Easy-Peasy Homemade Laundry Soap, Fabric Softener, and Dryer Balls
There are several easy places in our everyday lives where we can make positive changes to remove chemicals and synthetic perfumes. One very easy place to start is with our laundry.
Here are some inexpensive ways to make your own laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets (in this case balls) that are chemical free.
Basic Easy Peasy Laundry Soap – Dry
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup Borax
*optional: 1/2 cup wash booster
Mix together and store in a container in a cool dry place. Use 1/2 cup per load of wash.
*a wash booster will do just as the name implies, it will give a boost to your laundry. If you have really dirty clothes, it’s great to put a booster into your soap.
There are several types of boosters:
washing soda (i.e. Arm and Hammer brand – and it’s a lot different from BAKING soda. They make a washing soda which is more alkaline than baking soda which is where you get the boost from)
grated soap flakes – take a bar of regular ole Ivory Soap and grate it like you would grate cheese.
Oxy Clean – a brand soap sold in stores
laundry soap flakes – might be hard to find. I recommend one of the above.
If you’d like to make laundry balls, use the above basic recipe with 1 cup of the grated Ivory bar soap. Combine your ingredients and press them into balls. Store in a container with a tight lid.
Next, we all love a soft feel to our clothing. Fabric softeners are often laden with nasty chemicals which I could go on and on about, but I won’t. All that extra stuff on your skin is just not good, plain and simple. I have a simple switch that will do the same for giving that soft feel as a commercial softener – for much less money and no chemicals for your skin. You’ll be amazed. Epsom Salts.
Easy Peasy Fabric Softener – add 1/4 cup of Epsom Salt into your wash cycle along with your detergent to soften your clothes naturally. You can also use Sea Salts but it’s not going to do anything differently than Epsom Salts – except cost you a lot more. You can also add essential oils to your salts if you’d like and your wash will smell divine – but if you are drying your clothes in a dryer the scent will not hold through the dry cycle and you’ll probably just be wasting your precious oils.
If line-drying you can make a jar of scented Epsom salts ahead of time. Simply put 3 cups of salts into a large baggie. Drop 50-60 drops of your favorite essential oil (see below for ideas), shake up the bag so the salts are coated/absorb the scent, and put into a jar or just leave in the sealed baggie for future use. It doesn’t even matter much if it clumps as you are throwing it into water.
For scented clothes in your clothes dryer, make a wool dryer ball! It’s – of course – easy peasy!
Easy Peasy Wool Dryer Balls
2 skeins of 100% pure wool yarn
1 leg of pantyhose
a long pointy stick (i.e. knitting needle or similar)
On your less dominant hand, put your index and middle finger together and wrap the yarn around them about 15 times. Scootch the yarn off your fingers and continue wrapping the yarn (tightly) around and around it starting in the middle. In a few minutes, you’ll end up with a ball of yarn around the size of a baseball. Cut the end of the yarn and poke it into the ball using a long thin object (like a knitting needle or shishkabob skewer.)
Your ball should be tight and very firm. It should have a slight bounce to it. If it’s not tight, start over. Cut the end of the yarn and poke it into the ball using a long thin object (like a knitting needle or shishkabob skewer.)
Put the ball into the toe end of the pantyhose and tie it off so it remains in there. Then put it into the washing machine on the HOTTEST setting (wash it with a load of towels so you’re not wasting a tub of water on one yarn ball).
At the end of the cycle take it out and put it into the dryer on the HOTTEST setting. This process is known as felting. It will become a felt ball and this is what you want. You are now ready to scent this ball with essential oils of your choice and use it like you would a dryer sheet.
Essential oils are natural and made from plants, seeds, flowers, roots, bark, peels, or other parts of a plant. They are not only great for scenting but for cleaning as they are antimicrobial. They are also great deodorizers. Orange essential oils are often found in many citrus commercial cleaners because of their ability to clean. Some wonderful scents for laundry are lemon, lemongrass, orange, lime, rose, lavender, tea-tree oil, rosemary, peppermint, and many more.
When mixing (or combining) them, just consider that some are very overbearing in scent strength compared to others, so you won’t want to do equal parts. For instance, if you are combining lavender and vanilla, you might do 2 drops lavender to 4 drops vanilla or vice versa depending on which scent you want to be dominant because they are both strong oils.
**Keep essential oils and laundry soap away from children. Harmful if ingested. Just because this stuff is all natural does NOT mean it shouldn’t be handled with care.