As I have just run out of my hand-made laundry detergent, thought I would do a tutorial on how to make it. This time around, I used Palmolive rather than the very basic soap. I now use pure soap flakes from Wilkinson's (Wilko). I also add 15- 20 drops of lavender or other essential oil into each of my two storage vessels, (I now store it in 2 x 4 litre milk containers), as I fill it up. If you want to make one batch all the same, double up the oil. This recipe is for 1/2 a batch and works out at about 1 1/2 p all in per wash!
Step 1 – Prepare ingredients – 1/2 bar soap grated (or soap flakes), 1/2 cup (around 3oz) washing soda and 1 litre cold water - as you can see from the photograph below, I accidentally used only 1/2 litre water in this recipe, it still worked okay, I just added the extra 1/2 litre at the end!
Step 2 – In a large pan, melt the soap/soap flakes in the water. Ensure ALL of it is melted otherwise you will end up with blobs of soap on your clothes. DO NOT ALLOW IT TO BOIL.
Step 3 – Turn off the heat and remove pan. Stir then whisk in the soda. It will begin to thicken – keep whisking until all the soda is dissolved. Don't rush this stage, the soda must be dissolved.
You will only need to put it back on the residual heat if you feel the soda has not all gone. Again, DO NOT BOIL.
Step 4 – Gradually add 3 litres of cold water. Whisk well in-between each addition (this stage is like making a sauce).
Step 5 - Allow it to go cold. Remove any scum off the surface, then use an electric whisk to turn it back into a liquid form.
Step 6 – Always use a wide necked jar/bottles and a wide necked funnel (I now use 2 x 4 litre milk containers).
If using a milk container, pour in using a funnel until 3/4 the way filled so you can shake it when needed to help distribute the essential oil if you have used it. This half recipe makes 4 litres of liquid.
When washing, use 1 cup or about 200 ml in the soap dispenser of the machine.
If it is still like a gel at this stage put 200 ml into a jug and whisk in a little water to loosen it before adding to the washing machine - ONCE THE WATER IS RUNNING INTO THE DISPENSER). I might of course be a little over cautious doing this but again, for me, it works.
I then add 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar in the conditioning dispenser. Some recipes call for 1 cup!! of vinegar in the machine but I find 2 tablespoons works well enough to leave your clothes smelling fresh. Also, if you tumble dry, it stops static building up and they still smell fresh - no sign of the vinegar smell at all.