Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Homemade laundry powder, finally!


I haven't made laundry liquid in such a long time, partly because I so rarely go into the city centre to purchase Borax substitute - it really does make all the difference. Instead I have been using all kinds of things - the odd box of cheap commercial powder from the corner shop, grated soap and soda crystals and even bottles of shampoo and shower gel I received for Christmas that I can't use on my body for whatever reason. All quite frugal, but they lack a certain...homeliness. I loved making my own laundry detergent; I loved washing Gus's nappies with it. Such a silly thing to feel empowered by, but I honestly think that making the things we need from basics is good for the soul.

In a fit of enthusiasm I ordered a box of Borax substitute at extortionate price (£2.55, most of that is postage) from Amazon yesterday - only to walk into our local hardware store and find it sitting on the shelf, a freshly stocked new line, at a very reasonable £1.30. I have emailed to cancel the Amazon order, I bought two boxes for that price and supported a small family business at the same time.

Laundry powder makes so much more sense than having gallons of laundry liquid stashed away in our tiny kitchen and so I will be making that in future. There seems to be one recipe on the Internet that has done the rounds since the dawn of time homemaking based blogs. I have no idea where it originated. This is basically that recipe with a little more washing soda added - we live in a very hard water area. I used two bars of homemade olive castille soap for this which made it even cheaper and gives it a pleasant scent. 

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Laundry Powder (hard water)

6 cups (loosely packed) grated soap
3 cups soda crystals
2 cups Borax substitute

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. Use a stick blender to pulse the mixture to break up the soap a little. Mix thoroughly with a spoon and store covered in a cool dry place, shaking occasionally to ensure thorough mixing.

Use scant 1/6 cup per load

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After Christmas this bread tin was full to the brim with a fraction of the chocolate we received - far more than our healthy annual family quota (not that we keep an official tally or anything - it's just this years haul was particularly monstrous, added as it was to the tail end of the Halloween treats. Roll on Easter!). We have used as much of it as possible in hot chocolate and cooking, palmed some off onto visitors and now the rest is hidden away in a small bag


Which means I now have a fancy, if a little large, laundry tin. I will probably double the recipe next time so that it is at least half full!

11 comments:

  1. I have been meaning to make this for such a long time, when I do I will use this recipe as we have horrible hard water aswell. I have tried dr bronners liquid castille soap before which works well but it worked out expensive, this looks to be much cheaper thank-you x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dr Bronners would be expensive. My eyes watered when I saw the laundry suggestion on the bottle! You can use any nice organic/fairtrade bar soap and it would still be a fraction of the cost. Dr Bronners does look and smell lovely though!

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  2. Can you use any type of soap? the austrailian sites all tell you to use some brand that i have never heard of. I do make my own soap, so I suppose I could use that, but I make it from coconut oil and sunflower oil, not pure olive oil. Tried to make the liquid stuff once but ended up with water with lumps floating on the top!! and it didn't wash very well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, any type. The only caution I have ever seen is that it should not be superfatted or moisturising because it could leave oil marks on fabric or clog your machine, but this seems to be well refuted elsewhere. Harsher soaps like coconut are also considered better at removing dirt, but this batch works just fine and our olive oil soap is very gentle. You could buy a box of soapflakes, then the time consuming bit (grating) is already done!

      I had a batch separate, I don't know what causes it. I wonder if I didn't dilute it enough and there was not enough water to dissolve the soap and salts in?

      Delete
  3. Hi this recipe looks good. May I ask, do you put your detergent directly into your drum or in the drawer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I usually put it in the drawer and haven't had any problems. I have tried it in the drum with no problems, I just prefer using the drawer. I have a front loader, I don't know if that would make a difference at all. As long as you do frequent maintenance cycles, it should be fine :)

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  4. Hi, thanks so much for sharing this recipe - I have already made up a half batch and am pleased with the results of the first couple of washes. Over longer term use are you finding this recipe keep colours and whites bright?

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  5. I have been searching for a U.K based recipe for a while now, for laundry powder, and stumbled ( very happily ) upon your's through Pintrest. I am out tomorrow to purchase the borax substitute and the soda crystals, from my local village hardware store. ( like yourself, preferring to give to help with my village family store ). I have the soap already, and am looking forward to mixing everything like a huge potion, in a cauldron !! Thanks for sharing this.
    Kathleen.
    Hampshire.

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  6. Hiya, thanks for sharing the recipe :) I'm sorry if this is a really silly question but do you still use fabric softener?
    Thanks
    Gem x

    ReplyDelete
  7. i used cidal soap smells nice and washes really well, lovely lemon smell

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  8. i dont have borax substitute but have borax can i use that instead

    ReplyDelete

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