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Homemade Liquid Dish, Hand, & Laundry Soap

Updated: May 30, 2020

As mentioned in my last post, many of the current home care products on the market are packaged in plastic and full of unhealthy ingredients (that are transferred to our skin, the largest organ of the human body, as well as the waters and environment of our mother earth). From the bar soap in my last post, I've also made dish, laundry, and hand soaps easily and with clean ingredients and plastic free!

1. To cut down on plastic, some people use bar soap to wash their dishes, and that works just fine! But if you'd like to make a liquid dish soap, it's quite simple. First, I bought a stainless steel bottle w/pump that I can re-use. Recipe as follows: In a medium saucepan (ideally w/pour spout), grate a few Tablespoons of palm oil free castile bar soap, and add to a couple cups of hot water and dissolve. Then add a few Tablespoons of washing soda, and dissolve. I heat over stove, so the soap particles all melt. Over the course of the day, this mixture will gel, so keep wisking every few hours, or use an immersion blender to even the consistency, add water if needed, then pour into pump. I still usually have to shake before I use, but that's fine with me!

I base my recipe on Zero Waste Liquid Dish Soap Recipe, which actually uses baking soda, but washing soda is stronger. As described in the link, this soap works best if dishes are rinsed first and soap is added directly to sponge/cloth, then to the dish.

2. For liquid hand soap, I follow the above dish soap recipe, but leave out the washing soda, and add a few drops of cleansing essential oil, like tea tree. With my own bodywork and consulting practice, liquid hand soap makes more sense than bar soap for myself and clients.

3. For laundry soap, I follow the above dish soap recipe, but I dissolve about 1/2 a bar of grated soap in hot water in a large mason jar, then add 1 cup of washing soda, 1/2 cup salt, and 1/2 cup borax, and add hot water to mix. I shake this throughout the day and later use an immersion blender to even the consistency. Then use about 2 Tablespoons per load of wash. I use hot water for the first cycle so that the soap is sure to dissolve and then add a tablespoon of vinegar in the rinse cycle to soften laundry and clear any soap residue that may be left.

Through research, I found that some people keep this as a powder and have fine results. However, it seemed to be controversial whether some peoples' hot cycle is actually hot enough to dissolve the powder version completely, which led to residue. Also, if people have hard water (which it seems most do), then it's even more important to make sure soap is fully dissolved and rinsed out as the high mineral content of hard water attaches to any residue and makes for some funky clothes. So, I just use my liquid gel version, and am amazed at how clean my laundry is!

I based this on a post on Nature's Nuture blog, where a chemist commented with her tried and true laundry detergent recipe: 40% washing soda, 32% salt, and 28% borax. Apparently the combination and reaction is just perfect for resulting in the cleanest clothes! (I just add a bit of my lovely grated bar soap, because I think it softens the clothes, but it may be unnecessary).

For people who don't feel they have time to make their own laundry soap, I've been curious about Stoneworks laundry pods, which I've seen in the grocery packaged in a paper bag. Maybe that's a good plastic free earth friendly version as well?

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