heavy, & weird plus it made them dull & dingy? Im afraid to try it again. I have never used the homemade fab. softener is that good for the clothes?

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    1. I have had zero issues with my clothes since using homemade laundry soap and fabric softener. Give the liquid a try.

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  15. So to be clear - I can use this in cold water? I'm a cold water washer only...To make laundry cheaper this would be great if it works in cold water :)
    Sarah

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  16. Hi Sarah, yes its works perfectly in cold! :)

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  17. So to be clear. For HE washers you double the soap only (the Fels-Naptha)? The water stays the same and the borax and the Arm and Hammer washing soda?

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    1. Angalue, if your HE washer will only hold 1/4 cup of soap you double all 3 of the products and only use 2 gallons of water. But if you machine can hold 1/2 cup soap you can use the recipe just the way it is.

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  18. I guess it has to be Suave brand conditioner? I used Garnier Fructis and it's all clumpy :(

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    1. Never mind! I used a whisk and it de-clumped! :)

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  19. My little girl has eczema and we've had to change all of our cleaning products, as well as her bath soap/shampoo, and we've stopped using liquid fabric softener entirely. Will this laundry detergent recipe be okay on her skin? And will using conditioner in the fabric softener cause her skin to flare up? I would hate to make a big batch only to find out we can't use it!

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    1. I am sorry I am not sure. We do not have eczema in our house. I do know that my son and I have psoriasis and it does not bother us at all. Also I am allergic to all fabric softener on the market but I can use this one. The nice thing about the laundry soap is there are no perfumes or dies in it and that is what bothers people skin the most.

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    2. I would use whatever condition you use on her head. I had similar concerns and everything worked out for us. I would try a half-batch and see if it turns out ok for your family.

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  20. ok i just made the laundry soap and it's not geling what am i doing wrong?

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    1. It can take up to 24 hours before it completely finishes cooling and gelling. It will not be super thick. It is still good soap and you can use it.

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  21. What great homemade cleaning ideas! We all have to save where we can these days. I make the homemade detergent as a powder and have no problems with the Fels Naptha soap dissolving in cold water. I make sure to grate it really fine, though. With the powder it only takes 2 tbsp per average load. See my site for recipe to make it dry. Also, vinegar is a natural softener. My clothes do not smell like vinegar when dry. Adding the Sauve sounds like a good idea, though! Thanks

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  22. I was wondering is there any other soap i could use to replace for the Fels-Naptha? Such as the pink zote soap in the laundry isle. And would i use the same amount?

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    1. I am not sure. I have seen recipes with pink zone but never tried it. Sorry I wasn't much help.

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    2. I started with White anti-bacterial Dial because I knew it would not irritate my daughter. I have a girlfriend who uses Ivory. It can be just about anything i think. I had some concerns about the soaps with lotions/moisturizers added in them. Worried about residue. (Just be careful of soap with strong color) My hubby recently made bar soap and I have decided to use that.

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    3. I've tried it with Dove - BIG mistake!! You can use any soap that doesn't have the lotion in it. Fels Naptha is my favorite, but Zote and Ivory have both worked well, too. I've been using this recipe (With Oxyclean added, just because) for 4-5 months now and it's FANTASTIC!!

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    4. Though, I use it dry. I'm to impatient to wait for it to dry!

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    5. for some reason my laundry soap recipe doesn't separate as bad when I use the Zote.

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    6. What about homemade Castille soap? Had anyone tried it? I live in Spain and I have never seen Fels-Naptha in any shop.

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  23. I also just tried this recipe, mine also boiled over when I added the powdered ingredients, I was not able to keep it boiling because it kept wanting to boil over. When I added the cold water and left it sit for 30 minutes, I used my mixer to smooth the liquid put it in my container but it is really runny and mine too seperated. There is liquid on bottom and alot of thick foam on top. What did I do differently? Also when I made the fabric softener, it is not thick and creamy it is sort of runny also should it be?

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    1. I am sorry it boiled over I am not sure why, since I have not had this happen to me. The only thing I can think of it is was to hot before adding the powdered soap. Yes it will take up too 24 hours to continue gelling. Keep in mind it is still good soap even if it separates just shake it before use.

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    2. The problem with boiling over can be caused by hard water. We have very hard water and it's something I combat all the time. I can't remember the scientific reason for it, but there is one!

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    3. I don't boil mine and I only use the water to melt the Fels-Naptha. I add my powdered ingredients to the bucket of water then mix the hot fels-naptha to the bucket after it's melted. Melt on med to low heat and stir constantly. I cover the bucket and let it sit for 24 hours to gel.

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  24. I've made the laundry soap with Zote soap and it works just fine. Jeanne, I came to this said linked from another post about homemade cleaning products. I LOVE the idea of using mini water bottles for handouts!

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    1. Thank You for the info about the Zote soap! And welcome! :)

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  25. How thick should the laundry detergent be after it is done? I just got done mixing the boiling indgredients with the cold water and mixing it. However it is still pretty runny. Is this normal? At the 24 hour mark, what should the consistency be like? I just want to make sure that I did right! I am really excited about saving money with doing this so I just really want it to work!! :)

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    1. I just had the same issue - glad you asked! :)

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    2. The best way I can put it is the consistency of whole milk.

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  26. Like others, I make my detergent powdered. But I use a whole bar of Fels Naptha, if you grate it with a very very fine grater it works fine in cold water, never had an issue. I am a massage therapist and this works on my lotioned and oiled up sheets just awesome. Since I do so much laundry you can imagine the savings for me.

    Anxious to see your castile recipes. I read somewhere how to use castile, olive oil and something else, (maybe water) to make shampoo. Hope you find something as I would love to get the chemicals out of my shampoo as well.

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    1. You can use 1 Tablespoon Baking soda to 1 cup water as a natural shampoo.
      1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup water as a natural rinse.

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  27. Should I use the same amout of Zoto instead of the other? Zoto is all I can find.

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  28. Will the soap foam or bubble up in the wash like regular soap? I'm wondering because I just made a batch & am using it to wash but don't notice it bubbling or foaming?

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    1. It will not bubble that is one of the reasons it is safe for a HE machine.

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    2. Thanks for the clarification! I thought I made it wrong. I used it to wash clothes today & the consistency was more gel like than yesterday. I guess I just needed to let it settle.

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  29. I, too, am very curious about the aluminum foil balls. They're used in the dryer, like dryer sheets, to eliminate static cling?

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  30. I have one of those little dogs, too. Mine weighs in at 3.5 lbs. Those little dogs sure can make big and smelly messes!

    Thank You and Bless You for these cleaning and laundry recipes! You're helping us all save so much money, and helping us help our environment at the same time, getting unneeded chemicals away from our families and friends.

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  31. Can you use the liquid or dry soap recipes with hot water? or is it strictly cold wash only?

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    1. You can use the liquid in hot or cold and from what I am being told the powder also.

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  32. I am finally making it today! I have a question, can you add essential oils for a nice scent, the Naptha has an ok smell? If so, do you know how much and at what point to add it? Thinking after the heat part. Also, can you use unscented conditioner for the fabric softener and add essential oils for the fragrance? I just like the quality of scent you get from essential oils and it has to be better for you all around no? What do you think? Thanks.

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    1. Yes you can use essential oils. I would add it at the end and as much as of scent as you want. I personally like the clean smell so I do not use anything for scent.

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  33. My mom has been making her own detergent for several months. She uses Ivory soap in hers because she is allergic to almost every other brand of soap there is. When she uses the Ivory, she uses the whole bar. She gave me some to use and it cleans great. My husband is a welder and he comes home filthy. His clothes come out nice and clean.

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    1. I have found lots of recipes using ivory soap, personally I can not stand the smell of it. :/ Glad to hear she is enjoying it.

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  34. Just FYI, never buy a 5 gallon bucket again!! Ask the ladies in the bakery at Walmart & you can have all the icing buckets you want. They go in the dumpster otherwise (sad that they don't recycle these). You might have to wash them out but they are great quality, with lids, & handles. Just thought it would help make this even cheaper to make.

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    1. What a great tip! I will definitely check this out, thanks!

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    2. I checked with my Walmart and they recycle them now and won't give them away. Maybe it is just the one in my area.

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  35. Is this recipe safe for septic systems

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    1. I have not had any issues with mine and I have been making my soap for about four years.

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  36. Can you use this same recipe and amount of detergent in a regular top load washing machine?

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  37. FYI: the fels naptha will dissolve in cold water. We made our second batch of powdered laundry detergent today...first batch was made back in February. We only wash in cold water and haven't had any trouble with it not dissolving.

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  38. I also use the dry form of this soap. This is my recipe: 3 cups borax, 3 cups washing soda, 1 bar of Fels Naphtha. I run the Fels through my food processor with the grater blade on top and the chopper blade on the bottom; it really chops it up finely! I only use about 2 Tbls. per load and wash primarily in cold water; although in Arizona in the summer, the water is usually lukewarm at the coldest. It works like a charm and the clothes smell great! I'm going to try your liquid version next time, though.

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    1. Great let us know which one you like better.

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  39. Is there anything you can add to the laundry soap to make it scented? I'm very picky about the scent and like my clothes to smell good.

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    1. Yes you can use essential oils, I know someone who uses lavender in hers.

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  40. I make a different style of homemade laundry soap...it is the NO BOIL version. The only difference in ingredients is mine calls for Dawn dishsoap, borax and washing soda. In an old 2L bottle I put 4T washing soda, 3T borax and 4T of dawn dish soap. The total cost per load is about $0.01. Love it I just put everything but the dishsoap in and add 2 cups of boiling water. Swish it around to dissolve ingredients and then fill about 2" from top with hot water and then add in my dish soap so I don't have bubbles everywhere. This works well even for he.

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  41. Great idea! Do you have a way to make dryer sheets? I hate buying those. LOL

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    1. I do not, but you are not the first to ask so I am going to be looking into it. :)

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    2. I tried an experiment that seems to be working for me. I put about a half cup of downy(i am sure you could use anything)in a 20oz spray bottle and then fill it with water. I keep some white washcloths next to the dryer. Spray the washcloth and add it to the dryer with the rest of the load. WAY less downy per load and still smells great. It even works on clothes that I hang on the line to dry. I tumble them for about 10 min and you cannot tell they were dried outside!

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    3. I found a great way to make dryer sheets. You just need coffee filters and your favorite softener. Get a container and pour your softener into it. Take and separate some filters and submerge in softener. Take each filter out and squeeze out softener then using a clothes pin hang up on a line to dry. Use one filter per load. Works amazing.

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    4. Can you reuse the filters again?

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    5. Yes I reuse mine about 3 or 4 times each. They work really good.

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  42. I'm having a hard time finding the Borax (checked my local Walmart, Brookshires, Family Dollar, CVS, and Walgreens). Is there any other item I can use in place of it? I googled "Borax alternative" and frankly got a little nervous to use at all. What are your suggestions? Thank you!

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    1. i am not sure where you are looking in your local stores. Every store here carries it. check near the household cleaners and the bleach

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    2. I find mine in the laundry soap isle at Walmart (right across the isle from tide). But you can also purchase it here
      http://www.amazon.com/Twenty-Mule-Team-Multi-Purpose-Cleaner-76/dp/B000R4LONQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345173129&sr=8-1&keywords=borax

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    3. Oh sorry and I am not sure of a alternative for it.

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    4. Most grocery stores carry it in the laundry aisle. Hope you can find it.

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  43. I use the powdered version. I use ivory soap. If you put the ivory bar soap in the microwave on the long side of the bar and micro for 2 minutes, it turns into a big cloud of soap and you can put it in a bowl anduse your hands to turn it into powder. it works great

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  44. I made this today (fabric softener too) but I used the pink Zote soap bar because I couldn't find the Fels-Naptha. I found everything at Wal-Mart in the laundry isle, which honestly surprised me! Did our first load of laundry with it and I can honestly say we'll never buy laundry soap or fabric softener again! We love it and it works wonderfully. We have a septic system and for those wondering, there's nothing in these that would harm your septic system. Thank you so much for sharing these recipes, I'm hooked and I've already shared it on facebook for my friends! I used citrus scented Suave conditioner because it was on sale for .97 and I love how the clothes smell. I used the empty bottle as a dispenser with a measuring spoon and the empty vinegar jug for the remainder. We're always looking for economical and greener ways to live, thanks a million!

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    1. The Fels-Naptha is on the same shelf as the Borax and Washing soda at my WalMart. But I didn't use it either. It didn't have the ingredients spelled out on the bar, so I didn't buy it. It had fragrance, detergent, perfumes, etc. That's not enough information for me to buy it!

      I used a soap from Lemongrass Spa (tangerine) and it smells wonderful! To purchase from Lemongrass Spa, see my website: www.OurLemongrassSpa.com/Brenda-Spa-Gal

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  45. I am wondering if you could have tried adding a scent like lavendar to this recipe? i love the idea of DIY laundry soap, but i would love the smell of lavendar too.

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  46. have been using homemade laundry soap for about a year now. didn't know why it seperated. will try boiling a little longer. going to try the softener recipe. thanks so much for your posts.

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  47. I live in the UK and I haven't heard of either of the bar soaps you have mentioned in this thread. I was just wondering if anyone could reccomend a UK alternative or knows if the soaps mentioned have another brand name in the UK? I think this blog is amazing and I shall be searching down more 'recipes' to try. Thank You

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    1. Zote soap is from Mexico. My mom used it over 25 years ago. She would buy it every time we went down there. It used to be the regular white bar with blue wrapper and now they have the pink.

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  48. Sassie Bond, I could not find anything stating a UK equivalent. I am posting the website for Fels-Naptha in hopes that if you see what it is you can find something similar. If you have some type of bar soap for laundry I am pretty sure it would work ok. Here is the link http://www.felsnaptha.com/

    Good luck!

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  49. I have to apologize... I saw someone ask about HE washers but I didn't quite understand your explanation of how it works. Can you clarify for me the mix? Also, does the fabric softener work in HE washers?

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  50. I have used the home made laundry soap off and on for a few years. The first time I made the liquid version I HATED it! I stored it in a 5 gallon bucket and it was hard to use because it kept jelling up. It was like having a bucket of snot. I switched over to the powdered version, I use my food processor to shred the fels-naptha bar. I have also used Zote brand soap as it's made for laundry use and likes it better. The trick to shredding it in the processor is that you first grate it, the you run it through with the chopper blade. It makes it into a fine powder. I also add the oxi powder, and just for over kill I also use an equal amount of baking soda for odors. I'm sure it's absolutely UN necessary, but, I like my clothes clean!! We live in the country, and my husband is by trade a plumber...so we get lots of dirt here. The clothes come out very clean. If I have lavendar oil on hand, I add a few drops of that to the mix too.

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  51. Does the liquid soap have a shelf life? what about the powder? i have 5 kiddos and the amount of any cleaning products we use is absolutely ridiculous.

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    1. my husband also works in an iron mine and to get iron ore out of clothes is a 2 hour hot wash load! I would love to be able to make my own, save money, and have amazingly clean clothes. any other tips from anyone!?

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  52. Just made this today! It is sitting in the bucket as we speak, and it has separated a little...but I will wait and see what happens tomorrow! I hope I never have to buy laundry soap again!! Thanks for posting this recipe, it really helps =)

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  53. The fels naphel soap does melt in cold water we have a powdered laundry soap using the soap n we wash with cold water...Never have any problems....

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  54. Julianne Vitale HallSeptember 3, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Oh I am so trying this! An sharing with a friend as well!

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  55. So am I not suppose to use this soap after making it for 24 hours? Mine came out super runny like water almost. Also, could you specify how long you are to mix it for? Thanks

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  56. Saw this trick for stopping boil overs (some were mentioning you were having a problem) -- take a WOODEN spoon and lay it over the top of the pan when you are boiling. The "boil-over" will hit the spoon and then back down without ever going over the sides. I do this all the time with pasta because it used to always boil over for me. I always end up using a pot that's a bit too small. ;-) This also may be why some folks are seeing the boil overs in the first place.

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  57. I love these recipes!! Do you have one for liquid dish soap?

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  58. I read somewhere if you soak a few washcloths in fabric softener and allow them to dry it could make the fabric softener last longer. You use the cloths for about 10 dryer loads before resoaking them or you can just spray them with softener if you don't wanna soak but will be good for fewer drying cycles

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  59. I had been wanting to make this all summer and finally got around to it! So I used the laundry soap right away and even with 1 cup of the detergent there were no bubbles in my load. I washed the load twice and my clothes still smelled like before they were washed. What am I doing wrong? :)

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  60. Just made the laundry detergent TODAY! It was unbelievably easy and fast. I tried a load of towels and blankets that my toddler "wet", with no laundry softener sheet in the dryer because I wanted a true result with just the detergent. I didn't even NEED a softener, the blankets and towels were SO soft and smelled CLEAN. I'm a believer.

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  61. Now this question might have already been answered.... I have New LG top load washer that says to only use "he" only soap... is the measurement the same??? HELP!!!

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  62. A girlfriend of mine recently made a believer out of me with the homemade laundry soap. She also is stripping her hardwood floors, she takes a small amount of the liquid and dumps it on the floor, and just rubs it in. The wax came off within 5 minutes with no scrubbing! Amazing! And her whites were brand new white! I will be making mine very soon! Love this site too! :)

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  63. Thanks for the post! I made my batch and the results were awesome! I'm truly grateful, thank you!

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  64. Do you think liquid Castile Soap would work instead of Fels-naptha? If so how much?

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  65. How long do these stay good stored for?

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  66. I was wondering if anyone has used this that has sensitive skin. I can only use the free detergent but I am dying to try this.

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  67. Hi. Thanks for this great $ saving idea. I just got done making laundry soap and fabric softener. I too have hard water and when adding soap it started to boil over. I just kept adjusting temp and moving pot off of burning a little to keep it from boiling over. It seemed to work. When I added to cold water mine gelled like you described. I just put in a load of wash and am anxious to test it out. LOL. And just an FYI, my teenage girls officially think I am cracked. They asked what I was doing and rolled their eyes. LOL. Hey more money in my pocket is more money for them. Teenagers!!!! Thanks again,

    Chris

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  68. Awesome ideas! Thank you for sharing!
    My family LOVES the smell of Downy, so I decided to use what I had left and stretch it out with the vinegar and water. Hopefully the slight change is smell will pass their preference and the combo isn't toxic :/

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  69. I have been using this in powdered form except i add store brand oxy cleaner...just about the same amount as all the rest...i also had a big rose fragrance bar of gift soap i grated up for nice scent...i will never use anything else...my clothes are cleaner than ever and smell like sunshine! I also use vinegar, about half a cup, and the clothes do not smell like vinegar at all! I am goingto make somefelted wool dryer balls like someone in a few posts above described ...(www.crunchybetty.com)

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  70. OK, this fabric softener is a DREAM. I cannot get over how soft my clothes were. I did not use conditioner, but instead added a few (about 10) drops of lavender essential oil, which gave a VERY mild, almost imperceptible, scent to the batch. I used this in a downy ball. I also use those knobby rubber dryer balls. I have severe skin reactions to commercial softeners, especially dryer sheets, and this is perfect for me.

    As for the laundry detergent, it was very easy to make, and after an initial $7 investment in the borax and washing soda, which should last me for oh....about a YEAR, since only using 1/2 cup of each per BATCH (2 gallons, my friends...2 GALLONS!), and then a $0.97 bar of fels-naptha which will last 3 batches...? Well, let's just say I'm a convert! Thank you so much! I will be trying out your floor washing recipe, next! :)

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  71. At the end of the recipe it says to use 1/2 cup per load. In your testimony, you used 1.5 cup for your load....So if this has been asked before! I am wondering now how much to use per load?

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    1. Sorry for the confusion it is 1/2 cup per load.

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  72. Wow, I am very happy to have found this. I am literally on my last bottle of laundry soap (forgot to buy some) and I am really trying to find ways to save some extra money. I do a load or two of laundry a day..I have twin 2 year olds and they love to make a mess! So this could save us a ton!

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  73. You mentioned that you and your son have psoriasis. A friend of mine just recently went on Humera. Wasn't sure it was the right thing. Do you think the perfumes in laundry detergent could have agrivated his condition?

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    1. Yes, I know perfumes in laundry soap agitates it. This soap doe not.

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  74. Out of curiosity do you use a stainless bowl for a reason? I only have non stick cookware and wondered if it would work differently with the detergent.

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    1. I used stainless bowl because it was easy for me. That's it. I am sure any pot would work.

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  75. I have been using homemade laundry soap and fabric softener for over a year. This is the second batch of soap I have made using your recipe, and I love it!! The other recipe called for baking soda, and to let it gel overnight, but this works much better. Thanks so much. A trick I learned with the fabric softener is that you can put this in a bucket and put old rags in it and presto! Homemade dryer sheets! I've used these in my dryer and it works great!!

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  76. I made this laundry soap and it did separate a little. Just shook it up before adding it to my machine. Question. Should there be suds? I use 1/2 cup to 1 cup per load. Any suggestions. I get no suds.

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  77. Hi, I been using the laundry detergent & fabric softer for a few months now.They work GREAT!! Mine both separated but I now see what I did wrong after finding your site! My next batch will be great! I also used a few of your other recipes for cleaners & I will never go back to buying store brand cleaners :) Thanks so much for such a great site!!- Happy Holidays, Jen

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  78. I won't be trying this again. I've tried it twice and when trying to boil it....slowly....it grew into an uncontrollable mass of bubbles and made a huge mess on my stove.

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  79. The type of water, whether hard or soft, and what minerals are in the water, will determine how to make your detergent, and how much to use. For those who find their normal laundry initially does not seem to come clean, there are several probable reasons: 1. Your water may be hard. You may need to experiment with the amount of detergent to use. 2. Also, your washing machine may be coated with residues from commercial detergents. Your machine may need to be cleaned! This can be done with vinegar, or there are machine cleanser solutions available. Your clothes may come out slightly dingy after the first few washes until the old detergent residues are finally washed out of the machine and fabrics. Then they will become brighter. Don't give up! Home Made detergents in hard water generally do not suds, but this is a good thing! That's why HM detergents are great for HE machines! If your mix boils over with suds when you make the detergent, your water likely is soft (very little mineral.) To prevent boil-overs, dissolve the borax and washing soda into warm water in the pail, rather than to the boiling soap mixture. Then gradually add the hot water melted soap mix. Stir gently but thoroughly. The mix should gel slightly, and likely will separate a bit as it cools, but simply stir each time before using. If gelling does not occur, your water may be hard! (Not all hard waters are the same. The type of mineral in the water will determine whether the detergent mix will gel or suds, or not.) Dry mixes may not always work well in cold hard water because the hardness may prevent thorough dissolving, in which case, either dissolve the amount to be used in a jar of hot water before adding to the tub of water for each load of laundry, or use a liquid version rather than a dry mix.

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  80. One more observation I forgot to mention. If using Oxyclean, NEVER add Oxyclean to the hot or boiling soap mix. It WILL produce suds boil-over! Dissolve the OXY in the cooler water in the pail instead.

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  81. I made this a while back and we love it! There are some loads I do use a bit over 1/2 cup in that are large loads and heavily soiled. I am going to try the fabric softener as well. My husband even commented on how clean it gets his clothes after working in his shop. Thank you so much for sharing. I also make "Clorox Clean-up" using a quart spray bottle 1/4 c. bleach, 1-2 tsp. of laundry detergent (and you can use the homemade laundry detergent) and fill the rest of the bottle with water. This is super! Sorry for the long post I just get excited when saving money!

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    1. I also find myself using 3/4 of a cup sometimes too. Glad you are enjoying!

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  82. So I followed the directions to the "T" but for some reason when I took the boiling ingrediants and added it to the 1.5 gallons of cool water it isn't gelling or getting thick at all....should it thicken while it sets for the 30 mins before I stir it again? Thanks!

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    1. Yes it will continue to thicken as it cools down.

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  83. Can anyone help me out on why mine didn't "gel" or get thick? I have a bunch made following these instructions and I don't know if I should throw it out b/c of this or not. Thanks

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    1. Sometimes it will take longer to gel up to 24 hours. It is still soap and totally usable even if it doesn't gel.

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  84. Sorry I'd this is a repetitive question, but is that fabric softner safe for top loading he machines? If so, do I put it in with the load or in the dispenser?
    Thanks!

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    1. Hi Megan. It is safe and you can use the dispenser. I use a downy ball in my HE machine still because I like it best.

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  85. Having used a powdered form of this recipe for years I can promise you, you DO NOT have to make a liquid version! Fels Naptha WILL dissolve in the coldest of water. Just add powder to the machine before the clothes and you'll be fine. Also, this recipe is a little short on soap, you need more like half a bar. I also add the Dollar version of Oxy Clean and Purex Crystals to mine for added stain removal and scent.

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  86. I've tried numerous variations of this liquid recipe and the Fels Naptha soap always separates yet is better at cleaning. I hate having to constantly shake, so I added 1-2 tbs glycerin when making it, and now the consistency is the same as the Zote or Ivory versions.:)

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  87. So far I love it, just made a batch and used some lemongrass essential oils to it and wow it smells heavenly. Thank you for this post!

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  88. I'm almost done with my first batch and fixing to mix my second. And I love it! But I was woundering if I could add oxi clean to the mix?

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  89. I just made my very first batch of this and I have a couple of questions...when you use 1/2c of the detergent, is that for a large load or should I use more (we do a TON of laundry here!!) and also, I noticed that the soap doesn't suds up in the washing machine like the detergent I was previously using...is that normal?

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    1. Yes no subs is normal. And I have noticed after getting a new washer recently that 3/4 cup in my xlarge loads and 1/2 cup in the normal size loads.

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  90. Can u use any conditioner for fabric softner?

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    1. I have only used suave but I would think so.

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  91. Do you know what kind of oils you can add to give the detergent a nice scent? I have seen other recipes online where they have mentioned you can add some, but they didn't say what kind. I was worried if it is an oil it may stain. I have been using your laundry soap and fabric softener since this past October and I love them both. Thank you very much for sharing them.

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    1. Essential Oils is what you would want to purchase and you will only use a few drops. Glad you are enjoying the recipes.

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    2. Thank you : )

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  92. What kind of cute container did you use for the gift?

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    1. I didn't go for cute, I went for functional. The containers you see are the containers that were gifted.

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    2. I have my fabric softener stored in a beverage dispenser. Not like the jugs above, but like one you would use for entertaining. It "fancys" it up a bit. : )

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  93. My detergent did not get at all any suggestions?

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  94. excuse me I meant did not gel at all

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  95. Have enjoyed the receipes and comments; but what is an HE machine?

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  96. Any advice for heavily soiled work clothes?? Oils, gasoline:(

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  97. An ivory soap trick if you want to use that instead of fels-naptha is to microwave it first, it dries out the soap and makes it fluff up like a cloud, so that it crumbles into a fine powder very easily, but doesn't affect the "soapiness" of the soap. There are videos on youtube of how to microwave ivory soap, as well as an explanation of why it fluffs up. Pretty cool.

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  100. I unfortunately just stocked up on soap and softener when the store had it all on sale last week. So I will be trying this once I am close to out and saving my containers! Excited!

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  101. I really want to make this soap but am worried about my new HE washing machine. Is it save? And how much do you use per load?

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  102. Thanks Jeanne, I am having to try this as my husband has had to apply for disability and we got to where we couldnt afford laundry soap. We are still waiting for social sec for him to be approved, so I will be making all these things up, I am going to bookmark this and will keep u updated.. thanks deb

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  105. I make mine in a 5 gallon bucket. I use one bar of zote or fels naptha 1c borax and 1 c of washing soda. I melt the soap in the water on the stove than in the 5 gallon bucket I add hot water about a quarter of the bucket add the borax and washing soda. than add the melted soap. once its all dissolved fill with water and cover over night. the next day I add 1 bottle of purex crystals for the scent. I have an he washer and have been using this for 3 yrs and I will never buy laundry soap again.

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  106. I have been using this soap for over a year & love it. Does anybody know if its safe for laundering cloth diapers? Thanks.

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  107. Hi there, my son and I made this soap and we were very excited to see the results. We followed the directions exactly and made sure we cooked it long enough, but there was never any gel. We thought maybe you meant gel as in come together, not actual gel, as there wasn't any. Guess not because sadly, the next day, the soap had separated. A day and a half later, it has separated to the same degree as the pictures you posted showing separation.

    deciding we had nothing to lose by experimenting at this point, we poured a bottle back into a sauce pan and reheated it until it was very hot. It never got to a boil as it was making ominous cracking noises and I was afraid to get it any hotter. Long story short, when the pot of soap had cooled off, it was a thick mass of gel. Nice! we used the mixer on it again and it seems stable now. So if your soap didn't gel, you might try heating it up again.

    I am interested to know if we could dissolve powdered oxyclean into this, and if so, how much would you suggest adding. Anyone?

    Thank you for the great recipe!

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  108. Hi, I was just wondering if anyone had a good recipe for cloth diaper laundry soap that works great and cheaper than buying the expensive cleaners. Something that will take out stains of them as we'll. thanks.

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  109. I have found that the conditioner works great to rinse my dog in after her bath. She has severe skin allergies and gets really stinky and scratches until sores appear. this conditioner has given her a longer period between baths and greatly reduced the scratching, sores and odor.

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  110. Foil balls in the dryer gets rid of static cling. They can be used for multiple loads too. I use them often. I have a HE machine, and using fabric softener in the wash is a waste, it just gets rinsed right out. I find dryer sheets to leave stains. I would like to know, for the those who use this recipe, but keep it dry, do you use all the same amount of ingredients? I tried a homemade recipe last month, and I had a rash for weeks. I was wondering if this one might work.

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  111. hiya,im in the uk,is there anything else that can be used instead of fels naptha,as postage from u.s is expensive,thanks

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  112. Today I made this soap for the 2nd time. Its awesome! My 1st experience and my 2nd were a bit different so I thought I'd share. I don't have a handheld blender so I decided to make this in the biggest pot I had on the stove. I also couldn't find washing soda so I bought a big box of baking soda and then baked the amount I need at 400C for 40 min to turn it into washing soda (fyi that works great but it does add a step). Instead of fels naptha I used Ivory and the microwave trick (I just didn't really want to grate soap). Plus I really like the smell. The biggest pot I have hold a little more than 2 gallons but makes it impossible to mixed so after boiling I separate in half in 2 big pot and add the rest of the water. I mix it with a hand-held mixer and then combine in one pot just in case i didn't actually separate it equally. After that I pour half back into my second pot to sit for 30 min. The first time I did this it geled super fast when I mixed the 2nd time I was kind of disappointed in the consistency. My soap was more like improperly gelled jello. More mixing never helped it. When I put it in the soap container it always separated out so I always made sure to shake the containers before using it. Even though I wasn't happy with the consistency or look of my soap I couldn't complain much. My laundry always came clean. Today when I made my soap the consistency was much better! I think because I boiled it properly. At first it didn't gel. It took a while for it to cool and it didn't thicken until it was cool. I let it sit a bit and mixed it a few times. I thought it might not thicken at all this time but once it cooled I mixed and after that mix it really thickened up to almost a white foamy stage. Its like I bought it. I think the 1st time I just didn't heat it long enough. Anyway, moral of the story, it shouldn't look like runny jello when done correctly. If you accidentally make it like that though it still does the job, don't give up. The next time will be better!

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  113. I made my laundry soap a year ago and now I'm checking it out again to see how other have done it since I'm going to have to do it again. Did you ever think of letting it sit over night and letting it gel and then breaking it up with your mixer. I know that is what I did a year ago. I had a really think gel. I keep mind in a tub (I made 10 gallons) and I stir it and fill an old Era container with it. Every time I use it I shake the Era container to break anything up. These are just some thoughts of what I did.

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