Wednesday, October 12, 2011

homeSMARTS: Homemade Laundry Detergent

Last week I wrote about nasty xenoestrogrens and mentioned that I made my own laundry detergent in an effort to limit our exposure to household chemicals. I wanted to do several washes using the detergent before posting about it, just to make sure it didn't totally suck.  Good news, it's great!

The recipe I followed came from here. This gal seems more concerned with how cost effective the detergent is than it's green factor.  This is also super important to me because when I priced out the natural detergents at ye olde New Seasons I was dismayed to discover that a five pound box cost $19. $19?!?!?!  This recipe yields about 16-18 lbs for less than $20. And because it's super concentrated, you only use two tablespoons per load. 

Here's what you need:

1 4lb box Borax
1 3lb box Arm & Hammer washing soda (other recipes say 4lb but I could not find that)
1 4lb box Arm & Hammer baking soda
2 small or 1 big tub of Oxiclean (or the generic version)
3 bars Fels Naptha or any other soap that is not labeled "cleansing bar"

It plumps when you cook it
Personally, I used that soap you usually find in Chinatown that smells like jasmine. I thought it would be nice if the detergent smelled good. But later I added a bar of Fels Naptha because the mixture just didn't seem soapy enough. It seems soapy enough now.

I dumped everything in a 5 gallon Ziploc bag then microwaved the soap. Seriously. Did you know that if you microwave a bar of soap it plumps up? When it cools (it takes forever to cool, use the freezer) it breaks into a powder pretty easily.  I did get tired of breaking it up by hand so I broke out the food processor. I probably could have done that to begin with but then I would have missed out on the cool microwave plumping action. You can also grate the soap using a cheese grater. I'm using a glass jar for storage (and looks) but I also have a bunch left in the Ziploc bag. This stuff is going to last forever.

I've been using this detergent for a while now, done at least 12 loads of wash.  I don't see any difference from the mainstream brands I was using before.  Our clothes are coming out just as clean.

1 comment:

Lisa M said...

Thanks for the instructions. The recipe I have doesn't use OxyClean. I'll have to try that.