In our efforts to go as homemade and natural as possible, I decided it was time to switch to homemade laundry detergent because…well…I was running out of the store bought stuff, lol! So after going over probably 30 recipes and finding a few that used products I already had (I was not going to go buy anything to make this happen!) I found the one I wanted to do. I had actually had it saved on Pinterest for about 2 years!!! Finally…the time has come!
Let me clarify why I call this ALMOST all natural! Reason being is the recipe calls for any bar of soap you want to use…which isn’t natural unless you make your own. In the future after I’ve learned how to make homemade soap then my laundry soap will be made with THAT and at that time I’ll feel more comfortable calling it “all natural homemade laundry soap”. =)
I really dislike those recipe blog posts that are like 15 paragraphs long and you have to skim through all that and all their photos before you get to the actual ingredients and directions SO I won’t do that to you. In case someone comes across this post simply to check the ingredients list and see if it includes what they want to use or have on hand, then here ya go!
1 bar of soap (any kind you want)
2 cups of Borax
a big pot ( that holds more than 2 gallons or if you don’t have one you can improvise like I did)
a long spoon
2 empty gallon jugs/containers
*optional essential oil for scent
How ya do it simply:
1-Grate your soap into your big pot off of the stove.
2-Pour 1 gallon of hot tap water to your pot, put pot on stove and bring to a boil.
3-After a rolling boil, add your borax to the pot. It will bubble up, that’s normal.
4-Let this mixture boil long enough that it thickens up slightly. It won’t become a gel but it will feel slightly different in consistency.
5-After that you add your 1 gallon of cold tap water to the mixture. Your pot will be full or close to. The mixture will take on the color of whatever soap you used, FYI. Simmer that for maybe 5 minutes.
6-Remove from heat, turn off stove, let it sit for about 20 mins.
7-Add your drops of essential oil to the mixture for whatever scent you want.
8-Use your funnel in your clean, dry jug (I used milk jugs) to pour your mixture into.
9-Put it in your laundry room and use. Each time you use it give it a shake first and then measure out 1 cup per load of laundry. All done!
Now for the detailed picture filled description of what to do and what everything looks like during the process in case you like those kinds of posts! =)
Grating the Dove white bar of soap (the bar soap I use myself and have in bulk). This was fun, not like cheese but still fun!
Just the middle left now…
This is what it looks like in the pot with a whole bar of soap grated into it. It actually makes a lot!
Pour your 1 gallon of hot tap water into the pot and turn on the heat!
Bringing it to a boil…
Then add your 1 cup of borax…(see disclosure below, you really need 2 cups of borax)
After adding borax it foams up like this.
Disclosure: I first did everything up to this point, added 1 cup of borax, brought to a boil and rather quickly the bubbles rose to the top (like 5 seconds) and I had to move the pot off the burner. So I thought “Okay, I brought it to a boil.” And proceeded with the following steps. After adding cold water I didn’t feel like it was thick enough so worried I hadn’t boiled it enough. I scooped out some water, added a second cup of borax since the recipe I was following called for 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of washing soda and so I decided I’d substitute all borax totaling 2 cups of borax. So then I brought it to a slow, gentle boil to let it roll for a bit to see how if it’d begin to thicken up.
After it boils and thickens only slightly (it won’t be like a gel) add your 1 gallon of cold tap water. Let me say my big pot I have here is my double boiler I use for my pasta and it only holds about 1 and 3/4 gallons, which I measured out and knew before starting the recipe. So for MY recipe I just did 3/4 a gallon of the cold water to bring the mixture up to the rim knowing that when I’m done it will not completely fill 2 milk jugs and that’s fine.
Fillin’ her up to the top…
Letting that mixture sit off the heat to bring the temp down before adding essential oils.
I added lemon because it is a great cleaning agent and I love the way it smells!
This fun process here…adding the mixture to the milk jugs.
As I mentioned above, because the 1 pot I have to boil in only holds about 1 and 3/4 gallons, I knew these jugs wouldn’t be full when I finished. So I just put enough into each to be even…I am OCD after all.
NOW…Some added input on my opinion here. I noticed upon researching this that there is a lot of hype and stigma out there that these homemade laundry soap detergents will not get your clothes clean, leaves dirt and residue in your clothing and whether that be because your soap is weak, the washer doesn’t agitate it enough or whatever…I have formed an opinion on this myself.
Let me give you a brief back story; I don’t buy Tide. I’ve never been able to bring myself to buy products like Tide and Charmin because they’re “the best” and the most expensive. I think that is marketing BS and there are cheaper products that get the job done…or at least almost do. And I have never been one to enjoy wasting money, no matter what that is on. Being as I’ve been a single Mom for a long time and yes I have a boy and they seem to get the dirtiest clothes around and add to that now with me working on this homestead and trying to repair the grounds and stuff, we both frequently have nasty clothes. And we haven’t even started adding farm animals yet!!!! But so what I want to say is that, I have been using generic CHEAP liquid laundry soap (like dollar store cheap) for YEARS. And after moving in here we have this super old, I wouldn’t even dare show ya (lol!) washing machine and no dryer. We hang everything on the line. It was a necessity when we first moved in and I quickly, QUICKLY grew to love it as it reminded me of summers in Arkansas helping my Mamaw with the laundry on her clothes line.
Something about looking out your kitchen window and seeing clothes flapping in the breeze on the line makes me feel like the world is right. Maybe that is a bit dramatic but every time I see my clothes on the line I think to myself “Yep, I’m drying my clothes…TOTALLY…FOR FREE!” It doesn’t require me to buy a dryer, I’m not wasting electricity and therefore I also have cheaper electric bills every month. To me that is a win, win, win all around.
So when I hear people talking about homemade laundry soap just not good enough and maybe even bad for your clothes here are my thoughts I’d like to point out:
1- My homemade laundry soap has now been used on 4 loads of my laundry and my clothes come out of the washer clean.
2-I use a homemade epsom salt scent booster in my wash as well and my clothes home out smelling fantastic.
3-I’m about to make a homemade vinegar fabric softener which will also help with the “health” and longevity of the actual fabric as well.
4-We hang dry our clothes so not only does the sun add another level of disinfectant but the good ol’ fashioned wind makes the clothes smell even more heavenly when I bring them in.
5-I use a homemade stain remover recipe for stains that are real hard to get out and that goes on clothes BEFORE going into the wash, only when needed.
6-We aren’t picky! We are country folk, doing our best to live on the land, get to being one with nature and if 5% of the dirt particles do not come out of my clothes and I put those clothes back on my body do you think I’ll notice? No! Because if it is a day that I’m not leaving home to work with my real estate clients my old jeans, boots and worn out t shirts go right back on me for me to right back outside to work again and get dirty all over again,
7-The conspiracy theorist living inside of me says that all this hype to NOT use homemade laundry soap is media or government driven to STOP people from being or TRYING to be self sufficient. And since I won’t go into politics here, let me just say, I wouldn’t believe any experiment, video or website I saw about how homemade laundry soap doesn’t work because I just don’t want to and I don’t trust most “people’s” opinions. Now if you’re living the same lifestyle I am or am trying to live, and YOU tell me it doesn’t work then THAT is something I’d ponder.