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How to Substitute Liquid Bluing

Updated February 21, 2017

Having somewhat of a counter-intuitive name, liquid laundry bluing detergent is a product used to whiten clothing. In contrast to its chemical whitening counterparts, laundry bluing is non-toxic and biodegradable. The blue part of the product indicates the optical brightening that occurs when a blue undertone is added to white. As a substitute to a commercial bluing detergent, homemade bluing detergent can be made with common household materials.

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  1. Grate two bars of plain Castile soap using a cheese grater. Castile soap works well for washing clothes because it rinses well without leaving a residue.

  2. Bring a pot of four cups of water to a boil.

  3. Add the grated Castile soap to the boiling water.

  4. Use a stirrer to stir the soap and water until the soap has completely dissolved.

  5. Pour the hot, soapy water into a bucket or large mixing bowl.

  6. Add two cups of borax. Borax is a safe, natural and environmentally friendly substance.

  7. Add two cups of washing soda. Washing soda is also a safe, natural product.

  8. Stir the solution until the borax and washing soda is dissolved.

  9. Add two gallons of cool, fresh water and continue to stir.

  10. Stir in two tablespoons of blue shampoo. Optionally add a few drops of a favourite essential oil, such as eucalyptus or lavender, to add fresh scent to your homemade bluing detergent.

  11. Store the bluing detergent in a sealable jug.

  12. Use 1/4 cup of the solution per full load of laundry.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 bars Castile soap
  • Cheese grater
  • Pot
  • Stirrer
  • Bucket or mixing bowl
  • 2 cups borax
  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 2 tablespoons blue shampoo
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • Plastic jug with lid

About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.

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