Tuesday, August 16, 2011

All-Natural Homemade Laundry Powder Detergent

DIY Homemade Laundry Soap

A big thank you to my dear friend, and Super Mom, Nance, for introducing our gang of mommy friends to the wonders of homemade laundry soap!

Now, why would anybody want to make their own laundry detergent, when every grocery store, drug store, big box store, and even the corner convenience store carry the ready-made stuff?  First, it's frugal!  I finally have the HE (high-efficiency), front-loading washing machine that I was salivating over for years, and I love that it uses so little soap per load.  Still, that soap doesn't come cheap.  Whereas some detergents can run upwards of twenty cents a load, homemade laundry soap works out to mere pennies. 

Our go-to brand of all-natural powder detergent does list all of its ingredients, but many popular brands do not.  Just like cooking your own meals at home, making your own laundry detergent also means you know exactly what went into it. [Note: please don't eat your soap.]

Many of our friends have family members with sensitivities to perfumes and chemical additives.  This is definitely one way to get around those issues.  Avoiding those nasty chemicals also means that they're not being released into the environment, every time you do a load of wash.  Basic ingredients go into this recipe, which works out better for everyone.

This is also going to be one of the simplest DIY projects you could do.  A quick detour down the laundry aisle at my grocery store was all it took to locate a box of borax, and washing soda (not to be confused with baking soda).  Please don't try to substitute baking soda for washing soda; it's a totally different animal.  Besides, both boxes were a mere couple of dollars each.  For the final ingredient: choose one bar of your favorite soap (preferably petroleum-free, like castile, glycerine, coconut-based, or olive-oil based like what I used).  That's it!  Here's how I assembled my stash of homemade laundry powder, in about 20 minutes, while standing in the kitchen, catching up on HGTV:

Box grater with non-slip base
Flexible, non-slip cutting board
Mixing bowl
Mixing spoon
1-cup measure
Storage container with tight-fitting lid
An old 1-oz. plastic scoop
*optional - food processor

1 bar of soap
1 cup of borax
1 cup of washing soda

Place the box grater on top of your flexible cutting board, and grate the entire bar of soap (finer is better).  Use the flexible cutting board to pour the grated soap flakes into your mixing bowl as you go.

After grating, if your soap flakes are still a bit large, you may optionally pulse them in your food processor.

Add the borax and washing soda to the soap flakes in the mixing bowl, and blend thoroughly.

Store in lidded container, and use 0.5 oz (1 tbsp) per load.

We have a quilt that we keep on our bed, for the sole purpose of keeping the rest of the bedding clean, from our beloved cats (and sometimes the dogs) who think we don't know that they steal up there to nap when we're not around.  That quilt was the Level 5 test subject for this newly-minted batch of soap.  It passed with flying colors!  I have another friend to thank, Jill, for reminding me to use a bit of plain, white vinegar in place of fabric softener.  Even with no dryer sheet, the quilt came out fresher, cleaner, and softer than ever!  No lingering vinegar smell; I promise! :)

Thank you, ladies, for your fabulous, eco-frugal laundry tips!

Happy wash day :)