I’ve never really been into DIY cleaners, etc. It just seemed a bit unnecessary to me. But now that we’re all more aware of the chemicals in our cleaners, and the cost!, I thought I would give DIY laundry soap a try. I LOVE the Duggars and so I wanted to go with their recipe. I found the recipe and did a lot of other research to make sure it worked well and such. Everything I found was really positive, so I decided to try it!
They make a liquid version that ends up being 10 GALLONS of soap. I was excited because that would last us for well over a year. There are only three ingredients and the process seemed easy enough. I had seen on some blogs people complaining about how hard it was to make, but it took me less than 30 minutes, and that included clean up. After combining everything in your 5 gallon bucket, you’re supposed to wait overnight and let it gel.
Mine never gelled. I checked it every day for almost two weeks and every time the soap was separated from the water. I looked online to see if anyone else had had this issue. They did and recommended adding more Borax. I did. I stirred it really well. Still wouldn’t set.
I’m really baffled. I have no idea what went wrong. The process is so simple, there really isn’t anything to mess up. I thought about trying again but didn’t want to waste more ingredients, so I just decided to make the powdered version. This one doesn’t make as much (I’ve read about 40 loads), so it isn’t as cost effective. But it’s still cheaper than store-bought (I’m assuming. It takes way too much math to figure that out and I haven’t attempted to do it yet).
Duggar Powdered Laundry Detergent (for top loading machines only)
- 1 Fels-Naptha soap bar (You can also use Ivory which is a whole lot easier to find!)
- 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
- 1/2 cup Borax
- The goal is to get the soap into powder form. The recipe suggests grating it or putting it in a food processor. I wasn’t successful at this so mine was kinda chunky. I think it’s working anyway.
- Once the soap is powder-y mix the three ingredients together.
- Use 1 Tbsp. for a light load and 2 Tbsp. for heavy load. Yields about 3 cups of soap (approx. 40 loads).
We’ve used this three times so far and it seems to be cleaning well. It doesn’t have the “fresh” scent that store-bought does and I kind of miss that. But I think it’s worth it.
My cost breakdown:
- Borax: $3.38
- Arm & Hammer: $3.24
- Ivory soap (3 bars): $1.24
So $7.86 total and can make multiple batches before having to buy more ingredients. Definitely a money-saver!
Update- April 17: My first batch lasted for 25 loads (which was about five weeks for us). I think part of why it wasn’t 40 like the recipe said is because my husband’s work clothes tend to get pretty dirty so I use more. I made another batch today and am going to keep track again of how many loads it does. Want to make sure this is saving us money!