One of the driving forces for our off grid life is to be as sustainable as possible. One of the underlying principles of sustainability is producing as little waste as possible. One effective way of doing that is to produce certain products at home. And that leads me to the subject of this post which is how to make two easy homemade cleaning products. Those two products are dish soap and laundry detergent.
We have been using both of these products for about 6 months. I have found the dish soap to be just as effective as any commercial product. The laundry detergent, hands down, is superior to any commercial product that I’ve used. Additionally 90% of the ingredients for these products come in packaging that is recyclable.
-1/4 C Fels-Naphtha soap (laundry bar and stain remover), Castile soap, or similar bar soap
-2 Cups of water
-1 to 2 Tablespoon of white vinegar
-1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin (helps with thickening but is optional)
-3 to 5 drops essential oil of your choice, also optional (lemon, lavender, peppermint, tea tree, lemon grass, grapefruit, or other oil of your choice)
Place 2 cups of water in a small pot.
Grate the Fels-Naptha or cut into small chunks and place in a blender.
Add Fels-Naptha to the water and heat slowly.
DO NOT allow to boil. I slowly heat this solution and constantly stir with a wooden spoon. All soap particles were dissolved once the solution reached about 133 deg F, well below the boiling point.
Once the soap is melted in the water, allow to cool slightly.
Stir in the vinegar. When you stir in the vinegar, the solution will turn a pale milky color. This is normal. Then add the vegetable glycerin. The glycerin is optional but it helps to thicken the solution a bit.
Then add the essential oil of your choice. Personally, I use lemon essential oil.
Allow to completely cool and place in a soap dispenser. I saved a plastic bottle from a previously purchased commercial dish soap.
This recipe makes a little a little over 2 cups or about 32 fluid ounces, which is about 496 ml.
Cost: approximately 26 cents or 0.008 cents per fluid oz.
For comparison, I looked at several commercial brands of dish soap. Prices range from 4.9 cents to 11.9 cents per fluid ounce.
Additionally, take about 2 to 3 minutes of your time to discover all the harmful products that are in commercial dish soap. This alone should convince you to change to a homemade product.
When you add the vinegar, the mixture is going to turn a pale milky color. This is normal.
We have pots and utensils set aside specifically for making soap and shampoo bars. This is because the recipes we use contain lye. However, this recipe does not call for lye and using standard household pots would be safe. Just be sure to wash all utensils thoroughly after use.
Homemade dish soap DOES NOT suds up like commercial products. However, it is a superior cleaning product. Just FYI, some of the commonly used foaming/suds agents used in commercial dish soap are some of the most toxic components.
This is a very simple, very effective laundry detergent.
1 bar Fels-Naptha, grated (Ivory soap, Kirks Castile soap can also be used)
14 oz Borax
14 oz washing soda
Optional: 10 drops of essential oil of your choice.
Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
Use 1 Tbsp for a small load. 2 to 3 Tbsp for a large load or heavy soil.
Store mixture in an air tight container.
Cost of production: $2.97 for 34 ounces
This is about 8.7 cents per ounce.
Commercial products range in cost from 11 to 15 cents per ounce.
We do our laundry at home quite frequently using a counter top hand operated washer (Wonder Wash). We have consistently found this detergent to be superior to commercial brands. Additionally, washing clothes with this detergent requires only very small amount.
If you are commonly doing large loads of laundry and using 2 tablespoons of detergent, it will cost you about 17 cents per load. Additionally, all packaging for these products can be recycled and you are not contributing plastic to the land fill.
Enjoy these easy to make homemade products.
Go off grid. Live well. Always be sustainable.
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