Friday, January 24, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent

So I have of course heard of people making their own laundry detergent but I never really felt like I was one of those people. I'm not sure why exactly;I make my own yogurt and bread and other stuff frequently to try and be frugal, but I guess that's partly it. I feel like there are a lot of diy options out there but I'm not going to do all of them for want of time/energy/etc, and for some reason grating a bar of soap and cooking up some brew of chemicals didn't make it to the top of my to-do list. However, that was before I heard a woman I admire and trust swear by the stuff, show the amazing cheapness of it all and provide a recipe that requires only 3 ingredients and no grating involved. So this week, when my last drop of store bought detergent ran out I tried it, and you know what? It's awesome. Easy as pie, my clothes are clean and it costs next to nothing. And, as if that's not enough, I love that I can always have these 3 ingredients on hand because they last forever and they take up no space. Stockpiling laundry detergent was never really an option because it's so bulky and costs a lot, so normally I'd have to buy it every couple of months, but now I'll only have to replace the 3 ingredients every few years. Sweet.

1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
1/2 Cup Dawn Liquid Dish Soap

Here's what you do. Get a gallon-ish container- I used a gallon juice jug. Add the washing soda and borax. Add 1 quart (4 cups) hot water. Put the lid on and shake until it dissolves completely. Now add the dish soap and fill the rest of the way with cold water. Shake to combine. Voila! 

A few notes, tips or tricks:
- This is a fairly concentrated recipe so I use about 1/4 of a cup for a full load of laundry. ( I use a measuring lid from an old bottle of detergent.)
- Everything I've read from other users says it works great in regular or he washing machines: very little suds.
- It does tend to settle a bit upon sittng so just give it a good shake before each use.
- It doesn't seem to make any difference what kind of dawn detergent you use; regular, ultra or scented. Some people even use different detergents, but I was told to use Dawn for it's grease-fighting abilities so that's all I've tried so far.
- If you do a lot of laundry, my friend makes hers in a 5 gallon bucket and just quadruples the recipe. (She says she keeps a big spoon on hand to give it a stir after it's been sitting a while)
- For whites, this may not keep them as white as you may like so adding a booster (any brand of laundry booster or you can try adding vinegar to the rinse cycle) on white loads is recommended.
- I've heard adding a little vinegar to the rinse cycle works as a fabric softener and also helps remove any possible soap residue. It's also supposed to work as a laundry booster. Haven't tried it yet, but thought I'd pass it on.
- If you're in to having scented laundry: Add a few tablespoons of Downy Unstopables to your recipe or just a teaspoon to each load. Other people say they use essential oils for fragrance.

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