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 detergent. Update: 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