DIY Laundry Detergent
I am going through a phase. I am too old for this stuff, I know. I am almost >gulp< 41, but I can’t stop myself.
It started with a make-your-own sugar scrub. I love sugar scrubs, but I don’t love the price. In fact, I won’t even buy them for myself – I request them every Christmas and birthday from Spouse and hoard them to make them last the year. I thought there must be a way to make my own – and behold the power of the internet led me to many different scrubs. The first I made was a peppermint sugar scrub from a pumpkin & a princess – although I used brown sugar, almond oil and didn’t dye any of it red, so I guess I improvised quite a bit.
Anyway – the result was great and I even made several to give as gifts at Christmas.
Last week I decided to try making my own laundry detergent. Do you know how much laundry detergent a household of 8 uses? I don’t really know the exact amount either, but we could create our own small ski hill with the amount of powdered detergent I bring into the house.
I followed a recipe from Happy Money Saver. In her cost comparison, each load should cost $0.04 per load, as compared to Tide detergent which costs $0.12 per load. That’s 2/3 less!
I easily found all the ingredients online and set to work.
The hardest part was grating the bar soap. Happy Money Saver used a food processor, but frankly I was afraid that everything I make using the processor will henceforth taste like soap. So first I tried grating it by hand, but the soap was too moist and kept sticking together once grated and I was afraid it wouldn’t distribute evenly in the mix.
Then I tried the second method which was to microwave the soap to dry the soap and make it crumbly. Warning – the soap expands rapidly and the volume increases dramatically. In fact a few times it filled the entire space of the microwave. The soap I was using (Zote) was pink so in the end it looked like a giant ball of cotton candy.
And it was crumbly, at least the sections that dried out completely. I found that the smaller I cut the soap, the more it dried out. I ended up doing it in a lot of batches. While one was cooking I was busy rubbing the cotton-candy soap in between my hands to get it to crumble up. After a bit, I noticed a familiar tickle in my throat and common sense hit me. In the lab, we would never measure out dry soap powder without a mask or chemical safety hood. Inhalation of the powder is bad for your lungs! I mentioned to Spouse what was going on and he disappeared for a minute and came back with a face mask for me to wear. He is so handy to have around! Once I donned the mask I felt better, but I am not sure I would recommend this method!
And that was it! The full amount just filled the large-size Tide box I buy from Costco (luckily I saved it).
I’ve been using the detergent (about 1-2 tbsp/wash) and my clothes are clean and smell great.
It will be interesting to see how long this box lasts.
As to my DIY phase, I can’t seem to kick it. Tonight I was rinsing some buckets and tools with bleach for my next project.
But I can’t help wondering, maybe I am missing the lab a little too much?