Homemade on the Homestead

You asked for it, so here it is!

One of the biggest goals here on the farm is to live a fully sustainable life. It’s a slow process, cutting out what we can over time here and there, and making the most of what’s available to us right off the farm. Making laundry soap seemed like a good place to start when trying to get rid of some of the more conventional household items we used.

Today, I’m sharing the recipe I use for making my own homemade laundry soap. It has been over three years since I’ve bought commercial laundry detergents from the store, including fabric softener. This soap leaves all of our clothes, bedding and towels soft and smelling wonderful, and all that you need is one tablespoon in your washing machine! The best part for us coming up, it is totally safe to use for all of our baby items we are getting ready for our little babes arrival this month.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Homestead Laundry Detergent

Ingredients

  • 2 bars of Fels Naptha soap (I was told you could only get this item out of the US, but for my Canadians, no need to fret, I bought a box of 24 bars offline from Amazon that shipped right to the farm!)
  • 2 cups Borax
  • 2 cups Washing soda (I use Arm&Hammer)
  • 1 dishpan (I found a CLEAN kitty litter box from the dollar store worked perfect)
  • 1 grater
  • 40 cups boiling water
  • Essential oils (If you’d like to add a scent to your soap, but it smells wonderful all on it’s own too)
  • Jars (You’ll need lots, depending on what sizes you are using too)

Instructions

Step 1. Coarsely grate your 2 bars of Fels Naptha soap into dishpan. Add 16 cups of boiling water and stir until all the soap is dissolved.

Step 2. Add 20 cups of boiling water to dishpan. Stir in 2 cups Borax, stirring to dissolve. Add 2 cups washing soda, stir to dissolve. If using essential oils add at this time.

Step 3. Once everything has dissolved, add more hot water until about an inch from the top of your dishpan. Stir.

Step 4. Ladle the soap mixture into jars working quickly, as the liquid will start to gel as it cools.

There you have it, you’ve jarred your very own batch of laundry soap! To use add 1 tablespoon directly into washing machine with clothes. This soap can be used with both regular machines and HE machines. And don’t be afraid to skip out on the fabric softener, you’re not going to need it!

Another item we added just this Winter to our laundry regime was dryer balls. I had been wanting to try them out forever, but was stubborn and didn’t want to purchase them. I had my own plan set in motion. The fibre we had saved from our first alpaca gentlemen (Calvin and Hobbes) had been taken to a mill. It was not the right quality of fibre for making into wool, so it was mixed with merino wool and turned into roving. When I got the roving back , I knew what I was going to do with it.

The dryer balls were relatively easy to make, using a stockinette (or pantyhose leg) and running them through the wash cycle a couple of times to felt them together. The roving was wound into tight softball size balls, stuffed into the stockinette and tied individually and then sent through a wash cycle on the hottest setting possible. We ended up doing a total of three cycles before removing the balls to dry. After drying for an evening, we cut the balls out of the pantyhose and, voila, dryer balls!

I like to use mine with a couple drops of my favourite oils to add a little extra fresh to the dryer. Simply toss the ball into the dryer with your load of clothes or bedding and dry as normal. No static. Softness. Fresh scent. I am sold on alpaca dryer balls. I can’t wait to save more fibre this spring just for Dryer Balls to share!

Wondering what some of the best essential oils are for laundry?

Lavender – My go to for adding in with bedding, this oil is a relaxing and calming floral smell.

Wild Orange – A fresh scent, this oil is uplifting and invigorating and makes for the perfect addition for clothing.

Melaleuca (Tea Tree) – This cleansing oil is a great addition for those who may be like me, and sometimes forget a load in the washer now and then. Add this purifying oil to your dryer ball and pop in with wet clothes to dryer.

Eucalyptus – Great for freshening and killing germs, this oil is a must when purging after a sickness.

Lemongrass – A citrus oil, with a side of earthy smell, this makes for a great scent for that man in your life’s dirty socks or work clothes.

Cedarwood – A favourite of mine, this earthy smell is grounding with cleansing properties. Another great one for the man in your life, or a great addition for a good nights sleep with lavender.

I hope that you’ll love this recipe as much as I do and found this post helpful. I would love to see your laundry creations, so please, tag us or mention us on Instagram to share your laundry hacks!

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