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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 March 24, 2021

        8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

        8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

        We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

        On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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        Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

        1. Smart Door Locks

        A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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        2. Smart Kitchen Tools

        Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

        3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

        If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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        4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

        These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

        5. Nest Thermostat

        This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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        6. Smart Lighting

        Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

        7. Google Chromecast Ultra

        Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

        8. Canary

        This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

        Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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