Laundry detergent has a ton of chemicals and fragrances in it typically that I don't want in my house... and it's much more expensive than it needs to be. I'm sure we've all seen more than a few articles and posts in the past few years that made us question if we should be using detergent at all: the scary piece in the news about brighteners, a blurb on social media saying that detergent manufacturers are telling you to use too much detergent in order to get more of your money, detergent remaining in clothes after washing and potentially causing skin irritation, detergent destroying your clothes... yikes! Were any of these pieces accurate? What was the alternative if they were? If you are like me you may have thought there was none and just kept using your detergent for a while but kept a watchful eye open. Eventually I decided I didn't want to continue using detergent on my clothes any longer so I searched for alternatives. There are tons! I found all-natural brands of detergents, homemade detergents of various types as well as laundry balls and probably more that I haven't come across yet.
I used a laundry ball for about a year and, to be honest, I really liked them. I was able to run my washer on cold water which saved me money, my laundry cost was low as I only needed to replace the ball after a large number of washings, my clothes seemed to get clean, all was right in the world but people kept asking me how I knew they were really clean if I didn't have any soap or detergent in the wash. Eventually though I decided I felt better about using some form of cleaning agent in my laundry. I continue to read information on alternates to store-bought laundry detergent regularly. It's a personal preference and I may change my mind someday but, for now, I'm back to using a detergent. The difference this time is that I make it myself so I know what is in it. As a plus: it saves me money and is soooo simple to make. Score!
I had a bit of trouble finding Washing Soda and Borox in my store after I moved as few people apparently request them there... so here are the boxes of the brands I am using in case you run in to a similar issue.
1. You will need to start by flaking/grating your soap. There are at least two options to do this: grate it with a cheese grater or toss it in the food processor. Zote does come in a flaked form but I had read some reviews about using it in detergent that I wasn't very happy about so I'm back to Ivory now. One cool thing about Ivory is that you have a third option: microwave! I don't know if this works with other forms of soap as I haven't attempted it. (If you do, let me know! I'd love to find out!) If you are using Ivory and want to use a microwave here's how:
1. Chop your soap bad into smaller pieces and arrange them on a microwave safe dish.
2. Then place the dish in the microwave and microwave it for about 1-2 minutes... you'll know you've reached the right time when it looks like this.
3. Let the 'soap cloud' cool. It may smell a bit at first so if you leave it in the microwave for about 45 minutes or so it will be cool to the touch and won't really smell anymore.
4. Place the soap cloud into your food processor and it will turn into powder! Ok, this step isn't 100% necessary, you can use your hands to turn it into powder as it will crumble very easily. I just prefer doing it this way and I already had the processor out for another project so I blitzed it quickly and moved on with making my soap.
I've found that the most efficient way to make detergent regularly has been to grate up enough soap for 3-4 batches all at once so that I can quickly measure out the ingredients and get on with my day when it comes time to making detergent again every month or so. Again, a personal preference.
5. Mix your borox, washing soda and soap together in a 2:2:1 ratio (so 2C borox, 2C soda, 1C soap or 1C borox, 1C soda, 1/2C soap, etc.).
6. If you want to add some baking soda or OxiClean (both are optional) you would make this at the same amount as your soap.
7. Done! You will typically need between 1/8-1/4C of this detergent per load depending on size. I keep mine in an airtight container with a scoop in it so that I just pop it open and put 1-2 scoops in and am on my merry way come laundry day. :)
What alternatives to store bought laundry detergent have you used? Which worked best?