Saturday, August 30, 2008

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've been using vinegar as a general purpose cleaner for a while and have even tried making my own dishwashing detergent. Not so successful with that last one. The stuff doesn't seem to want to rinse off of my dishes.

But, I can claim success with making my own laundry detergent! Woohoo! I've had the ingredients for a while, but was pretty intimidated and worried that it wouldn't work – although that shouldn't have made me not do it; the worst that could really happen is that I'd have to rinse the washer out a few times and rewash the clothes.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this site, where she (I'm assuming) had 10 different recipes for laundry detergent. I've seen several, but the powdered ones all call for using Fels Naptha laundry soap. If you look at the ingredients it's essentially oil in bar form, it's made up of mostly petroleum products – not what I would call 'green'. So, I bought Dr. Bronner's Castile soap and then proceeded to not make the detergent. However, on this site, it gave the recipe for powdered detergent calling for Fels Naptha, but THEN said you could try whatever soap you wanted! The heavens parted.

So yesterday I made some laundry detergent, my recipe is below. It didn't take very long at all, about 20 mins, including time to take these pictures. I spent the most time grating the soap using my micro planer, but if you have a decent food processor you could use that. I then mixed up the rest of the ingredients and - tada - Laundry Detergent.

My Laundry Detergent recipe:

1 bar pure castile soap, finely grated
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
½ cup powdered oxygen bleach – chlorine-free
20-30 drops lemon essential oil

I'll let you know how it goes...


Joy said...

What a glorious idea! Do you know if it works for high efficiency washers? I'm a little paranoid about hurting my trusty new machine with my homemade concoctions. Thanks for the tip!

Maxine from Texas said...

Yes, Joy, you can use this with the HE machines. That's what we have, as well. It's working great so far. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

Tara said...

Hi Maxine...
do you think this would work just as well with Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap? I really love that stuff and the smell... and then possibly leave out the lemon scent?

Maxine from Texas said...

Hi Tara!
You could definitely use the peppermint soap or any of their other scents. And I would leave out the lemon, one less step!
Thanks for stopping by and the comment!

mytworaysofsunshine said...

The castile soap would be safe for washing cloth diapers? Just checking. Thanks for the recipe!

Maxine from Texas said...

Hey Sunshine!
I've not actually used it on cloth diapers, but from what I've heard it's fine. Since it is so low sudsing and rinses out well, I think it should be perfect for cloth diapers.