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Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

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Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/12/2011, 10:20 am

I had planned on sharing this yesterday, but as it was "bottle the detergent" day, and then I realized I needed more fabric softener so I made it too, I quickly ran out of time. I'll share 2 (or more) of my favorite homemade laundry detergent recipies and then 2 (or more) options for fabric softener.

Originally from The Duggars is the liquid recipe I use most, but I just tried something new, I'll share that after the link.
http://www.duggarfamily.com/recipes.html (scroll down just a bit)

This time I doubled the soap, but instead of using another bar of Zote (which is all I can find, if it's not in your supermarket or grocery store in the laundry section, try a Hispanic store). I have tried the Fels Nafta, and loved the scent, but cannot get it locally. I used the glycerin soap I had purchased at my local craft store to make bath soap (bar type, not liquid). I grated it and added to the mix. I usually grate it 2-3 days ahead of time, let it air dry, then chop it in my processor to a fine powder.

I usually do not do the last step, fill container half full with water and then soap, because our water is awful, but this time since I doubled the soap I did. I got 8 1/2 gallons. As soon as I can get to a health food store and get some essential oils I am going to get some tea tree oil and euccaliptus (sp) oil, and make a 1/2 gallon of detergent scented with these two to use to wash sheets and linens for sick, stuffed up kids. Those will open the sinus cavaties, you can even scent some linnen hankies with that for those who suffer with allergies.

I also make up a batch of the powdered detergent below the liquid, but I add 1 C baking soda, and a container of generic Oxy Clean, I use that for a pre-wash, especially in the summer for hubbies clothes, he works outside. I use 1-2 Tbsp per load. Again, I grate it ahead of time, air dry, then grind to a powder in my processor.

For my fabric softener (again I seriousily need to get some oils) I use 1 C fabric softener for 3 C vinegar. You can use just vinegar in your rinse cycle (or add a few drops of essential oils), your clothes will not smell like it. The vinegar breaks down any leftover soap residue in your clothes and washer tub, you can also use a bit of baking soda in your rinse cycle. I just use my Downy Ball, fill to the line, toss it in with the clothes and forget about it. I hate using bought softener, but that's all I'm able to get right now, I am hoping "the keeper of the checkbook" will realize how much more we can save by using a few drops of oil instead of bought softener.

This time I added to my softener, I used 1 1/2 C water, boiled it, and added 1 Tbsp (1 pkt) of unflavored geletin (but I made 4 recipies of this), and then added it to my 1/2 gallon size jug of vinegar/softener.

You can also make your own dryer sheets or sachets, with the sheets, just get some fabric, flannel works great, (cut with zig zag scissors and there is no need to sew) spray your choice of softener 10 times onto sheet, toss in dryer. For sachets, you can use 1/2C baking soda, 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder, 1 Tbsp of riceflower or cornstarch, 1/3 drops of oil. Tie tightly in a sachet (or sew it shut) and when smell dissapears, empty and refill.
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  cabinfever on 5/6/2011, 7:22 pm

You can use a ball of tin foil to get rid of static in your dryer. Use it over and over! No chemicals, no smell, and super cheap!
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/7/2011, 8:43 am

That's a new one to me, I've never heard of that, interesting idea though.
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  ilvalleygal on 5/7/2011, 9:18 am

I put plain vinegar in the softener container of my washing machine. Everything comes out much softer and the towels are more absorbent since fabric softener actually coats the fibers which traps detergent and odors. Residual detergent actually attracts dirt.

Love the aluminum foil ball idea. I'll have to find some.

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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  Miss M on 5/7/2011, 10:39 am

I looked at the Dugger site. I used to use a recipe for powdered detergent that was very similar to that, with Fels Naptha soap. I had to stop, because my mom is very sensitive to scents, and the scent (even with vinegar in the rinse cycle) was too strong.

I couldn't substitute Dove or Ivory because she has to rotate those for bathing. Too much contact with any soap, and she becomes allergic to it. I can't chance making detergent with them.

I may be back in business with castile, though. I'll have to look into it. What a Face

Here are a couple of recipes I use for cleaners, (basically odor-free, for my mom's sake):


Glass Cleaner

1 Cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol

1 Cup water

1 Tablespoon white vinegar

Mix ingredients, and add to a spray bottle.





All-Purpose Cleaner

2 Tablespoons vinegar

1 teaspoon Borax

Hot water

a few drops of a mild dish detergent

10 drops of essential oil, optional

In a 16 spray bottle put vinegar, borax and hot water. Swish around until borax has dissolved. Add the drops of dish detergent and fill the rest of the bottle with water. Add the essential oil. I don't use the essential oil. This cleaner works great for regular, non-heavy-duty cleaning. (For that, I pull out Pine Sol, which is something my mom can handle, thankfully.)

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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/8/2011, 8:00 am

I will be going back to just vinegar for the softener, I really cannot tell a difference with the unflavored gelatin, it just makes the "softener" thicker. I may keep some on hand for my towels, I did notice they were a bit fluffier, I don't line dry my towels all the way, if at all. I have horrific memories from my childhood of coming in sunburnt and drying off with a line dryed towel and putting on line dried jeans---oooowwww. Socks get washed with towels so they rarely make it out to the line, takes too long to hang them up.

I use vinegar for a lot of my cleaning, my daughter is sensitive to scents and gets nose bleeds. You would be amazed what Borax can be used for, I use it quite a bit too. I personally don't like pine scented anything, when I was a kid we would go camping in SW KY, my parents had bought some land there, and were clearing it to build on later. My mom would carry Pine-Sol and clean everything that moved with it. Later when they had a cabin (1 big room building) she would start out the trip by "hosing" it down with Pine-Sol, this thing was in the middle of a bunch of Pine trees. The smell of pine still makes me sick.

Keep the ideas and tips coming everyone, these are GREAT, and economical, not to mention most are good for the enviornment.
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/8/2011, 8:03 am

For a home made "comet" type cleaner I do this.

1 C Borax
1 C Salt
1 C Baking Soda
1/2 C Washing Soda

Mix and sprinkle, I use an old Parmesean Cheese Container for this, works GREAT.
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/8/2011, 8:28 am

Miss M, Castile soap is a very gentle soap and it's base is olive oil. Dr Bonner's is the most common and can be found at most health stores. I used it once for laundry detergent, but unfortunately it just did not do a "great" job because our water is awful. If we ever get a new well, that's what I will be using, but I hope to be making my own castile soap by then.

Another great recipe for powdered detergent is.
1 Bar soap (grate, then run through processor to make powder)
1 box Borax
1 box washing soda
2 C Baking soda

That's it. So simple, and you use 1-2 Tbsp of powder for your wash cycle.

Another note: the vinegar in the rinse cycle removes any left over detergent, and helps to rinse the tub, you can also add a bit of baking soda to the rinse cycle for softer clothes, and a clean washer...
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  madnicmom on 5/8/2011, 12:55 pm

thank for the info. Tin foil is a new one for me also. gonna have to try that one. I use the powdered detergent recipe minus the baking soda, still works like a charm.
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  middlemamma on 5/9/2011, 12:07 am

My question is do any of these homemade soaps make suds?

I know it sounds ridiculous, but part of the reason I don't use "green" soap is because it doesn't foam up and make suds. My OCD cant handle cleaner unless is has suds.
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  Miss M on 5/9/2011, 2:23 am

Thanks, FarmerValerie! I will definitely look into castile soap then (our water is good, and soft).

middlemamma wrote:My question is do any of these homemade soaps make suds?

I know it sounds ridiculous, but part of the reason I don't use "green" soap is because it doesn't foam up and make suds. My OCD cant handle cleaner unless is has suds.

No,they don't make much in the way of suds at all -- which makes them perfect for high-efficiency washing machines, which can't handle much in the way of suds. Suds are for show. You need enough surfactant to break the surface tension of the water, so it can get stuff wet and get it clean. You might see some suds, but it won't be a lot. Companies make their detergents to make lots of suds because they know we like to see suds -- we think that means it's stronger and working better, if it has lots of suds. But it just isn't so.

"Green" soaps are probably a bit more sensitive to water types, working well with some water and not with others. But they're certainly worth a try. Personally, I'm not "green". I'm just trying to save some green. Very Happy

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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/9/2011, 8:42 am

Suds are link scents, they are things big companies added to cleaning products (even bath soap) to convince people thier product got them cleaner. The products that "lather" and "suds" up are actually the same products that are harmful to our skin and clothes. Many people believe it is the dryer that is harmful to our clothes, but I say go 1 month without using the dryer at all, not even an air cycle and see the lint that builds up on your clothes. Suds and lather are a relatively new thing, only being "on the market" since the early 1900's, before that not much lathered up, not even toothpaste. I had a very hard time accepting that my clothes were not clean because there was no lather either, but then one day while hanging clothes on the line I heard a small still voice ask me "What does CLEAN smell like anyway?". We are told it smells like perfumes (actually chemicals) made to mimic spring fresh, or sunshine. Clean smelling is the absence of odor, and using the green or home made detergents do that. They remove the dirt just fine, and don't add chemicals to the water, the ground, or leave them in the clothes to irritate our skin, not to mention give my daughter nose bleeds from the smell. I can tell when someone has just "cleaned" their house when I visit, I get sick and my daughter gets a nosebleed.

I'm sorry if this was a bit more info than you actually wanted, but I've had to read up on all of this for my daughter. As for suds or no suds, I say "The proof is in the pudding" or clean clothes.

Adding baking soda is a must in the summer here, my husband is in construction, and oh boy the scent he brings home, let's not even mention my 14yo son's "scent". I can wash a load at night, hang or dry it in the morning and no musty smell from sitting in the washer, I've even had something come up and came back to the washer the next night expecting to have to rewash, and it wash fine, no musty smell.
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  middlemamma on 5/9/2011, 12:20 pm

Yea..I know all that to be true but that doesn't fix my head. OCD isn't something I can just put info into the brain and then it goes away. I have tried to use those soaps in the past based on similar info and I end up the 5 loads of clean folded laundry sitting on the laundry floor and I am in line at walmart at 1:30 in the morning buying Tide and rewashing perfectly clean clothes the rest of the night because I can't sleep because my mind won't just accept they are clean without the suds.

Sometimes OCD isn't a joke. Although I wish it was.

Thanks for the info guys.
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/9/2011, 2:15 pm

I understand Jen, I have some serious issues with some OCD tendancies too. Try using half and half, go ahead and mix the green detergent with the Tide. I had no choice but to go more natural, my daughter's health depended on it. Now when I use the regular stuff I get a headache from the smell of all the perfumes, so I'm stuck.
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  duhh on 5/9/2011, 5:19 pm

Thanks for posting these! We have been gradually making changes in our lifestyle and natural cleaning products was next on our list! We don't have allergies, just want something more natural.
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  westie42 on 5/9/2011, 5:45 pm

This is a great thread and thanks to all who have shared their experiences. Speaking of soaps I read about soap nuts and their more local cousins soap berries. Soap nuts from Asia and berries from south and south west US. They seem expensive for a trial run thru ebay and do they work satisfactorily in a newer washer that uses much less water. Do any of you have experience or opinions to share on soap nuts/berries.

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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  Miss M on 5/14/2011, 12:49 am

middlemamma wrote:Yea..I know all that to be true but that doesn't fix my head. OCD isn't something I can just put info into the brain and then it goes away. I have tried to use those soaps in the past based on similar info and I end up the 5 loads of clean folded laundry sitting on the laundry floor and I am in line at walmart at 1:30 in the morning buying Tide and rewashing perfectly clean clothes the rest of the night because I can't sleep because my mind won't just accept they are clean without the suds.

Sometimes OCD isn't a joke. Although I wish it was.

Thanks for the info guys.

I understand... I deal with OCD with my kids. Some of it I can let slide, some of it I have to fight. Like when my son goes through a phase now and then when he is constantly washing his hands. He has eczema, so this is bad. He ends up with cracking hands. I cannot let him continue this behavior. I will make him ask before he washes his hands when he is doing this, and most of the time I tell him he can't wash them (which is so weird, as a mom). Sometimes, he'll decide that not only does he need to wash his hands all the time, but that the way to keep them clean is to keep them dripping wet. Again, even worse for the eczema. Not to mention that constantly soggy skin is a highway to infections.

I hate doing that to him, as not being able to follow what his OCD wants him to do is stressful for him, but I have to weigh the consequences of letting him do it over not letting him do it.

There is a way you may be able to have your cake and eat it, too, though.

You can grow soapwort and make sudsy detergent from just it and vinegar, or you can grow it and add it (dried or liquid) to homemade detergent, or you can buy soapwort root powder and add it to your detergent (boiled and strained to add to liquid detergent).

Here's how: http://subsistencepatternfoodgarden.blogspot.com/2009/08/grow-your-own-laundry-detergent.html

And Westie, I'm planning on trying soap nuts soon! Thanks for reminding me to get some! Very Happy

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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  westie42 on 5/14/2011, 1:29 am

Thanks for the article. I saw soapwort mentioned while reading on soap nuts and planed researching soapwort too. Your sharing has saved me time in looking for that information. Since it takes 6 hours cooking to extract the goodies I felt led to mention the rocket stoves on youtube which very efficiently burn twigs and scrap wood by gasifying the exhaust and re combusting it into mostly just some steam. Before next winter I wanted to decide on a pop can solar heater and now possibly a rocket stove for some cooking and heating.

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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  Miss M on 5/14/2011, 1:59 am

I've been looking into those gasification stoves, too! What a Face I want to build one, but I'm in the middle of a solar oven project right now.

Pop can solar heater? cyclops

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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  westie42 on 5/14/2011, 2:32 am

Yes pop or beer cans. There are a lot of youtube flicks on them but here is a good one from a guy near me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03fS09jtiz8&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL . In his video list are followups including a feasibility study on a completed unit.

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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/14/2011, 9:22 am

Way cool ideas, I'll check them out in a bit, nice to have them for emergencies, camping, or just to save $$$ on electric bills.
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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  Miss M on 5/14/2011, 7:21 pm

Absolutely. It's good to have back-ups for emergencies. We've been glad to have alternative methods of cooking and all with the hurricanes. But I also like to save $$$!

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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  westie42 on 5/14/2011, 9:48 pm

Went to a local rural organics nursery today and got two one gallon pots of soapwort so guess will try making laundry soap with it later on. They also had a mountain of organic compost that looked and smelled fantastic. Here I have hauled probably 25-30 bags of mostly box store stuff 180 miles to make sure of having it. They sell their compost for $50 for enough to seriously load a pickup down flat on the springs. They said they mostly sell it by the semi load as field fertilizer primarily to Amish farmers who don't want or probably for religious reasons can't use chemicals, and the place is only 7 miles away, lol on me. They get cow from a organic dairy they also get chicken from a large organic layer operation nearby they also own plus corn fodder and other stuff she was not sure of that they glen from several other organic enterprises they run. I am thinking I almost can't afford to deal with making my own with this so close and reasonably priced. Yet it seems best to use it as a component in my own blending and brewing compost effort.

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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  Miss M on 5/15/2011, 1:20 am

WOW, what a score on the compost!!! cyclops

Please keep us all posted on the soapwort. More options for growing your own household necessities is wonderful! Very Happy

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Re: Home Made Laundry Detergent & More

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/15/2011, 8:47 am

Since we are talking saving money, and being prepared too, here is neat little washer I have had my eye on for 14 years.
http://beprepared.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_MC%20W100_A_name_E_Wonder%20Washer
It only runs about $45.00, I would love to filter my rain water and wash clothes with it one day, I'm told rainwater is the best water there is for everything.

Also I picked up the handiest book I have every laid my hands on, "The Encyclopedia Of Country Living" by Carla Emerey, at my local library. I am saving up my swagbucks to get it for $20 at Amazon. There is nothing this book does not have (except maybe SFG) there is even a recipe for making your own vinegar. The section on soap making even tells you how to save and process your own fat, there is even a secion in there on what to do if you are alone and go into labor.

Okay so soapwort is also good for shampoos, and the link about it said they were going to try it by adding flax, anyone ever tried that, I do like the "no poo" mehthod (no shampoo) and my hair is so soft when I don't use shampoo, but our water is awful and I have to shampoo at least once a week, sometimes twice. If the soapwort works, I'd like to know, I don't like rubbing known carcinogens (sp) on my skin, or wearing them in my clothes.
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