Laundry Soap

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This past weekend was the annual sisters get-together, and though we ate heartily and well…I have no photos or recipes from it to share with you.   We were totally undocumented!

We spent our days and nights eating, joking, laughing, nibbling, shopping, imbibing, laughing some more, and sharing (but not much sleeping), and life was good.  Returning to our day-to-day lives is never easy and as we each travel homeward the melancholy can seep in.  This brought to my mind the book After The Ecstasy, The Laundry by Jack Kornfield.  We can have moving experiences that bring us out, open us up, take us to another level…but then we have to leave fairyland and go home to our daily lives of mundane matters.  How do we bring that ‘unbearable lightness of being’ back to the ‘real’ world?


So here it is…after the ecstasy, a recipe for the laundry.  I suppose the answer to my question above is to enjoy these daily tasks, whatever they are.  Even the laundry.  Viva la mundane.





Only three ingredients for this little dish: washing soda, borax, and Castile soap.


Washing Soda, a.k.a. soda ash or sodium carbonate, is a high alkaline compound and is often used to remove laundry stains and soften hard water.  People used to source their washing soda from wood ashes, mixing them into the soap making process. You can find it at grocery and hardware stores, but if you want to make your own this post of Nature’s Nurture blog gives instructions.  It’s basically baking soda that has been heated to a high temperature releasing water (steam) and carbon dioxide.




Borax is a white powdery mineral also known as sodium borate and is a salt of boric acid.  Some of its many uses include as a detergent booster, an antiseptic, a component of ceramic glazes, an anti-fungal additive to fiberglass, and an ingredient in flame retardants.  I found this in an Ace hardware store.




The recipe calls for a simple Castile soap like Kirk’s or Dr. Bronner’s.  Castile used to refer to the olive-oil based soaps from Spain but now the term covers any vegetable-oil based soap without other additives.


The end result is a different texture than commercial laundry soap, it’s a watery gel that may separate a little so you will need to shake it before using.  None of the ingredients are foaming agents (like sodium lauryl sulfate) so there won’t be the big entertainment of watching the suds.  But suds don’t do the heavy work, even sans suds your clothes will be clean!

And you can make this for about $1/gallon…



Laundry Soap

In a sauce pan, heat:

4 cups water

2/3 bar of grated Castile soap (or chopped into small pieces)

When the soap has dissolved, remove from heat.

Mix the dissolved soap in a clean bucket with:

1 cup Washing Soda

1 cup Borax

1 1/2 gallons Water

Let sit overnight to congeal.  

Optional: Add 1/2 ounce of your favorite essential oil.  Some of my favorites are:







Clary Sage

Shake before using.

Use approximately 1/3 cup per load. 



The Goods from our sister’s shopping spree—a beautiful bag made by artist Paula Brown





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