MaryBeth and her Day Care kids made their own laundry detergent, put it into recycled bottles (obtained by rifling through the neighbors recycling bins... if I have to put Zel in Day Care, I totally want her there!), and delivered it to every neighbor on the block. HOW COOL IS THAT?
There was more than enough left over for her to give me a few cups worth and she offered to refill it for infinity... which she is also doing for her neighborhood. Well, I LOVED it and begged to learn the process when she makes her next batch.
(psst: click "read more")
So here it is... (this recipe was chosen by MaryBeth's friend who tried numerous recipes found online and chose this one as the best.)
*One bar of Fels-Naptha (supposedly you can also use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile or Zote bars, just nothing heavily perfumed or deodorizing)
*2 cups washing soda
*1 cup borax
*hot tap water
1. Grate bar of soap and add to 4 cups hot water in a saucepan.
2. Stir continuously over med-low heat until soap dissolves.
3. Fill a 5-gallon bucket half full with hot tap water (note: in the pictures we were dividing the recipe into two, but still used 5-gallon buckets so that they wouldn't spill when I transported my bucket home)
4. Add melted soap, washing soda & borax. Stir well till dissolved.
5. Fill bucket to top with more hot water.
6. Stir, cover & let sit overnight to thicken (turns into a gel).
7. Stir and fill your recycled containers 1/2 full with the gel. Fill the rest of the container with warm water.
OPTIONAL: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Haven't tried this yet, but plan to!
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE:
SHAKE WELL before each use. Use 5/8 cup for top load machine or 1/4 cup for front load machine.
How easy was that? The hardest part was grating the bar of soap! I've already given away most of the soap I made and plan to make another FULL batch this week so I can continue to give it away to everyone I meet. I found empty laundry detergent bottles and empty plastic juice bottles to be the easiest because of their wide-ish tops. However, reusing wine bottles has a certain class to it, n'est pas (doesn't it?)?
To steal Levar Burton's (remember... the guy from Reading Rainbow?) favorite pharse:
BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT...
Last weekend my friend, the Geoligista, was visiting and had a trunk full of dirty clothes from "the field". I was super excited for her to try my homemade detergent (and Nellie's... but I'll save that comment for the GIVEAWAY next week!). Her comment "my stuff is so clean and has a light, fresh, soap smell... YUM! Plus, it got out all the (luke warm) coffee that Zel spilled over me this morning.".