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How to Make Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

How to Make Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

DIY Laundry Detergent

    Unless you’re a rather stinky, slovenly sort, chances are that you do your laundry fairly regularly, and not just to wash your clothes: bedding, towels, blankets, stuffed animals… everything needs to be washed and freshened up every so often, and every load of laundry requires that magical additive that suds up and leaves it all smelling wonderful: detergent. Depending on the type that you buy, it can range from just a couple of dollars per package to uber-expensive, and the cheaper options tend to be the most damaging to the environment. You also have a limited selection of scents to choose from—many of which are downright headache-inducing—and some people have such super-sensitive skin that they’ll also react to the chemicals in these products.

    Fortunately, with just a tiny bit of time and effort, you can make your own laundry detergent for a fraction of what you’d pay for anything you’d find at the store.

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    The type of soap you use for this will determine the fragrance, so if you prefer to use products that don’t have any strong scents, aim for a bar of pure vegetable glycerine or castile soap, as these are generally unscented. They’re also some of the most eco-friendly choices out there, so you don’t have to worry about polluting your waterways with a bunch of vile chemicals. This homemade detergent is safe for septic tanks, and is completely biodegradable.

    *Note: you can skip the “dissolving in water” step and just blend the dry ingredients together (grated soap, borax, and washing/baking soda) and then use 2 tbsp of that dry detergent in every load of laundry, but if you go this route, you have to either wash your clothes in hot water, or fill the washing machine part-way with hot water and dissolve the soap in it before you add your clothes and top it up with the water temperature of your choice. This detergent will not dissolve in cold water.

    What You’ll Need:

    • 1 litre of Water
    • 1 bar of your favourite soap, grated
    • A large bowl
    • 1 cup of Borax
    • 1/2 cup of washing soda (or baking soda, if the washing soda isn’t available)
    • A large stock pot
    • 2 large empty containers with lids (I like to use plastic cat litter pails with capped pouring spouts)
    • grater
    • funnel
    • long plastic or metal spoon
    • Optional: essential oil in a scent that’s complementary to the soap you’re using

    Step 1: Grate

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    Grated Soap

      Grate your bar of soap into a large bowl. If you have a super-fine grater, use it, as it’ll make the soap melt much more quickly than when it’s grated with the larger setting, but as long as you manage to reduce it to really small pieces, that’s all that matters. If you don’t have a grater, then just shave it with a sharp knife; hopefully you have one of those, at least.

      Step 2: Dissolve

      Warm up the water in a large stock pot on medium-high heat, and then add the grated soap to it one handful at a time, stirring it gently with your spoon until it dissolves.

      Step 3: Blend

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      Add Borax

        After the soap has completely dissolved, remove the stock pot from the heat and stir in the borax and washing/baking soda. Like the grated soap flakes, you’ll add it in a bit at a time and stir continuously until everything has dissolved. Let this cool for half an hour or so.

        Step 4: Scent

        Once cooled, you can add in some essential oil for scent, if desired. If you’re going to do this, be sure to add scent that’s complementary to the soap that you used: adding something sweet or minty to a citrus soap will be absolutely repugnant, so keep to the same fragrance profile. When in doubt, leave it out.

        Should you decide to use essential oils, add in 20 or so to the stock pot and stir it well. I like to use lemon and tangerine, as I like citrus notes in our linens and such, but my favourite is rose: I’ll use a rose-scented soap, and then add in extra rose absolute essential oil. Note that I do not use this particular detergent for my husband’s clothes, as he wouldn’t be terribly pleased to go about smelling like a rosebush—for guy-friendly detergent, stick to scentless, minty, citrus, or “green” scents (like Irish Spring).

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        Step 5: Decant and Store

        Here’s where your large spouted containers or pails come in: get someone to hold the funnel for you and pour (or ladle) the liquid detergent into the containers until they’re 3/4 full. This mixture can thicken up a bit once it’s cooled, so leave a bit of space to add extra water if it’s needed. Alternately, if you’re using a large plastic pail with a lid on it, just pour the contents of the stock pot right into the pail, and seal it shut. Then, you’ll just use 1/2 cup of it for every load of laundry, and voila! Clean clothes.

        If you go this route, you’ll never have to buy those chemical-laden detergents ever again, and can easily do 30+ loads of wash for just a few cents per load.

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        Catherine Winter

        Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on January 11, 2021

        11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

        11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

        Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

        Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

        1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

        Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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        2. Stress Relief

        Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

        3. Improved Sleep

        Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

        4. Appetite Control

        Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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        5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

        When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

        6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

        Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

        7. Mosquito Repellant

        Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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        8. Pain Relief

        While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

        9. The New Anti-Viral

        Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

        10. Improved Cognitive Function

        Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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        11. Money Saving

        With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

        Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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