When I go to the grocery store, the laundry detergent aisle always gives me a headache. The “fresh” scents all meld together to create a power-cloud of nose overload. If it smells good than it’s clean, right? The truth is, historically people used perfumes and fragrances to hide odors. I don’t want my laundry to have the illusion of clean, I want it to be clean! That’s why I make my own laundry detergent with tried and true ingredients that have been cleaning dirty socks for years.
I use four ingredients:
- Borax: A natural mineral with great cleaning power.
- Washing Soda: Sodium carbonate. It is extracted from the ashes of plants. It is a great stain remover.
- Baking Soda: A salt related to washing soda. Has great odor fighting abilities. Baking soda is extremely useful for most household cleaning.
- Castile Bar Soap: Traditionally made with olive oil, this soap contains only vegetable fats. A mild soap with great cleaning benefits. In season, I often go to the farmer’s market and buy homemade soap. The right vendor will know which of their soaps is best for laundry.
The hardest part is finely grating the castile soap. I use an old cheese grater from the thrift store and some arm muscles!
After grating the whole bar of soap, add 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Washing soda, and 1/2 cup baking soda. Give it a good stir and it’s ready to use! For my top loading washing machine, I use about a tablespoon of detergent and our laundry comes out clean.
A few tips and tricks:
For heavier soiled items (pun intended) add a bit more detergent. A great thing about this recipe is the measurements don’t have to be exact. I always recommend exploring what works best for you and yours.
To add a bit of fragrance to the laundry soap, add a few drops of pure essential oils and give it a good stir. Depending on the oil, it may even enhance the cleaning power of the detergent . Just a word of caution; always be careful using essential oils. They are potent and a little goes a long way. In the past we have used essential oil infused castile soap. My favorite is lavender for its calming and lingering scent.
White vinegar in the rinse cycle works as a great fabric softener. Don’t worry, your laundry will not smell like a salad bar!