Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Christine's homemade laundry detergent and fabric softener


Christine's Homemade Laundry Detergent

Water (hopefully you've got some of that around the house)
1/3 bar of Fels Naptha Soap (or my favorite - Zote soap)
1/2 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda - look in the detergent aisle)
1/2 cup Borax
A bucket that will hold 2 gallons

Grate the soap. I use my cheese grater. Mix it with about three pints of water in a saucepan. Heat on low until dissolved. Stir in washing soda and Borax. Stir until thickened and remove from heat. Add 1 quart of hot water to bucket. Add soap mixture and stir well. Fill bucket with hot water until you have about two gallons. Mix well again. Let set 24 hours, or until thickened.

It will be funky goopy. I use a big spoon to stir it up and then use a funnel to pour it into an old detergent container. I use 1/2 cup per load.

Now, on to my homemade fabric softener ...

You ready for this?

Vinegar.

That's it. Just pour some vinegar in your fabric softener dispenser (about 1/2 or 1 cup). It softens the clothes just enough, and removes odors perfectly.

We've been doing this for about a year now. We all love it. Our clothes are clean. No added chemicals. Oh, and it's really, really, really, really, REALLY cheap. Some things that I do save a little money. This one will blow your mind when you compare it to the stuff on the laundry aisle.

23 comments:

Tracy said...

My recipe is the same as yours! I made another batch 2 days ago. The only difference is that I add Sweet Orange essential oil to it.I started with 10 drops, but now I add about 20 drops. I love that scent!

Melissa said...

Thank you, thank you!!

Recovering Noah said...

Okay, I am completely out of laundry detergent and Whole Foods is an hour and a half away. Looks like I'm headed to Walmart to make my own soap.

Question: do any of your kids have sensitive skin? Noah's skin is soooooooo sensitive. We've been using Seventh Generation ($$$$)for years, and are reluctant to switch. But you have no idea how many loads of laundry we do a week. It's insane. And we just can't afford the fancy-smancy detergent anymore. Do you think it'd work for all skin types?

Leslie

Carol said...

I like the vinegar idea. I do this for stinky laundry loads.

I just can't see myself grating and cooking soap, though. I guess I'm just too much of a convenience freaque.

Christine said...

Leslie, just use two bars of plain Ivory instead of the other types of soaps. I've done that, too, and it makes up just fine (when I was out of Zote).

Tiffany said...

I have a question--I have a front loading machine and have to buy the special HE so that it doesn't get too sudsy. Any experience with that?

AmyDe said...

I've heard it's FINE for He machines as the borax and soda crystals keep the suds down(but please search it out as I have a regular machine). Also - to Noah's mom - Target and Publix also carry 7th generation (if you have those near you), but I hear you about the $$$$pricey pricey stuff.

Christine said...

This is a major low suds detergent. In fact, we ran out of dishwashing liquid one time, and I used this. It drove me nuts, because there were no suds - I just couldn't trust that they were plenty clean! ha!

(Jim &) Brandy Brow said...

Love this idea. Goes hand in hand with my homemade baby wipes. How many loads does this recipe handle? I'm wondering how often I'd have to make it at 8 loads of laundry per week in a front loader.

Brandy
The Building Brows

Georgia said...

Because we are trying to make our food dollars stretch further, I am curiously interested. And also stupid. I've never heard of the stuff you're talking about...Fels Naptha Soap. Is that just FancyPants bar soap for washing bodies? Can I use regular body soap? Can you find washing soda in a small town Texas Wal*Mart?

Also, what are essential oils and where do you find them?

craftymom said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who hasn't heard of Fels Haptha soap nor have I heard of washing soda. Georgia, you're not alone. I'm clueless about the essential oils, too!

Help!

A Stone Gatherer said...

Thanks! I'm going to give that a try!

Christine said...

Brandy, at 1/2 cup per load, you're looking at approximately 32 loads.

Georgia, I have to drive to a nearby town to get the washing soda. I find Zote or Fels Naptha in the laundry aisle everywhere. Since the washing soda lasts me forever, it is totally worth it to make the drive for it (I just pick it up when I'm over there for other errands). You can call places first to find out if they have what you need. I hate driving around aimlessly.

AND I HAD NEVER HEARD OF THEM EITHER, BEFORE I STARTED DOING THIS - YOU'RE NORMAL!!

You can order essential oils online or find them at health food or herbal stores (which are not in many small towns). I never use essential oils in my laundry detergent. Sometimes in my cleaners, but I'm cheap. They last a VERY long time (a little goes a long way), but they are very pricey. About the only thing I ever buy is lavender. I bought rosemary this last time, just because I accidentally found some in a coffee shop and they had marked it down to THREE DOLLARS! WHOOP!

Essential oils are basically the oil that is extracted straight from herbs. Lavender oil is heavenly. Lemongrass is another fave of mine.

craftymom said...

Thanks for the low-down on where to find the ingredients!

CC said...

Cool. I'll have to try it some time. How many loads will this batch last?

Christine said...

CC, someone didn't have time to read all the comments, now did they? What? Do you have a LIFE or something??

Brenda said...

I admire your ambition ; )

threekidchaos said...

I was out of fabric softener so I tried the vinegar thing & it worked great. Thanks for the tip, no more Downy for me!

Kristen said...

Love this! Can't wait to try.

RockerWife said...

if you have a kitchen aid with the grater, put the fels naptha in the freezer for 5 minutes and it grates rather quickly. I love this laundry soap - clothes smell so clean. BTW - I have a front loader.

vicki said...

thanks so much for these tips. Everything is so expensive these days it's nice to find great ways to save. Washing soda can be found in Walmart and can be used for lots of things, including scrubbing pots and pans and the bathtub and sink. I also use a mixture of vinegar, water and essential oil(just a little) and squirt it on the floors to clean them. It works great!! I can't wait to try the laundry soap. I have also been washing my shower curtains in vinegar and soda for years, it gets all the soap scum off. We have really hard water where I live. Isn't this fun!!

cgivans said...

Please share where you found the washing soda, cuz I couldn't find it at walmart in blackwell or ponca, yes it occurs to me there are other stores, ha ha. I guess it's always just me first resource since my husband works there. I find it just amazing when I can't find something at walmart. I mean, aren't they supposed to have EVERYTHING....okay, enough kidding around....anyway, please share where you found it. I don't use this recipe, I use one I found for powdered detergent. I don't really have a way to mix or store the liquid detergent cuz it's so much. The powdered makes about as much and takes less effort, I thought, to make and store....seems to work great for us. Anyway...since I couldn't find the washing soda, I just used a little extra borax....no suds, but clothes smelled clean...I am assuming that is what the washing soda is for, the suds. I added baking soda to the recipe, cuz I like baking soda. Love the vinegar idea!!! Going to have to try that...no remaining smell right? Hubby hates strong smells.

LaVonne said...

Thank you for this tip! I want to try it now.