Happy Earth Day to you, lovelies!
Do you have any plans to honor our favorite Mamma, Mother Nature? Getting outside? Digging in the dirt? Taking a shorter shower? Beginning some new green habits?
I’ve been wanting to go a shade greener in my nesting so thanks, Earth Day, for giving me this opportunity. Truth be told, I do not have laundry detergent loyalty. I usually just buy the eco-friendly variety that happens to be on sale or sometimes, just has the nicest packaging. I know, I know. This has come with mixed results, but regardless of how clean the clothes may or may not be getting, it’s still really expensive. And I always have green guilt about buying yet another container. It doesn’t really make me feel better that I recycle it because there’s still all that manufacturing, shipping, marketing, trip to the store, etc. It’s enough to make this Mamma’s head spin.
So I scoured (no pun intended, I swear!) the Internet for a super simple, economical, earth-friendly laundry recipe. Sure enough there were 152,000 hits just for “Homemade laundry detergent.” And I stumbled upon this simple idea multiple times so I figured this would be a great place to start. Here’s a secret our Grandmothers knew. This stuff rocks! And you’ll gasp at how cheap it is.
Simple Green Soap for Your Duds
4 cup load of homemade laundry soap, which will endure about 32 loads.
2 cups grated Fels Naptha bar soap
1 cup Borax (check out their new look in the photo above!)
1 cup baking soda
Place in an air-tight container.
Shake or stir and you’ve got a container of laundry detergent. I also threw in an old measuring spoon and labeled the old water container so ALL the squirrels in our nest would know what to do on laundry day.
Directions: Use 2 T per load and dissolve in water before adding clothes.
$$$$$ Financial breakdown $$$$$
16 oz box of baking soda: $.59. Only used about half the box. About $.30
Fels Naptha soap: $1.09 for the bar. Only used about 1/4 of the bar. About $.30
4 lb, 12 oz box of Borax: $4.49. Only used about 1/8 of the box. About $.30
1 cup=16 Tablespoons so… about 32 loads! That comes out to almost $.03 per load. Wow! Not too shabby. Sorry, Seventh Generation. You just can’t compete with this! Not even with your new(ish) and improved packaging…
Now what to do with all those clean, wet clothes. I’ve been researching easy ways to dry the laundry outside without erecting a permanent clothesline system and not spending a lot of money. Do you have a system for this that you’d like to share, dear readers? I’m not thrilled about the idea of hanging my Mamma panties and nursing bras up for Bert and Ernie to enjoy, but I’d love to hang towels, the duvet cover, jeans, sheets, and wouldn’t a wee onesie or two be cute?
For your Earth Day enjoyment, check back later today. I have a couple more thoughts and pretty pictures to share with you.
Until then, for our Mother’s sake, please don’t buy bottled water today at the very, very, very least. Come to think of it, don’t buy it tomorrow either…
I wonder what Judy-Mother-Nature’s doing today? 2 Ts – that’s ALL? How can you go wrong??? I’m inclined to actually make up a batch and check it out. I have that gimongous bag of baking soda you gave me to start, and I think we may still have a box of Borax in the basement. Howdy-doody – great idea. Another tip – and I actually heard this on NPR so it’s GOT to be OK – skip the shower once in a while – how dirty can you really be? Remember, many of our European friends wash their hair once a week – not everyday like we sterile-obsessed Americans tend to be. I would love to hang laundry outside again, but believe it or not, I think there are ordinances against it in the GPs – I may be wrong, but I believe I read that once. Use one of the tips somebody gave you about the retractable line – where does one buy clothes pins anymore?
As far as showering goes, I don’t do it every day anymore and I don’t wash my hair every time I shower. My hair likes it!
I bet you’re right about the ordinance. Lots of places have those, but many are retracting (no pun intended) them now. I got some basic clothes pins at the dollar store, but I’ve seen them at the super market too!
Have you tried it? How is it? If someone wanted a scented version, do you think it would be ok to put some drops of essential oil in?
I’m dying to know! I have gone back & forth on laundry soap. We went all-natural, but it’s expensive & I noticed it not working terribly well on certain things. Then we switched to Tide (I know, I know) b/c it DID work better (and, at cost-co, was cheaper) but I feel green guilt every time I do laundry with it!
Essential oil – yes, I’ve read you can easily do that. I was thinking lavender or rosemary or mint. But I haven’t tried that yet. This detergent actually smells “clean” if you know what I mean. And I like that.
I have a similar recipe that I add scented oil to. I ususally use lavender and lemongrass because they are light and smell clean, but tea tree is nice and has antibacterial properties.
Love it! I might make a batch. I have a front-loading washing machine, and might calculate how much water I’d need to mix it up ahead of time, and then how much LIQUID to pour in (so I don’t have to dissolve it in water every time.) We’ll chat next time I see you; I wonder where you found that fancy soap? Edson Farms? Oryana? Or perhaps even Tom’s? Not MEIJERS?!
Thanks for the inspiration. And HAPPY EARTH DAY to your nest!
There is an alternate method that involves making a liquid detergent from the same concoction that might be better for your front-loading machine? http://tipnut.com/10-homemade-laundry-soap-detergent-recipes/
Check ’em out!
Fels Naptha you can get at all the local grocery stores – usually relegated to the bottom shelf. I got mine at Tom’s.
(Found your blog via Ohdeedoh, Ashlea … I love it!)
I need to get back to making my own laundry soap! I have made something similar in the past using Dr. Bronner’s castile bar soap in place of Fels Naptha. I had great results … but I never dissolved it in water first. Now I use MoonWorks, which is available here locally and as far as I can tell is very similar to this recipe (using castile soap). If you use the Dr. Bronner’s scented bars your soap will smell great, too! BUT it’s more expensive than Fels Naptha.
Your post is serendipitous because I JUST got back from the store where I bought my favorite bar soap, Dr B’s peppermint. After I’m done with the Fels Naptha, I will try that next time. That way I don’t have to buy essential oil TOO. All in one! So maybe it’s actually less expensive to do it this way? hhhmmmm.
You are inspiring! I am totally going to try this soap out & either use Fels Naptha or Dr. B’s. I love the ‘clean smell’ – that’s probably more than enough for me. I was going try out this soap as I’ve heard great things: http://www.charliesoap.com/index.asp?cartID=1784B54E67F44C90A356A67CAB521769
BUT it’s $15.50 for 80 loads which puts it around 19 cents/load compared to 3!
Hey, that stuff looks very COOL, but it’s probably basic soap like this homemade recipe. It’s laundry day here and things are looking and smelling good so far!
Add some pure essential oils and you just about have Moon Works =) Btw, lavender essential oil has antiseptic qualities too!
Fantastic because I love Moon Works!
You’ve had me obsessing all day! I found out that Fels Naptha uses sodium tallowate, so I think I may try this with dr. bronner’s instead. Thanks for getting me to rethink this whole issue!
Castile soap is made with olive oil instead of tallow. I believe Dr. Bronner’s makes a castile bar.
I make my own soap for my deterent, but I used Ivory the first time with no problems. It’s cheaper than Bronner’s and Fels Naptha. I just couldn’t handle how smelly Ivory was. (Too much perfume. 🙁 )
Do you need a baby-safe fabric softener to go with this?
you read my mind! I was just thinking of this yesterday!
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