I’ve been using laundry pods, but they’re more expensive than I’d like to admit. I used to use liquid, and was going to go back to that, but….I figured I could probably just make some, right? How hard can it be? (Cue my husband saying “you know you can buy that, right?)
I tested my new detergent on a load of laundry that included a kitchen towel that was used during a bread….incident. It was completely covered in flour, soaked in honey, and had some dried dough chunks stuck to it. The result? Clean towels. Color me impressed.
- 1 gallon of water
- approx. 4 ounces of bar soap
- 2/3 cup washing soda
- 2/3 cup borax
- Essential oil of your choice (optional)
Grate the soap (either by hand or using the grating attachment on your food processor), and add it to half of the water in a big pot on the stove. Heat (no need to boil) until the soap has all melted/dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the rest of the water (hot/warm water is best), and add the washing soda and borax. Stir until everything is completely dissolved. If you want to add a light scent, add some essential oils “until you feel good.” I used around 50 drops of lavender just to take away the “soap” smell. Pour into your storage vessel of choice, and voila! You’ll want to shake and/or stir the mixture several times over the first 24 hours, as the soap may try to settle out as the mixture cools and starts to gel. That’s it! 48 – 64 loads of laundry detergent in 15 minutes.
EDITED 4/22/18: I found that the mixture does tend to separate a bit when it sits for a few days, so I have since transferred my detergent into an old plastic milk jug. It’s not as pretty as the glass jar with the spigot, but it’s easier to shake up before I use it (and the spigot kept getting clogged, because it’s not really meant for viscous liquids).
Q: How do I use this liquid magic?
A: Simply add 1/4 – 1/3 cup of your soap to your washer the same way you would with store-bought laundry detergent.
Q: What kind of bar soap should I use?
A: Technically, you can use any kind you like, but I’d stay away from anything other than plain soap. No extra moisturizers, no weird colors or smells. They actually make a laundry bar soap that’s kept in the aisle with the laundry detergent at most stores. It’s usually right next to the borax and washing soda. (I used homemade soap, because of course I did)
Q: Is it non-toxic like those beautiful dishwasher tabs you made the other day?
A: ABSOLUTELY NOT. Borax is tremendously toxic if ingested, especially to children. So, just like store-bought detergent, keep it out of reach of children and pets. Seriously.
Q: Can I make this without borax?
A: Maybe. I’ve seen recipes out there that don’t use it, but I haven’t heard great things about their effectiveness. I’ve got disgusting children who spit jello into the hamper without telling anyone, so I’m using borax.
Q: Do I need to use special utensils to make this if it’s toxic?
A: Nope! You can use regular kitchen equipment (pots, spoons, etc), but don’t use anything porous that might soak up the borax (no wood, people), and wash everything really well afterward (obviously).
So get out there and give it a try!
And again, if you don’t want to leave your house, here are some links to buy the ingredients to make it yourself.
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