Published on January 4th, 2018 | by Sarah Dephillips
Green, Clean DIY Laundry Soap
There may be lurking in your laundry room something even scarier than last week’s monumental pile of dirty clothes. It may sound like the beginning of a Stephen King novel, but the unfortunate truth is that in many homes, this isn’t fiction. The monster in this real-life horror story is a mix of chemicals found right in your typical laundry detergent, fabric softener, whiteners, brighteners, and dryer sheets. Most laundry products contain a host of petrochemicals with a host of side effects that not only affect you and your family, but also anyone/anything downstream of the soapy water that gets drained from your washer.
But you don’t have to break the bank buying expensive organic detergents. Instead, you can make your own laundry soap with surprisingly little money and effort. Now, this article will give two different versions of the same recipe. What’s the difference? Chemically, nothing except some harmless H20. Environmentally, the difference lies in the energy it takes to heat water, needed to dissolve powdered soap in the washer. So if you’re lucky enough to live in a warm climate and you have a solar water heater and can do laundry during the day when your water is being heated by the sun, go for the powdered soap. If you’re heating your water with electricity or gas, go the cheaper (in energy costs) and more eco-friendly route of pre-dissolving your soap so you can wash with cold water.
1 bar grated Castile soap
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
If doing liquid soap: 5 gallons of water and a clean 5 gallon bucket
Step 1: Using an old cheese grater (I got one at a thrift store), grate your bar of Castile soap. Yes, it’ll actually look like delicious grated mozzarella. My husband actually tried to eat it once.
Step 2: If you’re making powdered soap, add the 1 cup Borax and 1 cup washing soda to the grated soap, mix, and put in a sealed container. You’re done! Use 1/4 C for a regular large load of laundry, and wash warm/cold. If you’re making liquid soap, hang on to that grated soap and skip to step 3.
Step 3: For liquid soap: Boil 1 quart of water in a large pot. Add your bar of grated soap gradually, stirring gently until the soap is dissolved.
Step 4: Put 2 gallons of hot tap water in the 5 gallon bucket. Mix in the borax and washing soda until it’s all fully dissolved.
Step 5: Pour the dissolved soapy water into the borax/washing soda bucket. Mix well and add another gallon and 11 quarts warm water to bring it up to 5 gallons (or close to it).
Step 6: Store in gallon jugs or old laundry soap containers. Use about 2/3 C for regular large loads, or about 1/3 C for HE washers. Wash cold/cold.
And that’s it! Both versions are simple and economical, and at least if you’re going through the extra steps of making it liquid, you have 5 gallons of laundry soap to show for it. Now go tackle that other monster in the laundry room – last week’s dirty clothes!