So trying to go natural with all the products that touch my skin is not a cheap thing. I have been looking into making my own laundry detergent to save some money. Right now I buy either Mrs. Meyers or 7th Generation and that costs about $15 for a bottle that does 66 loads. That is about $0.22 a load. That doesn't seem like much, but when you are doing as many loads a week as I am, that goes pretty quick.
I found quite a few recipes online, all calling for basically the same thing, super washing soda, borax, and fels naptha soap, and water of course. Then a friend told me that she had been using a recipe that is concentrated so that you don't end up with huge jugs of liquid detergent sitting around your house, you just have some creamy detergent that is in nice Ball or Kerr jar with the plastic lid. She said that she really loved hers and it got out really bad stains and cleaned really well.
The recipe is from http://thewhitesilkpurse.blogspot.com/2010/10/laundry-soap.html , my friend let me sample a bit for my laundry and while I felt that it did do a good job, I noticed that my legs really started itching when wearing the clothes I had washed with it.
I'm pretty sure that it was the Fels Naptha soap. I had read some blogs that said it wasn't good, others that said it wasn't bad. So of course that was added to my long list of products to research. I found that it does contain ingredients that for me and my sensitivity I don't even want to go near it. Here are the ingredients from felsnaptha.com,
IngredientsSoap (sodium tallowate*, sodium cocoate* (or) sodium palmate kernelate*, and sodium palmate*), water, talc, cocnut acid*, palm acid*, tallow acid*, PEG-6 methyl ether, glycerin, sorbitol, sodium chloride, pentasodium pentetate and/or tetrasodium etidronate, titatium dioxide, fragrance, Acid Orange (CI 20170), Acid yellow 73 (ci43350)
*contains one or more of these ingredients
I've highligthed just a few that are cause for concern; These tend to be carcinogens, cause cancer, scientifically linked to Alzheimers, and commonly found in things like brake fliud and anti-freeze.
If you want more information, I found these sites to be quite helpful http://www.natural-health-information-centre.com/harmful-chemicals.html,
Feel overwhelmed yet? Thats how I've been living my life lately trying to figure out what I can and cannot use, and it's pretty horrifying the things that I have learned that I use every day that are just plain bad.
SO back to the soap, I decided to go ahead and switch out the Fels-Naptha with Kirk's Coco Castille Soap (for those of you who are LDS, the temple uses the same basic recipe but with Zote soap instead, and I can't find a full ingredients list on it yet), I followed all of the instructions from the White Silk Purse blog, and I took pictures as I went since she doesn't have any.
Step 1- Get the ingredients, Borax (I ordered mine from Mountain Rose Herbs for $12 for 5lbs.), Super Washing Soda(NOT baking soda, that won't work!), 2 3/4 bars Kirk's Coco Castille Soap (Walmart), and water
Step 2- Grate the soap, I used my Ninja blender and it worked great!
Step 3- Heat 6 cups of water and add the soap, stir frequently until disolved. Do not boil or you will have soapy suds all over the place!
Step 4- Take off heat and add 2 cups of Borax and 2 cups Super washing Soda to water and stir until disolved.
Step 5- Pour into containers add a little bit more water once in the containers. It will start to seperate right away.
Step 6/7- Let sit over night, it will be pretty solid. Then cut it up as much as you can because it will make it easier to scrape out.
Step 8- Scoop it into your mixer/blender (I used my BOSCH), and cream it up until it's nice and smooth. Then scoop it out into your containers and you are done!
The recipe says that it makes 4 quarts. I ended up with 5 quarts and 1 pint. 1 quart is supposed to be 64 loads using a tablespoon per load if you have a regular washing machine. A front loader only needs about 1-2 teaspoons per load.
There's the recipe if you want to do it. It is quite messy and a bit of a pain, but if you're up to it, then go for it!
I am also selling it for $6 a quart which costs you about $0.09 per load for a regular top loader or about $0.04 for a high efficiency front loader.
I've only used this recipe a few times, but so far so good. The soap smells fantastic but doesn't leave any kind of scent on my clothes.
This is phosphate free, without any artificial fragrances or dyes.