In Search of White–New Laundry Soap

I thought a well would mean independence. We’d no longer have to rely on anyone else for water; it would be just like water from the city but free. I was so naive.

Not only have we spent an arm and a leg on well repairs, I’ve had the joys of learning to work with hard water. We are fighting gunk on our faucets and a film on our showers. One of the things that drives me totally crazy is my socks. They are no longer white or even a close facsimile to white. I’ve tried soaking them in a bleach solution before putting them in the wash without any luck. They were still dingy, gray, and ugly. Bleach is bad for our septic system, so I should be avoiding that anyways.

So I decided to dodge the bullet and just buy gray socks. Then no one will notice how dirty my socks are. That’s kind of like giving up.


The thing is I still know, and I do love a challenge. So I’ve been researching options. A friend mentioned that you have to use more detergent with hard water. Boosting my amounts didn’t make any noticeable change. I’ve been using Method from Target for years. I love the no mess pump that you can just refill and that it’s better for the environment. But it just wasn’t working with our hard water, so I decided to give making my own laundry soap a go. I know it sounds crazy like I’m in some pioneer woman mode, but I hate the mess of big bottles that slop all over the place and powder that scatters everywhere. The ingredients were cheap, readily available on Amazon, and they promised that this was the best laundry detergent Eva’ (I’m going into my Baby Girl mimicking mode just in case you’re wondering; it’s always good to have a little swag).

The recipe calls for a bar of Fels-Naptha Soap, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, 20-Mule Team Borax, and water. I’d already had great success with Fels-Naptha Soap. I have an old, over-sized sweatshirt that I like to throw on when I’m cooking. I’m not sure how, but I managed to get a large grease stain on my chest. It was there for months and never went away with stain removers and pre-treaters and scrubbing. I was resigned to the fact that it’s a work shirt and I don’t care if it’s ugly and stained, and then I tried the Fels-Naptha, and it was totally gone. If that’s going in the detergent, it’s gotta have some power.

So I gathered all the ingredients, grated the bar soap, heated them on the stove, stirred and stirred and stirred, waited awhile and whirled them up in the blender. For all the details check out Budget 101’s Mom’s Super Laundry Sauce.

Detergent Supplies

When making the soap, I was reminded that you can attach mason jars to the bottom of your blender and whip things up right in the jar. It was pretty slick.

Enough about blenders. My homemade laundry sauce is supposed to be enough for 100 loads of laundry and cost less than $2 to make (according to Budget 101’s estimates, I didn’t keep track). Since online Target has their 50 load bottle for $12.99, I’m saving over $20 trying this out.

New Laundry Detergent

Saving money is great, but it doesn’t really matter if it doesn’t work. It’s been a few weeks, and our clothes look as good as before, I’m just not sure that they look better. Here’s that spot-free sweatshirt, the MR’s sock, Baby Girl’s sock, and then my still sad and dingy sock.

Sweatshirt and socks 2


Perhaps a scoop of Oxiclean when I wash the whites would help. All the ingredients in the laundry sauce are septic safe, so I’m saving money and not damaging anything, but I still have a ways to go.

Many of you are probably tired of laundry and wanting updates on exciting things like tiling the girls’ shower. Well patience my friends. The MR went to OR for dads’ weekend with Sweet Miss and didn’t get back until late Sunday night. Then a power outage, a spa malfunction, a dentist appointment, and volleyball districts have all gotten in the way of progress this week. Don’t worry; I do believe my guy will be back at work on the upstairs bath tomorrow. He did promise Sweet Miss that it would be finished by the time she gets home for Thanksgiving, and time’s a ticking.

How do you keep your whites nice and bright? I’m thinking bluing liquid or packaged water softener may be my next options.Would a pre-soak in Oxiclean help or should I just burn them (we are out of kindling)? 


6 thoughts on “In Search of White–New Laundry Soap

  1. I am thinking that the ‘old’ socks are a lost cause because they have been washed and dried so my times. Throw them out, buy ‘new’ socks and start a new. Sounds like a great soap recipe, would you share it with your readers?

    • You may be right about those “old” socks that I bought last spring.

      I don’t like to pass off someone’s recipe without giving them credit and maybe a little blog traffic, so I usually just include the link. If you click on the blue lettering above you’ll be directed to Budget 101’s Laundry Sauce recipe.

  2. I’ve been using the Laundry Sauce recipe for a little over year. That’s after three years of making the Duggar’s recipe in a big five gallon bucket. Whitening can be just adding some white vinegar, or some hydrogen peroxide to your wash. You can also soak in hydrogen peroxide/water solution.

  3. Pingback: A Thoughtful November | bigwhitehouseonthehill

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