Natural Cleaning Products

Yesterday, a friend asked me for advice on the best way to make homemade laundry soap.  Her question reminded me that I started a “Natural Year Challenge” in 2013 and never finished!  I was challenged and intrigued by Andrea Fabry of Moms Aware, Inc., and I blogged about my progress for a while.  You can read those posts here.  Looking back over those this morning, I discovered that I made it through Month 4 and left off at the Kitchen!  Maybe this summer, I’ll resume the challenge…

I began Andrea Fabry’s challenge by buying or gathering all the products that would be used for making my own natural cleaning products:  borax, washing soda, baking soda, vinegar, castile soap (liquid and bar), essential oils, and a grater for the bar soap.

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Using these products, I learned to make my own foam soap, soft scrub, dishwasher detergent, and laundry detergent.  There’s so much more to learn!  Obviously, I’m a pretty slow learner, and your encouragement always helps.  If you’re making your own cleaning products, please share your recipes and advice.  I’ll be sharing my recipes here and I’d love to try yours as well.

Now, to answer my friend’s question!  Here’s my laundry detergent recipe:

Liquid Laundry Detergent

  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 oz. castile soap (1/4 of a 4 oz. bar)
  • 1/4 cup washing soda
  • 1/4 cup borax
  • 10 cups water

Boil 3 cups of water.  Grate castile soap and add it to the boiling water.  (I use Kirk’s Castile Soap which I have bought at Publix but can also be purchased on Amazon.)Kirk's Castile Soap

Stir until castile soap is dissolved.  Add washing soda and borax, and stir until dissolved.  Pour into a large container and add 10 cups of water.  Stir or shake, and then let set for 24 hours until it forms a liquid gel. 

Use 1/2 cup of the detergent for each load.  This may vary depending on your washing machine and the hardness of your water. 

For the record, my detergent has yet to form a liquid gel; it’s pretty much just liquid.  But it gets the clothes clean, so I guess it doesn’t matter!

I add vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser to help with smells and stains, and I occasionally add essential oils to the detergent:  eucalyptus oil because it kills dust mites, tea tree oil because it disinfects, and lemon oil because it smells good!

I use liquid detergent because of our hard water.  Powdered detergent tends to clump and not dissolve.  If you prefer a powder, here’s Andrea Fabry’s recipe:

Powdered Laundry Detergent

  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax
  • 4 oz. grated castile soap

Grate castile soap using a cheese grater or food processor.  Make the shavings as thin as possible to allow for dissolving.  Combine all three ingredients using a fork or whisk, and stir quickly and thoroughly, or use a food processor to do this in a matter of seconds.

Store in container of choice. Use 1-2 tablespoons per wash, depending on the size of the load.

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