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Old 08-11-2011, 06:18 PM
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I've been doing this for years and have found that there's a great resurgence in people interested in doing this today. If you search YouTube, you'll find many videos of people doing this. If you prefer liquid detergent, you'll find videos for that, too.

There are many recipes for this powdered laundry detergent out there that contain only these three ingredients. The amounts vary greatly from one recipe to the next, so don't be afraid to experiment. Exactness is not required.

I live in a big city with HARD water! The ratio of ingredients that works for me are...

Laundry Soap

1 bar Fels Naptha (you can use Ivory or any other pure soap. No perfumes or dyes.)
2 heaping cups of Borax
2 heaping cups of Washing Soda.
(If you use Ivory, don't heap the cups because Ivory is smaller than Fels Naptha.)

Grate your soap on a cheese grater. Many people do this. I don't. I put it through my food processor! It's done in seconds. Once you have the ingredients mixed, it will help you tremendously to take five minutes to run the entire batch (in two or three batches) through your food processor. It will grind the soap down even further, which you want. And it will break up any clumps from the Borax.

I make 2 batches of this recipe and store it in a gallon ice cream pail. If you have a front loading washing machine, you only need 1-2 Tbsp of detergent! (Imagine how long that will last you!) If you have a top loader, you only need 1/4 cup.

Fabric Softener

Add 1/2 - 1 cup of vinegar to a Downey Fabric Softener Ball and toss it in the wash. Your clothes will NOT come out smelling like vinegar, but line-dried. The vinegar is a great softener and an even better rinse agent to rid your clothes of all that store-bought detergent build-up!

Dryer Sheets

Also, make your own dryer sheets by cutting old t-shirts, sheets or flour sack dish towels into squares. Dab each one with a drop or two of your favorite essential oil. Don't get carried away with it or your clothes can get small oily spots (that will wash out). At most, three drops is plenty. Store in a small container. I use an old baby wipes box. The rags will scent each other and, when you toss them in the dryer, you're clothes will come out with a personalized scent. Do you like lavender? Cloves? Sandalwood? Rose? Vanilla? Give it a try! Best of all, the sheets are reusable! You can get a big bottle of scented oil from craft supply stores, like Michael's, very cheap.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:48 PM
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Can you explain what washing soda is? The other terms I am familiar with, and always keep Fels Naptha around for stains.
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:24 PM
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Sure, Mattie. Washing Soda is not to be confused with Baking Soda, although both of them are made by Arm & Hammer.

It's an all natural product (sodium carbonate) which advertises itself as an all purpose cleaner and laundry detergent booster. It's very inexpensive and works superbly. Here's a LINK to what the box looks like on Amazon. (It's a bigger, more expensive box.) One regular size box, when combined with Fels Naptha and Borax, makes enough detergent to last me six months.

You can find it in many grocery stores, drug stores, hardware stores (like Ace Hardware) and places like Mills Fleet Farm, Target, WalMart, etc.,
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Old 08-14-2011, 11:31 PM
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I've made my own laundry soap for 2 years now - same recipe, use the food processor (but I do grate the fels naptha first, seems to work better in my processor that way), and make up a big bunch of it at one time. And absolutely, it only takes a tablespoon or so with my front loader, and so my big bucket lasts a very long time before I need to make a refill.

The only thing I do differently is that every summer, I clip and dry the flowers from my lavendar plants, and I add that to the laundry soap

I also use the vinegar - to my surprise, that stuff works perfectly.

I've never tried that with the dryer sheets, so thanks for that tip and I will give it a go.

I still can't believe how much money I save with making my own, plus using the vinegar - and my clothes smell much nicer to me than they used to with all the perfumed soaps out there (and they are cleaner). I too am in an area with hard water. My take on making my own soap is that it is actually a better product than what I used to buy, which still surprises me
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:08 AM
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Hi SugarSugar,

When I use my food processor on the Fels Naptha, I use a shredding blade that looks like a grater. (I guess that would have been good to mention in the first place in case someone tried to whack their bar of Fels Naptha to pieces with the regular blade!)

Your idea to use dried lavender is an excellent one! I hadn't thought of that.
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:35 PM
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Here are some other very cheap cleaning solutions for you:

Windex is 95% water. Save your old bottle and fill it up to the bottom of the neck with water. Fill the neck half way with vinegar (it does the cleaning) and the rest of the way with rubbing alcohol (it helps it to dry streak free). I use wintergreen scented for nice scent. You can use ammonia instead of rubbing alcohol but, I don't like the smell.

Where ever you use a powdered cleanser, use baking soda. It cleans well. For stubborn stains, use with vinegar or a little borax or washing soda. It's all natural and safe for pets and you! I've been doing this for many years.
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:37 PM
Location: The Circle City. Sometimes NE of Bagdad.
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From CD's House forum.

Pssssst! Household secrets!!!!
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