I have been waiting for about 8 months to make this post happen. Here is the deal...last fall I decided to try out making homemade laundry detergent. However, I didn't want to just blindly post and put my seal of approval on it since I didn't know how well it worked. AND I didn't take pictures because, again, I wasn't sure how it was all going to turn out...[[why waste my time, you know?]] BUT after 8 months [[it took me that long to go through the first batch!]] I am finally able to say with 100% certainty that this recipe is outstanding! So outstanding, in fact, that while making the second batch, I decided to actually slow the process down enough to take pictures! [[I would like to take this time to apologize for the poor photo quality...it's HARD to make laundry soap with a camera in one hand...]]
So here it is...after 8 months...Lucinda's Laundry Soap! [[side note about the name: I decided to call it after my Grandmother who takes on different personas for different chores. Lucinda is the laundry woman. =) ]]
-1/3 of a bar of Fels Naptha Laundry Soap
This can most likely be found in the laundry section of your local super market.
-1/2 c of Borax
-1/2 c of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
I believe this was also in the laundry section. DO NOT think that you can just substitute baking soda for this. Because you CAN'T. So don't. =]
-A boat load of water
-Essential Oil [[optional]]
-A bucket with a lid
Step 1: Chop the Fels Naptha bar into thirds. Finely grate 1/3 of the bar. In my photo, you will see huge chunks left. If you want...you can take a knife to those puppies. I got lazy...and didn't. They will just take longer to melt in the next step if you leave them alone.
Step 2: Put the grated soap into a large pot with 6 cups of water. Heat [[on LOW]] until soap melts but doesn't boil.
Step 3: Once it is all melted, add the Borax and the Washing Soda and stir until it is dissolved. Keep stirring until the mixture is as thick as honey. Remove pot from heat.
Step 4: Pour 4 cups of HOT tap water into your bucket. Add the soap mixture and stir it up. Now is when you would add your essential oil. I used peppermint and since I was dumb and didn't write down how much to actually use from the original recipe, I just eye-balled it...actually...I just went by how strong it smelled...I ended up using ~50 drops...which may or may not be a good idea...let's just say that my husband and I smell minty fresh. =]
Step 5: Add 1 Gallon + 6 cups more of HOT tap water. Put the lid on your bucket.
Step 6: This is the exciting step...Let it sit over night!
Step 7: [[If you want]] Use a Blender Stick to smooth out your detergent. The 2 times I've made it, it has been a lot of liquid with a huge gelatinous mass in it. I chose to blend it just to make it easier to get into my containers.
Step 8: Funnel the detergent into your container(s). In my case, I have a leftover laundry detergent bottle. Most of it fits in there. But I have a milk jug that I saved to put the rest of the detergent in.
You should use 1/2 c per load. [[Or so says the recipe...I just do as I did with previous soaps, which is to use an amount that corresponds to the size of the load I'm doing...our clothes still smell good...so I think my method is fine!]]
And for those of you who [[like me]] have hard water, and no dryer OR if you just like fabric softeners, here is the recipe I use for that!
4 c Hot Water
2 c White Vinegar
2 c Baking Soda
10 drops of essential oil [[I used peppermint again because it's the only essential oil I have and I have a lot of it...]]
Step 1: Put everything in an empty milk jug.
Step 2: Shake.
Use ~1-2 teaspoons per load of laundry.