Make Your Own Laundry Detergent - Simplified

Some years ago, I posted my recipe for homemade laundry detergent and fabric softener (Make Your Own Environmentally Friendly Detergent and Fabric Softener). Since then, I have made a few changes to simplify the process, and thought that I would share them with you.

One of the steps, grating the bar of laundry soap by hand - a very laborious and painful task (especially if you have carpal tunnel, arthritis, etc) is out. I switched from the Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap bars, to Zote (brand) White Laundry Flakes - and I had a V8 moment when I discovered this pre-grated soap! It has probably been around for a while and I was just either oblivious, or it just wasn't in my neighborhood stores until recently. It is slightly more expensive than buying the bars, but I think the trade-off is worth it for the time saved and being pain-free.

Note: There is an askerisk (*) on the back of the box stating "Not recommended for high-efficiency machines." however I am not sure if they meant for those using the soap exclusively.  It may not be recommended because high-efficiency machines use less water, therefore making it harder for the soap to dissolve. As part of a laundry detergent mixture though, I have not had any issues.

One 17.6 oz box is equal to two bars of soap, so I increased my other ingredients to make up for the extra bar and it lasts twice as long:
1 box of Zote Flakes
2 cups of Borax
2 cups of Washing Soda
Combine all ingredients into one airtight container - 1/4 cup per washer load.

The liquid version of the recipe involved dissolving the same ingredients listed above in boiling water, then cooling before transferring to a container. Increasing the water to two cups would be the change for the new version. Lately though, I have opted for the quicker version using the blue Dawn dishwashing liquid (1/2 cup), Washing Soda (1/2 cup), Borax (1/4 cup) and hot water (5 cups). Dissolve the Borax and Washing Soda with the hot water (I mix in a gallon jug) then add the Dawn, cap and swirl - done!

Both versions of the liquid detergents need to be shaken/mixed before using (1/4 cup per load) because the ingredients do separate, but for those who prefer liquid over powder for cold water washes, it's another option.

As far as the Fabric Softener recipe goes (below), I still make it when there is time, but lately I have just used the easiest of all recipes -  1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser - done!

Here is is again:
1 cup baking soda
6 cups distilled white vinegar
8 cups water
10 drops essential oils (optional)
bucket & container to pour into after mixing

Mix baking soda and one cup of the water in a bucket. Slowly add the vinegar. When it stops fizzing add the rest of the water, then essential oils of your choosing, if desired. Pour into container - shake before using.