Why this blog?

For me, being vegan is a continual journey. Every day I find out something new about the things I use in my ordinary daily life. I am interested in finding new ways to enhance the vegan-friendliness of my life through the products I use, eat, wear or otherwise consume. I would love for everything I use to be as vegan as possible, from dish soap to makeup, to the shoes I wear, to my hair care products, and everything in between. I hope to share with you information about what I try and what I discover along the way.

Monday, September 6, 2010

DIY and Vegan Products: How to make your own laundry soap!

One way to make sure a product is vegan is to make it yourself! This can often be very economical and very easy to do. Now I am not the kind of person who wants to spend my entire weekend making soap or some other such thing, so I am always on the lookout for quick and easy do-it-yourself projects.

Initially, my interest in making my own detergent led me to the world of borax, namely the "20 Mule Team" brand.  After a little more research, I discovered that this borax is produced by Rio Tinto, a multi-national corporation with mining interests all over the world as well as some human rights and labor violations and environmental controversies, hardy the stuff I want to make my "cruelty-free" detergent out of.

After a little more research, I found a recipe online that did not include any borax and looked simple enough to make. All you need is some liquid castille soap, baking soda, salt, and water. Now for one more complication, Arm and Hammer, who makes the most commonly available brand of baking soda, is a company that tests on animals. Again, not vegan or cruelty-free. Luckily, the wonderful Bob's Red Mill also makes baking soda, and I was able to pick up a four pack when I visited the store in Oregon.

The hardest part of making this detergent was the research that went into it. Trust  me, the rest is a breeze! The original recipe can be found here. All you need is a large pot, into which you will add 2 cups of water, 1/3 cup of salt, and 1 cup of baking soda. Warm over medium heat stirring as needed until everything has mostly dissolved. Then remove from heat. Add 1 cup of castille soap and then transfer the mixture to a one gallon container. I re-purposed an old laundry detergent container. Fill the rest of the way with water until you have a gallon, and then shake it up to mix it.

Use 1/2 cup of laundry soap per load just as you would regular detergent. I usually shake it up a little before pouring it out just to make sure everything is mixed up. I made a batch of this last weekend and have been using it ever since. It seems to work fine as far as I can tell, (although I have to admit that my clothes don't really get that dirty). I am not sure how well it works if you need some major stain removal etc but I will let you know if I find out.  And if you have any favorite vegan DIY recipes, please feel free to send them my way to veganinbellingham@gmail.com . I would love to try them out myself and then share them on this site.


  1. Thank you most kindly for doing all the research that went into this great soap recipe! I just found your blog a couple of days ago and I love it. You're a wonderful writer.

  2. Thanks so much! I am glad you found my blog. I promise to have more product-related and DIY posts coming soon. Let me know what you think of the detergent if you end up trying it out!

  3. Hey- I've been making similar recipe with just grated soap and baking soda and it works great. Also- the bulk baking soda at the coop is Guistos and they have no connection to A and H or animal testing :-)

  4. Hey-I've been making a similar recipe with just grated soap and baking soda (and water). Works great. Also- the bulk baking soda at the coop is made by Guistos and is CF!!!!

    have you tried this? i'm going to make a batch soon.

  5. This looks really cool! Please tell me how it works out for you. I just found a recipe for an herbal facial toner using parsley and cider vinegar that I am dying to try too. And the week before last week I treated my end-of-summer cold by drinking cider vinegar and lemon in room temperature water and it worked like a dream! I could breathe almost instantly. Better than any cough medicine/decongestant. I am beginning to think cider vinegar and baking soda are the most wonderful things ever! And thanks for the heads up on the CF baking soda too.

  6. Just made another batch of the detergent today. Still quick and easy and works really well. I even used some on my teenage brother's clothes that he wore outside in the mud/rain playing baseball, and it worked great! This recipe is a keeper and so so simple, I love it.

  7. Hi all,

    This sounds like a great recipe. The only thing is that any recipe with water has the potential to attract bacteria so my only concern would be the shelf life of the detergent.

    How have you found it in terms of lasting?

    The whole water thing with is actually why I only make bar, not liquid, soap (oh - I'm a soap maker btw :) www.allnaturalsoap.co.uk)

    I know some people have had success using grapefruit seed extract to extend the life of home made products with water in.

    If you have found a problem with the shelf life, perhaps this will help.

  8. Thanks for the suggestion! Btw, your soaps look lovely! Are they vegan?

    I have not had any problems with shelf life of my detergent. Maybe the Dr. Bronners castille soap helps inhibit any bacteria issues? I don't know... But I have been making this for over a couple of years now and haven't had any issues--this is still my go-to recipe. I like to change up the castille soap scents occasionally and tend to go between orange and lavender. It always smells good, but not too strong. (I still use vinegar as a fabric softener for my towels too and that works well.)

  9. Excellent…a true vegan detergent. To many or labeling there home made detergents as being vegan when they are using Arm and Hammer