Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Laundry Detergent Affects the Skin - Do You Have Sensitivities?

I have a confession to make. It is something I was embarrassed about for a very long time. I use home made laundry detergent I make myself. I don't know why I was embarrassed for as long as I was about it, but I was. It just seemed so hippy/environmentalist/cheap and I was afraid of the judgement. Then one day about a year ago a co-worker was complaining about how much trouble she was finding a detergent sensitive enough for her baby. I brought in a big 1.5L mayonnaise jar filled with my home made laundry detergent and within 2 months, EIGHT of my co workers were making it themselves at home!

Let me start by saying, I don't make this to save money (though it really really DOES) and I didn't start making this because of my sensitive issues (which I have, and boy has this helped!). I first tried this in desperation to save a favourite shirt that was stained when Tide failed to get the stain out. AND IT WORKED!!!!!!!!!!! I have been doing this for about two years and it seems unlikely I will EVER go back to using anything else!

So why should YOU make this yourself at home?

  • it saves money!! (it is a fraction of the price of store bought detergents)
  • its ultra sensitive for those with the most sensitive of skin
  • IT WORKS!!!!!!!!! (a lot of budget laundry detergents dont work)
  • it lacks many of the added chemicals in other detergents
  • its a GREAT project to do with your children!
Now this doesn't take an entire day or evening to make, but be warned, it DOES take about an hour. The detergent forms into a "slime" or "ooze" which will make your children LOVE to help you make it!!

What you need to get started:
  • 1 bar of sunlight soap (the original recipe suggested any bar you wanted and used lever 2000, but trust me!! if you want it to work WELL as a detergent, buy the sunlight! I used lever 2000 the first time and through out the detergent as it didn't do a good job with stains!) 
  • A box of washing soda (look for it in the laundry detergent aisle at your local department store – it comes in an Arm & Hammer box and will contain enough for at least six batches of this stuff) NOTE - this is NOT baking soda!!!
  • A box of borax (the original recipe said this was not necessary, but again, if you want the stuff to work well and do a good job cleaning, do NOT skip this!)  And one box of borax will contain more than enough for tons of batches of this homemade detergent so get it!
  • A five gallon bucket with a lid (or a bucket that will hold more than 15 liters) I went in to a bakery and asked if they had any empty buckets they were throwing out and they just gave me one. A girlfriend got one from an ice cream store. So ask around, it shouldn't be too hard to find!
  • Three gallons of tap water
  • A big spoon to stir the mixture with
  • A measuring cup
  • A knife is called for, but trust me, use a vegetable peeler!!
  • A Pot
Put four cups of water into a pot on your stove and turn the heat up on high until it’s almost boiling. While you’re waiting, take the vegetable peeler and start peeling the bar of sunlight soap into the water. Keep the heat below a boil and keep shaving the soap. Eventually, you’ll shave up the whole bar, then stir the hot water until the soap is dissolved and you have some highly soapy water. (This is the most time consuming step in the entire process. If you can get through this, the rest is quick and easy!!)

Put three gallons of hot water (11 litres) into the five gallon bucket – If you have an empty gallon milk jug around, just use that to measure! And I say hot, but all I do is turn the tap on and get the water hot that way, not a big deal if its more very warm, or hot, so don't worry about if its hot enough or not! Then mix in the hot soapy water from step one into the hot water. 

Next add a cup of the washing soda and one cup of the borax. Stir the mixture for a couple of minutes, then let the stuff sit overnight to cool.

When you wake up in the morning, you’ll have a bucket of gelatinous slime that’s a pale shade of yellow. One measuring cup full of this slime will be roughly what you need to do a load of laundry – and the ingredients are basically the same as laundry detergent. If you use a high efficiency machine you should not worry much as this is not very sudsy and thus should not give you any issues. Though I know a lot of people suggest using half a cup instead for a HE washer.

And for kids -you've just made slime in the kitchen – and have a legitimate reason for doing so!


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