I rarely wear make-up. I traveled for six months with a toiletry bag the size of a small ziploc. I am not a product girl.
And yet I am.
In most facets of my life I am a die hard DIYer: the “why buy it when you can make it” philosophy rules my kitchen, garden, and home decor.
But when it comes to “products” I like the aesthetic of a commercial package, the written directions telling me how much to use each time, and the added scents and magic powers.
I am trying to get over it though because I am learning more and more that homemade cleaning and beauty products can be of superior quality, have a smaller carbon footprint, and cost significantly less.
DIY Laundry Soap
I’m a little late to this party, Ashley among others have written a few posts on homemade laundry soap, but I thought I’d tell you my experience anyway.
Five Simple Ingredients
- Washing Soda
- Baking Soda (whoops, not pictured above, sorry!)
- Bar Soap
- Essential Oil (optional for added scent)
I used this post from Wellness Mama as a guide but cut her “recipe” into quarters because I didn’t want to deal with 5 GALLONS of detergent.
Here’s what I did:
On the stove in a big soup pot I heated one gallon of water. When the water became warm to the touch I turned off the heat and stirred in
- 1/4 cup borax
- 1/4 cup washing soda
- 1/4 cup baking soda
In another big soup pot I heated two quarts of water. While it heated I grated a 1/4th of a bar of Dr. Bronners soap then added it to the water when it simmered. I turned off the water and stirred for a minute or two until it dissolved then added it to the other pot.
As I stirred everything up in the big pot I added about 25 drops of lavender essential oil then left it to cool.
Once cool the mixture went into jars for storage and use!
It’s not necessary to go through the process of adding it to water, you can just mix the powders and grated soap together and use like dry detergent, but I prefer liquid detergent. If you use measuring cups/pots/etc. from your kitchen make sure to clean them thoroughly before using them for food!
After the detergent cools completely it turns into a very thin gel, just like “store bought”.
To use I added about 3/4 of a cup to my wash and went on my way. First thing I noticed (after the delicious lavender scent) was that it doesn’t really foam up like what I’m used to. I read that that is normal and doesn’t diminish the cleaning power.
When I switched the clothes into the dryer they felt clean and smelled great. Once dry I didn’t notice any difference from what I am used to with commercial products.
Conclusion: It was cheap. I spent less than $20 on supplies and ended up with a gallon and a half of detergent plus barely used containers of washing soda, borax, soap, and essential oil. As a total guesstimate I would say that the gallon and a half cost me $3 in material and less than 20 minutes of time. The frugal gal in me is happy and my inner DIYer is satisfied but I am still going to keep my eyes out for even less processed ingredients to wash with. Any ideas?
And any ideas about what to do with all of this extra borax and washing soap? I’ve heard they are both great for cleaning, have you used them? Anyone in Charlottesville want some to make their own detergent?
My last thought on green laundry is this: balls over dryer sheets any day!