A while back I re-posted a money saving laundry tip from the blog HomeEc101. It mentions the many ways white vinegar can help you save money when you do your laundry at home. See the original money saving laundry tips there and over here too. Then the super-awesome Sarah Cooper of CoopCrafts dropped by and mentioned that she makes her own laundry soap.
I was baffled, and intrigued. I googled around her site and found the CoopCrafts recipe for homemade laundry soap. I got more intrigued. I went shopping. I decided to give it a whirl.
[caption id="attachment_8858" align="alignleft" width="105" caption="retail box of 20 Mule Team Borax household cleaner"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_8857" align="alignleft" width="107" caption="retail box of Arm and Hammer "washing soda" laundry additive"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_8859" align="alignleft" width="109" caption="Retail bar of Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_8860" align="alignleft" width="79" caption="retail box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda"][/caption]
First you grate the bar castile soap very finely (this is especially important for cold water washing).
I used the smaller of the 2 lemon zester options on my kitchen box grater.
[caption id="attachment_8861" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="box grater for kitchen use"][/caption]
Then I mixed the soap crumbles with 1 cup each of the Borax, Washing Soda, and baking soda.
Et voila! Laundry detergent.
Estimated total cost for about 5 cups of detergent = maybe $2.00. Use 1 tablespoon per laundry load, 2 for big loads or very hard water.
GoogleCalculator tells me that's 80 loads of laundry worth of detergent... for about $4! I stored it in my laundry room, in an old heavy-duty plastic bucket with lid.
Dr. Bronner's isn't the only castile soap out there. It does come in many scents, but it's a bit pricey at a little over $4 per bar. I found a cheaper version at my local supermarket where Kirk's Original Coco Castile soap is about $1.39 per bar. I found all the ingredients I needed locally, at my regular supermarkets.
I also have begun adding about 1/3 cup of white vinegar to the rinse water and gave up my regular fabric softener. Holy laundry revelation, Batman! I can hardly even begin to describe the positive difference: Soft, fluffy towels. Super clean and clean-smelling laundry. No static cling. No more chemicals going down my drain into the public water supply. No more rendered animal fat on my clothes.**
Making my own laundry detergent and using white vinegar in the rinse water has been a revelation to me. I can't believe I spent a fortune for all those years on commercial laundry soaps. Never again will I buy All, Cheer or any of the others.
You should try this at home. It's a ridiculously easy way to start if you're baffled by how to live a little greener and reduce your carbon footprint on the planet. Plus your laundry will come out cleaner with no static cling.
**you do know that fabric softener is largely made of rendered animal fat, don't you? that's a bunch of dead, boiled animals all over your clothes
disclaimer - I do not own sticky-stain-makers, otherwise known as children. Your mileage may vary. Parents, you might want to try this on your own laundry first and work your way up to the truly nasty piles of laundry-like filth kids can create.