How to Make Laundry Detergent
Updated: Feb 22
Prior to my journey with making sustainable swaps in my home I had never once stopped to think "what's in my laundry soap?" or "why is my laundry soap dyed blue?" Like many of you, I just blindly dumped the blue liquid into the cap, poured it over my clothes and didn't think about it again.
If you would have told a younger version of me that I would be making my own laundry soap one day I don't think I would have believed you. The crafty/thrifty/eco conscious gal in me really enjoyed being able to make my own cleaning and household products. But laundry soap somehow seemed so advanced. Surely it was too complex.
As I started my online vintage store I found myself laundering clothing almost daily. It became incredibly important to use a laundry soap that wasn't toxic to me or aggravating to my respiratory system.
So the research began to discover how I might attempt to make something myself that was effective, inexpensive, but safe for both me and the environment.
To my shock, I found I could clean my clothing with just a few simple ingredients!
Castile Soap is a plant based soap. Because it includes no chemicals or chemical fragrances it is non toxic, it is safe for sensitive skin and biodegradable and earth friendly. Castile is extremely versatile (you'll see it show up in many of my other recipes), it's cheap, and highly concentrated--so a little goes a long way!
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate (which is a salt). It is an alkaline substance that helps to absorb odors by balancing the PH levels. It also softens water which helps to make your soap agent more effective. Dirt and grease are easily dissolved while clothes are in softened water.
Super washing soda is sodium carbonate. It softens the water, which helps the other cleaning ingredients lift soil from the fabrics. The sodium carbonate keeps the dirt, grime, and soil suspended in the water, so it can be carried out when the wash cycle water empties from the washing machine. Castile soap has high mineral content, so using it with hard water can leave soap residue.
**You'll notice the recipe doesn't include Borax. Borax contains phosphates and chlorine that can irritate the skin so I choose to skip it in my laundry soap.
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
4 T Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Liquid Castile Soap
10 Cups of Hot Water
10-20 drops of Essential Oils
-In a glass measuring cup or glass bowl with pour spout, mix Washing Soda and 2 Cups of hot water until powder is dissolved.
-Add Baking Soda 1 T at a time while whisking. Whisk until mixture thickens.
-Stir in Castile Soap.
-Pour into a glass jar big enough to hold entire mixture.
-Add remaining 8 Cups of Water
-Add 10-20 drops of Essential Oil
-Use 1/4-1/3 C of soap per load (depending on load size).
My favorite essential Oil Blends for DIY Laundry Soap:
*17 drops DoTERRA’s Purify | 3 Drops Lavender
*5 Lemon | 5 Wild Orange | 5 Lavender | 5 Tea Tree
*2 Lemon | 8 Grapefruit | 8 Eucalyptus
Pros of Making your Own Laundry Soap
-Its cost effective. This cost me $2.40 cents to make. I get 30-40 loads of wash from one batch, costing me 6-8 cents a load!
-It's non toxic. You know exactly what goes into it and will be touching your skin.
-You reuse the same container. I highly recommend finding a nice glass one with a stainless steel spigot.
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