Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent and Some Laundry Tips

This is a powdered laundry detergent that I've been making for a few months now.  I haven't worked out the pricing, but it's obvious that it's cheaper than buying it. This is really easy to make and fast too.  It takes about 5 minutes.  Each time I make it, it lasts for about a month and a half.  I wash around 5 loads a week.

Here is what you need:

2 cups baking soda
2 cups washing powder (Arm & Hammer)
2 cups Borax
2 bars of soap (I've used Ivory and Fels-Naptha)
10 or so drops of essential oil (optional)

* Some notes on the ingredients:
I've only been able to find all of the ingredients (minus the oil), at one store in my area...  Publix.  You may have to go to several stores to find everything.  The Borax and Arm & Hammer washing power should be on the laundry aisle.  The Fels-Naptha should be there too.  While the Fels-Naptha smells good, it's 99 cents a bar.  I was able to get a 16-bar pack of Ivory at Wal-Mart for $7 so that's what I use now.  If you're using Fels-Naptha, you won't need the essential oil because it already has a nice fragrance.  The Ivory just smells like soap and I don't really care for it so that's why I use essential oil (Lemongrass - smells like lemon Pledge). 

  • In a plastic container, I just use a storage container, mix all of the "dry" ingredients.  
  • Next, chop your soap into cubes and run through the food processor until crumbly.  

    • After processing, mix the soap in with the dry ingredients.  Add 10 or so drops of essential oil, if using, and mix well.
    *A note on soaps, with the Ivory, I have to mix about of a cup of the dry ingredients in with the soap when I process.  The first time I used Ivory, it clumped together in the processor; the Fels-Naptha didn't.

    I use 1/8 of a cup of this for each load.

    Laundry Tips
    You may have already heard of these...  I don't know.  I do know that I didn't know about all of them for a long time.  
    • If you are using commercial liquid detergent, you don't have to use as much as the bottle says.  Remember, these companies are out to make money so the faster you use the product, the better.
    • You don't have to wash all clothes on the longest time setting.  You're probably thinking, "Well, DUH,"  but I didn't realize this until about 6 months ago.  I never even really noticed that there were other times aside from 15 minutes!  
    • Wash in cold water.  There has been some debate about this.  It's been said that cold water doesn't kill the bacteria so it's not safe to wash in cold.  I wash in cold water and have for years and as far as I know, nobody has gotten sick from it.  I only wash towels and sheets in hot water.  If I had a baby and used cloth diapers, I'd wash those in hot too.  Everything else.. cold.  By the way, this detergent completely dissolves in cold water. 
    • When you're putting clothes in the dryer, shake them out so that they won't take as long to dry.
    • Use dryer balls or tennis balls in the dryer to speed things up.
    • And of course...  clean out the lint trap regularly.  I'm sure EVERYBODY knows this already.

    If anyone else out there has any other tips, please share in the comments.

    3 crafty peeps said:

    1. Not sure if you know this answer or not but homemade laundry detergent seems to be a trend. I have front-loaders - can it work in those?

    2. Jenn, from what I've read, the detergent for the FL needs to be low-suds. Homemade detergent is supposed low-suds, but I don't know if this one is for sure. I'll take a peek the next time I wash and let you know.

      I did google and it looks like a lot of people with FL washers use homemade detergent.

    3. I've been meaning to make laundry detergent for several months, but now I feel I have a better idea on how to do it right! Just need to find the washing soda. Thanks for the tip on using your food processor!