I've always told my customers how great my soap is for cleaning their bodies but I've never really thought about telling them what else I do with my soaps. Today one of my customers from the farmer's market spurred me into thinking I should. This customer informed me that she thought my soap was great in her homemade laundry detergent. She bought of big pile of soaps from my bargain basket to shred up into laundry soap. I thought this was great! I've been making homemade laundry soap myself for quite a while but never thought about telling others about this. As you can imagine with 3 boys and a farm the laundry certainly piles up. I also use microfiber clothes to wash the udders of my cows. I use one clothe per cow so that adds a big load a day to go into the wash machine. Buying laundry detergent for 2-3 loads of laundry per day gets to be pretty expensive, so I make up my own laundry soap, 5 gallons at a time! The recipe I personally like to use uses equal parts of washing soda, Borax, and shredded soap. Here is a recipe for approximatley 2 gallons of liquid/gelled laundry soap.
1 quart boiling water
2 cups finely shredded soap
2 cups Borax (20 Mule Team brand is readily available in the Wichita area.)
2 cups washing soda
(Now I have not been able to find washing soda locally but when I have the time I take baking soda and put it in the oven for 1/2 an hour at 350 degrees. This produces a chemical reaction which changes the baking soda into washing soda. When I'm feeling crunched for time I will just throw in plain old baking soda. This produces acceptable results but I do believe that washing soda cleans better. If you know where to purchase washing soda locally, please let me know.)
Directions: Take your boiling water and add the shredded soap. Stir the soap shreds around until they are melted. You can keep your soap shreds and water on low heat to speed up the melting process or you can do what I do and just add the shreds, stir, and then leave it alone. I'll come back and give it a stir now and then but I don't fret over it. After the soap shreds are melted, add the borax and washing soda. Stir until dissolved. Then add 2 gallons of warm water and stir until fully blended. I'll use 1/4 cup of this mixture for normal laundry loads and 1/2 cup for heavily soiled loads. I usually give it a good stir or shake before measuring out some for a load.
When making your own laundry soap there is a huge amount of experimenting you can do to get the results that you are happy with. Just google "homemade laundry soap" and you will be presented with tons of options. So there you have it. Laundry soap that is cheap, cleans well, and you know exactly what the ingredients are.