Since our teen son started working at a fast food restaurant, this has become our most-loved detergent recipe. His clothing was so saturated with heavy french fry and onion ring grease scent that even washing them in TIDE didn't take
By the way, One Single tablespoon of soap does a whole load of wash! As with ALL household/Soap/Detergent/ Cleaner recipes, please take the time to read through the ENTIRE recipe before starting it. It will save you loads of hassle with a recipe that doesn't set properly.
Mom's Super Laundry Sauce
Recipe adapted from Whipped Laundry Concentrate
~ This makes 1/2 Gallon of concentrate ~
~ Btw, that's a full 128 loads of laundry!! ~
1 bar Fels Naptha (Yes, the ENTIRE Bar!)
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (NOT BAKING SODA!!)
4 cups of hot water
Here are what the ingredients look like:
Quick Note: Follow the directions Carefully, adding the ingredients at the wrong time will result in a grainy textured detergent that will not dissolve well in the washer.
Step 1: Put 4 cups of water in a large heavy saucepan over high heat. While that is heating, mix the borax and washing soda together in a bowl, mixing well, set aside.
Step 2: Grate the Fels Naptha- the easiest way to do this is to cut it into several smaller chunks and then run it through a food processor- otherwise, you can just grate it with a hand grater or shave it with a knife.
Step 3: Add the freshly grated soap to the water in the saucepan, stirring almost constantly. Reduce the heat to medium, It will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes for the Fels Naptha to complete dissolve. If it takes longer, your heat wasn't up high enough. Alternatively, you can melt the fels on the stove over low heat without water then add the water afterwards, stirring it in, as the original recipe called for. I find that it's much easier to melt IN the water. Absolutely do NOT let this Boil over, or you'll have a sudsy mess that you do NOT want to contend with!!
It should be a rolling, simmering boil where you must stir Constantly but it does not foam heavily or seem to "creep up" the saucepan. See the photo below- note the amount of "foam" - that's all you should see.
Step 4: Once the fels naptha has completely melted, remove the pan from the heat and add in the Borax and the Washing Soda, stirring constantly until the powders are completely dissolved, this will take about 3-5 minutes. Do not under-stir or your soap texture will be very grainy rather than smooth. (You can fee the "graininess" on the bottom of the pan, once you can't feel it, it's incorporated fully!)
Step 5: Pour the liquid equally into (2) 1 quart Mason jars.
Step 6: Add just enough water to bring the contents up to the “shoulders” or Rounded part of the jar, leaving approximately 1 ½ inches of headspace.
Step 7: Put the lid on the jars and turn them UPSIDE DOWN and let them sit a few hours (about 4 - 5 hours). The reason for this is that the soap is going to Separate into layers while it's resting and occasionally will form crystals on the bottom. Rather than waste these trying to scrape them off, in the next step we're going to incorporate them easily! Btw, if you leave it overnight it will have a slightly grainier texture than if you whip it immediately after 4 hours.
The Layers will separate after a few hours:
Then the bottom layer will become very, very thick, like so:
Step 8: There are two ways to do this next step, depending on what you have for equipment. Here's how I like to do it- unscrew the blade and bottom from your blender and screw them onto your regular mouthed mason jar containing all of your ingredients.
Place the entire mason jar on the blender and whip until smooth and creamy throughout, about a minute. Flip back over, unscrew the blender blade, attach a cover and seal.
If you don't have mason jars or a blender, pour the contents of your settled jar into a large bowl, be sure to scrape down any remaining from the jar to get it all. Using a Hand mixer, Whip the ingredients until light and fluffy and well blended. Transfer the ingredients back into the jar, cover and store until needed. If you like, add a tsp of glycerin per jar.
Step 9: To use, add 1 Tablespoon to a load of laundry in any type of machine, conventional, Front Loader, High Capacity & High Efficiency (HE), etc. Do not add the detergent to the "detergent compartment" but instead directly with the dirty clothes. The detergent is Smooth and creamy with the same Look and consistency of Mayonnaise. Be sure to label the jar to prevent accidental ingestion!!
Here is EXACTLY how I use our detergent:
Top Loading Machine Directions
- Fill the machine with dirty clothes
- start the water, (hot- Cold- or warm- doesn't matter)
- Measure out 1 Tablespoon (literally) of super laundry sauce
- stick the measuring spoon of detergent under the running water, let it fall off the spoon.
- Close the washer lid, go away and do something else while the machine runs.
Front-loader Machine Directions:
- Fill the machine with dirty clothes
- Measure out 1 Tablespoon (literally) of super laundry sauce On Top of the dirty Clothes
- Close the washer, start it, go away and do something else while the machine runs.
Really, it's that easy folks!
Tips and Tricks, Troubleshooting & Other Thoughts and experiences:
- Do NOT Use Baking Soda or Oxyclean in this recipe hoping it will be an added "Boost". Your jars will likely explode within 7-10 days in storage (Don't ask how we know!)
- We have not had any issues with clothing fading due to use
- Since the Soaps have been completely dissolved in this recipe, it leaves NO residue on your clothing like many homemade detergent recipes
- This recipe can easily be doubled to make a Full Gallon of Detergent.
- This can be stored indefinitely. It does become slightly firmer but still melts fine in water, hot or cold
- Fels Naptha Can usually be found in the Laundry Detergent Isle of the Grocery Store for about $1 a bar, or it can be found online here.
- If you leave the detergent sitting more than 6 hours without whipping it, it will likely take on a grainy texture. It should be light, smooth, silky feeling with no "gritty" feeling whatsoever. If it Does have grit, that means that it did Not dissolve properly.
- What do I do if it's too grainy or if it doesn't separate? If it's too grainy or doesn't separate it means that the soaps were not fully dissolved. You can spoon the mixture back into your saucepan and remelt it until it is smooth. Try not to breathe in the fumes, remember, you are making detergent! Once it feels "smooth" pour it back into the mason jars. Let it set a few hours and then whip.
- Gritty Soap- if your soap is mostly smooth with only a little "grit" feeling, it will still work fine, but may not dissolve well in cold water.
- If you have Moderately gritty soap that DID separate, but you don't feel like it's "good enough" to use in your laundry, then use it as a super stain remover for those stubborn stains
- If your soap is Super Gritty or didn't separate, you should remelt it over medium heat, stirring constantly.
- Do NOT use different sized jars, your soap will not set properly.
Budget101 Budget Breakdown:
Fels Naptha .99 bar
Borax 76 oz box = 9.5 cups $3.29 box = .34 c per cup
Washing Soda 55 oz box =6.875 cups - $2.97 box = .43 per cup
Total Expense for 128 loads of Laundry = $1.76
Super Laundry Sauce for Dummies, No Fail 7 minute Laundry Detergent
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See Also: Frequently Asked Questions