Last winter I promised you a tutorial for homemade laundry soap. At long last, here it is! I originally wrote this for a soapmaker's publication, the Saponifier Magazine. I write a regular column for them and will share some other tutorials for homemade in the coming months.
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In my company we make a lot of soap. A lot. Our cornerstone body care product, we sell thousands of bars each year and ever batch results some trims or damaged bars. We sell the scratch and dent soaps when they are available over here (perfect for laundry soap!), or make yours with a regular bar. One bar is enough for weeks worth or laundry soap. Either option is perfect for effective, homemade laundry soap. (As a bonus, after coming here day after day you'll have a scratch-and-sniff experience of my world when you use my soap!)
My soaps are as natural as can be, made with organic oils, essential oils, and herbs. But most bar "soaps" found in stores today - as well as most laundry "soap" is actually synthetic detergent. Who knew? I'm all for clean clothes but I prefer the most natural route possible. So quick homemade laundry soap it is.
There are only three additional ingredients to turn natural bar soap into laundry soap and all can be found at your local grocery store: baking soda, borax, and washing soda. Baking soda is a natural odor remover. Borax softens water. Washing soda is chemically similar to baking soda but is a much stronger base (high pH) and helps neutralize the natural moisturizers found in soap.
Two thoughts before we begin regarding soap selection:
- Any of the soap I make (LuSa Organics) is laundry friendly. If you opt for another brand, select soaps that do not contain synthetic colorants or large bits of ground herbs.
- If you are mixing different soap varieties choose scents that harmonize with each other. (We used a lavender soap and a eucalyptus bar.)
How to Make Laundry Soap
Materials and Equipment:
2/3 C Baking Soda
1 C Borax
1 1/3 C Washing Soda
Essential Oils (optional)
Box grater or electric grater
Food processor (optional)
Mixing bowl, reserved for non-food use
Mixing spoon, reserved for non-food use
Jar, for storing laundry soap
Gather your materials and equipment. You may consider wearing your gloves and dust mask as we'll be working with powders and alkaline materials (washing soda).
Grate soap on the fine side of a box grater or process through your food processor fitted with the fine grater blade. Go for the finest shreds possible as they will dissolve easily in your washing machine. (Note: 4 ounces of well-cured soap will make approximately 2 C of grated soap.) If desired you may process the grated soap a second time in your food processor for an even finer powder.
Measure grated soap into mixing bowl. Add additional ingredients and stir well to combine. Check scent. If desired add additional essential oils to boost the scent of your soap (a few drops is plenty). Transfer to storage jar. That's it! Shake jar occasionally to keep powder from separating from soap if your gratings (like mine) are medium size. Use two to three Tb. per load, and add a splash of vinegar to your washer in the fabric softener cup for your freshest, cleanest clothes yet. Homemade laundry soap is low-sudsing and is safe for use in most HE (High Efficiency) washing machines.