April 11, 2022

Making your own natural laundry soap 

Simplifying

Adapting to a simpler lifestyle brings so many new things to do and skills to learn. It’s best to start with either something small or something you often do or need. For us, as a family of six, laundry is one of those things in the “often” category. By making your own natural laundry soap you can make a change towards a simpler life.

A glass jar of laundry soap with two lemons in front. It's standing on a white chair before an antique, white cabinet.

Simplifying

Adapting to a simpler lifestyle brings so many new things to do and skills to learn. It’s best to start with either something small or something you often do or need. For us, as a family of six, laundry is one of those things in the “often” category. By making your own natural laundry soap you can make a change towards a simpler life.

Detergent or soap?

There is a difference between soap and detergent. While detergent is the kind you buy at the store in large packages. It is usually made with synthetic ingredients. Natural laundry soap can be made at home without the syntetic ingredients.

Soap is made of some kind of fat or oil. That can either be plant based or an animal fat. By adding sodium hydroxide the water and the fat saponifies. Turning it into soap. While sodium hydroxide might sound quite chemical too, there is no trace of it left in the actual soap.

What’s better?

Both detergent and soap has some pros and cons.

Detergent can have better cleaning properties, because they can be more soluble. Detergent often foams more than soap as well.

Soap on the other hand is (often) made with (more) natural ingredients. Has good cleaning properties and can be easily made at home.

So, if you’re in for a more simpler lifestyle and you look for an easy way to start. Natural laundry soap is a great one to start with.

All the ingredients for making natural laundry soap are set on a wooden table. The bar is Sunlight soap, baking soda in a cup, washing soda in a glass jar and sea salt.
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What you’ll need

To make natural laundry soap you only need four ingredients and a handful of supplies. It’s super easy. You’ll most likely know the ingredients by heart after one time :).

Ingredients

  • baking soda – 1 cup
  • washing soda – 1 cup
  • sea salt – 1 cup
  • 1 bar of Sunlight soap or Fels Naptha or equivalent

Ingredients

  • grater
  • bowl for mixing
  • (glass) jar for storage
  • measuring cup

Some things to consider

All of the ingredients have a long shelf life and are multi-purpose. If your budget allows for it, it pays to buy these in bulk.

Baking soda can be used for cleaning as well. Julia Watkins has some great tips on her blog and in her book Simply Living Well. Furthermore, it’s indispensable when baking cookies (if not sourdough, which I must say, I highly prefer… :))

Sea salt can be used for cleaning as well, and of course an essential for cooking and fermenting.

Additionaly, washing soda is has great properties too and can be used for everyday cleaning and scrubbing pots and pans. Hence it is also great for cleaning glass jars before using them in waterbath canning.

A stainless steel bowl with a grater used for grating a bar of soap to make natural laundry soap.

Grating

You may have to use some elbow grease to grate your whole bar of soap. But’s it’s definitely possible and it will give your arms a free workout.

It’s best to use a fine grater. By using a fine grater your natural laundry soap will dissolve better in the washing machine. I like to use the same type as you can use to grate Parmesan cheese and nutmeg.

Let’s make some soap

Furthermore, gather your supplies and ingredients and take (another) little step towards a simple life. If you make sure you’ll never run out of these four simple ingredients, you’ll never run out of your own natural laundry soap.

A glass jar of laundry soap with two lemons in front. It's standing on a white chair before an antique, white cabinet.

Natural Laundry Soap

Yield: 1 batch

Materials

  • 1 bar of Sunlight soap or Fels Naptha
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 1 cup of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Finely grate the bar of soap
  2. Measure all the ingredients and put in a mixing bowl. Or, you could put all the ingredients in the glass jar right away.
  3. Give the mixture a good stirr untill all is well combined
  4. Fill the glass jar and shake before each use
  5. Use about 2 tbs per load (front loader)

Notes

Grate your bar of soap as finely as possible, that makes the laundry soap more soluble.

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