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Make Your Own Natural Laundry Powder and Fabric Softener

by thriftyfrugalfun (follow)
Thrifty is a mum of 3 who is passionate about living a happy, simple and frugal life. You can read her blog at: thriftyfrugalfun.blogspot.com.
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You can grate your own soap or buy ready made soap flakes

I made my first batch of home made washing powder years ago, with much trepidation. Would the clothes still come out clean and smell fresh? I'm happy to say I was pleased with the results and continue to make my own.

One of the reasons I chose to stop buying commercial powder was I was concerned with the amount of petro chemicals in these products. I also have a child who is highly sensitive to artificial fragrances. The second reason is being on a budget I need to spend as little as I can and make savings where possible.

I have also made variations on this standard recipe, including a washing "liquid". I prefer the powdered version as it is quicker to make. I will include both recipes here.

Only three ingredients are needed to make laundry powder

You will need:

4 cups of soap flakes
2 cups borax
2 cups of washing soda (fine granules not chunks)

Combine these ingredients and store in a sealed container. As natural ingredients are being used here and not synthetic fillers only 1 tablespoon is needed per wash. If you are washing really grubby clothes use 2 tablespoons.

You can choose to buy soap flakes or get some pure soap and grate it yourself. It needs to be laundry soap as this has active ingredients needed to break down imbedded dirt and grime.

For the liquid just use the same ingredients but add smaller quantities:

Half a cup of soap flakes
Quarter cup of borax
Quarter cup of washing soda

Add this to a large saucepan along with 750 ml of water. Stir on a low heat until all ingredients are dissolved then let it cool.

On cooling the soap will settle to the top so just give it a whisk to combine

Now add this to a bucket of 4 liters of cold water and stir well. At this point you can also add some essential oil if you like for fragrance, lavender, eucalyptus or tea tree all have antiseptic properties. After a few minutes give the mixture a whisk as the soap will set at the top.This will be the "concentrate."

Once the mixture is well combined you can use a funnel to pour this liquid into containers ready for use. I like to keep my old plastic milk or soft drink bottles for this purpose. Use about a quarter cup of mixture for each load of washing.

Of both these recipes the liquid detergent works out to be the most cost effective. It is also great if you use a cold water wash as it dissolves easily.

My bottled laundry liquid ready to use

Now for the homemade fabric softener. This is super easy to use and costs only a few cents per load. Just add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to the rinse drawer.

Vinegar has natural antibacterial properties as well as it helps to remove soap build up and doesn't make the clothes smell like vinegar either.

Photo: Rennet Stowe, Wikimedia Commons

Happy washing!

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