Years ago I was making my own laundry detergent. We turned Lucy and Ricky on to this idea shortly after we started. Originally, we went with a liquid detergent that we found on http://www.soapsgoneby.com. The detergent was super easy to make (they all are really) and the kit came with everything ready to go into the stock pot all for about $30. The only issue my family of 4 had was storing all of the liquid when we moved into a new place that did not have nearly as much storage. Eventually, we fell back into the commercialized, processed detergents… We are now digging back in and have found a renewed spirit in living a more clean lifestyle, and more cheaply. In my quest to find a really simple dry detergent, because I really didn’t want to deal with storing all the liquid again, I came across http://www.diynatural.com. They posted a “recipe” for a dry detergent using Borax (my favorite multi-purpose household cleaner), Arm & Hammer Washing Soda and Fels-Naptha soap (which is just fun to say). The Fels-Naptha could be substituted with Ivory bar soap or some others but I like to stick with the old-school methods.
Here are the ingredients/directions:
1 cup Borax (about $2 a box)
1 cup Washing Soda (about $2 a box)
1 bar Fels-Naptha Soap ($0.97 a bar), grated (I grated mine in the food processor)
Toss it all in a storage jar and shake to combine (I let the kids do this part :)). Use 1 tablespoon per load or 2 if it’s heavily soiled. We are really tough on our clothes so I always put in 2 tablespoons.
What about a stain treatment you ask? Grab another $0.97 bar of Fels-Naptha and rub that stain away. Need some fabric softener? Pour some white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser. Done!
Don’t think these three simple ingredients will work? My eldest daughter, who is like me and not the most graceful person on the planet, slipped on mud in our yard, wearing khaki shorts(!). Her shorts were completely covered. And of course, I forgot to wash them that night. Put a whole load of laundry in the next day with 2 tablespoons of our new detergent. Biddy-Boppity-Boo, no more mud on the shorts!
DIYNatural.com also has some great “recipes” for homemade dishwasher detergent and liquid dish soap which are next on my list of creations. Need a rinse aid for the dishwasher? Guess what, vinegar again! See Lucy’s very first article for vinegar’s versatility.
All these vintage soaps have me longing for my grandmother’s old wringer washer… Happy washing!