Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lavender Laundry

I finally did it.
I made my own laundry detergent.
Not such a big deal, I know, since women have been using their own methods to clean clothes for centuries, but you know, I'm a baby boomer, so I was raised on consumerism.
And now I'm trying to find my way back to being more natural.
I don't ever foresee that I'll be (a) beating my laundry with rocks down by the river, or in my case, Erie Canal, (b) boiling my clothes in big copper pots, or (c) using a scrub board to get them clean, although I do have one. What I do envision is spending less on artificial cleaning supplies, and (trying to) save money on homemade cleaning materials.
Thank you, Pinterest, for putting a lot of information in one place.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I found a "recipe" for powdered laundry detergent, and I decided to give it a go.
Here are the materials I used:

And here's where my bill stands for what I've spent on materials I purchased (prices are rounded up or down):

Two four-pound boxes of Baking Soda - $2 each = $4
Two 76 oz boxes of 20 Mule Team Borax - $4 each = $8
Five bars of Dr. Bronner's castille soap - $3 each = $15
One bottle of lavender oil = $8
(technically I already had this bottle of lavender oil, so it kind of didn't count towards my total, but I'll throw it in there anyway)
Last but not least, one Two-gallon Anchor Hocking glass storage jar = $10
Elbow grease = free

Now I'm including the link for the glass jar because I saw it on Amazon and it was twice the price. I don't advocate shopping at the Devil's Store (aka Wally World) for all your items (or anything if you can help it), but that price was too difficult to beat.
My grand total for all items is $45.
In the cruel irony that is my life, as I was shopping in Wegmans last night I noticed that they had Dr. Bronner's soap. Unfortunately I had already ordered my bars of soap online. I vacillated about canceling the order, and decided to do that after I came back from dinner and a movie last night, but again in that cruel twist of how irony plagues my life, the order had already shipped. So technically I will have spent $64 on all of this, but not really, because $19 of that will go towards my next batch. Next time.
Well and I won't have to buy the glass jar again, so that subtracts $10 from my total, so for future batches I should only be spending $35 or so.

I really like the Dr. Bronner soap, but since Wegmans didn't have five bars of lavender, I decided on the last three bars of lavender and two bars of unscented/mild soap (that's the blue-ish colored label).
I could have gone with a less expensive castille soap, but I wanted to try the Dr. Bronner's since it's all natural, etc. And the lavender smells amazing.

And so I began.

This is what 8 pounds of baking soda and 12 cups of borax look like in the 2-gallon jar.

Just to show you how supremely lazy I am, I know that I could have used the food processor to grate my soap, but it was just too much trouble to take it out, so I did it by hand with the box grater. Yes, grating five bars of soap was easier than pulling out a food processor. Seriously, sometimes even I am overwhelmed by my laziness.
Here's what the jar looks like with the soap on top.

Sorry it's so dark, but my dining room can be dark. And no flash.
It almost looks like one of those layered cookie mixes.
Here's the finished project, all sifted together and ready to wash some stinky clothes and make them smell fresh:

You only use 1/8 cup of detergent for each load, so this should last a good long while.
I have some laundry going upstairs right now.
And here is the detritus of my early morning experiment in green living:

Straight into the recycle bin.
There's still a lot of borax left in one of the boxes since I only used two cups from one (each box has 10 cups to it), and that's okay because I found a dishwasher detergent recipe that calls for borax.
Maybe I'll actually clean my kitchen floor with it.
And that's all for now because I'm going to head upstairs and check my laundry to see if this worked.
Cross your fingers!

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