I’ve been making my own laundry detergent and household cleaners for several years. Here are a couple of recipes that I’ve used.

Laundry Detergent:

1 bar of laundry soap (Fels Naptha, Zote or Ivory). Ivory and Zote are softer and a little easier to find at places like WalMart. I usually use Zote or Fels Naptha. I think Ivory smells too perfumey. Grate the bar. (I use my food processor to speed up the process).
2 cups Washing Soda. This is different than baking soda (although you can use that too). Washing soda comes in yellow box. We find it here at King Soopers (for Kansas folks that would be Dillons).
2 cups Borax.
Mix all together. I usually use 1/4 cup in a load of laundry. This detergent works great in high efficiency washers because it doesn’t suds. You can add several drops of your favorite essential oil for fragrance. When I make a batch I usually triple the recipe and mix it in a 5 gallon bucket (with a lid). I then take out smaller batches for ease of use. The cool thing about this is I can use different oils for fragrance with each “smaller batch”.
Here’s one for a homemade fabric softener that I like to use too.

Fabric Softener

1 cup baking soda
1 1/4 cups warm water
8 cups white vinegar
Essential Oils

  • First mix the vinegar and water together then add the baking soda gradually, stirring the whole time. You will want to make sure to use a large pail to accommodate the fizzing activity from the baking soda and vinegar reaction.
  • Use a funnel to pour this mixture into a washed, gallon sized milk jug (plastic), add 1/3 teaspoon of your favorite essential oil, cap and seal then shake well.
  • To use: Shake each time before use, adding 1/2 to 1 cup at the start of the rinse cycle.

If you don’t want to make the mix, you could easily just use vinegar (which is what I do more often than not). Vinegar also makes a really great hair rinse. 🙂

Scouring Powder:

1 cup baking soda + 1/3 cup table salt + Water
I will often use essential oils in my scouring powder like lemon or orange to help with degreasing.
Salt is also really great for getting blood and other stains out of fabric.

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