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Home » » DIY Laundry soap (over 350 loads!) Oxiclean & Fabric Softener for under $5!!!

DIY Laundry soap (over 350 loads!) Oxiclean & Fabric Softener for under $5!!!

Written By Amanda on Saturday, September 3, 2011 | 9:13 AM

UPDATE: I've had A LOT of traffic to this post via Pinterest and I'm going to be re-blogging with an even EASIER way to make the powdered laundry soap in a huge batch all at once that wont take up as much space, and much easier and faster to make. One batch last most families over 3 months and cost around $7 to $8!


  I am BIG into couponing, and while I think  I am a master at finding great deals, laundry supply deals are very hard to find. I just happened to find a recipe to make my own laundry soap, fabric softener, and stain remover that no coupon, sale, or ANYTHING can beat...and I couldn't be more excited! (And of course I did use coupons to get the items needed)


LAUNDRY SOAP:
  • Borax
  • washing soda
  • natural bar soap ( I used fels-naptha, but ivory and zote work too)
  • essence oil if desired (I did not use)
  • five 1 gallon containers

  
I like EASY directions (no need to elaborate on simple things) Grate the soap bar in a pot, add 4 cups water and cook on low until the soap dissolves. Then add 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda, stir until dissolved and then divided equally among five 1 gallon containers. Fill the rest of the way with water and overnight it will thicken. Use 1/4 cup per load like normal laundry detergent.
  

  OXICLEAN:

  • 1 part baking soda 
  • 1 part hydrogen peroxide
  • 2 parts water

Mix it all in a container to spot treat or just add straight to laundry if presoaking. (I've tried it on a couple things and it works AMAZING!) You just have to shake it before you use each time.





YAY! I finally found a use for my huge
stockpile of free conditioners!
            FABRIC SOFTENER:

  • 1 part hair conditioner
  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 2 parts water

Pour it all in your new fabric softener container and stir (don't shake because it will foam a little) and the mixture will thicken. Use like normal.

  




242 comments:

  1. hi! what type of machines do you have? I have the new front loaders and I always worry if I can do this for them...

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  2. I have front loader and I use it. This is also usable in the HE machines cuase it is low sudsing.

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    Replies
    1. Do you put it straight on the clothes or in the dispenser?

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    2. i have been using tis recipe for laundry soap in my frontloading he machine for over a year now. i have had no problems at all as a matter of fact the mildew smell that was a consatant battle with my old soap isnt an issue anymore. i use it in my dispenser.

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    3. Question: I already have a powder recipe made can i melt it down and add water to make the liquid? If so how ? Thanks

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  3. Equal parts vinegar and conditioner?

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    Replies
    1. yes, the vinegar is the "softener" and the conditioner is for the smell :)

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    2. I just use straight vinegar just as I would use fabric softener. It works great, keeps my whites whiter and you can't smell the vinegar.

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    3. Same here, I put it in a downy ball. I tried adding lavender essential oil because I was worried about the smell. But I cannot smell either scent, but the clothes are softer, no static. Now it is NOT as soft as downy, but it is way cheaper and it does work.

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    4. Same here - downy ball and vinegar works great and is much cheaper. No chemicals to irritate the skin.

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    5. I use vinegar in a downy ball also. I also put 2 alumnium balls in the dryer and it helps to soften the clothes and helps with static.

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    6. We have just started making our own cleaners/detergents, and I have a question about using vinegar as a fabric softener. When do you add it? During the rinse cycle? Before drying clothes? In the dryer?

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    7. Wish SOMEONE would come up with an idea of how to fix clothes that have accidentally gotten clorox spilled on them!!! =/

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    8. you could probably use a permanent marker since they come in all colors nowdays, or a fabric marker. Just wash with like colors for the first time after doing this.

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  4. I have a question about the laundry detergant....I made it lastnight and went to use it today and it seperated and won't mix. Do I need to put it back on the stove to blend more? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. The same thing happened to me. Its watery at the bottom with the top 1/4 a white gelatin mess! I don't know what I did wrong!

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    2. Just give it a good shake before each use. It works fine!

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    3. Same thing happened to me.. I just shake it really good before I use it. seems to work great anyway!!

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    4. I have used this recipe for a few years now. I use an old cheese shredder and I shred the bar soap and mix the borax and Super wash and use it as a dry soap. You just add 1-2 tablespoons to the water and works wonders for me.

      1 bar Fels Neptha grated
      1 cup Borax
      1 cup Super Washing Soda

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    5. I use the dry version as mentioned above, but my recipe is:
      1 cup Fels Naptha, or Zote Soap Shavings
      1/2 cup Borax
      1/2 cup Washing Soda
      Use 1-2 Tablespoons in a load. Make sure you use a fine grated or take the shavings for a whirl in a food processor so you don't have any clumps of soap clinging to your clothes. I have never had this problem, but some of friends that have use a cheese grater have.

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    6. I only use 1/3 of a bar of Fels Naptha with 1 cup each Borax and Washing soda. It works great.

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    7. I also prefer a powdered version. Mine calls for 1 cup Borax, 1 cup washing soda and 1 bar grated Fels Naptha. I also started adding 1 cup powdered color safe bleach to prevent fading. I did noticed that workout clothes still had an odor, so I add 1/2 cup of lemon ammonia to the wash water and that does the trick.

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    8. After it sits 8 hrs I remix evrything with a hand mixer. It always seems to seperate on me also. But once I remix it all is good.

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    9. I use the dry mix and like the convenience of it and it works absolutely great for me.
      I use
      1 1/2 bars of grated Fels Naptha soap
      2 cups borax,
      2 cups washing soda,
      1/2 or 1 cup baking soda( this helps if you have hard water),
      1/2 cup oxi powder (from dollar store- I add more to white loads if I feel they need an extra dose of oxi :) )
      mix it all up and use 2 tablespoons per load

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    10. Oops forgot to mention if I do not have Fels Naptha I use zote which is a larger bar so I use 3/4 of it I also find that this type of soap is easier to grate than the Fels Naptha. It also make the house smell fresh when I am grating it.

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  5. I would say you probably need to breakdown the soap and the stove more, but I wouldnt think it would effect its preformance in cleaning. If you read the directions for borax or the soap it says to just add directly to the washer.

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    Replies
    1. When you are dissolving the soap on the stove dont let it come to a boil. I had the same problem w another project & I believe thats why it separates

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  6. My laundry detergent did the same thing. I stirred it best I could then I mixed it with a hand mixer and it was fine after. I had to add about 1 cup of water to help loosen it up but now its perfect...it wont pour thick like store bought but its liguid enough to pour without having to shake.

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  7. I made mine the nite before and the next morning I took out nearly 2 qyts. at a time and mixed with hand mixer and poured it in my jugs. I did this until I had all poured up. Didn't take but a few minutes. I do shake it up before I measure for my load. Love it! I don't think I will ever buy detergent again.

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  8. I grate the 4 bars soap, mix 3/4 box borax and entire box washing soda together and use it dry, 1 heaping TBS per load. Twice the amount for really dirty stuff. 2 TBS clean my sons football gear!!! I just keep it in a plastic container. One batch lasts me months. For scent you can mix in a bottle of fabric softner crystals!

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    Replies
    1. I did similar: 2 cups ivory (or fels naphtha), 1 cup washing soda, 1 cup borax. I used a white dish towel to clean out a cast iron pan and it got it clean. 2 TBS for large load and it lasts forever.

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  9. I too had made own laundry detergent with a similar recipie but after reading up on borax I have chosen to use a different recipie for the next go round. I'm not trying to bash you or anything I just thought I would pass some info along. I never thought about it being dangerous but just the fact that is can be used as a pesticide scares me. Just google the dangers of borax and you too may change your mind about using it.

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    1. You probably have BORAX and BORIC ACID confused. This recipe uses BORAX, not the common roach killer called BORIC ACID.

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    2. Borax for pest control is a desicant. The particles both dehydrate the exoskelaton as well as get in crevices of insects and destroys the bug. It is not a poison. Sodium bicarb can do the same thing (baking soda).

      Just shake up your bottle for each use to redistribute the goopy soap. The separation has no effect. You can add a bit of regular liquid detergent if it bothers you. There are additives in soaps like Tide that keep the soap portion dispersed.

      I have used these recipes for several years with my front loading Siemens. The low sudsing is exactly what you want. Soap doesn't clean clothes, aggitation does.

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    3. I use 1 bar laundry soap, 1 box borax, 1 box washing soda, and 1 box baking soda. I use it dry, so I don't have the goopy mess. I put the bar of soap in my meat grinder, after it has set a few days unwrapped. It makes a nice fine powder that small good. I just a scant 1/4 cup because I have VERY hard water and 2 boys and a hubby that are all VERY active outdoors and sportsmen. It works great, smells great. As far as borax goes, soap, can kill insects. Plain old all natural soap, vinegar can kill bugs, there are lots of natural pest controls........ so borax is safe.

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    4. I also made the dry detergent. Super easy. 1 Fels Naptha bar, 1 cup Borax, 1 cup washing soda. Blend up the bar of soap to a rough detergent consistency and add the rest. This single batch fits in a quart canning jar. 2 tsp. for a large load.

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    5. Put your bar(s) of soap in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. It looks like cotton candy, wait till it cools and just smash it into fine powder, works wonderful!!

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    6. So, I made the laundry soap yesterday, divided it among my 5- 1 gallon containers, let it sit all night. This morning, it is no thicker than it was yesterday. I am not worried about the seperation, I just shook the jug around a bit and it mixed in, but the soap is still as thin as water, is this ok?

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    7. Cornmeal can also be used as a pesticide as can other safe products that simply expand in the little critters gut and kills it, so you have to check into the method before totally dismissing something on the grounds that it kills bugs.

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    8. Your right my family use borax to kill fleas in our yard and in our carpet.

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    9. I cant find the washing soda anywhere. Is there something I can use as a substitute? I'm making it dry.

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    10. you can actually but baking soda in a 400 degree over for 30-60 minutes, in a shallow pan.

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  10. for the Oxi Clean is it equal parts??

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    1. No, it says:

      1 part baking soda
      1 part hydrogen peroxide
      2 parts water

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    2. Does this bleach out colored clothes or is it safe to use on them?

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    3. contactanastasia@yahoo.comJuly 14, 2012 at 10:23 PM

      I have the same question. Does anyone know?? Can this be used on colors???

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    4. I know this sounds silly, but for the Oxi Clean, what do you mean by "parts"? Does that mean like; 1 cup, 1 cup, 2 cup?

      1 part baking soda
      1 part peroxide
      2 parts H2O

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    5. I mixed some of this in a spray bottle and spot treated my carpets. It bleached the carpet and it now looks worse than it was!

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    6. I had a very stained shirt from my 16mo old son that was washed and dried many times over. I put equal parts peroxide and dawn soap on it and scrubed it in a bit. I actually forgot about it and left it over night. The stains were gone!!! I didn't even wash it yet. now it is all i use. I still leave it on over night because I did it for a few hours and it didn't work as well. on a side note, the shirt was a blue and white stripe shirt and it didn't bleach out the blue.

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  11. This is just an awesome idea. I will be trying this.. Thanks for the time for sharing it for us. I featured you on my own blog...because you rock so much LOL!! http://eclecticmomma11.blogspot.com/

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  12. How does this work on sensitive skin? I alway s buy all the fragrance free for sensitive skin and am wondering if my kids will have issues with it.

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    1. You can use Ivory soap instead & you shouldn't have a problem. :)

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    2. My whole family has sensitive skin and sensitivity to smells; I use the Fels Napha and we are all fine. In fact, it cleared up the skin allergies on of them was having.

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    3. I use it for my grandbaby who has sensitive skin and it does not hurt her at all. I use Fels Naptha.

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  13. http://www.naturemoms.com/dangers-of-borax.html

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. how many bars of soap do you need for the laundry detergent? The recipe doesnt say. And if we wanted to add the oil for fragrance how much of it do you use???

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  15. other recpies call for ONE bar of soap, borax has some issues and can cause sensitivity. i have spa recpies that call for borax and i dont like it. there are substitutes for it.

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  16. The oxiclean...can you use it on colored clothing or only on white clothing?

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  17. I use this soap all the time. I found that if you use hot tap water to your soap mix and stir once every hour and cool it slowly you don't get as much separation. Give it a quick shake before using and works great. I love this laundry soap and would never use anything else.

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  18. LIke vhplac, I use the "dry" version of this laundry detergent recipe, have for almost a year... I will *NEVER* go back to store-bought! The chemicals that are used in those are scary, cancer-causing monstery additives. And don't use fabric softener crystals, because they're in there, too! As for "the dangers of Borax"... don't swallow it. It's a WHOLE lot safer than Tide. Seriously people, this stuff works WAY better in my front-loader, and as an added bonus... I DO NOT GET THAT NASTY GUNKY STUFF in the gasket like I did with store-bought detergent. Hallelujah, much less frequent cleaning of my clothes-cleaning machine! (I always thought that was bizarre.) Oh and I use straight vinegar too, store-bought conditioner isn't much better than Tide/Cheer/All/etc. in most cases...

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    1. Do you put your dry soap in the soap dispenser of your front loader or do you throw it in with your clothes?

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    2. What is washing soda??

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    3. Sharon...I put the dry powder right in with my clothing before I shut the door and turn on the water. I use a hand grater for my soap and it still dissolves. I have a front load washer. I love this as it doesn't leave a gunky residue, and cleans well. One thing you won't get though, is the perfumey smell of boughten detergents. I don't care, as I prefer the fresh clean smell. I too use white vinegar for softener.

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  19. Giving the fabric softener a try now! Can't wait to see the outcome, will know in a few minutes, thanks for the tips. ;)

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  20. The oxiclean just didn't work for me. The baking soda separated so quickly! Any suggestions? I used 1 1/2 cups water, 3/4 c hydrogen peroxide, and 3/4 c baking soda.

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  21. Are you f'in kidding me? This is amazing!

    I'll be making the Oxiclean and the fabric softener in the next couple of days, but I'll have to get a throw-away pot to make the detergent...

    Good stuff!

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    Replies
    1. I make the laundry soap and just use a regular pot (the one I make spaghetti in). The soap washes right out and does not make the pot or any foods cooked in it taste funky after. Just be sure to rinse the pot thoroughly.

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    2. I use my large cooking pot and it is stainless steel. It actually cleans the pot as well. Looks so shiny and clean. It doesn't leave any residue.

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    3. Just don't use anything plastic, like a spoon or a silicone spatula. It can absorb any fragrance.

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  22. how well does the softener work I am really big on wanting my kids clothes to be soft and smell good.

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  23. I've found with the DIY stain remover ( 1 part dawn 2 parts hydrogen peroxide) you hve to make it fresh each time due to hydrogen peroxide becoming inactive when exposed to light. Is this the same with the oxiclean?

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    1. I just mixed a batch of the dawn & hydrogen peroxide. I put it in an old oxiclean spray bottle for stains. My washer and dryer are in the basement so I hope it is good for a while. I have tried the powdered laundry mix with the purex fabric beads and that is good it is just my skin is too sensitive for it and I do notice it does not always get the odor out of some of the work clothes. I am going to try the lemon ammonia 1/2 cup.

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  24. Borax is poisonous to everything, but so is detergent. There will always be things you have to keep out of reach of children and pets. Plain water can kill in the right situation. Just don't ingest it.

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  25. Thanks for the tips I use just vinigar too it works great. Any tips for bounce sheets I refuse to use them but I still get zapped from the dryer.

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    Replies
    1. I use dryer balls and dry my clothes for a slightly shorter amount of time. Static electricity builds as dry clothes are tumbling around.

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    2. I've used the same tennis ball in my dryer to stop the static now for 3 years.
      It works every time, no matter how much you place in the dryer

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  26. do u have to use that type of soap or will dove or ivoy work the same?

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    Replies
    1. I used Ivory in my laundry soap and it seems to work just as well as fels naptha and it's a little cheaper! It's supposed to be good for sensitive skin, too.

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  27. Can you use the Oxiclean on carpets?

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    Replies
    1. I use the liquid laundry soap on carpet stains and scrub them good with a nail brush. All stains have come out even the RED ones. I have used the homemade laundrt soap for about 2 years now and I have an LG front-loader. No problems at all _ LOVE IT! To Keep the soap from getting goopy add some liquid detergent while making it Tide, Wisk, All which ever - very little goop.

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  28. Anyone know if this stuff is safe for septic tanks? Would love to try all of it.

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    Replies
    1. I have been using the laundry soap for about 4 months now. We have a septic tank and have had no issues with it yet. Having said that, we've not had to have our tank serviced yet, so I guess I cannot truly say until we do. Here's hoping.....

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    2. Several friends as well as my self have used this form of laundry soap for years & no septic problems.

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    3. Been making my own laundry detergent 16 years and it has not affected the septic tank at all. I feel it's less caustic then the store bought brands that empty into our septic.

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  29. The oxi clean recipe is safe for colored clothes right? Need something to get my husbands uniforms clean( hes a mechanic in the army) and I realllly don't want to ruin them. I know peroxide is used in a lot of whitening products that's why I was curious...

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  30. Make sure you use real soap. Ivory, Zest, Zoat, Fels Naptha. A lot of what is in the stores isn't real soap. It will say 'bar' on the label but it won't say that it's soap. The 'bars' won't work.

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  31. The Oxy Clean recipe is best made as needed. The peroxide will deactivate shortly after exposure to light.

    Can't wait to try the dry soap recipe. Sounds easier than cooking it and dealing with the separation. I'm going to Crystal's recipe from the comments: "I use 1 bar laundry soap, 1 box borax, 1 box washing soda, and 1 box baking soda."

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    Replies
    1. It seems to me that we cold save an older peroxide bottle and use it, then it would "keep". What do you think? In the meantime, until that bottle I have is empty, I'll just do smaller batches...

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  32. Is this safe for baby skin?

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  33. Doees it work in cold water ?

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  34. Wow! I am so happy to see others making this laundry soap. Been using it for a few years now. Been looking for a spot treater. I am going home to try yours.
    Have a question for you on softner? what conditioner are you using. I do not want any chemicals. DO you know you can add 1 cup of vinegar for softner? In winter I add 2C to help with static cling. hope this helps & I'll wait for your responce.

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  35. For those of you using the dry soap in your front loader, do you add it with the clothes in the bin or do you add it to the dispensing tray?

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    Replies
    1. I have a front load he washer and put it in the dispenser. I've been using the liquid laundry soap for a year now. it's so much cheaper and I haven't had any trouble with my machine. I just made the fabric softener today and also using the liquid soap as a carpet stain remover. we will see how that goes!

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  36. I love making my own soap! I have an HE front loader, make the same recipe, but DRY, not in a pot. I grate 2-3 bars of fels-naptha at a time, and mix it with the borax and washing soda, mix it well and use 1-2 tablespoons at time, in my regular detergent tray, on the powder setting. It works REALLY well, my kids clothes are always clean, and if I need to pre-treat, I usually just put a little Dawn on the stain (my stains are usually oil based), and go from there... I am going to try the vinegar for softening though! Great idea... AND it will help dissolve any hard water deposits in my machine.... Yeah! :) Thanks for sharing!

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  37. Does the powdered version of the laundry soap work with cold water?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I use my powdered detergent in cold water all the time. It dissolves fine!

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  38. Does the powdered version of the laundry soap work with cold water?

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    Replies
    1. I use it in cold water

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  39. I have a question. How do you get free conditioner?!

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    Replies
    1. I think she said she coupons. If you play "The Drugstore Game" you can get it free or really cheap.

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    2. Yes, I do coupon and shampoo and conditioner are products that you can get free very often! Especially suave brand! That seems to be the most frequent one I come across that is completely free (minus tax).

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  40. I make the laundry soap with any bar soap and it works great.

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  41. Did anyone have a problem with the laundry soap not getting the deoderant residue out? I don't know if maybe I need to use more per load or if I need to pre soak the clothes first? Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. Apparently, a 2:1 ratio of peroxide and dawn dish soap will get that out. I haven't tried that out yet, but I'm excited to do it. One Pinterest user even said it worked on colors!

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  42. I just finished making my first batch of detergent last night, and used a 5-gallon bucket. It is great and smells so fresh!

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  43. I use 3 bars of Fels Naptha soap grated with a cheese grater. Add 1 box 20 mule team borax, 1 large box baking soda, 1 large box washing soda and you can add a container of oxyclean, but I don't. This is great for my new baby granddaughter who has sensitive skin. The Fels Naptha soap dissolves in cold water and is great for my HE front load washer. I have lots of my friends and family using this. It makes a very effortless huge batch for about 12 dollars. Mine lasts 3-4 months! It gets clothes as clean as Tide, and the smell in wonderful. I also use homemade fabric softener, and a bathroom cleaner made with white vinegar, Dawn and water that is wonderful with no elbow greast required! No more nasty chemical stuff for me! I will definately try the Oxyclean recipe! Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. What is washing soda?? Please

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  44. Where can one find washing soda? I have looked everywhere, not even walmart, target, or orchard sells this stuff!

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    Replies
    1. Walmart does sell washing soda and I'm not sure about the other stores, but it is in the laundry care section by Borax and OxiClean!

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    2. The washing soda is usually on the bottom shelf, have to get down there and look for it..way in the back sometimes

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    3. I've found it in the laundery aisle at my grocery store.

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  45. I think Kroger sells this it's by Arm and Hammer the washing soda

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  46. Hi! I found your site through Pinterest and am really excited to try making my first batch of homemade laundry soap. I am in an "organic" craze lately and looking at the laundry list of ingredients in commercial detergents (pardon the pun) is exhausting. Unfortunately, so is the Fels-Naptha Soap. I had already done the research when I found this post on babycenter and really was glad not to have to type it out: http://community.babycenter.com/post/a6715455/fels_naptha_soap (Be sure to scroll down)

    I don't worry about the borax, as it is not being ingested, but the other ingredients in Fels-Naptha can go through your skin! I am looking at castille soap for my first time, though it won't likely clean as well as Fels-Naptha!

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  47. I just made my own laundry soap this weekend like this:
    2 c Borax
    2 c Baking Soda (it's a natural fabric softener)
    2 c Washing Soda
    1 Fels Naptha bar (grated)
    and a capful of Downy Unstoppables.
    It's a dry formula, works great, and smells wonderful :)

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  48. Thanks Robin for the info on FN. I've been making this detergent in liquid form for a long time and love the results. I also rub a FN bar directly on tough stains before laundering. My daughter-in-law uses this detergent for her laundry, including cloth diapers. I might change from FN to Dr. Bronner's and hope it gets our cloths as clean. Hate to use anything that could potentially harm the baby.

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  49. My detergent doesn't seem to be "gelling." The exact opposite problem from everyone else! Does anyone know what I did wrong or how to fix it? Can I still use it of its runny? Ugh!!!

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  50. Nice tips you have given here it’s very beneficial for us. I use one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent,add vinegar,add baking with required amount of cold water. After that apply on the stain area If the blot has dried, sweep it well to remove the surface drop. Dab the stain with the detergent solution. Wipe with cold water.
    emergency salvage wet carpet chicago

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  51. I don't know if I missed this but I have never see these products before any ideas where I can find them

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    Replies
    1. You can get them at WalMart, ask an associate if you can't find it.

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  52. Made the laundry soap and mine clumped in the bottom of jug. Did I do something wrong?

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  53. Has anyone tried the fabric softener yet? I'm wondering about getting some baby conditioner to try out.

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  54. Can you use the oxiclean on matress stains?

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  55. Can you use the oxiclean on matress stains?

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  56. I am using 3 T each of Borax and Washing Soda with 1 T of blue origonal dawn liquid, mix in 2 cups hot water to disolve and add cold water to fill a gallon jug. I shake it before using. 1 cup for dirty and 2 cups for really dirty. So far, Great!

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  57. Does anyone have a recipe for dish soap?

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  58. Someone mentioned using vinegar in a Downy Ball. I have a front-loader washing machine. Do you put it in the washer at the start of the load?...because that is the only thing you could do with a front-loader.

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  59. Yes at the beginning.

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  60. I like and will make the soap for laundry.......

    Thanks........does anyone have recipe for washing scalp with H2O?

    Thanks S.Stone

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  61. I have been looking for a recipe for laundry detergent that doesn't use the Arm & Hammer. That brand makes me itch terribly. Is there another Washing Soda I can use in replace of the Arm & Hammer?

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  62. I melt my soap in the crock pot with a bag liner in it. It is so much less mess than boiling it on the stove. Takes 3 hours, but you can leave it and do other things.
    I tried the dry soap and it didn't dissolve in cold water. My machine is not HE and it has an agitator. I was surprised to find clumps of washing soda on my clothes, no matter the batch size.

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  63. I use my soup pot to make the liquid soap, and it leaves my pot really clean. Nothing in there to hurt any of your cooking utensils. Just rinse well, as you would any other pot.

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  64. I use:
    1 box borax
    1 box washing soda
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