laundry soap

another lovely West Coast windy day

Last year my husband and I put up a clothesline.  Our electric clothes dryer seemed to be running for hours every day, so it seemed prudent to try and alleviate a portion of our electric bill, if nothing else. This frugal step led me into a whole new world of laundry heaven. I not only wanted to get the laundry clean, I also wanted to enjoy the process, and I wondered if all the money I was spending on laundry detergent could also be reduced.

My inspiration was bourne from my love of all things domestic, and also from my memories of hanging out the washing with my Granny when I was young. Granny always used Sunlight bar soap, a product which hasn’t changed since it’s inception (go here for more info), and which has a decidedly fresh, clean aroma which lends itself perfectly to fresh-air dried clothing, sheets and towels.

The following concoction is not dissimilar to many recipes that are easily found by googling “homemade laundry soap”. But I wanted to recreate my process, mainly because I found taking these photographs so much fun.

The whole thing takes about 10 minutes and produces an incredibly inexpensive and effective product that really cleans and deodorizes any and all laundry items. (Many of you probably live in the city, where the water comes out of the tap from a source many miles away. We live in a rural area, and our own water comes from a well on our property. Our water contains some metals and organic compounds, and can, depending on the time of year, make the laundry smell a little sour. If you have never smelled sour laundry, you are blessed! But if you have, you know it’s not something you really want to experience more than once.)

So here is my visually appealing (I hope!) recipe for homemade laundry soap:


Borax: sodium borate* (2kg box) – $5.69

Sunlight soap (2 bar pkg.) – $2.39

Washing soda (2kg bag) – $4.59


1/2 bar soap

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup borax

32 cups water


this could be a really nasty April Fool’s prank!

grate soap and melt into 8 cups simmering water in saucepan on stove until dissolved:

2013-02-11 15.58.35Image

stir washing soda and borax into dissolved soap mixture then addto 24 cups cold water in a large container


stir well to dissolve powders and then transfer into recycled bleach/laundry jugs:


makes 32 cups

use 1/2 cup per load

*make sure to shake well before use as it gets kind of gloppy and settles in the bottom of the jug

add a few drops essential oil (I get mine from http://rainbowroadtrading.ca

or leave as is for fresh, clean laundry:


Total cost per load is under 2 cents:

1/2 bar soap = $0.67

1/2 cup washing soda = $0.26

1/2 cup borax = $0.27

total per batch: $1.20

divided by 64 loads = $0.017 per load

*Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. It is usually a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water. Borax has a wide variety of uses. It is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. It is also used to make buffer solutions in biochemistry, as a fire retardant, as an anti-fungal compound for fiberglass, as an insecticide, as a flux in metallurgy, a texturing agent in cooking, and as a precursor for other boron compounds. The term borax is used for a number of closely related minerals or chemical compounds that differ in their crystal water content, but usually refers to the decahydrate. Commercially sold borax is usually partially dehydrated.  http://www.goodguide.com/ingredients/104723-sodium-borate

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