Combatting the stinkies

I got interested lately in making my own laundry soap – having crafty friends will do that to you. Happy chance that she inspired me when she did; I was just on the last dregs of my giant Costco vat of detergent and set to buy another.

The recipe is super easy:

1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s unscented Castille soap (or Ivory or Fels Naptha, in a pinch)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing soda (NOT baking soda!)
Essential oil for fragrance, if desired

I just grated the soap in my food processor and then added everything else and turned it on until it looked fine. It makes about 3 cups and since you use 2 tablespoons per load, that’s about 48 loads. For just a little more than the price of a bar of Ivory soap. Remind me why everyone doesn’t do this, again?  …

– It is safe for the front-loading HE washers and dryers, as long as you use one of those three recommended low-suds soaps.
– It is completely biodegradable if you use Dr. Bronner’s (not sure about Ivory)
– It is cheap!
– It is easy!
– You can (supposedly) make it smell like whatever you want. I added a teaspoon of super-strong peppermint essential oil and could smell nothing on the finished clothes. Maybe if I added that amount to each load? But that could get expensive REAL fast.
– Because it contains Borax, it is much better at getting out odors than regular detergent.

Success! Our towels, which had been starting to smell a little musty despite repeated washings with the old detergent, now smell great. Our washer smells better too (front loaders have a problem drying out and will start to smell mildewy after a while if you don’t run an empty load with this special chemical they sell. Maybe this detergent will take care of that – I can hope!)

Try using plain white vinegar in your fabric softener cup (no it doesn’t smell) and line-drying your laundry in the sun. Man there’s no other chore that can make me feel so good and eco-responsible.

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