Not the most exciting title, I know, but, hey, it's a very important part of life! Making your own laundry soap isn't exactly a new idea. I know a lot of people who do it and there are lots of different recipes and concoctions to try. However, I also know a lot of people who have maybe never thought about it, or would otherwise never consider it. So, I thought I'd share with you the recipe I use and my reasons for why I choose to make my own.
Reason #1: It's cheap! I've never done the calculations, but I do know that I'm not spending $9 every couple months on a jug of heavily scented Tide!
Reason #2: It's easy. Every few months, I take about 15 minutes to make up a batch. The hardest part is grating a couple bars of soap with a cheese grater.
Reason #3: Less waste! I'm no longer recycling big laundry detergent jugs! I now have simple cardboard boxes a few times a year that we can either burn or recycle. It's great!
Reason #4: I know exactly what's in it! This is the biggest reason for me. I've been working for the past year to get the chemicals and harsh cleaners out of my home. Knowing exactly what is in my laundry soap has become very important to me. It's easy to read food labels and pretty much know what you're eating, but cleaner labels are not held to the same standards. I'm not really a fan of bringing things into my home and washing the clothes that touch my skin all day with things that have ingredients such as "cleaning agents" in them. These may be perfectly harmless, but they also may be perfectly toxic! I love that making my own laundry soap enables me to know exactly those "cleaning agents" are.
So, there you have it! Those are my simple reasons why I choose to take a bit of time every few months to make my own soap. Since it's just my husband and I for now, I typically make the following recipe in single batches. However, if I were running the washer more often, I would definitely double or triple the recipe for efficiency purposes.
2 cups grated soap (I make my own, but I used to use a mixture of Fels-Naptha and Ivory. Fels-Naptha is a hard laundry bar and Ivory is cheap and soft, which makes it easy to grate. Fels-Naptha can be found in the laundry isle at a lot of the big stores like Target, Walmart, Cub, etc.)
1 cup washing soda (This is an all-natural product--Sodium Carbonate, but is different from baking soda--Sodium Bicarbonate. You should be able to find it in the laundry isle. Arm & Hammer is the most common brand.)
1 cup borax (This is an all-natural detergent that can also be found in the laundry isle. Some have objections as to whether it's safe or not. This blog post pulls together a lot of what the experts have to say about that. 20 Mule Team is a good brand.)
I grate my soap using a cheese grater. Since it's soap, and I make my own, I use my cheese grater from the kitchen. I figure it just makes it cleaner. Mix all of the ingredients together until the grated soap breaks down a bit and you have a powder-like consistency. Store in an airtight container.
Use 2 tbs for a full load. I use white vinegar as a fabric softener. I pour about a 1/4 cup into my Downy Ball and throw it into the load. (The fabric softener spot on your washer will also work, but your washer may consistently smell like vinegar).
I find that the detergent works great! Whenever I wash whites or really dirty things, I pour a little extra borax in the load and let them soak a bit. They brighten right up!
So, whether you decide to make your own or not, I do encourage you to think about what kinds of things are in the cleaning products you're bringing into your home. It's amazing how many nasty things are allowed to be in the products we buy!