Laundry might as well be a four letter word around here. No one likes to do it. Who would? It’s a multi-step process that takes a huge chunk out of a day off. Laundry usually falls to me on my day off as the Hubs isn’t normally roped into caring for the clothes. Today however, I sent him off to the laundromat to wash and dry a weeks worth of pile-up. Lucky Lady? Sort of, but I’ve been busy in the meantime vaccuuming, cleaning the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Additionally, while I was baking bread I made a fresh batch of laundry detergent and spray starch.
I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for over 2 years now. It is one the ways that we save money and reduce our carbon footprint. I didn’t like having to constantly purchase expensive detergents that are heavily fragranced and full of dyes that were being trucked all over the country to get to my local store. I do laundry for about 2¢ per load (for soap) with store bought detergent it costs about 33¢ for soap and another 15¢ for a dryer sheet. Instead of using dryer sheets I have a set of dryer balls that reduce static and help soften clothes. I purchase two boxes of powder and two bars of castille soap for a total of $11 and those ingredients will last me an entire year. When I first started using homemade detergent I was afraid that my clothes wouldn’t get clean and that they would be damaged. But I can testify that neither is the case now that I have been using my homemade version for over 2 years. I used to love the smell of Gain and Bounce but today I find those fragrances completely cloying and overwhelming. Now I just enjoy the neutral smell of clean clothes.
The recipe I use is the same recipe you will find all over the internet if you google “homemade laundry detergent”
DoingDomestic: How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent
1/2 cup Borax Powder
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/3 bar grated Soap (Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap – I love the Lavender Scent)
I grate the bar of soap using my Cuisinart, it’s faster than using a cheese grater. I do the whole bar at once and store the rest of the shavings for later in the year.
Put about 1/3 of the grated bar of soap in a large pan and add about 2 quarts of water. I use medium high heat to melt the soap in the water, stirring with a heat resistant rubber spatula. Once the soap is completely dissolved in the water I sprinkle in the powders. Stirring gently the whole time I work to dissolve the powders. The mixture feels like there is wet sand at the bottom of the pot at first, but will become smooth and silky when the powders have completely dissolved. I know the mix is done when it turns clear again. I use old laundry detergent containers or plastic milk jugs to store my detergent. I fill the container about 3/4 full with warm water and fill the rest with the soap mix. I shake it up (cap on) to make sure the water and the soap mix are fully incorporated. You’ll need two large containers for a single batch of soap because the mix needs to be dilluted. Let is sit overnight and then it is ready to use the next day. Always shake the detergent before using it, it can be lumpy sometimes. I’ve found that it turns out better if it is dilluted with warm/hot water and I shake it from time to time during the initial rest period before it’s first use (I think it helps the soap from coagulating out of the solution).
A few notes – This detergent works for HE machines the same as it does with regular top-loaders. – I always make sure to wash my tools well after making this soap and before using them to prepare food. – I don’t make soap around foods to avoid cross contamiation.
*making your own laundry detergent is a personal choice and done at your own risk. DoingDomestic is not responsible for detergents gone wild or damage to clothing/machines/cookware, &c.