Monday, February 25, 2013

Everybody is doing it! ~ Homemade Laundry Soap

When my kids were young, we had a phrase (that we thought was rather funny), that was useful at times: "Everybody's doing it. Once won't hurt.  No one will know."

That is what came to mind today when I was thinking about this post.  For quite a while, I've been reading lots of different "recipes" for homemade laundry soap/detergent.  I've even tried making a couple of them.  In the past, I used to buy "Charlies' Soap," and for quite a while I was happy with it.  Then, it failed me.  My towels were smelly no matter what I did and the whites got dingy.  So, then I went back to commercial detergent.  One evening I was looking on at the Charlies' Soap and also Nellie's All Natural Laundry Soda.  The reviews are very good.  I don't know what went wrong in my house with the Charlies'.

Then, I looked at the websites for the two products and came up with a way to make my own that I thought might work, and save me money.  Many of the homemade recipes call for Fells Naptha soap, and I'm sure that works very well, but it also has toxic ingredients.  So, I didn't want to do that.  I noticed that both of the brands I mention above seem to have coconut oil soap in them.  They also have washing soda.  One recipe I had tried that I like very much also called for table salt.  The problem I have with that one is that it is a liquid and so more trouble to make.  I wanted a powder.

Here is what I came up with.  I like it very much.  It seems to do a great job.  In normal loads (I have an HE washer) I only use 1 Tablespoon of the powder.  If the clothing is very soiled, I will use 2 Tablespoons. I must mention that we have soft water.  That makes a big difference too. 

Ingredients ~

Simply Homemaking Homemade Laundry Soap

1 bar Kirk's original coco Castille Soap
1 cup table salt
4 cups Super Washing Soda

1.  Grate the soap in a food processor with the finest grater 
2. Mix together the grated soap, salt and soda in the food processor
and process until very well combined.

That's it!
I keep it in an empty ice cream bucket, and have the Tablespoon scoop left from Charlies' in there:

I also printed out the recipe and affixed it to the lid so I won't forget how I made it:

If you try this, please come back and leave a comment and tell me what you think of it.  

If I have a significant stain on some clothing, I get that out by hand first, before laundering.  It's easy to do with a plain bar of soap and a little scrubbing brush for most things.  I am sure that when it comes to difficult stains, i.e. grass or grease, there are other products that would be needed, but for general use, I really love this laundry soap.

This post is linked to Simple Lives Thursday # 136.


  1. I had the same thing happen with Charlie's soap unfortunately. It made my clothing and washer smell horrible, and the clothing was really dingy. I've also tried making my own soap using other recipes and haven't been happy with it. Next time I need some laundry detergent I'll have to try this. I'll let you know what I think. Where did you find the coco castille soap bar?

    1. At the JayC food store. I imagine most grocery stores and probably Walmart would have it in the laundry isle and/or the place where you just buy normal soap. Watch the price, as it can vary widely.

  2. What is the difference between washing soda and baking soda? I like the idea of making my own. I just have not had any that worked for very long. I don't have soft water though so that poses a different problem.

    1. Washing soda is sodium carbonate. It is highly alkaline and is a "laundry booster."

      Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Very different. :)

  3. What is the purpose of the salt? Also, I have read that baking soda is a mild water softener and washing soda a better water softener (makes the detergent work better). I was wondering if the salt helps with that too or something else. I do have hard water so I was wondering if I needed to add something else.

    1. Will have to guess about the purpose of the salt. It might be to protect colors. I know we use salt to help set colors in new clothing. With hard water, I would suggest you look on the box of washing soda, and you might want to add more. Perhaps just use more of the mixture. Maybe you could experiment and see what works in your situation. Good luck!


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