Sunday, November 16, 2008

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Homemade laundry detergent is one of the easiest and cost effective things you can do to "frugalize" your home. Not only is it cheap, it is eco-friendly, easy to make, and sufficient for high efficiency (front-loading) washing machines. Combined with the use of vinegar as a softener, your clothes will be cleaner with less residue and a better smell!

There are three ingredients needed to make a basic powdered laundry detergent: washing soda, borax, and bar soap.

Washing soda and borax (all-natural!) can be found in the laundry care aisle of most stores, usually on the top or bottom shelf. For the bar soap, the milder the better. I sometimes use organic lavender soap from the health food store because it is very soft and has a mild scent. Sometimes I use plain old Ivory. It is up to you. Try not to use moisturizing bars such as Dove because these are more creamy and don't rinse out as well.

The recipe:

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 borax

1 cup grated soap flakes

Grate soap flakes using a box grater, or dice into small chunks and put in a food processor. It should look like this.

Combine soap with soda and borax in a sealed container. Shake it up! Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. I keep mine in a large plastic coffee container and use a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon. (I made a triple batch of detergent, that is why my container looks very full.)

On the front of this container, I used a label maker to print up the recipe so it is always there.
I also recommend using vinegar as a fabric softener in the rinse cycle. It is cost effective at less than $1.50 per gallon, and it removes most soap residue. It is especially helpful if you hang dry your laundry, because vinegar will help achieve that sunshine smell. And your clothes won't smell like vinegar I promise.

This detergent can be used in front-loading washing machines because it does not sud. It actually suds less than HE laundry detergent.


Sleepy Cat Hollow said...

This is the recipe I use too...only I make my own cold processed soap and use it for shredded part. :)

Am enjoying reading your blog...

Sid Koudis said...

Now making your own soap is really frugal and green! way to go :)