Monday, May 17, 2010

GG - The Laundry

Dear Blog,

Here's a happy picture of Juniper. I love that smile, or "watermelon slice" as my MIL puts it.

Now, what I want to share with you today is this...

We accomplished one more thing on our journey to becoming more environmentally friendly. It's still no complete solution but we now make our own laundry detergent. What makes this environmentally friendly are the ingredients used are environmentally sound in water and we use much less packaging. Just think of all the containers we go through each year for our laundry.

This is all you need

After searching online for a recipe (they're all basically the same) we went the store and got fels naptha (laundry soap: this brand is usually hard to find in stores but we found it at Fry's), Borax, and washing soda. All three cost about $10 and it goes a long way! You only need about 1 1/2 cups each of the Borax and washing soda and it fills a 5 gallon bucket!!!

Don't be fooled. Though this may look like some tasty cheddar cheese,
it is actually the fels-naptha bar shredded up.
Since we might change the quantities of each product (see the next paragraph) I won't put the exact amounts we used. But you will need a recipe with exact amounts nonetheless. After your first batch you could play with the quantities to make it just right for you, or it could work out just fine the first time. Anyhow, this is basically what you do...
1. Boil at least a quart of water (I don't feel like this amount needs to be exact, it's just to melt the soap).
2. While the water is heating on the stove, fill your bucket with water. Grate the soap bar or cut into small chunks. This will help it melt faster and easier.
3. Once water is boiling, toss in the soap.
4. Once soap is melted, add the Borax and Washing soda.
5. When all is dissolved, pour mixture into the bucket filled with water.
6. Let detergent sit for 24 hours. This will allow it to coagulate. You will end up with a watery gel. As of our current batch, 1/2 cup - 1 cup of detergent cleans one load (that's a lot of laundry for one 5-gallon bucket).
As you can see we need a bigger pot
The Simple Dollar tested how well this detergent worked on a mustard stain compared to Tide with bleach alternative and the results came out to be pretty much the same. You can see the results and his recipe here. For our first batch we used a slightly different recipe than his and Heath isn't as pleased with the results on his clothes so we just may use his recipe for our next batch.


-No phosphates or other harmful chemicals being added to the water
-Much less packaging, cuts down on plastic waste
-Costs way less!
-Was actually fun to make and only took about 10-15 minutes


-It's not just a quick grab-in-one-bottle-and-go detergent
-Takes 10-15 minutes to make (It's all relative, because this also can be seen as a pro)
-That's all I can think of, though I'm sure there's probably another con out there to someone.

You should give it a try. Go now, NOW, NOW!!!

Emily Wilcock


  1. Thanks so much for this post Emily. I was just about to suggest you put this recipe on here but you already did it! Thx :) I'm gonna do it.

  2. yay! this is awesome. i was just thinking about doing this for our family. emily, my dear, i think you and i should be better friends :)