DIY Laundry Soap

For the second time in my life I’ve made the switch to homemade laundry soap.  The first time it didn’t work out very well because the recipe was complicated, involved dedicated pots and pans, and ended up making my towels repel water instead of absorb it.  I went back to using regular store detergent before I’d even finished the first bottle of that old recipe.  But the reasons for using a homemade laundry soap still existed.

  • the dyes and fragrances are toxic to people and environment
  • the detergents are often toxic to the local water supply
  • store bought is expensive and you have all those containers to throw away or recycle
  • even the dye-free/fragrance-free brands still irritate our skin

Then while listening to one of the online summits last year I became convinced that I needed to try again. I’ve been taking baby steps to reduce the chemicals in our house from cleaning products. So I gave it another try. I like this new recipe better. It’s based on one from DIY Natural and is a powdered product rather than liquid so the whole thing is quick and easy to make. I can customize the fragrance using my own essential oils, and clean up is a snap. It works well for all our laundry situations from towels to delicates to dirty baseball uniforms.

Since the homemade soap is very, very low sudsing it is safe to use in H.E. washing machines. The kind of bar soap you choose is important. I choose a coconut castile soap because it is an efficient cleanser, but not irritating to skin. Other kinds of castile soaps would also work, as would a pure soap such as Ivory or a laundry soap such as Fels Naptha.

Last month when I was out of town for FPEA Homeschool Day at the Capitol with the kids, my husband decided to do laundry. I had just run out of the DIY soap so he went to Publix and bought the smallest bottle of their store brand he could find and washed some of his shirts. Just that one time of using commercial detergent and he was ready for me to switch back to the homemade brand – his shirts all made him itchy and uncomfortable! So I know I’m making a difference with the homemade. Here’s the easy recipe:

DIY Laundry Soap
Recipe type: laundry soap
Make your own dye-free, fragrance-free laundry soap. Save money and reduce the chemicals in your house.
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 1 cup of borax
  • 1 bar of natural soap such as a castile soap
  • 10-20 drops of essential oil of your choice
  1. Using a box grater, grate the bar of castile soap into a large bowl.
  2. Combine the grated soap, borax, washing soda and essential oils.
  3. Mix thoroughly for several minutes to be sure it is well combined.
  4. Use 2 level tablespoons of soap mixture for each large load of laundry.


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