I have wanted to make this post for a while now, but needed to wait until my current batch ran out so I could document making my next batch. I have been waiting since last August. Yes, SEVEN months! And even now, I'm not out, but it's getting to the end and I don't want to wait anymore!
But before I start my step by step instructions, I want to share why I am all about homemade. Yes, I am a Naturopathic Doctor and Momma and want to get rid of all of the chemicals from my home and by making my own stuff I get to control what goes in. It's healthier and safer, all around win. But I am also an ND building my practice and a Momma to an 18-mos old, my time is sparse. So, I need to balance my desire to DIY with how practical it is to actually make everything. All of the DIY things I post are honest to goodness super easy and super practical (promise). And I won't lie, my other big factor is cost savings and $20 for a batch of laundry detergent that lasts me 7+ months is totally worth the 10 minutes it takes to make up! (and let's be honest, with a toddler I feel like all I do is wash laundry, I'm talking on average about 6-8 loads a week). I again have to thank Pinterest for the inspiration, a quick search on there will bring up a zillion different recipes and links. I browsed around a few until I found one that I thought would be easiest and had ingredients I was ok with. There are many options for both liquid or powder, I personally prefer the powder because I think it's less messy and easier to use, but to each their own, this recipe is for a powdered detergent nonetheless.
Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe
3 Dr Bronner's Magic Soap Bars
4 cups washing soda
4 cups borax
1 500g box baking soda
I just add everything to a sturdy plastic bag for mixing! The first time, I left everything in a bowl and tried to mix it all, it created quite a bit of dust (which you don't really want to breath in) and it was difficult because of the quantity.
Start by grating up your soap bars. I even purchased a cheap cheese grater from Walmart (I think it was $3-4) to use specifically for this purpose.
Measure out your washing soda, borax and baking soda and add it to your bag. Twist the top and give it a good shake.
Pour out a a bit of the mixture into a container and you're done!
Again, I was able to find cheap plastic measuring spoons at Walmart for $1 and so I leave a tablespoon in the container with my detergent for easy measuring. I leave the rest of the detergent in the plastic bag, twisted up and just refill my container as needed. You only need to use about 2 tbsp of detergent per load. And just to give you an idea of how versatile this recipe is, the first time I made it I thought I used one site/recipe I had found on a website, but when I went to make it this second time, the amounts I had left didn't add up compared to what this recipe called for, so I found another one, tweaked it a bit and voila! However, I feel like this recipe used less of the ingredients then my last batch, so it may not last a full 7 months like the first. I'll let you know in 6+ months when it finally runs out!
Yes, this detergent contains borax. This is a somewhat controversial ingredient with some mixed safety profiles. I read a few opinions on it before deciding to go ahead with it. For the purpose of this post, I did a little more research. Here is some of what I found:
My first batch of detergent I used only Unscented Baby- Mild Bronner's Soap, which leaves your clothes pretty much completely odourless. This time I am using 2 of the Unscented and 1 of the Peppermint soap. Bronner's makes an array of different scented soaps so you can pick one you like if you do want your clothes to have a scent. Bronner's Soap is a bit pricier (the most expensive part of the detergent) but it often goes on sale even at Zehr's so just keep an eye out for it.
Washing soda was the hardest ingredient for me to find! I checked a tonne of grocery stores and nothing! The Home Hardware on Weber (between Columbia and University), for those of you in Waterloo area, said I was not the first person to ask and that they would order it in for me, amazing! In the meantime, I was at the shops at uptown Waterloo, I wandered into the Food Basics just on the off chance, and sure enough they had it in stock! So if any of you are having trouble locating this apparently lucrative powder, those are two places which will more than likely have it in!
Although I am a cloth diapering Mamma, I have not used this on my daughter's diapers. Mainly because I had already bought a case of Tiny Bubbles Cloth Diaper detergent (from Costco) and still have a few boxes of that left. However, I can't see it being an issue....
This recipe is front loader safe, ie. HE detergent. It doesn't really create any bubbles so no overflow, which is apparently the only real concern about the HE label.
Tip: It cleans quite well, but if I want things to really whiten (like my white dining room chair covers) I add a good dash of baking soda right into the powdered soap tray with this detergent to really give it a 'bleaching' boost (as you will soon find out, baking soda has become like my best friend!)
The Health Benefits
So making this soap is also part of my go green challenge! And so I will give you a little run down about the ingredients that now are NOT part of my laundry detergent (ie what is found in most commercial detergents).
Disclaimer: Naturopathic Doctors strive to provide individualized health care. The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. This information shouldn’t take the place of seeing an ND for individualized health recommendations.
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