Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Liquid Laundry Detergent

About a year and a half ago, my sister posted a recipe for homemade laundry detergent on her Exceedingly Blessed blog. Her version was a powdered detergent, and my wife has never been a big fan of powdered laundry detergent. We didn't really give it a second thought again until around Thanksgiving when we were at the local Walmart. We were in the detergent aisle and I pointed out the supplies my sister used in her recipe. My wife still had no desire to use powdered detergent, but she asked me if it was possible to make liquid laundry detergent. I told her I would look into it (code for "whatever"), so she took it upon herself to find out how to make it.

At the same time, my son was having problems with eczema, so my wife was willing to try anything at that point, especially if it was hypoallergenic. She found this recipe, and we decided to try it. We decided to go with a soap we knew was a mild enough to not make our son's eczema worse. The first time we made this was right before Christmas last year, and last week we finally had to make some more. That's right, almost nine months without buying laundry detergent. Hopefully the next batch lasts as long.

I make this in a five gallon bucket in the tub, then dilute it in an old liquid laundry detergent container for use. Half a cup will do a medium sized load, while 5/8 cup is plenty for a full load. Based on the full load size, this will do approximately 250 loads of laundry. Not bad for less than $10. As far as additives, with our kids being in school, we decided to add some tea tree oil to keep to help prevent them from having to deal with lice (so far, it has worked like a charm).  You can add whatever scent you like (lavender would be great).  If you do add essential oils, 5-6 drops per gallon is about the right amount.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

2 1.75 oz bars Dove soap
1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda)
1/2 cup borax
Essential oils, if desired

Heat about six cups of water to a simmer in a large pot. Grate soap bars and add to water. Stir until all soap is melted (if needed, add a little more water to make sure all soap melts).

Fill a five gallon bucket about half full with hot tap water. Add washing soda and borax, stir to dissolve.  Pour in melted soap. Mix, then fill bucket to one inch from top with hot water. Let set overnight (mixture will thicken). Add essential oils to thickened liquid, if using. Stir well.

To use, mix equal parts water and detergent mix in a separate container suitable for pouring (we use an old liquid laundry detergent jug). Shake well prior to each use.

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