Sunday, February 26, 2012
Homemade Laundry Detergent
I've been a gardener, and canner and freezer of produce for for 32 years, a parent for 26 years, user of cloth only napkins for 20 years, a homeschooling parent for 18 years, a grinder of wheat for 14 years, and a backyard urban chicken-keeper for 6 years (not sure whether I've always just been ahead of the curve, or just a "come up from behind" hippie). But, even though I had read recipes for homemade laundry detergent -- I just never did that. Grating, and boiling, and dealing with gloop -- um, no. Too much effort. But Lady of the Woods wrote of a recipe for a powdered detergent -- grate the soap, mix with the other ingredients, put in a jar, print out a cute label and you're done. The cost works out to about half the cost of store-bought laundry detergent (assuming you don't have to buy a jar) and the ingredients are readily available at Kroger.
So, I mixed up a batch, printed out a label, and we used the detergent to wash towels and napkins. Looks like success! No weirdness or residue, and appears to have cleaned fine. I will say that grating that fels naphtha soap was NOT as easy as some have made it sound -- it took a while and a good bit of effort. Maybe I need a new grater. Or maybe next time I'll just whiz it in the food processor (it IS soap, after all -- so I think that would be fine.
Here's the recipe: 1 bar of fels naphtha or zote soap, grated (I have read you can use any soap -- ivory, castile soap, etc. The fels naphtha was $1.30 at Kroger, in the laundry section), 1 cup of Borax (remember Death Valley Days? Twenty Mule Team? That's the stuff), and 1 cup of Super Washing Soda. You can add a few drops of an essential oil for scent if you want. Mix it together, store in a container. Use 2 tablespoons for a load.
Of course, don't forget to go to The Graphics Fairy and print out a nice label. I just discovered the "stickies" app on my Mac Pro -- I think I need to make a sticky on my computer for "projects", like "fix up the laundry closet" (we have a laundry closet upstairs, rather than a laundry room -- and it is s-c-a-r-y nasty), so as to better show off my lovely jar with vintage label.
linking to Brag Monday; Country Garden Showcase