These days we are overwhelmed with choice as we wander the supermarket laundry aisle. There are concoctions to brighten whites, lock in colour, remove fungi, soften and remove static. Reeling from the synthetic fragrances that hang like a heavy cloud over the shelves and the “green washed” labels conspiring against my intentions, I leave with the more eco friendly option, a good dose of confusion and often a much lighter wallet.
Bulk eco washing powders are a wonderful alternative and one I would reach for time and again. But budgetary constraints often lead me on a d.i.y. quest that fulfils my needs but doesn’t turn me into a martyr of pioneer-like domesticity. This laundry liquid, along with a d.i.y. powder, are how I clean our clothes, save my time (and sanity) and give a thankful nod to Mother Earth.
2 cups of grated pure soap or soap flakes*
1 cup of washing soda *
1 and 1/2 litres of water
Extra water to make the mixture up to 12 litres (10 and 1/2 litres)
Grate the soap if using bar soap (I simply chop the soap into chunks with a knife and then use a food processor to blitz it into small pieces). Add the grated soap or soap flakes to a saucepan along with the washing soda and 1 and 1/2 litres of water. Stir for a few minutes over a medium heat until the soap dissolves. Pour the mixture into a large bucket and add 8 and 1/2 litres of warm water and mix well. It will start to form a gel as it cools so keep stirring it now and again (don’t get too concerned about the lumps, I just stir it whenever I think of it). Using a stick blender, an electric whisk or even an old fashioned egg beater, blend the mixture for a few minutes keeping the blades under the surface to avoid over frothing it. Pour into up-cycled milk bottles or old detergent containers leaving some head room to give it a good shake if it separates a little (it’s quite thick). I use about 1/4 cup per load in my front loader which equates to over 180 washes!
*Lux flakes are available in a cardboard box as is sunlight soap. I alternate between the two depending on the budget and my commitments.
*I buy this in bulk once a year or so, or it can be purchased in the laundry aisle at supermarkets, chemists and some bulk stores.