Thursday, April 15, 2010


Last night in Financial Peace University  -- our last night I might add -- our teach said he was all about being frugal, but he would not make his own soap. I had to say something! I talked about soap making as a frugal thing to do on the first night of our class, but I just had to say something again!

I chimed in that I made my own soap. We have not bought laundry soap since October (in 7 months!) and I really can't remember the last time I bought hand soap (probably a year ago when it was on clearance).

I thought I'd share with you all how easy (and freakin' cheap!) soap making is! Really, it is!

I got my recipe for laundry soap from Tip Nut, but I've also used the Duggar's recipe. I prefer the Tip Nuts recipe so here it is:

2 cups grated soap (I've used Fels Naptha & just made some with Zote)
1 cup arm & hammer washing soda
1 cup borax

When you grate the Zote it makes 4 cups, so I just adjust the borax & washing soda.

As a side note, I think the powder is easy, I've never made liquid. If you're a die-hard liquid detergent, try it. It involves boiling water & doing all sorts of things I don't have time or the desire to do!

Grate the soap. I've found the easiest thing to do is use my cheese grater. Once it's all grated (be careful, I've sliced open knuckles before) mix it in a blender with the washing soda and borax. I usually have to do this in steps -- it's just too much for one blender!

Once it's a nice powdered consistency, it's done. You can put it in a baggie or an old oxy-clean tub or whatever floats your boat. It's that easy. It takes about 10 minutes.

Also, you can add essential oils -- whatever you like. I've added different citrusy smells and lavender to my soap. I tried Zote today (haven't washed with it yet), but it smells like citranella, so I didn't add anything. Plus, ZOTE IS PINK! How cool is that?

I swear by this soap. It's cheap, easy, and good for the environment. Here's my math:

55 oz of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda = 9.15 -- 1.33/cup (I used amazon prices)
76 oz of 20 Mule Team Borax = 6.49 -- 68 cents/cup
Zote = 80 cents/bar (got it on sale at Big Lots)

2 cups of Washing Soda = 2.66
2 cups of Borax = 1.36
1 bar of soap = .80
Total = 4.82/8 cups of detergent

Using 2 Tablespoons/load (2 for a full load, 1 for half, etc.); assuming there are still 16 Tablespoons/ 8 cups of detergent, there are 128 Tablespoons.

Calculating on always using 2 Tablespoons (which I don't) -
So, 64 "servings" in my detergent --> 4.82/64 = 7.5 CENTS/load!!!!!!!!!

Powdered Tide at Amazon is $54.90 for 240 loads -- that's 22 cents/load.

I don't remember where I got the recipe for liquid soap, so I can't really give credit where credit is due. Sorry!

I bough some hand soap pumps from a co-op I'm in. (Lucky me!) They were about $1.60/pump; but I'm pretty sure you can get them just about anywhere that has soap products.

I've only used Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap. They have it at Target, that's where I got it. I love almond, so that's what I have. It's $13.69/32 ounces. You dilute it in your pump -- it can be anywhere from 1:1 to 1:5 with water. I usually do about 1:1 to 1:2. If you use the 1:1 calculations it's 13.69 for 64 ounces of soap (21 cents/ounce). If you dilute it more, it's way cheaper! That fancy soap at the mall is (on sale) $4/8 ounces (50 cents/ounce).

Plus, the homemade hand soap is castile soap and water. That's it. Nothing bad.

You really should check it out! Look at how much I'm saving! And, with a toddler who always needs clean hands and clothes, it's a bargain!


NHMomma said...

I have been using the Dr. Bronner liquid soap for ever in my foaming dispenser. Everyone that comes over comments on the soap. Even my sister who can't use commercial dish soap due to allergies could use it! I love the lavender scent. Never tried the laundry soap. Do you know if it works in HE machines? I have HE machines since I have a septic and love the use of less water.

Brooke said...

We have an HE/front loader & it's all I use (except for "black" detergent). The soap is low-sudsing. I probably should have said that. I think HE detergent is a marketing gimmick. It just has to be low sudsing, that's the only think "special." There are very few suds with this soap!

natalie said...

It really isn't very hard to make laundry soap at all! I switched to soap nuts because they're easier and about the same price, but before that I made it and loved it... especially putting in a little bit of essential oil and not having any weird chemical smell like the store bought stuff.

I've never made liquid hand soap (just use a bar) but I do really like using it, so maybe I should try making some next! :)