Stand Back-I’m going to try SCIENCE!

Or, how I made my own laundry soap. I’ve been wanting to make my own cleaning products for some time because I want to reduce the chemical footprint in my home and to reduce my environmental impact. I researched a lot of DIY recipes: laundry soap, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, bathroom scrub, floor cleaner, etc and recorded the recipes that seemed the easiest or readily available ingredients, which is basically all of them. I’ve been waiting for my laundry soap to run out so that I could get to making some of my own.

The recipe I used came from a documentary called Chemerical. They also have an e-book of DIY cleaning recipes.

The recipe is as follows:

  • 34 Cups of water
  • 2 Cups of Washing Soda
  • 2 Cups Borax
  • 2 Cups natural soap flakes (or 1 bar of soap grated)

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add soap flakes and melt over low heat. Pour into large container. Add 2 cups washing soda and 2 cups borax, mixing thoroughly. Add remaining 30 cups of water, mix well. Use 1/4 cup per load.

So, how did it work out for me?  First, trying to make laundry soap with an infant to amuse is a little difficult, although Bean did seem quite entertained that we were doing science-y stuff (and my upbeat, yet off-key singing.) It takes a lot longer than you’d think to melt down the soap. Low and slow is the method and you can’t rush it. Likewise,  the container I chose was not conducive to mixing in the washing soda and borax. A container with a larger opening would have been a better choice so I could really stir and mix the ingredients well. Counting out 30 cups of water may also be daunting for some, but I have a 5 cup liquid measure that made the task easier.
I used Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap in Baby Mild and added my own scent (Lemongrass.) You can also use pre-scented soap.

So, how did the DIY soap work? Remarkably well. I was a little worried since there were some clumps in the soap (most likely because I wasn’t able to mix everything as well. I’d even say the soap worked better than purchased stuff. I’d been using Dreft for my clothes and the Bean’s and I’ll admit I loved the smell of it. I did a load of my clothes in the homemade soap and I was amazed at how soft my clothes came out of the dryer without using a dryer sheet. Also no static. My clothes felt wonderful, smelled good (unfortunately the lemongrass scent didn’t transfer but they smelled clean) and were nice and clean. I also washed some afghans and pillows from the living room in the new soap and they also came out beautifully. I’m converted. I will be making my own soap from now on (though when daddy is home to watch Bean!)

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