Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DIY Laundry Soap

In an effort to rid our home of unnecessary chemicals and pesticides, I've been trying to switch to as many natural and homemade products as I can.  While everything in our house still isn't 100% green, we have definitely moved in the right direction.  Every little bit helps!

Research has shown that when multiple pesticides and herbicides are used in conjunction with one another, they produce a "cocktail effect."  These substances may have proved to be harmless when studied at low doses in a lab INDIVIDUALLY, but when combined together their effect is quite toxic.  So, the more unnatural substances we can get rid of, the weaker this "cocktail effect" will be.

Luckily we now have Pinterest to provide us with a never ending supply of natural cleaning remedies (seriously, what did we ever do before this site?!).  Thanks to many informative pins, I am now utilizing vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and lemons much more in my day-to-day cleaning routine.  I also can't get enough of the all-natural and reasonably priced Mrs. Meyer's line.  It's the best!

While it was easy for me to start wiping down counters with natural all-purpose cleaner instead of bleach spray, and scrubbing sinks with baking soda instead of Comet, I was pretty hesitant when it came to changing my laundry soap.  I like to workout and get sweaty, and I couldn't imagine anything homemade would work as well as a commercial detergent.  Plus, I wasn't too familiar with the necessary ingredients and didn't feel like driving all over the place trying to track them down.

Jay of course wanted to give it a try, so I did a bit more research and decided to attempt the most basic recipe I could find that still received positive feedback.  Pretty much all of the natural laundry soap recipes on the web involve some combination of the following: Borax, Fels-Naptha or Ivory soap, and washing soda (NOT baking soda).  There are other things you can add to doctor it up, but I was set on keeping it as simple as possible.  I had read that all three of these essential ingredients could be found at Wal-Mart (sadly, not Target), so, as much as I absolutely loathe the place, I stopped in and picked up the supplies.

I started by grating the bar of Fels-Naptha soap into a bucket with a cheese grater.  It's yellow, so it actually looks just like a pile of cheese when you're done...yummy!  This step was the most annoying part by far.  I've heard of people doing it more quickly in their food processors, but I didn't feel like dirtying up a bunch of equipment.  Then, I added 2 cups of the washing soda and 2 cups of the Borax and shook it up.
Finally, I poured it in to a prettier container...it looks so much nicer on our shelf than a bottle of Tide!

I waited until our old detergent was out to give it a try.  Shortly after I had used the last drop of the store-bought stuff, this handsome guy came down with a serious eye infection that resulted in some icky red discharge spots on our comforter.  (It turns out that he has something called detached retina syndrome, and if we hadn't taken him in to the vet when we did he would have gone blind! Yikes!!)

Anyways, all I had on hand was the new homemade soap, so I figured it would be a good test to see if it really worked.  Sure enough, the duvet cover smelled great when it came out, and there were no stains left to be found.  I have done a couple more loads of laundry since then, and I honestly have no complaints so far.  The stuff works great (and it is safe for HE washers), not to mention it is WAY cheaper and less toxic than regular detergents.  I'm sold!

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