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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Make your own...Whaaaat?!" Entry #4: Laundry Detergent

It has always bothered my to buy my own cleaning products. Always. I get kind of huffy, and even twitchy in the store when I put my hand on a bottle.
Why? Because in Little House on the Prairie, Ma made her own. Because chemicals are not meant to treat our houses, dishes, or clothing. Because I hate how expensive it is. Because I can do it myself, gosh darnit!

I have been making most of my own cleaning products for the last couple of years, but have always shied away from laundry. I don't know, maybe something about messing up my $3 t-shirts from the thrift store scares me. (Ha)
I wish I hadn't waited though...making your own detergent is just so.darn.easy!

Here is what you will need:

1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other natural bar of soap

1/2 c. washing soda (Don't confuse this with baking soda!!)

1/2 c. Borax

A large bucket or tub
(*You can find all of these ingredients in a mainstream grocery store. Wegmen's has all three right next to one another!)

1.) Cut your bar of soap to size, then grate the soap over a medium/large pot. Be careful not to leave too many large chunks of soap...they just don't melt as quickly. The first time I did this, I actually only used 1/2 of the measurments listed above, so as not to overwhelm myself with the product. Next time, I will use the correct meausurements!
2.) Add 6 cups of water, and turn the burner on medium heat. Stir occasionally. Your soap shreds will begin to melt and turn your water the color of your bar of soap.

3.) When your soap fully melts, and the water starts to simmer, it's time to add your washing soda and Borax. (Have I mentioned that these 2 ingredients are used in half of my other cleaning products as well? Can't go wrong having them in the house!)

Let the mixture continue to simmer until everything has dissolved. Then remove from heat.

4.) Get your large bucket and pour 4 cups of hot water. I would recommend a 5 gallon bucket. (I did not use it, but I would next time when I use the full amounts of ingredients, not half!)

5.) Pour in your soap/water mixture. Then...add LOTS more water: appx. 1 1/2 gallons, or 1 gallon and 6 more cups. *If you don't have a container holding more than 2 1/2 gallons, just half the recipe like I did.

After this, your laundry detergent is done! You will need to let it sit for about 24 hours before using it. It will solidify, but not in the way you might be thinking. It comes out much like the fat from a cooked chicken, or a thickened egg drop soup.

My only problem now is...what to store it in! If you have a 5 gallon bucket with a lid...this is a good option.

Here are some other ideas I have for containers, I just haven't purchased one yet. Container Option #1 or Container Option #2. Do you have any ideas for me??

You only need a 1/2 cup of detergent per full load of laundry. I have now tested this recipe on dish towels, bath towels, baby laundry and adult laundry and have found it works well with everything!

Hope you have as much success as I did!


Deb said...

I do this! I use the same ingredients, just make more. (the whole bar of soap and a cup each of the borax and washing soda). I keep mine in gallon jugs. When we lived in OH our water was NASTY so we bought water to drink and so we always had lots of them for storing cleaning things. I was buying water to have the jugs when I knew I needed them. Now I'm using gallon cider jugs that were never used (yay for living on an apple farm that's no longer!) Anyways. I found the big bucket version to messy, so I just evenly distribute the mixture into the jugs and add water (first so it doesnt melt them while it's hot) as I go. Plus- in the jugs, I can shake it before each use since it separates. I love making my own cleaning products! And actually you were the one that linked me a site that had a bunch to try! THANK YOU!!!

Kate said...

This is awesome!! I can't wait to try it. :)

The Huntley 6 said...

This is funny, Kim. I have been telling myself to suggest to you laundry soap. And here it is! I had Dave save the last bucket from drywall mud because I wanted to make this. I just haven't gotten around to it. Thanks for providing a recipe!

kim h. said...

Deb-get me those cider jugs!! Maybe I'll make a trip to Roberts' farm? ;)

Leisha-any other suggestions? I have a short list but it's dwindling quickly--I need viewer requests!

The Huntley 6 said...

Iced coffee. This may seem like a no brainer but I have tried and can't do it. I like mocha iced coffee and/or frappes. Also, a good guacamole recipe and a ceasar dressing recipe. I'm also interested in your cleaners because I still buy the chemicals from the store:(