Natural Laundry Soap {recipe}

Manufacturers of laundry products spend a good deal of money on advertising to convince us that their products contain "magical" ingredients that can solve every laundry problem. Well, they don't! With their cleaning power stemming from caustic bleach, EDTA, and optical brighteners (which are strong allergens), their ingredients are anything but magical.

After experiencing lots of different recipes, here are some that worked really well. They are easy to make, cheap and natural.

These formulas don't have any magical components that you can't pronounce. Instead, the cleaning power of these soaps comes from combining clean, pure ingredients.

Basic Laundry Soap Powder

1 cup washing soda
1 cup scented baking soda (fill a shaker-type container with baking soda and add about 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. Click here for a list of essential oils and their benefits)
1 cup soap flakes or finely grated pure bar soap (I like Dr Bronners castile bar soap)

Combine all ingredients and store in a heavy plastic container or glass jar (canning jars work great - make sure to use the wide-mouth ones!). Use 1/2 cup per average laundry load.

Basic Liquid Formula

2 1/4 cups liquid castile soap
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon glycerin
3/4 cup water
10-15 drops essential oil of you choice (you may skip this if using the scented castile soap)

Combine all ingredients into a plastic container or squirt bottle. Shake once or twice before adding to the wash. To use, add 1/4 cup per average load; 1/2 cup for extra large or heavily soiled loads.


Cleaning With Essential Oil and Herbs.

Nearly everyone has heard about the virtues of common items such as baking soda and vinegar for cleaning jobs like scouring and absorbing grease. The addition of herbal materials, especially essential oils, to the formula serves to enhance its cleaning value with the added benefit of leaving behind a soothing, natural scent.

Essential oils and dried herbs are readily available in health food stores and by mail order.

Essential Oils (EO)

When buying essential oils, make sure to buy a pure, undiluted oil and not the one that has been diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond.

There are even grade differences among pure oil, but this difference generally pertains to the quality of fragrance, and for the purpose of household cleaning it is insignificant! So don't use your therapeutic $90 oil to clean the floors!! Just saying...

Here are the most common essential oils (EO) used in  cleaning formulas:

*Mint (peppermint, spearmint and wintergreen)
*Sweet Orange
*Tea tree


If you are fortunate enough to be able to grow your own herb, as I do, you will already have a supply of herbal material on hand to dry for making scouring powders, sachets, and carpet fresheners. You will need to dry the herbs before using them in cleaning formulas!

Many herbs have antibiotic, antiviral, antiseptic, and antifungal properties. The following list is not complete by any means, but it represents the most common herbs that are grown in home gardens and that are easily available in dried or essential oil form.

HERB                          PROPERTIES

Bay                               antibacterial

Bergamot                       antibiotic

Camphor                       antibacterial

Cardamon                     antibacterial

Chamomile                   antibiotic, antibacterial

Cinnamon                    antiviral

Citronella                    antibacterial

Clove                           antibiotic, antiviral

Cypress                        antibacterial

Eucalyptus                  antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial

Ginger                         antibacterial

Hyssop                         antifungal, antibacterial

Juniper                       antifungal, antibacterial

Lavender                antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial

Lemon                    antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial

Lemongrass                  antibacterial

Marjoram                    antibacterial

Myrtle                         antibiotic, antifungal

Nutmeg                        antibiotic

Orange                        antibacterial

Oregano                       antibiotic, antiviral

Patchouli                    antibiotic, antifungal

Pine                           antibiotic, antibacterial

Rosemary                    antibacterial

Sage                            antibacterial, antifungal

Spearmint                    antibacterial

Tea tree                  antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial

Thyme                        antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial

Wintergreen                 antibacterial; take extra care when handling

01 09 10