Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have been wanting to try this for months, and was finally spurred to action when I ran out of my usual Charlie's Soap and Seventh Generation Laundry detergent. I had seen this recipe on Soule Mama, and since I know that she uses cloth diapers (you need good detergents when you cloth diaper to prevent caking on fabric), I decided to give it a try.

The ingredients were easy to find: borax, finely grated castile soap, baking soda, and soda ash (washing soda). All ingredients can be purchased at the grocery store. At Soule Mama's recommendation I used Dr. Bronner's peppermint castile soap this time, but next time I'm going to try lavender. I have an obsession with lavender.

The directions are simple (just combine) and the kids got a chance to develop those great fine motor skills by grating the castille soap bars.





Extra bonus: grated soap also makes for a great sensory play activity with "snow," so for a day before I made my detergent I let the kids play around with it. So fun, and clean up is a breeze because well, it's just soap.

It's so fun in fact that we just had to come back to play one more time after baths...

When the kids were done playing I combined all ingredients (1 cup of each, but two cups of castile soap) in a pot, breaking up any lumps.

Store the finished product in air-tight jars and you're good to go! (And my house smells sooooo fresh!)

14 comments:

  1. Does this work in an H/E washer as well?

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  2. Yes, I have an H/E myself. I use 1/8 of a cup or even a little less if the load isn't too big. :)

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  3. great! Jupiter's working on fractions; so I can make her measure 1/4 and 1/2 cups into a one cup container to give her a concrete way to experience that concept...and get some nice smelling laundry soap at the same time. And, like you said, sensory time after. Win win win. We may be making this often.

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  4. I LOVE that. Multitasking in a family-friendly way! I saw today that this month's Natural Home and Garden magazine did an article on the scary chemicals in laundry soaps- great read, by the way- and they included a recipe as well. Theirs was 16 cups baking soda, 12 cups washing soda, 8 cups grated castile soap and 3 tablespoons of essential oil (combined with a whisk). They say to use 1/8 cup per load as well, which would be a much better deal than the Soule Mama recipe I used. Hum, maybe I'll try that next time, although no mention of the HE washer.

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  5. I use my own detergent also! In fact, I need to make some more this weekend. It even works with our clothe diapers!

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  6. Love this! How does the price compare to buying something "natural" from the store? Thanks for the recipe. I am going to have to try it out!

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    Replies
    1. I find the price to be about the same as a purchased all-natural cleaner. But that's mostly because I'm buying the castille soap. My next project is to make the soap for the recipe, in which case it will be much, much cheaper than bought versions.

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  7. I am just about to make my first batch of laundry detergent using Fels-Naptha. We also cloth diaper and I had read (can't remember where) that homemade detergents should not be used for cloth diaps because the baking soda makes the cloth more stiff and less absorbant. Can you please share your experience and thoughts about this since you've been using it for awhile? Though I have stripped them a few times and use a cloth-approved detergent, I'm afaid my CD's just will never be as soft as when I first bought them. :(

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  8. I used cloth on my daughter 27 years ago when disposables were really getting popular so I commend you ladies/parents that are choosing the better option for your kids. Ad for the question about baking soda making them stiff, you might try using vinegar as your fabric softener, it will help rinse any residue off the fabric.

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  9. Toni, thanks for the kind words. Yes, vinegar is a key ingredient for me as well. I soak my diapers in a vinegar/water solution before I wash these days (using a net inside the bucket to pull out and throw into my front loading washer), and I use vinegar as a softener in all loads of laundry just because I like it. :) I've never had a problem with my diapers getting "crisp"- in fact, the diapers that have gone through more than one child particularly are really, really soft and lovely. :)

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  10. Can you use 1/8 cup of your detergent in a top load washer? or what would be the proper measurements? I think this is a great idea. I am looking forward to trying this someday. I have been making my own disposable wipes and I could use the castile soap for them, too. I'm interested in your soap recipe once you start making it. One more question I have is How much vinegar do you use to soak the cloth diapers? I tried using bleach last time, but didn't like that I could smell it after washing (maybe used too much).

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  11. I am so excited to make this. I have allergies and skin sensitivity to certain detergents and I have yet to figure out exactly which chemicals cause them. I have had my concerns about how clean natural detergents can get my children's clothes but knowing that you use them on your cloth diapers gives me confidence in this.

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