While it is always a good thing to be optimistic about the future (and I am) I think it is always prudent to forward plan for a ‘rainy day’. Right now it is becoming somewhat of a rainy day (or at least a shower) for many of us, whether we are jobless, on furlough, on benefits or our circumstances have recently changed. Coping with a downpour without an umbrella is difficult so before it rains harder there is nothing wrong with making some changes now…
At the moment in my household, we are working on making some changes. Many of these changes are small, seemingly insignificant, but one thing I know is that every small drop of water or crumb, collectively over time, becomes a vast ocean or a basketful of bread! Drying my clothes outside on a sunny day instead of using the tumble dryer saves 50p, growing food and preserving it saves a little money too (and provides a store of available food during difficult times), baking bread from scratch saves 50p a pop, using a cool short eco wash for laundry saves on power and water, and the list goes on.
I recently saw a friend of mine on social media making a batch of liquid laundry detergent and thought what a great idea! I immediately researched it, watched several videos and decided that it would indeed save me money, quite a bit!
I decided to order in the three ingredients needed and make a batch of:
- Washing powder for hot washes and whites.
- Liquid laundry detergent for most daily washes using the eco cool setting. (more economical – recipe tomorrow!)
I would also test each of these out for effectiveness and economy as well as the process of making and storing.
Today I made the dry washing powder for longer hot washes and whites. I found this REALLY quick and easy to make. It made enough for up to 40 loads using a tablespoon per load (you may need more for large or dirtier loads.) Based on using 1 cup of borax substitute, 1 cup of washing soda and 1 x 4 or 5 oz bar of household soap it cost me less than £2.50 to make enough powder to wash 40 loads. This would save you about 50% on the cost of a regular powder. I worked this out as roughly £30 per year.
The clothes came out really clean, suds were very low in the machine (I have very hard water). If you love the strong artificial perfumes used in modern laundry detergents and like that your clothes smell strongly of the perfumes in the detergent when the clothes are dry then you may be disappointed. The clothes smelled lovely and clean but didn’t really smell of any fragrance. I didn’t add any essential oils as it was a dry powder (for the liquid detergent I will though).
The powder seems ideal to use on a long hot wash to get lighter clothes bright and clean.
Warning: Obviously with any chemicals please protect your hands and eyes and do not inhale.
- 1 cup of borax substitute
- 1 cup of washing soda
- 1 x 4 or 5 oz bar of household soap (grated)
- Mix the borax and washing soda together in a bowl with the grated household soap.
- Ideally add the mixture into a blender and pulse until the grated soap and powders are well blended into smaller particles. (**Please ensure that you do not inhale the powder so wait until the dust has settled before opening the lid of the blender)
- Place powder in a glass jar.
- Use 1 flat tablespoon max. per load.
That is very interesting!
I didn’t know you couldn’t get borax in the E.U./U.K. We still have it in the U.S… but I don’t use it. I know that borax can be a skin irritant, is toxic, and not good for the environment.
I switched to making our own laundry detergent a few years ago, mainly because my family (they emigrated from Scotland), has very sensitive skin, and commercial laundry detergent often gives them rashes. The skin sensitivity was why I also didn’t want to use borax.
But I had never heard of “borax substitute.” It is not in the stores here in the U.S. I thought it might be helpful for some of your readers to know you can also use ordinary baking soda (bicarbonate of soda). It changes the pH of water as well as borax, it’s inexpensive, and it washes away more completely, so it doesn’t irritate the skin..
I use 2 parts baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to one part washing soda, and slightly less bar soap than your recipe (particularly because HE washers don’t like lots of suds), but otherwise my detergent is very similar. I put in a little lemon oil or other essential oil for scent. I use a heaping tablespoon per load, but then mine has less of the bar soap in it so I think it works out to about the same. Americans could probably swap one cup baking soda for the borax substitute in your recipe and have it work.
When we stocked up before Covid “stay at home” orders I went to the laundry aisle at Walmart and the shelves were bare of every single jug and box of commercial laundry detergent! Fortunately for me, the washing soda and baking soda were still there! 🙂
I envy you as your ingredients for homemade laundry detergent are much cheaper in the US, nevertheless it still is much cheaper to make our own here. I also made liquid detergent today but it is gelling overnight and I added 30 drops of eucalyptus oil and 30 drops of peppermint oil to it. Should make 10 litres in total so hoping that will be OK. Thanks for the heads up about the baking soda. QUOTE: From the non-toxic clean and natural range… “Borax Substitute is sodium sesquicarbonate – a mineral compound, with similar pH to borax, making it ideal for cleaning and laundry. It is gentler than Soda Crystals yet stronger than Bicarbonate of Soda.”
Hi Carolyn, love your site. I’m sure you know this. I found cheapest place for soda crystals is Tesco 80p. Borax substitute (sodium sesquicarbonate), is marketed by Wilko and Sainsbury’s as water softener for only £2.20 per kilo – much cheaper than Dri Pak.
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