When my younger daughter was a baby, I faced two separate realities: (1) I didn’t want to use commercial, scented laundry detergents on her clothes, and (2) I couldn’t afford the unscented ones. I explored homemade laundry soap, and discovered it is very easy to make.
First, I whipped up some very basic soap, and by basic, I mean basic! Half palm oil, half coconut oil, very low lye discount. This soap would get a body clean, but it would be much harsher than my usual soaps. Not great for bodies, but fabulous for dirty clothes. I used the crockpot to make it go quicker, then let my soap cure for a few days.
Once it had cured a little, I grated it with a cheese grater. (I could have used a food processor for this, but I like physically making my shreds by hand.) I spread my grated soap out on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper and set it aside to dry out the rest of the way. After two weeks, my soap shreds were wonderfully brittle to the touch, so I knew they were ready for the next step.
I put those little buggers in my food processor and processed all that soap into powder. I measured out two cups of soap powder into a bowl, added one cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and one cup of Borax, and stirred it all together with a spoon. Then I poured it all into a repurposed large yogurt container (clean, of course) and placed it on my dryer.
We have used this regularly, and it worked great, even on my baby’s dirty cloth diapers. When I clean my soapmaking equipment, I wipe it down with a rag, and I wash these rags with our regular laundry. This means, it can be anybody’s guess what our laundry will come out smelling like. One time I had washed a load of my baby’s laundry, and the only rag I had was from a batch of Orange Patchouli soap. Patchouli really sticks, and I had a little hippie baby for a few days. And so a patchouli lover was born.
Using this soap on laundry besides that of my daughters, I discovered that it wasn’t quite cutting it on my husband’s dirty, grimy work socks. They were coming out clean, but not as sparkling white as I wanted, and that dinginess was spreading to my whites. I tried increasing how much soap I used. Didn’t work. I added more washing soda straight to the load. It helped some. Then someone suggested using Oxyclean in place of the washing soda. Oxyclean is like washing soda, plus some. It worked! I tried it in my next batch of laundry soap mixture, and it worked like a dream. It does make it a little less than completely natural, but the end result is still mostly natural, and our socks are bright white again.
You can click the beautiful picture above to purchase some of this fabulous soap for yourself. I will soon be playing around with homemade, natural fabric softener sheets and will post those instructions for you when I do.
I wrote about homemade laundry soap at the urging of my friend April, and I’m happy to share my natural alternative tricks. About what natural home and personal care DIY products would you like to read?