Sunday, February 23, 2014

diy natural laundry soap

yes!  diy time again!  i've been making my own laundry soap for over a year now.  it's biodegradable, nasty chemical free, and good for my sensitive skin.  we also stopped using fabric softener or dryer sheets for some time - all they do is coat your clothes with chemicals.  white vinegar makes a nice softener - just put it in the rinse cycle.  static cling has been an issue.  some people swear by tin foil balls in the dryer, but that doesn't seem okay to me.  the wool dryer balls i made really do help, but they don't eliminate all the static.  i just purchased seventh generation dryer sheets that are all natural and whatnot.  i'm going to try cutting them in thirds to see if that helps.

the one thing that really ruins my all natural laundry smorgasbord is awesome husband @_antgas and his love of the smell of gain.  i buy those gain scent boosters when they go on sale and sprinkle some in with the sheets and towels.  i don't love the ingredients, but it's not as bad as the way we used to do laundry.  and it's a lot cheaper!  i use a 40oz canister to hold my laundry detergent.  i'm not good at measuring or counting.  so there.

so here's the breakdown for how much this shit costs me:
1 bar of dr. bronner's soap (i use almond): $4.09
arm & hammer washing soda, 55oz: $3.69 (only .067¢ an ounce)
borax, 76oz: $4.49 (it's in the big container.  i threw out the box.  it costs .059¢ an ounce)
oxybrite 32oz: $5.99 (.187¢ an ounce)

oxybrite is basically all natural oxy clean.  i've found it at natural/health food stores and some walgreens carry it.  borax and washing soda will be on the bottom shelf in the laundry aisle.  you can use any castile soap you like - nothing too perfumey or filled with chemicals or moisturizers, like don't use dove.

1.  grate your soap.  if you use the smaller, finer side of the grater, it will take FOREVER OMG SERIOUSLY FOREVER.  i use the larger side (the side we use for cheese) and it makes adorable little soap curls...

2.  get a food processor.  if you don't use one, the soap will not get to a powdery consistency and may not dissolve well in warm/cold water washes.  

3.  i put in 1/2 cup of soap curls, 1/2 cup of borax, and 1/2 cup of washing soap.  if you're using oxybrite, add a scoop to each batch in the food processor.  i don't smush the soap curls in either, i loosely fill the cup.  don't pack them in like you're measuring brown sugar.  if you're keeping track, i have about a cup and a half of dry ingredients in here.  i have a teensy cuisinart; if you have a larger one, you can probably put more in at a time.  ALSO feel free to add a tablespoon or two of baking soda if it makes you feel better.  it makes me feel better.

7.  pulse the heck out of it.  if you have fucking stones of borax, either crush them by hand or pick them out and throw them at people.  DO NOT try to powder the soap without washing soda or borax. they help the soap get like powdery.  without other dry ingredients, the soap will just smush up and break your blender, which is why you will have to use a food processor.  this may or may not have happened to me.  

5.  pour your powdery soapy stuff into your laundry detergent container.  repeat until you're out of soap curls.  

6.  TADA!  you have laundry soap.  find a scoop, buy a scoop, whatever.  i have a cute little scoop that i stole from one of @_antgas' old workout powder supplement crap things.  i use the double and triple loaders in the laundromat and use 2 tablespoons per load.  i'd estimate those are extra large loads; if you do smaller loads or have a medium-largeish home washer, you can probably use a bit less.  maybe 1.5tbsp.

now, i think i used about 14 ounces each of borax and washing soda, and maybe a 1/4 cup of oxybrite and baking soda.  like i said, i don't measure.  i'm assuming this is how much i used because it's a 40 ounce container.  so i might have used a bit less than this, but whatever.  here's the breakdown for one 40oz container of my laundry soap...

1 bar of dr. bronner's soap (i use almond): $4.09
arm & hammer washing soda, appx. 14oz: $0.94
borax, appx. 14oz: $0.83
oxybrite, appx. 2oz: $0.37

a grand total of $6.23!  two tablespoons is about an ounce, so you should be able to do around 40 loads of laundry with this.  that works out to 16¢ a load!!  i know you can get tide or all or whatever on sale and spend about 20¢ a load - doesn't seem like a great savings, right?  BUT IT'S ALL NATURAL.  it's safe for HE machines, it doesn't have a fuckton of chemicals, it's safe for septic systems and the water table, and works well on @_antgas' mechanic dirty clothes.  does it take out all the diesel fuel stains and shit?  no, but neither did ANY of the other detergents we've used.

so there you have it.  my natural, easy to make laundry soap.  it takes me about 20 minutes to make from start to finish.  it makes me feel better about what's soaking into our clothes, what's draining into the water supply, and doesn't make my clothes smell funny or itch or anything like that. you can find tons of different recipes for laundry soap.  some call for different types of soap, like fels naptha laundry soap.  it's supposed to be excellent on grease stains, but it contains animal fats so i don't use it.  some recipes call for one bar of soap and only one cup each of borax and washing soda.  some call for two parts EACH of borax and washing soda to one part bar soap.  this is the recipe i've been using and i love it.

it will not make suds.  like not at all.  if you've ever washed with dr. bronner's or other natural castile soaps, you may be familiar with the low sudsing of these soaps.  that's what makes this safe for HE machines - low suds.  i do all of our laundry at a laundromat and never see suds in our wash.  and if you're wondering about white vinegar in the rinse cycle as a softener, it does help.  it helps rinse out any residual soap in the clothes.  and it's so cheap.  i use white vinegar for everything now - fabric softener/rinse aid in the laundry, rinse aid in the dishwasher, household cleaning, clearing slow drains (when mixed with baking soda).  it's natural, it's easy, and it's cheap.

let me know if you try my laundry soap, and let me know what you think!

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