DIY laundry detergent

Remember when Saturday night meant putting on black pants and a cute top and hitting the bars? When a good night was not having to pay for any drinks and an even better night was flirting with a cute guy who would call the following Wednesday (hello, three day rule!?). When you didn’t think twice about coming in after 2am and getting up a few hours later to run ten miles?Things have changed. This Saturday night found me with a husband who was out camping and a baby who was asleep by 7pm. The night spread out before me, rife with possibility. So I did what came naturally. And what had been on my to do list for about four weeks.

I made my own laundry detergent.

I know, I know, the Fun Police are going to write me a warning for getting so over-the-top Fun if I keep up these shenanigans. But seriously, it was kind of fun. It felt like a science fair project, only it was not mandatory, there was no deadline, and no typing. Certainly I could have picked up some detergent when I was out at the supermarket. But I really wanted to try to make my own. I had all the ingredients, down to the 5 gallon pail needed to house the stuff. This project had been calling me for weeks. And for days we were out of detergent. Now was the time.

I found this formula on the internet. I set Pandora to my Adele Radio station and set to work.
You can go to the link above or you can follow my pictures and captions below to see how to do it yourself.

First you boil 2 cups of water
Then you grate 2 cups of soap. I had no idea how much soap this would require so I guesstimated 2 bars. I chose Dr. Bronners gentle soap for babies. I really love the peppermint, though. Maybe I will try that next time.
   CAUTION: THIS IS NOT CHEESE EVEN THOUGH IT LOOKS LIKE IT! DON’T EAT.  2 cups worth of soap flakes ended up being about 7/8 of a 5 oz. bar of soap.
Once the water comes to a boil, add your soap (not soup, soap), turn the heat to low, and stir till the soap dissolves.
Measure out 2 cups each of borax and washing soda
Pour the dry mixture, the soapy water, plus 32 oz of water into a clean pail. (We got this pail for for free from a friend who gave it to us filled with food scraps for our chickens. He got it from the grocery store bakery, where it was originally filled with vanilla icing).
Now you stir it. This is where you start feeling like you are creating a POTION, which is the fun part. When you were a kid, did you and your friends make potions and dare each other to taste them? We did. At first, stirring it feels fun and potion-y. But it gets old as your arm tires.
You have to stir it till it dissolves.
It was pretty homogeneous when I was done stirring.
Once it cools, you add 5-7 drops of your favorite essential oil. I added about 14 because I wanted it to smell really lemon-y. Lemon is not necessarily my fave but the other ones I had around the house were tea tree, lavender, and jasmine.
You stir the detergent before each use because it gels and you add 1/4 cup per full load. Don’t buy a new measuring cup, just re-use a lid from detergent that you already have.
I wrote this recipe on the lid of my pail with a Sharpie in case I do it again. I love the way it feels to write with a Sharpie.
When I was done, I sat down and had a glass of wine. Probably should have thrown in a load of wash instead.

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