Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How To Make Homemade Laundry Soap and Homemade Fabric Softener

One of the things that I enjoy is to know how things are made so that if I am in a pinch, I can make them up if I have the ingredients on hand.  I do this in cooking and I do this in the home.  Sometimes, I like to make my own laundry soap and I find it often less expensive than the commercial laundry detergents on the market.  It is super easy to make your own laundry detergent with just a few simple, easily obtained ingredients.  I can show you how to make homemade laundry soap in just a handful of easy steps.

Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe

When you make laundry soap, the basic recipe remains the same.  You will need:

·         1 bar soap  (Fels-Naptha, Ivory, Kirk’s Coco-Castile)
·         1 cup sodium carbonate  (Arm & Hammer Washing Soda)
·         ½ cup sodium borate  (20 Mule Team Borax)
·         4 cups hot tap water
·         2 five gallon buckets with a secure lids for storage
·         Essential oil for fragrance (10-15 drops per 2 gallons)
·         Saucepan
·         Used laundry soap bottle/dispenser

Recipe yields 10 gallons at approximately $.01 per load.

Grate the bar of soap into the saucepan and add water to cover.  Melt the soap over medium heat, stirring until completely dissolved.

Fill the five gallon bucket half-full of hot tap water.  Add the melted soap, the sodium carbonate, the sodium borate and mix.  Cover and let sit overnight to thicken.    This is the resulting laundry soap concentrate.  To use, mix half laundry soap concentrate and half water in the laundry soap bottle.  Shake to blend.  You will need to shake each time you use to mix up the ingredients.  Also, this is a low-foam laundry detergent.  If you are looking for a lot of bubbles, they won’t be here.  Bubbles don’t clean clothes, detergent cleans clothes and this is pure laundry detergent.  If you want to add essential oils, go ahead.  Some favorites are lavender, orange, lemon and peppermint.  Otherwise, your clothes may smell more like soap, which is also okay.

Homemade Laundry Soap (Liquid Castile Based)

If you prefer liquid castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s, here is a homemade laundry soap recipe for that type of soap:

·         1 cup Dr Bronner’s liquid castile soap (any variety)
·         1 cup baking soda
·         2 cups warm tap water
·         1/3 cup of sea or other coarse grained salt
·         1 gallon container (any clean jug or milk bottle works)

In the warmed water, stir in the baking soda and salt until completely dissolved.
Add the Dr Bronner’s and pour into your gallon container.  Fill to the top with water and shake to mix.  Use ¼ cup of laundry soap per load.

Recipe yields 1 gallon or 64 loads worth of laundry detergent, price will vary depending on the cost of the Dr Bronner’s – which I find price-y. 

Homemade laundry soap is very cost effective and it gives you the choice, as a consumer, which ingredients and scents or dyes (if any) that go into your laundry soap.   Its impact on the environment is much smaller than commercial equivalents. Each recipe for laundry soap is simple and the ingredients are readily obtainable from your grocery or natural foods store.

For fabric softening, I tend to use just straight white vinegar in the rinse load, and for many things I don’t use fabric softener at all.  For items made of silk or other delicate material, I hang them to dry and allow the iron to soften them when I iron.  On the clothes like jeans that I do soften, I have not experienced clothes smelling like vinegar, regardless of being dried in a dryer or on a clothes rack (or line).  Some people don’t like using vinegar and claim they can smell a faint trace of it on clothes.  So, here’s a frugal recipe that is greener than commercial softeners, but which still uses traditional scents and existing materials:

Homemade Fabric Softener Recipe

·         6 cups hot tap water
·         3 cups white vinegar
·         2 cups inexpensive hair conditioner like White Rain or Suave*
·         1 gallon container (any clean jug or milk bottle works)
·         Clean rags or old washcloths to turn into dryer sheets (if desired) & a storage box

Mix hair conditioner and hot tap water in a bowl or deep pot until all the conditioner is dissolved.  Stir in the white vinegar.  Put into the gallon container and shake to mix again.  Use approximately 2 tablespoons of fabric softener either in a dispenser ball or the softener unit on the machine.  To make dryer sheets, put the rag over the mouth of the jug and tip some out onto the rag.  Squeeze to spread the fabric softener over the rag and toss it the dryer with the load to dry.  (I tend to line dry 50% or more of my clothes, but for some areas doing so is difficult, so dryer sheets might be helpful to make).

*If you use coupons and combine them with sales, often these inexpensive conditioners can be next to or absolutely free!

So, there you have it!  It’s so simple and easy to make homemade laundry detergent and it gives you a sense of control over what chemicals, dyes and fragrances you allow on your body.  I always recommend experimenting with the recipe until you find one that works best for you.  When you make your own laundry soap, it can feel quite satisfying and fulfilling!  It is definitely one of the more fun parts of ‘going green’.

1 comment:

Laundry Service Equipment said...

There are many advantages to making your own soap from raw materials. It's natural. There are no toxic chemicals to harm you or your family. It's cheaper. Making your own laundry detergent can save you a lot money.