Homemade Laundry Soap – Easy Inexpensive and Effective

It took me a long time to start this blog.

There were many reasons for this. One being my own fear. Would people be interested in my content? Would they like my writing style? Would I have enough ideas to keep it going, and if there were long gaps between posts would I lose readers? Does the amount of readers matter to me, and what happens if I don’t get many?

The second is because I couldn’t decide if I should start with a recipe, something mama related, a natural product that I like, or simply post just to say I’m starting the blog.

The third reason is that after deciding what to start with and writing almost the whole post, the entire draft disappeared and was nowhere to be found.

And after THAT, the fourth reason is that I re-wrote the post, had it almost ready to go, and my internet connection was so bad for three days that I couldn’t even load up my site!

So what I learned through all of this is that I DO have enough love, passion, and interest for the topics I plan to write about because I have had many chances to give up and forget the whole idea of the blog. But here we are. Here is my first post, and you’re here reading it. Hopefully I haven’t already lost your attention before even getting to the subject of today’s post. So before I ramble anymore, let’s get to it!

After giving more thought to the mission of this blog – to encourage and educate on natural homemaking – I chose to start with homemade laundry soap. There are a couple of reasons for this.

One being that it applies to everyone. We all wear clothes, use towels, and sleep with sheets (at least most of us). Even if you don’t do laundry yourself, you are probably using things that were washed in the washing machine with laundry detergent.

Two being that it doesn’t always turn out exactly right.

Have I confused you? Would you expect me to only share something perfected, impossible to mess up? Here are my thoughts: Life is not perfect. Things don’t always go as planned. Accidents happen. We make mistakes. Sometimes dinner ends up on the floor, our tried and true bread recipe doesn’t rise properly, or we shatter a glass a on the floor before 8am. When things don’t go as planned, they can always be solved, worked around, or discarded, and it shouldn’t steal your joy, your confidence, or ruin your day. I want to practice laughing when the bottom of my banana bread sticks to the loaf pan while the top half comes out just fine. Why? Because these are the little things in life. I want to practice “…laughing at the days to come.” (Proverbs 31:25) because the days to come might hold larger bumps in the road than separated laundry soap. Are you with me?

And with this laundry soap, the only thing that has ever gone wrong is that it hasn’t properly homogenized. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. I wish I could explain but after a couple years of making this and troubleshooting, I really don’t know. But what I do know is that either way it will wash your clothes.

If you’re wondering why you should make this at home when you can easily buy it at the store, even for a good price (and you won’t have to shake it), here is why.

This homemade laundry soap is:

  1. Free of Harsh Chemicals such as bleach, fragrances, surfactants (cleaning agent), and carcinogens (a substance capable of causing cancer). These chemicals can cause skin, eye, and lung irritation, respiratory and liver damage, and can potentially cause cancer. Between the three items mentioned above (clothes, towels, and sheets), these things are rubbing up against our body, touching our skin, and leaving behind any residual laundry detergent on us, which can then be absorbed into our bodies. I don’t know about you but I sure don’t want these chemicals inside of me.
  2. Fast and Easy to Make. I make this 1 gallon at a time and it takes me less than 5 minutes, which makes 64 loads worth of soap!
  3. Gentle on Clothing. Anything washed with a gentle soap has the potential to last longer than when washed with conventional soap that can be harsh on clothing.
  4. Cloth Diaper Safe. I know this only applies to some of you, but this soap works great for cloth diapers! No build up from unnecessary chemicals that can cause damage to the diapers which will shorten their life, and no leak or stink issues! Of course you will still need to strip them every once in a while (which I will talk about in a future cloth diapering post), but for the day-to-day this is a great option.
  5. Environmentally Friendly, at least compared to alternatives. Plus, you can use the same container over and over again and don’t have to purchase and discard a jug every time you run out.

For all of these benefits it’s worth the five minutes it takes to make this for me. And before I take any longer to get this posted by trying to perfect it or impress you, here is the recipe!

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Supplies:

1 gallon jug – an empty milk container or a previously emptied laundry detergent container (well rinsed!) will work great.

1 cup baking soda wash- or baking soda (I have had better luck with it homogenizing when using baking soda wash)

1/3 cup salt – you don’t need iodized salt, that’s just what I had on hand

1 cup castile soap – I use unscented

Directions:

Dissolve the baking soda and salt in a few cups of warm water in your jug. Once dissolved, add the castile soap and fill to the top with water. Shake until well mixed. use 1/4 cup per load.

Optional extras:

1/2 – 1 cup of vinegar can be added to the washing machine for the rinse cycle as a fabric softener, brightener, and/or deodorizer. I haven’t found this to be necessary, but depending on your water and the soil level of the items you’re washing, these are options. You can also use vinegar as a stain remover by soaking the effected area for a few minutes to a few hours before washing.

Essential oils can be added for scent – 10 – 30 drops per 1 gallon container of soap, depending on how powerful you want it. You could also purchase scented castile soap if you like one of the options available. Stick with unscented for cloth diapers though.

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Sources:

I have learned the information from this post over the course of a few years. These are not the only sources I learned from but if you’d like to do additional reading these are some useful sources.

Global Healing Center – Do You Know These 6 Facts About Laundry Detergent?

Environmental and Health Assessment of Substances in Household Detergents and Cosmetic Detergent Products

Environmental Working Group – Tide Laundry Detergent Rating

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12 thoughts on “Homemade Laundry Soap – Easy Inexpensive and Effective

    1. Yeah, it’s SO easy! I remember when you used to make laundry soap. In fact, I think you were still doing that when I moved out. My memories of you making it though are grating soap over a pot…or maybe it was just a big bowl or bucket. Anyway, part of the reason I started doing this was because it was normal, nothing new to have homemade soap around : )

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  1. This is definitely the easiest homemade soap recipe I’ve come across. I’ve been buying the simple truth brand of laundry soap but I may just have to give this one a try! What do you use on stains on Estella’s clothes? Gracie’s get so dirty with food or dirt.

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    1. I use Biokleen Bac-Out Stain and Odor Remover (http://www.vitacost.com/biokleen-bac-out-stain-and-odor-remover?q=bac-out&ta=bac-out). It’s a live enzyme and lime extract stain and odor remover. It works well, especially if treated right away. For tougher stains, dish soap works great! I use the brand Planet (http://www.vitacost.com/planet-ultra-dishwashing-liquid-25-fl-oz-3), but I’m sure any would work. Just scrub the affected area with it!

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  2. Yay! You are back!!! Laundry soap was at the top of my list of cleaning products to ask you about. The second was toilets. I am just coming to the end of my toxic cleaners. How do you feel about small amounts of bleach?
    Did a particular incident in Keystone come to mind when you wrote ‘dinner ends up on the floor?”
    😳
    (I spy Stelly’s chair)

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    1. I did think of the Keystone incident, however, I also threw a pizza crust on the floor recently and it ended up breaking apart and we couldn’t use it. We turned it into crispy cracker kind of things and ate it anyway but had to make new pizza crust…

      Personally, I don’t use bleach at all in our home anymore. It’s just such a harsh chemical that I want to be sure we avoid any contact with it, and especially that it wouldn’t be touching surfaces where food prep would be done. Breathing it in is also a concern, of course. Can I prove that small amounts are dangerous? No, at least not right now. But it’s one of those things where I’d rather be safe than sorry.

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  3. Yay! Can’t wait to try it as soon as my current laundry soap is gone! Where do you buy the castile soap? When you use vinegar, do you just use regular white vinegar? Love the name and tagline of this blog 🙂

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    1. The Dr. Bronners brand of castile soap is fairly widely available. I would guess you could get either that brand or maybe a different one at the Dutchmann’s store! Maybe not but it seems like the kind of thing they’d have. You can also get it online at Vitacost.com and Amazon. I’d even check Walmart if I were you. And yes, regular white vinegar. Glad you like the name : )

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  4. I’ve been looking for a new detergent recipe that has better ingredients than what I’d been doing (discovered that Borax is pretty awful stuff…whoops…) and this fits the bill! I own all the ingredients and am almost out of what I’m currently using. Perfectly timed. Thank you Rachel, and I look forward to continuing to read what you write! I’m very excited to learn together 🙂

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