Monday, June 6, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

So... one of my latest experiments is using homemade Laundry Detergent. I recently FB messaged my sister being a self-proclaimed-spokesperson for the stuff, but after writing her and realizing that i pretty much just wrote a whole blog post in the stupid message... I am almost going to copy and paste it onto here for my fellow readers!

My favorite resource for Laundry Soap recipes is this:

However, I do not use the recipes on here. I'll tell you my recipe when i get there... But first, Let me tell you about my experience using the stuff first.

I started using Homemade Laundry Detergent about a month ago... I have coin laundry here in our apartment, so I tend to over-pack my washing machines... which is probably not the best for getting clothes clean, but what can I say, I'm a cheap skate. Anyway, I have noticed that my clothes are JUST AS CLEAN and good smelling as using store bought laundry soap. The recipe I use is powdered, I have always been a bit leery about powdered because I've had bad experiences with store bought powdered dish washer soap... but I tried a batch anyway, and HELLO works JUST FINE! it all dissolves in the hot water (i wash everything on hot)

The first thing I DID notice is that sure enough, there is not too much scent left on your clothes at all. No stinky dirty clothes smell (I have toddlers, everything ends up smelling like pee before it gets washed) but no flowery, lovely "Freshly Cleaned" scent either. Because no scent was added to the detergent. Yes, the bar soap I use is pretty potent, but that smells goes away in the wash.

I Read a blogger who used homemade laundry soap and also uses cloth diapers (GO CLOTH!) and has had great success with it. I have also had great success with mine. I haven't had to strip the diapers (cloth diaper lingo) because there is no lingering soap scum that builds up on the fabrics. It is all natural, has no extra dies or fillers or crap... It's better for your skin than the "Free and Clear" detergents out there. I'd go so far as to say, just as good as, or better than, Dreft! So, good for babies, and for those allergic to other detergents. (pansies) jk.

So, here's where we get to MY recipe. (this is NOT an exact science, people, as you can see by the MANY recipes in that aforementioned website) Some recipes work better for some people because of their washers, or hard water, soft water, chlorine in their water... etc... find what works for you. I haven't done a whole lot of experimenting with mine, but I figured I'd start out easy and change it if necessary. (hasn't been necessary so far)

I use 1 bar of Fels Naptha Laundry Soap, 1 Cup each of Borax and Washing Soda. (All of those ingredients I found at Walmart in the laundry isle. I did NOT find them in Pick-n-save.) I am going to also try adding 1 cup of Baking Soda in my next batch. I got a $1 cheese grater for the bar soap. The blog I read said to use a food processor to further grind up the bar soap, but I don't want to put it in my food processor that I use for food, and I am to cheep to go out and buy one just for this. I have not had a problem with the flakes melting in the hot water. Maybe if you use a colder cycle you might... (but if you use cold water, you might want to try a liquid recipe instead). I like the powdered recipe because I don't want to have to "Cook" my detergent. It is more condensed in volume and uses less per wash in powdered form (because it's not watered down). I also don't want to have to carry a large container of liquid soap down 2 flights of stairs along with my loads of laundry. WHICH is why I only do them in single batches, instead of the larger batches in some of the recipes. I use 3 tbsp per load instead of 2. Mostly because I tend to over-load my washers because of using coin laundry. (yes, again, I'm cheep)

So, here's the break down. First off, I found on Amazon a bottle of Tide Free and Gentile HE for $10 (on sale from $15). This bottle of liquid detergent will do you about 32 loads. That ends up being about $.32 a load.

Borax $12 (9.5 cups)
Washing Soda $9 (7 cups)
Baking Soda $3 (8 cups)
Fels Naptha $.86 (1 bar)

If I were doing a big batch, I'd probably throw out my 1C:1C ratio and just do a box of each Borax and Washing Soda and 8 bars of soap. Lets make it easier on ourselves, lol. (but again, I do small batches because I don't want to carry a large batch down the stairs every time I do laundry. That, and I don't want to have to grate 8 bars of soap all at once... painful.)

So, the total cost for 1 large batch of laundry soap would equal about $30. And that would yield you about 36 cups of soap at 3 tbsp each load (you could use 2 tbsp, but again, I overload my washes). This works out to about 192 loads. That's about $.15 per load. that's about HALF the price of regular detergent!

The other thing I have done is added a little bit of Tea Tree oil to the soap for scent. But it takes quite a bit for the scent to linger after the wash. So, to save my oil, I think I'm going to put some drops onto a piece of fabric and throw that in as a "Dryer Sheet". That way the oil won't get washed out and will still leave its scent on the clothes. You could use any oil you already had, or go out and buy some. Lavender might be nice or something. I'm sure there are aromatherapy scent blends out here you could use. But this step is completely unnecessary. It is only for leaving your clothes with a SCENT. the clothes are clean either way.

I have also read about Scent Pouches like pot-pori for your clothes that you toss into the dryer as well. But I already have the oil and don't want to have to add another thing to my list.

So... There ya go!

Any questions, comments or concerns?