Check it. My laundry detergent is looking all cute and junk.
I already had the glass cylinder (my mom got it for me a long time ago and I think it came from Walmart). I got the blue tin for $1 at an estate sale. It’s been moved around the house several times trying to find itself but finally seems to have settled in as an attractive vessel for oxyclean–side note, love that stuff. My laundry appliances are so old that the temperature knob is broken off the dryer and the washer scoots halfway across the room during the course of a normal spin cycle, but I’m making metaphorical lemonade with my cute containers.
I do a lot of laundry these days and detergent is freaking expensive. After months of sticker shock every time I purchased a container of my beloved powdered tide I decided to give homemade detergent a try. Most of the recipes online are for a huge batch to be stored in a giant bucket. I didn’t want to commit to a year’s supply without knowing how I’d like it first so I adjusted the proportions to make a more reasonable amount. My recipe is pretty simple:
- 1 bar of soap (Zote white soap was 99 cents in the laundry aisle of my grocery store)
- 1 cup each oxyclean, baking soda, washing soda, and borax
I couldn’t find washing soda at my grocery store, but thanks to my friend Mr. Google I discovered that heat acts as a catalyst to convert baking soda to washing soda. So I poured some baking soda out onto a cookie sheet and baked it for a while until it changed consistency and a test sample of it no longer reacted with vinegar. Yay chemistry! I used my food processor to grate the soap, then mixed everything together in my glass canister and wa-lah! Laundry detergent. I melted my plastic scoop trying to get to washing soda off the hot baking sheet so I had to search my kitchen for something else that would work. I found a shot glass that held exactly two tablespoons, which was perfect. I don’t know that I would use the food processor to grate the soap again. It kept getting all jammed up and I worried I was damaging the motor, plus the soap never got to the powdery consistency I was hoping for. Maybe next time I’ll grate it by hand first and then put it in the food processor.
I’ve also been making my own dishwasher detergent. I don’t have a picture of it but it’s stored in a glass canister on the kitchen counter with a metal tablespoon in there as a scoop. The recipe is equal parts borax and baking soda (though I may try washing soda now that I know how to make it) and a couple packs of lemonade kool-aid. You can use citric acid if you’re fancy but I didn’t know where to get it and I buy kool-aid on sale for 11 cents a packet. It gets clumpy and hard sometimes but who cares, it’s cheap and it works.
I’m not convinced that the homemade laundry detergent is enough to get Jack’s cloth diapers clean but I’m willing to give it a try. When I run out of the batch I’ve got maybe I’ll tweak the recipe somehow. Any ideas from you lovely readers?