Homemade All Natural Laundry Soap

Super easy and non-toxic

Super easy and non-toxic

Making laundry soap isn’t the most exciting thing to do on a Saturday morning, but in the pantheon of household chores, this ranks in the “very tolerable” category in both time and money.  I started to make my own soap out of necessity as our former residence had the hardest water ever which, after washing, left a crummy residue on our clothes when the soaps did not dissolve.  I started to do research about natural solutions to this conundrum and discovered that both borax and washing soda work well in hard water.  I then found many recipes for homemade laundry soaps using both ingredients and, after some test runs, have settled on the following.  This formula is an extremely affordable way to use natural laundry detergent without the steep price of manufactured natural soaps — at pennies a load.  Nothing costs a penny anymore, except this!

Grating the soap bar.

Grating the soap bar.

All you need is washing soda, borax, baking soda and a bar of natural soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s because I like to have a little bit of fragrance in the soap), and a bucket.  The first step is grating the bar of soap; I use a cheese grater.  Once grated, I grind the soap in an old food processor (it’s missing half a blade so I kept it for this purpose but you can use your regular appliance and wash it post soap-making) with a cup of one of the powdered ingredients until the soap is about the same consistency as typical laundry soap.  Place all of the ingredients in a bucket and mix, shaking until everything is incorporated.  The process from start to finish takes all of 10 minutes which is about the same amount of time it takes to walk down a couple of aisles in the grocery store.  Yep, this recipe is easy peasy lemon squeezy, as my former kindergartner students used to say.  The best part is that you only use a tablespoon to do a load of laundry, so your batch will last you at least a couple of few months.

Homemade laundry soap — adapted from many online recipes and tested by our household

  • 3 cups of borax
  • 3 cups of washing soda
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 bar of natural soap (i.e. Dr. Bronner’s), grated

That is really it!  All of these ingredients can be easily procured at your local store.  As a bonus, this recipe also works well for people with sensitive skin as there are no harsh ingredients.  Give it a spin and you will see that making your own laundry soap is loads better than what you can buy.

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Blowin’ in the Wind

Alternative Dryer

Alternative Dryer

Laundry is just a part of life. Even with my very un-complicated laundry process, not to mention minimal amount of laundry, I would still rather do many other things besides actual laundry. However, I like clean clothes and bedsheets just like pretty much everyone else, so it always gets done. Letting the laundry languish until I am down to my most uncomfortable unmentionables is a practice I left behind shortly after college. Is there any way to make laundry more pleasant, less tedious?

Those who know me know that for many, many years I pined for the simplicity of both a clothesline and chickens of my own; two things that signified a backyard and a simpler lifestyle. And, lucky me, I got to have these for a couple of years. Having chickens of my own has forever made me elitist about grocery store eggs, although I am once again a consumer of those bland light yellow things. And having a clothesline made laundry a bit less tedious — it really did. I don’t exactly know why because logically it actually makes the process a bit more cumbersome, schlepping wet things outside instead of idly tossing them into a nearby machine. But something about stepping out, taking a few minutes to hang up things and then letting nature do the rest was more relaxing to me. The breeze did the majority of the work for me and watching the clean clothes gently sway outdoors was a calming sight.

Clotheslines were once the norm and now relics, favored by a select few. Even in dry climates, it is rare to see a clothesline even when more “progressive” green doodads (i.e. solar panels) are abundant. It is such a simple way to save energy (and money) and an easy way to just make laundry lighter, yet no longer common as a part of a household. I have heard of covenants across planned communities that actually ban clotheslines in their neighborhoods because they are unsightly. Seriously? We have gotten to a point where hanging our laundry outside is unattractive yet, culturally speaking, we air our proverbial “dirty laundry” out on the internet for all to see. Is it such a big deal in our culture of over-sharing to catch a glimpse of someone’s undergarments hanging in a backyard? Are we really that nosy to even notice? And, with some of the “fashions” displayed today, are we even shocked by underwear anymore? (I’m presuming that these laws are more about seeing underwear versus t-shirts or towels; I could be mistaken.) I think banning clotheslines in backyards is ridiculous, however I just read my lease, and we cannot have clothes hanging on our balconies either so apparently I too am one of the victims of the ban.

Now laundry is back to being just another chore, another task to cross off the to-do list. I have fond memories of the clothesline and its simple help. I know that one day, I will again embrace this “green” technology making laundry day a bit more pleasant.