07 April 2011

Laundry Soap

I made this laundry soap recipe over a month ago, so I've had lots of time to test it out on different types of laundry. It is simple to make and actually works really, really well.

Here are the ingredients:

1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1 cup soap granules or grated bar soap
7L water
20 drops essential oil with anti-bacterial  and anti-fungal properties (like lavender, sweet orange, tea tree or lemongrass)

Borax can be found anywhere, however washing soda is a little more challenging to find.  I found the washing soda at an organics / health food store. I'm sure any place that sells those types of things would carry it. If you can't find it in a store, it can be found online. I've ordered from well.ca and see that they carry it. (They also have free shipping. Bonus!)

When I was looking for soap, for some reason I had it in my head that I needed a certain type of household soap. I fell for the label on the Sunlight, which said "pure soap". It's simply not true. Here is the ingredients list: sodium tallowate, aqua, sodium cocoate, glycerin, parfum, sodium chloride, citric acid, tetrasodium EDTA, sodium silicate, CI 77891, etidronic acid, CI 11680, BHT. Now that is certainly not what I was going for, and far from "pure". I researched some of the ingredients I was unfamiliar with at cosmeticsdatabase.com and it's not good. There are things in there that are banned for use in cosmetics. Okay, it's just for laundry you say, but given that certain laundry detergents have caused rashes on my daughter's sensitive skin, that's proof enough for me that it doesn't all get rinsed out. I used the sunlight, before I did my research of course. Since then, in one of my regular orders from well.ca I purchased a bar of "Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap" for future batches. It contains saponified olive oil, water and sodium chloride. That's better. Now that's pure soap. Now I guess Borax, washing soda and sodium chloride can be toxic, and skin irritants, but the laundry must get done. So, on with the recipe.

Grate 1 cup of soap and add it to a saucepan with 2L of water. Heat until the soap is diluted in the water. 

Meanwhile, fill a large pail with borax, washing soda and 3L of hot water.  Stir until dissolved. When the soap is dissolved, add it to the pail, and top it up with another 2L of water. Stir and add the essential oils you've chosen. I used tea tree oil because of it's antiseptic properties (and the Sunlight contains parfum with a lovely lemon scent, aaargh!). Let cool.

The mixture separates a bit, and this is normal. You can stir it up before use. Scoop out about 1/2 cup per load.

Check out my awesome measuring cup.

I am using this soap in an HE machine, and use a little less than a 1/2 cup because it's efficient. The mixture doesn't really create suds like a commercial detergent (the reason they sell special HE formulas).

The ingredients in this recipe provide everything to deodorize, soften your wash water, remove stains, remove mold and mildew, kill bugs, and work as a fire retardant. I've been using it for about a month, and am quite happy with the results.

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