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Laundry detergent is one of the few things I haven’t tried making myself. I had been using a store bought “natural” brand that is supposed to be better for those with sensitive skin; however, the ingredient list is long and I rather use something that is 100% natural. I’ve been reading that castile soap can be used for laundry detergent and since it is one of my favorite cleaning solutions, I really wanted to give it a try! This is why I made a homemade laundry soap recipe using castile soap and a few other natural ingredients.
Avoid Toxins by Making Homemade Laundry Soap
Did you know that, according to Dr. Mercola, the typical family washes about 80 pounds of laundry a week and this means we are doing 35 billion loads of laundry per year? No wonder why I feel like I’m always doing laundry! But the worst part is that when you are doing your laundry, you not only come into contact with toxic chemicals, but you can breathe them when they get released in the air!
Most laundry soap contains toxic chemicals that can be absorbed through your skin or leave a toxic smell. What are these chemicals? Sometimes you may not even be able to find out what’s lurking in your detergent because manufacturers don’t have to list them all! A few of the worst chemicals you may see listed are: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), 1,4-dioxane, NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate) and phospates. Not only are these chemicals bad to breathe, but many many people have allergic reactions to laundry soap, such as skin rashes, hives or itchy skin.
Dry cleaning is one of the worst alternatives because when you first bring the clothes home, they emit toxic chemicals. The clothes emit toxins into your home environment for days! The chemical used by 85% of dry cleaners is PERC, perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene, and this has been classified by the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency as a “likely carcinogen”. This means that there is evidence that the chemical causes cancer in animals. Also, an expert panel working for the National Academy of Sciences agreed that a serious effect of PERC is nerve and brain damage. Next time you buy clothes that say “dry clean only” you might want to stop and think about how you are going to safely clean them.
Many homemade laundry soap recipes contain borax, a naturally occurring mineral, however there is debate on whether or not it safe to use. The Dr. Weston Price Foundation noted that people have died from overexposure to it. The foundation advises that you should never get exposed to it repeatedly or for extended periods of time. Additionally, it is an eye, skin and respiratory irritant and it is not safe to use around food. Some people even have reported allergic reactions from it. This is why making your own homemade laundry soap without borax may be best for you.
According to an EPA study, even though borax is a naturally occurring mineral, it is still considered to be of moderate acute toxicity. It has been listed in toxicity Category III due to oral and dermal effects, and skin/eye irritations.
This Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe is Easy!
Every time I see someone’s post for homemade laundry soap, I get excited thinking I can’t wait to try it, but unfortunately I’m never comfortable with the ingredients. Every recipe that I have found contains ingredients that I don’t want to use, such as borax. Plus, who has borax or a bar of Ivory soap laying around, I don’t! I want to use ingredients that are already in my kitchen and ones that I know are safe!
Can I use this Homemade Laundry Soap in my High Efficiency Washer?
According to Dr. Bronner’s daughter’s website, you can use this recipe in this type of washer, but cut the amount of castile soap in half. I have a few family members who have used this homemade laundry soap recipe in their HE washer and have never had a problem.
By using this homemade laundry soap recipe you can definitely save money! Store bought natural laundry soap can be pretty pricey and castile soap can be purchased in bulk, which is great! The other ingredients, vinegar and baking soda, are also inexpensive.
Ready to ditch the toxic laundry detergent and make your own homemade laundry soap? Here’s the recipe:
Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe:
- 1/4 cup castile liquid soap (see it here)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 3-5 drops of lavender essential oil or any other essential oil that has anti-bacterial properties (see it here)
*This recipe is for 1 load of laundry, you can double or increase the recipe to last longer.
This recipe is very simple!
1. Combine ingredients and pour in a dish or container and stir. I store mine in a glass jar.
Have you tried a homemade laundry soap before?
Could I use your recipe for handwashing clothes?
Thank you 🙂
Yes, you can.
kindly correct it . it is boric acid not borax . borax is also known as boron used as a vitamin and also it is used in natural anti fungus fighter.
Hi Lori, I made this and I wanted to know how to get rid of the static after the dryer, it seems to be more with this laundry soap. It was shocking me everywhere LOL
Lori, Health Extremist
You can use a little bit of vinegar, it works great for eliminating static. I use apple cider vinegar, but any kind should work.
Hi Lori, Just to be clear, do I add the apple cider vinegar to the laundry soap or to the rinse or in the dryer?
Thanks for your quick response,
Lori, Health Extremist
Hi Yoli, I add it to the rinse cycle.
I don’t think this is a good recipe for reasons already given. I have used Borax for years and will continue to use it, as it has a history of thousands of years. No information has been provided on what constitutes “over exposure”. The same could be said about too much water. I suggest readers do their own research on Borax and the multiple benefits on health and well being. It is not a skin and eye irritant. Actually it has great benefits for the skin and is used by TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) in eye drops. It is a hormone regulator if taken in small dosgaes orally and has cured arthritis for thousands. Due to mineral deficiency in soil, Borax can provide Boron which is essential for bone health.
I agree. While I love the idea of the detergent made with the Castile soap, as it sounds much faster and easier to make, cost wise, it isn’t practical or rather affordable for us. I’ve never heard any positive proof that borax, aka boron is bad for ones health. Also, it’s much less expensive than using Castile soap for laundry. Even getting Castile soap in bulk, it could never be nearly as inexpensive as the recipe I use for laundry detergent. I made a huge recipe (about a gallon to a gallon and a half) that contains borax, baking soda (optional), washing soda, and a couple of bars of natural soap. We use 1/4 to 1/3 cups per load, and it’s lasted months. We use white vinegar in a Downy ball to rinse. If clothes are very dirty (mud, grass, etc.) 1/2 cup can be used, but we rarely have clothes this soiled.
Again, if you can afford it, the Castile soap recipe sounds great, just not affordable for us.
Jamie- Polka Dot Mommy
This makes 1/2 cup- do you really use that much in one wash load? At 1/4 cup of Dr Bronners each wash, that makes for a couple dollars per load– even in bulk. :-/ I have a HE machine and generally use 1/2 of the normal detergent for a top loader. . . still thinking even my Country Save is cheaper per load- do you have a good resource for buying castile soap?
I agree. Out of the big 64oz just for $30 you’d net 16 loads at 1/4 cup. Our family goes through way more than 16 loads of laundry a month. Am I missing something?
Lori, Health Extremist
I usually cut this recipe in half so it comes out to 1/4 cup, unless it is a ‘super’ sized load of laundry. The laundry soap I was buying (made of coconut oil, sea salt and baking soda) was 14.00 for 32oz. I get the castile soap in bulk, which is 128oz for 48.00, which is a little cheaper than the natural laundry soap I was buying. I also found that with the store bought laundry soap I had to use more of it.
Where do you buy your soap in bulk ?
I always get it online. It’s always much cheaper than health food stores. I linked to the one I buy above in the post.
I, too, have had a problem mixing castille soap and vinegar. My organic castille soap turns into an oily mess if I mix it with vinegar.
I grate my castille soap, mix it with washing soda and that’s what I use for my laundry. I prefer a powdered soap when doing laundry. I use the vinegar as a fabric softener, mixing it with Tea Tree oil for the anti-bacteria properties.
Thank you very much for this nice recipe. I have been using soap nut and soapwort for laundry. In some blogs I saw, using castile soap and vinegar is not suitable. The issue is that castile soap is a base and vinegar is an acid, and when you mix them together they basically cancel each other out, and the vinegar causes the soap to “unsaponify”, and it gets all curdled and clumpy – What do you think about this???
I agree that vinegar and castile soap do cancel each other out. I have tried using soapnuts only and they work just fine for light load of laundry. For heavily soiled/ dirty clothes- I have tried using baking soda and castile soap. It works perfect. Hope this helps
Yes, the Dr. Bronner’s website indicates that castille soap should not be mixed with vinegar for that reason. Their Sal Suds detergent, on the other hand, can be mixed with vinegar without a problem.
I have a laundry soap recipe that works great and there’s no vinegar! 2 1/4 cups of Castile soap, 3/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon vegetable glycerine and 10-15 drops of essential oil of your choice. I use orange because it helps to keep your clothes white.
That’s a great recipe!