I guess with a blog called “Laundry on the Line” it is about time I posted about laundry.
A few years ago I was taking a First Aid class and over lunch the instructor and I were discussing chemical intolerances. When I mentioned that I couldn’t stand walking down the detergent/cleaner isle of the grocery store because the smell alone gave me a headache, she mentioned that she made her own laundry soap. I had no idea this was even possible! (So much has changed in a few years, I make all of my own cleaners now.)
She quickly wrote out the recipe for liquid laundry soap from memory and I have used that same recipe ever since. There were a few times when I have come across other recipes, some liquid, some dry, and I have tried them out, but this one, for me, has always been the best.
We have really dirty clothes at our house. Hubby regularly visits old buildings, derelect attics and flooded basements, has been known to tramp through large pipes, gather muck and dirt at construction sites and tramp through muddy forests that will one day be subdivisions. Our house is a zone for gardening, landscaping and renovation proects. We play hard and sweat a lot. Despite it all, our clothes come out fresh and clean. For a fraction of the cost of store-bought detergent. Without the headache-inducing trip through the overly-perfumed laundry isle at the grocery store.
Convinced? Want to try it? Here is how to make your own liquid laundry soap.
Ingredients: You will need a bar of soap (Sunlight bar soap works really well for this, I have tried some other soaps with poor results, although I would still prefer something less scented), washing soda (not to be confused with baking soda) borax, and water.
Tools – you need a grater, a large pot, a spoon (I wouldn’t use a wooden spoon for this unless you are going to designate it as a “soap only” spoon) a 2 gallon bucket, a funnel (you can make your own from a pop bottle), and some containers to put the finished soap in (any empty jugs will do – I use two vinegar jugs and a couple of dish detergent bottles).
Step 1 – grate 1/3 of the bar of soap
Step 3 Add 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 cup washing soda. Stir until thick. Remove from heat.
Set aside for 24 hours.
To use, shake the mixture well. Add 1/2 cup to each load of laundry.
I never saw the need for fabric softener until I started hanging my clothes to dry outside. I don’t know what causes it, but our clothes would come off the line stiff as a board. As much as I loved the fresh smell of line-dried clothes, the underwear and pants that would stand up on their own was a little off-putting. So, off to the internet for research and I discovered an easy, chemical-free, and cheap fabric softener:1/2 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle did the trick. A Downey ball I found on eBay makes the job even easier. No more crunchy clothes.
Anyone else make their own soap or have frugal or chemical-reducing laundry tips?