Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Making It Count: Homemade Laundry Detergent


I like this soap because while not completely organic and natural, it is much better than the mainstream detergents and from friends' testimonies, it actually works.  I've tried all sorts of natural detergents and I just can't get them to work well.  It also uses way less detergent than the other brands, is far less expensive (estimated at 1 cent per load!) and is supposedly more septic-safe.  Oh, it also means less packaging as well.  Win times six.

I've been working the past few years to use only biodegradable and natural bath, body, and home products for our family and I think it is well worth it.  I remember when my husband and I were learning Natural Family Planning before we got married and the instructor talked for a bit about how fabric softener and perfumed detergents could actually affect a woman's mucous cycle.   I was like wha-huh??  You mean how I do my laundry can affect whether or not I conceive a child?  Craziness.  I think that was the start of me realizing that just going mainstream when it came to eating and cleaning and bathing and all the rest was not always the healthiest or wisest decision and perhaps not the way God planned it to be. 

Anyhow, apparently I am late to the train on the whole 'make your own detergent' thing because there are about three trillion recipes for this basic homemade laundry detergent online.  I've never even bothered with pinning it because I knew I could quickly search and find one of them.  Hey, here's one right here.  But I finally decided to do it today since I had run out of the other detergents that were in my laundry that I was trying to finish up.  The one I linked to uses a 1/1/1 ratio of Borax, A&H washing soda, and Fels-Naptha (all found in the laundry aisle).  Other recipes I found used different ratios.  I realized as I was gathering the ingredients that the full box of washing soda that I thought I had actually only contained about a half cup in it.  So I suppose this is my trial batch :) I went with the all equal parts ratio.  

I'd actually had ambitions to do this years ago while I was (I think) pregnant with David.  Do you see the old style packaging on both the Borax and the Fels-Naptha?  Yeah, I didn't get too far.  I only know that I was pregnant at the time because I remember trying to grate the soap with a tiny cheese grater and gave up because I was about to collapse in exhaustion.  There is no way I am that pathetic when I am not pregnant.  Right?  Maybe?  Well, we'll go with that.

There are ways to make the detergent in liquid form but I figured if it supposedly worked just as well in powder then I wasn't going to bother with the extra mess.  Besides then I get to use my awesome vinatage-looking glass laundry soap jar...you know you want one.  

So...I mixed 1/2 c. each of Borax and Soda and about a 1/4 bar of the Fels-Naptha that I pulverized with my handy dandy Cuisinart chopper into a fine powder (no more debilitating graters for me, people).  Put them in my dorky super cute laundry soap jar, shook it up and it's good to go.  I know, it's a measly amount but since you only use one tablespoon per load (for HE washers), that should last me probably two weeks or so...enough time for me to pick up another box of the washing soda so I can make a full batch.  Once the Fels-Naptha is used up, I plan on using a more natural soap like Dr. Bronner's.  Using up that stuff first is probably more responsible than throwing it in the trash in order to buy something more natural and eco-friendly, eh?

I'm linking up today with Pam and Sarah as they make their time online count for something good.  Feel free to pop on over there and see what others are up to this week!





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9 comments:

  1. You, my dear, are an ever-lovin' font of energy. Can I have some? :)

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    1. Now THAT is funny because I literally was trying to keep my eyes open on the couch while reading to the boys just now. The rule is don't sit down or you won't get back up. Until about 7 p.m. and then I'm d.o.n.e.

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  2. I've been wanting to try this also. Where did you get your jar? I like it! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. hoo...I'm not sure I can remember! I think someone actually bought it for me in college or something to use as a cookie jar! I'm pretty sure I've seen similar ones at Walmart or Michael's, though! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I made a similar recipe a month or so ago- and it's great! Feels so good to save some money. I too am trying to make my own hand and dish soap now. I also love the jar- it's hard to find big one like that.

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  4. Don't do the liquid. My first thought was what a wonderful jar.

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  5. I did this in liquid form years ago, and it really was a bit of a hassle. It takes a really big pot and kind of stinks...But if it works in powder form, I might be willing to give it a go again. I would love to hear how well it works for you in tackling kid dirt.

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  6. Do you use this detergent for your diapers? If not what detergent do you use on your cloth diaps? I also do cloth diapers for my kids and so far have just been using tide free which I also use on their clothes but I would like something that is better on their little booties!

    Also, I found your blog by following your link on Like Mother, Like Daughter!~ Love that blog too. So glad to have found yours!

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    1. This little batch only lasted a couple of weeks and I did use it with no problems but I wasn't thrilled about it with the Fels-Naptha which is pretty harsh and has a strong detergent smell. I just made a new batch last week using Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castile Soap (2c. soda, 2c. borax, 1 bar Bronner's) and I LOVE it. I actually feel for the first time like clothes are getting clean. I'm using it on the diapers now with no ill effects so far... I'm glad you stopped by!

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