In case you missed part one, I’m testing out natural house cleaning supplies to see what works and what doesn’t. This time around I focused on laundry. Disclaimer: I have super sensitive skin and have found out that a dye-free and fragrance-free detergent works best, so I was already begrudgingly using pretty natural (and expensive) products for laundry. I’m always willing to up the ante, though, so I tested out a few DIY options and here’s the conclusion.

Method one: Laundry Detergent

In retrospect, I should have tried this a long time ago, but buying borax sounded complicated. It’s not. In my grocery store it was right under all the boxes of Tide and All. However, washing soda was nowhere to be found. The instructions I found say that baking soda can be used in place of washing soda, so that’s what I did. After spending twenty years grating soap, I blended everything together to make a powdered laundry detergent.

Then I washed a small load of clothes with warm water and…discovered it did not work. I took my clothes out of the washer and they had clumps of white powder all over and smelled kind of strange.

Upon further reading, most of the internet agrees that you shouldn’t substitute baking soda for washing soda. Instead, you can supposedly turn baking soda into washing soda by baking it …but I’ll be honest and admit I will probably never go to this much trouble.

Method two: Dryer sheets

It took a few days to gather the strength to go back to my apartment building’s basement laundry room, but I had one more laundry experiment to perform: dryer sheets. When I was researching methods to make your own dryer sheets, I came across so many recipes using vinegar and cheap conditioner. That kind of grosses me out because cheap conditioner has just as many weird ingredients as store-bought dryer sheets and is basically only a good option if you want to save a few dollars.

So, instead, I made these wool dryer balls by wrapping a wool ball, putting it in an old pair of pantyhose, and then felting it in a hot dryer cycle by itself. I sprinkled them with essential oils because what’s the point of doing laundry if it doesn’t smell good?

Verdict: Making the dryer balls is slightly time consuming, but I felt like they really worked. The scent was a little too subtle to notice, but maybe that can be remedied with more essential oil.

Any tips for DIY laundry detergent that actually works? Let me know!

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Amanda has worked as a journalist, an SEO copywriter, and a social media specialist. Her aim as a Four Walls contributor is to provide something worth reading and create a community for people who lease and love it. She’s also a real person, not just a mysterious internet writer, who loves silversmithing, podcast-binging, and trying to figure out how to fix her rented apartment’s bad linoleum floor (see, just like you!)