Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Homemade Laundry Soap


My Grandmother used to say, “Use it up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do without!” But I suppose Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a much more sophisticated sentiment.  Whatever saying you use, they are both good to live by. Recently I became aware of the amount of plastic we were putting in the garbage and realized that laundry detergent bottles were some of the biggest culprits. We go through a lot of laundry soap.

When my kids were little, I made laundry soap to save money. It saved us tons! But when I started working full time outside of our home, convenience kind of took over. Being convicted of all those plastic bottles going in the garbage, I decided to put together some laundry detergent again. Right now, I’m using the powdered form, but there are ways to make this liquid. I’ll post some of my recipes next week.

What I do:

1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap (you get this in the laundry section of the store)

1 Cup Borax

1 Cup Washing Soda

You will need to grate the bar of soap, then add the borax and soda and mix. Sometimes I add some Oxiclean (or generic equivalent) and I always make this in 3 bar batches. (3 bars, 3 cups each of borax and soda)

Then you’re left with what to put your new laundry detergent in! I’ve always used an old coffee  can (the plastic variety), and decided to spiff it up a bit to match my new laundry room. I started with the Folgers Can and some of my Mod Podge stash.

I had some fabric left over from the curtains in my laundry room, so I sewed a quick rectangle of fabric, big enough to cover the middle portion of the coffee can. On the Folgers cans, there are little “handle” in the back of the can. I didn’t cover that part.

The next step was to put some Mod Podge on the coffee can and then center the fabric onto the can. Then brush the Mod Podge on the fabric. I think I put a couple of coats of Mod Podge on the fabric.

 And, it’s pretty! I left the coffee can red, because it went well with the fabric I used.

You could also spray paint it. I may add some vinyl letters later, but today, this is done.


Madder Root and Moroccan Clay Soap


I love making soap. It’s fun for me to experiment and learn how each oil and soap additive interacts with the other. I love using my soaps. They are simply lovely!

This past weekend, I did some work with Clays and botanical colorants. I think I’m going to like the results! I learned a few things, too! There are soap making resources all over the web, and it’s fun to see what others are doing…and it’s a good thing to learn from others’ mistakes, too, although I make plenty of my own mistakes, I’m sure. I am especially excited to share my own soap recipes with you.

I am committed to only use natural, botanicals or clays in my soaps to color and fragrance them. I am not using fragrance oils or wax colors. I’m sure there will be people who won’t purchase my soaps because the bars don’t smell like the most recent Bath and Body fragrances, but those soaps are readily available in any city around. Mine aren’t. 😉

I bought some powdered Madder Root and Moroccan Red Clay from Soap Making Resource and learned about infusing the Madder Root into the oils so that you get the color but not the scratchiness of the botanical. Steve has some great tutorials. Check him out!

Madder Root/Moroccan Clay Soap

Moroccan red clay comes from deep below the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

This clay is strong cleansing clay that will draw excess oils from the skin, stimulate circulation to the skin and act as a powerful astringent for oily skin and hair. It is used in many spas around the world. It has been used for over 1400 years and the finest spas across the globe currently utilize it for therapeutic benefits.

This isn’t the best photo and the coloring is a bit off. The color is more of a barn red with a hint of burgundy. I like it. I kind of wanted a deeper color, but I’ll keep working on this one.

I’m not sure why, but I am wondering if the mixture of the clay, madder root and lanolin hide the fragrance. I used a bit of the soap this morning after I cut the bars, and I could smell the fragrance then (a wonderful Bay/Lemongrass blend), but the bars themselves have a very bland fragrance.

Here’s the recipe:

Fat                                   Amount        % in recipe

Aloe Extract                        4 oz.            3.33%

Castor Oil                              4 oz             3.33%

Coconut Oil                        16 oz           13.33%

Olive Oil                               48 oz          40.00%

Palm Oil                                  8 oz             6.67%

Shea Butter                            4 oz             3.33%

Soybean Oil                         32 oz          26.67%

Lanolin                                    4  oz             3.33%

Total Weight                     120 oz.

Lye Table (NaOH) 15.8 oz. in 35 oz. of Soy Milk

Moroccan Red Clay 4 TBLS to fats after they had melted.

Madder Root (4TBLS) was infused in 32oz. of the olive oil and cooked in the slow cooker for about 4 to 5 hours. Strained before adding to the oils.)

At trace, I added 3TBLS Bay Essential Oil (YUM!) and 2 TBLS Lemongrass Essential Oil. This bar isn’t as fragrant as the others I have done with less EOs. Hmmmm.