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How to Make Your Own Fabric Softener and Laundry Detergent

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By Sommer Poquette

Many conventional laundry soaps and dryer sheets contain questionable ingredients. For example, many conventional detergents might contain, 1,4-dioxane, quaternium-15, phosphates and synthetic fragrances.

If you do your research, you will find that many of these are known carcinogens and/or irritants to the skin. These chemicals are added to detergents to make them smell better, work better in hard water and prevent dirt from settling back on clothes during the wash cycle, among many other reasons. Are they necessary? This depends on whom you ask, but the good news is this: You can clean your clothing, avoid static cling and have nice-smelling clothes—all without the chemicals.

The bonus is that you will save money, too! It's super cheap to make your own laundry detergent and laundry softener. It's estimated that making your own laundry detergent costs $.02 per, load while using name-brand detergents can cost as much as $.21 per load. If you do a lot of laundry, that's a lot of money saved!

There are hundreds of DIY laundry soap and fabric softener recipes online, but the best thing to do is to experiment with the variety and find what works for you—whether it's liquid or powder, scent or scent-free. Here are two of my favorite recipes for making my own laundry soap and fabric softeners. Neither take much time to prepare and both work well.

DIY Laundry Soap & Softener Recipes

Sommer Poquette

DIY Laundry Soap

Ingredients

  • 1 cup liquid Dr. Bronner's Soap
  • 1 cup Super Washing Soda
  • 20-30 drops of your favorite essential oil
  • Gallon-size container that closes to avoid leaks—plastic or glass
  • 2-3 cups hot water

Directions

Add your liquid Dr. Bronner's Soap, Super Washing Soda and hot water to the container, then drop in the essential oil. Close the container and shake it well. The washing soda takes a while to dissolve. If you find that it is not dissolving, you can empty the mixture into a saucepan, heat it and stir until everything dissolves, then pour it back into your container. I just shake, shake and shake! The hotter the water, the better the washing soda dissolves. Watch the how-to video here.

Sommer Poquette

DIY Fabric Softener

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of white vinegar
  • 20 drops of your favorite essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol for emulsion
  • Quart-size container that closes to avoid leaks—plastic or glass
  • 6-8 sponges or washcloths cut in half

Directions

Add your vinegar, essential oils and witch hazel to your container of choice. Add your cut sponges or washcloths to the liquid in the container and shake. The sponges or washcloths will absorb the liquid. Add one sponge or washcloth to your dryer to prevent static cling and give your clothing a fresh, clean scent of your choice. Watch the how-to video here.

Benefits to Making Your Own Laundry Detergent

The best part about making your own laundry soap and fabric softener, besides the cost savings, is that you control the ingredients. If you have someone in your family with sensitive skin, they'll appreciate you limiting the chemicals used to clean their clothing. Using natural ingredients can be just as effective as brand-name cleaners and you won't have to worry about the chemical irritants.

Green and Clean Mom Sommer Poquette is an expert on green topics related to homeowners. Reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.

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