10.23.2013

homemade laundry soap

It's been a while since my last post....I'm still here, just haven't been motivated to do much of anything in the past month.  I have a lot of catching up to do!  I did, however, try my hand at making laundry soap. I'm not sure why I waited so long because it's actually very easy to make.

When I was looking at recipes, I noticed there were a few variations.  I decided to keep it simple and go with the most popular one that had only three ingredients....borax, washing soda and Fels-Naptha.  I also chose to make the powdered form over the liquid form because it's easier to make and takes up less storage space.


The recipe:

1 cup 20 Mule Team borax (sodium tetraborate)- stain remover and deodorizer...more info here
1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda (sodium carbonate)- a water softener, stain remover...more info here
1 bar Fels-Naptha, Zote or handmade* soap, 5 oz., grated  (* link to handmade suggestions below)

Mix together and there you have it...homemade laundry soap!
Use 1 Tbsp-2 Tbsp per load.  (safe for HE machines)


All ingredients can be found in the laundry section at Walmart, although I couldn't find Zote, just the Fels-Naptha.  I actually ended up making my own soap to replace the Fels-Naptha because I didn't care for the scent...or the ingredient list (I wanted to make mine more natural). 

*I did a quick search on etsy for handmade "laundry bar soap" and was able to pull up some listings here, if one was wanting to go the more natural route.  Just make sure that the soap is formulated for laundry, and not a regular bar of handmade soap.  Why is that?  Because most soapmakers "superfat" their soaps....a better understanding of it can be found here.  Those extra (unsaponified) oils are good for your skin...not on your clothes!


I made 100% coconut oil soap with 0% superfat, scented with sweet orange essential oil.


 
I grated the bars of soap using a cheese grater (smallest-sized shreds) and let the shreds dry out for about a week before combining with the borax and washing soda.

I also cut up one bar to make stain sticks. These are working very well for me!  I dip the bar in water and rub into the stain.  I've only used them on grease/food stains so far, and the stains are coming out.  Sometimes it takes two tries, but they do come out.


This step isn't necessary...you can combine the shreds, borax and washing soda and be done.  I went an extra step and used a food processor to grind them into a fine powder.

The results:
It's been about two weeks now and I've been using homemade laundry soap only. The clothes haven't discolored, they don't stink, and they don't have any residue on them.  The clothes look and feel clean...the laundry soap is working great!  I plan on making a lot more of it, just need to find a larger container to store the soap in. 

Additional notes:
  • Even though I scented my soap with sweet orange essential oil, none of the scent comes through in the wash.  I can faintly smell it in the container, but the clothes do not come out with scent on them.  I'm ok with this because I don't care for strong-smelling detergents anyway.  Plus, my son has eczema, so the less fragrance (and other chemicals), the better.
  • I recommend visiting the DIYNatural website for more in-depth information on making your own laundry soap...it's very informative! Cost savings breakdown, toxicity, HE washers (info on front-loading machines also), tutorials...they have lots of information.  
  Edited to add a link to a video (thanks Maja!):
  •  If you're a visual learner and want to see the process, this video by Soaping 101 is excellent.  The link to the video is here.  There are segments on making your own washing soda and stain sticks as well!
I will continue to use my homemade laundry soap, and if anything changes I will definitely report back!

17 comments:

  1. Your laundry soap looks great Kalla! Glad to see it's working so well for you, I should try this for sure!

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    1. Thanks Cee! It's so easy to make..you'll have to give it a try!

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  2. Hi, Kalla! Nice that people want to change their every day rutins more natural and ecofriendly. That laundrysoap bar you made works fine without any borax and other stuff, if you want to try. I've been using mine about a year now, and I've been very happy with it. It's better for skinproblems (I am atopic). And you can get very faint scent to your laundry using only grated soap (assuming that you have scented that).

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    1. Hey there, Signe! I agree...it's so nice to be able to make your own natural and ecofriendly products. And they work just as good or better than the commercial stuff!

      Thanks for the tip...so you don't mix your grated soap with anything at all...you just add grated soap ONLY to the washer? I haven't heard of that...I have a seen a couple of recipes where it was grated soap and baking soda only or grated soap and washing soda only. I have hard water also...do you think if I used just the grated soap, that it would still clean my clothes just as well?

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  3. At least here in Finland it cleans well enough, but we do have softer water here, I think. And of course, plain soap don't do the whitening part itself, you need to do that otherwise, if needed. Borax has been classified as a poisonous stuff here since 2009, so I wouldn't put it in to laundry soap if I wanted it to be sensitive for skin. I have never seen any washing soda here, so I don't know anything about that. Some people use baking soda in their laundry, but I'm a bit worried if it won't rinse well enough and then might cause more skin problems. So I use only grated soap in washing ball (sometimes I use washing nuts) and sometimes I add some vinegar as a softener in rinses. And my clothes are as clean as they were earlier, when I used that ready laundry detergent from store. But try once with something not so important clothes, so you can see if it works there too?

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    1. I had read that about the borax...and then I had read that it was fine for clothes because it's rinsed out. Such conflicting information, lol. I also saw a recipe with citric acid, but that it could be irritating for sensitive skin so I didn't use it. I will try a small load (towels or old clothes) like you said with just the grated soap and see how it cleans. Thanks Signe! :)

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  4. I made the laundry detergent a while ago and used it up! The recipe was similar to yours,but i had made two batches-one of coconut oil, another one of lard. I mixed them up, after having them grated.
    We also have hard water (I hate it) and I used more of detergent than recommended (1-2 TBS), or I might be used to putting more,as I like to put more of commercial detergent,even if I need to double water the laundry. That's why my homemade detergent isn't economically justified. But, I need to say here that I'm perfectly satisfied with my strain removal stick, it works excellent for me.
    Just a side note for Signe- I can not find washing soda either, but I made it on my own. There is a video on 'Soaping 101' YT channel on how to do that. Basically, you need to place ordinary baking soda (NaHCO3) into the oven on law setting for half an hour,or so.
    I'm glad Kalla that this detergent works for you, you also can try lard. I will certainly check the links you're referring to.

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    1. Sorry for the typo, of course it was 'stain', not 'strain'!

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    2. The batch I made is almost gone...I think I have enough for one more load. I used heaping Tablespoons too (I'm used to using more of the commercial detergent too)...once I make a larger batch, I'll have to see if it's economical for me as well. I have some grated soap that is still drying out before I make more. I was surprised at how well the stain stick works! I'm going to give a couple to family members and see what they think about them.
      I forgot about the Soaping 101 video...I remember watching that one, and it's very good. Thanks for mentioning that, maybe I should put the link to that one too. :)
      I might try lard one of these days...I haven't used it in the longest time. I will probably mix it with the coconut oil too, as you do. Not sure if all lard will be cleansing enough?

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    3. O, sure it will be. That's what our grannies used for cloth washing. When they washed white laundry, they would grate the lard soap, put everything into the huge cauldron and set on the fire. The laundry would be beautifully white and crispy clean. The colourful cloth was also washed with lard soap. No washing soda, no borax and yet, it worked for them. The video I mentioned above is about lard soap, as well.

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    4. I can't imagine having to wash clothes like that, lol...we've come a long way! Good to hear the lard does a great job at cleaning...I'll have to try it out. Thanks! :)

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  5. I have made liquid washing detergent for 1-2 years now. Can´t remember exactly for how long :) I use home made soap, baking soda, salt and water. And the clothes are as clean as with any other commercial detergent. I also put some vinegar as a softener and the clothes just smell clean. The liquid detergent turns to a thick gel after a while and it is easy to use.
    To Signe: You can order washing soda from the internet in Finland, but as Maja says. It is very easy to make your own.

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    1. Wow, you've been using yours for 2 years now? Glad to hear your recipe is working so well for you! :) I haven't used vinegar yet as a softener...I stopped using commercial fabric softener a couple of years ago...now I'm looking forward to trying the vinegar!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your recipe and method for making laundry soap, Kalla! I have not tried homemade laundry soap, but it is an intriguing idea.

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    1. You're welcome Jenny! I've never tried it before either..even before making my own. It's so easy to make and it really does get the clothes clean! :)

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  7. Thanks for sharing your recipe and experience, Kalla! I use a similar recipe, but still I add some sodium percarbonate( used to destain, deodorize, and whiten)and sodium bicarbonate( used as softener and deodorizing agent).
    I will never go back to commercial washing powder and I am sure I am not alone to think this way, isn't it?

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    1. So I had to look up some info on the sodium percarbonate....looks like it's oxy-boost or something like that? I looked for some products at the store and I think I found one, but there was no "real" ingredient label...just said "may contain this and may contain that" :/
      I have a little bit left of the commercial detergent, but I'm going to be making the switch to only using the homemade stuff! :)

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