A few years ago now, I started to make my own laundry detergent. Several people in my household have eczema, which is aggravated by most commercially available detergents. It is much cheaper to make it yourself at home and doesn't take long at all.
I do laundry for 7 people, one of which is a baby in cloth diapers.I am quite literally always doing laundry. Every day. I usually make a batch of detergent once a month.
I've been using the homemade detergent for the diapers as well since the brand I used to use switched to a liquid formula - instant rashes as a result. I had to strip all the diapers and start over.
I phased out fabric softener quite a long time ago, and would recommend that you all do the same thing right now if you haven't already. I know it makes the clothes smell nice and all that, but it's not the best thing in the world for you and can actually make your towels less absorbent and make stains and dinginess worse in clothes. I use dryer balls instead.
Anyhow, the recipe for the laundry detergent is pretty straightforward and simple. I make a powdered detergent, though I know many people who prefer to make it in a liquid form.
Homemade Laundry Detergent
- 2 cups Borax
- 2 cups Washing Soda
- 1 bar of laundry soap, grated
- 1-2 scoops of Oxiclean if desired
I grate the soap bar first, then add 1 cup each of the borax and washing soda to a large glass jar. I mix in half of the Oxiclean and half of the grated soap, then repeat until all ingredients are in the jar and fully combined. I have a tablespoon scoop that I use for the detergent and generally use 1-2 tbsp per load.
The washing soda and borax make 2-3 batches of detergent each. I usually use Fels Naptha or Ivory soap, but have used Zote on occasion. Fels Naptha and Ivory are harder and make smaller pieces, Zote has a softer consistency and will make your resulting detergent batch bigger. I've noticed no difference in the cleaning efficiency of either, and neither of them irritates the eczema sufferers in the house.
If you are having a hard time locating the ingredients, check the whole length of the laundry aisle. Look on the top shelf and the very bottom.
Using the Oxiclean is totally optional. I add it because I use the same detergent for the diapers now as the rest of the clothes. When washing diapers, I wash the load twice. First in a cold water rinse, no soap. The second wash in hot, add an extra scoop of detergent and use two rinse cycles. This is the part where I have to tell you that you should check with the diaper manufacturer to see what they recommend using. And this is the part where I tell you that the homemade stuff works better for us and doesn't cause rashes.
When washing delicates, I throw in a little baking soda. A bit of vinegar can help remove odors and help soften fabrics when added to the final rinse cycle.
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