how to clean your washing machine

how to clean your washing machine






3 cups white vinegar

2 cups Suave OR other CHEAP hair conditioner (I buy a giant bottle from sally beauty supply)

I add 2 tbps of my fave fragrance oil (this is purely optional and I like things to smell REALLY good. My fave is cedar wood. Smells clean)

6 cups HOT water




Mix conditioner & hot water well, until conditioner is dissolved completely.

Add the vinegar, and mix well.

Store in a large container: empty fabric softener container, empty large vinegar bottle, empty 1 gallon water or juice bottle

Put about 2 tbsp. in the fabric softener holder in your washer… then wash as usual.  (Some people use downy laundry balls. I don’t have one and I have a slot for fabric softener in my washer, so that’s what I use.  I also have an HE washer and this is fine for it.

NOTE: it’s best not to shake the bottle of softener before using it as it makes it foamy. I forget and to it anyway sometimes… and it IS foamy lol

Homemade Laundry Detergent Liquid (my version)

  • Homemade laundry detergent
  • This detergent is safe for the newer HE washers, as it is very low suds.
  • 1/2 Cup: Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (do not use baking soda)
  • 1/2 Cup: Borax
  • 1/3 Bar of ZOTE
  • 1/4 Cup of your favourite fragrance oil if you want it to smell super good (optional)
  • Bucket (I use a 5 gallon I got free at fast food place, so I have plenty of room for mixing)
  • Empty laundry detergent containers or bucket with lid to store detergent.
  • I pour what I need into an empty detergent bottle, then refill from the bucket as needed.


Grate 1/3 bar of ZOTE Soap over large pot or saucepan…

  • Add 6 cups of Water.
  • Heat over medium-high until soap dissolves and melts.
  • Add Washing Soda & Borax, and stir until dissolved.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Pour 4 cups Hot Water into bucket, then add Soap Mixture.
  • Stir, then add 1 Gallon + 6 Cups of additional water.  Stir.
  • I use my stick blender to make sure it’s all mixed well.
  • Transfer to a bucket with a lid, or pour into empty laundry detergent containers.
  • Set aside, and let it sit overnight, or up to 24 hours, to thicken and gel up.
  • Consistency and color will vary depending on your soap & water ~ it may be lumpy and watery… kind of like a watery gel, but it works great!

Stir or shake before each use, as it will continue to gel.  I keep a long handle spoon or stick blender (I have 2) in my laundry room, so I can stir as needed

I use about 1/3 cup of detergent per load.  If I need to, I add liquid bleach in the normal amount (for whites) or oxy for colours.


  • Borax, 76 oz. box ~ $3.14 at Wal-Mart or Winco
  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, 55 oz. box ~ 3.42 at Walmart and 3.14 at Winco
  • Zote  ~ $.97  at Walmart and Fels Naptha was $.97 at Winco
  • About 2 gallons for around 1.00 at these prices.

Your prices will vary according to where you live and what store you shop.

Some people use Fels Naptha.Image

I don’t like all the chemicals in it, so I use ZOTE.  You can also use a bar of ivory soap, but will need to use the ENTIRE bar.


Look for my post on homemade fabric softener


DIY Wool Dryer Balls

This blog is from one of our very own members! Come over and meet Jennifer V. and other great members on facebook:)

Jennifer writes:
”  Last week I read an article that highlighted a study done on dryer emissions.  The study conducted tested air from dryer vents used to dry clothes that had been washed with brand name laundry detergent, rinsed with brand name softener and dried using brand name dryer sheets.  The air collected was tested and found to contain many toxic chemicals, two of which were carcinogenic: Acetaldehyde (which when studied was found to be damaging to DNA and caused nasal tumors in rats and laryngeal tumors in hamsters) and Benzene (which according to, has been linked to acute lymphocytic leukemia in children and to chronic lymphocytic leukemia in adults).

In our house we are already trying to be as green as possible so this was rather alarming, especially when you consider how many households use dryers and how frequently.  We stopped buying laundry soap last year, I have been making our own using a very basic recipe but the soap works wonderfully!  We quit using fabric softener years ago, following the birth of my youngest and her extreme infant sensitivities.  We had however, still been using dryer sheets!  I had already been trying to find a green alternative to the dryer sheets as I see the spent sheets as such a needless waste.  I had been considering making my own reusable sheets using cotton wash rags, vinegar, water and fabric softener…and then I read the study!  I started drying the clothes without using anything but my husband and kids complained about the static so I started on a quest to find a solution to our drying needs.

Almost right on cue there was a new post on the Home Farm Ideas Facebook page, the thread was started by Alexis K. and was about soap-making.  From soap-making we somehow started talking about laundry soap alternatives such as soap nuts and then I was introduced the concept of felted wool dryer balls.  I started talking to some of my friends about it and lo’ and behold they were proud owners of wool dryer balls and they started telling me how well they worked…I was now determined to make some of my own!  On the same Facebook thread, Suzanne B. posted a link on a tutorial!  Amazing!  I had the know-how, I had the will…I just needed some wool roving, batting or yarn.

I decided on some yarn as I couldn’t find any local store that carried batting or roving.  The next morning I hit up my local Michael’s craft store, armed with a coupon for 40% off…I got three skeins of Lion’s Brand Fisherman’s wool yarn.

I wasn’t so sure how the colors would interact with my clothes in the dryer so I took the safe route, I bought one cream, one brown and the third was a combination of both.  I also got a hold of a pair of nylon knee highs, ok…I must admit it, I had to go out and buy them, but hey…I got TWO pairs for 82 cents!!!  I came home and set about to making two equal sized yarn balls out of each skein.  (My dear husband thought I was having too much fun doing this so he volunteered to help me wind up the yarn, hehe).  Three skeins of yarn then became 6 balls of yarn.  I made sure to tie the ends into the ball in order to secure it properly.  I didn’t cut off the ends, I just stuck them deep into the ball (zero waste there!).

I then took the nylon stockings and turned them inside out, the reason for that was because the toe-section of the nylons each have a massive seam and it would have left an indentation in the wool balls during the felting process.  I then took the first ball, put it all the way into the nylon stocking, and then tied a knot.  I took the second ball, put in the same stocking, and tied another knot.  Repeated with third ball and then ran out of space in that nylon so I secured that end and put that wool/nylon sausage aside (hehe…well, that’s what it looked like).  I repeated the process with the other nylon and the remaining three wool balls.

I took both wool/nylon “sausage links” and placed them in a pillowcase and tied the pillowcase shut.  I ran a HEAVY DUTY (fastest agitation) cycle in my washer using HOT water (small load), using my homemade laundry detergent and placed the pillowcase in, along with other clothes.  I left the top open (we haven’t transitioned to a front loader machine yet) so it would not drain the water and as soon as the agitation stopped we reset it to the beginning.  We did that until the water went tepid and then we let it drain but refilled it with HOT water again, ran another heavy duty cycle (without laundry soap this time), left the top open again so we could reset using same water, and after reset we closed the lid and let it finish off.  I then opened the pillowcase to check in on the wool balls and was happy to see that they had felted!  (From all that I have read you need HOT water and agitation to properly felt wool).

As you can tell from the picture, the brown ones are so felted you cannot even tell where the thread lines were.  The other four are still properly felted but the thread lines remain.  The wool balls were now smaller than when they initially went into the wash and I assume that is just a product of compacting during the felting process.  If you decide to make your own wool dryer balls, if they are not properly felted at this point, run them in another hot water wash, if they are felted then just throw them in the dryer with a load of laundry and put them to work immediately.

I initially tested these dryer balls with three heavy blankets; I used to have to set these blankets in for 60 minutes, I now set them at 40 minutes after which they came out completely dry!  Could it be that in the process of finding a dryer sheet alternative I found an energy efficient one as well?  I then ran a large load of laundry and dried those as well BUT I was unable to run that for less time and get the same result…however, I believe I may have overloaded the dryer that time.  I ran another load of laundry, this time I added a couple drops of eucalyptus essential oil to one of the wool balls, once again I was able to set it for 40 minutes but this time the clothes came out smelling AMAZING!  Best of all, ALL the clothes (ok, with the exception of the wool blanket) were static free!  My husband is convinced, my children are happy, our emissions will be greener, our wool dryer balls are reusable (should last for years), our clothes are static free, wrinkle free, softer and best of all our electric bill will be lower!

All in all this has turned out to be a great ALL-NATURAL alternative.  If there is one downside it would have to be the sound these balls make when they are in the dryer…they will bounce around, they will be a little noisy but trust me, they are worth it!  We can improve the quality of the air we breathe, the environmental legacy we leave behind for our future generations, one household at a time…and reap a lot of benefits by doing so!  ”