Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Laundry Detox

As most of you know, we have been taking steps to "green" up and detoxify our home and lives.  Baby steps, for sure, but steps.  When the kids were babies, we used mostly cloth diapers.  I've already written about my choices for Mama Cloth.  We try to recycle almost everything and thankfully our waste management takes it all.  I now have a second grade recycling ninja, so we're recycling even more things.  =)  We use a lot of cloth napkins instead of paper.  We use mostly cloth dusting cloths and floor mops.  I just picked up a steam mop to clean the floor with so we would not have to use any chemicals.  We always garden and compost.  We eat only grass-fed meat and raise our own cows and chickens and pigs.

Little things, but they all add up.

My most recent step was taking a look at the cleaning products I use in the house and trying to "green" them.  Now, I mostly had been using store-bought "green" cleaners such as Greenworks or the store natural brands.  But I still wasn't happy with the chemical smell or the ingredients, not to mention the fact that they really didn't do the job.

So I branched out.  I decided to start making my own cleaners, for the most part.  I joined Shaklee and began using their products.  And now I'm addicted to making my own laundry soap, dishwasher detergent and shower cleaners.  Among others . . . .

Here is my laundry detergent recipe. It's quite simple to make, although a bit time-consuming.  I enlist the help of the above-mentioned second grade recycle ninja to help with the shredding of the soap.  =)  And the little ones help to make sure all the little pieces of shredded soap make it into the container.  A family affair!

1 C borax
1C washing soda (NOT baking soda!)
2 C Fels Naptha or other unscented soap
Use 2 TBS per laundry load

I find that this recipe gets me through one week of laundry - about 12-15 loads.  You could probably add some essential oil if you prefer a scented soap.  I've found that our clothes are so soft and just clean-smelling.  No real scent.  Just clean.  I can't wait to try this with hanging the clothes on our laundry line!

You can also make liquid laundry soap.  There are TONS of recipes out there on the good 'ole WWW.  Here is a page with lots of them to try: Tipnut - Homemade Laundry Soap

The lowdown on the cost of making this laundry soap.  The Fels Naptha soap was $1.25 for a 5.5 oz bar.  I used about half a bar in the recipe.  The washing soda was $2.75 for 55 oz.  The borax was $2.99 for a 75 oz box.  Doing the math, I figured a cup of washing soda to be about 4 ounces and a cup of borax to be about 3.2 oz.  So the washing soda is about 20 cents/batch.  The borax is about 15 cents/batch.  And the soap is 63 cents/batch.   Grand total of 98 cents/batch.  Divide this by the 15 loads I got done and it turns out to 6 cents per load!  SIX cents!

My regular laundry detergent was $8.79 and it lasted for about 35 loads = 25cents per load.  That's a difference I can deal with!

Now if I could only find a way to magically have all the clean, folded laundry weave it's way to dressers and closets without my taking it there . . . .


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