If you've followed Whispering Willow for a while you may recall that we used to make and sell our own laundry detergent. Here is a pic to help jog your memory:
We made detergent for ourselves for a while and decided to offer it to our customers. It was surprisingly popular but as our brand evolved, laundry detergent just didn't fit any longer so we dropped it from our line.
Recently, someone asked about our detergent. Since we still make it for our personal use I had the recipe close at hand and gladly shared our "secret sauce". This interaction got me thinking that since this is such an easy thing to do for yourself, I would share it with the world.
Here is the recipe:
1 lb - Borax
1 lb - A&H Washing Soda
1/2 lb - Baking Soda
1 oz of your favorite Whispering Willow Soap. This is optional in case you want a little scent in your laundry (we don't recommend using a bar with any color in it...so stick with the lavender shea or lemongrass shea).
Simply mix the ingredients together in a container and do the twist or the hokey pokey maybe shake it like a polaroid picture (anyway, you get the idea). If you are adding the soap then take 1 oz (about a quarter bar) and cut into small pieces with a kitchen knife. Then put it in a blender with the other ingredients and blend until the soap is chopped into fine bits.
The best thing about this recipe is that it only takes 1 tablespoon per load of laundry which means one batch will do 60 loads or more (for large loads or for heavily soiled clothes use a 1 1/2 tablespoons).
We also recommend using a little white vinegar in place of fabric softener and of course, use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets (those things are gross). There are lots of options for dryer balls out there but we use ones made by Smart Sheep.
Since we are talking about laundry detergent I have to share one of my favorite craft show stories. We were doing the Spring LEAF festival which is always held on Mother's Day weekend. As such, there are a lot of younger festival attendees looking for gifts for mom. If you don't know about the LEAF festival then you are missing out. It is probably our favorite event of all time as it is such a chill, loving, hippy family event. In addition to great music you can enjoy a massage or acupuncture at the healing arts tents, a local craft brew, a Veggie Thing from the Sugar Shack, and perhaps certain beneficial herbs. You may also get to see a crowd clap and cheer for a rainbow that comes out after a Spring shower. It's not "double rainbow all the way", it's just a bunch of open-hearted people sharing a love of music, nature and community. If you haven't been, put it on your bucket list.
Anyway, a college-aged kid, who seemed to have enjoyed some herbal pursuits, came to the booth and said he needed something for his mom for mother's day. I replied that we had several options for an overworked mom who could use a little relaxation such as our lavender neck pillows or some lovely bath salts. He nodded blankly and then pointed to something to a product and asked what was in the bag. I explained it was a natural laundry detergent and suddenly his eyes came to life. He exclaimed, "I see my mom doing laundry all the time, that would be a perfect gift!".
There are times in life when you have to sacrifice personal gain for the sake of someone else or just the greater good. I decided this was one of those times. I smiled and said, "Sir, I would love to sell you a gift for your mom, but I will not sell you a bag of laundry detergent." He seemed a bit confused and a little dejected and said he would think about it and come back. I wished him well and in my mind checked the box beside good deed for the day.
So that it doesn't seem like I'm being too hard on the young man I totally give him props for at least remembering his mom while at a music festival and in an "enhanced" mental state.
Ok, story time is over. If you are feeling a bit brave, give this laundry recipe a try. It works great and can be used with front loading, HE washers. There are a few washers out there that say to use liquid detergent only. In this case, we do NOT recommend using this recipe but encourage you to find a natural liquid detergent like the ones made by IndigoWild, Seventh Generation, or Ecover.
If you take the leap and give this recipe a try let us know what you think in the comments below.