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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 December 2, 2019

        10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

        10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

        Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

        In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

        These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

        1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

        Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

        But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

        Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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        2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

        You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

        The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

        3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

        If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

        Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

        If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

        4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

        Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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        To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

        In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

        5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

        We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

        If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

        Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

        “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

        6. Give for the Joy of Giving

        When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

        One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

        So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

        7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

        Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

        Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

        8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

        When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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        So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

        9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

        Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

        It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

        It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

        10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

        There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

        But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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        Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

        More About Living a Fulfilling Life

        Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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