Laundry is a never ending project in this house. Luckily this homemade laundry soap makes the job just a little bit simpler.
When we went on the journey, 5 years ago, to remove toxins from our home laundry soap was high on the list to change. Even the so called “natural” detergents had ingredients I wanted to stay away from.
But here’s the thing, I didn’t have the time to make any complicated detergent recipe and laundry detergent was just so expensive. Especially the natural stuff.
I was determined to find a homemade laundry soap that was fast yet very effective. Living on a ranch, our poor clothes see it all! So I was looking for something that would be tough on all the dirty farm clothes.
Why I chose each ingredient in this homemade detergent recipe.
When I was looking for a homemade laundry soap recipe, I was really looking at the ingredients. There are so many different recipes out there that it is easy to get swept up in it.
I knew I wanted simple ingredients but they actually had to work. Finding exactly what I was looking for was a challenge so I went out on my own. I found a number of recipes that I liked certain ingredients in and then experimented to make my own using those ingredients. It took some trial and error but I am very pleased with the results!
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Make sure to check all your local stores also for the ingredients in this homemade laundry soap. I have everything linked below if you can’t find it locally.
Most all homemade laundry soaps call for baking soda, and for good reason! Baking soda helps to soften the water which will help the detergent actually work and be more effective. It does this by regulating the pH level in the water to keep it from getting too acidic or too alkaline.
In addition to that, it is a stain remover and a natural fabric softener. When washing clothes we are always looking for something to get out the gunk in your clothes, baking soda does the trick!
Before we talk about why I use washing soda, let’s talk about what it actually is. Washing soda is different than baking soda and can sometimes be referred to as soda ash or sodium carbonate. It is a more abrasive cleaning agent and is great for tackling stains and a degreaser.
Washing soda helps to soften the water by binding to the minerals in the water, which then helps lift the dirt out of the fabric.
The reason washing soda sometimes is referred to as soda ash is because it is often made from the ash of burnt plants. It can also be made by putting baking soda in the oven to remove the water and carbon dioxide. The heat causes a chemical reaction which changes the baking soda to washing soda. Washing soda is higher alkaline than baking soda.
Simply having washing soda in your homemade laundry soap is great, however you can use it alone for those tough stains as well. Simply pre-soak a tough stain in washing soda and water to give it a jump start before washing.
I usually find my washing soda in the laundry aisle at Walmart, however I have also bought it on Amazon when my local Walmart was out.
Celtic Sea Salt:
At this point you are probably thinking, I have seen lots of homemade laundry soaps using baking soda and washing soda. Those are both common ingredients in a DIY laundry detergent. However, the next 2 ingredients are ones that I rarely see.
Let’s talk about why I have added Celtic sea salt to this detergent. I am always looking for ways to get the clothes cleaned and remove stains. I mean, that’s the whole reason for washing clothes anyways!
Adding sea salt to your laundry detergent is a great way to help remove stains without having to wash in a high temperature. It is ideal for removing stains because it absorbs liquid easily. Using salt in your detergent also helps to keep colors bright and to not let them bleed colors into other pieces of clothing.
You don’t want to leave out the salt!
Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds:
When I shared this recipe on instagram a month ago, one of the big questions was “Is Sal Suds the same as Castile soap?”
The answer is no. Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds is not a soap so it is different then Castile soap. Sal suds is a concentrated hard-surface all purpose cleaner. It cuts through sticky grease and dirt effectively but is mild on the skin.
It is made with plant based surfactants which is exactly what you want in a laundry soap. You want to make sure to have a surfactant in your laundry soap because is lowers the surface tension between materials, which basically means it removes dirt and doesn’t leave a film on your clothes.
Sal suds and Castile soap behave differently in water, which is why they are not the same thing. Here is the difference between the two.
What is Castile soap?
Castile soap works great in skin and body care but not good in cleaning products or laundry detergent. Castile soap needs to be used in warm water or it will leave a greasy film. This film is even worse with hard water, which is what I have. When using Castile soap with hard water it just turns to soap scum no matter how much you wash and scrub, it never feels clean and you can’t get rid of the film.
What is Sal suds?
Sal suds isn’t a soap but a detergent which means it is free rinsing. It doesn’t leave a residue or film and does well in any level of water hardiness and temperature.
Using Sal Suds in my homemade laundry detergent allows you to wash your clothes in hot water or cold water. And it doesn’t matter if you have hard water or soft.
Make sure that you stick with using Sal Suds for cleaning products and Castile soap for skin and body care products when you are making your own!
You can simply just use the ingredients above and skip the essential oils all together, but I like to add them for a scent booster! You want to make sure you are buying your essential oils from a reputable source. Not all essential oils are the same and hold the same safety values and concentration.
I buy all my essential oils from DoTERRA but you can use whichever brand you feel comfortable with.
Some of my favorite oils to use in this natural laundry detergent are:
- lavender essential oils
- lemon essential oils
- purify essential oils
- tea tree essential oils
Of course experiment with different scents and mixes. You can make a combination of a couple to make a wonderful scent for your clothes.
- 1/2 cup Baking Soda
- 1 gallon Water
- 1/2 cup Washing Soda
- 1/2 cup Celtic Sea Salt
- 1/3 cup Sal Suds
- Essential oils of choice (optional)
How to make homemade laundry soap:
- Fill a 1 gallon jar with hot water from your sink. You can also boil water, but I don’t find that necessary.
- Add in your baking soda, washing soda, and Celtic sea salt. You can stir in between each one as you add it or add all at once and stir at the end. Continue to stir until everything is completely dissolved.
- Pour in the Sal Suds and stir gently to dissolve and mix. You don’t want to stir it too vigorously or it will get too bubbly.
- If using essential oils, add 10-15 drops in and give it a quick stir.
- I like to pour my homemade liquid laundry detergent into two 1/2 gallon milk jugs so that they are easy to shake and pour when ready to use, although you can use mason jars or any container of choice. Just remember everything will settle to the bottom and it needs to be shaken before each use to mix it all back up.
- Use 1 cup of detergent per load of laundry. Since this is a liquid with water already added, it is not highly concentrated and the larger amount per load is necessary.
- One gallon of laundry detergent lasts me about 2 weeks with doing 1-2 loads of laundry every day.
What are some common questions asked about this homemade laundry soap?
A month ago I posted this recipe on my instagram account. It got a lot of traction, which means it came with a lot of questions!
Some of these questions I don’t have an answer to, as I haven’t used the detergent in that way, but I will answer as many as I can in case others have the same questions!
Is this laundry soap safe for HE machines?
I do not have an HE washer machine, only a top loader. So I have never tried it in one. That being said, homemade laundry detergents are typically safe for HE machines as they do not have super sudsy agents which is what can ruin your front loader washer.
Liquid homemade laundry detergent is usually better in a front loader because they use less water, which means this recipe would work really well!
One thing to consider when choosing to use this recipe in your HE machine is that any warranty could be voided due to using a homemade detergent in place of a recommended HE detergent.
Can this detergent be used with septic tanks?
Yes, this laundry detergent recipe is safe to use with septic tanks. All the ingredients in this recipe are biodegradable which makes it safe to use when you have septic tanks.
I am on a septic system and have been ever since making my own laundry detergent. I have never had any problems.
Can you use this laundry detergent on babies clothes & cloth diapers?
Five years ago I went on a journey to removing harsh chemicals from our home and diet, one of the first things I needed to change was my laundry detergent.
I was trying to bring everything back to simple wholesome ingredients. When I looked at the back of the bottles of the natural laundry detergents I was not impressed. There was still so many things I couldn’t pronounce and I just wanted simple.
That led me to making my own. I needed to find a recipe that was safe and effective. Now I never used cloth diapers and in fact I wasn’t making my own detergents when any of my girls were babies, however I feel completely safe using this detergent for baby clothes or cloth diapers.
I feel confident to say that each ingredient is safe for sensitive skin, which I would consider baby skin to be. One thing I would consider is not adding in the optional essential oils, just in case those made a babies skin react.
Can I use Castile Soap in place of Sal Suds?
No you can not switch those. If you read above I explain the difference between the two and they are not interchangeable.
Sal Suds is good in cleaning products and is a detergent and Castile soap is good in skin and body products because it is a soap.
Is it normal for the detergent to separate?
Yes, this is completely normal for the detergent to separate. That is why I like to store it in two 1/2 gallon glass milk jugs. This makes it easy to shake before each use.
Without any additives in this diy laundry soap, all your ingredients will settle back to the bottom. Just give it a vigorous shake before each use and you will be good!
Can I store this homemade laundry soap in plastic containers?
You can absolutely use plastic containers to store your laundry soap! I would however choose to use glass if you are adding essential oils as the oils can eat away at the plastic.
I also prefer the glass bottles because they hold up better. But top priority is always using what you have to save money! So if plastic bottles is all your have, then by all means use them!
Does it have to be Celtic sea salt?
I prefer Celtic sea salt, but no it does not necessarily have to be Celtic sea salt. You can use any sea salt you have on hand!
I have used a Redmonds sea salt and a dead sea salt in this recipe and both worked great.
Making your own detergent is a great way to safe money, use safe clean products, and also effectively wash your clothes. I love being able to make my own cleaning products and having a cleaning schedule, keeps the every day household chores manageable.
This simple recipe will change the way you think about making homemade laundry detergent and make your loads of laundry a little bit better!