Time Needed: 5-10 minutes
Level of difficulty: easy
Materials needed: 1 bar fels naptha soap, grated, 1 cup arm and hammer washing soda, 1 cup borax, 2 1/2 -5 gallons of hot tap water, 1 5-gallon bucket, containers to store soap in (like old detergent or juice bottles)
Directions: Heat up a pot of 8 c. water (don't bring it to a boil!- also anywhere from 4-16 cups works, just make sure you know how much you use!). Dump in your grated fels naptha soap and wait for it to dissolve, stirring occasionally, if desired. Dump into a 5 gallon bucket and add borax and washing soda. Make sure both are dissolved and add your water. If you go with 5 gallons just fill up your whole bucket, don't worry about measuring. If you do less than 5 gallons, there are 16 cups in a gallon. Stir a bit to make sure it's mixed. then, using a funnel and something to scoop with (I use a 4 cup liquid measuring cup) put your detergent into your containers.
NOW: to explain the difference in amount of water used. Helen, a friend of mine, has 7 boys ages 2-16, I believe. She uses the 5 gallon recipe and puts in roughly 5/8 cup detergent to each load. I imagine with boys (though hers seem pretty clean) the clothes are sometimes nice and dirty, and she has no complaints about her soap not working. Hilary uses the 2 1/2 gallon recipe and uses 1/2 cup unless the load is really dirty, when she uses 1 cup. So they've been using about the same amount of soap with very different concentrations. Last night when I made my soap I decided to meet in the middle and used 3 1/2 gallons (56 cups total) of water and plan on using 1/2 cup unless super dirty. I'll let you guys know if I think I need to use a little more.This recipe costs about $1.50- $2.00 to make, depending where you get your ingredients!