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“Oh, you forgot to wash my swimsuit!” I heard my five year old yell at about the same time we were supposed to be heading out the door for her swim lessons. My heart sank as I tried explaining to her that I was sorry but she was just going to have to wear her other swimsuit for today. This, of course, sent her off into a fit of rage and heartbreak as she couldn’t possibly wear that one. She had worn it last time and the top piece hurts her shoulders when she’s buckled in her carseat and besides, it’s just yucky! When given the option, however, she would wear the other one rather than the one still damp from last night’s swim.
The truth was, I didn’t forget to wash it. I knew I needed to wash it. What I had forgotten was to get more laundry detergent at the store. With the baby, the 5 year old with sensitive skin, the husband training for a marathon, and the stay-at-home mom constantly covered in the bodily fluids of one child or another, the endless piles of laundry all require their own individual detergents. This obviously gets expensive and can be just as difficult to keep up with as the piles themselves.
Desperate for an alternative, and wanting to avoid any more swim day meltdowns, I decided to recreate the homemade laundry soap I had made a couple years prior. It was inexpensive, easy to make, and lasted us a whole year.
But does it clean?
You guys, this stuff is awesome! It works with everyone’s different skin types, including the baby’s, with no adverse skin reactions. It does heavy duty cleaning requiring only a little bit for each load. It even works on the husband’s smelly running clothes! So far it has been doing a stand up job but for someone who does a little dirtier work, you could easily increase the amount of Oxyclean or even baking soda for those heavier loads, and be fine!
But how do the clothes smell?
To be honest, since I’ve switched to more natural products in our home, synthetic smells make me feel sick, whether it’s laundry detergent, hand soap, deodorant, cleaning products, shampoo, anything! However, I do really like the smell of fresh laundry. I have liked the Method brand laundry detergent because the smell isn’t too fake and the fresh scent would last a week or more on our sheets. But it got really expensive ($13.00 for a small bottle is just not cost effective for the amount of laundry we do).
So using this soap doesn’t leave your clothes with a super strong scent, but they do smell clean. If you need a little more of a scent boost, you could add a product like Downy Unstoppables or the like, but these smell too fake for me. I simply use Mrs. Meyers Basil scented dryer sheets to dry my clothes with, and I have been completely satisfied with them. You could also add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil to the wash for a little boost.
But how cost effective is it really?
Here’s the good part! I bought all of the ingredients for $22.85! For real, that’s it! The last time I made this stuff, it lasted us a year, but I am doing way more laundry now. I anticipate this will last about 6 months. So $45.70/year is obviously way better than the approximate $40.00/month I was spending previously. If you break the cost down per month, it’s about $3.80 a month. I do about one load of laundry every day, so if I break it down even further, this soap costs about .12 cents per load! I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty incredible for this frugal mama!
But what is actually in it?
Over the years since I became pregnant with my daughter, I have continuously worked to eliminate chemicals from our household. What I love about this homemade laundry soap recipe is that it’s almost 100% natural ingredients. I say “almost” because I know some people question the use of Borax, but I have researched it and I’m ok with using this product. I encourage you to do your own research, however. Also, any scent boosters like the Downy Unstoppables are not natural products, so use those at your own discretion. Like I said, I have used them before, I just don’t care for the smell of them.
Quick and Easy Homemade Laundry Soap
Now for the good stuff. To make this homemade laundry soap, you will need:
1 large box of baking soda
1 box of Borax
1 box of washing soda
1 container of Oxyclean
1 bar of Zote or Fels-Naptha soap
Optional 1 container of scent booster such as Downy Unstoppables
The first time I made this homemade laundry soap, I used a bar of Zote. This time I used Fels-Naptha, and I prefer the scent of the latter. It’s completely up to you which you use. I have not noticed a difference in cleaning power. I also always keep a box of baking soda and a box of Borax on hand for other cleaning products. Each of these ingredients are found in the laundry aisle.
You can find a great bundle of Borax, Washing soda, and Fels-Naptha here. This even includes three extra bars of Fels-Naptha!
- First you will need to grate the bar of soap. This is the longest part of the process, but I was still able to complete the whole thing in about 5 minutes – quicker than a trip to the store!
- In a large container (I use a 16 quart plastic storage bin) begin slowly pouring in the boxed ingredients.
- Add in the grated bar soap
- Mix well (I just used a large spatula)
- Store! You can use the same bin you mixed in to store it. I actually bought a pretty glass jar to store it in, similar to this one.
- I keep the blue scoop from the oxyclean container to use for each load. It only takes about a tablespoon for a normal load of laundry, maybe 1.5 tablespoons for towels or workout clothes. You may be tempted to use more per load, but it really only takes a little bit.
- Some options for the bar soap:
- Zote (I used this the first time around. I have not noticed a difference in cleaning power between this and Fels-Naptha)
- Fels-Naptha (I used this soap this time around and I prefer the scent of this to the Zote brand)
- Kirk’s Castile Bars (I have never used these, but I do use castile soap for some other cleaning purposes)
- Some options for scent boosting:
- Essential oils (I like using Lemon and Lavender for linens and towels)
- Purex Crystals (These are completely optional. I used them last time, but not this time due to the type of scent)
- Downy Unstoppables
- Oxyclean does have an option that includes “odor blasters” for the same price as their regular container. I used this kind.
- If you are looking for an alternative to dryer sheets that may be more economical and “green”, check out these wool dryer balls.
If you have any questions regarding this recipe, drop a note below! I’d also love to hear any of your homemade laundry soap variations as well!