This recipe is for a liquid laundry detergent. I make powdered ones too, but this one works really well, and is versatile - you can also use it as a floor cleaner or all purpose cleaner. All you need are:
1/3 cup finely grated Sunlight soap
1/3 cup Washing Soda
That's it! Before we run through the easy how-to's, let's talk about the first two ingredients a bit:
Sunlight Soap is a yellow bar soap that's been used for laundry, hair care and lots of other things for a very long time. In NZ, it comes in a cardboard box of four bars, usually found in the cleaners aisle of your supermarket. Other similar products may be substituted. The more finely you grate it, the easier it is to dissolve, so use the smaller grater on the side of your regular grater.
Washing Soda is different to baking soda (in actual fact you can produce washing soda by submitting baking soda to heat for a specific period of time, but we'll look at that another day). Washing soda crystals are sold in the supermarket, but I prefer the higher quality powdered version that I buy from Trade Me. Either will work though.
Fill your kettle with water and put it on to boil. In a 9 litre bucket, place your grated soap and washing soda. Pour the kettle full of boiling water over it, and stir until the soap is dissolved. This will take a few minutes - I often give it a good stir, then let it sit for a bit while I do some other brief task, then go back to stirring. Then, top the bucket up to 7 litres with cold water, and stir. Optional: at this point you can add some drops of essential oil of your choice if you wish. Eucalyptus is a good one.
Decant the detergent into recycled plastic bottles. It will be very runny right now, but thicken upon sitting. I have used other recipes that got so thick they were hard to pour out of the bottles, but this one is just right. Don't forget to label your bottles and store safely.
To use, give the bottle a shake then add one cup of your liquid detergent to each load of washing, and put 1/4 cup white vinegar (I buy a cheap one for about $6 for 5 litres) in the rinse dispenser.
Suitable for both front and top loaders.
To use as a general cleaner, stir 1/2 cup to 1 cup full into a bucket of water, as desired.