Borax Free Homemade Laundry and Dishwasher Soap

Well I just had a revelation this weekend (although Robert is claiming the idea as his own).  Why not make my own laundry soap and while I am at it make my own dishwasher soap too.  I remember seeing a recipe on Homestead Revival and so I hunted it down.  It looks super easy and at least half the cost of store bought products.

Here’s the basic recipe from the Homestead Revival.  Her recipe calls for Borax, Washing Soda and Zote soap.  I can’t stand perfumes so I started looking up other soaps to use.  While on that thread of research I can across some not so settling news about borax.  I read on EWG that borax is banned in cosmetic use for infant’s skin due to carcinogenic concerns.   Yikes.  While laundry and dishwasher soaps aren’t exactly cosmetics they do come in close contact with our skin and residue on dishes may even be ingested.  This didn’t sit very well with me so I started researching borax free recipes.

To my surprise there are plenty of recipes out there. EHow is the website I found that has several recipes for dishwasher detergent and laundry detergentUpdate:  Neither of these recipes work so please don’t try them at home.  Check out the disaster in my other post on dishwasher detergent.  I want to come up with my own recipe that replaces lemon with citric acid because I have heard that lemon juice or lemon scented detergents can be damaging to your dishes and glassware.  But these versions seem to be great alternatives to borax.  I think effectiveness will vary depending on water type and temperature of the water used.  So it may be up to the individual to find what recipe works best for their conditions.

I was curious if my current laundry soap, Charlie’s Soap has borax in it.  I even checked on my bottle of Charlie’s soap to see if they use borax and I emailed the company.  They say they use coconut based surfactants (Castile soap, I assume) and washing soda, no borax.  Hmmm.  That settles it for me.  No borax for us.

Please remember that this is research that I have collected on my own from a variety of sources.  I am not making any safety claims or endorsing any recipes, products or methods.  I am just trying to journal my thought process as I decide what I will use for my family.

Update:  Here is a link to the recipe for borax free dishwasher soap that I have been using.

And here’s the link to the recipe for borax free laundry soap too

7 responses to “Borax Free Homemade Laundry and Dishwasher Soap

  1. I am new to this reading blogs thing and I came across your’s and I am confused! Where is your recipe for borax free laundry soap?

    • Tiffany,
      It was a bit confusing getting to the actual post with the recipe. That’s because I wrote several posts along the way to the successful recipe and not all of them have links. I will try to correct this. You can also use the search engine on our blog and it will pull up all related articles. Thanks for readingf

    • I’m still not seeing the link for the Borax free LAUNDRY soap. I enjoyed reading about the dishwasher detergent that you posted the link for, but I don’t need dishwasher. I need laundry. Thanks!!! 😉

  2. JG Wright

    Virtually all citric acid based products are manufactured from lemon juice. I you remove the sugar and water from lemon juice what remains is essentially citric acid. Using it in your dishwasher will cause lower grades of stainless steel to “rust.”

  3. I see the dish washing soap, but I would love the LAUNDRY one. I cant find it anywhere…. Thanks

  4. I hate to tell you but liquid castille soap (like Dr. Bronners) does contain lye. If you want a soap for the purpose of cleaning your skin, you will not find anything that does not contain lye. It is a better alternative to the SLS’s in body washes and retail soaps. The word “saponified” is a term meaning “this oil has been combined with lye to make soap” so in other words it is “saponified” oil. Another way to say oil with lye added “sodium cocate” or “sodium palmate” meaning “coconut oil and lye” or “palm oil and lye”. Adding veggie oil to lye produces soap (technically a salt which is where the “sodium” part comes from) and glycerin. Adding lye to tallow (beef fat) makes “sodium tallowate” which is mostly the indredient in retail soaps. For the most natural soaps that are the safest and most effective, look for cold-processed soaps that do not use animal fat, do not contain fragrance oils and colorants. Look for those only colored with clays or food grade ingedients or scented with essential oils. Not all essential oils are safe for pregnant women so double check these. Most people who make soap meeting this criteria also carry a soap that is unscented and even lacks herbs or essential oils. They are well aware that many people have sensitivities to even the most natural of ingredients. If you can find a soap that is olive oil, lye, and water only then you have found the most simple of all soaps and least reactive. This is a “true” castille by the way. Lye is simply sodium, hydrogen, and oxygen that forms a basic solution, oil is an acid and when combined it produces a neutral salt… soap. As far as where to get a good natural soap, I buy all of mine from Thistle Ridge Soaps and you can order from them online. I used to make soap myself and I was led to do so because of the same type of concerns. I buy it now because of the availabilty, time, and expense of making my own. I hope this helps you.

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