Daily Cleaning 101 – Step 5 “The Laundry”

February 22, 2013

Welcome back to A Bowl Full of Lemons week of “Daily Cleaning 101”.  Today I am sharing my 5th step to “keeping a clean home”, the laundry.  In the blink of an eye, the laundry can turn into a mountain of chaos.  You don’t have to let this happen. If you give your laundry care and attention once every day, what used to be a hot mess can become a quite manageable and simple daily task.

A Bowl Full of Lemons Daily Cleaning 101 Series


Step 5 – “Daily Laundry Care”

  • Complete one full load of laundry each day (Wash, dry, fold, put away).
  • Start the washer as soon as you are up and dressed.
  • Place a laundry hamper/basket in each bedroom.


My Cleaning Supplies 

 Fresh Laundry Concentrate  I love and use Fresh Laundry Concentrate detergent because it works great in my HE washer. It’s super concentrated and includes a pre-spotter and laundry cleaner all in one.

Soft Fabric Concentrate  All natural plant based softener.


All Natural Homemade Laundry Detergent

If you are looking to save some money (or if you’re on the Dave Ramsey plan), you can try this all natural homemade laundry detergent. I researched many recipes online and most homemade detergents included these common ingredients.



1 (4 lb) box of Borax

1 (4 lb) box of Super Washing Soda

1 (4 lb) box of Baking Soda

3 bars of Dr. Bronner, Kirk’s Castile, Fels Naptha, Zote, OR Ivory soap (Shredded)

Mix well in a large container. Cover with a airtight lid.

Directions for use: Add two heaping tablespoons to each load of laundry. You will need less with an HE washer.  *When using powder in your HE washer, make sure to remove the detergent selection tray. (Read your manual to be sure you are using powder detergent correctly).  Makes about 150 loads.




Fabric Softener

1/4 cup Vinegar (Place in fabric softener compartment)


Fabric Dryer Sheets

Place 10 drops of pure essential oil on a cotton cloth and place in the dryer with your clothes. (You can use clove, lime, spearmint, geranium, peppermint, spruce, or lavender).


Free Printable

Click on the picture below to print the Daily Cleaning 101 checklist out. It will remind you of what needs done and how little time it takes. Please do not redistribute. Personal use only.

Daily cleaning checklist


My favorite cleaning products

  1. Cleaning Plain & Simple by Donna Smallin (My “go to” book for cleaning tips, how to’s & recipes)
  2. Get Clean Starter Kit (Contains everything in my cleaning kit minus Scour Off)
  3. Scour Off (To clean my sink weekly)
  4. Real Simple microfiber cloths
  5. Oreck Magnesium Vacuum (Giveaway at the end of the Series)
  6. Fresh Laundry Concentrate
  7. Basic H (Multi purpose cleaner)
  8. Nature Bright (Stain remover/brightener)
  9. Soft Fabric Concentrate





If you take 15 minutes out of your day to complete 1 full load of laundry, you will feel less overwhelmed and more in control of your home.  Trust me, it works!  Try it for one week and see how you feel.

84 comments on “Daily Cleaning 101 – Step 5 “The Laundry”

  1. Faith Smith says:

    This is the one thing that I know can I could get behind on. I usually have 5 to 7 loads a day having 7 kids but even then if I make it a priority to get them going it isn’t so bad. I teach my little ones to help. Thank you for the detergent recipe. I have loved this series!!!

    • Jennifer says:

      Oh my goodness, Faith! And I complain about one or two loads a day! (We have three kids) You are a laundry superwoman!!! I bet you have some great tips for staying on top of it all. 🙂

  2. Cassie W says:

    I have been using the above detergent tat I made and works great except my towels are feeling real rough and a few black things are getting spotty. Do you have any advice on hw to wash towels??? I bought expensive hotel towels at Macy’s and they are so rough now:(any help would be great !!

    • Admin says:

      Cassie, Sounds like you need a good fabric softener. Have you tried that?

      • Cassie w says:

        I was told fabric softener would destroy the fibers , I have tried vinegar . I am afraid I may have ruined my towels:(

      • Jennifer G says:

        Some store-bought fabric softeners (the most familiar one that starts with a D, for sure) will coat your towels, and they will be soft but not absorbent; not great if you are trying to dry yourself off after a shower. Vinegar is supposed to be a good natural fabric softener, and I think I’ve heard that baking soda is good too, but that might be for getting out odors instead.

      • Danielle says:

        Try looking into RLR it is supposed to strip any build up in clothing. Cloth diapering moms use it when they have problems with their diapers and it really works well. I’ve gotten from amazon and some local stores will carry it (especiallt if you have a cloth diaper store nearby).

    • Kristin Lieb says:

      Cassie, I use a vinegar mix and it works really well for me. I use a mix of 1 cup baking soda, to which I SLOWLY add 6 cups vinegar. I then add essential oils to my preference for scent, but you could leave that out. I keep it on top of the dryer in an old orange juice container. Just give it a good shake before adding it to the fab. softner spot in your washer. Also, for inside the dryer I have 6 or 7 felted dryer balls. Makes a huge difference with towels! Good luck!

    • Anonymous says:

      Add oxy clean to detergent recipe to prevent fading and always add soap to running washer before clothes

    • Jessica says:

      I use this recipe (or a version of but the same base) and these DYI Dryer balls. You can learn how to make them here. http://www.ehow.com/how_6515028_diy-dryer-balls.html.

      They are amazing at keeping your towels nice and fluffy. The balls force the clothes apart and make drying time faster also.

  3. Lindsey says:

    Thanks for the homemade powder detergent recipe. I made liquid but its messy to keep stored so I’ve been wanting to find a powder recipe for next time. I HEART your blog 🙂

  4. Lisa says:

    Just wondering, how to you shred the soap bars? I wouldn’t want to use the same shredder that I use for food…

    • Ani says:

      Why wouldn’t you use the same shredder? It’s just soap. You wash the shredder with soap, right? I just consider a freebie – I use the shredder and it’s halfway clean 😉 Just rinse the soap off.

    • Amanda says:

      I use a food processor, cut the bars of soap into chunks, add into the processor with some oxy clean and it will do the work.

    • Aisha says:

      I bought a used food processor from the local Goodwill. I have a bin that I store all of my soap making products in that way nothing gets crossed used. I do understand that “It is just soap” I guess the thought just doesn’t set well with me. You can also buy a grater for a couple of dollars and use that for your soap as well.

    • Sherry says:

      I use my food processor then I throw all the parts in the dishwasher and it comes out just fine.

  5. Jessica says:

    I can see putting clothes in the washer and getting it ready to start it first thing in the morning, however we have to be at work pretty early in the mornings. We get up at 6 and are out the door about 10 til 7 to drop the litte one off at daycare/school. My concern is leaving wet clothes to sit in the washing machine for 8 hours during the day. Won’t that cause the clothes to mildew?

    • Frankie says:

      Jessica, my routine with my non-delicate items when I worked was simple. I loaded my washer the night before (towels, socks, pjs, etc). When I got up, normally I was up first, I started the load, added soap under the water then let it run. My washer could go through the entire cycle in about 35 to 40 mins. I would throw it in the dryer on my way out the door. I know a lot of people don’t like to run their dryer when they aren’t home but, since I regularly clean my dryer venting, I have never worried about it. If I needed to get a load of delicates done in the morning, I followed the same routine, just woke up a little earlier so that I would have time to hang my laundry to air dry, which obviously took longer than tossing in the dryer. I hope this helps.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I’ve used both liquid and powder homemade but I wonder how well the soap shreds dissolve in cold water. I have an HE so there really isn’t an agitator. Does anyone have any thoughts on whether or not the bar soap shreds actually dissolve in cold water?

    • Anonymous says:

      It dissolves very well. I have been making my own detergent for a year, and I love it.

    • Blondebobbi says:

      Mine does not melt in cold water. It only melts in hot, so I add mine to HOT (not boiling) water and stir, if I need it to be used in cold water.

  7. Hannah says:

    How do you shred soap?

    • Anonymous says:

      I put my soap through my salad shooter with the grater attachment. It works great. Then rin it through the dishwasher to clean it.

  8. Michelle Underwood says:

    I wish there was a “pin it” button on these links. I would love to be ale to save them that way!

  9. Avi says:

    Wow, your list has motivated to stay on top of my daily chores. This has helped me so much. What a great feeling to come home after a long day to a clean house.

  10. Brittany says:

    Where can I purchase essential oils?

  11. I have been using this recipe to make my own detergent for a couple of years and it works great and lasts forever! The only thing I do differently is add Scentsy’s French Lavender Washer Whiffs to it. For this much I would use two bottles. It really makes your clothes smell fantastic!

  12. Beth says:

    When my kids turn 12 they learn to do their own laundry. They each have an assigned day snooze you lose. I am looking forward to trying this. I have switched over all my household cleaners but had yet to change my laundry products. Thanks!

  13. Jennifer says:

    I don’t have a fabric softener drawer so I fill a Downy Ball 3/4 fill of vinegar. Fyi, don’t put vinegar directly in with the homemade detergent; the borax turns to salt and is rendered worthless. I speak from experience and research. Vinegar is a good softener and removes all kinds of smells so it’s a must in my laundry room.

  14. Kelly says:

    Where do you get super washing suds?

  15. Jenelle Stroble says:

    I am having a hard time finding an airtight container for my detergent. Where did you get your containers, please?

    • Blondebobbi says:

      Lowes, Home Depot. I bought an empty pail, (can be white, can be orange or any color) that you buy in the paint section. Then I also put a piece of Saran (plastic) wrap on top, then put the lid on top of that.

  16. Chris says:

    Thanks for the detergent recipe! I LOVE your green scoop, where did you find it?

    Thanks for this series, I really needed it!!

  17. Betty says:

    I find that empty 2 or 3 litre juice bottles are great for storing so many things, split peas, cleaning products anything xxx

  18. Shantelle says:

    Is the detergent recipe safe for cloth diapers??

  19. Anna says:

    Toni – I’m really enjoying your blog! Thanks for sharing all your great ideas 🙂 Two questions for everyone: First, same as Shantelle, is this recipe safe for cloth diapers? So far, I’ve heard yes but I wonder if anyone has heard that its not safe. Also, is the detergent safe for newborn babies? And with that, any suggestions on what type of bar of soap? Thanks!

    • Anita says:

      This soap is not only safe for babies, it is excellent for anyone with exzema. Most of the stuff you find in laundry detergent is bad for babies, and the viengar rinse is a germ killer. Use Zote soap if you can find it — walmart sells the bars in the laundry section for about a dollar.

  20. Marjorie says:

    I love this. 🙂

    Jessica does bring up a good point though — some of us simply can’t adhere to this schedule, as ideal as it is! What about working mothers? Or those of us who live in an old home, and don’t have the luxury of an in-home washer? (I refuse a daily morning trip to the laundromat! That will stay a weekly thing for me.)

  21. Melanie says:

    what is the reason to put this mixture into an airtight container? i would like to switch from tide pods and oxyclean to this detergent mixture. currently i keep the oxyclean and pods in two glass candy jars with lids, but they aren’t airtight. i LOVE the difference oxyclean has made in removing stains without pretreating as i’ve been using it for about 4 months. i’m wondering…can i substitute it for the super washing soda? or some other element of the mixture? i also love the idea of scented essential oil on a cloth instead of dryer sheets. i can’t stand that film i feel on the clothes when i use dryer sheets. i wonder, do the cloths with the essential oil help control static?

    • Melissa says:

      I had the same question, even using Seventh Gen dryer sheets. make a foil ball and throw it in with whatever you use for smell. It’s (only) function is to control the static.

    • JennW-M says:

      I make a laundry detergent exactly like this except I add the large tub of oxy clean into the mix as well. Keep everything the same just add the oxi clean. Love homemade detergent…we have been using it for over two years now.

      • Bri says:

        What size box of oxyclean do you buy to use in this recipe? And I’ve never used powder detergent before – do I need to use a fabric softener with this? I don’t use one now with my Arm & Hammer liquid detergent. Maybe I’m just an awful 22 year old. lol

    • Sherry Clark says:

      I have been making my own laundry detergent for about a year now and my recipe is exactly the same as this one except I add a small container of oxyclean. No need to substitute. 🙂

  22. Kendra H says:

    I posted this over on your blog post on laundry room organization, but thought I would post it here as well. How do you keep the mildew/mold smell at bay on a front loading washing machine?

    By the way I love your blog. Your ideas are practical and so many of them can work for my family and I. Not every one of them do, but I am ok with that!

  23. Melanie says:

    Thankyou so much for this recipe for laundry powder. I always buy organic powders because I have very sensitive skin. I will definately give this a try. Do you have a recipe for dishwashers ? The powder that I use at the moment is expensive and also organic but I would love to make my own if possible !

    • Melissa says:

      I’ve been using homemade dishwasher soap for a couple months now and love it. It’s basically the same ingredients at laundry soap – equal parts Borax and Washing Soda and add a few squirts of some citric acid to help rinse clean. I used LemiShine in the dish soap aisle of walmart. I started small and I’m still using it after all this time (and I gave a cup to my mom). I think it was 2 cups each and then 15-30 squirts of the citric acid (you can also use a pack of lemon koolaid but it might stain the inside of your dishwasher because of the yellow dye). You want to add just enough so when you stir it you may see a few small clumps but don’t get it moist or it will become 1 giant clump over time.

      For added rinse add I used what I had left in (Jet something) and it worked. I haven’t added anything since it ran out but vinegar works. Some people put it in their rinse aid spot or you can turn a cup right side up and put a 1/4 cup in that on the top and run the wash.

  24. Beth says:

    Try a foil “ball” in the dryer to cut static! I think I saw this on Pinterest. It really works! I use the same one a few times (heavy duty foil, reg foil might wear out quicker), then replace when it becomes flimsy.

  25. kathy says:

    Love it!!! Maybe I missed seeing it somewhere but what are the little yellow things in your soap?

  26. We have been making our laundry soap as well!! I LOVE controlling what goes into my machine as well as what goes onto my family. Thanks for posting this!! People use to think we were crazy!! But now…it’s wonderful!! Thanks for sharing the message!! 😉
    Oh….and LOVE your blog!!

  27. I’ve been using the same laundry detergent recipe and I LOVE it! No way will I go back to store bought…this is so much better for your skin! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  28. Lanetra says:

    I wanted to ask where did you get your super cute containers?

  29. Amanda says:

    I have been using a recipe for detergent for about a year. I add oxy clean and fabric softener to the mix. I have four kids and one of them works at a trucking company with yucky clothes, this detergent works great to get his clothes clean

  30. Joy says:

    I was wondering where you got the containers you keep your laundry detergent in?

  31. Michele says:

    I can’t wait to try the detergent! I bought tge ingredients yesterday and I think I found the same cute green lidded containers at Walmart along with some inexpensive cute rainbow color labeled measuring spoons by Mainstays. Thanks for the “recipe”!

  32. Amanda says:

    I was also wondering where you got your containers.

    • Georgia says:

      I think those look like containers from the dollar store. My local dollar store has blue top containers.

      • Georgia says:

        oops. i saw them at walmart. mainstays makes the containers in a two pack.they hold 16 cups, i think.

  33. Rosemary says:

    This is a great blog! Good resource.

  34. christine says:

    I am so ready to try the DIY laundry detergent… I just want to make sure that it is completely safe for my HE front loader….anyone with a front loader use this type of DIY laundry soap and have you had any issues with your machine?

  35. Jackie says:

    Is this detergent safe on sensitive skin ?

  36. B says:

    I’ve tried this detergent for the past month in my HE front loader and love it! I use 1 1/2 tablespoons per load. I chose the Ivory soap option because I love the smell. My husband was skeptical, but after I washed a few loads of his laundry I’ve won him over! I managed to buy all the ingredients including the containers at WalMart.

  37. Tina says:

    Do you know if the all natural detergent recipe is safe for baby clothes?

  38. Ellen says:

    I refuse to do laundry every day! We each (there’s 3 of us in home these days) are responsible for our own laundry and we have a day assigned to it. The only thing that might spill over to the next day are clothes that hang to dry.

  39. Angie says:

    I have seen a powdered laundry receipt that added Purex crystals to the mix to add a fabric softener to it.

  40. Richard says:

    This is an awesome laundry detergent recipe! I’ve used this recipe for several months and I love it, Thanks!

  41. Erika Taylor says:

    I was wondering if you still did lifestyle photography as I was looking at Blueberry Lane Photography and your work is awesome. Enjoy your weekend.

  42. Le Clean says:

    Awesome awesome awesome! I can’t wait to make my own detergent this weekend!

  43. Ashley says:

    I love these! My sister in law wants to use them however her HE washer will not run without the tray. Can she still use them?

  44. Crystal P says:

    Please help. I got fingernail polish on my favorite ivory 100% polyester blouse. I tried fingernail polish remover and hairspray. I am so sad. I have not put it in the wash yet. I wanted to see if someone can save me.

  45. Remy says:

    THANK YOU for that to-do list at the end of your post! As a unemployed 22-year-old with ADHD I’m still makin’ that transition from ‘nutball’ to ‘actual responsible person at least 85% of the time’, and I always end up forgetting some simple day-to-day tasks. (The end result? I have a REALLY dirty bathroom and bedroom unless someone else does some cleaning, usually. >> I’m not proud. But I think I /will/ bookmark your blog and read through everything!!

    I am curious though – how do the essential oils help in the dryer? Is it just for the aroma, or to help collect lint and whatnot?

    I also can’t help but ask — I can’t be the only person who saw the Pirate Special on Mythbusters and thought ‘okay, so rum doesn’t work, but boiled urine is a go-to for removing really tough stains?! I wonder…. >>’
    Yeah, kind of gross, but — I’m curious nonetheless. Anyone tried that for stains?

  46. Errie says:

    Oh I must try this idea. I am working on starting the Dave Ramsey plan and I need to pinch my pennies in all areas. Thanks so much for this post. 🙂

  47. Natalie says:

    I can totally get behind the load of washing a day concept. I usually do two with just two kids and a dog 🙂 The thing I can’t keep up with is the drying and putting things away. I line dry everything except towels. Our tumble dryers use so much energy and I’ve always tried to live as environmentally friendly as possible. Also when do you find the time to iron? I simply need to carve out time 2-3 times a week at least to catch up because I can’t seem to find the time daily as its too dangerous with my 1 year old toddling around. Confused?!

    • Rachel says:

      You have a 1 year old, cut yourself some slack. Dry cleaners are great for getting items pressed and maybe using your dryer to ‘fluff’ those wrinkles out would help. Just one load so as to not use more energy and still stay green(er) than dryer drying all your wash

      • Anonymous says:

        You’re right…I just thought I was missing something! I set my timer for 15 mins twice today and got through quite a bit of ironing but this is the one thing I could use some outsourcing for! Thanks and maybe ai shouldn’t be such a martyr about using the tumble dryer when it saves so much time and effort. The rest of the Daily routine and Organisation I am doing great with. Thanks for all your information on here. I really appreciate it and I’m feeling happier and calmer as my house is becoming more organised.

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