Monday, August 8, 2011

Laundry and Dishwasher Soap

I've made both dry and liquid laundry detergent and have been using both for a while now. I have been using powdered longer so, I decided to try liquid and see how I like it. So far so good. There are recipes all over the Internet- if you're on Pinterest just search and a ton will come up. I roughly used the one on the Duggar family site. This is all extremely easy and cheap to do. The girls helped me it's so easy.
Both the borax (I don't remember my price on this but it was not more than $6)  and the washing soda ($3 ish a box) were found at my grocery store in the laundry aisle. The thing is one box of each of these will make multiple batches of these recipes. The Fels-Naptha soap was sent to me, you can use any mild soap. But seriously. Powder or liquid, my detergent is pennies a load. This is very low sud-sing so I haven't had issues with my front loading machine. *Lots of suds does not = clean, this goes for shampoos and body washes also. Not that we're making those... yet. ;)

Use a cup of vinegar (white) in a downy ball or the rinse cycle for a natural fabric softener. I don't do this. I just don't use fabric softener.

Liquid Laundry Soap
I haven't used this concentrated to pre treat a stain, but I am sure opportunity will present itself soon, I'll let you know if it works!

1 bar mild soap- I used Fels Naptha, I hear Ivory and other mild soaps work just fine
1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda- NOT baking soda
Essential oil- optional
Five gallon bucket

Grate bar of soap- I used the grater on my food processor. You can hand grate if you want. Melt the soap in 4 cups of water in a large pot, over high heat.

Stir until all the soap is melted. Stir in borax and washing soda.

Turn off the heat. Stir until everything is dissolved. Pour the soap into a five gallon bucket. Add water to fill the bucket- it doesn't have to be to the brim but 2-3 inches until the bucket is full is good. Stir. Cover and let set over night- it will turn into a gel consistency. To use this pour a 1:1 ratio of detergent to water into a jug. Add some essential oil- 15-20 drops if you'd like. Give it a good shake each time you use it. I use 1/4 to 1/3 cup in my front loader. Use 1/2 cup in a top loader.
I use an old oil jug, it has a handy measuring cup on top. I also put tape over my label, just in case detergent drips, it will just wipe off.
I made the labels on 4x5inch label sheets. If you want them email me, I'll send them to you free of charge. Not that they are exciting.

 I thought I could just put this soap into some gallon jugs and use less in a wash- more like concentrated detergent. Not so. It got so thick, like jello I couldn't pour it. So I had to coax it out of the jugs and then remelt it to pour into a five gallon bucket. Not fun.
See how concentrated this looks? It was hard to get out of the bottles!
Powdered Laundry Detergent/s
This is just what I have used. And it's been awesome for us. Oxyclean is optional, it hikes up the price but I like it and it works well. Since the rest of the ingredients are so cheap I don't mind it. 
These powder detergents are great for soaking tough stains also. A tablespoon in a hot tub of water and soak.
Sometimes I pour a tablespoon of this into a jar and shake it up with hot water, to dilute before using. Especially if it's a cold wash. I don't think it's necessary. If I'm in a hurry I don't do that at all. This shaking in the jar is what led me to try the liquid detergent.

Recipe 1
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup Oxyclean or powdered color safe bleach (dollar store a this "Sun" brand)

That's it, unless you want to include essential oils- just 10 drops or so. This is perfect for cloth diapers also.
Mix it up and store in a container. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.

Recipe 2
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup Oxyclean or powdered color safe bleach (dollar store a  "Sun" brand)
1 grated bar of soap like Fels-Naptha
Essential oil- optional

Mix everything until well combined. You can keep stirring to break up the grated soap also, for a finer powder. Or grate the soap on a smaller grater.

NOW.... Dishwasher soap.  I'll admit, I'm not as crazy about the first batch of dish washing soap I did. This is my second batch with the addition of citric acid. I also keep white vinegar in my rinse aid dispenser. My biggest deal with homemade dishwasher detergent is the film it leaves on plastics. So I hoped that by using the citric acid that would eliminate the problem. I haven't used this long enough to RAVE about it. BUT, so far so good!
I linked citric acid from Barry Farm's below. I haven't used their citric acid but I have purchased from them before. You can also use Lemi Shine.

1/2 cup citric acid
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 cup Borax
Mix it all together. Use 1 tablespoon per load. Use vinegar in the rise aid portion of your machine.
This is how my citric acid was labeled. I got it at the Asian market, it wasn't more than $2 if even. 
There are recipes that say you can use a lemon flavored (no sugar added) powdered drink mixes in place of the citric acid. I've never tried that.
***  Update- This recipe is working for me for the most part, I have a ton less powdery film. I put vinegar in the rinse aid portion of the dishwasher, 1 tablespoon of this detergent in one of the cups my detergent goes into and I fill the other side with more vinegar.  I am going to up the citric acid though so I don't have any more film/cloudy stuff on the plastics. I'll update again in a week.
*Update, even with extra Lemi shine I wasn't happy with this recipe. So I wont be making it again.

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