Monday, July 26, 2010

Going green with laundry

So a while back I got the harebrained idea that I should make my own laundry detergent. I blame The Hive Mind, a homeschool forum that I frequent. But it did sound like a good idea. My biggest problem was that my washer MUST have liquid laundry soap. I used powder when we first moved in and clogged up the leach lines within a year and they had to be replaced. It was a mess, and I have NO desire to repeat that particular fun. I'm sure Oz shares this sentiment.

Then the Duggar Family Laundry Recipe was shared on the forum, and I thought, ya know, if they can make it work with their entire clan, surely it'll work for mine, right? And the best part was the ingredients are cheap, cheap, CHEAP.

Oh, and it has no dyes. Or scent, unless you add it with essential oil. I'd been buying the Tide Free & Gentle for a long time, but I'll try anything once.

Almost anything.

It was extremely easy to make. Since Oz flipped his lid about having 10 gallons of untested laundry detergent in the house (and I have nowhere to store that much, anyway), I did the math and worked out how to make 2 gallons at a time. I started by grating 1/5 of a Fels-Naptha bar into 4/5 c. of hot water.


It wasn't *quite* the funky green color you see here. It was more of a yellow. But the bar melted beautifully into the water.

These are the only other ingredients. A dab of one and a tad of the other (and I threw in about 2-3 T. of vinegar as a water softener) along with a gallon of water, and...

Voila! I had what was supposed to be detergent. Boy, was I skeptical. The recipe said to cover it up and let it GEL overnight. It was water when I stepped away from the pot and decided to see what would happen, but I was definitely not sure it was going to turn back into any form of a solid.

One should not doubt. It wound up being somewhere between Jell-O and pudding in consistency.
Half of the mixture went into each jug along with an equal amount of water (yes, more water), and I was in business! I tried it on a load of knits in cold water and a load of towels in hot water, and it seemed to do just fine! It didn't get out a salsa stain that I had forgotten to pretreat on a yellow tank top of mine, but it got it as far along as the Tide would have, so I'm happy.

My vote? Two thumbs up for homemade liquid laundry detergent!

1 comment:

Brilliant Creations said...

You'll have to let me know how the detergent works out. I was into making my own a couple of years ago. Along the same lines as your recipe, but using Castille soap instead of the bar and adding salt. It worked beautifully for a few months, then I noticed my clothes were looking dingy. So, alas, I had to go back to buying it. Oh well, I love Mrs. Meyers Clean Day!