Thursday, February 9, 2012

Makin' Your Own Laundry Soap - Why and How

while i wouldn't label myself "crunchy" (i don't care a whole lot about the environment) or a true "naturalist" (i still regularly delight in eating oreos), i would say i "lean green" when it comes to food and cleaning 'round here. it's not a conviction, or something that overrules the budget, but if i can find a deal on a healthier product or make more things from scratch or use what i have so i don't have to buy something else, i'm all about dat.
like this...
making your own laundry soap isn't a new idea, lotsa people do it. i've been making mine for a while now, and it's not complicated, it cleans well, and is really worth it if you are looking for a cheaper version of a "natural" laundry soap. so if you're trying to save money, my recipe is not cheapest MYO recipe out there (if you want one that is, this one claims to be), but it is still pretty cheap. i make my own with natural bar soap because i'd like to have less exposure to toxic/harsh stuff for me and my kiddos. if you're game to try it, the whole process takes me just 20min and it makes about 50 loads worth at about $0.10 per load.
here's whatcha do:
buy one box of each of these... 20 mule borax and a&h washing soda (NOT baking soda)...

...grab a bar of dr. bronner's lavendar castile soap...

...grate that bar into a gallon of water getting hot on the stove...

... stir as it dissolves completely... (yeah, that's my kid's hand not mine, fyi)

  ... carefully pour that hot soap-water into a 5 gallon bucket (with lid) in the tub and add 1.5 cups of borax and 1.5 cups of washing soda. fill bucket to 5gal mark with hot water, and stir it up, baby.

put the lid on and keep it in laundry room. let it sit for 24 hours. it may get lumpy, but just use an old whisk and break up the chunks if they bother you. i still use separate spot-treating gel on my stains, this stuff doesn't work that way.
to use: start your load with hot water (only to activate the soap for the beginning). use a 1 cup measuring cup and scoop a bit less than one cup per laundry load. let it mix with the hot water for a minute, then change the water temp to your desire for your load and add in your clothes. PLEASE NOTE: if you add your clothes first, it will not mix in well... at all. actually this method helps most laundry soaps to work most effectively. so remember: SOAP FIRST into the water, then clothes. mkay?
  • i still use spot-treating stuff for stains, this soap won't work like that.
  • i don't have a HE washer, but many of the recipes online like this one claim it is completely safe to use with them because it's low-suds. i don't know either way, so use caution there, i guess.
  • like soft clothes? add a cup of white vinegar to each load instead of using fabric softener. it gives extra freshness, especially if you’re like me and forget to get those wet clothes into the dryer until the next day... gulp. (helpful household hint: if you do forget your laundry load until the next day (or so) and it does stink, you don't need to rewash them with soap, just loosen up the clothes, add a cup of white vinegar, and wash away. this actually works BETTER than soap for getting rid of that smell.)

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