Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

Holly Homemaker NOT ME! August 13, 2009

Filed under: Random stuff — erikaivory @ 3:55 am

Frugality seems to be my (somewhat) theme this year.  I have been trying to find ways to cut back the way we spend our money.  I wrote about couponing a few weeks ago but in January I also started making my own clothes detergent.  Yes, it sounds a little crazy but my younger sister came to stay with us for a few days and she cloth diapers and already makes her own detergent…so to get me started she went out and purchased everything I might need and helped me make my first batch.  It only cost $13.00 and I have not bought any new ingredients.  I still have enough to last me safely until December.  In that price my big bucket was also included. I also use some of the ingredients for cleaning and making dishwasher detergent.  So they go a long way.

The only ingredients are Ivory bar soap, washing soda, borax powder and water!  It takes me about half an hour to make it and I usually do it while I am cooking a meal or doing the dishes.  Easy, cheesy!  I love the way it smells so I haven’t added any fragrances but you can do that too.  I have put the recipe below, and thought I would walk you through the process with a few pics..  My sis found the recipe on  There are lots of other recipes out there.

Homemade Laundry Soap

1 bar Ivory soap

½ cup washing soda

½ cup borax powder

~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.   Now add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 22 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  You use ½ cup per load.

**A few things to note about the soap**

~The finished soap will not be a solid gel.  It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an “egg noodle soup” look.

~The soap is a low sudsing soap.  So if you don’t see suds, that is ok.  Suds are not what does the cleaning, it is the ingredients in the soap.

Optional: If you want your soap to have some sort of scent you can scent this with ½ to 1 oz. of essential oil or fragrance oil of your choice.  My favorite scent is orange essential oil.

The ingredients can be found at Wal-Mart or supermarket

The ingredients can be found at Wal-Mart or supermarket

You grate the bar of soap into a pot on the stove with 6 cups of water.

Once it is grated it will look like this.

Once it is grated it will look like this.

Grating it is the hardest part of the process but that is b/c I am lazy and not used to grating:)  It takes 5-7 minutes.  I put it on medium heat and once it melts I add the borax and washing soda.  I stir them until they dissolve and then continue the other steps.

Once it is all added together and stirred it looks soapy.

Once it is all added together and stirred it looks soapy.

Super easy.  Then you leave it overnight and it turns into a weird soupy, egg soup like substance that you stir up before using.  I put my detergent in a smaller container that I keep by the washing machine and just refill it as needed.  My sister wrote the recipe on a notecard and taped it on the top of my bucket b/c she knows I lose things:)

My bucket

My bucket

The recipe on top

The recipe on top

The container I use and refill

The container I use and refill

So there you have it!  A couple of friends have asked me about the recipe so I just thought I would share:)  I do love knowing this is a way to cut back on some spending but also to cut back on packaging as well as some of the chemicals and dies that are often used in detergent.  My sister also taught me that I can use equal amounts of baking soda and borax powder for dishwasher detergent and use vinegar as a rinse aid.  It has worked great as well.  I don’t have my measurements handy but I have also started using baking soda and vinegar and water for most of my cleaning supplies.

Don’t think I am a Holly Homemaker, I am just learning from other moms…and finding I like how some of this “natural” stuff works and feels:)  Now I know you think I am really crazy!  But this makes me feel better when I feed my kids ice cream for dinner, it all balances out right:)


2 Responses to “Holly Homemaker NOT ME!”

  1. Maura Says:

    I love it!! So proud of you for stepping out of the “life of ease” and getting addicted to the crunchy lifestyle. I have been trying to figure out a container to use to pour the detergent and your rubbermaid bottle looks perfect! I will have to pick one up this weekend while I’m running errands. I’ve almost got my coupon binder organized. I have to admit I got a little competatove after seeing you beat me to the binder, and to coupon shoppi g. But watch out I’m on the move! Love ya! You’re an inspiration to me and I’m happy I can be the same to you. If only I had been able to get you to cloth diaper…. 😉

  2. Vanessa Says:

    Gonna try this soon – thanks for sharing.

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