Wow, I had no idea so many people were interested in making their own laundry soap - or at the very least, knowing what it involves. So for my Facebook friends, here are my thoughts and the recipe, and you can let me know what YOU think if you try it!!
I may have already mentioned that I found this recipe laying around at work, and I thought it sounded like a fun thing to try. Yes, I like to be "green," but not in a trendy sense ("green-ness" seems to be trendy, and you already know what I think about fads), or in a sense that I think that we as humans can save/renovate a planet that was fashioned and set in motion and is in the hands of an enormous God...BUT - that God is mighty proud of His work and gifted us with life on it and gave us stewardship over it. With that stewardship comes a certain degree of responsibility to honor Him by taking care of what He has made, just like I would be a careful steward of my money, clothing, furniture, etc. But I do believe that He declared a beginning of our planet and He will likewise declare an end, and we have no control over that.
But I digress. I also like to try to save money. And hey, if I can control what goes into a product AND save some moolah, then rock on. It's always fun to try something new, anyway.
SOOOO...this recipe comes from a lady named Crystal Miller and is on her website. Rather than infringe on her copyright OR reinvent the wheel, I'll have you click on the link and go straight to the recipe, as well as read her answers to frequently asked questions regarding the soap. I'll give you a quick summary, though!
Here's all the stuff I used.
I already had the Borax (found in the laundry aisle at Meijer). I fished a gallon water jug out of our recycle bin, because Matt always buys jugs of water when we're on road trips. I bought the Ivory soap, a set of measuring cups, the bucket, and the oxygen cleaner at the Dollar Store. The Arm and Hammer washing soda was at Meijer as well. And I bought the lavender oil at the health food store, but you can take it or leave it, because the cost about made me croak, and it really doesn't make a huge difference anyway in the smell of your laundry. Crystal's recipe calls for you to use the whole bottle of essential oil, but at that cost I may as well buy the uppy-end laundry detergent and bag the whole DIY thing.
Here's what the end result looks like...the recipe says to let it sit and gel for 24 hours, but I needed to get my laundry done and used it after it had been sitting for about 16 hours.
Crystal describes the soap as having an egg-drop soup consistency. I prefer to think of it as viral-infection phlegm. Hope that didn't ruin it for ya.
The results? My laundry was clean. It didn't smell like anything when I pulled it out (so the lavender oil was kind of a waste), which I don't care about anyway. I've been using lightly-scented eco-formulas anyway for the past couple of years and have come to prefer NOT having heavily-scented laundry. And I line-dry almost everything, so it just has a fresh-air scent anyway. I think for normal run-of-the-mill laundry it'll work just fine. Crystal recommends a recipe tweak if you have more heavily soiled laundry, OR just using a cup of Oxy-Clean (or Dollar Store brand, like mine) for more soiled loads.
I honestly can't tell if the basic recipe removes worn-in dirt stains. My grimier socks have perma-grime stains because I never use bleach. I have white towels that are not gleaming white, but white enough, and I'm okay with that. I've always thrown a half cup or so of Borax into my loads of whites (in addition to my detergent) to brighten them up, and it does a decent enough job, and doesn't gradually penetrate the water table with bleach. So it works for me, and no one has remarked, "Holy cow, your towels aren't glowing white," or "Oh my goodness, your running socks are SO not very white."
So there you have it! My MIL and a lady from my church tell me that you can use vinegar during the rinse cycle and it's a great fabric softener.
Other ways to save $$ and electricity when it comes to the laundry:
*Line dry!!! I line-dried when we lived in apartments, too (and when I lived in a trailer at camp). Door knobs, cupboard knobs, countertops, shower curtain rods, balcony railings, chair backs, and lawn furniture all work great. We actually rescued one of those collapsible drying racks from a dumpster and used that too!
*Cut your dryer sheets in half.
*If you're in the market for a new W/D, consider a front-loader. I balked at the price, too. My first instinct is to always go with the cheapest, most basic appliance. Matt's the one who will consider the long-term cost. As it turns out, the extra $$ you pay for the front-load HE washer is recouped within the first year in your water bill. So it was worth the extra that we spent in the long-run.
*For other cleaning needs: vinegar goes a LONG way, is a natural disinfectant, and is cheap. It smells strong when you spray it, but the smell goes away as soon as it dries. Spritzing a shot of white vinegar and a shot of hydrogen peroxide on a surface will kill E. coli and other common ick-meisters. I pretty much only use vinegar for cleaning...it's cheap, effective, and doesn't leave a chemical fog. And bonus: no poisonous cleaning agents sitting in the cupboard when we eventually have little fingers exploring their way around the house.
So there you have it!! I will shortly post a couple of delicious recipes that I tried last night, as well as some awesome pictures from Colorado. I might not get to the CO pics until this weekend, though, so stay tuned...