This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in June 2015.
I’m going out on a limb and saying that you probably can’t relate to this, but I love doing the laundry. Most days, it’s a moment of Zen. Uninterrupted “me time.” An opportunity to organize those messy drawers as I put clothing away. And it always smells divine.
I love the smell of freshly laundered towels, enjoy matching and folding socks, and even use cloth diapers for my youngest, which in effect means that we do several extra heavy-duty loads each week over the typical family of four. We have a high-efficiency machine (which requires us to use low-sudsing detergents) and a septic system (for which we use zero-Phosphate formulas), and the fact that I can make my own low-cost detergent that meets those requirements and satisfies all of our family’s laundry needs is pretty spectacular.
But whether you love laundry like I do, or think it’s a chore, I think you’ll find this DIY powdered detergent recipe right up your alley.
Borax and washing soda are very similar color and consistencies. Combine 1 cup of each into a mixing bowl.
Use a grater to shred one bar of Ivory soap. Not all brands are acceptable for this recipe, but that particular product is gentle without dyes. Dr. Bronner’s is a good substitute, and from that brand you can explore the natural scented soaps. Almond? Peppermint? Lavender?
The last ingredient I add to the bowl is 1 mL of tea tree oil. We like the scent, and its naturally disinfecting properties make it a nice extra boost for the cloth diapers.
Running the mixture through a food processor fully disintegrates the soap gratings. This helps to lessen the dissolve time of the soap in your washer, and leaves you with a powder detergent that’s as scoopable as sand.
Keep your finished detergent in a sealed container, and add a measuring scoop for convenience. Rule of thumb for measuring: 2-3 tablespoons for each large or heavily soiled load of laundry. If you’re doing a small load, cut back to 1 tablespoon.