Tag Archives: Charlie’s Soap

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

On My Soap Box: Charlie’s Soap

While Robert has a love affair with cast iron pans I must admit that I have a love affair with Charlie’s Soap.  And today while hanging clothes out on the line for the first time in a few months I fell in love all over again and I thought I would share with you why.  So many of you have probably hung your clothes out on a line at least once or maybe just on the back of a chair.  And your biggest complaint was probably that the clothes were so stiff  and scratchy from air drying that you would never do it again.  This was my biggest complaint with line drying until I started using Charlie’s Soap.  With Charlie’s Soap my clothes are not stiff.  I have no idea why, but they aren’t.  My pajamas are soft, my sheets are soft, my cloth diapers are soft.  To be honest once the clothes are folded and in the drawer I can’t tell the difference from dryer dried or air dried (except for that lovely smell of sunshine that still remains in the clothes).  It’s quite amazing.

Some other things I love are that there is no scent.  The bottle says if you want flowers, go pick some.  I love it.  In my previous life we did aroma and flavor testing so we couldn’t have strong perfumes or hair products and I really got used to this aroma free environment.  In fact there was a woman from another department who would drop by our floor and I could literally track her every movement far after she had left because of the scent left by her perfume.  Now I know that I am a special case with a sensitive nose but it sure is nice to have clothes that smell like sunshine.  That’s all, just sunshine.  I find that perfumes just mask odors that detergents can’t get out.  The offensive smell is still there it’s just that there is so much “mountain breeze” you can’t smell it.  I will admit I was a powdered Tide original scent fan and I could tell the difference between powdered original verus liquid original (who did they think they were fooling, they are clearly different scents).  I thought I couldn’t bear to be without my “perfume” as I called it.  Like most new things I hate the idea of change.  But guess what now I am so happy that I made the switch.

When my son was a newborn he had very sensitive skin (still does, but not as bad).  He always had these tiny red dots all over his back.  The doctor said it wasn’t a rash just really sensitive skin.  I was already using Charlie’s Soap thank goodness or it would have been worse he warned.  The scents in soap are usually the culprits for irritation, I learned.  Even though we were using scent free he was just extra sensitive.  All I had to do was add an additional rinse cycle to his loads and the problem cleared up.  When his skin got a little tougher we went back to the regular cycle though and he’s fine.  But we use scent free everything on him just to be safe.

I use Charlie’s Soap for everything too.  It washes my son’s poopy diapers, delicates, dark colors, white socks (all in seperate loads of course) all with no problem.  I am even planning on washing some quilts in it.  I know it will be more gentle than any specialty soap I can buy.  Plus more affordable.  I have even read that you can use it in your dishwasher.  We’d like to try that one for sure.  I am not sure what the stuff is made of or why it works so well.  But I do know that it is natural and free of many of the bad chemicals that other grocery store brands have in them.

Be brave and go give it a try.

Cloth Diapering: Cleaning and Washing

Okay so this is not the most glamorous part of the process but here’s a description of how it goes and some of my hints along the way.  Check out my other posts on cloth diapering,  Cloth Diapering: Getting Started.


We use Charlie’s Soap exclusively for all of our laundry and cloth diapers.  We love their soap.  It has absolutely no scent, is all natural, works in high efficiency washing machines, and cleans really well.  I could go on and on and maybe I will in another posting.  We purchased a 1 gallon to get started and then by the 5 gallon bucket to save money.   You use very little soap so it lasts forever.  I would say in 16 months we have used maybe 4 or 5 gallons compare that to how many giant tubs of Tide you have lugged home.  Okay I will step off my soap box now…


The cleaning can be a little gross but everytime I have my hand in the toilet swishing out a poopy diaper I think to myself  “I am saving a thousand dollars.”  So here’s how it works.  Wet diapers are easy, they just get thrown in the pail.  The poopy diapers are a bit more time consuming.  There are a few things you can do with them, one is get a pail and put it next to the toilet, the other is put the entire diaper in the toilet.  I have done both but usually putting in the toilet is easiest.  After you have changed the baby and set them on their merry way you should don a pair of disposable rubber gloves and get to work.  Now here comes the hardest part, rinse off the diaper in the toilet, ring it out and throw in the pail.  It sounds bad but really it’s not, you’re a mom now nothing can scare you, right?  The diaper doesn’t have to be really clean just shake and swirl until the bulk of the poop is off the diaper.  Sometimes I just leave the diaper in the toilet until I have time to deal with it, this always freaks out the daddy when he goes to use the bathroom.

Now speaking frankly about poop, if you are breast feeding and your baby is small and so are the stools then just throw it all in the pail.  It will come out in the wash.  Over some holiday I left a dirty diaper at my mom’s house and she and my dad thought about throwing it away it was so dirty they said.  But my mom thought that I might notice a missing diaper so she threw it in the wash and she was amazed at how clean it came.  Yep, I later confirmed, I would have been mad if you had thrown out a good diaper.


Once you notice your supply is getting low it’s time to don the gloves again.  Throw them all in the washing machine, set it to hot water, and the longest cleaning cycle.  You will add one pump of Charlie’s Soap and maybe a 1/4 cup bleach depending on the needs of the load, you really don’t need that much bleach as you will find out.  Run a complete cycle then add another pump of Charlie’s Soap without bleach this time and run it again.  The second cycle is to wash out the bleach.  If you have a really yucky dirty load or you just tossed the diapers in without rinsing in the toilet then do a pre-rinse with no soap.  And if your child has sensitive skin then add an extra rinse at the end to make sure nothing is left on the diapers.  Most of your diapers will just be a basic two cycle cleaning.  Then if you are like me, you will forget about taking them out of the washer and the next day stumble upon them.

I have never had to use a stain pretreatment on my diapers but I have soaked them in some diluted bleach water.  This made them kinda yellowish and didn’t help much for the stains.  I find the best stain treatment is the sun.

Hanging them to dry is pretty self explanatory.  I use wooden pins because they are the cheaper than plastic.  Depending on the weather they can be dry in a couple of hours or it might take all day.  One little known fact is that breast fed baby poop stains will disappear in the sun.  Try it, it works.  Actually any poopy stain will fade in the sun but breast fed poopy spots just disappear.

I wash about 2 to 3 times a week.  Less as the baby gets older and he doesn’t have as many wet diapers.

Good Luck.