Hi, my name is Holly and I have crazy sensitive skin.
I can only wear certain types of make-up and I can barely wash my face with anything. Trust me it's über cool.
My husband has even more sensitive skin than I do. Years before our daughter was born we figured out that he was reacting to perfumes in our Tide laundry detergent. We switched to All Free and Clear at that point and things seemed fine. He would have frequent flare-ups, but we would blame them on the environment at large. He even had some trusty steroid foam to calm things down.
Flash forward to our ever so sweet daughter and you've got some of the most sensitive skin around. She definitely is a combo of her parents. Her allergic reactions and sensitivities are on her medical file, and weekly I have to list them at whatever appointment we might be at.
Like me, we can only use a few products on her skin. So when she was a baby, and having skin problems, we switched from All Free and Clear to Seventh Generation Free and Clear. I thought it really worked well, but I got tired of spending $20 a bottle on it.
I've been making my own house cleaners for almost 15 years now. Every now and then I will buy a Seventh Generation product, but it doesn't happen often. Basically our house is cleaned with baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Our laundry soap was the final hold out. So I started searching Pinterest. I wanted a laundry soap that didn't have Borax in it. I've read conflicting information about it so why chance it?
I found a blog called Delightful Creations where the author gives some great tips on making your own homemade laundry soap without Borax. Her recipe calls for baking soda, washing soda and castile soap.
I've used castile soap in the liquid form to make some of my more elaborate homemade house cleaners, but I had never used the bars before. There are several organic scents to choose from. I always come back to the peppermint and almond. It smells so clean.
I originally made a small batch to test it out. I am beyond thrilled with how this has turned out. We just thought our clothes were getting clean before. So when I noticed that I was barely having to pre-treat stains I got all kinds of giddy. I do still use Ecover Stain Remover. I've used it for years, I love it and I probably won't stop using it, but now I am needing much less of it. The dried and finished laundry is so much cleaner than it used to be. The word crisp keeps coming to mind.
I found my soap bars at Whole Foods, on sale for $3.49 each. The large bag of baking soda comes from Costco. It's about $7.00 and there is plenty left over. We buy a bag or two of it each month anyways The washing soda was about $3 and I needed 3 boxes for this recipe. So for around roughly $30 we will have laundry soap for 3-6 months depending on how much we use in each load and how big the loads are. I have my 1/8 cup in the tub, and I usually put two of those in for good measure.
I'm pretty excited about the fresh and crisp potential here. Happy washing!
UPDATE: 7/11/19 — I still make this formula! This blog post was moved and adapted for my new website. Original was posted on 9/8/13 at madeofgray.com
UPDATE: 10/5/15 -- I still make this formula every 3-4 months for our family and I love it! Check out the comments for more ideas and suggestions when making your own laundry detergent for sensitive skin.
PRO TIP: If you have a food processor, definitely use it for grating the castile soap into teeny tiny crumbs!
My exact measurements for a 3 month supply:
16 cups baking soda (1 - 13.5 lb bag is plenty for this recipe)
12 cups washing soda (This is a little less than three boxes)
8 cups of grated castile soap (1 bar of soap makes 2 cups)