October 4, 2008

how to making your own laundry detergent

ok I'm gonna try to explain a new thing we've tried here --- making your own laundry detergent.

yep it can be done! I did it!!

If you go google it you'll find this isn't something new or easy to get a straight answer on. Everyone has their own "blend" and way of doing it. And some of them are VERY exact and then some are so vague it almost makes you wonder.

So I was sure that I wouldn't be able to do it at all. It's not too hard to figure out why - I'm lazy. Every "recipe" that I found at first was for liquid detergent, which is what we were buying. So you'd think it'd be ok --nope!-- that's the HARDEST kind to do!

I think any woman who does the liquid detergent "recipes" are WONDER WOMEN! I admire them ALOT. But it's not for me.

So I was on TipNut.com and seen this. It gave me the secret I was looking for -- powdered laundry detergent! And so I set out to get all the ingredients. Boy was I in luck! Seems that I must not be the only person on this detergent mission. One day I went into the grocery store and the stuff wasn't there and the next it was.

So I got all my ingredients together and low and behold I didn't get enough of some things and too much of others. Oh well, I figured it'd either work or not --- can't hurt too much right?

Well I washed some towels the first load with my own little test stained towel. I stained a towel with the hardest things to get out that I could get from the fridge. I used ketchup, mustard, bbq sauce, and cherry juice. Well the conclusion is it didn't get it all out -- left some very slight staining of mustard & cherry juice. But in all fairness my regular detergent didn't get all of those stains out either on the first time. The homemade did get it out within 2 or 3 washes.

So after using it for about a month I can honestly say that it works great. Well maybe not if you spend a pretty penny for that expensive detergent, but just as good as the stuff that is $3 a bottle or less (before coupons). And I even messed up the recipe and ad-libed it!

Here's what I did:
get a bucket - I used a old drywall compound bucket, holds about 4 liquid gallons

then you need these "ingredients"
  • washing soda (1 box)
  • baking soda (8 boxes)
  • soap (7-8 bars)
  • borax (20 mule brand, 1 box)
I at first used only baking soda and it worked great. I couldn't find washing soda but about two weeks in I did and added it then. And for soap I used 3 bars of Fels-Naptha, 3 bars Ivory, and some slips of soap left in the bathroom (dial, I think). You just mix it all in the bucket - nothing hard except the grating/chopping the soap.

To use just find a measuring cup, yogurt cup, or something to measure it and throw it in. It works really well with cold water too (that's what we mostly use). I had an old measuring cup that the paint was coming off of and I used it. It's an eighth of a cup, I'm pretty sure.

Two weeks in I added a box of washing soda and 2 more boxes of baking soda. This two weeks I'm gonna add more washing soda and soap. And next two weeks more borax. I think adding a little of each of the ingredients every two weeks will work pretty well, at least it does for my "budget".

Oh and I used my food processor to grate and then chop the soap. It worked pretty well doing it that way -- really smelly! Fels-Naptha is VERY smelly. Not really a bad smelly just STRONG and clean. When the kids start a load in the other room I can smell it clear in here for about 10 seconds! But you could probably just chop it with a knife pretty easily.

But yep it works and is easy to do. Here's the pictures of my bucket -



inside the bucket, close up





And I should add that I don't use any liquid fabric softener. I use an old fabric softener bottle and put about 3/4 vinegar, 1/4 water, and a squirt of hair conditioner. I add one capful to the laundry when adding detergent and put some in the downy ball up to the line and throw it in.

Also we don't use fabric softener dryer sheets. We use a mix of about 1/4 hair conditioner, 3/4 water in a spray bottle. What we do is spray a couple squirts in the dryer after adding wet clothes before turning it on. This has really worked for us. I really wish we was able to have a clothes line here but there's not enough room - maybe next year?

but anyway there's a lazy way of doing it =)

later,

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