Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Here is my recipe for homemade laundry detergent. I started making it as my husband suffers severely from eczema and the highly scented washing products sold at the supermarket cause him real problems. Even the ones designed to be hypoallergenic. You can't beat some basic old-fashioned soap combined with some extra added ingredients to improve cleaning power.

First you need some old fashioned soap. I made my own soap specifically for laundry purposes, but you can buy a bar of hard soap from the supermarket if you prefer. Something like wright's coal tar or imperial leather would probably work.

The soap I made was 100% coconut oil soap with no superfat to make sure there weren't any free oils to stick onto my clothes.

I made soap with 920g of oils as that is the amount that fits nicely into my silicone mold. You can adjust the recipe accordingly for the mold size you have.

276g Water
168.5g Sodium Hydroxide
920g Coconut oil

Use the basic method for making soap from any of my other posts to create your laundry bars using the ingredients above.

Then combine the following extra ingredients to create your laundry powder :-

300g grated bar soap
150g bicarbonate of soda
150g washing soda
100 drops of essential oil (I used sweet orange oil but you can use anything you have around, peppermint or lavender are also quite popular)

Use the grating attachment on a food processor or a hand grater to grate your soap bar. Then use the chopping blade of a food processor to add the additional ingredients to your grated soap which will break it up into powder form. Keep mixing and add your chosen essential oil for fragrance. You won't get a strong scent from the clothes once the washing is done, just a slight citrusy smell but the clothes mainly just smell clean. You won't need fabric softener with this either so it is drastically cheaper than buying detergent off the shelf.

I only put around two tablespoons into the washing machine drawer and wash clothes as usual. I have found this works really well, towels come out lovely and soft and most stains are removed fairly well without pre-treating. For particularly difficult stains like tomato, I keep a solid chunk of my laundry bar to rub into the stain before washing.

Borax is widely used in the US, but it is banned in the EU due to issues about it's safety so I prefer not to use it and I think the detergent works fine without it.

I have heard that some people use 100% lard instead of coconut for their laundry soap so I am planning to give this a try with my next batch. Have you made your own laundry soap? What type of soap do you use and what have you found works best for you? I'd love to hear your experiences.

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