“Green Your Cleaning” Series-The Laundry

With little ones in the house, laundry seems like it is never ending.  If I occasionally get to the bottom of the basket and finish the extra pile it is only momentary before it is filled again.  I have come to accept the fact that laundry will always be my companion.  There are many ways to green your laundry routine and save so much money in the process!

According to Energy Star the average household does almost 400 loads of laundry each year, consuming about 13,500 gallons of water. That is a lot of laundry!  So making simple, yet small changes can have a profound impact.

First off, if it isn’t dirty don’t wash it!  There are certain clothing items we wouldn’t want to re-wear, but there are some clothing items such as jeans or dress clothes you may have only worn a few hours so be conscious of if it really needs to be washed.

Next wash in cold water. The EPA estimates that a whopping 90 percent of energy used for washing clothes goes to heating the water, costing you $100 or more every year.

Be sure to wash only full loads of laundry, which ensures that your machine is operating at efficiency.

If you haven’t already, try to make your own laundry soap!  It will cost you pennies per load and it works so well!  I have been making my own laundry soap for over 6 years now and I have really been happy with the results.  There are so many recipes available online.  I have used a recipe my sister shared with me years ago but now we are trying to not use Borax so have tried out several others.  (As a note, it is important to use actual washing soda, not baking soda as you need the sodium bicarbonate found in the washing soda.)  Here are a few recipes that I have used to get you started:

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

  • 4 cups hot tap water
  • 1 Fels-Naptha soap bar or Dr. Bronner’s Organic Castile Soap
  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • 1/2 cup Borax (optional)

Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda, and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover, and let sit overnight to thicken. Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. It will get and be thick so shake well before each use.

Optional: You can also add 5-10 drops of essential oil per gallon once the soap has cooled. I prefer to do this with each time I refill my laundry soap container so the scent seems to last longer.  You can use: peppermint, lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil or anything that you enjoy.

Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons. For a Top Load Machine-It is suggested to use 5/8 cup per load (approximately 180 loads).  Front Load Machines-It is suggested to use 1/4 cup per load (approximately 640 loads).

I still like this recipe, I just leave out the Borax.  Borax helps to boost the laundry soap’s whitening power and acts as a deodorizer.  You can leave the borax out of laundry soap recipes and your clothes will still come out of the washer clean, I have found out first hand!

Homemade Powder Laundry Soap

  • 1 bar Ivory soap or Fels Naptha or Dr. Bronner’s Organic Castile Soap
  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1/2 cup washing soda (found in the laundry aisle)


Grate 1 bar of Ivory soap (or other not strongly scented bar soap). Add 1/2 cup of borax. Add 1/2 cup washing soda. Mix together and store in air tight container. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.

This recipe not does produce a lot of suds.  But as I said last week, we equate suds to clean and that is not necessarily the case.  Your clothes will come out clean!  This works especially well in high efficiency washing machines.


Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap Without Borax or Washing Soda

  • 1 cup of Liquid Castile Soap (I love Dr. Bronner’s soap)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 3/4 gallon of water


Add your 4 cups of water and 1 cup of liquid castile soap to a large stock pot.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat and slowly stir in your 1 cup of baking soda.  Stir well.  Add your mixture to an empty 3 or 5 gallon bucket.  Add your remaining 1 3/4 gallon of water.  Stir well.

You can also store this in the bucket or pour into empty laundry detergent containers.  Use 1/3-1/2 cup of liquid per load.


If you don’t like the idea of making your own laundry soap, look for products that are all natural, readily biodegradable, made from plant-based ingredients (rather than petroleum-based) and free of phosphates.  Eco-Friendly, natural laundry products are kinder to our Eco-system, gentler to our loved ones skin, and can help extend the life of your clothes.   I have had the privilege to review several Eco-friendly laundry soaps and have been very happy with how they preformed as well as how they smelled: BerryPlus, Ecover.   Check back tomorrow for a giveaway for some great natural laundry soap!




2 thoughts on ““Green Your Cleaning” Series-The Laundry”

  1. I made a batch of your powered soap and it looks completely differant than your picture! I looks to have triple the amount of grated soap. I used a Fals Naptha 5 1/5 oz bar. 1/2 cup borax 1/2 cup washing soda.

    1. Scotlan, that is actually not a picture of my laundry soap. You should have more grated soap than powder. I have played with my mixture and found that is what I prefer with my laundry detergent if I make the powder. You can make it 1 to 1 1/2 cups of both the powders and it still works well but this is what I found with my machine that works well!

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