Last week, I ran out of laundry detergent. Instead of buying more, I decided to take a risk. I had a random bottle of castile soap that I wasn’t sure why I had bought, and I had a big bulk bag of baking soda. I figured, if there was ever a time to try making laundry detergent, then would have been the time.
I did some research, and I found that most of the recipes for natural laundry detergent involved some combination of soap, baking soda, washing soda, and Borax. Some of them included vinegar, but since I bleach my dish towels, I didn’t want to include vinegar in the detergent. I wanted the option of either adding vinegar or bleach to the detergent, depending on what I’m washing.
Based on my research, I invented a detergent recipe. This is the recipe that I generated:
Equipment: A large plastic container with a tight-fitting lid; a clean, empty can (standard bean/vegetable can) to measure with; something to stir with.
Ingredients: 3 cans of baking soda, 3 cans of washing soda, 3 cans of Borax, 8 oz bottle of castile soap.
Mix all of the ingredients well in the container. I put the lid on and shook it upside down to ensure that all of the powders mixed.
To do laundry with your homemade laundry detergent, dissolve a heaping quarter-cup of it in hot water in your washer’s basin. Then add your laundry. I’ve been adding an extra couple squirts of castile soap to the wash at this point. You can add bleach to the bleach cup in your washer. If you choose not to use bleach, then during the soak cycle you can add a cup of vinegar to the soak water.
That’s it! My laundry has been coming out clean and fresh-smelling. I wasn’t sure if my DIY laundry detergent would work, but it does! Added bonus: Since I live with ancient NYC plumbing, this detergent is actually better for my pipes than conventional detergent, which means fewer clogs to deal with, and therefore fewer calls to the plumber. High five!