Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How to Make Laundry Detergent-
(It's really cheap, and it works!)

Supplies Needed:

Fels Naptha* (You can usually get this at the grocery store, but look high and low in the laundry aisle, it's sometimes hard to spot!)
-or- Ivory Soap* (bar)
Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer makes this, but it's NOT the same as baking soda, and comes in a bigger box!)
Borax
3-4 quart heavy pot or saucepan
large bucket, marked to the "2 gallon" spot
Water
Metal spoon or wooden spoon that you won't use for food preparation any more!

First, grate 1/3 bar of Fels Naptha (or 1/2 bar of Ivory)
Add this to 4 cups of water in the pot on the stove, and turn the heat on!
Stir over heat until it dissolves, but DO NOT let it boil!
When the Naptha is completely dissolved, add 1/2 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup borax, and 2 more cups of water. Continue to stir, just until the washing soda and borax and throughly dissolved, too. Put your clean bucket in the sink, and pour the mixture into it. Now fill your pot with cool water, swish it around, and pour that water into the bucket (this is just to help rinse your pot and not waste anything!). Fill the bucket all the way to the 2 gallon mark, and mix well.
Now you can let it sit overnight or put it into whatever containers you plan to store it in right away. Most recipes say to let it sit overnight, but when I have a nice fresh batch of this fresh-smelling detergent, I usually use some right away... how's that for motivation!?
To pre-treat bad stains or heavily soiled material, just put some directly on the stain and let it sit- even overnight. Use 1/2 cup of detergent for the average load of laundry; you can use more if your clothes are really dirty (Georgia red clay, anybody?). Sometimes I fill the washing machine, let it agitate for a few minutes, and turn it off for a few hours, or even until the next day. This is pretty much a non-sudsing detergent, so it's safe for HE machines.

To make the detergent with Ivory Soap, just switch the soap and follow the same directions. Great for sensitive skin, cottons, and baby clothes!

*Fels Naptha, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, and Ivory Soap are all registered trademarks- I just haven't figured out how to insert the little symbol into this format.

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