Archive for March 4th, 2008

homemade detergents

March 4th, 2008 — 8:00am

Since I began my quest to make our house more enviro friendly, I’ve changed out a lot of my cleaning supplies. I now use baking soda and vinegar for the majority of my cleaning (who knew that old newspapers and vinegar water were the very best window cleaner?). I switched from Cascade to 7th generation for my dishwasher detergent and I’ve also been using Method dish soap, hand soap and spray cleaners for several years. The one thing I never switched out was our laundry detergent.

Not only is the eco friendly very expensive, but I think I was most worried that it would have bad effects on mine and Honor’s skin. We are both SO sensitive, the only thing that I’ve found to work and have used for years is Target’s brand of baby detergent. (Even the name brand bothered me a bit!)

So when I ran across this recipe for homemade laundry detergent, I got all excited. Could I possibly make eco friendly detergent that would be tres cheap? Well, I did. And it works!

I’ve yet to wear the clothes to see how the effect my skin, but I can tell you that they came out of the machine perfectly clean. Here’s the recipe I used:

1 bar Fels naptha soap, grated in the small side of a box grater (be patient, watch your knuckles!)
1 cup Arm and Hammer washing soda (sodium carbonate as opposed to Baking soda – sodium bicarbonate)
1 cup Borax
10-15 drops grapefruit essential oil
Mix together well. (I used my hands to help break up the curls of grated soap.) Store in airtight container.

For “fabric softener”
2 cups white vinegar
10 drops grapefruit essential oil

Dump 2 Tbs. soap mixture in your washer. Turn water on on the hot setting. Fill with enough hot water to dissolve soap. Turn water to cold. Add 1/4 cup of vinegar to fabric softener cup of washer. Run your cold cycle as usual. Wonderful!!

homemade dish and laundry detergents

Making my own laundry soap also got me thinking that I could make my own dish detergent and save a bundle (I’m currently paying about $5 every two weeks for 7th generation detergent! ouch!). I think I’m even more excited about the dish detergent than I am the laundry.

1/4 cup citric acid (I bought this at our local brew shop. It’s about $3 for a pound.)
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1/4 cup salt
a few drops grapefruit essential oil (can you tell I like grapefruit?)

I disbursed 2 Tbs between the pre-wash and wash cups. The dishes came out way better than they do with 7th generation. My rinse cup is still full of Jet Dry and when that runs out, I’ll keep it filled with vinegar to keep the water spots down.

EDIT: After much testing, I’ve determined that the homemade dish detergent just doesn’t clean good enough. I am now mixing it half and half with 7th Generation detergent with awesome results. I feel like it’s a good money saving/green compromise.

Where to find borax, washing soda, fels naptha:
I found all of this at my local Kroger grocery store. The borax and washing soda were both next to each other in the laundry aisle. Washing soda was under $2 and the borax was $3.50. Fels naptha was on the same aisle but way at the other end. It’s just a bar of soap made for pre treating laundry (I will use this when my can of spray and wash runs out.) It was just over $1.

11 comments » | green

Back to top