Thursday, October 20, 2011

Laundry Detergent

An unexpected perk of a new washer & dryer set . . . . laundry room schooling!  Ella spent the day happily watching the clothes toss around while she finished her work for the day.  Oh, happy day.

When we first got the new machines (Thankfully we ordered the set instead of just the replacement dryer, because moving the washer revealed a hidden leak.  Yikes!), I wondered about my laundry detergent.  I've been making my own detergent for over a year, and I LOVE it.  So simple and cheap, and I get to add the essential oils I like to the mix.  Love, love, love.  But, I wondered about using it in a high efficiency washer.  It turns out the homemade stuff should actually be better than the commercial detergent for the machine, because the homemade detergent is naturally low-sudsing.

You can find several laundry detergent recipes to try at Tipnut.  I always preferred the liquid detergent, so I adjusted the recipes to make a smaller batch for myself, enough to fit into two large, recycled detergent bottles.  I put a little lavender oil in it to keep it from getting funky and smell nice, and sometimes I add a little extra lavender for sheets, peppermint oil for pet bedding, and lemongrass oil for towels.  Just my preferences (and the peppermint is a nice bug repellent).

Now I'm considering switching to powdered recipe #4 on that site.  I have used it in the past (I keep a small batch of those ratios for traveling), and I think it would be so much easier to grate the soap, toss it in the food processor, then mix it with the washing soda, borax, and essential oils.  In the past I had trouble with the powders dissolving properly, but I think the new washer will do a better job with that.

Anyone else love homemade laundry detergent as much as I do?


  1. I'm excited to try these recipes! I've bought every kind of "natural, environmentally friendly" laundry detergent I can find, and have been happy with none of them. I'm hoping these will finally solve my problem!

  2. Oh, and they're SO expensive! If you have a specific problem, maybe check out that ridiculously long list of comments on tipnut after the recipes. They address a lot of concerns in there. I think it comes down to playing with the recipe yourself to get the level of cleaning, softness, etc. how you like it. But the great thing is that you CAN mess with it.

    Plus, I forgot to add, the occasional dose of vinegar in fabric softener dispenser is great, too! Cloth diapering taught me a lot. :)

  3. I love homemade laundry detergent. I just started making my own about three months ago, and couldn't be happier. I have wondered how it would work in the new machines, since everyone I know has them. I am still quite pleased with my old machines and not ready to give them up just yet.

  4. We've had really good luck with powdered homemade in our front loading washer... I'll have to get some lemon grass oil, that sounds lovely! Peppermint is our favorite. Jade says "it makes doing laundry so much better, I could just stand there and smell it." She's funny. My recipe is as follows :: 1 bar of dr bronner's soap grated, 1 cup borax, 1 cup baking soda & 1 cup washing soda. Essential oils as you like. It makes about a quart and I use a heaping TBSP for the wash.

  5. Marcie, I was happy with my old ones too, until the dryer completely died and we simultaneously discovered a rusty leak under the washer! So far, I'm really happy with the homemade liquid stuff, and I'm looking forward to trying the powder.

    Stephinie, I love that! Tell Jade I feel the same way. :) Plus, the new washer and dryer play this little song when they're finished, instead of an annoying beep. So now I can't get mad at the machine when it's time to fold!
    That's about the ratios I was going to use for the powdered det. I was thinking about adding baking soda to the mix, so I'm glad to hear it's working for you!

    Just watch the lemongrass, because it can sometimes be a skin irritant. But without babies and in small amounts I don't worry about it.


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