12.27.2013

Homemade Laundry Soap


A friend recently asked how I make my laundry soap, so I thought I would just give her the link to my blog post. Then I realized I don’t have one... How could I have missed that! Homemade laundry soap is so easy; it’s kind of like a gateway drug to simple living. It is incredibly cheap, environmentally friendly, and sustainable. You only need to make a big batch every few months, so it’s not even remotely time-consuming. Once you do something as liberating as break away from the chemical monstrosity that is commercial detergent, there is no stopping you. Baking bread? Homemade toothpaste? No problem! You just made your own laundry detergent, for crying out loud.




I have two ‘recipes’ that I alternate between, depending on the amount of free time at my disposal. One is a powder- it’s much quicker, but requires a food processor (followed by the cleaning of said processor). The other is a liquid- more steps involved, but no food processor. While I love my food processor (thanks mom!), it does require a bit of finagling to properly clean. When you have a little toddler running around, those few extra minutes at the sink can make all the difference. The recipe today is the powdered version.



This leaves your clothes smelling like, well, nothing. If you are used to the overpowering odor of scented detergents such as Tide, you may be surprised. These days, unless your clothes smell like a Spring Meadow and your kitchen like Vanilla Sugar Sparkle, then you must be living in filth and despair. Fragrances are rampant in our society, and they are nothing but harsh chemicals that hardly ever smell like what they advertise. (I’m pretty sure a spring meadow smells like wet dirt and frogs. And sparkles wish they smelled as good as sequins. Losers.) They cause and exacerbate allergies, headaches, and skin disorders, and most of the time only serve to cover up the bad smells instead of actually getting rid of them.



Even if you don’t care about the danger of chemical fragrances, or how the ingredients look more like a laboratory experiment for explosives, or even how all those lovely additives wreak havoc on the environment, I still hope you will try making your own laundry soap. If you’ve ever loaded up the washer only to discover you’re out of detergent. If you want the ease of using just a few ingredients for your ENTIRE cleaning arsenal (post coming soon!). If you want to simplify your life, and be able to count on your own skills instead of Walmart. Today is the day, my friends. ::cue epic music:: Onwards!



Homemade Laundry Detergent

Unfortuntely, I have not counted how many loads each batch makes. It's a lot, though, trust me. I use it for our clothes (inlcuding baby's, since there's no additives to irritate sensitive skin) and cloth diapers (which are washed every other day), and I go through a batch in maybe three months.  

The soap here should be the most basic you can find. Fels Naptha is acceptable and does a good job, however it does contain some questionable ingredients. I prefer my homemade coconut oil soap, though something like Dr. Bronner's* or Kirk's* castile bar soap would probably work great, too. 

Lastly, there is some question as to the safety/necessity of borax. I have done my research and feel comfortable using it on my clothes and linens. I also feel it that adds additional cleaning power. If you would prefer to skip the borax, simply replace it with an additional 3 cups washing soda. 

3 4.5 ounce bars of soap 
3 cups washing soda
3 cups borax



Chop the bars of soap and scrape into the bowl of your food processor. Process until it looks like tiny pebbles or very coarse crumbs.




Add in the washing soda and process again until the mixture is uniformly powdered. (My mixer is too small to hold the whole recipe, but if yours is able, you can add all the ingredients in at this point, and skip the next step.)




Pour the washing soda/soap mix to a very large bowl and add the borax. Either whisk thoroughly or pop a lid onto the bowl and shake shake shake!




Transfer to your desired container and label. I use an old metal tea tin.
 
  • Use 2-4 scoops per load. 
  • For additional grease-cutting power, add a few drops pure lemon essential oil to the wash.  
  • Either add 1/4-1/2 cup white vinegar to the final rinse cycle, or simply pour it into the softener compartment in your washer. The vinegar helps soften the laundry naturally, normalized the pH, and helps rinse away soap residue. 

* If you decide to buy any of these products at Vitacost, please click through using this link. If you purchase more than $30 worth of items, both you AND I will receive a $10 credit. It's a win-win!  

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may be from an affiliate, meaning I make a very small percentage of money if you buy the item (at no cost to you!). I truly appreciate every cent that your purchase contributes, as it helps me keep this blog running. Teach Me Tuesday

This post is linked up to My Turn for Us' Freedom Fridays, Our Heritage of Health's Old-Fashioned Friday, Teach Me Tuesday

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