Since first reading Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel I have wanted to give it a go in making my own laundry liquid. I thought it would be hard, time-consuming and fiddly. How wrong I was!

I made my first batch just before Christmas and this has lasted just under 3 months including many washes for night time toilet training. No longer washing day or night cloth nappies gave me a great opportunity to start to make my own laundry liquid. For laundry powder and liquids suitable for cloth nappies look here.

Laundry Liquid

Laundry Liquid Step by Step

There are only 3 ingredients to homemade laundry liquid, 4 if you count the water. Soap, washing soda, and borax. The recipe I started off with was Rhonda’s blog Down to Earth Have you tried homemade laundry liquid, and Homemade laundry liquid revisited. However I was not keen on the borax, as I think ant poison straight away and I am unclear of the environmental impact. Rhonda’s blog posts have some great comments and tips at the bottom from many of Rhonda’s readers.

The recipe I choose to use was Melissa from Frugal and Thriving, a borax free recipe. This week I made my second batch.

My product cost:

  • 7.95 soap
  • 3.99 washing soda 1kg
  • Half an hour of my time

Cost of Ingredients:

  • 7.95 1 bar of soap
  • 1.00 1 cup of washing soda

Total for 10 Litres = $8.95, that’s less than a $1 a litre!

Many of the recipes I found on how to make laundry liquid or powder recommended using any old soap, or sunlight soap, or lux flakes for ease of use. Soap ain’t soap!

  • Lux flakes Ingredients: Soap, Perfume.
  • Sunlight Soap: Sodium Tallowate, Water, Sodium Cocoate, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance, Etidronic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, CI 11680, CI 16255, Potassium Hydroxide.

Sure this may be the cheap, standard option but I want my laundry liquid to be safe to use with no nasties like fragrance, perfume or EDTA. I refer to my Twenty8 Additive card when I am out shopping to check what ingredients to avoid in my personal care products. You can also refer to Chemical Maze or Skin Deep to look up the ingredients and check for yourself what is safe for you and your family.

I went looking for soap and I choose Dr Bronners Pure Castile Unscented bar soap; safe ingredients but compromising on palm oil, sorry orang-utans.

I choose the unscented soap so that I can add my own essential oils and know the quality of the essential oils that are being used with my laundry. I choose what is safe for me and safe for the environment, nothing synthetic or adulterated. I add 3-5 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil to each load as a stain remover as well as its high anti-bacterial, anti-viral and antiseptic properties. Every few loads I will add 3-5 drops of Tea Tree essential oil to a load for its anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties.

Tips

  • Use a pot just for soap making – just to be safe. I share my soap pot with my mum.
  • Best made when children are not around.
  • Washing soda can be found in most supermarkets, look on the top or bottom shelves.
  • Have enough containers handy to store more than 10L of liquid as you need space in container to shake before use.
  • The liquid is more like gel and will separate, it is still good to use.
  • Have a scoop to store with your liquid. I choose to re-purpose my plastic 1/3 measuring cup dedicated to laundry. (I have stainless steel measuring cups for cooking).
  • Have a smaller working container for everyday use and decant as needed out of the larger containers. I use a large 10L ice cream tub from my local cafe.
  • Any of the first aid oils would be a great choice to add to your laundry liquid and will give a beautiful and fresh aroma to you clothes and linen.

If you are more a powder than a liquid person, check out Stuart’s recipe.

If you are not keen on making your own laundry liquid, Jo from Down to Earth Mum has some great tips on how to choose the best laundry liquid or powder. My favourite store-bought eco-friendly laundry liquid is Kin Kin Naturals. Some other great laundry options can be found here and here.

Mrs Wishy Washy was a popular children’s book from my 1990s school days which I can still picture in my mind when I do the washing! Have you tried making your own laundry liquid?