I started making homemade laundry detergent last year. Even Jake can't say that it doesn't get the clothes as clean as any commercial cleaners! Occasionally I've gone back to Trader Joe's for some of their laundry detergent (phosphate-free, of course; phosphates are very harsh on the water supply), but what I love about this recipe is the sheer simpleness of it.
- 1 bar of Ivory soap (or Fels Napatha soap), finely grated
- 2 cups Borax
- 2 cups Washing Soda
Mix all together.
And done. 2 Tbs. to a warm or hot wash. Stir it up in the water a bit to break up soap clumps before adding clothes.
Frequently asked questions:
But why make your own laundry detergent?
1. Better for the environment. Not only are you not using harsh petrochemicals, but you actually don't need as much as the commercial detergents call for (unless you have a very soiled or very large load). So a little does in fact go a long way!
2. Cheaper--I haven't done the math precisely, but estimates on the internet are anywhere from $.05 to $.10 per load. The average commercial detergent is approximately $.20 per load. Not bad.
3. Time--It takes 5 minutes. Think of all the time you can save by not figuring out what detergent is on sale, what detergent has the new hot scent, etc!
What about the information that says that Borax and Washing Soda are toxic?
Well, yes--don't eat it. You will get sick. But they are certainly far better for you than the other chemicals in commercial detergents. Some people have experienced skin irritation if it comes in contact with the skin. Wear gloves if you'd like extra protection, otherwise just use a spoon to stir it up.
What about fabric softener?
Guess what?? The answer is another staple--vinegar. It does the trick. Add a half cup per load during the rinse cycle and dry on the line or in the dryer as normal. If it doesn't get soft enough, add 1/3 of a fabric dryer sheet to the dryer. You don't need any more than that!
Where do I buy Borax and Washing Soda?
Borax can be found in most supermarkets, Target, Walmart, etc. Washing Soda is a bit more difficult. I can't find it anywhere in Pittsburgh except a very small chain, Kuhn's. So check out at the smaller chains or independent grocers in your area. If you can't find it there, though, washing soda is also called "soda ash," a chemical used in the pool business.
Can I make liquid laundry detergent?
Absolutely. I just personally the powder is easier to do. But if you'd like more information, check out the following websites: