Laundry Detergent

Many women are looking for ways to cut spending and/or save money these days. One of the best ways to cut spending is to make for yourself some of the things you currently spend excessive amounts of money buying in the store. Laundry detergent always seems to make the list of things to cut when people evaluate their spending habits. More and more people are making their own laundry detergent. It’s super easy and very inexpensive, and I wanted to share my recipe with you.

To make your own laundry detergent, you will need:

1 bar Fels-Naptha

1 cup washing soda

1 cup borax

Grate the Fels-Naptha using a standard box grater or food processor with grating disc. Line a shallow, sided baking pan with towels or paper towels; spread grated Fels-Naptha on lined baking sheet and allow to dry for a couple of days. You’ll want to put the baking sheet somewhere cool and dry (we put ours on top of the refrigerator because we live in a very humid state ~ putting it outside just wouldn’t work well).

Once the Fels-Naptha has dried out a bit, combine the grated bar with washing soda and borax in a dry blender or food processor. I have a Vita-Mix, and I use the dry container meant specifically for grating/chopping dry items like nuts and seeds. Run blender/pulse food processor a few times to mix the ingredients together, but don’t blend/pulse too much. The mixture becomes very powdery and difficult to work with if over-blended.

Store in a lidded, airtight container.

In a high efficiency washer, use about 1/2 tablespoon of detergent per load. If not using a h.e. machine, you may need to use more detergent (about 1 tablespoon should do the trick).

We have tried a few different soap options over the years, but we’ve found Fels-Naptha works the best. It may be difficult to locate Fels-Naptha, but it’s worth calling around your local area to find it. Occasionally they stock Fels-Naptha at one of the big box stores in my area, and I always buy 10 or more bars at a time when I can get my hands on it. 10 bars will make a LOT of laundry detergent, and the bars are not expensive (last time I bought a bunch they were $1.50 each).

Also, please note that washing soda is NOT the same thing as baking soda. Arm & Hammer makes them both, but baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, whereas washing soda is sodium carbonate. You should be able to find all of these products ~ Fels-Naptha, borax and washing soda ~ in your local grocery store’s laundry products aisle.

Just a couple more tips:

Instead of using fabric softener in the washing machine, use a small amount of distilled white vinegar. A small amount won’t make your clothes smell vinegary as long as it’s used in the rinse cycle. By small amount, I mean less than a quarter cup. A great solution to trying to catch the rinse cycle is to use a Downy ball. Just put some distilled white vinegar in the Downy ball (less than the “fill line” mark), close it and throw it in the machine with the clothes before you start the wash cycle. Easy peasy.

Instead of using dryer sheets, combine water and apple cider vinegar in a 3:1 solution in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the load of laundry with the ACV mixture once it’s piled up in the dryer. Dry as usual.

I have found when I wash a load that contains only 100% cotton articles, I don’t need to use anything in the dryer to avoid static cling. It’s only when there are artificial textiles in the mix that static is a problem.

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About Trish

Trish describes herself as a true mountain girl and lover of all winter sports, including curling. Even though she longs to be near her beloved mountains, Trish is happy to bloom wherever God plants her. A military wife (USAF, retired), mom of 3, veteran homeschooler, and nana to two of the most beautiful grandchildren ever, Trish enjoys reading, photography and fiber arts (i.e. knitting and crochet). Trish's heart is to mentor and minister to other women, emphasizing the importance of a relationship with Christ and finding significance through that relationship. She and her husband Roger currently live and bloom in Arkansas. Trish is co-founder of A Martha Heart; in addition to her responsibilities as a managing partner of A Martha Heart, she loves her jobs as wife, mom and nana, and is optimistic each day about what God may bring into her life next.

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