More Green For Less Green

Living more eco-friendly for less money


Homemade Laundry Soap

Left Image: Left jug is recently shaken and mixed.
Right jug is unshaken and has settled into soapy layer and watery layer
Right Image: When mixed right before use, the laundry soap is creamy and slightly bubbly

After trying several batches of dry laundry soap, my husband asked me to make a liquid one. The liquid/gel I made is #1 from this great website, Tip Nut. We are very happy with the way the soap works. We now use it for all of our laundry and have successfully used it at all wash temperatures. The three dry recipes we tried were Tip Nut #4, Tip Nut #9, and a mix of half borax and half washing soda. While the dry ones all seemed to work equally well, my husband prefers liquids laundry soap/detergent. Since he does the laundry, I am happy to whip up whatever works best for him!

In my pictures you can see that I have the laundry soap in milk jugs. I do not recommend this unless you have hosing available to siphon the cooked soap from the pot through the slim necks of the jugs. Since my husband homebrews, we did have a suitable plastic tube, but this ended up being messy, frustrating, and time consuming as the liquid congealed into a gel. Stick with a bucket! The soap will separate and requires stirring or shaking before use to remix the water (which will settle) and the soap gel (which will float). In the picture on the left, the left jug is recently shaken and mixed, the right jug shows the settling and separation.

n.b., Homebrewing husbands may not be thrilled with such use of said tubing since soap makes beer go flat. Eeek!


Why in the world I would make my only laundry soap? For us, there are four answers to this:

Environment – Environmentally, making my own laundry soap is a good choice because it doesn’t require an endless cycle of new packaging production, shipping, and disposal/recycling. Also, most commercial liquid detergents have petrochemicals in them. Not only are petrochemicals bad for the water supply, but they use petroleum which is a non-renewable resource and is so very politically charged right now. Here is a link on Dr. Bronner’s Soap (eco-friendly, organic, and fair trade) which is the soap I use in my cleansers and laundry soap: here.
This site lists many names for petrochemicals that you might see in the ingredients list of your soap/detergent (should the manufacturer actually disclose what is in their product).

Health – My husband has contact dermatitis so artificial fragrances are bad for his skin. The artificial colors, scents, and additives in most commercial detergents are of concerns to many people. Personally, this is an area that I approach with caution, but am not alarmist over. Look up your favorite detergent here so you can make a decision about what is best for your home.

Cost – Making laundry soap is dirt cheap. Though I personally have not calculated the cost, others who use similar recipes cite $0.03 per load. For me, the low cost is just an added bonus to the more important reasons above.

Fun – For me, stuff like this is an enjoyable hobby that yields a usable result just like cooking, homebrewing beer, etc. I find it fun and I like the whole “science in action” aspect.

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