Interested in making your own laundry soap?

Reposted from Love Made the Radish Grow by Abby Glann

I am so, so very picky about how my laundry smells and how I wash it. It has taken a while, and quite the journey through mainstream detergents (I used the free and clear varieties there), to organic/natural ones, to now just making it myself. People don’t really realize that clean laundry should smell just that-clean. Mainstream cleaners use so much unnecessary stuff to perfume the laundry, then you add the softeners (anyone heard of vinegar?) and the softeners sheets, and it is intense! I cannot stand to wear clothes or really even be around them, if they have been washed conventionally anymore. It hurts my nose. Clean is that fresh smell when there is an absence of other smells that were previously in the fabric-an easy smell to find when washing things like your husband’s work clothes or dirty diapers.

The formula I like to use for my clothes is from here. Very easy. I use their actual brand of laundry soap bars for the soap I use on diapers as it uses less oils in it, thus giving me less to rinse out of the diaper, thus cleaner diaper. I am less picky for our day to day stuff. I use whatever natural/locally made soap I find. It is actually great for the ends of soap. I can grate them up and toss them in and not, instead, get them caught in my hair while shampooing. Like I mentioned before, if you think you need a rinse or softener, just put vinegar in the same slot you would put regular stuff, but not just in with the soap. This negates the effects of the oils in the soap, which help with the cleaning action. It has to come in its own time. We dry our laundry on a line as much as possible, though with the rain here lately, the dryer has seen a little more action. I also have an indoor rack I use, but with the amount of laundry we’ve had from some basement water/lightning fire issues, it hasn’t been enough. Drying outside adds another hint of fresh to the clothes, as well as softening if it is nice and breezy out.
Here is the basic laundry soap recipe…you can add essential oils or just use a soap with them if you like for added hints of fragrance.

Handmade Herbal Laundry Detergent
approx 4 oz. grated soap (comes out to about a standard sized bar)
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda
1 cup baking soda
essential oils (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a widemouth container with a lid. (I use a recycled ice cream bucket). Add essential oils as desired (but they are not necessary). Use 1 tbsp to 1/4 cup per load of laundry.
Notes on ingredients: You can use any kind of soap – non-superfatted handmade soaps are wonderful! I just grate mine with a cheesegrater. Washing soda can be difficult to find in some areas of the world, I understand – usually it is found in the laundry detergent aisle of a supermarket. If you cannot find it, ask a store manager to order it for you. This recipe is VERY inexpensive and I have found it to work really well!

5 responses to “Interested in making your own laundry soap?

  1. I came across this blog when looking for homemade detergent recipes. I have just recently decided to switch my 6 month old to cloth diapers but have read that only certain detergents will work due to the build-up over time. I would think this recipe might not work due to the soap (soap build-up over time). Have you used this mix with CD’s? I would much rather create my own detergent to save money but if it ruins my CD’s then I will be out of even more money!

  2. I’m not the author of the post, but I will say that I do share your concerns about soap build-up over time. Though, I will note that I now know many people who use homemade laundry soap (with actual soap, not detergent) with their CDs with no problems. I also wanted to add that my experience (with CDs for 6 years) is that anything you wash your diapers with builds up over time – we’ve found that switching detergents every 6-9 months has been necessary, just to avoid excessive buildup. Also, soap buildup will not actually “ruin” your diapers – even fabric softener won’t ruin them. It’ll just need to come out of the diapers via stripping them.

    I know Abby’s been using this on her diapers without problem. Even so, Wallypop diapers, my professional advice is still to avoid homemade (or, for that matter, most “natural”) laundry soaps. You might check with the manufacturer of your diapers.

  3. Thanks for the reply!
    Julia-I read that some people dissolve the homemade detergent in hot water first and this helps (also you can boil the soap prior to mixing ingredients and it makes it more of a goopy liquid detergent). Haven’t tried any of this yet though!

  4. I amke my own homemade laundry detergent. If you don’t want to use dry stuff, try the liquid. The recipe is:

    1cup washing soda
    1/2 cup Borax
    1 bar soap (natural or basic/unscented is best. I use Ivory)

    -Grate the bar of soap. Put in a medium saucepan, cover with water and turn up to medium heat. Dissolve soap flakes stirring constantly.
    -Place borax and washing soda in a large icecream bucket (5 gallon/11 litres) Pour hot soap misture into bucket and stir until boraz and washing soda are dissolved.
    -Fill to the tiop with warm tap water. stir. Put on lid and let sit over night. in the morning stir again well. (it congeals a bit)
    -Put desired amount into an old soap container (old laundry soap container, glass jar, handsoap refill bottle…) Shake it very well once it is in the refill container.
    -Use 60mL/1/4 cup per load. 1/3 cup for heavy loads if you want, but you don’t need too. I start to fill my washer with water before i put in the soap, them let it fill for 5 more seconds then put in my clothes. Takes about 10 seconds and makes sure the soap is dispursed in the wash.
    *****Occasionally use 1 cup white vinigar to avoid soap build up and to freshen and soften clothes. It also disinfects.

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