Saturday, February 07, 2009

Too early to claim success?

Ever since I first ran across a recipe for homemade laundry detergent, I have been eager to try it. After all, homemade usually beats store-bought in so many different arenas, so perhaps this would be yet another example.

However, I was frustrated early on because I couldn't get the main ingredient ANYWHERE around here:

Fels Naptha soap.

Sure, I could order it online, but I was just stunned I couldn't find it anywhere. I knew what it was... I had seen it many, many times... and yet when I needed it, it simply wasn't there.

Even the Mennonite store, for Pete's sake, had never heard of it. (Wouldn't you think that they would stock something like that? yeah, I did too...)

Thankfully, my mom came to my rescue!

Not only did she know what it was (she's been using it for years) and where to get it, but she even said that I was worth the $5 it cost to buy 2 bars of it and ship it down to me. (My mom just rocks! yeah, Mom!)

Quickly collecting the rest of the ingredients (that would be 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of borax), Thomas and I made our first batch of laundry detergent.

He was a bit freaked out watching me grate the soap on the cheese grater (and then give it an extra whirl in the food processor). He looked at me very seriously and said, "You're not going to forget that that's not cheese, are you, Mommy?" I assured him I would remember... and that I would clean everything thoroughly when I was finished. He trusted me after that.

We mixed it all together in a bowl and he (quite proudly) scooped it all into a glass jar... and then ran to the laundry room so we could try out our very first batch.

Initial results:

The clothes smell nice, seem to be stain-free, and are SOFT. This is pretty amazing, since I have been dealing with some horribly crunchy clothing as of late. I can never seem to make it back to the laundry room during the magical "rinse cycle," so I haven't been able to add vinegar (which removes all the soap residue and leaves clothes feeling nice and soft).

Am I just gimped? Does everyone else just have an innate sense of when "the rinse cycle" is happening... or is there some buzzer system that other washers have that mine does not? Certainly we are not meant to just hope for the best and try to hit the rinse cycle? (somebody help me, here!)

Will my children break out in a rash from this new detergent?
Will it get serious stains out?
Will I ever achieve rinse cycle mastery?

I'm not sure... but for now, I'm calling this a success.

If you are a fan of homemade recipes like I am, check out this great link from the grocery game!


Charlotte (Matilda) said...

I love our homemade laundry soap. We use Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castille soap which I by at Central Market. Don't know if you have that there. It smells like Heaven to use but doesn't make you clothes all minty. I also make our own veggie wash, spray cleaner and toilet cleaner.

Ouiz said...

I've heard of Dr. Bronner's soap... maybe they sell that at Whole Foods... I'll have to ask my friend who shops there regularly to look for it.

Veggie wash... baking soda and water?

I'll admit a guilty secret: I wash fruit and vegetables with soap. Yeah, I really do. Even grapes. Julie from Call Me Wannabe can attest to that. She's found that highly amusing.

Do you mind if I ask what your recipe is for toilet cleaner? Anything to escape the overpowering fumes from heavy cleaners!

Charlotte (Matilda) said...

The Veggie Wash is actually baking soda for scrubbing with a mixture of vinegar, grapefruit seed extract and lemon juice in a spray bottle. I sprinkle the baking soda on and rub it in then I spray with the mixture and let it bubble up then rinse. The recipe for the mixture is here.

For the toilets, I have a spray bottle of vinegar, water and peppermint oil. First I sprinkle about 1/4C. of baking soda into the toilet and on the brush. I use that to scrub around with. Then I spray on the vinegar until I can hear the baking soda start to foam. I swish it around some more and then let it sit for about 15 minutes. Flush and your done.

I was convinced of the power of vinegar as a natural anti bacterial when my oldest son had to have an ingrown toenail removed. The podiatrist had us soak his foot in warm water and vinegar every night to keep it clean. He said that the vinegar was gentle (unlike alcohol) on the wound but killed the germs!

CP said...

I don't know if you have a Publix in your part of SC but I've seen the Dr. Bonner's there. They had the peppermint,lavender, and almond scented castile soaps as well as two bar soaps. Just passing it along, we're down in the lowcountry so same state.

Ouiz said...

Actually, we do have a Publix up here! Thank you for letting me know that the soap is there! I'd like to see which one works better -- Dr. Bonner's, or Fels Naptha.