I’m so crunchy, I make my own laundry soap!

And ya know what, cats and kittens?  You can do it too!  Really!  It’s so easy that you’ll wonder why you never did it before!

You’re going to need a big pot, a spoon, some empty detergent containers, soap and borax.  That’s all.

What’s the advantage of making your own laundry detergent?  I’m so glad you asked!

For starters, it’s a heckuvalot cheaper than the stuff you buy in stores.  Because you control what goes into it, you have complete control over the end product.  The ingredients that I use are about as eco-friendly as it gets, so yay for those of you putting laundry water into your septic tank.  Besides that?  Well, it’s just fun!!  Lets get started?

The first step in your frothy freedom is heating up a pot of water.  I use my old Tide detergent bottle that holds 100 ounces.  A little more or less one way or another truly does not matter.  ( I cook like this, too — drives my husband nuts!)  Once your water is hot, but not simmering, you’re going to add about two ounces of shaved hard soap.  I use Dr Brommer’s Castile soap.  It comes in lots of yummy scents, its great for sensitive skin, organic, certified Fair Trade, NOT tested on animals, vegan, and packaged with recycled products.  Pretty darn good, huh?  It looks like this:

Got it? Most natural foods stores carry it.  I love switching out the scents depending on my mood and the season.  You can even mix and match!  One bar gives me three bottles of detergent.  They go about $4.00 a bar, which isn’t bad.  You don’t need to use castile.  In fact, ANY soap works.  I know people who save body bar ends for this purpose, or mini hotel soaps.  We’re kinda crunchy around here, so I go with Dr. Bronner’s.  It does also come in a liquid form:

If you use this, you’ll have to tweak the amounts just a little.  I’d use about a third of the bottle.  Tons of yummy scents again, and just as friendly as the bar soap!

So…to your nicely hot water, you’re going to add the soap of your choice.  Really, just grate it or shave it, and  toss it in.  If you choose to use a solid soap, a little patience is going to be required as those lovely little bits get all melted into the water.  Stirring is good, patience is better.  I’ll start a pot going before I start washing the dishes, and typically by the time I’m finished my soap is all lovely and melted.  It’s important to melt all these little bits in well.  Of course, if you’re using the liquid version you won’t have this issue.  Stir it for a bit, though, to make sure that everything is incorporated well.

Next comes our Borax.  You can find it anywhere, typically in either the cleaning or laundry aisle.  Its pretty much my go to now for all my cleaning needs.  It does a great job as an abrasive, and helps “boost” my laundry.  In fact, sometimes I add a little extra to my loads just for fun.  Borax is totally natural and safe for your washer, plumbing, & septic.  Its cool stuff!  To your soapy slurry, you’ll want to add between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of Borax.  A four pound box is about $2.00, and if you just use it for laundry its going to last forever.  Stir the two together, and let them cool before funneling it into your empty detergent bottle.  It will take 24-36 hours to “set” but it will turn gel-like and thick.

Now…I have issues with always using too much laundry soap, even when I don’t have to.  If you’re one of those fantastic people who can pour a third of a cap of detergent and be happy, you’re all done.  That’s literally all you need…about a third of the cap.  Half if you’re really worried about getting those clothes clean.  Whatever you used before is at least twice too much.  I (for my sanity!) divide my gel-ishy soap into two detergent bottles, half and half, then top off with warm water and shake.  (Oh yeah, make sure you shake this stuff before you use it 😉 )  That’s it.  You just made your own laundry soap!

I have seen recipes on the internet that call for washing soda.  None of my local stores carry it, but I figured that I should buy some and try.  I’ll tell you now — don’t waste your money.  I saw NO difference with the washing soda or without.  Like, none.  I don’t bother using it at all anymore.  Feel free to try if you’d like!

That’s it, guys…you’re done!  The entire batch probably cost you less than $2.00 to make, which makes your load cost in the pennies.  Let me know how it goes!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anna
    Jul 21, 2010 @ 11:08:46

    How much water do you begin with?


    • thecrunchypaganparent
      Jul 21, 2010 @ 11:59:03

      I begin with about six cups of water on the stove. Once the soap is melted in and cooled, I add an additional six cups or so. It depends on the amount you’re making and the size if your container. I’d say a good general rule is half of the total amount of water to begin with, and the rest after your soap/water mix has finished simmering.


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