We all need to do our laundry, but if you’re the kind of person who likes to keep an eye on their environmental footprint, you probably worry about what exactly is in the laundry detergent you use.
Fortunately, “green” laundry detergent, or eco-friendly laundry soap, is relatively cheap and easy to make – it takes 20 minutes and you can store it indefinitely.
Use this recipe to whip up a large batch of laundry soap and never worry about the chemicals that are in store-bought brands again – this is especially useful for individuals with sensitive skin or allergies to common laundry detergents(1)!
Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe
- 1/2 cup Borax
- 1/2 cup washing soda – be sure to get washing soda and not baking soda! If you can’t find this at your local grocery store, check health food stores or organic grocery stores.
- 1 cup soap granules – these are easily found at health food stores or organic grocery stores, but if you’re having trouble finding it simply grate a bar of organic, eco-friendly soap.
- 7 liters of water
Optional ingredients include various essential oils like lavender, sweet orange, tee tree, or lemongrass, all of which contain anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties(2) – and will make your laundry smell lovely!
Grab a large saucepan and fill it with about 2 liters of regular tap water. Add the soap granules and heat gradually over medium heat until the soap granules have dissolved. While bringing the soap mixture to a boil, take a large (at least 7 liters) pail and mix the borax and washing soda in it. Once that’s done, fill the pail halfway with hot tap water and stir.
When the soap mixture is ready, pour it into the pail, topping the whole thing off with more water. Stir the whole thing until it’s a consistent liquid and all the ingredients have dissolved in the water. Finally, if you’re using essential oils, add these last, stirring them in.
Let the mixture cool – you can store it in the pail indefinitely (its soap, after all).
To use your homemade laundry detergent, simply measure out 1/2 cup per load of laundry into containers. Remember to reuse your laundry soap containers so they don’t end up in a landfill!
Over time, your soap will become gelatin-like and separate – this is natural, simply stir it up again when this happens.
If your whites need a boost, try adding an extra 1/2 cup baking soda to your wash.
If you use an energy-efficient HE washing machine, you may need to use less detergent to get your clothes clean.
Finally, if the water in your area is notoriously hard, add more washing soda to your mixture to counteract the effects.