Homemade laundry detergent trial

Recipes for DIY laundry soap abound on the internet and most of them are similar to this one.   Originally it called for adding water, using a 5 gallon bucket and having it turn into a gel-type soap overnight.  I don’t have room or the desire for a 5 gal bucket in my utility room and didn’t want the added mess, so I stopped at the powdered version and it came out like this:

You only need 2 tablespoons for a normal load; less for smaller or lightly soiled and more for larger or heavily soiled loads.  This should last us awhile, because there are only two of us here and we don’t get grass stains, motor oil and such on our clothes. 

The basic recipe I used is thus:  one bar of Fels Naptha soap, 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda.  I found the Fels and the Washing Soda at Ace Hardware, and the Borax in the grocery store.  It is said that you can substitute Zote or Ivory for the Fels, but let me say this as a disclaimer:  This is being touted as safe for high efficiency washers, due to its low sudsing.  I know nothing about Zote, but Ivory soap is likely to make more suds and might negate the safety for h.e. washers.   I’m not going to risk it as long as I can find the Fels.

The process for mixing goes thus:  Grate up the Fels soap.  I used my food processor grater attachment and that worked fine, but if you don’t have one, you can do it by hand.  It is hard work and takes longer, but it will work.  Then mix in the other two ingredients with the soap in your blender, blending till everything looks equally incorporated and is a powder.  Use pulsing so that you don’t overdo this.  It could be tiring for your motor. Pour into a storage container.    That’s it!  Done! 

Also, be sure you get Arm and Hammer WASHING soda, not BAKING soda.  It is in the aisle with detergents and cleaners, not in the baking aisle.   It has a different alkalinity level and it is what you absolutely NEED.  Don’t substitute here.   I have heard some say that they added Oxyclean to their recipe, but I don’t know the proportion.  I’d rather just add that when I need it.  I don’t need it for lightly soiled or dark clothes, so why spend the money?  

I wash my darks in cold water, my lights in warm and only use hot water once a week for my white towels, face cloths, dish cloths and cloth “paper towels” and hubby’s white underwear.   I use bleach only occasionally and not during times when I can hang my whites outside.  The sun is a great, natural bleacher.  I will report back when I’ve finished up my first batch of this and let everyone know how it worked.


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