Doing laundry is a necessary evil, but you don’t have to make it worse by using toxic chemicals, dyes, and other irritants in your laundry soap! I know a lot of companies are working to make greener, more environmentally friendly versions of their laundry detergents, but I feel like it’s better to go homemade, especially if your homemade laundry detergent is cheaper, completely non-toxic, and cleans just as well!
I don’t want to get into a debate about whether commercial laundry detergents are potentially harmful; you can form your own opinions about that! Instead I’m going to share my homemade borax free laundry soap recipe and tell you why my husband and I absolutely love it, and will never go back to commercial laundry soap ever again!
You know exactly what’s in your homemade laundry soap!
Commercial detergents have a lot of potentially irritating or harmful ingredients in them. Even the ones labeled as “green”, “clear”, or “dye and irritant free” don’t seem to be as non-toxic as you would hope. It worries me that these detergents are marketed to moms and families as “safe” when they might still be harmful.
I’m no scientist, and it seems there are conflicting reports about just how harmful these ingredients are. So all I can do is look into it myself and form my own opinions. But I feel it’s always better to be safe than sorry; it can’t hurt to use a homemade laundry detergent where you know and trust the ingredients over one you’re not sure about!
This laundry soap is borax free!
A common ingredient in many homemade laundry soaps is borax, but borax is another one of those controversial ingredients. The research I’ve seen is split as to whether borax is completely safe or whether it has potentially harmful side effects. So again, all I can do is form my own opinions. But, my opinion is that if I can make a homemade laundry soap without borax that works just as well, there is no reason to use a potentially harmful ingredient!
It cleans just as well as commercial detergent, or better!
We actually think that our homemade laundry soap does a MUCH better job than commercial detergent! The commercial soap definitely got our clothes clean and got stains out of our laundry, but so does the homemade soap. And with the homemade soap, our whites appear whiter and colors appear brighter! Our clothes just seemed dingy when we used commercial soap, but now that we’ve switched, every single load comes out completely clean, smelling fresh, and looking bright!
I haven’t purposely dirtied up a t-shirt with grass stains or coffee to run an actual test between the two detergents, but I do laundry often enough that I know when my clothes come out of the dryer cleaner than normal!
It’s less expensive to make your own laundry detergent!
The commercial detergent we used to buy costs about $16 for a 50 oz bottle that claims it will clean 32 loads of laundry. So that’s about 51 cents per load. That’s not horribly expensive, but this homemade laundry detergent only costs 13 cents per load!
Here’s the cost breakdown of the ingredients: (I bought all of my ingredients in bulk through Amazon, affiliate links below)
- Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap: $24.62 for 6 bars, equivalent to $4.10 per 1 bar
- Washing Soda: $9.68 for 55 oz, equivalent to $1.41 per cup
- Baking Soda: $8.39 for 4 lbs, equivalent to $0.52 per half cup
- Citric Acid: $20.12 for 5 lbs, equivalent to $1.01 per half cup
- Coarse Sea Salt: $13.98 for 41.2 oz, equivalent to $0.68 per quarter cup
So this laundry soap costs $7.72 to make one batch, and I can get anywhere from 30 to 60 loads of laundry done with one batch, depending on whether I use 1 T or 2 T per load. I use 1 T per load normally, which would make it 13 cents per load. But I use 2 T per load for extremely dirty laundry, which happens every once in a while. :-p But even if I used 2 T for every single load of laundry we do, the total cost works out to only 26 cents per load, which is still 50% cheaper than store bought!
The savings are somewhere between 25 and 38 cents per load. So if you do four loads of laundry per week, that adds up to a yearly savings of $52 to $79!!! $52 might not make or break your yearly budget, but there are tons of other benefits to making your own laundry soap, so the financial incentive is just icing on the cake!
Homemade Borax Free Laundry Detergent
Are you convinced yet?! If you want to make your own borax free laundry soap, here’s what you need:
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup citric acid
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1/4 cup coarse sea salt
- 1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile soap (I used lavender because it smells nice, but Dr. Bronner’s makes other scents or an unscented version if you prefer)
NOTE: I’ve seen recipes call for regular glycerin soap (pictured below), but I found Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile soap cuts the grease better!
Grate the bar of soap finely. I used the grating attachment on my Cuisinart and it worked perfectly! If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the bar of soap by hand; just make sure it’s grated pretty finely.
Put the grated soap in a large bowl, add all of the other ingredients, and stir to combine. If it gets a little clumpy as you stir, you can use a pastry blender to break up the clumps.
Pour the laundry soap into an airtight container for storage. You’ll also want to add a desiccant to keep the soap from clumping up; you can learn how to make one yourself here!
This laundry soap actually looks a lot like the homemade detox bath that I use, and they’re both stored in the same jars, so I made a cute little label to help us tell them apart! I found this awesome French typography label at the Graphics Fairy, and I made a few modifications so that the words all had to do with laundry. I even added instructions at the bottom so we remember how many tablespoons to use per load!
If you’re doing regular-sized loads of laundry, use 1 tablespoon of laundry soap per load. If you’re doing a large load, or your clothes are extra dirty, use 2 tablespoons per load.
Have you ever tried homemade laundry detergent before? Did you like it? What about other homemade cleaning products? I still love the homemade grout cleaner I made last year; it works great on all our tile!
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