Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

Kermit the Frog said it best - it ain't easy bein' green! Of course, he meant it in a completely different way than I mean it. I'm talking being environmentally friendly. It's no secret that I try to find ways to lesson my family's footprint on the Earth with the choices we make - from giving up paper towels, to using cloth diapers and reusable baby wipes, to composting, to avoiding soaps that are antibacterial and not biodegradable, and even giving up dryer sheets. There are lots of little choices that we can make each day to do our parts.

That's not to say it's not hard. Today while I was outside trimming the big bush in the corner of our yard, I realized that one of our neighbors was doing laundry and using vanilla lavender scented fabric softener. That's the scent I used to use! I had to pause for a moment and just inhale that lovely scent as deeply as I could. I know fabric softener is not good for the environment. I know those sheets are a burden to our land fills. I know the chemicals in the product are bad for you.

But dang! It's easy to forget all that when you are confronted with just how good it smells!

I've got a little comfort though. We were using soap nuts to do our laundry before, but the problem was that you had to do at least four loads at a time, and I don't always do that. We kept having to buy regular laundry soap and that defeated the purpose unless we spent a whole lot more to get the Earth friendly stuff. No es bueno.

There are lots of different recipes on the Internet for homemade laundry detergent. I've researched them and found that most of them have a lot in common. When it came time to try making my own I ended up going with SouleMama's recipe. It seemed a good common denominator of everything out there, it was NOT liquid so it didn't have a shelf life, and honestly, if anyone is going to have a good "crunchy" recipe it's going to be this woman. For reals.

So, I give you homemade laundry soap, SouleMama style.

You're going to need a bar and a half of Dr. Bronner's soap, and a cup each of Borax, baking soda, and washing soda. Dr. Bronners comes in lots of different scents but is all natural and not harsh on the water supply. You can literally bathe and brush your teeth with this stuff if you like.

Finely grate the bars of soap. As you can see, I did not use the fine side of my grater, but had a brain fart and used the coarse side. It still works fine; it just doesn't mix as neatly in the jar.

Combine the soap with the other three ingredients. Mix well.

I put my soap into a clear glass Anchor Hocking jar. They sell these at Target and Walmart and they're really reasonably priced. I keep my Borax and baking soda in these two, because I think they look nicer on the shelf in my laundry closet than the boxes. You can just label them with a sticker, or some vinyl if you have a Silhouette/Cricut. I picked up the old metal tablespoon at the DI for a quarter and just tossed it in the jar.

You simply add two tablespoons to each large load of laundry - that's it! Since it's real soap and not just a lot of fillers/water, you use a lot less. It gets my messy toddler's and stinky husband's clothes nice and clean and fresh. The peppermint makes the house smell nice while I'm washing clothes. I'm pretty sure it's more economical than anything I can buy as the ingredients are pretty cheap and last for a few batches. It's also environmentally friendly.

I did read a comment on one of these recipes that I saw on Pinterest where someone said she made her own detergent and it stained her clothes and did not get them clean. The recipe used Fels Naptha instead of Dr. Bronner's though. I've been using this recipe for months and have never had a problem. I don't see how Fels Naptha would stain your clothes, seeing as how it's made especially for laundry and has been forever practically, so take the heads up with a grain of salt. It's definitely cheaper than the Dr. Bronner's, but doesn't have the nice variety of fragrances available.

For additional fragrance, and some fabric softening power, I will put 3/4 cup of white vinegar mixed with 10 drops of essential oil into the wash. I personally like the way lime smells mixed with the peppermint, but you can use anything. Wait until the washer is full of the rinse water before adding it though so it gets completely diluted. I know it's oil, and that's scary, but it's never stained any of our clothes. Besides, essential oil is what they use to make things smell nice anyway, right?



Blogger Cassie said...

Oh I forgot to tell you I made this after the last time we talked about this. I used the Fels Napa, and I love it! It's amazing that you only use so little, but it gives the laundry such a fresh scent, not strong at all. I don't like it real fragrant. I want to try it with Ivory next time.

6:34 PM  

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