Self Sufficiency: How To Make Soap & Laundry Detergent


Through the continued affects of pandemic life, we've found it really important to find ways to cut cost of living but still maintain a sense of normalcy. As musicians, we knew when we quit our "normal jobs," 10 years ago, we more than likely would have to find ways to make a lower income work for our lives and ensure our survival while we pursued our passion. Back then, we were able to make that decision and prepare our minds for that inevitability but we know a lot of people have been thrown into it with little or no choice because of Covid-19. Through these current trials we're reminded of what it's like to be a "starving artist" again. We imagine a lot of people outside of the entertainment industry do too. Back then, we quit smoking and learned how to make e-cig coils and vape juice from scratch (It easily saved us $200/month). We've kicked vaping as well and this time we're focusing on healthier ways to cut cost. Honestly, it's not just about saving a little more money during these hard times. We feel that crafting allows you to put a little bit of your soul into something useful. It's meaningful. It's good for you. We think if you can find a way to make art, you should, anyway you can.

How To Make Laundry Detergent

It's not something you think about very often but laundry detergent can be ridiculously expensive, especially considering what's actually in it. In the United States, consumers spend, on average, $15-25 once or twice a month on laundry detergent which can equal to anywhere from $180-$600 per year. 

With the list of ingredients below you can save anywhere from $148 to $564 per year! On top of that, you won't be at the mercy of what detergent companies think smells good. We'll give you the average price of these these ingredients and break down the cost of a 60 load container below and show you how to make your own.


1.5 cups Washing Soda ($4.12 for 55oz, cost per 60 loads: $0.91)

1.5 cups Baking Soda ($0.52 for 16oz, cost per 60 loads: $0.39)

.5 cups Epsom salts ($4.87 for 3lbs, cost per 60 loads: $0.40)

.25 cups Himalayan Pink Salt ($7.77 for 2lbs, cost per 60 loads $0.97)

Optional- 30-40 drops of Essential Oils ($6 for 1oz, cost per 60 loads $0.36)


Mix all dry ingredients

Add essential oils (optional)

Makes 3.75 cups- Use one heaping tablespoon per medium size load.
Each batch makes about 60 loads and costs about $2.67 (round up closer to $3 if scented)

*We found this works best with standard top loading washing machines adding detergent while the water is filling and then add your clothes. If you're wondering about the pros and cons of liquid or dry laundry detergents we found a good article HERE

Making Bar Soap

This process is a little more labor intensive and requires a good set of goggles and rubber gloves but has similar annual savings. This recipe makes about 3lbs of soap that's great for cleaning your hands and body.


Lye Solution

7.2oz Food Grade Lye

15oz Distilled Water

Oil Mixture

 15oz Coconut Oil 

 15oz Olive Oil 

 12oz Sweet Almond Oil 

 6oz Shea Butter 

 1.5oz Castor Oil 

It's best to use a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients. The closer you get to the exact amounts, the better your soap will be.  


A large crockpot 

 A digital kitchen scale 

 Safety glasses and plastic gloves 

Heat proof containers- like Pyrex

A hand blender 

 A soap mold

Set Up

1. Set Crock Pot To LOW

2. Measure your oils & solids and add to the crock pot 

3. Get the lye solution going while the oils are melting.

IMPORTANT!  ALWAYS MEASURE OUT THE WATER FIRST.  THEN THE LYE.  Never add the water to the lye because you may end up with a volcano. Lye can burn you so be sure to wear goggles, gloves and use a heat safe container like pyrex. Let the lye solution sit for a few minutes while oils are melting down.

4. Pour Lye Solution into Oil Solution, gently.

5 Mix & "Trace"

Get your stick blender and begin to stir.  BE SURE TO WEAR YOUR SAFETY GLOVES & GLASSES!  The lye solution is caustic, and the soap mixture will be caustic until the lye is completely cooked out. Stir until the mixture reaches "trace."  This means it looks like thick pudding, leaving hills on the surface. At this point you can add coloring if you like. You should stir until all is evenly mixed. Make sure there are no clumps.

6. Cook

Put the lid on the crock pot and cook for 45min to an hour

7. Stir... A LOT!

In the beginning, you will see the cooking mixture rise up the sides of the crockpot.  If everything is REALLY hot, the whole mass will rise. Don't worry, just stir it until it calms back down and continue cooking.  If you see any opaque areas at all, the soap is NOT ready.

8. Continue cooking and stirring.

You will see it turn into a translucent mass with a gel like consistency.  At this point, it is done. It takes about 45min to an hour. It's best to leave in a little longer just to make sure the lye is completely gone.

How To Test To Make Sure It's Done Cooking...

pH Test
Use a pH strip. It should be around 5.5

ZAP Test
Soap should feel waxy in your fingers and cool quickly. Take a small amount of soap and put it to the tip of your tongue. If it "zaps" you, it's not done. Soap that is done tastes like soap and doesn't tingle. If it looks wrong, it probably is.

9. Add Essential Oils
While the soap is still in the crockpot, turn the crock pot off.  Let it cool for a minute or two and add your essential oils or scents if you'd like. 2-3oz is about the sweet spot for a 3 pounds depending on how fragrant you like your soap.

10. Mold

Put the soap in a soap mold. Be sure to tamp down any air pockets.

Let the soap cool overnight. The longer you leave it, the longer the scent will last. Remove from the mold and cut into desired shapes.


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Special Thanks To Our Patrons On Patreon!

With no real timeline of when we'll be able to go back on tour due to the Covid 19 pandemic we rely on the generous contributions from people like you to ensure we can continue to create music, articles, vlogcasts and art. It's been a very tough year but we're able to keep our heads up thanks to these amazing people! We truly couldn't do this without you! Thank you SO much! 

Nancy B, Renee T, Shelly R & Steve B  

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Special Thanks to Jeff C & Grass Cutters for helping us continue making music with your monthly support!




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