Homemade Laundry Soap

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why should I buy homemade laundry soap?

Commercial laundry detergents are not required to show ingredients on their labels and surprisingly over 80% of them are never tested, and those that are, are tested by their own manufacturers.

The fragrances in the detergents on store shelves are often created by the carcinogen formaldehyde which is known to cause skin irritations.  These fragrances have also been liked to causing asthma in children and even affecting reproductive health.

Optical brighteners, those components in the detergent used to make your clothes look brighter and whiter are really just another layer of harmful chemicals on the clothes.  They don’t actually clean your clothes to make them brighter they leave molecules on the fabric that reflect ultraviolet light and create the illusion that they are whiter. 

These particular substances are known skin irritants and have been linked to causing greater photosensitivity of our skin. The actual part of the detergent that cleans our clothes is a petrochemical known as nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE). 

“While Canada and the European Union have banned NPEs, the United States continues their use. According to the Sierra Club, the possible reason behind the continued use is that the Alkyphenol Ethoxylates Research Council (APERC) represents the manufacturers of this harmful petrochemical” (SmartKlean).

NPE’s are also known as endocrine disrupters.  In other words, they mess with our hormones.  And anything that changes our hormones can severely affect not only our health, but fetal development. 

Wholistic Living Homemade Laundry Soap is as pure and natural a product you can buy to get clean, fresh laundry.  The ingredients in my laundry soap do not contain any animal products, harmful or toxic chemicals, artificial colors or other ingredients.  This soap is perfectly designed to be used on even the most sensitive skin including babies.  It is superior to anything on the grocery store shelves and contains far fewer ingredients for a lower price compared to the other natural laundry detergents.

  • What are the ingredients of the Wholistic Living Homemade Laundry Soap?

Right now I use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, washing soda and baking soda.  That’s it. 

Dr. Bronner’s ingredients: Organic Coconut Oil*, Organic Palm Oil*, Sodium Hydroxide**, Water, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic fairDeal Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Sea Salt, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

** None remains after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin

I am currently working with a local soap maker to create a soap with similar ingredients as Dr. Bronners for me to use in my laundry detergent. 

Washing soda has high alkalinity and therefore helps it act as a solvent to remove a range of stains. Washing soda also helps detergent to foam properly so that clothing will come out clean, without any residue.

Like washing soda, baking soda is a great laundry additive because it has mild alkaline qualities. Adding baking soda to the laundry, dissolves dirt and grease, while clothes are softened. Baking soda is great in homes with hard water because it softens the water, which helps to prevent the stain buildup that comes with hard water.  Baking soda helps remove stains, such as perspiration, it removes odors, it’s a great all-natural fabric softener, and it’s a bleaching agent that won’t harm your clothes.

  • Is Wholistic Living detergent safe for HE washing machines and septic systems?

YES to both!  The main concern with High Efficiency (HE) washers is the amount of sudsing that occurs.  This detergent does not contain a sudsing ingredient so it is safe and works wonderfully with high-efficiency machines.  Just add one tablespoon to the dispenser. 

This detergent is septic tank safe.  Detergent used in a household on septic should not contain phosphates and have low levels of surfactants. Phosphates encourage the growth of algae. If algae grows too fast and is too abundant in the water drain field, there will be a total depletion of dissolved oxygen.  This is harmful to local freshwater supplies which will eventually receive the run-off from septic systems.

Surfactants are found in almost every commercial laundry detergent because they help separate the body soil or oily stains from the fabric. There are two types of surfactants commonly used in laundry detergent - natural or oleochemical surfactants and synthetic or petrochemical surfactants. Oleochemical surfactants are derived from plant oils such as palm or coconut oil. Petrochemical surfactants are derived from crude oil.
This detergent does not contain any surfactants or phosphates.

  • Why doesn’t Wholistic Living use Fels Naptha bar soap since it is more economical?

Fels Naptha is a bar soap created by Lazarus Fels and his son over a hundred years ago in Baltimore.  This soap is commonly used to pretreat laundry by rubbing on oily or greasy stains before washing and in making homemade laundry soap.   Naphtha is the name for a petroleum derived solvent, including gasoline and kerosene.

The ingredients for Fels-Naptha: Soap (sodium tallowate*, sodium cocoate* (or) sodium palmate kernelate*, and sodium palmate*), water, talc, coconut acid*, palm acid*, tallow acid*, PEG-6 methyl ether, glycerin, sorbitol, sodium chloride, pentasodium pentetate and/or tetrasodium etidronate, titatium dioxide, fragrance, Acid Orange (CI 20170), Acid yellow 73 (ci43350)
*contains one or more of these ingredients

There are 17 ingredients in Fels Naptha soap including tallow which is animal fat, titatium dioxide which contaminates oceans, lakes and is harmful to wildlife and two chemical colorants common in cosmetics.  This soap also contains fragrance which is not specified. 

Fels Naptha is a known skin irritant, noted to aggravate excema, psoriasis, or any other skin condition you may have.  Also causes redness, cracking, drying, and dermatitis.  I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound like something I want to wash my family’s clothes with.  Also many people claim the smell is very strong, and not in a pleasant way.

  •   Why don’t you use Zote, another common soap bar?

Like Fels Naptha, Zote is a bar soap that is commonly used in making homemade laundry detergent.  It comes in a white or pink bar. 

The ingredients for ZOTE:  The main ingredients are beef tallow and coconut oil, which are neutralized with caustic soda for the saponification process. It contains salt (sodium chloride), glycerin, perfume, optical brightener and dye, in the case of pink ZOTE and blue ZOTE. 

ZOTE soap contains an optical brightener which bleaches clothes without fading their color. As stated earlier optical brighteners are the compounds providing clothes with brightness. Their function is to absorb light with certain wave lengths in the washed garments and thus reflecting a visible blue; its work is most noticeable in white clothes.

Like Fels Naptha, ZOTE contains tallow as a main ingredient.

  • What is Tallow or Sodium Tallowate?

Tallow is a hard fatty substance made from rendered animal fat, used in making candles and soap.  Tallow is a very inexpensive, usually from cows, because it comes from the fat and by products leftover from the commercial meat industry.  Commercial soap makers need an unbelievable amount of tallow in order to mass create their product so it makes sense that they would get them from commercial feed lots and slaughter houses.

Therefore, the soaps I mentioned above, Fels-Naptha, Zote, Ivory as well as most other soaps on the market, contain animal fat from the same animals raised in factory farms.  These animals are regularly injected with antibiotics, given grown hormones, fed a diet of genetically modified corn and endure terrible living conditions. 

The skin is absorbent and therefore, anything we put on our skin will be soaked up by our bodies.  When we wash our clothes with unnatural products we are exposing our bodies to these harmful substances every single day.  Not to mention they will pollute our land, water and wildlife.  Just another way you can show your lack of support for factory farming.

Here are the only commercial soaps that I am aware of that do not contain tallow:

  • Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day
  • Kirk’s Castile
  • Dr. Bronner’s
  • Kiss My Face
  • Tom’s of Maine
  • Burt’s Bees
  • Zum Bar
  • Tea Tree Therapy
  • Desert Essence
  • Pangea

  • Why don’t you use Borax in your detergent? 

Many people who make homemade laundry detergent not only use the bar soaps mentioned above but they also use Borax, a controversial ingredient.   Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is a mineral, an important boron compound, and a salt of boric acid. Borax is a white powder, consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.  It is not Boric acid.

Borax has been linked to hormone disruptive which could cause reproductive problems for both men and women, in animal studies when it was ingested.  It is also a mild skin irritant.  Borax is a great pesticide and will kill ants, roaches, termites and other insects. 

It seems that the jury is still out on this product safety for humans.  The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) placed Borax on their Substances of Very High Concern list in 2010.  Yet others claim it is a non-carcinogen and cannot be absorbed through the skin.  Since it is inconclusive I feel it is better left out.  My soap has been heavily tested and appears to be working just fine with the ingredients I use. 

  • Can I add fragrance to my laundry soap?

Sure!   You can add Lavendar, Eucalyptus, Lemon or Tea Tree oils to your soap for $1 more.

  • What sizes does Wholistic Living laundry soap come in?

You can buy the soap in a sturdy canister locking glass jar filled with up to 64 loads (4 cups) of soap.  It is recommended that you store your detergent in a glass jar so this is the ideal option.  Then you can purchase a refill bag.  Refill bags come in two sizes 64 or 32 loads.

You can also purchase smaller bags of soap with 24 loads (1 ½ cups).  These come in ½ pound natural paper, tin tie coffee bags. These come with a gift tag as well, this size makes a great gift for any occasion. 

If you still aren’t sure if this soap will work for your family I am more than happy to send you a free sample to try.

  • How does Wholistic Living laundry soap compare in price to other detergents?

This laundry soap is made of fine 100% natural products, and is free of fragrances, optical brighteners, skin irritants and animal products.  It is so pure it is safe for sensitive skin as well as babies.  This is not true for the commercial detergents on the markets.  Wholistic Living laundry soap is comparable to the other natural detergents on the market such as Seventh Generation and Method.  However, those products still have many ingredients.

  • Does this laundry soap really work?

Wholistic Living laundry soap has been tested for over a year on our busy families laundry.  We do 10-12 loads of laundry on average per week and we are always fresh and clean.  This product has also been tested by the public for several months all with positive response. 


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