Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Laundry Soap Recipe (& how I actually make it)

For years I have said that I would make a powdered version of this, but the liquid has worked very well for me for years and years now. I found the original recipe somewhere online, or from someone online, but of course had to make it my own. So you can do the same, I included the original recipe as well as the way I made it the last time. Each time I make something, I do it a bit differently. To me that is the way it should always be. That's what home made things are all about! 

Here is the original recipe:
1/3 - 1/2 c liquid castle soap; 1/2 c borax; 1/2 c washing soda
Put in a 2 gallon bucket, and add enough hot water to almost fill it up.  Stir.  Use 1/4 to 1/3 cup per load.          *Grated Castille bar soap can be used in place.  Use scented soap, like lavender, for an added touch.

Here is what i did last time and i think it's the best yet....
Being that I use white vinegar to clean stuff all the time, we always buy the big bottle of it. We usually recycle them, but one worked out great for this. Since they are only one gallon in size I halved the amounts of stuff in the recipe, and used Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castille Soap, lavender scent (my fave). The borax and the washing soda can usually be found in any laundry isle, I've bought mine at Kroger for years. I filled the bottle/jug about 1/3 up with warm/hot water (it helps the powders dissolve faster), used a funnel to add other ingredients, shook it up to mix, added more hot water, shook up, and so on until it was all dissolved and mixed. Remember that it's easier to shake to mix when the bottle is not full. 
Since I halved what the original recipe called for, I use one eighth of a cup per load... which if i recall right is a tablespoon... not sure. But I do know that those Simply Orange juice bottles are great for storing it because not only do they look nifty but their caps are just the right size to measure it out (the inner part for reg loads, the outer for super big and nasty ones).

I stopped using bleach years ago, now I only use Oxyclean (or another item like it, like a super earth friendly kind I once got at Earth Fare) instead. It can be used for lots of cleaning purposes, not just laundry, so don't forget to read the packaging. 
Sometimes adding some extra vinegar can help get nasty odors out of your laundry (and help disinfect as well). It's perfect if you have some lil ones that have "accidents" and so on. The washer I am currently using has a special bleach dispenser, and that's what I use to add the extra vinegar to the wash (remember, we are bleach free in this house).
For really nasty stuff (I use hankies instead of tissues most of the time, or stuff a dog may have peed on, etc) I will soak it in a bucket with hot water, some laundry soap, and some Oxyclean at least overnight. I never use hot water with the washer, though. It can be damaging to clothing, and using only cold can save you bunches on your power bill year after year... or gas bill if your hot water runs off of gas.
Now for the easiest but messiest part of all... the "fabric softener". Take one part white vinegar, one part baking soda, 2 parts water and MIX SLOWLY! I cannot stress the mixing slowly part enough. I like to add a few drops of an essential oil (once again, I love lavender) as well.  The best part about this stuff is that it can be used in a Downy Ball (if you don't have one, buy one now... best thing EVER). Just don't expect this stuff to work like Downy or Snuggle, etc... it's so much better. The way that commercial fab softeners work is they break down the make up of the clothing, the cloth, the material... it makes it softer but makes your clothing wear out a lot faster. And I don't know about you guys, but I love my clothes and want them to last as long as possible. 
Another great point about the laundry soap and fabric softener is that they aren't full of harsh chemicals that damage our water supply, clothing, and even our skin and air. All detergents are automatically harmful in that way, but for some reason they can be found in everything (yup, shampoo, hand soaps, and even toothpastes... ick).  That's why I like to make my own when I can, but if I can't I always look for things that are not full of nasty detergents. 
The next step in doing laundry is naturally the drying process. I love to hang my clothes out to dry, but it's starting to get too cold here to use my outdoor umbrella style clothes line. We do have a set up for delicates, but I must admit that certain things like my jeans and sweatshirts just don't come out right with them... so my weakness would be using my dryer at this point. 

One thing I will mention, when you go to buy the stuff to make the laundry soap you may think it's too expensive. Keep this in mind: I went about 2 plus years without having to buy anything else. I did start with grating the bars of soap, and had more than one, but still... this stuff will last forever. Plus Dr. Bronner's Castilleborax I linked does not test on animals or use animal products as well, but Arm and Hammer (they make washing soda) does... so be careful. We want to make sure these companies know that we demand cruelty free products and will accept no less! 

Please give it a try, and comment here to let me know how it went for you. Laundry tips are also always welcomed! 
**You may notice it starting to look a bit cloudy or some clumps to show, depending on how chilly it may get where you store the laundry soap... but that's just fine. Give the bottle a few good shakes (after making sure the top is on tightly) to mix it back up. The fabric softener will separate, so also check and make sure it's top is on and shake really really well before each use.