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How can I Make Homemade Laundry Detergent?

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  • Written By: Karyn Maier
  • Edited By: Jay Garcia
  • Last Modified Date: 06 September 2016
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There are plenty of cleaning products that can be found in any supermarket, including laundry detergent. Many markets also distribute green laundry detergent, meaning that the product is made of ingredients considered safer for humans and the environment. Still, whether due to environmental concerns or financial frugality, some consumers prefer to make and use homemade laundry detergent. However, while making homemade laundry detergent was a necessity generations ago, it’s not a common practice today. This leaves many consumers wondering: How can I make my own laundry detergent?

Another question that begs answering is, why anyone would want to make homemade laundry detergent when they can just buy it off the market shelf? For some people, the reason may be due to allergic reactions to conventional laundry products, so they seek a more natural alternative. For others, there may be health considerations since many laundry products may contain questionable ingredients. For example, alkylbenzene sulfonate is commonly added to laundry detergent even though it is a known liver carcinogen and is readily absorbed through the skin. Another common ingredient, fluosilicate, is a highly toxic pesticide.

A final concern for anyone looking into the feasibility of making and using homemade laundry detergent is its effectiveness. In other words, will it clean laundry just as well as a conventional brand? Yes, it will. However, it may be necessary to be a bit more diligent about addressing spots and stains right away instead of letting the soiled laundry article sit around for days before washing.

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For many of us, the idea of making homemade laundry detergent conjures up images of stirring a huge vat of lye and ash outdoors to make gallons of laundry soap at one time. However, making homemade laundry detergent doesn’t need to be so complicated and time consuming. In fact, it’s much easier to make, use, and store homemade laundry detergent in smaller batches.

Homemade laundry detergent can be made from a handful of ingredients and does not require the use of harsh chemicals. In fact, many consumers are surprised to learn that most conventional liquid laundry detergents contain up to 70 percent water. A simple alternative to conventional liquid laundry detergent starts with the use of liquid castile soap, which is derived from vegetable oils.

The following is a sample recipe for liquid homemade laundry detergent that can be made on an as-needed basis: 1 ounce (30ml) liquid castile soap; 1 cup (240ml) washing soda (available in supermarkets in the laundry aisle); 1 cup (240ml) baking soda; 1 cup (240ml) white vinegar. Instructions: Fill washer with water and add each ingredient in the order given. Launder as usual.

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anon114709
Post 2

I'm wondering the same thing about 'HE' washers. I still have a lot of regular 'HE' detergent left to use up before making my own, but I did put some washing soda in as a 'Pre-Wash' and when I took that load out I did notice some suds at the base of the door.

I totally guessed at how much washing soda to add and I put maybe a 1/4 cup, LOL. After looking at some of the recipes, I think that was way too much for a front loader, but my clothes were very bright!

I might have to pull out my old college chemistry book and see what I can cook up.

I also wondered about the comment about 70 percent water. Are they just watering down 'HE' detergents and charging us more? Hmm

anon57359
Post 1

Is this "recipe" compatible with "HE" High-efficiency washers? Reading up on the whole "HE" washer type, the object, is that they use less water, to make them more environment friendly, but "regular" laundry soap isn't compatible with "HE" machines, due to the excess of "sudsing" which can set off the balance and flow of the washer. So I'm kind of curious.

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