Oh my goodness, this is scary!
This article from Forbes.com is about a study that shows, in a nutshell, that we are exposed to all sorts of dangerous chemicals when we use commercial cleaning products, and that the companies that make them aren’t even required to disclose the ingredients they use. Umm…no, thank you very much.
To start off my new, I’m-going-to-make-my-own-stuff-that-won’t-slowly-kill-me kick, I made my own laundry soap! It turned out slightly unusual (a.k.a a congealed, sloppy, gross-looking mess) but it works like a dream, and my clothes smell awesome. It’ll save you money, too. I spent around ten dollars, and got enough washing soda and Borax to make several batches of soap. At about 192 loads in a batch, this works out to less than a penny a load! It wasn’t hard to make, either. I only hurt myself once!
All you need is:
- A bucket with a lid to store your finished soap. I used a three-gallon Rubbermaid container, and it worked, but I think my soap needed more water, so I’ll probably cut the recipe in half next time. If you’d rather make the whole batch, try a five-gallon bucket.
- 1/2 cup washing soda, which is not the same as baking soda. I found mine in the laundry isle at Wal-Mart.
- Borax, which you can also find in the laundry isle.
- A bar of soap. You can use 1/3 of a bar of Nels-Naptha, but I just grabbed a bar of lavender Yardley’s for a dollar.
- A large pot and a stove.
- A cheese grater or sharp knife. The grater is way easier and less dangerous.
Boil some water on the stove. I filled a 3-qt saucepan about 1/3 of the way full. You just need enough water to melt the soap. While your water is boiling, grate up the soap or cut it into small pieces. Add the soap to the boiling water and stir it until it all melts.
TRANSFER THE MELTED SOAP AND WATER TO YOUR BUCKET BEFORE YOU ADD ANYTHING ELSE. I added the washing soda to the pot on the stove like an idiot, it foamed up everywhere, made a gigantic mess, and gave me a wicked burn on my middle finger. But I digress. With the soap and water in the bucket, add your washing soda and Borax, wait for the foam to stop rising, stir, and start stirring in hot water until your bucket is full. Close the bucket and wait patiently for about 24 hours for the soap to gel, stirring occasionally.
Or, you could do like I did and try the soap the same day you made it, because you’re impatient, and you feel like by burning your finger off you earned it.
When you finally try it out, just add about 1/4 of a cup to your laundry and wash like usual! Bonus tip: don’t use commercial fabric softener. 1/4 of a cup of white vinegar will make your clothes soft without making them smell all vinegar-y. Trust me, I tried it.
This is what mine looked like!