Saturday, April 5, 2014

DIY Laundry Detergent

Confession: I secretly want to be a crunchy hippy who makes her own soap, weaves, raises chickens, and lives off the land for less than $10,000 a year.

But I still want to eat at McDonald's and I like Tupperware.  And I want to go to Disney World tomorrow.

So I decided to just take a baby step and make my own laundry detergent.

I kept seeing it on Pinterest and finally I decided I'd just break down and try it.

I have an HE washing machine.  I hate it, so secretly there is a part of me that hopes this will ruin it so I can get a new one. I used to always use liquid detergent, but recently I've been using the little packets.  I don't use a certain brand, just whatever is on sale or what I have a coupon for.

Disclaimer:  I do not know if this will work for you.  It may ruin your clothes.  It may ruin your washing machine.  It may ruin your microwave.  It may burn your skin.  It may cause headaches, vomiting, bowel leakage, and in some cases, even death may occur.  Ketchup with the Frys is not responsible for any negative outcomes that may occur from any reader who tries this at home.

First, I researched many different recipes.   Most call for Fels Naptha soap, Borax, & Washing Soda (not to be confused with baking soda).  I found one that also included regular baking soda, OxiClean, and Downy Unstoppables.  Unstoppables are just for smell, but the ones I got are turquoise and make it look cute in a clear jar.  My only beef with Downy Unstoppables is that "unstoppable" sounds too much like  "uncrustable", which makes me think of food and they also kind of look like mini chocolate chips so it makes me want to just try one.  But I try to curb my pica cravings.  That's about the only diet I can follow.   Not eating soap.

I like to use liquid soap, but most of those require cooking on a stove top.  If I am making my own laundry detergent, I don't want to have to think about cooking at the same time.  One domestic art at at time is all I can tackle.  Also, the liquid DIY detergent looks like snot.  So that was out.

There were lots of other dry recipes but most of them required 4 pound boxes of ingredients and made enough for an entire year.  I didn't want to commit to making that much in case this doesn't pan out.  Finally, I found one with smaller measurements that looked pretty good.

Here's the recipe I used:
1 Bar Fels Naptha Soap
1 C Borax
1 C Washing Soda
1 C OxiClean
1/2 C Baking Soda
3 caps of Downy Unstoppable



Grate the Fels Naptha.  I found some online tips that recommended putting it into the microwave first, so I did. Chop it up in to some chunks and microwave for a minute or two.   They recommend allowing it to cool before handling.  I would recommend that also.  Do as I say, not as I do.

Fels Naptha BEFORE
Note:  You need to cut it into 4 or 5 chunks before microwaving.
No, my plate is not stolen from TGIFridays.

After microwaving.  They kind of look like Grands Biscuits.
I tried two methods of crumbling, because I wanted to get a really fine end result without using my food processor.

Fels Naptha Method #1:  Microwave, then grate by hand.  Since I did not wait for it to cool, I stabbed it with a fork and tried grating it on the fine part of my grater.  It worked okay, but I thought my method #2 worked better.



Fels Naptha Method #2:  Microwave, then grate in Pampered Chef Hand Grater.  This worked really well and it didn't matter that the Fels Naptha was hot because I didn't have to touch it.  I did use the fine grater part and I ran it through twice to make it super fine.  

Fels Naptha after grating
Mix it all together in a giant bowl.  I put mine into quart size mason jars because that's what I had.  Most online recipes show this in a really cute giant glass jar with a chalkboard label.  I am going to try to recycle some kind of plastic container because my washer shakes and I don't want it to fall off and break.
This is how much the recipe above made.  I used a wide mouth canning funnel and just poured into quart jars.
I am going to use the scoop that came with the OxyClean to scoop it out.
I am washing my first load as I am typing.  I'll let you know how it works out.  Even if it doesn't work, I feel pretty good about myself for being sort of homemakery.  No, homemakery is not a real word.  Yes, it's underlined in red.  Yes, I am ignoring it.  I'm a renegade who makes her own laundry detergent, do you think I'm going to allow a machine to tell me how to spell?

3 comments:

  1. I am so proud of you . Do you remember that your Aunt Kate was once a bona fide hippie? Sort of…except the early ones were said not to have been very clean about their persons, so that did not last long for me, because I am funny about cleanliness, being a nurse and all. Or perhaps that is what attracted me to nursing. When I was dating I would never go out with a man that had ragged dirty fingernails. But I digress…Thank you for the laundry detergent recipe. Please let us know how it does, and keep on writing. I love you!

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  2. By the way-don't forget to wash your grater before you make pasta!

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    1. I've done 2 loads so far. I think I didn't add enough of the Downy Unstoppables but you can add more when you put the laundry in. My washing machine looks the same as it always does and the clothes and towels look the same & smell good.
      Love you too - thanks for the comments!

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