Frugality Lesson #1 - Laundry Soap

Holy crap, I can't even believe how cheap it is to make your own laundry detergent. I mean, HOLY COW! I did the math, and even with the expensive soap I got (because I didn't fels naptha until today) the cost comes out to 4 CENTS per load!!! And it is sooooo easy! just grate up the soap, melt it into some HOT water, pour into a gallon jug, and mix in the borax and washing soda. SO EASY! I am in love!

Homemade Laundry Soap
1 bar of castille soap (or fels naptha) grated
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
2 gallons water

Ok, like I said, easy. Melt the soap into some of the water (HOT so it melts easy). Pour the borax and washing soda into your jug (hopefully it is being reused) pour in the hot soap mixture, and shake to combine. Fill the jug with the rest of your water. Use 1/4 cup per load of laundry.  I only had single gallon containers, so I simply cut the recipe in half. Easy Peasy!

Now, I am sure you want me to break down the cost and amount... SO here goes. This is for a 1 gallon batch measure.

$3.38 for 1 Box borax = 19 batches =                $0.17/batch
$3.24 for 1 box washing soda = 14 batches =     $0.23/batch
$4.58 for 1 bar lavendar castille soap = 2 bar =  $2.29/batch
                                                                          $2.69 per 1 gallon batch
                                                                              divided by 64 loads per batch 
                                                                                $0.04 per load
If you use fels naptha soap, it will be EVEN CHEAPER as that is only $0.97 per bar! Holy cow!!! I will NEVER buy laundry soap again! Since we are talking dollars and cents, lets compare some other "green" and biodegradable soaps you can purchase at, say, Target or Walmart. One bottle of Method = $7.99/25 loads = $0.32/load and 7th Gen = $25.98/99 loads = $0.26/load

So there you have it... Even if I used 7th Gen, I wouldn't be saving enough. Making my own soap saves me 161%


  1. My wife found this recipe online from the Duggars family. There's only two stores near us that sell the Fels Naptha but the other stuff is easy to find. I got two 5 gallon containers from the home improvement store, with lids, and use those to make ours. We double the ingredients, fill one of the 5 gallon buckets with hot water half way, add the soap powders and melted naptha, stir good, then fill the rest of the way with hot water. We let it sit overnight then mix it up again (it should be the consistency of jello when you start), pour half in the other bucket, top them off with hot water, mix, and we have 10 gallons of laundry detergent. She saved a lot of the store brand detergent containers so I'll fill up about 10 at one time. It is great and saves a lot of money. Works well too!

  2. Where did you get your castile soap from? I've read that Fels and Zote have some pretty bad chemicals....

    1. The castile soap I used was Dr. Bronners, and I got it at Target. It was located next to the "Burts Bees" section in the "natural body care" aisle. I would have thought it would be in the cleaning section, but I was wrong. As for the washing soda and borax, I found it was cheapest at, dare I say it, Walmart.

  3. I've been using that recipe for years and I LOVE it! And my clothes smell so nice after drying out on the line. I don't think I'll ever go back to store bought again. Oh yea, and it's CHEAP! I do have to admit I had the same concern that Nancy had, I even emailed and wrote to the company that makes Fels Naptha to find out what chemicals were used to make the soap and I never got a reply. Hmmmmmmmm.

    1. Carolyn, I haven't heard anything bad about fels naptha, so you and Nancy are making me think. If they never wrote you back, and the information isn't posted publicly anywhere, then is must not be good. Maybe I will just stick with my expensive castile soap....

  4. WOWZA, all I can say is WOWZA... I am making my det this weekend as det is on my shopping list!

    WHY is not everyone doing this??? HOW can anyone afford Tide (I have always wondered about that one)

    thnxxxx Pea Pod for sharing this recipe!

    1. Momma, if you think Tide is expensive, take a look at Gain. I used to use that alllllllll the time because, well, that is what "they" used when I was growing up. Ugh, I am disgusted with myself!!! I will stick with homemade!

  5. Do you need to adjust the 1/4 cup portion for HE machines?

  6. I just made some, fast and easy!! Thanks!!!