Monday, September 26, 2011

My turn

Lots of folks i know through Etsy and Twitter have tried making their own laundry detergent lately; i finally got round to giving it a go, and to doing a bit of field testing after.  They've been using the recipe here, but if you've read any of my recipe posts, you know that i'm an inveterate tinkerer, and have to fiddle with anything i try.

The original version calls for Fels-Naptha soap, but even though it no longer contains any napthalene, the label is disturbingly vague about what it does contain.  I decided - knowing you can get soap flakes of various things like Ivory in the laundry aisle - to try using a plain, unscented Castile soap.  The other ingredients are washing soda and borax, both cheap and readily available at the grocery store.  Since i was using an unscented soap, i also added in a few drops of lavender essential oil.

The sum total of the procedure is to grate the soap and then mix it with a cup each of the borax and the washing soda.  I used about 10-12 drops of lavender oil to scent the whole batch, and mixed that in well before packing it in a couple of small mason jars - i was tickled to find in my stash of pint jars one that reads "Naturally Fresh," so of course i had to pack some in that.  You only use about a tablespoon per load (got myself a cute little coffee scoop at the thrift store that works very nicely for measuring).

The report from the field test? It works, and it works quite well.  I tried it on an musty set of sheets that was still smelling funky after three rounds with the commercial detergent, and the sheets came out de-funked.  It looks like it will be significantly cheaper than the stuff i was buying, and it doesn't take much time to prepare.

Notes for next time: add a little extra soap - the Fels-Naptha bars are 5.5 ounces, and the bar i used only 4 ounces.  It's supposed to be low-sudsing, but i think it could use a wee bit more.

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