Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Making natural liquid laundry soap is so easy, inexpensive, and great for the environment. I’m glad to say that despite the introduction of GST in Malaysia this year, we can still maintain our commitment to green cleaning at home by making our own natural laundry soap.

It takes only 30 minutes overall to make your own liquid laundry soap (including the time to divide it into containers).

This recipe I’m sharing with you makes 15 litres of soap (126 loads), which is enough to last my family slightly over 4 months (we run one load daily). The total cost is around RM39.50, which works out to only RM0.31 per load!

Compare this with store-bought “natural” liquid laundry detergent. One of the popular brands in Malaysia retails at RM47.70 for 50 loads, which works out to RM0.95 per load, 3 times the cost of homemade.

Conventional laundry detergent pollutes our earth with chemicals like sulfates, phenols, petroleum distillates and more, so all the more reason to switch to homemade natural laundry soap.

Ingredients

  • 1 bar natural soap or homemade soap (I used Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby-Mild bar soap, 5 oz)
  • 1 cup Borax (I used 20 Mule Team Borax)
  • 1 cup Washing Soda (I used Arm & Hammer)
  • Essential oil (optional) (I used 10 drops of peppermint EO from an old bottle)
  • 15 litres plain tap water*

* Some other recipes use more water (all other ingredients remaining the same), bringing the total volume up to 19 litres, and users are apparently happy with the results. I chose to make my laundry soap more concentrated because of the amount of dirt our 4 kids get onto their clothes! I suppose when their messy days are over (if ever?), I may make 19 litres instead which would mean this recipe alone will enable us to run 160 loads across 5.3 months, decreasing the cost even further to RM0.20 per load!

What’s in these ingredients?

  • Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby-Mild bar soap is made with organic oils (coconut, palm, olive, and jojoba). Best of all, Dr. Bronner’s soaps are certified fair trade.

Dr Bronner's castile soap

  • Borax (sodium tetraborate) is a naturally occurring substance produced by the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes. The 20 Mule Team Borax variety is free of phosphates, per-oxside, chlorine, and other additive chemicals. Some people have expressed concerns over the use of borax, but this well-researched article by Wellness Mama has convinced me of the safety of using it in laundry soap. Basically, we won’t be ingesting it or using it undiluted. In my view, this reasoning applies equally well to many other natural substances.

borax

  • Washing soda (also known as sodium carbonate or soda ash) is the water-soluble sodium salt of carbonic acid.

washing soda

Where to buy

(Prices at the time of writing:) 

  • 20 Mule Team Borax (available at Ace, RM38.05 for 76 oz)*
  • Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (available at Ace, RM28.51 for 55 oz)*

* Borax and Washing Soda are useful for a myriad of natural household cleaning jobs, and they are used so minimally in our homemade cleaning concoctions so the cost of these items (reasonably priced already) are spread out over a long time.

Now for the recipe!

Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe

  1. Add 2 litres of water to a medium-sized pot.
  2. Grate the entire bar of soap. (I used a cheese grater.) Add it into the water.
  3. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly until the soap dissolves.
  4. Add the borax and washing soda to the soap mixture. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.
  5. Pour 13 litres of warm or hot water into a big bucket/pail that can contain at least 16 litres. (A large one that most people use for mopping floors will do just fine.)
  6. Add the soap-borax-washing soda mixture to this big pail of water. Stir well.
  7. Keep overnight and allow to cool in a safe place, away from children and pets.
  8. The next day, the mixture will have separated a little, but that’s ok. Add essential oil (if using). Stir well until combined.
  9. Pour into clean, empty containers. Using a funnel helps get the job done much faster and with minimal spills. (I recycled our empty milk cartons, cleaning and drying them well beforehand.)
  10. Use ½ cup per load (or up to 1 cup if clothes are really dirty). Shake before use.

How to make laundry soap

Does this liquid laundry soap work?

When researching numerous homemade laundry recipes online, I decided to go with liquid laundry soap instead of the dry powdered version as the liquid recipe ensures all the ingredients are well incorporated.

We have been using this laundry soap for exactly 2 weeks now. I usually add 4 tablespoons of white vinegar to the fabric softener compartment of our front loader washing machine and am extremely pleased with the overall result.

(By the way, using white vinegar as an alternative to store-bought fabric softener is another healthier, environmentally friendly, very cheap and effective way of softening fabrics. Clothes don’t come out smelling like vinegar at all. On where to buy white vinegar in bulk and save cost, contact me here.)

With this homemade liquid laundry soap, the clothes come out without the distinct and heavy fragrance of conventional laundry detergent, but I prefer that because those fragrances are actually made of a mix of harmful chemicals. The fragrance of the peppermint essential oil in this recipe dissipates after the clothes are washed but adding the oil may extend the shelf life of this homemade laundry soap, given its antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Given how simple this laundry soap is to make, its economical and environmentally responsible benefits, why not give it a try? You may never use store-bought again – and ease your budget!

 

Upcoming posts: Homemade liquid dish wash, homemade liquid body wash, homemade citrus cleaner and more.

This post is sponsored by Dr. Bronner’s Malaysia. All opinions are mine. I’m so glad these versatile, magic castile soaps are now available in Malaysia, both bar and liquid versions! You can also buy them at MacroB Malaysia, located at SS2, Petaling Jaya. Go ahead and like these Pages to get more updates on green cleaning and natural health!

9 ways to pray creatively with your child

Our family is beginning a 40-day prayer focus for our country, Malaysia. This is a special prayer time that is happening nationwide.

I’m looking forward to this opportunity and thought I would share some of the things we can do, in order to pray creatively and meaningfully.

1) Use our bodies.

Day 1 of the Prayer Focus: Abide in the Vine: Jesus is the True Vine.

We read what “Abide in Me” means:

“When branches are disconnected from the vine, they lose their source of nutrients. They are unable to bear fruit, and will wither up and die. We have the same relationship with God, as the branches have with the vine. Jesus said that He is the True Vine, and we are the branches. When we are cut off from God, or don’t take the time to make sure that we are always connected to Him in prayer and worship, our spiritual health is affected – just as the physical health of the branches is affected when it is cut off from its source of food, that is, the vine.” (Prayer Guide

I love this image of the True Vine and the branches. It reminds me of how important my own walk with God is, if I am to grow personally and have a successful impact in all the areas of my life – as an individual, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a member of society, a citizen of my country.

As we reflected on this together, I said, “Imagine my arm is the Jesus, True Vine.” (I held up my left arm.) “What if Mama, the branch, is connected to Jesus (I put my right arm to my left arm) but you (children) are not? Will you be able to grow?”

“Each of us must be connected to Jesus, in order to grow. It doesn’t help me if someone else is connected to Jesus, but I am not.”

So here we are, each one, connecting ourselves, our branches to Jesus.

branches

2) Use silence and personal reflection.

“If we want to stay connected to Jesus the True Vine, we must obey Him, no matter what the cost. What are some areas of your life in which you know you are not obedient to God?” (Prayer Guide)

I encouraged the children. “Let’s spend one minute in silence. Think about one part of your life you haven’t been obedient with.”

We did that.

3) Share openly. Begin with yourself.

After our one minute of silence, I encouraged everyone to share, beginning with myself.

“Today, I was upset at Papa over something I felt he should have done, but didn’t do. It doesn’t matter whether I was right, or if he was right. The point is, that in my anger I said harsh and rude things to him. That was wrong of me.”

One of the children said, “I need to stop glaring and showing a bad face at the others when I’m angry.”

It was good to confess our wrongs before each other. Children need to hear us parents admit where we’ve gone wrong, not just once but as often as is necessary, so that they too can learn how to deal with strong emotions and become willing to acknowledge their own faults.

4) Discuss a plan of action, so you can move practically beyond prayer.

Then we talked about the plans we had, to try avoiding making the same mistake again.

I said, “When I’m angry at Papa, I think I should keep my mouth shut for an hour to give myself time to cool down.”

Puppy interjected. “You need AN HOUR to cool down??”

(Urrghhhhhh.)

“Yes, sometimes it takes that long! Or longer, I’m afraid. But we should not brood in anger for too long. We need to deal with it before it gets worse.”

“I’ll speak to Papa after I’ve cooled down a bit. Because if I speak when I’m angry, I’m sure to say hurtful things. If you hear me starting to speak when I’m angry, you can remind me of my plan to keep quiet and cool down first.”

I think encouraging accountability is important.

The child who had the issue of glaring said, “Next time I feel like glaring, I’ll look away. So the person won’t be hurt by my looks.”

We agreed we would remind each other of our plans in our necessary moments.

5) Use maps and flags.

We were going to pray for Malaysia, beginning with the state of Selangor.

I had printed out and laminated (for durability) a map of Malaysia that I found online. I chose a map that wasn’t too cluttered with details, which showed the names of the various states and their capitals.

map of malaysia

I had also printed out and laminated the flags of the various states. I used ring holders to hold them in place, so we could flip them easily.

flag of selangor

I asked the children to look for the state of Selangor on the map of Malaysia. We also looked at the neighbouring states and I asked them to check in which state their grandmother and other relatives lived in, and where their favourite holiday spots (Cameron Highlands, Port Dickson) were.

6) Use the Internet.

We were also going to pray for the Menteri Besar of Selangor. I got out my phone and we looked online for his name and his photo.

There is nothing like putting a name and face to someone’s title.

Puppy wrote his name down, and we prayed for him, by name.

7) Encourage questions. Be prepared to elaborate on facts so everyone can pray more intelligently.

One of the prayer items was that the Orang Asli children would have equal opportunity to receive education. Puppy asked what that meant, “because I need to know what’s happening otherwise I wouldn’t know what to ask God for.”

I’m glad that girl was thinking.

I explained about the various reasons why Orang Asli children find it difficult to get education. Later I searched for some news reports and research articles online and bookmarked them, so Puppy could read them next day.

8) Take prayer items in turns.

I prayed over one issue, and another child prayed for another issue. This encouraged everyone to pray aloud and the others to listen and express agreement.

9) Play a game.

I asked the children to spend one minute looking at the flag of Selangor, after which I would take it away and they would have to draw and colour it from memory.

It was a nice hands-on activity.

flag Collage

Someone got it right, someone got mixed up, but everyone enjoyed the challenge!

 

How do you pray with your child(ren)? If you have any ideas to share on how to develop a meaningful prayer time, I’d love to read all about it in the comments!

Banana cinnamon overnight oats

Most people hate oatmeal despite its nutritional value, so when I first became a mama I set out to help my children enjoy it from a young age. All our kids began eating oatmeal from the time they were toddlers and I’m glad to say they have been non-fussy, regular eaters of oats ever since.

I started preparing oats the traditional way, which involves cooking rolled oats in water over a stove and stirring occasionally. I quickly learned that doing this while having a baby riding on my hip took up simply too much of my time and energy.

That’s when I turned to instant oatmeal. What I loved about instant oatmeal was its simplicity – mix in hot water and voila! Done.

Instant oatmeal can taste pretty bland on its own, so I’ve always added a touch of fresh milk, ground flaxseed or chia seeds, fresh fruit (banana, apple, or mango) and a drizzle of honey. If I’m in a real hurry, I replace fresh fruit with dried fruit like raisins, cranberries or apricots. We have instant oatmeal like this between 2-3 times a week, served with eggs and a mug of kefir and the kids love it.

The convenience of preparing instant oatmeal definitely makes it a quick and easy option, but personally I have never liked its mushy consistency. Also, instant oatmeal is a processed version of rolled oats and therefore isn’t as great nutritionally.

Recently a friend introduced me to a fantastic way of preparing rolled oats without cooking it – overnight oatmeal. When I first heard about this idea of overnight oatmeal, I was disgusted. Eating raw oatmeal that had been soaked overnight simply did not impress me! However, missing the nutty flavour of rolled oats and having a possibility of abandoning processed, mushy instant oatmeal, I decided to give it a try.

I followed this recipe by Organize Yourself Skinny was pleasantly surprised! The kids oohed and aahed over it and Sweet Man enjoyed it too.

Overnight oatmeal, served in a jar, is now our favourite way of eating oatmeal. Basically, it is rolled oats soaked overnight in milk or any other nutritious liquid.

The best part I like about it is that because the oats get processed in the liquid, there is no cooking or additional work needed. I prepare it at night after the kids are in bed, and there’s hardly anything else to be done about it in the morning. Now that’s absolutely fantastic for a busy mama like me!

In the morning we just stir it up to loosen it, add a bit more liquid if we like, and enjoy. Sometimes we drizzle a bit of honey on top. We eat it cold, straight from the fridge and it’s a great refreshing start to the morning. You could warm it up on the stove, but since we all enjoy it cold I haven’t tried that.

So far I have used fresh cow’s milk. Recently I made almond milk and it’s sitting in my fridge now waiting to be used for our next serving of overnight oatmeal. I can’t wait to try it and will let you know how it goes!

So how do we prepare overnight oats? The two basic ingredients are 1 part rolled oats mixed with 1 part liquid. For the adults, I use 5 tablespoons oats and 5 tablespoons liquid. Our 9 and 7 year old kids manage 4 tablespoons of each, and our 4 year old eats 3 tablespoons. If we want our oats looser, we just add more liquid.

To enrich these basic ingredients, I add 3-5 tablespoons fruit, depending on how fruity I like our oats to be. So far, we’ve tried apple, banana, and fresh peaches – yummy! I also add other things to boost it up, like chia seeds (to add fiber, protein and omega fatty acids), organic raisins, and sometimes a dash of cinnamon.

Really, you could add any kind of spice, seeds, nuts, even chocolate chips. Just bear in mind that crunchy ingredients like nuts would be better added only in the morning so they don’t get mushy.

The method to prepare overnight oats is easy. Just 3 steps.

Step 1: Put all your ingredients into a jar, beginning with the oats, then other enriching ingredients.

oats

Step 2: Pour in milk, enough to cover the oats.

oats

Step 3: Stir contents, cap the jar, and leave overnight in the fridge.

Once prepared, overnight oatmeal can sit in the fridge between 5-8 hours before eating, so on the days that we have toast for breakfast I sometimes prepare overnight oatmeal in the morning to be eaten as an afternoon tea time snack.

Here’s a handy dandy printable for our most popular overnight oats recipe – Banana Cinnamon Overnight Oats! 

Banana Cinnamon Overnight Oats
Serves 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 tbsp rolled oats
  2. 1 small banana, diced
  3. 3 raisins, roughly chopped
  4. 1 tsp chia seeds
  5. 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 5 tbsp milk, or enough to cover oats
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients into a jar, beginning with the oats.
  2. Pour in milk, enough to cover the oats.
  3. Stir contents, cap the jar, and leave overnight in the refridgerator.
Notes
  1. Before eating, stir contents and add more milk if desired.
http://mamahearmeroar.com/
Have you tried overnight oats? Do you like it? If you have any other yummy and easy way of preparing oats, please let me know in the comments!