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This Adventure, Our Life: DIY: Laundry detergent

Sunday, April 18, 2010

DIY: Laundry detergent

I have been researching on how to make my own laundry detergent.  I would love to say that the reason I was doing this was all about the environment and using less chemicals, but not on this one.  I was already using a pretty safe detergent, so my main reason for this DIY on laundry detergent was to save money.  Yes, something we all WANT to do, right?  I was spending far too much buying my detergent.  So to the internet I went.  I found a recipe off the Eco Friendly Family's website that I ended up using.  There are soo many (way too many) recipes out there.  I choose this one because  A.  She also uses cloth diapers and made a recipe for detergent for that also (which will be my next DIY when I get to it) and B.  She had been doing this for a while and it worked.  All the recipes I found were VERY similar though.

Here is the recipe I used: 
1 cup washing soda 
1 cup borax
1/2 cup of oxiclean
1 bar of soap, finely grated (Ivory, Fels Naptha...)

Here's the full recipe:
3 Boxes Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (55 oz each)
2 Boxes 20 Mule Team Borax (76 oz each)
1 Large Tub OxiClean (96 oz)
24 Bars of Soap, finely grated

I made a small recipe, I wanted to try it out first before I invested in the large batch.  

Here is what I did:

I used Ivory soap, but other people love the Fels Naptha...could not find it.  I will try it for the large batch possibly!

I used my small food processor (you can use a grater or coffee grinder also!)  I cut the soap in smaller pieces first.  The first time I did a quick and rough chop up.

I spread all the soap bits on a cookie sheet to dry out overnight, makes it easier to deal with later.

I then placed it all back inside the food processor, the object is to get it as fine as you can (making sure to give your food processor breaks!)

When you are finished gather all the ingredients together.

I used a large mixing bowl to stir mine together.  When I do the whole batch I will use 2 paint buckets.

Find a container to store the detergent in.  I found a storage container around the house, but I want to find something a little more airtight!

The detergent is ready to go!  Make sure to keep a measuring device inside, like a tablespoon or a comparable spoon or scoop.

Now to go attack the laundry...

Overall impressions:  I really like the soap, it cleans well.  Our laundry does not smell like anything, which is the way it is intended to use.  I have tested it on everything from spit up rags to exercise clothes (that stink also!)  I would love to read up if there is anything you can do to lightly scent it.  You should not use this on your towels or cloth diapers as it contains soap.  I have not yet had any problems with using this and it really took no time at all.  Finding the ingredients in our town, however, was a bit longer.  I have an HE washer, I am using about 1.5 Tbsp per load (I am still playing with it right now).  I know in a top loader you will use 2-3 Tbsp for a large load.  

Advice:  I found it a little hard to find the washing soda (aka soda ash).  I ended up getting it at the Do-it-Center, which is like a small Ace hardware or Home Depot.  Most people do not know what it is...  I probably will order it online next time to find the cheapest prices.  As for the other ingredients, not too hard to find!  

Let the soap dry overnight, this helps a lot.  Store in some sort of airtight container.  Paint buckets work great (with lids).

Research it, see which recipe works for you!!  If you have any questions ask, or google it, there is a ton of info on this subject!!

Bailey thinks laundry is overrated but agrees her clothes must get cleaned somehow, and likes watching the food processor grind soap, so hey...making laundry soap can not be that bad...

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