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Forum > Miscellaneous > IN LOVE with my homemade detergent and fabric softener! ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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IN LOVE with my homemade detergent and fabric softener!
HanPanda
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HanPanda
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Date: 10/7/13 4:30 PM

I just moved in with my Mister (9.5 yr relationship, more than time to test the waters before taking that next step) and decided this would be the time to make some changes to more budget-friendly stuff around the house. First I got rid of paper towels (now we use "un-paper towels," terrycloth and decor fabric that is super absorbent), and then I made my own fabric softener and laundry detergent.

My laundry is coming out REALLY clean and SO SOFT!!! The scent isn't too terribly strong (the softener is vinegar, water, and hair conditioner) so it doesn't overwhelm you at all, but it'd be nice to be stronger. Still, for about $5, it does an incredible job softening things that I was already using softener on! It also made a HUGE amount. I had saved my old fabric softener bottle so I could just refill it with this mixture--it did that, a mason jar, AND a tupperware box! Amazing.I think when it comes time to make it again, I'm going to try to find some essential oils to add to it to enhance the scent :3

The detergent recipe I used took bits from a friend's recipe as well as what's online. I have grated Fels Naptha, Borax, Washing Soda, Baking Soda, and Oxyclean. When there is a particularly grody load of laundry (ie, some of Mister's sheets/pillow cases that he didn't clean frequently enough in his Bachelor lifestyle....) I'll throw in half to a full cup of vinegar. It pulled out some sweat stains that have been there for years! I am so impressed!! The detergent cost about $25 to put together, but my friend has been using the same mixture she did about 8 months ago and doesn't need any more. It's 1TBS for a normal load, 2 for a heavy load. My wallet is so excited to not have to buy laundry stuff for the foreseeable future!

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2014 resolution: keep track of sewn yardage!! I'm subtracting fabric given away from my yardage in. Yeah!
In: 93 yards
Sewn: 69 yards

I'll try anything once :)

Please excuse my typos...sometimes it is harder to go back and edit on mobile than it is worth!

kkkkaty
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Date: 10/7/13 4:57 PM

wow, that's pretty inspiring, may have to try that some time. Fels-Naptha is underrated... I keep some for stain removal.

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sewme47
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sewme47
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In reply to HanPanda <<


Date: 10/7/13 5:57 PM

HanPanda, no paper towels at all? Not even greasy kitchen messes? I'm impressed. And intrigued! Is it difficult to make these laundry liquids? Can you share your recipes and/or sources?

How did you make your un-paper towels? Hmmm, and what decor fabric is super absobent?

Thanks for these great ideas!
Laura

HanPanda
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HanPanda
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In reply to sewme47 <<
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Date: 10/8/13 1:33 PM

Even greasy kitchen messes are wiped up with the unpaper towels! It washes right out--a tid bit of vinegar in the wash if I'm particularly concerned and I have no worries! :3 The combination of a mid-heavy weight fabric and terrycloth makes them super absorbent compared to traditional paper towels. Just made 12 squares of each fabric, sewed the, right sides together, flipped and topstitched, then attached snaps on two of the sides. I'll try to take some pictures to post a little later.

The laundry detergent was easy! Grating the Fels Naptha was the hardest part, but if you have a food processor, that makes it much easier. xD The ingredients are really dusty, so I took it outside and dumped it all into a trash-bad lined plastic tub. I shook and mixed it up, then poured it in an 18qt container that lives in my linen closet. :3 The hardest part of the fabric softener was getting the conditioner to integrate. I ended up whisking it gently, which worked beautifully. I'll post the recipes I used!


Fabric softener:
2 cups of your favorite scented conditioner (16oz)
3 cups of white vinegar
6 cups of hot water
Stir, stir, stir, stir, stir. Then pour into a container. Use 1/4 cup per load of wash. Don't shake (it will froth up but won't settle down again) but you can use a whisk if the conditioner is having trouble incorporating.

Detergent:
1 4LB 12ozbox Borax
1 4 lb box arm and hammer baking soda
1 55 oz box Arm and Hammer Super washing soda
3 bars Fels-Naptha soap
3.5 lbs oxiclean
Grate Fels-Naptha - like cheese or cut in chunks and grate in food processor.
Mix outside ( very dusty) in 5 gallon bucket lined with a garbage bag.
Use 1-2 tbs per load. Store in large plastic container with a lid.

------
2014 resolution: keep track of sewn yardage!! I'm subtracting fabric given away from my yardage in. Yeah!
In: 93 yards
Sewn: 69 yards

I'll try anything once :)

Please excuse my typos...sometimes it is harder to go back and edit on mobile than it is worth!

tourist
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tourist  Friend of PR
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Date: 10/8/13 8:00 PM

I haven't done fabric softener but the detergent I use is even simpler. 1 bar soap, one cup washing soda, one cup borax. I grate the soap (I use Sunlight, but will try to grab some Fels next time I am in the US) then put the works into my food processor. Maybe ten minutes start to finish (and I make a double batch) and it works ridiculously well. My HE washer loves it, the granules dissolve with no problems ever and everything gets clean. For nasty loads I add a scoop of oxyclean, which even seems to get the stink out of DH's cycling clothes.

I've never used liquid softener, but do recall using a home made one that I put onto towels and tossed in the dryer. It didn't work very well and was just that tiny bit of extra effort for each load, so we quit doing it. Now with the front loader which has a softener cup that automatically puts in in the wash, it might be worth a try again.

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http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

ShantiSeamstressing
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ShantiSeamstressing
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Date: 10/8/13 8:23 PM

I love hearing eco-friendly ideas like this!

I use vinegar for fabric softener - - just the vinegar, that's all.

Thanks for sharing how to make the un-paper towels.

Woodgerber
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Date: 10/8/13 9:10 PM

Thank you for posting the laundry detergent recipes.

Tourist: how much detergent mix do you use per full load of laundry?

My daughter is a stain magnet and I keep looking for more effective laundry detergents.

mssewcrazy
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Date: 10/17/13 9:41 PM

I love the homemade detergent as well. One of my daughters made it and then I did some about a month ago. I added one of those huge off brand tubs of oxiclean and a container of purex crystals to mine. It is wonderful. I use 2 tbs in my large ancient may tag washer but my daughter has the HE type and she uses 1 tbs. I never plan to go back to the regular stuff. I need to make a tiny batch without the oxiclean for the occasional delicate items I don't want that included. I considered adding it to each load but this stuff is just so good and easy as is. I have been really happy with its performance.

mssewcrazy
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In reply to tourist <<


Date: 10/17/13 9:48 PM

I think I'll do your little mini recipe for the occasional items I don't want the color safe bleach . Most of our stuff needs it but my hand washables I do on delicate cycle I skip. I've been using a little liquid detergent for those few pieces since I didn't want to make a huge batch without the oxiclean. Thanks. That sounds easy enough.

sewme47
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sewme47
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In reply to HanPanda <<


Date: 10/17/13 10:58 PM

Han, Thanks so much for all the details. I am in love with your towel idea! I've been doing some research, and wow, there is a whole world of homemade detergent users out there. I'm going to give it a try. :-)

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