Saturday, March 27, 2010

Making the Laundry Detergent

We ran out of our laundry detergent supply a couple of weeks ago, so I took the opportunity to make some laundry detergent that was environmentally-friendly, since "green" laundry detergent hasn't become popular in Kolkata. I have seen what appeared to be lye soap in the market, but opted for a recipe that smelled a "little" fresher.

As we are unable to receive large amounts of liquid in the mail, only 16 ounces per package, I decided to try Soaps Gone Buys' formula of Fels Naptha Soap, washing soda and 20 Mule Team Borax.

The hardest part to making the stuff is grating the bars of Fels Naptha Soap, since the concoction needs to be fine to quickly dissolve in the water. After taking the bar to a cheese grater, I had a eureka and decided to use the food processor I got for Christmas. (Thanks Ruth!) In no time all of the bars resembled grated cheddar cheese. Since we can't get good cheddar cheese here, it was hard not to taste it and luckily I resisted.

After another round of fine chopping, I mixed three cups of washing soda with three cups of Borax to the six bars of soap I grated and it was done. You can order the bars of soap already grated but like adding eggs and oil to cake mix it just would feel like making something unless you had to do a little work.

Now if we are ever posted somewhere without access to good laundry detergent, I have a back-up plan!


mama puffin said...

I have always wanted to try that! Let us know how your laundry turns out...

Natalie Buda Smith said...

Mama Puffin,

The laundry seems to smell fresher and be softer than than other store-bought detergent, or at least it seems so since I spent time making the detergent ;).

The only problem is with the powdered form fully dissolving by the end of the cycle. I have noticed some white residue on a few black clothes. Soaps Gone Buy has two recipes for a liquid version, but I can't bring myself to keep a 5 gallon bucket in the kitchen yet.

Hope you all are enjoying the D.C. area!

Anonymous said...

I have totally done that! Except I have used only the shredded Fels Naptha and nothing else in a pinch and it has dissolved great!

David L. said...

Glad to see you are posting again and feeling better. The FS blogosphere is a better place with your contributions.

Laurel said...

found you on some FS blog source somewhere:) and read you were going to Prague next. We were there our first tour after getting married ... nice, nice - enjoy!

Natalie Buda Smith said...

A Daring Adventure - Great to read your endorsement!

David L. - Thanks so much for the encouragement! It takes discipline to post regularly, doesn't it? And I am not known for my discipline :).

Laurel - We are really looking forward to Prague. Our short time in D.C. for training will be most likely consumed with learning about and thinking about Prague. Happy to read that you enjoyed your time there.

Ruth said...

Fels Naptha was a staple for Grandma Dee's washing machine-Maytag SpinDry washer. It is great for spot cleaning. She would rub the Fels Naptha bar soap on stains and use it for other hand washables. A box of borax was also on her shelf.