Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy Spring (Cleaning :)

Woo Whoo,  It's the first Day of Spring. Time to throw open the windows and watch the cool breezes waft through the lace curtains.  Until you realize those curtains have a winters worth of dust and debris on them :)
Well don't worry, I recently discovered how to make my own laundry soap and fabric softener and  I couldn't be happier.  This soap smells clean, works fantastic and will save you a lot of money.  I can't believe how expensive Laundry Soap has gotten, and I for one would rather spend money on flowers than laundry soap.

Here's what you'll need
2-4 cups of Oxy Clean (depending on how dirty your family gets :)
3 Pounds of Baking soda
1 box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
3 Bars of Fels Naptha, Zote, or other laundry bar soap
1 Box of 20 Mule Team Borax
A big tub, I used a 5 gallon tub with a lid to store the leftover

Here's what Fels-Naptha looks like. Believe it or not, I've always kept a bar around because it's recommended for vintage linens (like the on you see it resting on in the photo :) You will need to grate this. I used a cheese grater, but I think next time I'll try my food processor to save some time. Your grating soap, so just throw everything in the dishwasher when your done.

Here it is all grated.  This soap can be used in HE washers as well as top load washers. You only need one Tablespoon per load.  I bought a canister at Pier One that has a chalkboard label and marked it "Laundry Soap".  I keep a Tablespoon in the canister next to the washing machine (even my kids can't mess this up :)
Here it is all mixed up in the bucket.  This way I can take enough to fill the canister and keep this stored in a dry cool place (my basement) when I'm not using it. 
The results, clean, fresh, clothes that I can be proud to wear and enough money saved to buy some extra clothes with the money I saved, win-win :)
Now for the Fabric Softener 
You will need
6 Cups of water (if you have hard water, use filtered or distilled water)
3 Cups of White Vinegar
2 Cups of Sauve Conditioner, I used Aloe & Waterlily, you should pick the fragrance you like the best.
A 1 Gallon bottle with lid (I used a washed out milk bottle)

I whisked together the conditioner and vinegar in a glass bowl (to mix it up a little) and then added the water.  I suggest using warm water to help the ingredients emulsify better. You don't want to shake this too much or it will get very foamy.  Use this  the same way you use your regular liquid fabric softener or spray some on a washcloth and use it like a dryer sheet.  I really loved this fabric softener because it doesn't leave marks on my clothes (especially the dark's) the way some fabric softener do.
So Happy Spring, and happy Spring Cleaning, I know I'm a little happier having saved a lot of money.  If you like this post, let me know if you'd like more cleaning recipes.  It's a great way to be green and save money.


  1. Great job, Shannon! I love what you did here! I made something like this years ago, but that was back before Oxyclean and other products existed. I may make a go of it once again! Who ever thought you could make laundry powder look so pretty too?

  2. Shannon,
    My friend used a food processor for the soap, and she said it worked wonderfully. I'm amazed at the amount of money I am saving by making my own detergent, too! I have also used it in the dishwasher several times with great success. Now I will have to try the fabric softener. Great post!

  3. I know, who would have thought something that saves so much money would work so great, thank you for letting me know about the food processor, that will be great :)I have a great recipe for dishwasher detergent that works great Kelli. Thank you so much for the inspiration, your a talented chemist and cook :)

  4. shannon this is so cool. I love your milk bottle for the fabric softener....so elegant, just like you bella

  5. Well, I really like this idea and am thrilled to know how well it works, appears I have a project coming up this weekend! Would love to see the dishwasher recipe also. I have a request, could you make the font on the comments one size larger, my old eyes struggle! LOL

  6. Someone had mentioned to me that using natural castile soap would be a greener alternative to Fels-Naptha. I think I may give this a try. I like the idea of using as many safe and natural ingredients as possible. Baking soda, and borax are both natural ingredients so with the addition of natural castile soap, this really would be a green alternative to store bought laundry detergent.

  7. Wow, this is wonderful, Shannon! It sounds so fresh and pure. I also love the fabric softener...it must smell great...and the bottle is beautiful! You continue to amaze me, sis!

  8. The bottle is from Ikea, I bought several this summer, I believe they were $5 They are great for so many things, I think I need to go back and get more :)

  9. I actually bought a dark beer to cook with that came in a bottle that closed like that..which might be a great way to use something more than once.

  10. Does your fabric softener work with front load he machines

    1. Carling, yes it does, I have a front loading HE machine and it worked great

    2. Carling, yes it does, I have a front loading HE machine and it worked great

  11. When using in a HE washer, do you add the powder to the powder compartment or directly to the washing tub?