Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Warsh 'em on the cheap!

After quite the hiatus, I am back! Sadly, to my nieces, Katey and Hailee's dismay, this is to be an informative post, not the usual smart-assedness that they love from their favorite, favorite, favoritist auntie.

Today's lesson...making your own laundry detergent. Wheeeee!

I have to say, I love this stuff. It cleans your clothes oh so fabby. The only thing I have to get used to is the very light fragrance of the soap. My absolute fave up until now has been Tide with Febreze. Delightful. This make it yourself stuff has very little fragrance to it. You can add a few drops of essential oils to the mix if you want a little more good smelly stuff. I just haven't gotten any yet.

So here's the magic recipe...and my little notes to go along with it!

4 Cups hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda **Important- NOT Baking Soda...WASHING soda. There is a difference!**
½ Cup Borax
Clean 5 gallon bucket with lid (You can get these at Lowe's)
Clean detergent dispenser (I used a tupperware pitcher with lid)

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir over medium-low heat until soap is melted.

-Fill the 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap/water mixture, Washing Soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir mixture the next day, and then fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap mixture and fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. This will be very goopy and separate some from the water, so shaking before each use is important.

Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil...whatever your personal preference.

Makes 10 gallons.

Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

I had slave labor helping me with my recipe. They thought it was big fun.

Here is our journey in photos:
Getting the supplies together, mixing hot water with the two powders:

Grating the soap. Looks like cheese, doesn't taste like cheese. This is what Fels-Naptha soap looks like, in case you were unfamiliar, as I was. Oh, and my local grocery store carries this soap, so I bet yours does, too. Huh...who knew? :

Slave Laborer #1, mixing it all together:

Slave Laborer #2, taking a snack break. Please tell me why I bother to wash clothes for this kid?

Here is the final product, a day later, after cooling. It looks a lot like funky Jell-o or congealed chicken grease.

You will fill half of your container with the goop (marked D) and fill the rest with water (marked W)....and shakey, shakey, shakey each time you use it. I dispense it into the glass container for each load. I have a front-loader, so this is a 1/4 cup measurement.

My next green project will be with my BFF, Becky...Adventures in Composting. Garbage and worms. What a delight.