Laundry! I really don’t mind laundry, it’s just that it’s a constant chore in my house. 6 people, dirty jobs, rough playing…lots and lots of filthy clothes. I think I average about 3 loads a day. More during those messy times of year. Oh! Did I say messy?!? I mean an absurd amount dirt, mud and of course poo… yes I said poo, cow to be exact. It’s inevitable, when you have livestock your gonna get poo on you sooner or later. Of course those clothes are in a separate load of their own, I just have to keep my eyes peeled for the rogue washcloth that may jump in.
A few years back I got hooked on the show “15 Kids and Counting”…or was it 17, maybe 18? I think they are up to 21 now. Anyway, one of the shows featured them making their own laundry soap. It was so easy! I thought, “I can do that!”. So I did. My first attempt was with ivory soap as the base soap. I wasn’t impressed with it’s cleaning and didn’t make any more for another year. BUMMER. So back to my Tide. It wasn’t until I started my own cold-process lye soaps that I found the ticket to really good homemade laundry soap.
This is my recipe for my all-natural (not to mention extremely cheap) liquid laundry soap.
This recipe will make 2 gallons of liquid soap
3oz Bar of Soap (about 1 cup after I grated it down.)
½ cup Washing Soda
½ cup Borax
The bar of soap can be a few different kinds. I use my own handmade soaps. Personally I think they clean the best, but some others you could try are: Fels Naptha, Zote and Ivory. Just be sure that it is real soap you are using and not a beauty bar like Dove.
Washing soda is not the same as baking soda, double check to make sure you have the right kind.
Almost all of these can be found in the laundry aisle of your big chain stores.
The soap needs to be grated or cut up in small chunks so that it’s easy to melt.
Here is my bar soap after an unfortunate encounter with a cheese grater.
I added 3 pints of hot water and my grated soap into a sauce pan.
One of the reasons I like handmade soaps in this recipe is how well it melts down. I didn’t even have to put this on the stove, it was all melted in about 3 min of stirring. Other soaps will take a gentle heating on the stove and some time to get it all melted down.
This is when you will add the washing soda and borax. All mixed in!
Next I grab my trusty 2 gallon bucket. Everyone has one of these right? :)
I added my soapy solution to about 8 cups of warm water and mixed well. Then I added cold water to the top. (I added more after the picture was taken) In the end it equaled 2 gallons of soap.
Any clean container with a lid would do fine. Many people use left over store detergent bottles, or any other large bottle with lids. Just mix it up in a 2 gallon bucket and pour into selected bottles.
This is also the time that I might add some essential oils to my soap. Tea tree oil is great as a germ killer ( I also like the smell) Lavender and citrus oils are a couple others that smell great too. I use about 1 Tbs for this recipe.
I would certainly do your research on essential oils first though. Some oils should not be used by people that are pregnant, nursing, with certain heart ailments and other conditions.
After about a day it will gel up and be ready to use. It needs to be mixed up, or shaken up if using bottles, before each use. I use ½ cup per load. A lttle less if you are using a HE washer.
I use vinegar in my rinse cycle for a fabric softener. And NO your clothes won’t smell pickled! You can put the vinegar into a downy ball or add it into your center dispenser. Vinegar is also good to help keep down soap residue in your washer especially with HE washers.
DO NOT use bleach if you are using vinegar.
So how does it clean, really???
These are my habitual offenders. 80 degree day in April, they just couldn't resist! No that's not poo, just good clean mud...I'm not THAT crazy :)
Happy laundry day everyone!