Laundry is a necessity that no one loves to do but that which we all must do at one time or another. When you schedule laundry is totally up to you. This article is strictly about making detergent that is clean, fresh and economical. Why would you want to MAKE laundry detergent? Well personally for the past few years I have used the drop in pods and not cared or paid attention to the cost. The cost, for me is not the issue. The issue that I have with the pods is that the film does not always dissolve and gets stuck on the clothing which means the items or items had to be re-washed, using more electricity and worse yet, wasted my time. The problem was probably the fact that I wash most things in cold water, thus the pod did not dissolve. I used to use liquid detergent and that created a gummy mess in the washing dispenser or left marks on the clothing if I put it directly into my front-load washer. So, what’s a girl to do? See out an alternative. Several people I knew were making their own detergent, it’s kind of like a Cult. I would hear them compare recipes and discuss how much they liked the results. Who knew that laundry could be such a topic? Some would give details on how to use the best scent, where they put this together, how to store it and how long it lasted. Hands down the satisfaction level during all of the discussions was much higher than purchasing detergents that were under performing. So it was off to Pinterest for me for research. When I say Cult, I mean there is a true following out there for this process, who knew that there could be so many recipes to achieve the same goal- clean clothing and textiles? After clicking through a few ideas and pinning a few on a board labeled Laundry – I found one that seemed to be a good idea since it becomes a bit of a gel like substance and would dissolve in the front loading washer without harming and sticking to the clothes. I adapted the recipe to suit my needs and desires since the original did not have non-chlorine bleach (they recommended not to use it) nor fragrance grains. It can change again, but for now- it’s a happy place in my life.
So here is my recipe I call
1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap
3 Cups Hot Water
1 Cup 20 Mule Team Borax Powder
1 Cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1 Cup Oxiclean
1/2 Cup Laundry Fragrance Beads 0r 30 Drops of Essential Oil – to your liking – Lavender sounds good here.
2 Storage Jars – 1 quart Mason Jars work well – I bought a Large Decorative Mason Jar at the local Menard’s store. It holds nearly all of one recipe with the extra stored in a zip lock gallon bag. The contents can be added to the jar as it is used.
This may sound like a lot of trouble but it’s really not and you have to try this.
- Shred the Fels Naptha Soap in the food processor or with a grater. Go for the food processor, please.
- Place the soap in a quart size or larger glass or metal bowl and add 3 Cups boiling or very hot water. Water from the coffee maker works well. Let this soak overnight and form a gel. It’s really cool.
- Take 1/2 of the mixture and put it in the blender or food processor with the mixing tool. I use a Ninja so its pretty fast for this next part. Don’t worry about a mess, it will all come out in the wash.
- Add 1/2c of each of the dry powders – 20 Mule Team Borax, Arm and Hammer Washing Soda and Oxiclean along with 1/4 cup of Fragrance Beads or 15 drops of an essential oil and 1 Cup Hot Water. Blend until well mixed. Repeat for the second half of the mixture.
- Store in Mason Jars or container of your choosing. Leave uncovered or lightly covered for the first 24 hours after mixing to allow for expansion. I found that adding the Oxiclean is worth the effort but there is a chemical reaction with the other powders that causes it to expand for a bit. It’s fine and to me worth having the laundry boost there without having to add it into a load and know that it may or may not get dissolved.
When it is mixed together it has the consistency of marshmallow cream or mayonnaise. If left uncovered, the exposed part will get caky and dried a bit but will become soft when it is mixed and re-covered.
To Use – Add 1 T per load, works in both front loading and top loading washers. I sometimes use more, that’s just me.
What are the advantages?
- Cleaner and FRESHER clothing and all textiles. I Love the way my sheets and towels now feel and smell.
- Fresher Laundry – When I say this – I mean Fresh – great smell.
- No need for softener – I quit using dryer sheet softeners too – magic – lowering more costs there.
- My washing machine is cleaner – so this must be good stuff to clean the grime and dirt that seemed to stick machine.
- My towels and sheets are softer and did I mention FRESHER! Kitchen towels and washcloths are cleaner, whiter and absorb better without the slick presence of chemicals from softener while the towels are softer to handle too. Who knew such a chemical dichotomy could exist in your kitchen with laundry detergent?
This is the second time that I have made this concoction and I am very happy with the results. I have enough ingredients to make several more recipes so the cost effectiveness, for me, is a bonus. Fresher, cleaner and softer textiles was my real goal and need but I will take the savings too! The boxes of the dry ingredients go a very long way.
The other thing that I started doing this summer is to hang my laundry on drying racks instead of putting it in the dryer. Heat wears out your clothes and causes textiles to fade. That may be a good thing in some cases but for the most part not. I have some friends who have hung their clothes for years while raising their family just because it was how they processed their laundry. So I thought that I would give it a try. I purchased two racks and found that it takes very little time to get things dry. I do put knit shirts into the dryer for a few minutes to get the wrinkles out and then hang them for use. But basically the only things that go in the dryer for full cycle are sheets and towels. I find that I get things folded and put away quicker because who wants their laundry hanging around? Not me. Before I had a tendency to leave laundry in the dryer, re-dry it and sometimes just forget about changing laundry over which resulted in running another cycle and using more electricity which is just bad. We should all consider our energy use. This has been a good change and the bonuses have been worth the short effort to hang things to dry. AND – my electric usage is down. Who knew such a little thing would create these benefits?
I have to say this stuff remains amazing. I recently bought a plastic scoop to keep in the jar for measuring the product into the washer. It makes the use of it much easier and an even amount is reaching the washer each time. Each recipe makes enough for 128 loads if you measure 1 Tablespoon per load. We all know of course that some loads may require more, never the less you will get 128 Tablespoons per recipe.
See you later gator!