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Natural Year Challenge: Household - Month Two

Make Laundry SoapLaundry Soap

Welcome to the second step of our Natural Year Challenge! This month we'll begin our transition to natural household products by making our own laundry soap. From the clothes we wear to our pillows and sheets, the chemicals used in commercial laundry products come in contact with our skin 24 hours a day. With just three simple ingredients, you can create a natural alternative that's free of chemicals and fragrances, and will also save you money!

Now that you've purchased your borax, washing soda, and castile soap, you're ready to begin! You have two options for your laundry soap: a powdered version and a liquid version.


Powdered Laundry Soap

This works nicely for high-efficiency (HE) machines because the suds are not overbearing like other powdered detergents. A little goes a long way with this recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. washing soda (make your own, if desired—see our How to Make Your Own Washing Soda article for details)
  • 1 c. borax (see our Borax: Friend or Foe? article for pertinent safety information)
  • 4 oz. grated castile soap (our momsAWARE Online Store offers an excellent coconut castile in both bar and grated forms, as well as an old-fashioned laundry soap uniquely designed for more effective cleaning)

Grate your castile soap using a cheese grater or food processor. Make the shavings as thin as possible to allow for dissolving. Combine all three ingredients using a fork or whisk, and stir quickly and thoroughly. Or use your food processor to do this in a matter of seconds.

(If mixing the ingredients with a food processor, keep one for separate use in the laundry room, as the powders can be tough to clean. Otherwise the food processor or cheese grater can easily transfer from kitchen to laundry room, since contact is made solely with the bar soap and it comes out clean.)

Store in container of choice. Use 1-2 tablespoons per wash, depending on the size of the load.

The powdered soap works best in warm/hot water. Some of the soap may not dissolve when used with cold water. Use the liquid recipe below for gentle/cold cycles.


Liquid Laundry Soap

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. castile soap (1/4 bar if using 4 oz. bar)
  • 3 c. boiling water
  • 1/4 c. washing soda
  • 1/4 c. borax
  • 10 c. water *

Grate castile soap and dissolve in boiling water. Add washing soda and borax. Stir until dissolved. Pour into large container (a 1 gallon glass jar works great). Add 10 c. water and stir. Let set for 24 hours, until it forms a liquid gel. Use 1/2 c. liquid soap for each load.

* Some recipes allow for more dilution. Feel free to add more than 10 c. water.


Consider adding 1/2 c. baking soda to each load to help with stain removal, and 1/2 c. white vinegar in the rinse cycle as a fabric/water softener. Both are excellent antifungal agents. You may also consider adding tea tree oil for additional cleansing.

Making your own laundry soap is truly cost effective. The cost of these recipes ranges from approximately 13-18 cents per load, depending on the type of castile soap used and the amount of laundry soap used per load. The typical commercial laundry detergents range from 25-35 cents per load. If you eliminate fabric softeners and dryer sheets, you'll save even more!

These recipes may require some tweaking in order to accommodate your water's mineral content and your particular washing machine. Once you find what works, you'll love being free from all the chemicals and fragrances, and you'll enjoy the cost savings, too!


In the following video, Andrea demonstrates how fun and easy it is to make your own
natural, fragrance-free laundry soap.

Quotes

"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"...at age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

Dedication