Eco DIY Holiday Gift Idea: 100% Natural Scented Laundry Soap

Homemade gifts are the best kind in my opinion. It means that someone took the time to think about you in this busy, disconnected-from-others, day and age. Homemade gifts make you slow down and create, which is rewarding, inspiring and stress relieving. And when that gift is unique, useful, easy-to-make, eco-friendly, cost-effective and adorable, you have a complete winner on your hands. This gift is great not only for vegans and eco-friendly folks, but for new moms and people with allergies or skin sensitivities like eczema and psoriasis.

What are soap nuts? Soap nuts are my best friends in the laundry room. They are Mother Nature’s 100% natural laundry soap. A safe, hypoallergenic, biodegradable, fragrance-free alternative to toxic chemicals and they do a fantastic job of cleaning my laundry. When they come in contact with water, soap nuts release foamy saponin (just like you see when you wash soaked quinoa) that cleans and softens your clothing. They are top load and front load washer friendly.

Soap nuts are a super way to save money, too—5-6 shells wash up to 8 loads of laundry. Even though it is not transparent in color, you shouldn’t worry about any discoloration of your clothing or other surfaces. This soap brightens the whitest whites and makes countertops shine. Use this all-purpose recipe to clean the bathrooms, toilets, kitchen, floors, dishes and more. This recipe is also a great addition to my natural oven cleaner recipe.

While I tend to use the nuts in a muslin bag for laundry, I was toying around with making liquid detergent out of them to give to family and friends for the holidays this year.

Thought I should definitely share the easy recipe with you, and “gift” you all with a FREE 12 label template that will save you time and have you wowing your recipients! Just get some soap nutsand you can make 12-36 little bottles of homemade soap nut laundry soap in a snap.

This laundry soap should be made in small batches and/or kept in the fridge. There are no preservatives, so it can eventually spoil.

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4 cups liquid
Preparation Time: 30mins to make soap. During this time you can be printing and trimming labels. I’d say an hour start to finish—max.
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For labels and packaging
8.5″ x 11″ Sticker Stock
Self Healing Cutting Mat (or other cutting surface, like cardboard or a large old magazine)
Metal Cork Back Ruler
Xacto Knife
Old jelly jars, tomato sauce jars, etc. or new glass bottles with corks

For soap
Large pot
Cheesecloth (or pillowcase or piece of cotton fabric) *Optional step
Pourable container like a blender

Soap Nuts
6 cups of pure water
Essential oil combo of your choosing (optional), Here are a few suggestions:
Cedar/Rosemary/White Thyme
Apple Blossom/Rose
Geranium/Orange/Neroli/Ylang Ylang

Let’s get started.

Place 10-12 whole soap nuts in a pot with 6 cups of pure water and boil for 30 minutes. Strain directly into a blender or device that make it easy to do a controlled pour.

Run liquid through a cheesecloth if you still see any fine pieces from the shells.

Fill your recycled bottles with laundry soap. At this point, if you would like scented laundry soap, add 1-4 drops total of essential oil. For ex: if you are just using Cedar oil, use 1-2 drops, if you are using Cedar, Rosemary and White Thyme, use 1 drop of each. Try not to overdo it. If you find that you have, and your liquid is smelling too strong, dilute with unscented soap. Once scented, screw cap on super tightly and set aside. Wipe bottle down if any liquid escaped as you were assembling.

NOTE: You can get about 3 batches of liquid soap from 10-12 soap nuts (about 12 cups). Just keep the just boiled soap nuts in the pot, add 6 cups of pure water and boil again for another 30 mins. Might as well make some for yourself. You can composte the soap nuts when you are done with them.

Time to make labels. Print out as many sheets of labels as you need, using this free label template here, onto sticker stock. Place one printout on a cutting mat (or surface you don’t care about. Cardboard works well, or an old magazine) and line up ruler against vertical crop marks.

Without cutting through to borders of the sheet (leave about 1/2″ around), start at the crop mark, and cut 4 vertical lines. Rotate your mat or sheet and pressing firmly in the center of your ruler cut across (moving fingers down ruler as you cut the widths).

You should be able to lift the uncut frame and release all 12 stickers. Just cut any parts that are still attached. Repeat process if you need more stickers.

Peel off the backs and adhere to your bottle.

Write in the name of your custom fragrance.

Now make someone very happy by giving them a bottle of your homemade laundry soap as a gift!

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  1. Monica

    How much soap do you recommend for a medium load in a top loading machine?

    • Monica~ I usually use about 1/4 cup for a medium to large load of laundry. Have fun!

  2. Ro

    Um, the label template you offered is marked as private. How do we get the labels?

    • Sorry about that Ro, the plugin I was using when I created that post has since changed. Should work now! Thanks for the heads-up, have fun.

    • Heather Crosby

      Hi Heather, soap nuts are great for HE machines since they don’t produce many suds 🙂

  3. Petra

    Wonderful! How long does this keep?

    • Heather Crosby

      Hi Petra, if refrigerated it should keep about 2-3 weeks 🙂

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