I liked the laundry detergent recipe found here so much that I haven't bought the store brand stuff since trying it. I love that it's perfume free and dye free without having to pay extra for the privilege. Not to mention, it's much cheaper to make it myself and cleans just fine, thank you. If I've got really really dirty play clothes or jeans I pre-treat with some of the detergent and make sure to add about a cup of ammonia to the water as it washes. No itchy eyes from perfumed pillowcases anymore! To me the best-smelling laundry in the world comes straight in off the clothesline on a sunny day.
The only problem I've had with homemade detergent is that sometimes end up with a nice gel laundry detergent and other times I end up with a separated water/soapy mess. Fortunately, even if it doesn't turn out quite perfectly I can still break up the soapy parts, mix the clumps back into the water, and throw a cupful into the laundry as usual. It still cleans clothes just fine. Being a perfectionist, though, I wanted to figure out how to make the best batch of laundry detergent I can.
Tips & Info for Making Unscented Laundry Detergent:
- 1 bar (4.5 oz/127 g) of Ivory soap yields about 2 C. of grated soap.
- I can't find Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda in any store near me, however you can order it through the number on the box (1-800-524-1328) or order online.
- Don't use baking soda in the place of washing soda. They are very different.
- Add the ingredients in this order: Grated soap dissolved in water over medium heat THEN 1 C. Borax THEN 1 C. washing soda. I just now made the recipe again and it is mixed and setting up correctly.
- Only mix hot water with the hot soap/water/Borax/soda mixture.
- Be careful adding the hot mixture to the container you want to keep it in! I melted a plastic pretzel container when I forgot to let it cool a little first. Mixing it in a bucket would be easier
My thanks to the ladies at Little House in the Suburbs for posting the original recipe.
One thing I've discovered about kids is that they like to make their mark...preferably on everything. My walls are covered with their artwork from the earliest time they can hold a crayon, my car had two muddy handprints placed artistically right on the rear window of my car, my front door bears matching handprints, and my son's little friend became similarly decorated yesterday. When my kids went to grandma's she cracked up watching my son sit in the mud then go running to her bridge to the road and sit on it, triumphantly proving his presence to all who passed by.
This pretty much guarantees that my second-hand washer is nearly always running and so I began to wince hard everytime that I bought laundry detergent and dryer sheets. For one thing the companies that make these seem to be of the firm opinion that I am not interested in cleaning clothes unless the detergent is some bright color and reeks of perfume. I like nice smells as much as the next gal but have you walked down the cleaning aisle lately? There is a smog of scent.
I can find unscented detergent, usually in a small box hidden somewhere on the bottom shelf as though the manufacturer is saying, “Well FINE if you really must!” Then they charge an ungodly amount of money for it.
So I make my own detergent with the directions found right here and it works very well. I love that it's so much cheaper than the commercial stuff, it's easy to make, and it's exactly what I want.
That left me with dryer sheets. I don't have much problem with commercial dryer sheets and they're a couple bucks for a box of them. The unscented ones aren't a big deal to get. Then...I ran out. Remember how the washer just keeps going? I had used my last one too late at night to go and get more and my hubby needed his jeans for the morning. Hubby was not going to be happy if his jeans felt like cardboard.
So I found out how to do it myself.
Fizzy Fabric Softener
½ C. white vinegar
1 C. very warm water
½ C. baking soda
Mix the the vinegar and the water together in a bowl big enough to handle the fizzing to come. Mix in the baking soda a bit at a time and let the chemical reaction to take place, swirling or stirring to give it a good chance to get the bubbliness done with. I loved mixing vinegar and soda as a kid, it never occurred to me that it was good for something other than entertainment!
Pour into a container with a lid.
There are several ways to use this once it's done. I usually shake the liquid up to re-distribute the soda then soak down a washcloth or clean rag with the mixture and throw that in the dryer when I'm going to run it. Alternatively, you can use the liquid in the rinse cycle of the washer or soak clean cloths in the mixture and dry them to use like commercial dryer sheets.
In any case, it doesn't take much money to have loads (and loads) of laundry that comes out soft and handprint-free.