Today is ‘my’ laundry day and while I was working on it I thought it would be fun to share what we’ve  found and what we do when washing day comes around 😀

For a while we used 1/3 c. borax and 1/4 c. washing soda to wash each load of laundry.    For ‘softener’ we use a cup of vinegar. Then last summer we started making our own laundry soap and were so pleased at how much cheaper it was than using straight borax, as well as it being more natural than most laundry soaps!


1 Fels Naptha soap bar, grated

1 cup washing soda, not baking soda!

1/2 cup borax

Grate the soap bar into a small saucepan.  Cover with hot water.  Cook over med/low heat, stirring constantly, until the soap almost completely dissolves.  The more it is dissolved the better, but you may have a few little ‘chunks’ of soap that just don’t want to melt!  Put washing soda and borax in a 5 gallon bucket and pour in the hot melted soap.  Stir well, until all the powder is dissolved. Fill the bucket to the top with more hot tap water. Stir, cover securely, and let set overnight. The next morning stir the mixture. To use, mix equal amounts of the soap concentrate and water and store in a smaller laundry soap container.  Shake before using.  Use 1 cup of the soap mixture per load for a top loading machine and only 1/3 of a cup for a front loading machine.


We had heard that one recipe could last you months and months, but ours was only lasting about 2 months at the most!  Though it was still cheaper than using straight borax  I still didn’t like the fact that I was making soap every other month!  Not that it is hard to make, but you wouldn’t believe how quickly it seems to disappear!  It may have something to do with the fact that the washer is running at least 3 to 4 times a day 😀


Then we discovered magnesium prills. Magnesium prills make the water ‘wetter’, or thinner, therefore you need less soap.  They say you can use as little as 10% of your normal amount!!!  The prills are pricey (about $40 to $50 depending on whether you want to make your own pouch or not), but they last for years and years!


I love ‘stats’ and charts and finding out new ways to save money 😀  So for a while I was putting a piece of masking tape on our bucket of laundry soap and writing the date on it to see how long it lasted.  As I said before, I was making it about once every two months.  Now, with the magnesium prills, it has lasted us 4 months, and we still have a third of the 5 gallon bucket left!


One thing about the prill bag is that it wears out–especially when you are using it almost constantly!  I was then having to make a new bag almost every month–which isn’t terrible,  but again, it was a bother!   The prills come in a bag that is a rounded square, and I noticed  that it was the corners that were wearing through the fastest.  So two months ago I made a round bag 😀  Did I tell you I like stats?!   I was excited to see that the round one lasted almost twice as long as the rounded square! Today I just made a new one and thought I would share how to do it 😀  It takes only about half an hour to sew and gets easier every time 🙂


You will need:



Duck cloth


small saucer

small pitcher to hold the prills




Use your saucer as a template and cut out two rounds.  (Sorry…I stacked the rounds…didn’t think of separating them so that you can see that there really are two! 😀 )




Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, stitch the two circles together, and leave about a 2 inch opening.  I like to reinforce my stitching by stitching just outside of my 1/2″ seam, and then zig-zag stitching outside of that 🙂


Now turn the bag…it will look something like this.



Cut a hole in your old bag and carefully pour it into the small pitcher.  Check around the seams of the old bag because prills like to hide there!




Using your funnel, pour the prills into your new bag.



Fold in the raw edges of your opening and stitch across them, making sure of course that no prills get in the way of your needle!!!  I like to really reinforce mine by first doing a straight stitch to hold it closed, and then zig-zagging across it a couple of times.   Try your best to keep it rounded as any points are sure to wear out quicker 🙂  As  you can see, I didn’t get mine perfectly rounded 😀


Enjoy using your new prill bag!  All you have to do is throw it in the washer with your clothes and about 10% of your laundry soap 😀  We used to use a cup of soap, now we use 2 tablespoons.  When you’re done washing all your laundry, lay it up on top of the washer to dry out.  Ours hardly ever gets to sit up there, poor thing! 😀


One more little laundry ‘trick’ that I love, is bluing 😀  We found out about it through MaryJane Butters’ book, and I have been using it on my whites for a long time!  According to experts, there are 300 shades of white, blue-white being the brightest.  We were able to find a little bottle of ‘Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing’ at our local Krogers for only a few dollars, and it lasts for a long time!



I usually use about 25 drops for a small to medium load of whites.  I started with about 12 drops and got gradually got braver– I didn’t exactly want sky blue clothes that were supposed to be white!!

Also, this is probably a given for most people, but if you want to keep your whites, white, don’t wash them with colored clothes! I used to wash my whites with my light colored clothes, but now I only do strictly white if I can help it.


Here you can see the bluing in the water…I usually start the washer, and while the water is filling up in there,  I go put the bluing into a small pitcher while the faucet is slowly filling it (to help prevent staining the pitcher) and then I pour it into the washer which by this time has a little water in the bottom.  By then it’s usually safe to start throwing my white things in.




Thank you for listening to my washing-day musings 😀  May your laundry be cleaner, whiter and brighter–naturally! 😀





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Laundry Soap and Magnesium Prills
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12 thoughts on “Laundry Soap and Magnesium Prills

  • March 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Great idea! Thanks for the tutorial. I will save this for future reference! 🙂

  • March 4, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Thank you so much. I have been trying to figure out how to stretch out our laundry soap. With both my husband and son’s work clothes+their regular clothes, we’ve been going through a lot of soap too. It’s like having two extra people in the family.

  • March 5, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    I love this post! Thank you so much for the information! I still don’t quite understand how those prills work though. LOL. Maybe it’s just me.

    • March 6, 2011 at 7:26 am

      I know what you mean! I guess it’s like how soap makes the clothes cleaner by thinning the water (allowing the water to permeate the clothes better), only you have prills 🙂 You can probably find out more about it here:
      So far it’s cleaned our clothes just as well as when we were using a cup of laundry soap 😀


    • March 7, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      It means…thinning…water 😀 Lol! Have you ever done one of those experiments where you fill a cup to the brim and the ‘skin’ stands just above the rim? Add a drop of soap and it spills over, because it makes the water thinner. That’s part of the reason we use soap, to thin the water and therefore be able to clean things better 🙂



      P.s. there’s a letter on it’s way to you 😀

  • March 9, 2011 at 9:36 am

    This is the same recipe I use.. Thanks for sharing I didn’t know anything about Magnesium prills that way..

  • May 12, 2016 at 2:17 am

    Where is the cheapest/best place to buy magnesium prills?

  • September 12, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Do the laundry prills work on front loading washing machines?

    • September 15, 2016 at 10:42 am

      Hi Carolina!

      We’ve never tried them in a front loading machine, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! If you wanted to be absolutely sure, you could contact Health and Wisdom. They sell the prills and would know 🙂



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