DIY Laundry Soap

It’s been a chaotic and uncertain time for many of us these past couple of weeks so this space has been quiet a bit longer than I’d intended. Fortunately we are all well in my home and I pray those of you reading are healthy too!

As promised, I wanted to share a simple tutorial on making inexpensive (and easy) laundry soap. The more things you can make from home (using simple ingredients that we typically keep at home in bulk anyway) the less trips to the store you have to make. At the moment that’s a wonderful thing!

Even when life returns to normal, skills like making your own laundry soap help make life a little slower and more simple. If you’re like us and living on a small budget, DIY laundry soap along with other simple laundry ingredients and accessories, will save you quite a bit of money. 

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Here’s some info on the basic items that I buy regularly and try to keep on hand at all times:

A large jar like this one is what I use to store my powder laundry soap. You can find these at Walmart for roughly $9. I believe this one is their Anchor Hocking line. I can’t remember where I got the scooper from but I am pretty sure I didn’t buy it. It came from some other packaged item.

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Next, you’ll need washing soda, borax, baking soda and Fels Naptha bar soap. I usually buy the large box or bag of baking soda but during my last grocery run they didn’t have any so I had to settle for the little boxes. I usually keep multiple boxes and bars at the house so I have extra and can make it without having to run to the store for ingredients. With 4 kids I have a lot of laundry and make a lot of this stuff!

I also bought a grater from the dollar store that stays with my laundry supplies specifically for making laundry soap.

The washing soda is approximately $4 per box. The baking soda is $4 for a 5lb bag. The borax is $4.50 and the Fels Naptha bar is less than $1.

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In addition to the ingredients listed above, I have purchased the dryer balls in place of dryer sheets. Mine are old and need to be replaced so I’ve been looking around on Amazon for a replacement. These are what I’m going to be ordering soon:

SnugPad Wool Dryer Balls XL Size 6 Pack, Natural Fabric Softener 100% Organic Premium New Zealand Wool, Chemical Free and Reduces Wrinkles, 1000+ Loads

They go for about $9 on Amazon.

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Lastly, I use white vinegar in place of fabric softner as needed. Walmart has it for less than $3 for one gallon. I store some in a small glass jar with a lid to make it easier to use.

Ok, so now you know approximately what it’ll cost to get you started and what ingredients you’ll need. Now lets talk about what to do to put it all together. It’s going to take you about 10 minutes at most to make it. It really is that simple.

You’re going to fill about 1/4 of the jar for each of the powders (baking soda, borax and washing soda). Leave about 1/4 of the jar for the bar soap.

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Next, you need to shred the soap into fine shavings and add it in. Then mix it all together with a spoon.

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Now you have about a gallon of laundry soap. Depending on how much laundry you do, this will last you quite a while. I think for us it usually lasts about 2 weeks. I typically will use about a scoop to 1 1/2 scoops depending on the size of the load. The soap works very well to remove odor and stains. In fact, for stubborn stains, keep a whole bar of Fels Naptha on hand and soak the item in cold water and rub with the bar soap. Be sure to always use cold water with stains.

Side note: if you want the laundry to have a stronger scent when you pull it out of the dryer, you can add some drops of your favorite essential oils to the dryer balls. I really enjoy using Young Livings Lavender or Geranium oils for my laundry.

Another laundry tip: if you have problems with mildew odors in towels, use hot water to wash them and add a few drops of Melaluca oil. It’s an antifungal and significantly decreases that problem.

You can use this laundry soap on all of your laundry, delicates, towels, baby clothes and cloth diapers!

You can check out my post on what cloth diapers we use here:

https://oursimplefamilyliving.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/cloth-diapering-essentials-favorites/

You can also check out how I care for our cloth diapers here:

https://oursimplefamilyliving.wordpress.com/2020/03/08/caring-for-cloth-diapers/

I hope you find this information helpful and that it inspires you to live more simply.

Feel free to share any great laundry tips and tricks in the comments! 🙂

Stay healthy friends!

Caring for Cloth Diapers

So you’ve picked out the perfect cloth diapers and accessories, you’ve placed the order and now you have to figure out how to take care of them once they arrive. Rest assured, it’s really much easier than most think. There’s a plethora of information out there on caring for cloth diapers but honestly it’s largely a matter of preferance.

Getting Started:

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions and warranty info.

Generally you’re going to have to wash your diapers multiple times prior to using. This helps the diapers absorb better. I usually wash them about three times before the first use.

You’ll want to be careful with laundry soap. Choose one that does not contain a lot of fragrance, enzymes, softeners, etc. I make my own using a few simple ingredients. I’ll share the recipe for my laundry detergent with you in the next post so stay tuned if you’re interested. It’s easy, inesxpensive & works very well.

You can use plain white vinegar along with the detergent to help soften and deoderize if needed once you start using them.

Drying your cloth diapers is going to depend on your preference/manufacturer. I’ve seen lots of different opinions on drying the diaper shell in the dryer, but generally drying the insert seems to be fine. During the warmer months I dry the shell on a drying rack outside in the sun. When it’s cold out, I prefer to dry them in the dryer because it just takes too long to air dry.

Regular Washing:

Once you start using the diapers, you’ll want to make sure to wash them about every three days. So roughly twice a week.

I store the dirty diapers in a garbage can with a wet bag in it.

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Since my daughter’s still breastfeeding a lot, her poop isn’t solid enough yet to use the diaper sprayer, but once it gets to that point I’ll be spraying the poop into the toilet prior to placing the diaper in the can/wet bag. For now all I do is open the diapers and take apart the shell/insert & take out any cloth wipes. I place everything in the washer together, along with the wet bag.

Next, I run the rinse & spin cycle on my washer with cold water.

After that, I change the soil setting to “extra heavy” and use hot water and detergent/vinegar.

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At this point I will either hang them to dry or place them in the dryer with my wool dryer balls. I usually have to dry them for two cycles to get them completely dry.

Once they’re dry, I sort through everything and get them ready to use.

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That’s it! Super easy and takes only a little extra effort and time.

In addition to regular washing, I usually “strip” my cloth diapers about every six months or so depending on how they smell/perform. Over time oils and dirt build up causing the diapers to hold onto odors and leak. I will say, I’ve had very few issues with this brand and even after nearly 10 months I still haven’t had to go through the process yet! If you’d like more info on what kind of diapers we’re using and loving, check out my previous post here:

https://oursimplefamilyliving.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/cloth-diapering-essentials-favorites/

Stay tuned for a post on my DIY detergent next! I’ll also be sharing a post on stripping your cloth diapers to freshen them up every so often.

I hope you found this post encouraging and helpful if you’re new to cloth! There’s a lot to love about cloth diapers! If you have used cloth and you have some great tips, please share them in the comments! 🙂

Cloth Diapering Essentials & Favorites

Have you ever thought about cloth diapering but weren’t sure you could handle the extra work involved? Did you think it would be to expensive to get started? Thought there was too much to learn? It seems so complicated…I’ve been there too. When I was pregnant with my first son almost a decade ago now, I was doing a lot of research on natural living and one of the things I’d wanted to try so badly was cloth diapers. Unfortunately it took a while after he was born for me to finally work up the nerve to try it out. Even since then, there have been seasons where we only cloth diapered part time or not at all for a time (with my second son I worked full time and was in grad school), but we never fully gave it up with either of our four children and overall we have grown to love it. With baby number 4, we’ve almost exclusively used cloth since she was big enough. I say almost exclusively because we do drop her off at the nursery at church where they’re typically not familiar with cloth diapers so we use disposables there. We also have periods where baby just gets too wet at night for the cloth diaper so it’s just easier to use a disposable at night. You could certainly just change baby half way through but for now this as been working best for me. Once they don’t nurse as often through the night and no longer get so wet, we go back to cloth diapering through the night. So now that you know some of the back story, let’s talk about what we use and how we use it.

First of all, I’m pretty simple when it comes to most things. Cloth diapering is no exception. I only use what I truly need and try to get it for a good price.

What you really need:

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  • Approximately 15-20 cloth diapers (and a basket to store them in)
  • bottle for water
  • cloth wipes
  • wet bag for dirty diapers (as well as a trash can to store it in)
  • cloth diaper friendly ointment
  • diaper sprayer

I bought a couple of smaller wet bags for when we cloth diaper on the go this time but honestly I don’t need them that often. They are nice to have but I wouldn’t consider them a necessity. You could always use a grocery bag for wet diapers if you wanted to save that money.

The Diapers:

Between the four kiddos I have used a wide variety of diapers, prefolds, pocket, all in one. The prefolds worked wonderful but I didn’t like how bulky they were. I used those with my third son and wanted to switch with my daughter. I didn’t have any of the diapers left from my first two so I ended up buying all new diapers. I am able to use the inserts from the new diapers with the shell from the old ones which is nice but I have enough shells for her to where I’ve contemplated selling or donating all of those with the prefolds.

I’ve used some of the pricey diapers and frankly don’t think they were worth the extra expense.

With Everleigh I settled on these Alva baby diapers and we have loved them! They are adorable, easy to use and care for and well made! Here’s the best part, they’re super affordable!

I purchased mine from Amazon for about $30. They came in a set of 6 covers and 12 inserts.

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Wipes:

I use mostly reusable cloth wipes. It just made the most sense with cloth diapers because I just keep it all together in the pail and then throw everything in the washer. The wipes I bought from Amazon are nice and thick, soft and easy to care for.

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These are by Babygoal (bamboo) $8.99 for 12! I think I purchased 2 sets for a total of 24 which is more than enough for us. Compared to the price of disposable wipes and it’s no extra laundry since I’m already washing the diapers.

The bottle I use was free, it came home with me from the hospital. I’ve used baby castile soap mixed with water but most of the time it’s just water.

The Wet bags:

This is the wet bag that I purchased, also from Amazon. It’s by Alvababy, like the diapers. This one is their large bag. It has great reviews and has held up very well. I wash mine every time I was a load of diapers. It’s inexpensive at $14.99

Then I also have the small ones (from Amazon). They came in a two pack for $9.99!

The Diaper cream:

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I’ve used a few different ones over the years but I always come back to this one. It’s by Grandma El’s and comes in a 3.75 oz tub for $12.99 from Amazon. It typically lasts me about 6 months even when I use it almost daily (all of my kids have had sensitive skin).

The Sprayer:

I purchased this one by Easy Giggles from Amazon for $29.99. I haven’t had to use it much yet but I know those days are coming and it’s so much easier having a sprayer (I’ve done without one at times and wanted to make sure I had one this time). It has over 1,200 reviews and almost 5 stars so I think we’ll be happy with this one. The price is great and from what we can tell it looks well made. It’s installed and ready to go for when we need it.

That’s it! Store them in a pretty basket, ready to use just like disposables.

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If you add everything up, that comes to less than $200. I’ve been using the same diapers and wipes for almost a year now and I’m on my second jar of ointment. That’s a price I feel good about. It honestly pains me to buy the disposable diapers when I think about how quickly they’re gone yet how expensive they are.

I hope you feel inspired to make the switch! You won’t regret it!

Next up, I’ll share with you what I do to care for my cloth diapers.

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