Clean Cleaning: Homemade Laundry Soap

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!  It’s cold and rainy here in Kansas City, so our Shamrock Sunday is more lazy and snuggly than festive.  We did jig our way over to the local pub for an Irish Breakfast – Bailey’s and Coffee included – but that’s about as leprechauny as it gets.  That’s a-ok with me!

I did get a nice long run and bRUNch in yesterday.

RUNch bRUNch

RUNch is my running group and I love these people.  They motivate me, make me laugh and let me play with their kids and then take them away.  I’m so blessed to share my life with them.


Last night we watched the recent film “End of Watch”.  Woah. Was it good.  The film is shot documentary style from the point of view of two young cops (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena – incredible!) patrolling South Central LA.  It was extremely raw, tenderly funny and terrifyingly real.  While living in Los Angeles for 8 years, I fortunately did not experience any of the violence portrayed but I certainly shared the streets with many who did.  “End of Watch” made my heart hurt because I know the fictional lives of the gang members and crack addicts followed in the film is real life for some living in the hood.  Kids and teenagers are raised knowing no different, and the cycle will continue for years.

End of Watch DVD  {#holycrap}

…I could write an entire post about that movie but I won’t. Instead, let’s talk about natural cleaning products!!

Natural Laundry Soap

About 2 years ago I decided to do away with the harsh cleaning products we were using and start integrating natural alternatives into the routine.  Not only are natural cleaning products better for your body, your furniture / appliances / fixtures and the environment, but they are typically WAY cheaper than store bought formulas. Plus, scrubbing my shower with baking soda makes me feel like a hippie and hippies are super cool.  I still shave my armpits though so I guess I can’t call myself a hippie.  Yet.

Natural Laundry Soap 2

{Yes, I made my own label.  And yes, I am aware that makes me a #hugenerd}

One of my favorites is my homemade laundry detergent.  It only has 4 ingredients and is a cinch to whip up if you have a food processor or good blender.  I can find all of these ingredients at Wal-Mart or my local grocer (Hy-Vee in my case).  The ingredients for a large batch are:

Natural Laundry Soap Ingredients

Super Washing Soda ($3.15 / large box) : odor removal

Borax ($3.39 / large box): stain removal and whitening

Pure Baking Soda ($2.12 / large box) : whitens whites, brightens brights, neutralizes odors and softens fabric

Yardley Soap ($3.96 / 4 bars): degreasing

Total for 180 load batch = $12.62.  Tide Ultra Powder Original Scent 180 loads = $41.55

Sounds like a no-brainer!

Natural Laundry Soap 3

Homemade Laundry Soap


1 C Borax

1 C Super Washing Soda

1/4 C Pure Baking Soda

2 bars Yardley bar soap (can also use Fels Naptha, ZOTE or any other natural bar soap without too many additives)



Cut up the soap into cubes. It may crumble so just do the best you can.

Yardley Soap

Place soap in food processor.

Yardley in Processor

Process for 1-2 minutes, or until soap is a fine powder.

Soap powder

Pour into large jar or container, preferably with a lid. Measure and add in remaining ingredients.  Stir or shake until thoroughly mixed.

Nautral Laundry Detergent 2

Add 2 tbsp (1 scoopful, in my case) to each load.  Note that this powder will not suds up, but you don’t have to see bubbles to know it’s clean.

What about a natural fabric softener?  I stopped buying those about 6 months ago and started using vinegar, a tennis ball and a piece of blue coral from the Red Sea.  Okay, so that last part is a lie but the vinegar and tennis ball are for real!

I pour 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser of my washer (if you don’t have one, just add it to the rinse cycle).  White vinegar is made from plants and is a renewable resource. It softens fabrics without the heavy fragrances and harsh chemicals of store bought versions.  Bonus: I promise it will not leave your clothes smelling like vinegar.

Natural Laundry Products

I throw two tennis balls into the dryer as a natural alternative to dryer sheets.  The tennis balls bounce (loudly) around the clothes, cutting down drying time and eliminating static cling without the fake perfume smells.  I tried to google why tennis balls are effective, but I couldn’t really find anything factual.  But it does work!  I’ve also heard of people balling up aluminum foil, but that makes my teeth hurt.

Despite my efforst, I’m not 100% rid of my chemical cleaners.  I am slowly working my way through bottles and cans of cleaning supplies I’ve had for years.  For some reason, I don’t have the heart to just toss unused product in the trash, so I am using them sparingly until they are gone and then switching full-time to their natural alternative.

Laundry Products

{Peace out, old harsh chemicals!}

For example:

To naturally clean hardwood floors, I use a spray bottle filled with 50/50 warm water and white vinegar. It’s inexpensive, simple, and quick. It breaks down dirt and grime without damaging the finish and if done properly is virtually streak-free. Vinegar has tons of different uses as listed by my friend Julia, the Bargain Babe.

In place of Comet for scrubbing ceramic sinks, tubs and toilets, I use baking soda. I  sprinkle the surface with soda and then spray it with vinegar until it starts to foam (hello, volcano in science class!). Leave the foam for 2-3 minutes and then scrub!

Instead of a bottled makeup remover or nighttime face cream, I use 100% extra virgin coconut oil. 

I have replaced my Old English furniture polish with a homemade mix of olive oil and lemon juice.

I’m hoping that by making these small changes to the way we live, our wallets, bodies and planet will be a little better off.  I can’t change everything, but I can certainly do my part!


Let’s share what we know:

Do you use any natural cleaners or products? 

What did you do for St. Patty’s Day?!

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9 thoughts on “Clean Cleaning: Homemade Laundry Soap

  1. I love using baking soda with dish soap and a splash of vinegar to clean our old cast iron tub. Your baking soda/vinegar trick works great to clean out shower drains too. I’ve heard rinsing your hair in vinegar makes it extra shinny…but I haven’t been willing to have my hair smell like vinegar all day. 🙂

  2. Hey Megan,
    Speaking of ‘hippies’ – baking soda has recently replaced my Tom’s of Maine tooth paste, mostly because I ran out of tooth paste, was in a bind and haven’t bought anymore. Baking soda is super gentle and I too use it to clean tub and sinks! Now, If I could somehow persuade you to stop shopping @ the walmart (I’ve never given you my ‘walmart is evil’ tirade? lol). Thanks for the soap recipe!

    • My mom used to make us brush with baking soda before we saw the dentist! And I PROMISE that my Walmart trips are few and far between. I love supporting Hy-Vee, a darling Iowa company!

  3. Pingback: 5 Best and Worst Buys at Trader Joe’s

  4. I agree with everything she says about the laundry detergent. The only thing I do not agree with is using tennis balls in the dryer. They can mess up the sensors in your dryer. My recommendation is using wool dryer balls as an alternative to dryer sheets. They will not mess up your dryer sensors and it makes the drying time shorter. I use the woolzies brand. Worth a try.

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