Wednesday, October 03, 2012
One Month of Less: Day 3: Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe
I needed a project today to break up the baby hat crocheting that I've recently become obsessed with -- pattern here. Too hot to be outside, house already clean (mercifully), brownies already made, no money to spend ... somehow that translated into making my own laundry detergent. Making your own laundry detergent is inexpensive and helps you avoid chemicals in your laundry room.
I used this recipe from The Thrifty Couple and got everything I needed at Walmart. It's also safe for high efficiency washers, since it's not sudsy.
For this project, you'll need 1 bar Ivory soap, 2 c. Borax, and 2 c. Washing Soda (different than baking soda). At my Walmart, the borax and washing soda were right next to eachother in the laundry aisle and each cost just over $3 each. (Amazon sells the Borax and Washing Soda as a set if you're interested)
This project literally took minutes. I made 3 batches in a row because I prefer to store laundry detergent rather than soap ingredients. Also, I had already made a mess.
First, set 1 bar of Ivory soap on a dinner plate and microwave it for about 2 minutes (90-120 seconds). I found that if I did less than 2 minutes, there was some leftover bar of soap inside the big fluff. I pulled the fluffed up parts off the plate and re-heated the leftover mini-bar for anouther couple seconds until it fluffed up. It will look like this:
I hope you like the smell of Ivory soap. The Thrifty Couple said that the consistancy of the "fluff" will be dry and brittle. Mine was dry but soft, sort of like cotton candy or insulation.
Tear apart the fluff and put it in your blender or food processor. Add 2 cups of Borax and 2 cups of washing soda. Blend until it looks like an even powder. I used the pulse/crush ice setting and occasionally poked around with a spatula because I am impatient.
I really wanted to add essential oil to scent my laundry detergent, (lavender, orange, etc.) but couldn't find them for sale anywhere except the internet. I think you add 1/2 - 1 oz. to the blender during the last step.
Update: I finally made it to Whole Foods and found essential oils there. Instead of scenting the laundry detergent, I put 3 drops of lavender oil on an old washcloth and threw it in the dryer with the laundry. Came out smelling great! This way I can control which loads I'd like scented, and don't have to commit to an entire batch of a certain scent.
Use 1 tablespoon for normal loads, 2 tablespoons for extra large or exceptionally dirty loads. 1 batch supposedly makes 80 tablespoons (40-80 loads), so my triple batch ... 240 loads ... that should give me plenty of time to hunt for essential oils to use during my next batch. $7 for 240 loads of laundry is pretty good!
I got a headache after making this and I'm not sure whether it was the Super-Ivory smell coming from my microwave or the powder floating in the air, but if you can make this with the windows open I would recommend that!
Update: I've been using this detergent for 2 months and my clothes are clean! Success.
For the month of October I'm doing one thing a day that is a step towards a simpler way of living -- less cluttered, less wasteful, less distracted. My goal through this month of less is that by taking a new step every day, I will be able to live in a way that is more organized, more stewardly, more purposeful. Read more about it here, and let me know if you're joining in!