I occasionally get the urge to hippify myself and our home… Really want to have a compost pile one day to fertilize the garden, am pretty strict on recycling, and try to line-dry my clothes instead of using a dryer. I fail in such areas as: remembering to take reusable bags to the grocery store, throwing paint cans in the garbage can (yikes, this one is bad!), and using paper towels to wipe down countertops.
Stop judging me. Or not, but when you come over for some gluten-free cookies and coffee, just think about how clean our countertops (occasionally) are because I used a paper towel to wipe them down instead of a dirty old towel/rag. But I digress.
I thought it would be a fun experiment to make my own laundry detergent and softener. Now let’s just get it out of the way and say this: making liquid fabric softener is SUUUUUPER easy to do. I bought all the ingredients and set them out (mainly so I wouldn’t forget to add an ingredient… like I normally do). I decided to use the existing softener bottle, instead of attempting to find another container. And it worked out just fine.
- 3c Hot Water (I just used hot tap water… didn’t bother boiling it or heating it up in the microwave.)
- 1.5c White Vinegar
- 1c Conditioner
You pour it all in, do the hokie pokie, shake it all around, and it’s ready to use! Really, that’s it. So here’s the expense: $.94 for Suave conditioner. $2.43 (total guess, but it was in the $2 range) for vinegar. I used barely any of the vinegar, so that’ll allow for about… oh… 23 more batches of fabric softener. And I used about 2/3 of the bottle of conditioner. My clothes smell so fresh and so clean (clean), and it seems to be working out just fine.
The detergent-making process proved to be a bit more difficult… or rather, intensive. I found pretty much all of these ingredients at Kroger (not Target), which surprised me. I did have to get the essential oils off of Amazon, but you might be able to source that somewhere else. Michaels, perhaps? I originally found the recipe here.
So without further ado, here you go:
- 1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax
- 1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
- 1 (3 lb) Container of OxiClean
- 2 (5.5 oz) Bars of Fels-Naphta
- 1 (5 lb) Bag of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
- 20 drops Wild Orange Essential Oil
First up, grate down all the bar soap. (This stuff smells delicious, btw. Like… so good.) After you grate it, you’re supposed to put it in a food processor and pulse until it’s a powder. I only had a blender and a magic bullet. Both of those were terrible, terrible choices. The blender didn’t do anything except make loud noises. The bullet started smoking. Soooo I just left the little cheesy-looking bits as they were.
Then I poured all the other ingredients (except for the essential oils) in to a bucket, mixed it all together, and then poured about half back out. Put a few (about 15-20) drops of essential oil in to that half, remix, and then pour (and mix) it all back in with the other half. (Store in an airtight container… I bought a dog food dispenser from Marshall’s for $6.)Since we have a front-loader, I had (have) to make this HE appropriate– do this by mixing two scoops (tablespoons) of detergent with two tablespoons of water, and the pour in the dispenser. And viola! Homemade detergent.
This also smells delicious, works just as well (if not better) than store-bought detergent, and apparently is much cheaper. So yay for that.
I’m going to go make some homemade trail mix and wear my rope sandals now.