Thursday, July 14, 2011
Homemade Laundry Detergent
Washing Soda: NOT baking soda. This removes dirt and odors. Found in laundry detergent aisle. I use Arm and Hammer.
Borax powder: A naturally occurring mineral, sodium borate. It is a laundry whitener and deodorizer. Found in laundry detergent aisle. I use 20 Mule Team.
Essential Oil: My favorite is Peppermint. This can be found at your local herb store. In Clarksville it’s Herbs and Vitamins by Kohl’s.
A large bucket maybe 2-4 gallons. Personally I like the big buckets because I’m messy.
1/3 bar Fels Naptha or a whole bar of any other soap.
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup borax powder
Essential Oil (optional)
Grate the soap. I usually grate the whole bar and save it in a jar. Put 1/3 of your Fels Naptha in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat until soap melts. Add washing soda and borax and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bucket. Add soap mixture in sauce pan and stir. Add 1 gallon plus an additional 6 cups of water to the bucket and stir. Let soap mixture sit for 24 hours until it has become gelled. At this point I mix the soap really good and then pour it into empty containers like clean gallon water jugs, detergent bottle, etc. I filled four 64 oz bottles.
I use 1/2 cup per load. *Do not use to cloth diapers. It tends to build up on them quick and affects the absorbancy.
This is not a high suds producing detergent so don’t panic. It’s not suds that cleans your clothes. The cleaning agents are what's working here.
My approximate calculations:
Fels Naptha costs approx. $1.20
Washing Soda costs approx. $2.30
Borax costs approx. $3.50
My Essential Oil option is .60 (total drops in a 1/3 oz bottle @$6.52 is roughly 225 so that breaks down to .03 per drop. I use about 20)
TOTAL= $7.60/for 256 oz of natural laundry detergent
Keep in mind the essential oil is optional but I really like it and it lasts a long time. Your other ingredients are still on hand for 2 more complete batches and then you’ll have to buy more Fels Naptha.
All of this information I found at www.thefamilyhomestead.com/laundrysoap.htm and adapted it to what I thought would be quick information. Check out their site for more information.
A note about bleach. I try not to use it. It really breaks down your clothes. Hanging your clothes out on a clothesline is the best thing ever. Not only does the sun whiten naturally but it doesn’t run up your electric bill.