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!

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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!

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