09 May 2009

LGSG: Homemade Laundry Care

Laudry is one of the easiest places to start your transition to saving money and the environment. I've always been a fan of natural laundry detergent, but I've not been a fan of the price tag.

A while back, I came across Wildwood Mama's tutorial for homemade laundry soap, and I was intrigued. Our detergent supply was getting low, and I really didn't want to pay store prices. I also wanted something that would be better for our family, so I decided to give it a try.

Much to my suprise, the soap worked wonderfully! It was simple to make. I simply grated the soap while watching a movie with my husband. I've tried both the liquid and the powder versions, and I've used a variety of bar soap. Also, the ingredients were very inexpensive. You'll need a fresh bar of soap per batch, but the boxes of baking soda, borax, and washing soda will porvide you with several batches of detergent.

I prefer the dry powder because it saves me the extra step of dissolving the soap and adding the water. I also prefer Fels Naptha or castile soap for the bar. They seem to work the best for the kinds of dirt we face, but you can use any type of bar soap, even bath soap, for your detergent. You can grate your soap with a handheld grater or use a food processor. Due to the baking soda/detergent combination, your laundry will not have a scent when it is done. This is a little unsettling for some. Personally, as long as it doesn't stink, I'm good. =)

The recipes:

Combine 1 bar soap (grated)
1 cup baking soda
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
Use 2 TBSP per load of laundry

Grate 1 bar soap. Place in a large pan on the stove. Add 2 1/2 cups boiling water, 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup washing soda, and 1 cup borax . Dissolve over low heat. Once dissolved, add 2 1/2 gallons hot water. Stir well to combine. The detergent will take a day or two to set. The consistency of the soap will depend on what type of bar soap you use. This is okay. Just be sure to stir well before using.
Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry

Dissolve 1 1/2 TBSP corn starch in 1 pt cold water in a spray bottle. You may add a drop or two of essential oil if desired.

In a spray bottle combine,
1/2 cup ammonia
1/2 cup liquid laundry soap (use your homemade or castile)
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
Since this recipe contains ammonia, be sure to test a hidden part of your clothing for discoloration first.

Fels Naptha bar
Castile soap
Peroxide -- works great on natural stains and blood stains

You may simply use 1/2 c vinegar
Combine 2 cups vinegar very slowly with 2 cups baking soda. A large pot or bowl works best to prevent overflow. Add 4 cups water. Use 1/4 cup per load.

Have any natural and frugal laundry tips you'd like to share? Feel free to leave a link in the comments section. You are also welcome to the button to use for frugal and green posts.


Nicole said...

does this work in front loaders?

Beulah said...

All research I've done has said that it does. I'd put it in with the clothes rather than in the dispenser to be safe since the soda is mildly abrasive.