Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Make-your-own laundry detergent

Back in the autumn Lucy at Our Very Own Little House experimented with making her own laundry detergent. It looked so easy and economical that I decided to have a go myself. It worked! Then life got in the way and I didn't get round to making a second batch until just before Christmas. I made about 8 litres of detergent, which can't have cost me more than £1 - a similar amount of Tesco's cheapest would cost about £15. It seems to work at least as well as any of the non-biological washing liquids I normally use (I buy whatever is on offer, but always non-bio and always liquid as powder clogs up my machine's dispenser and makes a horrid, yucky mess I loathe cleaning out). Some stains need a squirt of Vanish spray before washing, but then they needed the same when using "proper" washing liquid.

I used the same ingredients as Lucy but varied the method slightly, leaving the liquid to "gel" overnight before decanting it into bottles. Here is my version of the recipe ...

  • Add 1 cup of soap flakes to 1.5 litres of water and heat gently until the soap flakes dissolve.
  • Add 1/2 cup each of borax and washing soda and continue heating gently until they dissolve. (I think at this stage it had thickened a little but not a great deal.)
  • Tip glop into a bucket and add 6 litres of hot water (I used water from the tap, not boiling hot), stirring well after each litre.
  • Leave overnight.
  • By morning it separates out into thick glop and slimy liquid. Stir very well until glop and slime have more or less merged into something that vaguely resembles laundry detergent.
  • Pour into old detergent bottles.
The texture of my liquid is a bit lumpy, but it can still be poured without having to shake the bottle first and hasn't separated out. I think stirring with a hand whisk rather than the old wooden spoon I used would give a more even texture. It took around 15 minutes to make the mixture and then just a few minutes in the morning for stirring and bottling. I bought the soap flakes and washing soda from the supermarket, and the borax from a local hardware store. I love Lucy's idea of adding a scent, but didn't have anything suitable to hand so ours is "fragrance free".

I am still amazed at just how easy, economical and effective this is. Thank you for the tip, Lucy. I would never have thought of it myself.

1 comment:

Romany said...

Hi, I first read about this at the SL forums years ago and was about to try it when someone warned me against it. Harmful chemicals or something. Perhaps it was a different recipe. I might give it another go.