Monday, September 3, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap

That's right - Mrs. Badger is going there. 

Few topics in the blogosphere have ignited the furious listing of pros and cons like homemade laundry soap has in the last few years.

Let's cut to the chase: Does it work and is it worth your time? It is for the Badger Household. 

A few seconds of searching on the internet will give you at least 379 different recipes and methods for homemade laundry soap. Most will use some combination of three main ingredients: Borax, Washing Soda and grated bar soap.

In addition to those recipes, you'll see thousands of vocal proponents and opponents of homemade laundry soap. 

I have to admit that I almost gave up on homemade laundry soap - I suffered many of the same issues that many people online complain about: Smelly washer and dingy clothes. But I wouldn't give up. I was tired of Procter & Gamble taking all of my money. I kept searching, hoping for the magical recipe. I talked to everyone I knew that also used homemade soap, and I started taking notes.

Taking notes only served one purpose: To show me that there were too many variables to pinpoint what was going wrong for some people, and what was going right for others. 

Sounds hopeless, doesn't it? It seemed that it was to me at the time. After researching the ingredients in my favorite laundry soaps, I began to learn that most of what I was paying for wasn't the cleaning action of the product, but rather all the added chemicals that stabilized the product and gave a consistent result with each wash load. This did not make me a happy Badger.

Eventually, I found a basic recipe that gave me pretty good results once I adjusted the amount used per load to compensate for my hard water and began to run the clean cycle on my He front loader with vinegar about twice as often as I had been previously.

No more dingy clothes. No more smelly washer. (Or clothes!)

But.... I still wasn't happy. I wanted something better - something that would make me HAPPY to use it beyond just how cheap it was. I wanted to fall in love with something - like I did with the all-purpose cleaner I blogged about previously. I wanted to have the fresh, glorious scent fill my home while my clothes were drying on racks. Yeah. I wanted it bad.

I ran across a concoction for a laundry detergent using dish soap here:
One Good Thing By Jillee - No Grate Laundry Soap

And I fell in love!!!!!! 
This Badger began to squeal and snort with happy delight! YES! It was easy! The clothes weren't just clean, but they smelled clean and fresh! No icky washer scent!

It was Badger Nirvana: Good and stupidly cheap!
It was so good that Mr. Badger thought I had gone back to a commercial product when he came home to a typical Badger-Chinese laundry with clothes drip drying everywhere.

Even the house smelled good!!!!

The basic recipe is
  • 3 Tbsp. Borax (like 20 Mule Team Borax found in the laundry aisle)
  • 3 Tbsp Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda. From Arm & Hammer found in laundry aisle)
  • 2 Tbsp. Dawn Dish Soap
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp. Downy Unstoppables or Purex Scent Crystals.
Add all ingredients to a gallon jug. Add 4 cups HOT water. (Not boiling) Swirl contents until dissolved. Add water to fill jug to within 1 inch of top. Swirl gently (if needed) before each use.

This has worked well for me. I have, in the last batch, upped the amount of all ingredients by 1 tsp - simply because my water isn't just hard, it's downright crunchy. I have also used Gain dish soap instead of Dawn with good results, since that was what I had on hand.

I like not having to grate soap, and I like the ease of a liquid without all the boiling that other recipes require.

If you ever want to try a homemade laundry soap, I would highly suggest you give this a try, tweaking the ingredients up or down to suit your needs. I haven't worked out the costs yet, but will do so in another update. I can tell you this: It is Badger-Cheap! I'll also update with pictures when I make another batch - I wasn't excited when I made it, so... I didn't take any pictures. Now I wish I had! 

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