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10 DIY Laundry Detergents, Fabric Softener, Starch, and Scent Enhancer

May 31, 2019
    • With the average American family doing 400 loads of laundry every year, the cost of laundry products can really add up: different detergents for certain types of fabrics, fabric softener, stain removers and even scent enhancers. For those who iron clothes, toss in the cost of starch and sizing. By making laundry products yourself, you’ll save money and avoid last minute trips to the store when you run out of detergent. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what ingredients are being used to wash your family’s laundry.    
    • 02of 11   DIY Powdered Laundry Detergent    S847 / Getty Images Making powdered laundry detergent is very simple and depending on your previous detergent, around 30 cents per load. Homemade laundry detergent is safe to use in both standard and high-efficiency washers because the formula is low-sudsing. What You Need:
      • Bar of Pure Soap (Ivory, Fels Naptha, Zote ) or 1 cup Soap Flakes 
      • Baking Soda
      • Washing Soda – sodium carbonate
      • Borax 
      • Cheese Grater
      • Measuring Cup
      • Resealable Container Here’s How:
      1. Using a regular cheese grater, grate a 5.5 ounce bar of pure soap to make about one cup of flakes.
      2. In a large, resealable container, combine 1 cup soap flakes, 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup washing soda (sodium carbonate) and 1/2 cup borax. Washing soda is caustic to the skin and you should wear rubber gloves.
      3. Mix ingredients well. Keep dry. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load of laundry in a standard top load washer. Use only 2 tablespoons in a high efficiency top- or front-load washer. Tips:
      1. If you can’t find Washing Soda, you can make your own washing soda from baking soda.
      2. The detergent recipe can be easily doubled. Store in an airtight container. Transfer smaller amounts to a decorative canister to keep handy near the washer.
      3. To boost the cleaning power of your homemade detergent, increase the amount of borax used in the formula. Shop for Laundry Pure Soap Bars on Amazon.com Shop for Baking Soda on Amazon.com Shop for Borax on Amazon.com Shop for Washing Soda on Amazon.com  
    • 03of 11   DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent    Jamie Grill/Tetra Images/Getty Images If you have extremely cold water, liquid laundry detergent is a better choice because powders can sometimes be difficult to dissolve. This formula is particularly good for anyone with sensitive skin because it contains no dyes or fragrances that can irritate skin. What You Need:
      • Bar of Pure Soap or 1 cup Soap Flakes  
      • Baking Soda
      • Washing Soda – sodium carbonate
      • Borax 
      • Cheese Grater
      • Measuring Cup
      • Saucepan
      • Resealable 3 gallon container Here’s How:
      1. Using a regular cheese grater, grate the bar of pure soap or use one cup soap flakes.
      2. Add the grated soap to a large saucepan with 4 cups of water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
      3. In a large, resealable container, combine melted soap flakes, 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup washing soda (sodium carbonate), 1/2 cup borax and two gallons of hot water. Washing soda is caustic to the skin and you should wear rubber gloves.
      4. Stir detergent mixture until everything is dissolved. Cover and allow to sit overnight to thicken. If using directly from the large container, use 2 tablespoons of your homemade liquid detergent per load. This is appropriate for both HE washers and standard top load washers.
      5. For easier use, fill a smaller container with one half liquid soap mixture and one half water. Shake well before each use. Use 1/4 cup per load which equals two tablespoons of detergent and 2 tablespoons of water. Tip:
      1. A glass beverage dispenser, like those used for iced tea or lemonade, makes a decorative container for your liquid detergent. It is easy to dispense and refill. Shop for Laundry Pure Soap Bars on Amazon.com Shop for Borax on Amazon.com Shop for Washing Soda on Amazon.com Shop for a Glass Beverage Dispenser  
    • 04of 11   DIY Single Dose Laundry Detergent Pods    Yoyochow23 / Getty Images If you are teaching a child or teen how to do laundry, single dose detergent is an easy way to get started. The single dose laundry detergent format, whether a tablet, pod or pack, is a simple and efficient way to prevent overuse of detergent. This saves money, protects clothes from excessive wear and can even keep high-efficiency  washers from breaking down due to excess suds. One of the downsides or single-dose laundry detergents from the big name manufacturers is the cost. But you can make your own. What You Need:
      • 1 1/2 cups of  washing soda  to soften water
      • 1/2 cup pure soap flakes for stain removal
      • 2 tablespoons Epsom salt for fabric softening
      • 3 tablespoons  hydrogen peroxide (3.5 percent pharmaceutical grade)  for whitening and brightening fabrics
      • 1/4 cup  distilled white vinegar  for odor reduction
      • 15-20 drops essential oil for fragrance (optional)
      • Mixing bowl – glass or plastic
      • Hand grater
      • Sheet pan or cookie sheet
      • Waxed paper or parchment paper
      • Measuring spoons Here’s How:
      1. Using the hand grater, grate the soap bar until you have 1/2 cup of grated soap. You can also purchase soap flakes if you don’t want to use the grater.
      2. Pour the soap flakes into the mixing bowl. Add the washing soda and Epsom salts next. Stir these ingredients together until well blended.
      3. Add the hydrogen peroxide and vinegar and the essential oil. The essential oil is not essential to cleaning. It’s there to add a fragrance, if you’d like. Use as much or as little as you desire. After you have added the ingredients, your mixture should look like wet sand needed to build a sand castle.
      4. Use a measuring spoon or small scoop to shape the mixture into individual pods. Each pod should be a heaping 1 tablespoon. Pack the measuring spoon well and then place the pod on a waxed or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Spritz the pods with a bit of plain water to set the shape (the water melts the ingredients slightly). Allow to dry overnight. This recipe will make around two boxes of single dose pods.
      5. Once the individual pods are completely dry, you can store the pods in an air-tight container. Tips:
      1. Each homemade detergent pod will wash an average size laundry load. They can be used in both standard and high-efficiency washers. If you have a large load, just add two pods. Place the pods in the drum or the washer before adding water and loading in clothes. This will give them the maximum exposure time to water so they will dissolve correctly and thoroughly.
      2. As with commercially manufactured single dose products, be sure to  keep these away from children . It is essential to label them properly so they are not lacking as food.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Cleaning Power

1. BORAX and WASHING SODA together NO detergent containers.

It’s an either / or. Powder is  washing soda . Liquid detergents have borax, usually with alcohol. End of story. My guess is that washing soda loses its poop about time in water and borax doesn’t.

This may also be why powder detergents are supposed to be more effective than liquid. Borax only lets the cleaning pH go up so far. Borax is most effective in hotter water;

Conclusion: Borax is fine, but if you are having trouble getting things CLEAN (which is not the same as WHITE), replacing borax with washing soda will make your dry homemade laundry detergent more powerful. If you want to make liquid detergent, washing soda may not be a good choice, however, I have no idea how alcohol / borax thing works out. Good luck.

2. Only Purex and Seventh Generation use salt. Nobody else does.

Purex powder is almost 50% salt. Seventh Generation uses a  tiny  amount in some of their liquids. Salt * is * a water softener, but it’s WAY weaker than washing soda.

Conclusion: If it works for you, great. But if you’re having problems getting things clean, the salt and put more washing soda in your homemade laundry detergent.

3. NO detergents contain BAKING SODA

Not even Arm and Hammer.  Baking soda is only half as strong as washing soda for softening water and doesn’t allow the cleaning pH to go nearly as high.   And if you have a stronger product on hand, why dilute it with a weaker one?

Conclusion: Like salt, and borax, if you’re having trouble getting something clean, eliminate the baking soda and replace with washing soda.  But if you’re washing delicates, tossing in a buffer like baking soda is a good idea!

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