Sunday, May 31, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent

As promised, here is my first attempt at making homemade laundry detergent.

Again, here are the ingredients.

Laundry Detergent (from the family

1/3 bar (is about ¾ cup when grated) fels naptha or laundry soap (I found Colgate Octagon Soap at Bi-Lo)
½ cup washing soda
½ cup Borax
2 at least 2 gallon, buckets (I used Ice Cream buckets and an old empty 1 gallon liquid detergent bottle
Essential Oil of Choice, for scent
1 gallon sized drink container, to measure additional water

First, I cut the bar of soap into thirds. Despite the name, it was a rectangle, not an octagon. One-third of a bar made about ¾ cup of grated soap.

Grate Soap and put it in saucepan.

I saved the remaining grated soap for the next 2 times I make the detergent.

Add six cups of water and heat (I did this on medium heat) until the soap melts(this is also when I heated the 4 cups of water needed, in a kettle, while cooking the first three ingredients in the saucepan).

I stirred until all the last bits of soap melted, about 20 minutes on medium heat. It was pretty foamy so I had to look carefully to see if the soap had indeed completely melted.

Add the ½ cup washing soda and the ½ cup Borax and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.

Poor 4 cups of hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. This is when I had to separate the mixture by half into 2 different containers- the 1 gallon ice cream bucket and the empty 1 gallon laundry detergent bottle. The smaller ice cream bucket in the picture was too small, it was only ½ gallon size. But I poured it into this first as it would be difficult to stir in the bottle. Next time, I will use a bigger bucket first.

Here, Kelly holds the funnel so I can pour the heavy ice cream bucket without spilling.

Add 1 gallon plus six cups of water and stir. This is also the time to add the essential oil. Let the mixture "gel" for 24 hours before using.

Use ½ cup of the detergent per each load of laundry. I marked the measuring cup lid to the old bottle with a sharpie at the ½ cup line, since it was only marked for concentrate. It took me almost an hour to make this. Now I should be all set!

My lower back was a bit sore, but I am hoping my efforts pay off. The cost of this detergent is only one cent a load! This will save us at least $8 a month, as we usually buy the “clear and free” laundry detergent because we have sensitive skin and exzema. This is naturally “clear and free”.

This makes 2 gallons for 64 loads. I use oxyclean with my whites and extra dirty loads anyway, so I will continue doing that.

I also wrote detergent on the ice cream bucket lid and I am storing that in my laundry room.

So, we have been using the detergent for 4 days, and I really like it. It cleaned ketchup without pre-treating, and even though the low-sudsing formula made me nervous, it cleans great. Even urine on crib bedding. It didn’t gel thickly like I thought it would, but that doesn’t bother me. I would like to try to use the Fels Naptha next time and see if that makes it thicker. I will post more updates as I use the detergent, but so far, I really am satisfied. It was totally worth the effort.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Healthy Child, Healthy World

I picked up this book by Christopher Gavigan from our local Library(the website is Although I am not into the fear aspect of it all, I do support being good stewards of the Earth that God has entrusted to us, His children. Anyway, the timing couldn’t have been better as last week I suffered from a toxic reaction to the household cleaners that I was attempting to declutter. I accidentally mixed chemicals which could have been fatal (thankfully my kids were not around). I spent 3 hours with the worst headache of my life (evidentally toxic reactions kill brain cells), and vomiting induced by the excruciating head pain.

Not only that, but we are trying to pay off some debt and I am always looking for a way to save some money. Homemade cleaners can save me hundreds of dollars a year.

So, I was a prime canidate for switching to green and homemade cleaners that Healthy Child, Healthy World promotes. Plus, Did you know that cancer causing chemicals, among other unwanted side affects, can be found in the average cleaning supplies?

So, I am gradually making the switch. Here are the basics, in case anyone is interested in being gentler and cheaper while they clean J

Fruit and Veggie Cleaner- one part vinegar to 3 parts water

Glass cleaner- 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water

Basic Vinegar Rinse- To finish the job. Fill a squirt bottle with equal amounts white distilled vinegar and water. Add 15- 20 drops of pure peppermint or tea tree oil (note that some botanicals can be toxic if ingested). Shake to mix. Great for Floors, walls, windows, and for removing soap scum.

I love the Basic Vinegar Rinse! I used tea tree oil that I found at Target. Which I had purchased to use in a baby wipes recipe for my cloth diapers (which, by the way is saving us some major dough as well). It worked wonders on my windows and shutters. It also did well to clean the bathtub (which I first scrubbed with a borax and water paste). It also did great on my kitchen cabinets (even the grimey shelves). Plus, the tea tree oil makes it smell so woodsy and pleasant that I don’t think I will ever use windex again. (can you guess what made me sick last week??? Yep, the evil windex LOL. I feel like such a dope.)

All Purpose Cleaner (from Healthy Child, Healthy World)

½ tsp washing soda
½ tsp liquid Castile Soap
2 cups hot water
16 oz spray bottle

Mix ingredients in spray bottle and shake gently. Use on counters, cupboards,, or any surface. For tough dirt, leave on for a few minutes before wiping off. Washing soda can be substituted with 2and ½ tsp of Borax. I found the Arm and Hammer Washing soda at a local grocer (Ingles).

Homemade Soft Scrubber (Healthy Child, Healthy World)

½ Cup Baking Soda
Liquid Soap or Detergent
5-10 drops essential oil (like lavender or tea tree with natural antibacterial properties)

Place baking soda in a bowl. Slowly pour in liquid soap, stirring constantly, until consistency resembles frosting. Add essential oil, if desired. Scoop creamy mixture onto a sponge, scrub the surface, then rinse.

Mold and Mildew Cleaner use

Hydrogen Peroxide
Tea Tree Oil
1 part vinegar and 2 parts water

Floor Cleaner

¼ cup vegetable oil- based soap
½ cup distilled vinegar
2 gallons hot water

For wood floors, substitute a teaspoon of glycerin instead of vinegar.

Polish Floors with Linseed Oil, available at home improvement stores.

Sprinkle Baking Soda on Floors and Vacuum to Freshen carpets.

Laundry Detergent (from the family

1/3 bar fels naptha or laundry soap
½ cup washing soda
½ cup Borax
Small, at least 2 gallon, bucket

Grate Soap and put it in saucepan. Add six cups of water and heat until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the Borax and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Poor 4 cups of hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Add 1 gallon plus six cups of water and stir. Let the mixture gel for 24 hours. Use ½ cup of the detergent per each load of laundry.

I am out of laundry detergent and plan on making this recipe for the first time today. I am very excited as it only costs one cent per load! I hope it works well for us. I will post a review soon.

Green Cabinet

All-Purpose nontoxic cleaner
Baking Soda
Castile Soap(like Dr. Bronners)
Dishwashing Detergent (non-toxic)
Distilled White Vinegar
Essential Oils (I like tea tree and lavender)
Hydrogen Peroxide
Natural Dishwashing soap
Vegetable Oil Based Mopping Liquid

= $25 or less

My Old Cabinet

20+ items like bleach, ammonia, harsh cleaners, oven cleaners, toilet cleaners, etc…

= over $100

Compare the contents of a cabinet full of conventional commercial and toxic cleaners with the greener, healthier cabinet. One-quarter the price, half the volume. Twice the peace of mind. You do the math.