Saturday, January 5, 2013

Homemade Laundry Soap

With my heightened awareness of the damages environmental toxins can pose to our mental, emotional and physical health, I have been gobbling up readings and documentaries on regarding using natural, non-toxic cleaning solutions. Nerd alert.

While watching the documentary Chemerical (, I learned the effects of toxic chemicals found in highly marketed cleaning supplies. These were increased allergens, decreased energy, increased risk for cancer and a mirage of serious health issues. Not to mention the environmental impact. The documentary also gives information on what ingredients to stay away from. I was inspired to use natural products to decrease toxins, increase our wellness, and just to see the differences of how well the natural solutions clean as compared to the commercial products. An extra, enticing benefit of this change is that we would be saving A LOT of money per product, which really adds up in the grand scheme of things.

My first switch: Laundry Detergent.

I switched to a more naturally based laundry detergent that is commercially sold at $17-$26 a container. I was not impressed. Thus, I searched for alternatives that were cheaper, and I could control the ingredients that went into what cleaned our clothes. I had previously tried a homemade powdered soap, but I found this ran out fairly quickly. I needed something that would last a long time. My next recipe was inspired from the Chemerical Cookbook Sampler (

Homemade Laundry Soap
  • 34 Cups Water
  • 2 Cups Washing Soda
  • 2 Cups Borax
  • 1 bar grated soap (Natural would be best, I used Ivory because that was all I had access to at the time, but it gets the job done)
In a large stockpot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and dissolve the grated soap. When this has dissolved, add the Borax and Washing Soda and still until mostly dissolved. There will still be some gritty bits at the bottom. Then add the remaining 30 cups of water to the pot, stir, and store. Use about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup per load.

Easy, easy, easy. And I was able to fill a recycled 150 oz container, plus 64 oz in another. These containers had not been filled with any kind of toxic materials, as these will stay in the plastic and contaminate what was put in. I also found that I didn't need to use any fabric softener and the Borax helps to soften the clothes while cleaning. Bonus! Note: like the body wash, soap will have little if any suds, but remember that companies put toxic chemicals to increase the suds production to give the illusion of a cleaner clean. 

Price Breakdown: 
$3.24 per box

$3.38 per box

$1.39 for 3 pack

This is approximately $2 for 214 ounces of laundry soap! Use 1/4 to 1/3 c. per load, you do the math! WAY less than paying $25 for a 150 ounce container of store-bought. Very convincing!

Will often does the laundry, so I asked his opinion. He said that it gets the clothes just as clean. The only difference we noted was with the jeans. Don't over stuff the load, obviously. This is where my impatient, just-get-it-done self had trouble getting them all clean. Stopped that, clean jeans! :)

I made this soap for my family at Christmas in NH, hoping that this too would help my sister's eczema to heal and not be irritated by the chemicals and toxins in commercial laundry detergent. My mom really likes it! 

Happy Laundering! 


  1. I'm sold. Will be making my batch very soon, just one question, please. What do you do about whitening your clothes if needed? Thanks again for sharing!!

  2. Yay, I'm glad! You can use the natural bleach alternative we made: Hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice and vinegar are natural whiteners. And you can add extra borax or washing/baking soda to get things whiter.

  3. The detergent smells good too! It's not flowery or commercial-- it just smells clean.

  4. The partner who recently broke up with me was allergic to all the things, so we were always very careful about what we used. We talked about making our own soap, but never got around to it. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Wow! I'm really tempted to try this! I'm having to cut corners on my spending and I imagine you could even add a couple drops of essential oil (like lavender) to make it smell super nice in addition to super clean! Hmm!!!

  6. Mom (Lisa): I agree! I love that part.

    Jennifer: You're welcome! This could be something all natural and non-toxic just for you.

    Mandarin Designs: Please try it! I agree that essential oil would make it smell wonderful. I may try that on my next batch. Lavender would smell lovely. Perhaps lavender+lemon, or lemon+peppermint (going on what I have in my personal essential oil bag. Good luck!

  7. Oh no! I just bought a huge jug of laundry detergent! Note to self: catch up on reading all your posts! LOL!

    I definitely would like to save some money and help the environment at the same time. I like the idea of adding an essential oils! I can't wait to try this mix!