Friday, January 28, 2011

Favorite Things Friday: Laundry

O.K., so the title of the post may be a little misleading. Laundry is most definitely NOT one of my favorite things! And we have SO much of it! This past year, within just a few short months, we added a new family member (Baby Munchkin) and I became a daily exerciser and runner. Now, those are two things that generate a ton of laundry, y'all! Babies and daily workouts = more changes of clothes and piles of stinky, messy clothes. I do not love it.

I have, however, recently come to love the "homemade" laundry detergent I have started to use. My sister posted about it on her blog awhile back, and to be honest, at first I was a skeptic. I had most of the ingredients already, though, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Well, I have really been wowed by this stuff!

Here's why I love it:

1. It's a HUGE money saver! By my best estimate, about $10 worth of supplies should last my family of 4 at least a year! And, remember, we have LOTS of laundry. Did I tell you that already?

2. It's earth-friendly. I will admit that I don't always do my part in this area, so I feel really good about taking some steps toward more green living.

3. It works! Since I started running, I have tried several different laundry detergents because some had a hard time dealing with the, um, odor that a super-sweaty runner like me can leave behind. (TMI? Sorry...) Anyway, no such problem here! And it does a great job dealing with baby stains and the dirt and grass I tend to collect at boot camp, too.

So how do you make it? I'm glad you asked!

Here's the recipe I use (copied from my sister's blog):
Liquid Laundry Detergent (2 gallons): 2 quarts hot water
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated (I've read you can use other vegetable-based bar soaps - several suggest Ivory or Zote.)
1/2 cup Washing Soda (Arm and Hammer, NOT baking soda though!!)
1/2 cup Borax
1 quart hot water
Additional Hot Water to make 2 gallons

Mix grated soap in a saucepan with 2 quarts hot water and heat on low until melted. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax until dissolved and remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to 2 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket with additional hot water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture cools and thickens. It will separate and gel a bit as it cools. This is normal. Mix well when cool – I use a wand mixer to really smooth it out - and transfer to tightly covered containers (like gallon milk jugs) for storing.  Mix/shake well before each use. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.

I prefer liquid for my HE machine, but the powder variety is even easier to make:

Powdered Laundry Detergent 1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap (again, the other options should work, too)
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup 20 mule team borax

Mix and store in airtight container or bag. For light or small loads, use 1 tablespoon.  For normal loads, use 2 tablespoons. For heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons.

You may need to tinker a bit to get the right recipe for you.  Washing Soda and Borax are water softeners and help boost the effectiveness of the soap. You may need to bump those up if you have really hard water or step them down if you have really soft water. You can also add essential oil if you like scent.

Sounds easy, right? It really is, and notice that the liquid variety makes 2 gallons. That'll last you awhile, so you don't even have to make it very often!

My sister has several other awesome green ideas on her blog, too. Be sure to check her out.

The fam and I are jumping in the car now to head to Florida. Tomorrow Daddy-o, my little sis, and I will be doing a little of this

at Warrior Dash, Florida. Minus the tutu... No worries, though. We have our own special costumes. :)

(Disclaimer: I do not know the person depicted above. Just found a cool Warrior Dash pic on the good ol' Internet)

See y'all on the other side...


  1. I make the powdered laundry detergent and I love it!

  2. Thanks for the shout out and for spreading the word! We love it, too!! I did make my last batch with a nice peppermint castille instead of the FelsNaptha and so far it works just as well.