Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Homemade Natural Laundry Soap

I've read about homemade laundry soap for a while now, but admittedly, I didn't think it would work very well. In an effort to be more environmentally conscious, I've tried several different environmentally friendly brands. They all failed miserably, and quickly ended up on the "free table" of our shared laundry room. So much for saving money or the environment. 
However, after trying (and loving) some other homemade household product recipes, I decided to at least give it a try.

Results: I was very pleasantly surprised (actually, thrilled), but the REAL test was with Mr. SugarBee. He can be quite discerning (persnickety, really - not a bad thing when it comes to DIY recipes, as I tend to be overly optimistic) when it comes to homemade substitutions, and I knew that if this recipe didn't pass muster, we'd go right back to store-bought laundry soap.

It passed with flying colors! Our laundry has NEVER been this clean before.

What a liberating feeling it is to not be dependent on mass-produced products, and this alternative in particular is a major deal to me.
Until I tried this recipe, I thought I was stuck shelling out mucho dinero for laundry detergent...

Well... not any more...

DIY Natural Laundry Soap
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 (3 oz.) bar soap (I used Ivory), finely grated*
  • 1 cup Washing Soda** (I've had the hardest time finding this, but converted Baking Soda [NaHCO3] to Washing Soda [Na2CO3] by baking it at 400F for an hour)
  • 20-30 drops Essential Oils (I used Lemongrass, Lemon, & Lavender).
Mix until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
Store in an airtight container.

Use 2 Tbsp per load (I've used up to 1/4 cup for heavily soiled loads)

*I've found that if I unwrap my bars of soap, and leave them out for a day or two, the bar hardens/dries out a bit, which makes for much more finely-grated soap.

**When I first started experimenting with this recipe, I could not find washing soda locally. It is readily available online (i.e., but the cost of shipping increased the overall cost. After a bit of research (here, for example), I found that I could easily convert baking soda [NaHCO3] to washing soda [Na2CO3] by baking it at 400F for about an hour). Eventually, a friend found a source for washing soda, and since it was only $2.50 for a 55 oz. box (FAR cheaper than baking soda), I eagerly accepted her offer to pick up a few boxes for me.
In a pinch, I'd use the DIY method again, as it really did work to my satisfaction.

FUN FACT: You know that distinctive "Ivory Soap scent"? Guess what it is? Ginger root! Go ahead, sniff for yourself. :)

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