Thursday, November 17, 2011

Clean and Green

I recycle. I drive a fuel efficient vehicle. But I often find myself wanting to do more, to have more of a green impact. When I found the instructions to make homemade laundry detergent, I was thrilled! The eco-friendly detergent is always ridiculously expensive. It turns out that this detergent breaks down to 3 cents a load or something like that (I didn’t do the math). I love a good deal just as much as I love the critters and plants. 

I picked up a 5 gallon bucket, a bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap, Borax, and Arm and Hammer Washing soda. Although all of these ingredients were in the laundry aisle, I probably spent 10 full minutes trying to find each item. Apparently there is no rhyme or reason in where the items were placed. 
Following the instructions, I cut the laundry bar into thirds. 

Kind of looks like Velveeta, right?

Next I grated the soap down. I’m a grating pro because of my love for cheese. Do not be fooled, this is not cheese. It’s soap. Don’t eat it. 

I added the cheese look-a-like to water and warmed it up over low heat until the soap melts down. 

The next step is to add 1/2 cup each of washing soda and borax. Apparently Borax isn’t a quick moving item, it was hard as a rock. I had to stab the hardened powder until it loosened so I could pour it in the measuring cup. 

This is where I got annoyed. The instructions say the mixture is supposed to cook down to a honey-like consistency. The blogger never said how long it takes to cook down. I stirred and stirred for over 45 minutes. GB suggested the heat was a little too high, so I turned it to the lowest setting possible. Still nothing. So I gave up and moved on to the next step.

 I poured it into the big 5 gallon tub (that already had 4 cups of hot water). Next I added 1 gallon plus 6 cups of hot water and stirred. 

The mixture sat over night and when I checked on it the next morning, the top had a very thick (maybe 2 inches) layer, and underneath was mostly liquid. The instructions didn’t explain what to do, so I mixed it up. 

I was concerned when I washed the first load. I poured in a 1/2 cup of 1/2 chunky detergent. But guess what?!? It washed the clothes just as well as any other detergent and it smelled quite clean. 
I would definitely recommend making your own homemade laundry detergent if you’re not afraid of an hour (maybe two) of work. It’ll save you money and help the environment. Plus your kitchen smells great when you are cooking the soap. 

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