DIY Laundry Powder Recipe - 4 Ingredients
DIY Laundry Powder - Homemade Laundry Detergent
Death and laundry, two things inevitable. Wouldn’t it be nice if something you use so often, on clothes that cling to your body day and night, could be non-toxic and handmade? Well, it can be! And for very little effort too. With ingredients you can find at most supermarkets or online, this homemade laundry powder can be made and ready to use in under 10 minutes.
Why should I make my own laundry powder?
Walk down the laundry aisle at the grocery store and you’ll see hundreds of options for laundry detergent. Most are liquids in big plastic jugs. Why pay for water and plastic when powder options offer 100% cleaning agents in recyclable cardboard boxes? Most importantly, mixing up your own means you get to choose the ingredients and whether or not to add scent. For example, here is a list of all 84!!! ingredients in Tide liquid laundry detergent. I think almost all of the cleaning products I own have ingredient labels and if not, they are available online. Do your research, even on brands who label themselves as “green.” Everyone is trying to make money on your indifference. At the very least, know what you’re buying! If you have time to read this article or scroll instagram, you have time to make a batch of homemade laundry powder or investigate that 3 year old bottle of windex. There's a natural solution for every cleaning project.
On a lighter note… I think we all love the giddy feelings that go along with being creative. With supervision, this could be a fun project to do with kids that will help them feel more in charge of their environment and maybe even inspire them to put in a load?
What goes into homemade laundry powder? How does it work?
Our recipe utilizes 4 ingredients- borax, washing soda, baking soda and laundry bar. We highly recommend using our 100% coconut oil bar because it leaves no residue and dissolves quickly, but any cold-process or castile soap bar will work.
Borax- sodium borate (borax) is a naturally-occurring mineral salt most often mined from Turkey and California. The borax you'll find in the cleaning supplies aisle at the grocery store is partially dehydrated and will be a fine granular white powder. Borax leans alkaline (pH of around 9) which creates a basic solution that can help fight acidic stains (like tomato or mustard) when dissolved in water. When added to a load of laundry, borax can help make white clothes whiter.
Washing Soda- sodium carbonate (washing soda) is chemically different from baking soda. Sometimes called "soda ash," this alkaline compound has a pH of 11. It can remove a wide variety of stains from clothing, including coffee, blood and grease and acts as a necessary abrasive.
Baking Soda- sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is effective at absorbing odors, regulating pH levels and as a mild abrasive helping to knock dirt and grime from clothing while deodorizing and maintaining the cleanliness of your machine. It is slightly alkaline at a pH of 8.3.
Soap Bar- According to laundry expert (yes they exist), Patric Richardson, “Soap rinses completely clean, so even if you overuse it, you won’t have residue on your clothes,” he says. “On the other hand, detergents are manufactured with more oil to hold fragrance, so they coat your clothes with a grimy coating. Detergent is synthetic—it’s basically just a bunch of cleaning agents stirred up in a drum, with petroleum or other oil additives,” he says. “The process of making soap is simpler and more natural. You take oil and add an acid and you have a gentle cleaning agent.
While borax, washing soda and baking soda help remove stains and odor and alkalize the wash water, adding a soap product is necessary to really lift oils and keep your garments clean- your machine too!
Will laundry powder work in my washing machine?
Laundry powder works in any machine. I have a decade old front loader that handles the powder just fine. To make sure the powder fully dissolves you must sprinkle it in the drum BEFORE you add the clothes. You can also use the detergent drawer if your washer has one! Yep, powder can go in there too. Both methods will ensure the powder mixes with the water as it enters the machine and doesn’t hide in the pockets of your clothes.
How to clean heavily stained or soiled clothes-
When I was cloth diapering my baby, I relied on a combination of borax and washing soda to lift stains and remove lingering odors. If you have a utility sink, add a ¼ cup of homemade laundry powder to the basin and fill with hot water just to cover soiled clothes. This can also be done in a plastic bucket! 5 gallon pails are good for this. Some top loaders have a soak option as well you could use for this task. Assuming you’re using a basin or bucket, give it a stir and let it soak for 4 hours to overnight. Wring out excess water and wash as normal the next day. I like to use this method for stripping my hard working dish cloths and kitchen rags as well.
What equipment will I need to make laundry powder?
You will need-
- 1 cup measure
- box grater or grater attachment for a food processor
- large bowl and spoon
- ½ gallon mason jar or other similar sized, air tight container
Not necessary, but a wide mouth funnel is nice to have for cleanliness and ease of dispensing the powder into the jar.
If you have any other question about DIY laundry powder, feel free to drop us an email or leave a comment! Save this JPEG recipe below to your photos by holding down the image with your finger!
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