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As a population, we are becoming increasingly aware of what ingredients and chemicals we are putting into our bodies; organic, non-gmo, and natural are all keywords that many of us look for when making a purchase.
However, making the transition to clean, natural, and healthy living need not require commercial products at all. Making your own soap will not only save you money but also increase your confidence in knowing the exact ingredients to which you and your family are being exposed.
Why is Homemade Natural Laundry Soap Better Than Store-bought Alternatives?
Conventional detergents are absolutely loaded with chemicals, including sulfates and chemically-produced fragrances. Many of these ingredients can be harsh on skin, especially that of babies and young children. Many brands also contain naphthenic derived from petroleum distillates that have been loosely linked to cancer and lung disease.
One study has suggested that laundry products are responsible for making around 10% of the population feel ill due to the hazardous and noxious chemicals that are released from some detergents.
Some examples of side effects caused by conventional detergents include:
- skin irritation / rash
By law, US manufacturers of detergents are not required to disclose the ingredients in their laundry products. This means that there is no sure way to know what harmful toxins could be invading your skin.
By comparison, homemade natural laundry soaps are completely within your control. You will know the exact ingredients to which you are exposing yourself and your family. Making it is quick, easy, and cost-effective.
Simple Dry Natural Laundry Soap Recipe
Washing soda and Borax can be found in most local grocery stores alongside other laundry items. Soaps will be available in the health & beauty or organic sections of your supermarket. Alternatively, all items can be bought from various online sources.
What are in these ingredients? Washing soda (also known as sodium carbonate) is made from common salt and limestone and can be found as natural deposits. Borax, made from sodium, boron, oxygen, and water, is a naturally occurring mineral. It can be found in many natural soaps sold in stores, but those are considerably cheaper to make yourself. Most natural soaps are made with pure organic oils, making them more hydrating than fragranced alternatives.
- Grate or blend pieces of the bar of soap until finely ground.
- In a large bowl, mix 2 parts Borax, 2 parts washing soda and 1 part grated soap. At this point, add the baking soda, if desired.
- Transfer to a container with a lid, and store in a cool location.
- Use between 1/8 and 1/4 cup per a load of laundry.
Simple Natural Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe
Can I Use Any Natural Bar Soap?
The more natural the bar soap you buy, the better. A highly recommended option is Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap, which has 100% natural ingredients. Castile soap helps to remove dirt and stains from clothes and is made with fruit fats like olive or coconut oils rather than animal fats. Fruit fats are better for your machine, limiting clogging, and are safe to use if your washer drains into a septic system.
- Grate pieces of the bar of soap.
- Add the grated soap to a pan with 2 quarts water. Heat slowly, stirring until the soap is completely dissolved.
- Put 4.5 gallons of extremely hot tap water into a 5-gallon bucket, and stir in 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of Borax until completely dissolved.
- Add the soap mixture from the pan into the bucket and stir well.
- Cover the bucket and leave overnight.
- The next day, stir the mixture until smooth and pour into containers.
- Use between ½ and 1 cup per load.
How Much Money Can I Realistically Save?
Obviously, the exact cost of the ingredients can vary from store to store, but it is possible to do an approximation based on the following average cost figures.
One box (55 oz.) of washing soda – approx $3.49
One box (76 oz.) of Borax – approx $4.99
One bar of natural soap – approx $2.99
Total cost of ingredients: $11.47
This would make around 32 cups of laundry detergent. Using ¼ cup of your homemade dry detergent per wash load would mean it would work out around $0.09 per wash load. From just that one batch, you could expect to get around 128 loads of laundry cleaned with natural, healthy, and toxin-free soap.
Are There Any Products That I Should Not Use My Natural Laundry Soap On?
It is recommended that this recipe for natural laundry soap not be used on cloth diapers as it will eventually cause them to repel rather than absorb liquids. Pure soap can deteriorate lamination and create tiny pinholes, essentially rendering all waterproofing useless. Borax is also debated in terms of reliability for cloth diaper use, but many recipes for natural cloth diaper laundry soaps still use it.
Recipe for Natural Cloth Diaper Laundry Soap
- Mix all ingredients together and store in a container with lid in a cool dry location.
- For a hot wash: add 2-3 tbsp depending on load size and soil level
- For a cold wash: add 1-2 tbsp depending on load size and soil level
- If you find that the diapers are not clean enough, add an extra tablespoon of soap.
What Other Natural Products Can I Use in My Laundry?
- White vinegar is a great alternative to store-bought fabric softeners. If you do not have a fabric softener cup, make sure you add the vinegar after the soap has been rinsed off of the clothes, late in the cycle. If you add the vinegar too soon, it will cancel out the washing ingredients and you will need to start the wash again.
- If your clothes become dingy, add approximately ½ tsp of citric acid, usually found in the dishwashing section of your grocery store, along with the laundry soap. Make sure it does not come into contact with any vinegar.
- For serious stain removal power, add a ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide or a tablespoon of Baby OxiClean to the wash. Note: this requires pre-wash spot testing to ensure it does not bleach your garments.
- Woolen dryer balls not only help speed up the drying process but also act as a natural fabric softener.
Adding Essential Oils
If you are looking for anything other than a natural soap smell, it is possible to add essential oils to your homemade laundry soap recipe. These essential oils are natural, and you can choose exactly how much or little scent you wish to add. They have natural properties that can be used to your benefit.
- Citrus oils such as lemon and orange help boost the cleaning power of your laundry soap.
- Suffering from colds or flu? Peppermint and Eucalyptus Essential Oils can help alleviate congestion.
- Tea tree oil can be used for its antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Ways to Add Essential Oils to Your Laundry
If you use white vinegar as a fabric softener, add 3-5 drops of your chosen Essential Oil to each cup of vinegar used. This simultaneously adds scent and deodorizes.
Alternatively, if you use baking soda to freshen each wash cycle, add 15 drops of Essential Oil to each 16 oz. box; shake it well to mix thoroughly.
Essential Oil Scent Combinations
For a Minty Blend:
For a Citrusy Blend:
For a Flowery Sweet Blend:
For a Romantic Blend: