Easy Laundry Soap

My month long challenge of slowly ridding our house of nasty chemicals began several weeks ago. My first item to replace was my face lotion. I created a Recipe for Facial Moisturizer  and secondly, I wanted to replace my dishwasher detergent DIY Organic Dishwasher Detergent. This last week, I shared a replacement for face wash with my Cheap, Organic Face Wash recipe.

I am concocting my own household replacements with little more than what I have on hand or what I can find at the organic market.

But the replacements must meet or exceed three important expectations for this frugal gal:
1. It must be easy to replace-no beakers or science lab experiments. Thank you.
2. It must be just as good or better than the current product I’m using and,
3. It must cost the same or less than the current product I’m using.


photo source unknown

If the product I create passes the final test-me using it for over two plus weeks to make sure it does its job-then I’ll be sharing it with you. I will break down the cost for you, provide you the recipe and give you my honest opinion of the final product.

I’ve seen a million recipes for laundry soap floating around the world wide web (as my mother calls it). I wanted to try one on my own, tweak it a little, test it out and compare it to what I’m already using. I also hadn’t seen an easy way to grate the soap, so I got a little crazy with my Oster blender.

I hope you enjoy my Easy Laundry Soap recipe.


With three ingredients, your store bought laundry soap can easily be replaced with a homemade version that will cost you only $.05 per load. And, you can store it in a cute jar with your own hand-written label. I think that’s pretty much a win-win.

 


What you’ll need to make your very own Easy Laundry Soap (this makes approx. 48 loads):

1 Bar (5.5 oz approx.) Fels-Naptha, Zote Soap or Ivory Soap
2 C Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (make sure it says “Super Washing Soda”)
2 C Borax
Blender/Food Processor

 


Cut the soap into manageable pieces for the food processor/blender. Use the finest chopping blade available, making the pieces as small as possible.

 


Add the 2 Cups of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda to the grated Zote or Ivory Soap.

 


Next, dump in the 2 Cups of Borax. Mix everything as much as possible with a wooden spoon.

If the pieces are large, transfer a cup at a time of the mixture back into a blender. Blend thoroughly. I have settled on using Fels-Naptha soap, which grinds down to small pieces the first time around. So, I no longer need to do this step.

 


The mixture should look like this when everything has been blended thoroughly.

 


Transfer the mixture into a cute jar or container. Add a label (I always print the recipe on the label to make it easier for refills when the time comes).

Use 1/8 Cup of the mixture for normal loads and 1/4 Cup for heavily soiled clothes.

Here’s the financial breakdown of what this recipe will make per 48 loads:

Borax $3.38 for 76 oz= 9.5 Cups
A & H $3.00 for 55 oz= 6.8 Cups
Soap $1 per 48 loads

Per 48 Loads
Borax=$.67
A & H=$.90
Soap=$1

Total=$2.57/48 loads= $.05 per load

Easy Laundry Soap
Author: 
Recipe type: Laundry Products
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 48 loads
 
With three ingredients, your store bought laundry soap can easily be replaced with a homemade version that will cost you only $.05 per load. And, you can store it in a cute jar with your own hand-written label. I think that's pretty much a win-win.
Ingredients
  • What you'll need to make your very own Easy Laundry Soap (this makes approx. 48 loads):
  • 1 Bar (14 oz) Fels-Naptha, Zote Soap or Ivory Soap
  • 2 C Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (make sure it says "Super Washing Soda")
  • 2 C Borax
  • Blender/Food Processor
Instructions
  1. Cut the Soap into manageable pieces for the food processor/blender.
  2. Use the finest chopping blade available and grind the soap up, making the pieces as small as possible.
  3. Add the 2 Cups of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda to the grated soap.
  4. Next, dump in the 2 Cups of Borax.
  5. Mix everything as much as possible with a wooden spoon.
  6. Transfer the mixture into a cute jar or container.
  7. Use ⅛ Cup of the mixture for normal loads and ¼ Cup for heavily soiled clothes.

This Easy Laundry Soap is simple, economical and practical. Hope you enjoy!

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114 Responses to "Easy Laundry Soap"

  1. Joan says:

    Can you use this in an HE washer?

    Reply
    • Rebekah says:

      I’m no expert on HE washers-I still have my old school kind. Let me do some research and get back with you!

      Reply
    • Cheryl says:

      I use this or a liquid version (you’d basically melt it into several cups of water and then add more water totaling nearly two gallons in the end) in my HE washer without any problem. General rule is to half the amount that you use for a normal washing machine. Clothing get clean and there is no extra sudsing.

      Reply
      • Rebecca says:

        We use this recipe in our HE washer (using fels naptha) with no problems but you only need about a tsp-tbs of it unless you have hard water.

        Reply
        • Jess says:

          YES! You do not need as much as you note – only 1 Tablespoon and that’s it – I’ve been using this with Fels-Naptha for 5 years now. It works – on every load.

          Reply
    • Sara says:

      Been using this in my HE washer for almost six months now. Does a fantastic job and works just fine in the washer. I also use white vinegar for towels or soiled (smelly) items. never been happier with my laundry products.

      Reply
      • Rebekah says:

        Sara-
        That’s so great to hear! How much are you using in your HE machine with each load? I’ve heard several ladies say they cut the amount I use in half. (My scoop measures out to be about 2 TBS for a normal load, 4 TBS for a stinky load.) Thanks!

        Reply
  2. Tara says:

    I wish its cheaper to make DIYs like those here in this part of the globe. Unfortunately, buying from stores is far cheaper than creating one. Thanks for the how to.

    Btw, I found our blog from one of those linky parties. Great blog.

    Reply
  3. Marque Holt says:

    I have extremely sensitive skin and still haven’t found a laundry detergent that’s satisfactorily sensitive. I looove Cetaphil’s skin products, do you think I could substitute a bar of their soap for the zote or ivory soap?

    Reply
    • Rebekah says:

      I’m unsure of substituting for Cetaphil. I’m unfamiliar with this product. I know that Zote and ivory are the only thing Grandma swears by and that are most commonly used. Sorry I don’t have a solid answer!

      Reply
    • Danyell says:

      Try using Dr. Bronner’s soap. You can buy it in bars and they come in different scents or in nonscented for use on babies. Most health food stores should carry it or you can buy it on the web. That is what I always use and my family has not had any problems with it.

      Reply
    • Tammy says:

      I use Dr. Bonner’s Peppermint soap. I’ve tried Zote and a couple others and can’t use them because my skin is too sensitive. I did see that Zote has a baby bar version now that says for sensitive on it – it’s in a pink wrapper. I saw it at Walmart. My fiance works on engines so I use 2 bars of the Dr. Bonner’s soap which gets the smells and everything out. You could try Cetaphil’s soap and see how it works. Just remember it doesn’t suds up like store detergent so go by smell and cleanness.

      Reply
    • Tammy says:

      Hello, I also have extremely sensitive skin and up until I started making my own laundry soap I would break out seriously everywhere in excema. I started using this laundry soap only in the liquid form but slightly different. I found a website that said for sensitive skin use baking soda instead of the washing soda. It also said for sensitive skin to use ivory soap because it is natural and easier on your skin than most. So I grated and melted 1 bar of ivory soap with 4 cups hot tap water heating on low until ivory is melted. Fill a 5 gallon pail 1/2 way with more hot water. Add melted soap liquid, with 1 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup borax and mix. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Let sit overnight to thicken. Stir and pour into clean laundry soap bottles or water you have available. I left in the 5 gallon and once a week stir it up and put it in a large peanut butter jar. Shake before each use and use 1/2 cup per load. I also add just a couple of downy unstoppable scent crystals to each peanut butter jar (for scent) but it is perfectly fine without it if you find you are sentsitive to it. I have pretty much been excema free since I started this in February and still have a couple of weeks left of laundry soap. I have two teenage boys, and a husband who are always working in dirt and grime. I absolutely love my laundry soap. Our clothes have never been cleaner; I have never felt better skin wise, and I am saving buckets of money to boot. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  4. fat lazy celiac says:

    With the Borax, you’re using a blender that you won’t use again for food, right?

    Reply
    • Gayle says:

      There should be no need to worry about that; after all, you would only need to take the blade off the bottom, & wash the way you usually do when you use your blender with food.

      Reply
      • Cheryl says:

        And Borax is not boric acid — people actually consume it in small amounts for alternative health reasons. Here it is used as a cleaning agent — just use lots of hot water to get it all off as the soap is the hardest to remove from your blades/bowl.

        Reply
  5. Ann says:

    I just made this a week ago and started using it. So far I am totally pleased with the results and the cost! I find on tough stains a pre soak does the trick. Also this week we took on a low sodium diet and cut out processed foods. It’s a very good thing that I know how to cook from scratch! I never paid attention to the sodium content on food labels and I was flabbergasted. Next up, your dishwasher soap recipe. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Cyndi says:

    Last month I made laundry detergent using this recipe and it rocks my world! I also ran mine through the blender in small batches to grind the soap into small pieces.Then, I found an OxyClean product at the Dollar Store, so I added half the box to my detergent. I love the way my clothes just feel SO CLEAN! They come out of the dryer much softer, without static cling, so I don’t need dryer sheets as often (which are full of chemicals). I also made my own dryer sheets and am happy with them, also. I just found your site from Funky Junk Interiors and am going to subscribe so I can see what else you’ve come up with!

    Reply
  7. Jamie says:

    I made my own soap (with fels naptha) back in January and I love it! My proportions are a bit different. Here’s my post: http://www.sewrockin.com/2012/01/07/pinterest-project-diy-laundry-detergent/

    When it runs out I am going to try the zote since it is supposed to be more natural.

    I’m linky following you now! :)

    Reply
  8. Kate says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I’v been debating doing something like this for a while.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Kate

    Reply
  9. Christina says:

    I love your criteria for making something yourself. I have been toying with the idea of making my own laundry detergent, and now I just might!

    Reply
  10. Katie says:

    AMAZING my friend–I have borax on hand from making slime. I want to make this asap!

    Reply
  11. jewels says:

    THank you so much for sharing this! I too try to rid my home of the non-toxins little by little. I have been using the Trader Joe’s Laundry soap and adding a little essential oil (a drop) for fragrance. The zote and the other ingredient are they non-toxic? thanks so much!

    Reply
  12. Jill says:

    Oh my goodness….What a great idea to make your own laundry soap! I would love it if you would link up at my linky party going on now! Can’t wait to see you there!

    Jill
    http://www.jillifyit.com

    Reply
  13. Laurie says:

    I LOVE that it’s PINK! I make my own laundry soap too but it’s not as pretty! :) As to a question above….”HE compatible”. My laundry recipe is and I’m guessing yours is too.

    Reply
    • Rebekah says:

      Thanks Laurie-I’ve been looking online for an answer to that question and have come up with nothing. I didn’t think it would be a problem, since there wasn’t a warning. But, I didn’t want to lead someone astray!

      Reply
  14. Amy@One Artsy Mama says:

    Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing at Shine on Fridays!

    Reply
  15. Jackie says:

    I definitely want to try this. I pinned it so I can make it in the near future. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply
  16. brooke schaefer says:

    LOVE that it is pink. Pinning this for future use.

    Reply
  17. LaVoice says:

    We have come a long way from using lye soap. That was all we had back in my young days. This sounds like it will be a great product.

    Reply
  18. kellie says:

    I love this idea and I am definitely going to try it…may even mix up a batch this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  19. cJoy says:

    So how does your laundry smell when it comes out of the dryer? I’ve never tried making my own soap, but your ‘recipe’ looks simple enough… I’m big into smell/fragrance.

    Reply
    • Rebekah says:

      The Zote soap smells fantastic in my opinion! Ivory has a softer fragrance. I am pleased & so are my nasal cavities-but to each his own-you know?

      Reply
  20. Jill says:

    Another great recipe Rebekah! Can you use this in front loaders as well as top loaders

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

    Reply
    • Rebekah says:

      I have the very old school washer-which, obviously I know works great. I have also heard from front loader/HE owners that this recipe has been tested & works fine. Sorr I don’t have first hand experience, but such as I have, give I thee!

      Reply
  21. Judy @ Contented at Home says:

    I use a similar “recipe” with Fels Naptha. I pinned this variation for future reference!

    Reply
  22. friday fun finds | kojodesigns says:

    [...] love Rebekah at Potholes and Pantyhose- this easy laundry soap is on my To Try list, and I need to make this organic [...]

    Reply
  23. Peggy says:

    I’ve been using a similar recipe in my HE washing machine for the past 8 years and haven’t had an issue yet. I will say I don not use Ivory as it causes skin issues for our youngest. But Dr. Bonner’s and Zote seem to work fine for him so it is what we use. I have always used the same blender/food processor for my detergent and my food. I do a quick rinse then add hot water, blend and I have a spanking clean blender! In fact I checked with the manufacturer and it was how they recommended it be clean!

    Love your blog!!

    Reply
  24. Gabby says:

    This rocks! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    Reply
  25. Karla says:

    I have a septic tank, was wondering if this is septic safe?

    Reply
  26. Claire @ Polkadot~pretties says:

    Thank you for linking up a fabulous project…

    hope you will stop by and link up another great project..

    http://polkadot-pretties.blogspot.com/2012/03/you-inspire-linky-party_10.html

    Claire xoxo

    Reply
  27. Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker says:

    Pinning this! Thanks for linking up to Healthy 2Day Wednesday! Hope to see you back tomorrow! :)

    Reply
  28. Healthy 2Day Wednesday No. 44 | Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy says:

    [...] Rebekah, from Potholes and Pantyhose, shared her amazingly simple homemade laundry detergent [...]

    Reply
  29. Catherine says:

    My husband hates the smell of soaps, he will go around that aisle in the grocery stores because of the smell. I have to say, I don’t like it much either, so I use a scent free product. Could you tell me about the scent of this product and maybe alternatives to avoiding scent?

    Reply
    • Rebekah says:

      The scent is very light-the only thing that really smells is the Zote soap. If you want to avoid the scent altogether-use Ivory soap instead.

      Reply
    • Brooke J says:

      The white zote bar doesn’t smell as strong as the pink one. Or you could use Dr. Bronners unscented bar. We are super sensitive to scents at my house, and I use the white zote bar. Been making my laundry soap for years.

      Reply
  30. Crystal says:

    Hi Rebekah! Thank you for linking up last week in Mommy Solutions! Your post was my #2 most clicked link! You are being featured on my new link up for this week! Thank you for sharing! Crystal

    http://www.crystalandcomp.com/2012/03/the-mommy-club-share-your-resources-and-solutions-35/

    Reply
  31. Emily says:

    I love that it’s pink and the marker on your measuring cup made me laugh! Mine turns out yellow b/c of the fels naphtha but it only takes a tablespoon for one load. :)

    Reply
  32. Potholes & Pantyhose | The Difference Between Man and Wife and Laundry says:

    [...] goodness I am making my own Cheap Laundry Soap or the household budget might be busted with this guy around. But, since he’s such a hard [...]

    Reply
  33. TABITHA says:

    ok i’ve seen many homemade recipes but yet to see this question. will this soap work if you only wash in cold cold?

    Reply
    • Rebekah says:

      I wash all of my colors in cold cold (sans towels and sheets). It works great for me! And it seriously smells fantastic.

      Reply
  34. Sourdough Starter, Homemade Cold Remedy & Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent Featured in This Week’s Healthy 2Day Wednesday! says:

    [...] from Potholes and Pantyhose, shared her amazingly simple homemade laundry detergent [...]

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  35. Jennifer says:

    Thanks so much for the recipe!
    If you use Ivory soap and don’t want to grate it, there is another way… If you put Ivory in the microwave for a few minutes, it will blow up like a marshmallow. After it cools for a bit it easily crumbles to a powder.

    Reply
  36. Potholes & Pantyhose | Dear Readers-I need your input says:

    [...] …my Homemade Laundry Detergent… [...]

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  37. Gillian says:

    Hello, I made your laundry soap this afternoon, I am super excited to use it!! I have a front load HE machine and wondered do I put the detergant in the little drawer where I would put a liquid or do I just throw it inside?
    Thanks so much :)

    Reply
    • Rebekah says:

      Gillian-
      I have a top loader and so I put the powder in the basin as it’s filling up with water. I’m not familiar with how HE detergent works-although I know that an HE unit uses a lot less water than a normal machine uses. You might want to do research to make sure that the powder will dissolve and not stick to the inside of the machine. Or, you can always run a test batch with some rags or work clothes. Let me know how it turns out. I’m curious to know!

      Reply
      • Denise Weick says:

        I have a front-load LG washer. I place the homemade in the tray/drawer. I have been using this for 3 months and no problems with caking or offensive smells. I ALSO use vinegar as a softener, simply fill the Softener section and run the washer. You get NO SMELL! The vinegar is a softening agent and helps to keep the musty smell out of your washing machine. As a mild acid it cleans out any of the built up/on laundry products. As always with a front-load washer, keep the door open when not in use. This will decrease the chances of mildew growth and funky smells.

        Reply
  38. Potholes & Pantyhose | Non-Toxic Homemade Household Cleaners says:

    [...] are links to my other Homemade Household Cleansers and Beauty Products: Easy Laundry Soap DIY Brass Cleaner Organic Vegetable/Produce Cleaner Organic Face Cleanser Organic Face [...]

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  39. Em says:

    The above comment about using the microwave to nuke the bar of soap is absolutely the way to go. You end up with a nice powder. the webpage I cited above has a photo.

    For those who are concerned about smell, I was someone who purchased laundry products by perfume-preference. Now that I have been using this homemade detergent, I am more sensitive to the perfumes. I work in an ER and am amazed at the number of folks that are reeking of laundry detergent. I was also someone who was crazy about fabric softener but now I don’t need it since I don’t have commercial laundry detergent residue to contend with.

    Thanks for the awesome tutorials.

    Reply
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  42. Barbie says:

    I was wondering about the use of fabric softner in the washer with this…is it necessary? I’m so excited to make and use this recipe!!!

    Reply
    • Denise Weick says:

      try vinegar as a softener, I know, I too thought oh my I don’t want to smell like a pickle. But I tried it on our towels first, they are softer, fluffier and more absorbent. I couldn’t believe it when my Hubby asked, ” What did you do to the towels, they are so much nicer, and dry me off better after a shower!!!” PROOF! He doesn’t notice alot of stuff, but the FIRST time I used the vinegar HE commented! It strips all of the built up laundry agents and leaves you clean fluffy BETTER towels!!!! Enjoy.

      Reply
  43. Barbie says:

    I was wondering about the use of fabric softener in the washer with this…is it necessary? I’m so excited to make and use this recipe!!!

    Reply
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    [...] Easy, Homemade Laundry Soap makes 48 loads 1 Bar (14 oz) Fels-Naptha, Zote Soap or Ivory Soap 2 C Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (make sure it says “Super Washing Soda”) 2 C Borax Blender/Food Processor [...]

    Reply
  47. julie windham says:

    i make mine as well,but i use the borax,washing soda and baking soda for mine,every since i found that recipe i dont buy store bought

    Reply
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  49. Jenni says:

    I’m actually allergic to Borax (weird I know!) is there anything I can sub for it?

    Reply
  50. Alicia says:

    Zote makes a version for washing machine use. It is pregrated or more like shaved. It’s whites and airy and lovely! No need to use food processor with this one. If your store sells it. I found it at Walmart.

    Reply
    • Rebekah says:

      Alicia-
      Awesome! Thanks for the tip! I haven’t seen anything like this at my Walmart, but maybe I just missed it. I’ve actually fallen in love with using Fels-Naptha. That’s my soap if choice for this recipe. It smells fantastic!

      Reply
    • Edie says:

      H.E.B. sells it also.

      Reply
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  54. Heather says:

    I used this recipe and my husbands clothes still have a very strong body odor smell. any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Rebekah says:

      Heather-
      I would suggest adding a 1/4-1/2 C white vinegar and perhaps a 1/4 C of Baking Soda. Both neutralize odors, while softening the clothes. Let me know if this helps!

      Reply
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  61. Danielle says:

    Rebekah,
    I am so excited about this recipe! I am actually planning on using it as a linen shower favor later this month. I just wanted to point out that there is a measuring error in your post the soap measurement at the beginning on the post says “1 bar (5.5oz)” and at the end of the post “1 bar (14oz).” Could you clarify which one you actually use? After some additional research, I decided to go with approximately 8 oz and I figured splitting the difference was the best option. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Rebekah says:

      Danielle-
      Thanks so much for catching my mistake! It is a 5.5 oz Fels-Naptha bar. I changed it on the recipe-thank yoU!

      Reply
  62. petre trevino says:

    I use a liquid detergent one not sure wat I did wrong cause it didn’t turn out I did use the zote soap instead of felds

    Reply
  63. Triathlon Update | Ye Old College Try says:

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  64. Richard Lucey says:

    Do you have any recipes that DON’T use Borax. I’ve read that Borax is slightly toxic, admittedly because some confusion exists that Borax is boric acid. I’m aware that the Material Safety Data Sheets rank Borax a number 1, with approximately the same toxicity as salt and baking soda, but if there are suitable alternatives to using Borax, I’d much prefer that route. Thanks.

    Reply
  65. ANN says:

    I MADE THIS RECIPE FOR LAUNDRY SOAP BUT IT DOES NOT DISSOLVE WELL IN MY WELL WATER. HOW MUCH WATER WOULD I NEED TO TURN THIS INTO LIQUID.
    ANY DIRECTIONS WOULD BE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED.

    ANN

    Reply
  66. Homemade Laundry Detergent says:

    [...] This is another great recipe from Rebekah at Potholes and Pantyhose. You can look at her recipe HERE. Thanks for sharing Rebekah!  I skipped the step about cutting your bar into smaller pieces [...]

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  68. Rachel says:

    I have some Dial bar soap and Lever 2000 bar soap on hand. Can I use one of them in place of the brands you recommended, or would that not work as well?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Rebekah says:

      Any sort of standard bar soap will cause a soapy mess. The Fels-Naptha is designed as a washing bar of soap, able to be used manually or in your washing machine. I would highly advise against a normal bar of soap-you may end up with a scene out of Freaky Friday! Hope this helps!

      Reply
  69. Cypress Point Apartments - Alpharetta, GA - Use These All-Natural Household Cleaners To Freshen up Your Cypress Point Apartment says:

    [...] Easy Laundry Soap [Potholes and Pantyhose] If you get this mixture right, you'll spend just $.05 per load while [...]

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  70. FTM Friday...Homemade Laundry Detergent - renegade mothering says:

    [...] got the recipe from this website, which is rad by the way, but I double the recipe and added a bit of essential oil, cause I’m [...]

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  71. Karen says:

    5.5 oz. bar or 14 oz. bar?

    Reply
  72. How to: Replace Your Household Cleansers and Beauty Items with Healthful, Homemade Options (with DIY Recipes) - Thifty Sue says:

    […] ingredients, your store bought laundry soap can easily be replaced with a homemade version. This Easy Laundry Soap will cost you only $.05 per […]

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  73. Riverwatch Commons Apartments - New Brunswick, NJ - Use These All-Natural Products to Clean Your Apartment at Riverwatch Commons says:

    […] Easy Laundry Soap [Potholes and Pantyhose] The best part about this laundry detergent is that it will cost you five […]

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  74. The Townes of Herndon Center Apartments - Herndon, VA - All-Natural Household Cleaners You Can Make Yourself says:

    […] Easy Laundry Soap [Potholes and Pantyhose] This DIY version of laundry detergent will cost you a mere $.05 per load. […]

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