This post details my first attempt at making my own laundry liquid. I used the recipe outlined by Rhonda Hetzel on her excellent Down To Earth blog. There are many variations and approaches that you can take to create your laundry liquid.
The recipe and method I used are listed later in the post. But, before you jump in and make your own batch, can I suggest that you review the following points:
I used ready-made Lux Flakes for my first batch. But, you can apparently use any sort of natural soap by simply grating it to the required amount. This would work out even cheaper! I’ll try that option when the Lux runs out.
- Procuring Ingredients:
In Australia, Lux Soap Flakes (or equivalents) and Washing Soda should be available in the cleaning aisles of the major supermarkets. I found mine at Woolworths.Borax can be a little harder to find. Comments on other blogs suggest that it is sometimes available at supermarkets. However, Woolworths and IGA didn’t have it in the city I live in.I finally found it at Bunnings (large Australian hardware store chain)I’m assuming that the products or their equivalent will be available at similar stores elsewhere in the world.
There has been quite a lot of often heated debate over whether or not Borax is safe to use in your cleaning recipes. My personal view is that the supposed dangers are considerably overhyped. Your homemade product is likely to be much safer that many store-bought, chemically laden equivalents. But, if you are concerned, you might like to head over to Crunchy Betty’s excellent and sensible analysis of Borax and have a read.Some users suggest that you can leave Borax out of the mixture, although they note that cleaning results may not be as good without it.
- My “Twice Cooked” Method:
Most recipes I have seen instruct you to heat the ingredients in one litre of water and then top up to ten litres. I followed this, but found that the mix separated completely in to water at the bottom and thick soap gel at the top. And, even after stirring, there were still large clumps of soap throughout the mix. In my initial “trial wash” some of the soap clumps didn’t dissolve properly and stayed on the clothes. And the entire mix seemed overly watery.This may have been because I did not heat and dissolve the mixture enough initially. However, I’ve seen a lot of user comments that describe the same separating and clumpy problems.Anyway, I found that by reheating the mix as described below, I ended up with a much creamier end-product that does not separate nearly as much as it did initially.As noted, this is my first attempt. I’ll experiment further with future batches. I may be able to streamline the procedure I’ve outlined and still get the same results.
It cost me around $3.63 (AUD) to make ten litres. That is well under half the cost of the cheapest generic brand laundry liquids that I have used. And only a fraction of the cost of the big-name laundry liquids that can cost $80 or $90 for ten litres.
We’ve now done several loads of washing with the homemade liquid. To me, it seems to be just as effective as the commercial brands. At first, you may miss the “fresh” added fragrance that we have been manipulated into thinking means our clothes are cleaner.
Ok, so let’s get cooking!
Ingredients and tools:
- 1 Cup of Lux Soap Flakes
- 1/2 Cup Washing Soda
- 1/2 Cup Borax
- 10 litres water
- Large saucepan
- Wooden spoon for stirring
- Jug for measuring water
- 11 litre plastic pail with lid
- Plastic paint stirrer to keep with pail for re-stirring
- 1 cup capacity jug for adding laundry liquid to machine
- Add Lux, Washing Soda and Borax to saucepan
- Add 1 litre of water
- Bring to boil, stirring continually
- Ensure that all ingredients are fully dissolved
- Pour contents of saucepan into pail
- Top up with further nine litres of water to make 10 litres in total
- Stir thoroughly
- Leave to sit for 24 to 48 hours stirring occasionally. (The mixture will separate and made become quite clumpy)
- Stir and then decant half of mixture into the large saucepan and heat slowly
- Bring to near boiling point, stirring continually.
- Repeat with second half of mixture
- Mix two halves together and stir thoroughly
- Give pail a good stir with paint stirrer before using
- Use around 1/2 cup of liquid per top-load wash. More for large or heavily soiled loads.