Although I am partial to my homemade detergent recipe using Zote soap, I did have a request from a friend, who is vegan, for a detergent recipe that doesn’t use tallow or any animal by-products. Knowing that castile soap is plant/vegetable oil based, I rummaged around my soap collection – yes I collect soap – and found a bar of Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap. Kirk’s Soap has been around since 1839 and is a pure botanical coconut oil soap. Then I scurried on over to the Kirk’s website and indeed, they did have a recipe for making laundry detergent. In fact it’s very similar to my Zote recipe.
I set out to make this new detergent version. Since I always hand-grate my soap, the main difference is that Kirk’s soap is incredibly hard and dense compared to Zote’s rather soft composition. This makes a huge difference in hand-grating. It took me over 30 minutes to finely hand-grate the 4 oz. Kirk’s bar, as opposed to less than 15 minutes to grate a huge 14 oz. Zote bar. I thought I would never get through this bar; you will definitely get an arm workout!
You will need: One 4 oz. bar of Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap – One Cup of Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate) – 1/2 Cup Borax. Directions: Grate the Kirk’s soap bar with a hand cheese grater (this will seemingly take forever…). Add the one cup washing soda and the 1/2 cup Borax. Mix together. Store in an airtight container. Use 1 to 2 Tablespoons per load of laundry. This is okay to use in High Efficiency washers because it is very low sudsing.
I have used this laundry soap for a couple of loads now, and it seems to work quite well. It has a really clean scent evocative of old-fashioned laundry. I’ll probably continue to use my Zote recipe for my mainstay (I happen to be a fan of tallow) 😀 , but it’s nice to shake things up every now and then and try something new.