Today was the day I needed to make more of my homemade laundry detergent. It has been many years since I have used shop brought detergents and there is no way I would go back. In fact I do not buy ANY cleaners or toiletries (except loo paper) as I make all my own.
I used to be a big advocate for fabric softeners, until I started getting a skin rash that would not budge. It was worse over winter and mix that with hot flushes and it was not fun. I looked up fabric softeners and every which way I looked I found articles about the toxicity of fabric softeners. I decided then and there I would go cold turkey on both shop brought laundry powder and fabric softener…. and I have not had the skin irritation since.
Recently a friend brought me a top she wanted alter. As my sewing machine is in my bedroom, I put the top in there. That night I could not understand why my eyes and sinuses were sore and my breathing was laboured. I was aware of the strange perfume in my room which even had the dog sneezing. Realising it the top, I put it out side for the night and had to wash it twice before I could handle it safely. Knowing the owner has bad sinus issues, I mentioned it to her and was slightly shocked when she said she didn’t care because it’s all about the smell, lets me know things are clean. Oh well, each to their own.
I searched the web and found numerous recipes so I set about trying them all. As I wash in cold water I found the powdered form did not dissolve very will so I adapted it to a liquid. Sometimes I add essential oils, but don’t usually when I make it, preferring to add it to just one bottle depending on my whim.
My recipe is as follows –
Liquid Laundry Soap
1 cup grated soap + 1l (litre) hot water
1 cup borax + 1l hot water
1 cup washing soda +1l cold water
7l cold water
Put 1l boiling water in a pot/bucket and add soap flakes. Stir until the soap has melted or heat on the stove. Take care not to cause too much foam. I use a metal whisk for this.
Put 1 litre of hot water in a large pot or bucket that will hold 12 litres, and using stick mixer beat/whizz while slowly adding the borax. Keep whizzing until the borax is dissolved. Add hot soap to this and stir to combine.
Add washing soda slowly and stir rapidly by hand or use stick mixer. As this is added you will notice the mixture gels rapidly and goes all gloopy. Add 1l of cold water and stir to combine.
At this stage I take out some of the mix and put it into an old sponge top stain remover bottle or a squeeze top bottle and use it as you would a stain remover.
Start adding the remaining 7l of cold water and stir or whizz to mix into the gloop. At this stage it will thin down and is ready for storage.
Some people leave it in a large bucket with a lid in their laundry,and stir it before use and scoop out enough for the wash. But as my washer is in my small kitchen, I bottle it into clean used 2l milk bottles.
Stand the bottles in the sink on a wet cloth, this stops them falling over as you fill them. I only used 5 not the 6 in picture because I took out the stain remover
I put the funnel into the first bottle and add one litre of soap, then move to the next and do the same. I then go back and fill the bottle to about 25mm (1 inch) from the top then cap tightly.
You will notice the liquid separates. It is more noticeable in summer than winter, but its normal. As it cools down, give it a shake and it mixes again. It is now ready to use.
How much do you use per wash… I have an old soap powder scoop, which is a half cup(125mls) capacity, that I measure the soap into and pour it into the machine. Shake the bottle each time you use it to mix the two layers together.
I add some white vinegar to the fabric softener cup and start the machine. Simple and cheap too.
I buy borax and washing soda in 1kg lots from Bin Inn and I grate soap or use soap flakes for this. Any hand soap will do, but try to avoid one that does not have added perfume.
I get 80 washes from the 10l , plus 2 bottles of stain remover.
It costs me roughly $17 for enough ingredients to make 5 batches of 5 x 2l. This is roughly a years worth of ingredients. This equates to under .05c a wash. So it’s not just safe, it’s very thrifty too.
Laundry Soap Powder
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1 cup grated or flaked soap
Now- if you prefer a powder or use a warm/hot wash which will dissolve both the soap flakes and borax, then you can use the dry ingredients above and mix them together and keep in a sealed container. The washing soda causes it to clump a little so make sure you use a container that with withstand being shaken before each wash.
Use 1 x level tablespoon full per wash.
*** I did some experimenting and added 1 cup of epsom salts dissolved in 1l warm water to the mix to see how it would combat static in polar fleece clothing in the dryer. It’s a winner I added another 1 l of cold water to the mix making added water 8l instead of 7.