I just LOVE doing laundry. I adore it SO much that I do it every few days. Nothing makes me happier than sorting, washing, drying, folding, and organizing my family’s clothes all day long.
Just kidding, but I try to convince myself of this to make the never-ending task a bit less tedious.
We used cloth diapers on my son until he potty-trained, and I actually credit that as one of my big ‘gateways’, if you will, into the natural living world. Learning about the care for various fabric and diapers (like how using fabric softener, dryer sheets, or certain detergents is frowned upon with them) made me begin to think and question the laundry products I’d always known. I oddly did find the routine of washing cloth diapers soothing during my postpartum depression chaos, which I explained in this post…and see my cloth diaper wash cycle process here. (NOTE: This recipe below isn’t for cloth diapers though; just regular laundry.)
When I first began making my own laundry detergent powder, I used lots of different ingredients before realizing they were really unnecessary.
I used to use salt, which is a water softener, but it is weaker than washing soda. To get things clean, just using more washing soda was more effective than any salt at all. FYI, did you know Purex powder is about 50% salt…plus a bunch of other ‘things’?
I tried using Citric Acid because I enjoyed using it in my homemade dishwasher tablets, but I learned the acid neutralized the washing soda. Tide used to make tablets that were 1 part citric acid, to 4 parts washing soda, so it was really just making me need more washing soda. Dumped the citric acid.
I assumed baking soda would be great for washing laundry, but similarly, it isn’t as strong as washing soda. If any of these ingredients weren’t getting clothes clean enough, the solution was to reduce those in exchange for more washing soda.
So I just became really, really fond of washing soda and it’s simplicity. I honestly don’t know much about borax and have very little experience with it, so I just decided not to use it. None of the commercial laundry detergents contain washing soda AND borax together anyway, so another unnecessary cleaning item to me (and possibly harmful).
If you research other natural recipes for laundry, you may come across grating up Ivory soap, or lard or tallow as the “soap” ingredient, but I have never used those. I support Castile soaps and products, and any crunchy mom knows how many awesome uses coconut oil has including bubbly cleaning power…therefore a bar of coconut Castile soap was perfect for the job.
Without further ado, here is the way to simple, effective natural laundry powder:
Homemade Laundry Powder, Borax-Free (Yield: Approximately 2 quarts)
- Three bars of coconut oil soap, 4 oz each, like Kirk’s Natural Coco Castile Soap
- 5-6 cups washing soda
- Chop or grate the bar soap into pieces that will easily chop up in a food processor, then grind into powder.
- Combine thoroughly the soap powder and washing soda in a large bowl, bucket, or perhaps right in the container you plan to use it in. I use a glass, wide-mouth jar my grandma gave to me and reuse an old Yankee candle jar, but something like this 1-gallon glass jar would be lovely and functional as well. Also, chalkboard label, sealed jars sets like these come in handy for homemade recipes around the house.
- That’s it! I add about 2-3 tablespoons of this mixture to a load (HE-washer safe, but I don’t have one so play around with amounts). I occasionally add 4-5 drops of essential oils directly into the water as it fills the machine (Lemon oil will blow your mind as a degreaser! See Essential Oils For Laundry for more ideas – PUBLISHING JANUARY 2016)
- When washing in cold water, I like to add this powder into warm water first before changing it back to cold.
- I have tried adding essential oils into this powder, but I just think it is more effective to add oils directly to a washing load when/as needed, or simply on my wool dryer balls instead. Essential oils are just optional for extra power and a true natural fragrance.
- Another optional ingredient is an enzyme cleaner. I adore Biokleen Bac-Out Stain and Odor Remover and sometimes add a splash of that in when I think a load needs some extra cleaning help. This product is excellent for cloth diapers, carpets, and so many things. You may find yourself purchasing it in the bulk size eventually!
- The ratio is about twice as much washing soda as coconut soap, so if your bars of soap are bigger than 4 oz (like these 5 oz Dr. Bronner’s bars which also work well and have a variety of fun scents), then adjust accordingly. They may chop up into about 3 cups total, so perhaps 6 or more cups washing soda.
- The 4 oz. Kirk bars grind up into about 2.5 cups for me, then adding 5 or 6 cups of washing soda means this recipe yields 7.5-8.5 cups…about 2 quarts. Can easily double to make a batch last longer. I always forget to keep track exactly, but I believe it lasts me about 40 loads.
- I fill my fabric softener compartment (or Downy Ball) with white vinegar as a safe, effective alternative.
- Plus wool dryer balls help as a ‘fabric softener’ and also reduced drying times. Here’s how to make and use wool dryer balls (PUBLISHING JANUARY 2016).
Don’t want to make your own? The next best thing is Thieves Laundry Soap to have naturally clean clothes, with the help of enzymes and essential oils!
ALSO PUBLISHING SOON:
DIY LAUNDRY LIQUID
HOMEMADE LAUNDRY STAIN SPRAY
This is my necessary disclaimer that this blog is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure. I am only a mom with an education background. I must let you know that any essential oils statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. I simply approve for myself and family of such things that I deem safe, effective, and positively life-transformative. I encourage you all to be informed and empowered with your health. Also, some of my posts may contain affiliate links. When you click them, you help me to cover a small portion of the cost of this blog. I appreciate your support so that I can continue to do what I love. Please note that I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with Odds & Evans’ ideals, my personal use, and those I believe would be of value to my readers.