Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Laundry Soap

Call me Suzy Homemaker.

Not only am I growing tomatoes and and doing all kinds of "sewing" projects, I've now made my own laundry soap.

I read about it at my friend Allison's blog. I'd heard about how great it was from friends. I figured it was worth a shot.

And I've been using it for a month+ and I like it.

It's pretty cheap, and extremely easy to make. Who knew? Josh ran the numbers on it for me, and I think we figured it was about 7 cents cheaper per load than Tide Free & Clear powder.
Numbered List
Overall I'm not too far into the "all organic, all natural, all green" thing, but I do appreciate that this soap is all of those things. And it didn't cost me a fortune at Whole Foods.

I bought the Castile Soap at Trader Joe's, and everything else was from Meijer. If you're not so lucky as to have a TJ's in town, I know it's available on Amazon. (What isn't available on Amazon?) And if you don't have Meijer either, I'm sure you can get everything else at Wal-Mart.

Here's the recipe:

Homemade Laundry Powder
(Makes approximately 5 cups)
2 cups (finely) grated castile soap (One bar was approx 2 cups when I grated it)
1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda
1 cup soda ash (washing soda)

Mix together and store in an airtight container. I use 1/8 cup per load.

Dr. Bronner's Castile soap comes in a variety of different scents, but I chose peppermint because that's all TJ's had to offer. I might try lavendar sometime, however.

The only real difference I've seen between this and the store-bought stuff we used to buy is stain fighting power. So I simply remember to pre-treat our stains with spray before they go into the machine. Not a big deal. And once I started doing that, everything has come out nicely.

Now, for those of you who are old pro's at this laundry soap making thing...

1. Is there any reason why I couldn't wash Nugget's clothes with this stuff? (Do I have to buy Dreft?)

2. Is there any reason why I couldn't wash Nugget's cloth diapers with this stuff? (We're going with bumGenius 4.0)


Barbara M. said...

That is exactly the same recipe I use, except I use 2 bars of Ivory soap instead of Castile. I think it cleans a little better. Also, I put the finished mix in the food processor and it makes it all into a very fine powder so it dissolves easier. I have to do it in batches because I have a very small processor.

My neice has two babies/toddlers and she uses this recipe. If I still had babies I would definitely use this on their diapers and clothing. I think it rinses better than commercial detergents so less chance of irritation. I have allergies and it doesn't bother me at all. I do use the second rinse option on my machine. Not sure if it's necessary, it just makes me feel better.

Jennifer said...

Our pediatrician said anything that doesn't bother the baby is fine to use as a detergent - you don't need to use the more expensive Dreft if something like All Free and Clear will work.

Cloth diapers, however, have to be washed in specific detergents to retain their absorbency. I don't know if this detergent will build up in the cloth, so I'd check with diapering forums or even the people at Bum Genius. We cloth diaper as well, but use a service.

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

This is so cool! Good for you for trying something new!

I love Dr. Bronner's soap!

Paulina said...

My cloth diapering friend who sold me my cloth diapers said not to use anything with scents! I use Country Save on the cloth diapers - works great.

liz waid said...

1. There's no reason you can't use whatever on Nugget's laundry - as long as it doesn't irritate her or his skin. We used baby stuff for our first, but just use what we use on all our stuff (including #2's stuff) now.

2. You might also be able to get away with using this mix on the diapers too. It's true that it's necessary to get a "special" detergent, but mostly you just need one that rinses completely away. Here is a link to a really great cloth diapering site. http://www.pinstripesandpolkadots.com/detergentchoicesataglancepspd.htm This is specifically for commercial detergents, but it might be helpful for you. And if you haven't seen this site before, you will probably find it helpful for a lot of stuff - I know I do! I know I have come across a recipe for making your own Allen's soap (one that I consistently see highly recommended) but I don't know where it is right now. I'll post again if I find it!

liz waid said...

Found it :)

1 55 oz. box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Mule Team Borax
2 Cups Oxy Clean (I like fragrance free/no additive)
1/2 cup Simple Green
1/2 cup Calgon Water Softening Powder

Empty all into a bucket and mix together with your hands. Use 1
heaping scoop (1/8 cup) for diapers, 2 scoops for regular laundry. You may have to experiment with the amounts to see how much works best with your machine and your water. The detergent recipe is most comparable to Allen's Naturally

Sara said...

Thanks for the recipe... I'm actually not a fan of the "going green" movement.. but you wouldn't know because I'm really into saving money so it makes me look like an environmentalist whako.. :) The only thing about the cloth diapers you want to watch is build up.. normally you use 1/3 or 1/4 of the recommended detergent on your diapers so that the soap doesn't build up... I use the Arm and Hammer with oxyclean and it works great. I think mine does have "fresh scent" but I haven't noticed any problem with my diapers... we use everything from flat folds to pockets.. I use Bumgenius as night time diapers and have very rarely seen any left over detergent buildup and never noticed any problem with absorbency.. Good luck!

Sara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jedda said...

this is interesting about our waters http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/poisonedwaters/view/

You are helping by making your own soap ;)

Ali said...

You rock!!!

Erika said...

With cloth diapers you just want to be careful with perfume and dyes that may be coming from the soap. The peppermint may be an issue but it may not be. I buy any type of soap that's cheap and perfume/dye free for ours :)

As for the dreft- heck no! I never used it (bad momma that I am) and both Micah and Rina have been fine so far.