Make Laundry Soap
Welcome to the second step of our Natural Year Challenge! This month we'll begin our transition to natural household products by making our own laundry soap. From the clothes we wear to our pillows and sheets, the chemicals used in commercial laundry products come in contact with our skin 24 hours a day. With just three simple ingredients, you can create a natural alternative that's free of chemicals and fragrances, and will also save you money!
Now that you've purchased your borax, washing soda, and castile soap, you're ready to begin! You have two options for your laundry soap: a powdered version and a liquid version.
Powdered Laundry Soap
This works nicely for high-efficiency (HE) machines because the suds are not overbearing like other powdered detergents. A little goes a long way with this recipe!
- 1 c. washing soda (make your own, if desired—see our How to Make Your Own Washing Soda article for details)
- 1 c. borax (see our Borax: Friend or Foe? article for pertinent safety information)
- 4 oz. grated castile soap (our momsAWARE Online Store offers an excellent coconut castile in both bar and grated forms)
Grate your castile soap using a cheese grater or food processor. Make the shavings as thin as possible to allow for dissolving. Combine all three ingredients using a fork or whisk, and stir quickly and thoroughly. Or use your food processor to do this in a matter of seconds.
(If mixing the ingredients with a food processor, keep one for separate use in the laundry room, as the powders can be tough to clean. Otherwise the food processor or cheese grater can easily transfer from kitchen to laundry room, since contact is made solely with the bar soap and it comes out clean.)
Store in container of choice. Use 1-2 tablespoons per wash, depending on the size of the load.
The powdered soap works best in warm/hot water. Some of the soap may not dissolve when used with cold water. Use the liquid recipe below for gentle/cold cycles.
Liquid Laundry Soap
- 1 oz. castile soap (1/4 bar if using 4 oz. bar)
- 3 c. boiling water
- 1/4 c. washing soda
- 1/4 c. borax
- 10 c. water *
Grate castile soap and dissolve in boiling water. Add washing soda and borax. Stir until dissolved. Pour into large container (a 1 gallon glass jar works great). Add 10 c. water and stir. Let set for 24 hours, until it forms a liquid gel. Use 1/2 c. liquid soap for each load.
* Some recipes allow for more dilution. Feel free to add more than 10 c. water.
Consider adding 1/2 c. baking soda to each load to help with stain removal, and 1/2 c. white vinegar in the rinse cycle as a fabric/water softener. Both are excellent antifungal agents. You may also consider adding tea tree oil for additional cleansing.
Making your own laundry soap is truly cost effective. The cost of these recipes ranges from approximately 13-18 cents per load, depending on the type of castile soap used and the amount of laundry soap used per load. The typical commercial laundry detergents range from 25-35 cents per load. If you eliminate fabric softeners and dryer sheets, you'll save even more!
These recipes may require some tweaking in order to accommodate your water's mineral content and your particular washing machine. Once you find what works, you'll love being free from all the chemicals and fragrances, and you'll enjoy the cost savings, too!
In the following video, Andrea demonstrates how fun and easy it is to make your own
natural, fragrance-free laundry soap.