01 December, 2009

Laundry Detergent?

I've played around with the idea of making our laundry detergent... I bought in bulk last time, so we were able to save some that way and I have no complaints about doing so. But... I kept reading and hearing how well the homemade versions work. And they do cost a lot less. And.. I like doing stuff like this lol.

Well our bulk detergent (Arm & Hammer Essentials Free btw) finally ran out... So I started looking into what I needed as soon as I saw that coming. I've found a ton of recipes online, but most are for liquid & that sounds like it takes more work both to make and to store... So I figured a powdered version sounded better lol.

I decided to go with this one from Tip Nut (although to be perfectly honest that's just where I'm getting it right now, I've seen the same recipe on 50 diff sites).

Powdered Laundry Detergent – Recipe #4

2 cups Fels Naptha Soap (finely grated – you could also try the other bar soaps listed at the top)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax

  • Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container.
  • Use 2 tablespoons per full load.
Sounds easy enough right? I ordered my washing soda last week, ended up getting Ivory soap (another alternative I've read is good) at Target and some more Borax because we're about out... and now I'm ready to try it.

I grated the soap first... Like I said before, we used Ivory... I don't know that I've ever used this soap for anything else (I might have....) but I noticed a few things right away.

The paper wrapper is thin and gets wet easily even through the plastic wrapping if you buy a package. (Yes my daughter tried to eat it) Thankfully the soap was protected anyway lol.
Its very soft... which is good for grating, but be careful of chunks falling off.
3. It smells like Africa. I'm not really sure why, but it really reminds me of there. Then again random things do do that to me.. and I am pregnant & have the whole weird smell/taste thing going on so keep in mind that may very well be it. Its not an unpleasant thing either way...

I would like to use a food processor for that step at some point... I've seen it as an option somewhere or another. But right now our only one is the one for Baby Food... and while I'd like to get a real one (for the same purpose... too many batches with this one) I don't want to have to get a real one either. So for now sticking with just grating it. Was very easy to do though.

After I grated the soap I transferred it over to a Ziploc bag... and then measured out the other two ingredients and added them in with it. Sealed and mixed.. Very easy. It took me less than 10 minutes to make... much less than 10 minutes. Maybe closer to 5?

Obviously I haven't used it just yet, I'll be sure and update when I do & let yall know how it works!

My only issue so far is I'd like to know how many loads this makes. I can't seem to find that info for powdered recipes. They have it for the liquid ones... Wait... found a way to do it... half this recipe is 2 cups or 16 loads (going by 2 tablespoons... that recipe says to use 1 though... hmm.. experimenting I think) so this would be 4 cups or 32 loads... 64 loads if only one tbsp is needed. Nice. (here's the link for the half recipe btw)


Stacy aka Fahiima said...

I've heard of the liquid ones that have the same ingredients. I'm not sure where to buy the borax and washing soda other than buying online though. I might eventually get around to trying it.

Mama Kalila said...

Borax is in every laundry aisle... Very easy to find & I really recommend having some around whether you make detergent or not.

Washing soda... I've heard its in the laundry aisle too, and apparently it is at some places or some times... but I've never seen it. Most people recommend buying it online & I second that because its not too likely you'll find it otherwise. It doesn't cost very much though. I got mine from Amazon.

deltaflute said...

There's several articles on that tell you how to make laundry detergent. One even suggests using baking soda. I'm not sure how effective that would be, but I suppose if you can clean surfaces with baking soda you can also clean your laundry.

Let me know how your clothes turn out. I'm always interested in learning less harsh ways to wash things. I got so sick of using bleach while working at the day care. That stuff is awful and whitens everything. A friend of mine turned me on to using blueing for my whites instead of bleach. It's so safe that I've even used it for my colors if they were getting dingy. Blueing is also great for making crystals, which is a fun science project for kids. Sorry too much day care.

And store brand detergents are really harsh on clothes in general. I would love to find a cheap why to wash clothes especially since I have to use coins.


Mama Kalila said...

Of course.. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes.

I haven't seen the Ehow recipes, but I have seen some that include baking soda along with the 3 I'm using... I'm not sure how effective it would be on its own, but you never know.

As for bleach alternative that one is easy. White distilled vinegar!!! It actually kills the same percentage of germs and stuff as bleach & much safer to use... and easier on clothes and other surfaces. Plus it softens lol. We use it for almost everything here.

What is blueing? I haven't heard of that one... I do have another whitening alternative coming up soon... a friend passed along a tip a few days ago :-)

I can't imagine using bleach again... I always used it as little as possible when I did because it bothered me so much.

deltaflute said...

Sorry, I misspelled it. I'm horrible at spelling. Anyway it's bluing. The brand I use is Mrs. Stewarts bluing. It's basically a dye, but it's non toxic and biodegradable. The company has been around since 1883, but I'm sure that the dye being used in the wash has been around longer.

The idea is that a pure white color has some blue in it. As you wash and wear your whites, you strip out that blue color. The dye adds a little back into the white and causes it to appear purer in color. It doesn't actually take anything away from the clothes unlike bleach.

Ever heard the term, blue hairs? It's referring to old ladies. Because you can use it to whiten your hair. Except the older women who would use it didn't mix it correctly would sometimes cause their hair to get a little blue tinge to it. So it's very safe stuff. But be careful that you don't end up with slightly looking blue socks.

You basically mix a little in a gallon of water (I use an old milk jug). And then add the mixture to your wash. The bottle is small but it lasts for several loads.

The online web site tells you how to make the crystals.

Mama Kalila said...

That makes sense! Cute idea too... Filing away in mental storage in case I need it... Thanks :-D

Soap Making Machine said...

I think there are lot of article on ehow and howstuffworks on this. Let us all know how it goes, so we can use your guideline to make laundry soap at home.