Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Homemade Laundry Detergent

A dear friend of mine found these instructions in a newspaper. Thanks for sharing Marjorie!

"Making your own laundry detergent is so easy and cost-effective that it's a wonder we ever started buying the brand name stuff at all. The recipes for liquid and powder laundry detergents are simple, natural and cost as little as 2 cents per load!

All you need are three basic ingredients:
1. SOAP (bar, powdered, or liquid)
all of which you can buy at your local grocery or health food store.

For soap, I recommend going au naturel with either Boraxo powdered hand soap or Castile soap, which comes in liquid and bar form.

The next ingredient, borax, is a mineral compound that works as a multi-purpose cleaner and bleach, so it's a green solution to keeping your whites bright.

Washing soda, which is similar to baking soda but more alkaline, cuts grease and neutralizes odors.

Here are two basic recipes for liquid and powdered laundry detergents. If you miss the floral fragrance of commercial brands, you can use naturally scented bar soap--or vamp it up even more by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the liquid detergent recipe--lavender is always divine.

Please note that even though the ingredients are from natural sources, they can irritate the skin, so it's a good idea to wear gloves while mixing."

2 cups finely grated natural or artisan bar soap OR 1 cup liquid Castile soap (Kirk's Original Coco Castile soap suggested) OR 2 cups powdered hand soap (Boraxo suggested)
2 cups borax (20 Mule Team Borax Natural Laundry Booster suggested)
2 cups washing soda (Arm and Hammer suggested)
Mix soap, borax and washing soda in a pan with 1 qt. water.
Heat to just shy of boiling, stirring, until water thickens and suds form. Pour into a clean 5-gallon bucket. Pour another 2-1/2 gallons of boiling water into bucket: stir well. Let sit 24 hours. You can leave it in the bucket and cover it, but I like to store mine in vintage 1/2 gallon milk bottles.
Use 1/4 cup per regular load. If the mixture separates over time, either stir or gently tilt back and forth in its container to remix. MAKES 2-1/2 GALLONS
(Note: Grating the soap may seem tediuous, but you can do it in a food processor with a grater attachment, and it makes a ton of detergent--more than a month's supply.)

2 cups powdered hand soap (Boraxo suggested)
1 cup washing soda (Arm and Hammer suggested)
1 cup borax (20 Mule Team Borax Natural Laundry Booster suggested)
Mix all ingredients well and store in an airtight plastic container.
Use 1/4 cup per load of laundry. MAKES 4 CUPS

(Source: Mary Jane Butters)
NOTE: You can go to this link for more information regarding the above-mentioned newspaper article.

Marjorie did some shopping and found the following items at these places:
  • 20 Mule Team Borax - (2.98/Walmart Superstore, 3.97/Reams, not found at Harmons)
  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda - (2.69/Harmons, 2.79/Reams, not found at Walmart)
  • Boraxo Powdered Hand Soap (12 oz. - this measures 2 cups) (1.99/Reams, not found at Walmart)
(Source: Marjorie A.)


Anonymous said...

If you can grow the soapwort plant there you can grow your own soaps, shampoos, laundry liquids and dish soap, recipes and how to under the label soaps on the right of my blog.

Look for the entry "Naturally Clean" if you are interested in something healthy, no chemicals, even more cost effective and so gentle they clean the Shroud of Turin with it :)

Marilyn said...

I recently made my own homemade dry laundry soap and I loved doing it, but unfortunately it is creating a film on my washer tub. I have a toploading machine with a stainless steel tub. I visited with my sister and she had the same problem in her HE washer and had to quit using it. I'm afraid I am going to have to quit using it too-I have used a vinegar wash occasionally to see if that will eliminate the problem, but it hasn't worked. I would love to have a follow-up post on this to find out how it has worked for you. If anyone out there has any suggestions-I would appreciate it. I love the low cost and smell of the homemade. I really enjoy your blog!

K P said...

Marilyn, I was just going out today to buy the ingredients to make my own laundry detergent. I have not tried it yet myself.

Don't know the answer to your question, but I'll keep an eye out for a solution and welcome others to share their ideas.

Thanks for your feedback!

Anonymous said...

i tried this and was disappointed with the results. I found stains on clothing that had always washed out before (without pretreatment). I think this would be good for things that are not really "dirty", like sheets and towels that just need freshening. Otherwise I recommend using another type.

Laura in Mesa, AZ

K said...

Thanks for your feedback Laura! It's always helpful to hear from others!