It had a good run, but I’m calling it

Long time followers will remember that I made my own laundry soap about a year ago. I’ve modified it here and there over the past year, and even switched to a powdered version around 6 months ago. It’s worked well for me, and I’ve been generally pleased with the results. I like knowing exactly what’s in it (my eczema/dermatitis has all but disappeared over the last year), and I really enjoy knowing that I made it myself (I’m weird like that). And the best part? It costs only pennies per load.

However, there have been some drawbacks. Because it’s made with soap rather than a high-powered chemical detergent, it does a good job of cleaning day-to-day laundry but has trouble with bigger stains. And, as a parent of small children, that’s kind of a problem.

Another issue? We have hard water. Really hard water. Hard water impedes the cleaning power of soap, and makes it more difficult to rinse out completely. While not a problem at first, you can definitely tell on some items (like towels) that there has been a bit of mineral buildup over the past year.

So what’s the verdict? It had a good run, but I’m admitting defeat on this one. While I still believe that my laundry soap works, it just can’t handle the stains and messes that my family creates. When the kids are older, and if we ever get a water softener, I’ll give it another go.

So goodbye, homemade. We had a good run, and I’m sorry to see you go. Hello Tide Free and Gentle, clean(er) laundry…and itchiness, but that’s a topic for another day.

If you want to try it out for yourself, here’s my (new and improved) recipe:

  • 4 oz laundry soap
  • 16 oz baking soda
  • 16 oz borax
  • 12 oz washing soda
  • 12 oz oxyboost
  • essential oil(s) of your choice (optional)

They sell laundry soap in your detergent aisle next to the borax, or you can be a weirdo like me and whip up a batch of 0% superfat coconut oil soap. It’s extremely drying, and I wouldn’t recommend it for washing your body or hair, but it does an awesome job of cleaning up messes of all kinds.

Grate your soap (I use my food processor, and it’s done in a flash), and combine it with everything except the essential oils. Using your food processor or blender, blend up 1-2 cups of the mixture at a time until you’ve gone through the entire batch. I like to add in around 3 drops of essential oil per cup of laundry soap mixture. Lavender smells nice, and mint smells clean – I like to combine them for this recipe. When blending, we’re looking for a nice powdery consistency. Give it a minute to settle after each batch is blended before opening the food processor (nobody wants a cloud of borax and baking soda exploding in their face).

That’s it! Use around 1 tbsp for small loads, and up to 4 tbsp for bigger or dirtier loads. As previously stated, this recipe works really well if your laundry is generally stain free and your water isn’t too hard.

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