Goat milk soap and I have just a short, 8-month long history together, but let me tell you – my experience with goat milk soap has been life-changing.
- It’s cleared up my acne-prone skin, both facial and on the rest of my body. (The full story.)
- It’s actually improved the texture of my skin, making it softer and smoother.
- It’s moisturized my skin all over, removing the need to use additional lotion on a daily basis (which means less chemicals!).
Ever since realizing the impact that something as simple as soap can have, I’ve begun to look at health problems from a different perspective.
For example, several years ago, my first response to complaints of itchy skin would be that your skin is dry, and you need lotion.
Now, my concern would be the soap you’re using… And when you think of your soap, you have to consider ALL the soaps that touch your skin on a daily basis:
- face wash
- body wash
- hand soap
- dish soap
- laundry soap
Our first instinct would likely be to blame the hand soap or body wash. But when you’ve switched to something healthier, whether it’s goat milk soap or something else, and you’re still itchy, you’ve got to go back to the drawing board.
What’s the common denominator? What could be causing itchy legs, itchy arms AND an itchy belly?
Your laundry soap.
Yes, the one thing you thought wouldn’t really affect your skin – because it doesn’t actually touch your skin – could be the cause of your skin irritations.
If your skin is sensitive to certain ingredients, it doesn’t take much to cause a flare up. Think of it in terms of an allergy. If you’re allergic to cats, you don’t have to be around a lot of cats to sneeze. All it takes is the one. Or in my case, all it takes is hanging my jacket on the back of a chair at a cat owner’s house.
I don’t even have to go IN to the house, in order for my allergies to react. The practically invisible cat hairs on my jacket are just enough to trigger the reaction.
The same goes with laundry detergent. You don’t have to physically touch laundry detergent it in order for you to have a reaction to the ingredients inside. You can wash, rinse, rinse again and dry and STILL have skin irritations thanks to the tiny remnants left behind.
The only way to know for sure if you’re sensitive to commercial laundry detergent is to switch to a different kind for a short period of time and see if you notice a difference. Preferably a homemade laundry detergent.
Here’s the catch though: sometimes it’s not the dyes that cause irritation. It might not even be the fragrances.
What if you’re washing baby clothes for the first time and you just want to take precautions against baby’s delicate skin?
What if you’re fighting eczema through dietary changes, but aren’t noticing any changes?
Often times the real cause of irritation from laundry soap is the SOAP, which means using typical “free and clear” laundry detergents won’t solve the problem.
Fortunately, making homemade laundry detergent for sensitive skin or hypoallergenic laundry detergent is very easy, and very affordable. With a few basic supplies and a bar of incredibly gentle goat milk soap (I recommend Bend Soap Company), you can make a batch in less than 15 minutes. You can save even more money by skipping the dryer and hang-drying your clothes, even indoors!
How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent
Homemade Laundry Detergent: Supplies
- 1 bar goat milk soap (I recommend Bend Soap Company), shredded for 1 cup of soap shreds
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup borax
- 1/2 cup super washing soda
- 20 drops essential oils (optional, but recommended if you like your clothes to have a certain scent other than clean)
Homemade Laundry Detergent: Method
Using a grater, grate your goat milk soap until you have 1 cup of soap shreds. To save time, grate the entire bar and store excess shreds in a container with a lid.
For those who are REALLY short on time or who don’t want to mess with shredding soap, Bend Soap Company now offers pre-shredded goat milk soap HERE. This also comes in handy if you’re making homemade facial cleanser too.
Optional: In a food processor or blender, combine grated goat milk soap and baking soda. Pulse until the soap is in very small pieces, only slightly bigger than the baking sodas. Add essential oils (if using) and pulse a few more times.
In a container with a lid, combine all ingredients. Seal well and shake vigorously until all the ingredients are well combined. Be careful when opening the container as small dust-like particles of the ingredients will become airborne.
Use one tablespoon for light loads, two tablespoons for heavy loads. This recipe makes enough for 40 tablespoons, which lasts my family approximately one month.
Safety Precautions when Making Homemade Laundry Detergent
Although safe for external use, Borax should not be inhaled. Therefore it is best to use either a mask or some sort of protective barrier over your mouth and nose when handling it and opening the container for the first time.
I pull my shirt up and over my mouth and nose when measuring. Parents, if your children are helping you make laundry detergent, it’s best to handle the borax yourself. Also, as a precaution, use protective gloves if you have cuts or open wounds on your hands.
You can find more on the safety concerns of borax HERE.
Additional Recipe Notes for Homemade Laundry Detergent
I prefer to add the essential oils to my homemade laundry detergent because I like my clothes to have an actual scent after washing. The 20 drops called for in the recipe leaves a very, very light scent. So light, that you might not notice it unless you knew it was there. Feel free to add up to 40 drops of essential oil for a stronger scent.
One fun factor of homemade laundry detergent is that you can create any scent you want. I’ve been using lavender shreds with lavender essential oil, but any of these scent combinations would be lovely as well:
- tea tree + lemon
- lemon/orange/grapefruit + peppermint/wintergreen/spearmint/eucalyptus
- tea tree + peppermint
- orange + thieves/cloves/cinnamon bard
- tea tree + rosemary
I’m using a lovely glass jar that I received as a Christmas gift for my homemade laundry detergent right now, but you can use any container that has a lid like this gallon jar.
I’m also re-purposing an old coffee scoop for measuring. In case you didn’t know, coffee scoops are equivalent to 1 tablespoon, and they tend to be made a bit stronger than most measuring spoons.
Cost Break Down for Homemade Laundry Detergent
Baking soda, borax and super washing soda are available online, but my local Walmart had them for significantly less (like, 50% less). I recommend checking locally first, even calling before making any significant drive so you’re not wasting gas.
- baking soda (from Costco or online): $5.24 for 248 ounces (2¢/oz)
- super washing soda (from Walmart or online): $4.00 for 55 ounces (7¢/oz)
- borax (from Walmart, or online): $4.00 for 76 ounces (5¢/oz)
- goat milk soap (from Bend Soap Company): $1.20 for 1 cup
Total cost for homemade laundry detergent = $2.32, or just 6¢ per load.
Compare to purchasing the leading name-brand, all-natural free and clear detergent from Costco for 30¢/load.
Making your own homemade laundry detergent saves you over 90%!
Want to know the best part about homemade laundry detergent? Besides being frugal? And not having to run to the store for more when you run out?
It’s that homemade laundry detergent really works! In fact, I think it works BETTER than the detergent we used to buy. Our clothes are brighter, and more colorful, and whites aren’t dingy anymore. Seriously, it’s a win-win all around!
I’ve fallen in love with homemade laundry detergent. Do you make your own? What would be your perfect scent combination?
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Bend Soap Company. I love Bend Soap Company’s products and use them daily in my home to make items like this homemade laundry detergent. As always, I would never recommend anything on Crumbs that I wouldn’t recommend to a close friend or neighbor, and all opinions here are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. By making a purchase through those links, you support the ministry of Crumbs without any additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Crumbs in this way! Read my full disclosure statement here.