Homemade washing powder.

Are your clothes dirty?  Are you too cheap to buy laundry detergent?  Me too!  Fear not, help is at hand!

One of the best things I have bought this year is this fabulous book by the lovely authors of this other fabulous book.  They are both wonderful, and I use ‘Making It’ on an almost daily basis as it contains loads of projects for thing to make yourself, be self-sufficient and generally stick it to the man.  So, when we ran out of laundry detergent a while ago I simply whipped out the book and made it myself!  Hoorah!

It’s really easy.

Here’s what you need:

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Simples!

1 part laundry soap

2 parts Borax

2 parts washing (or baking) soda

(vinegar for rinse cycle)

I usually use baking soda instead of washing soda as it’s more gentle.  Washing soda has greater cleaning power, though, so it’s your choice.  A 50/50 mix of the two is good.  If you use washing soda, be careful with your delicates and of course fabrics like wool or silk should be washed separately anyway.  ‘Making It’ says that you should use castille soap like Doctor Bonner’s for your wool/silk items.  I tend to hand wash with just a tiny bit of my detergent powder, but that’s only because I haven’t bought any Doctor Bonner’s yet.

Laundry soap comes in a bar, so you need to grate or otherwise chop it.  There are two brands available here: Fels-Naptha and Zote Soap.  Zote Soap is a lot of fun because it’s bright pink, and also kind of soft, so you can just chop it into chunks then throw it into the food processor with the other ingredientsto grind it up.  I wouldn’t recommend putting Fels-Naptha into the food processor.  Very scary.  It’s pretty easy to just grate it with the cheese grater, though.  I tend to buy it just because it’s available at the supermarket down the street, but Zote is more fun to use.

Once you have dealt with the laundry soap, just mix up all the ingredients, and you’re done!  I keep mine in a mason jar, and a quart jar lasts several weeks.

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Ta da!

You only need to use 2 tablespoons per load!

Just add it to your machine as you normally would.  Instead of fabric softener, I throw a splash of white vinegar (about half a cup or whatever) into the machine during the rinse cycle, and this seems to work just fine.

It’s so cheap!

There are lots of online sources with slight variations on this recipe, and proper cost breakdowns.  Potholes and Pantyhose is  my favourite – she also has a whole lot of other household product recipes as well as being very entertaining.

Not only is making your own laundry soap cheap and kind of fun, it cuts down on nasty chemicals and additives being used in your home.  Just as I prefer to cook my own food so I know what’s in it, it’s good to know exactly what’s involved in cleaning my house and washing my clothes.

A really cool consequence of this is that you only really need a few ingredients to make a variety of cleaners.  Once you’ve bought these basics (borax, baking soda, washing soda, vinegar), you’re pretty much set up to make anything you need, so if you run out of something there’s no need to run to the supermarket – just whip up a batch in five minutes and carry on.  Obviously it’s also way more cost-effective, especially if you can gt vinegar and baking soda in bulk.

Tune in next week to see what else I’ve been making around the house!

Happy crunching.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    M-J said,

    Those ingredients look well old school! I doubt we’d find them in Tesco?! But maybe I just haven’t been looking hard enough, and who knows, Ratho village shop may stock such things. Does it smell nice though? x

    • 2

      crunchmeup said,

      You might be surprised – I found them all in the little supermarket down the street, Not sure if any of them are in the UK, but there’s probably an equivalent laundry soap and you should be able to get Arm and Hammer, I imagine. If not, baking soda works fine! It smells nice in the jar but doesn’t make your clothes smell as much as bought powder does.


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