I usually try to post deep and meaningful things on Sundays, but I need to come clean here (see what I did there?). Being deep and meaningful takes work. So today I am posting a recipe instead. A recipe for laundry soap. I have been making my own laundry soap for nearly ten years now. It saves money, saves time, and saves the Earth.
This recipe requires only four ingredients: water, soap, borax, and washing soda. It takes only 10 minutes of active time, and is just as effective as whichever laundry soap i used to buy. It’s been so long that I don’t remember which one it was. You will also need a 2-quart pot or two, a measuring cup, a two-gallon bucket (preferably with a lid) to store it in, and something to stir it up. I use an old broken wooden spoon.
If you are using liquid soap, you will only need one pot. If you are using a bar soap, you will need a second pot. Any pure castile soap will work, and homemade would work, too. If you like scents, just be aware that the scent does not transfer to your laundry very well. My laundry smells exactly the same out of the washer whether I use unscented or peppermint or lavender soap. I just happened to have peppermint easily available, so that is what I grabbed (you may notice that the bottle of liquid soap is empty up there – I was sorely disappointed when I found that and had to break out my bar soap).
To begin with, pour one half cup of borax and one cup of washing soda in a pot with 4 cups of water. Set it on the stove on low to medium to dissolve. This may take up to an hour (I’m not sure because I forgot to time it), but you don’t need to tend it. Just stir it every once in a while to see when it is done.
If you are using bar soap, shred it now with either a box grater (mind your knuckles) or a food processor (much faster). Put it in a pot with 4 cups of water and put it on the stove top on low to medium and let it dissolve for a while. It will probably take about the same amount of time as the powders. If you are using liquid soap, you can skip this step.
When the powders are all dissolved (and the soap, if you are using bar soap), empty both pots into the two-gallon bucket you have ready. Add two more quarts of hot water. If you are using liquid soap, now is the time to pour in one cup of liquid soap. Stir everything together until it is well mixed. It might not look like much at this point, but it is all ready to wash your laundry.
As it cools, it will become more gel-like. It may also appear to separate. This is fine. You can just stir it back up. When you are ready to use it, one-half cup will wash a full load of laundry.
Use a lid on your bucket
A word of warning. I used to make this in three-gallon batches in a five-gallon bucket and I would carry it upstairs to the laundry area. One time, I stumbled on the steps and the bucket hit the step in front of me. Naturally, the impact caused a column of soap to leap up out of the bucket, hit me in the eyes, and land right back in the bucket without spilling. Soap in the eyes hurts, but it does not cause serious damage. My daughter helped me find the shower while I was temporarily blind and I washed it out of my eyes with no injury. I learned to always put the lid on when I am carrying it around.
Have you made your own laundry soap before? What has worked best for you?