Sunday, September 27, 2009

Home-made Clothing Detergent

We are so lucky these days to have so many amazing natural cleaner options. With choices like Method, 360, Full Circle and Seventh Generation we really can't make any excuses not to live more "green", except that they do tend to be a bit more expensive. So in my quest to live more enviro-friendly, I found a few recipes on how to make your own home-made, natural, "green" dishwasher and clothing detergent. I haven't made the dishwashing detergent yet so I will leave that for another post to report how good it works.

Clothing Detergent

3/4 cup Borax
3/4 cup Washing Soda
1 bar natural soap (Fels Naptha, Ivory, Pure & Natural)

The Borax is easy to find in any grocery store in the detergent isle, but I found the Washing Soda to be a challenge. It is commonly made by Arm & Hammer, it is like Baking Soda, but the chemical compound is slightly different. You can't eat it like the Baking Soda, but it is equally effective for cleaning clothes and is biodegradable. I finally found it at Fred Meyers, right next to the Borax and the Fels Naptha soap.

Grate the bar of soap, then combine it with the Borax and Washing Soda. Be sure to do this in a well ventilated area or use a mask. Once combined, you can leave it like this, but my grated soap was so big that I decided to put it in my food processor and it made it more granular like normal detergent. The pic I have here below is before I put it in the processor. You only need about a tablespoon or so for each load- I did my first load today and the clothes came out super fresh and clean. The Fels Naptha has fragrance in it so it is pretty soapy smelling. I also made another batch using a bar of Ivory soap and it's much less soapy scented, so it just depends on how sensitive you are to scent.

If you prefer liquid detergent, this can be made into a gel. Grate the soap and put it in a pot on the stove. Add 12 cups of water and turn the burner on to medium till the soap is completely dissolved. Add 1 1/2 cups of the Borax and 1 1/2 cups of Washing Soda to the pot and mix till it dissolves. Then take a large bucket and add 8 cups of hot water, then add your soap mixture to the bucket and stir. Again add 2 gallons of water plus 12 cups of water and stir. Let the mixture sit for 24 hours, and then mix it really good once it becomes a gel to make it smooth. Use about a cup for large loads and a half cup for smaller loads.

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