I suffer from a host of allergies and my lungs respond to irritants that most people are blissfully unaware of, lucky creatures. A while back I got onto the kick of making homemade cleaners as a way to both save money and reduce the irritants in my life. For years I assumed that I wheezed when I cleaned because cleaning stirred up dust and allergens. I have since discovered that if I use my own liquid cleaner scented with stuff that doesn’t bother me (my own pure orange distillation I make from orange peels), I can clean wheeze-free. It was the cleaner I used for years and years, regular Mr. Clean, that was causing my allergic reaction not the dust! Most likely it was that pleasant clean lemon fresh scent I love so much. It was in that vein that I started looking for a do-it-yourself replacement for laundry detergent.
I got this recipe for liquid laundry soap from the Wellness Mama. I decided I would wait until we had actually used the stuff for a while before reporting upon how it worked. I used to use Tide Free and Gentle, the one they made for people with allergies and skin sensitivities. It is not completely wheeze free for me but it is pretty close. I am also fussy about the laundry getting clean so I have kept using Tide even though it is higher cost because with cheaper store brands the clothing tended to get dull and stains accumulated, especially on my white socks and grease spots from cooking on my white T-shirts. I like the soles of my white socks to be white when I put them on and I throw away T shirts with grease stains. I have to avoid almost every other brand of laundry detergent out there in any case because of the heavy scent load. I can’t use regular Tide for example. For me personally, Gain, which is very heavily scented, is an absolute nightmare. I can’t even stand to stay in a laundromat if someone else is pouring Gain (which is how Hubby Dearest ended up doing most of the laundry) and I can have trouble with my allergies if a coworker has Gain scent on their clothing.
We have now been using our DIY laundry soap for three months. I am pleased to report the following. My white socks are clean and bright. I have seen no accumulations of stains on my T Shirts nor any laundry dullness. The product is as easy to use as any liquid detergent. We do not normally add any form of pretreatment or bleach. It seems to get the grease stains out as well as or maybe even better than Tide. I can now recommend this recipe to all do-it-yourselfers and people who wish to save money, or those who have scent allergies. The cost is a teeny tiny fraction of using Tide Free and Clean, mere pennies per load. Thank you Wellness Mama!
Disclaimer: My personal issues with scented products and cleaners should not be taken as me saying I think they cause health problems for other people. Most people are not cursed with my allergic hypersensitivity. If you are using these commercial products I have named and you like them, then please continue to do so with my full blessings. Since my standard in homemade cleaners is high because of the effectiveness of the named products then you can consider this an endorsement of them if you don’t have scent allergies and you prefer to buy your cleaning products.
To make Liquid Laundry Soap:
- Grate one bar of soap (I used Kirk’s Castille) with a cheese grater (I used the cheese grater) or food processor.
- Put grated soap in pan with 2 quarts water and gradually heat, stirring constantly until soap is completely dissolved.
- Put 4.5 gallons of really hot tap water in a 5-gallon bucket (available for free in bakeries at grocery stores, just ask them) and stir in 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda until completely dissolved. (It is easy and cheaper to make your own washing soda by baking regular baking soda in the oven at 400F until it changes consistency. I did not find any one site I liked that described this so I suggest Googling it until you find one or figure it out for yourself by checking several.)
- Pour soap mixture from pan into 5-gallon bucket. Stir well.
- Cover and leave overnight.
- Shake or stir until smooth and pour into gallon jugs or other containers.
- Use 1/2 to 1 cup per load.
I used half the water in the last step and we add only 1/4 cup for each load not 1/2. My slightly altered version gives us a gel. Hubby dearest reports he shakes the milk jug before pouring to break up the gel into a pourable liquid slightly less thick that liquid laundry soap.