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Homemade Laundry Powder

When you look at your grocery bill, the giant bottle of Tide (perfume free Cheer, Seventh Generation, or your favorite brand of choice) is a pretty big ticket item.  Finding an alternative to store bought laundry detergent can be both budget wise and earth friendly.

laundry powdersMy first forage into the land of laundry soap alternatives was floating ceramic discs. At first these magical ionic disturbers seemed to work well but after a while our clothes just didn’t look as clean as they had been before we ditched detergents.

One of the reasons I believe these and other natural laundry solutions– like magnets or other rock-sock variants – is that when people switch over from traditional surfactant laundry soaps the residue left on your clothes alone will last for several washings!  So for a time you think that your new gadget is cleaning just as good as your old supermarket brand – because the carryover from the chemicals left in your clothes IS still cleaning your wash for several more spin cycles!

Learning that I could make my own laundry powder at home at a fraction of the cost and additives, I made the switch back in 2007 and have not been down the laundry aisle since!

Making your own powdered laundry soap can be as simple as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Bar Soap
  2. Washing Soda
  3. Borax

fels-naptha soapFor bar soap, I favor Fels Naptha.  I buy it in quantity on line when I find a sale on free shipping.

This soap dissolves well and is specially made for the machine.  However, I have also used bars such as Ivory, Dove and even some glycerin bars with good results.  You will need to grate the bar either by hand or in your heavy duty food processor.  I like to place the grated soap flakes in my processor with the blade and whiz them around for a few minutes to create a very fine powder.

Both washing soda and borax may be available in your mainstream supermarket.  Note:  Washing Soda (sodium carbonate) is not the same as Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) although Arm and Hammer is a popular brand for both.  If you have trouble finding Washing Soda at your local megamart you may want to try shopping for it online.

The ratio for mixing your three ingredients is 1 part grated bar soap to ½ washing soda and ½ borax.  So if you are making a large batch you might use 2 cups grated bar soap, 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup borax.

You only need a single tablespoon of this homemade suds alternative.  If I am washing really grimy clothes I may use a bit more and on rare occasions even a splash of bleach.


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