DIY laundry recipes

I’ve been on a DIY binge lately so I thought I would share with you a few laundry recipes that I use. A little while ago I made a post about my DIY laundry powder. I’ve made a couple of changes so it is slightly different to the former, but if you want to have a read, you can find it here.
Before I launch into the recipes I want to share  bit about where I got these recipes from and how I became interested in making my own products. When I was pregnant, I read Mother’s Little Helper by New Zealand author Wendyl Nissen. Inspired by vintage mothering manuals, she put together a book full of tips, recipes and advice for raising your baby “the old fashioned way” After I read it I became curious and went on to read her other books – A Home Companion and Domestic Goddess On A Budget. I loved them and they have set off an interest in me that I never knew existed.
I find these things fascinating because my generation has been brought up on pre packaged, store bought products and most of us have never given a thought to making our own. Knowing how to make your own products is a really handy skill and can also benefit our planet and wildlife.  These recipes are a great place to start because it’s proof you don’t have to be a total greenie to get into sustainable living. I believe life is all about balance and if you compensate in other areas it doesn’t matter if you love plastic bags or your big gas guzzling car. Making even just a few changes can have a huge impact to sustainable living as a whole.
Anyway, onto the recipes! These first two recipes are adapted from Mother’s Little Helper which you should totally check out if you get the chance.

DIY laundry powder –

  • 1 cup of soda ash or washing soda (soda ash is better)
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup sodium percarbonate (optional*)
  • 60ml liquid castile soap (I use Dr.Bronners unscented or lavender)
  • 2ml of essential oil (I use lavender or eucalyptus)
  • Food processor (or if you don’t have one you might be able to use a blender or combined by hand while wearing protective gear)

In a food processor combine soda ash and baking soda (and sodium percarbonate if you’re using it) Process until well combined. With the food processor still going, drizzle in the castile soap and essential oils. Continue processing until it looks like it is well mixed together. Store in an air tight container. You will need 1 tablespoon per load or double for a big/soiled load.

*I like to use sodium percarbonate for it’s stain removal properties, however it’s a bit harsher than the other ingredients. This substance is powdered hydrogen peroxide which is an oxygen bleach. Extra care should be taken when using it such as wearing gloves and making sure the area is well ventilated. It’s perfectly safe to use on your clothes (it’s the active ingredient in Napisan/Oxi clean) but it just needs to be handled with caution.

DIY Laundry Liquid

  • 1/2 bar of vegetable based soap, grated (I use Dr. Bronners or Sunlight)
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 1/2 C soda ash
  • 50g or 1/2 C borax
  • I liter of hot water
  • Essential oils (lavender, eucaluptus)
  • Empty milk/plastic bottles
  • A bucket
  • A funnel (optional but it makes getting it into the bottles way easier)

Place soap in a saucepan with the first quantity of water and heat on low until soap is dissolved. Stir in washing soda and borax. Stir for a few minutes until thickened* and remove from heat  Add 1 litre of hot water to a bucket. Add soap mixture and mix well. Fill bucket with another 5 litres of hot water and mix well.  Once cooled,  add about 20 drops lavender or Eucalyptus oil (good for woolens) if you are using them Pour into old milk bottles or other containers and set aside for 24 hours or until mixture thickens. Finally consistency should be quite gluggy and easy to squeeze from bottle. Use ½ cup of mixture per load.

* If you’re using Castile soap  it won’t thicken straight away. But don’t worry it will once it’s been left overnight.

Laundry Rinse/DIY fabric softener

Add about 1/2 C of vinegar to your machines liquid dispenser to the final rinse.  You can also add essential oils to give it a nice fragrance.

Stain Removing paste

Combined baking soda and water and apply directly onto stain. Let it sit for a few minutes before throwing in the wash.

Where I buy my supplies

For people in New Zealand, I buy all my ingredients from Binn Inn (a bulk food store) It’s great because I have one just up the road.  You can also find a lot of the stuff in supermarkets on the cleaning aisle. I’m not exactly sure what the overseas equivilant of Binn Inn is but check out your bulk food stores and supermarkets to see what you can find. I also think some of these things are available on ebay.

How I store my cleaners

I’ve seen lots of really cute ideas on pinterest such as making your own mason jar soap dispenser and using drink dispensers to store your laundry liquid in. I don’t do this which is why there are no pictures on this post.  I just stick put them in plastic bottles/containers I have laying around. I do this for a couple of reasons, it’s cheaper, less effort and why send it be recycled when I can re purpose it at home? I do keep the powdered chemicals in tightly sealed tupperware containers for safety reasons.