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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap

This is just way too "Little House on the Prairie" for me. But, I have seen several posts online about making your own laundry soap, so I thought I'd give it a try. I plan to also eventually make my own household cleaners and soaps and shampoos as well. We'll see how that goes. But, so far, my first crunchy, granola, tree-hugging project was easy and it works!

You will need:

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda (different than baking soda)
1 bar soap (I used Ivory - they make bar soaps specifically for laundry as well)

I used a hand grater, but have seen others use a food processor. I found it easy enough to grate by hand, so I'd rather not soap up my food processor.

Once grated, add the cup of Borax and the cup of washing soda, mix well (it took several minutes to make sure it was all mixed to an even consistency).

Use 1-2Tbsp per load of laundry. That's it!

I am currently storing it in a yogurt container with a Tbsp inside. I think the container is ugly. So, I was thinking if I go find a cutesy container or decorate one, does that counteract the "Little House on the Prairie" effect? Yes, Yes it does! :-)

The powder does not get sudsy like regular detergent and it doesnt have a perfumy smell like detergents do. But the clothes do smell clean and they look clean. I have read that you can use 1/4 cup if you are washing a particularly soiled load. The big test for me was washing our 2 year old's little Eeyore. It's her snuggly comfort item and she takes it everywhere. It was dirty, had food and other stains and wasn't smelling so great. I washed it with 1 1/2 Tbsp in a regular load of laundry and it came out clean. No stains. And smelled good. So, I was sold!

Today, I had a lovely vomit mess to clean up. Here is the yucky pillow pet before:

And here it is after:

I washed it with 3 Tbsp of powder instead of my usual 1 1/2 Tbsp. along with the other yucky bedding. There were some faint stains, but they are barely noticeable. Good as new!

Vinegar is also a natural fabric softener and can be added to the rinse cycle. I have not yet tried this as the little cup thingy in my washing machine that holds fabric softener is broken. I plan to buy a downy ball and put vinegar in that and see how it works.

There are also recipes online using the same ingredients, but melting the soap and adding water to make a liquid laundry detergent. This seemed kind of messy to me, so I opted for the powder eventhough, I typically use liquid store bought detergent. So far, no problem switching to powder.

I have not done any kind of cost comparison on this. But other people have, so I'm taking their word for it :-) I also know it doesn't have all the chemicals that store bought detergents do, so it's better for my family and the environment. That's good enough for me.

Have I convinced you to try it, yet?

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