Recipe at bottom.
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At the end of May I finally made my own liquid laundry soap. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for months now. I got the recipe from David Suzuki, someone every self-respecting Canadian knows the name of (my apologies to any self-respecting Canadian who doesn’t know his name).
The ingredients are Borax, washing soda, a bar of soap, and water. You can add essential oils too but I don’t have any except Melaleuca, which is too expensive to use scenting my laundry.
I found Borax with only a little trouble. It wasn’t at my usual grocery store but it was at another.
The washing soda is what held me up for so long; I couldn’t find it anywhere! I probably could have found it at a health foods store but there’s only one in my town and it’s not in a part of town I usually go to and I just couldn’t find the time (or memory) to make a special trip (you know how you remember the things you want to do only at times when you can’t go do it?). I finally found it at Home Hardware, a store I rarely go to (the last time was years ago). I was so excited when I found it!
As for the bar of soap, David Suzuki says to use an eco-friendly bar but the closest I had to that was a bar of Platinum made by Melaleuca. I figured it was more green than the Dove I usually buy (my husband insists on Dove!).
Here’s how I made my soap:
I grated the bar of soap and put it in a pot with 2L (about 8 cups) of water and put it on medium heat. The soap melted and I mixed it into the water easily.
While that was heating I put 3L (12 cups) of water in a bucket and mixed in ½ cup of Borax and ½ cup of washing soda.
I poured in the soap water and then added 2 more Litres of water. I stirred it all up and with Hubby’s help poured it into three laundry detergent containers I had saved. I had to cut the bottom from a milk jug to use as a funnel.
Even though I had some store-bought laundry soap left I started using my soap right away.
Using the soap:
The first thing I noticed (you can’t hear me but I’m being sarcastic because you couldn’t possibly NOT notice) was that the soap had “gellified”. I tried to pour it and nothing came out. Thinking it had simply formed a layer on top, I shook the bottle and tried again.
This time a little stream of bubbles came out. Not good enough.
So I squeezed the bottle and a tube of soap gel came out. It was kind of funny, actually. So I squeezed the soap tube into the washer (estimating how much tubular soap would make 1/2 cup) and did my load.
Now that I know, I put the bottle of soap in a pot of scalding tap water 15 minutes before I put laundry in. This makes it a liquid again so it’s easy to measure.
So far, all my laundry has been coming out just fine. There hasn’t been any build-up, residue, or added stiffness. In fact, Doll’s diapers actually feel softer now, even after air-drying in the sun!
I’m glad that I didn’t go out of my way to add any essential oils for scent because the bar of soap scented the entire batch quite nicely. If I was using a plain (and actually eco-friendly) soap then I would consider using some oils but I’m glad I didn’t this time because I’m sure the scents from the soap and the oils would compete.
Summary (on liquid soap):
So, to cap it off, I plan to make my own laundry soap from here on out. The box of Borax and washing soda cost something like $8-9 each and I can probably make soap with them for at least a year before they run out.
Compared to the cost (and chemicalness) of store-bought soap it’s obvious that homemade is the way to go.
I should mention though that I had to start planning my loads farther in advance. My homemade soap “gellified” somewhat so I had to put the container in a sink or pot of hot water at least 15 minutes before I put the laundry in. I guess the bar soap reconstituted somewhat. But heating it made it melt again.
So the 7L of homemade soap lasted our house of three people (with diaper laundry) over two months.
After my first batch of liquid soap ran out I was a little fed up with having to heat my soap every time I wanted to use it so just decided to try dry soap.
Dry soap is basically the exact same recipe as liquid, just without any water.
The finished product fit perfectly in a medium Mason jar and you only needed to use 2tbsp per load. But then it only lasted maybe three weeks so I swore I’d never waste money on that again (maybe my recipe just sucked? ).
Summary (on dry soap)
I didn’t notice any difference in the effectiveness (how clean my laundry came) but Doll’s diapers didn’t get soft with this soap. Funny, eh?
So for the reasons of it not lasting as long and not making Doll’s diapers soft (like the liquid soap did) I do not recommend dry laundry soap. Not this recipe, anyway
Liquid Laundry Soap
- 1 bar natural soap (or whatever bar soap you have, in a pinch)
- 2L water
- 3L water
- 1/2 cup Borax
- 1/2 cup washing soda
- 2L water
Step One: grate the bar of soap into a pot and add 2L water (about 8 cups).
Step Two: Heat the pot of soap and water on medium until the soap has completely dissolved.
Step Three: Put 3L (12 cups) water in a large container (eg/ bucket) and mix in Borax and washing soda until dissolved.
Step Four: Add the melted-soap water to the Borax/soda water and stir.
Step Five: Stir in 2L more water.
Step Six: Cover and let stand overnight.
You can pour the soap into more convenient containers or just scoop straight from the bucket. The average load takes 1/2 cup of homemade soap.
Have you tried making your own laundry soap? If not, would you?