Monday, December 1, 2008

Homemade Cleaning Products

Well, there have been many requests to finish my discussion on how to clean organically on the cheap. Do I make my own products all of the time? To be honest--no. But when I have the time, I typically will make my own cleaners because 1) it makes me feel good, 2) it is comforting knowing the exact ingredients that I am using and 3) I know my children can be in the same room or even help me clean without being exposed to dangerous or potentially harmful chemicals. If I buy a product then you can bet it will be Seventh Generation or Bio-Kleen.

Laundry Detergent
3.1 oz bar Ivory soap, Dr. Bronner’s, or Fels Naptha etc.
1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
½ cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

5 Gallon container
Knife or grater
Pot large enough to hold 5 cups of water
Long stirring stick/spoon (for 5 gallon container)

Instructions: Shave the soap into small strips (I use a cheese grater) and place in the pot with 5 cups of water. Bring the water just shy of a boil and stir until the soap is completely melted. When the soap is just about melted, pour 3 gallons of hot water into the 5-gallon container and let it sit until the soap in the pot is totally melted. Once all of the soap shavings are melted, pour the mixture into the 5-gallon container and stir.

Once the soap and water are thoroughly stirred, add the ½ cup of washing soda and stir until dissolved. Once the washing soda is dissolved, pour in the cup of borax and stir again until dissolved.

Optional: If you like fragrant detergent, now is when you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Suggested oils would be lavender, orange, or tea tree oil.

Now you've got a huge container of hot soapy looking water. Cover the container, place it somewhere out of the way and let it sit overnight. Once it's cooled it will gel. It will not gel uniformly so it will be lumpy and watery. It may not be very attractive, but it works. It's best to find smaller storage containers for convenience. I use empty, thoroughly washed, milk jugs.

Usage: ½ cup per laundry load is adequate to clean your clothes. This homemade laundry detergent works well in high efficiency washing machines since it is low suds-ing.

One word of caution, if using a high efficiency machines: Before pouring the lumpy gel into the detergent receptacle, stir it to break up the lumps. Very large lumps may not fully dissolve, stirring the detergent with a spoon, pencil, or whatever you have available (or your finger), works fine. Additionally, for cloth diapers, it does clean the diapers well. However, I did notice a build up on the diapers, rendering them slightly ineffective for absorbing urine. So be sure to do a hot soak every now and then, or a vinegar rinse to avoid a film buildup.

Yield: 110 ½ loads of laundry

Powdered Laundry Detergent
2/3 bar Fels Naptha Laundry Soap (equivalent of 1 cup grated)
½ Cup 20 Mule Team Borax
½ Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda.
Container large enough to hold 2 cups of laundry detergent

Directions: Grate the Fels Naptha laundry soap with a grater or use a food processor. Approximately 2/3 of a bar of soap will make 1 cup of grated soap.
Add the ½ cup of Borax and ½ cup of washing soda to the grated soap. Shake and/or mix well.

Use: One tablespoon of detergent is sufficient per load of wash. If you have a high-efficiency machine, you might want to experiment with using a little less detergent for normal loads. If your clothes come out feeling stiff, lower the amount of detergent. For clothes that are heavily soiled, add a teaspoon more of the detergent.

Yield: The recipe yields 2 cups of laundry detergent. If you use 1 tablespoon per load, you will be able to wash 32 loads of clothes.

Antiseptic All-Purpose Cleanser
Up to one tsp. antiseptic essential oil (thyme, sweet orange, lemongrass, rose, clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, rosemary, birch, lavender, tea tree, or Thieves.)
1 tsp washing soda
2 tsp borax
½ tsp liquid soap or detergent (Dr. Bronner’s)
2 c hot water

Directions: Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to dissolve and blend the minerals. Spray this on the surface and leave for 15 minutes before you wipe it with a rag, to give the essential oil’s antiseptic qualities time to work.

I have had these recipes for so long now, I honestly am not really sure where they come from. But upon researching a bit, these recipes are pretty standard from many different authors. Happy cleaning!


Sarah K said...

Dry vs. liquid-Is one more effective in cleaning, color, etc than the other?
Also, my bsafeonline internet filter blocked your page due to pronography. Is there something I don't know about on your blog? hehe

Sarah G :) said...

Where would I purchase washing soda?

GranolaMom4God said...

I have typically found washing soda at Kroger or Walmart. I can't remember if Evansville has a Kroger (I went to school at UE). But Walmart should have it in the laundry section. You can order it online but it is more expensive.

Tonya said...

For scrubbing Baking soda works great. I also like Liquid Sunshine from Vermont Soap Company, website is

Tamara said...

Thanks, these are great! I've been making my own cleaners, but haven't found a recipe for laundry detergent that I liked until now. I assume these recipes are safe for cloth diapers?...

Jessica Day said...

Here are my five coments on what I learned new about the Diva Cup! 1. No bpa this is reasuring
2. There is a special wash called Diva wash, it is not necessary to have the Diva Cup but it may be beneficial because it is ph balanced
3. If the holes or stem of the cup need to be cleaned resoak the cup in your special soap you chose then take a soft toothbrush and gently glean the grooves
4. if leakage occurs then the cup is probably not inserted properly
5. if you are in bear country contain your flow in a bag and then put it in a special bear bag and hang it 12 feet from the ground

Jessica Day said...

Okay sorry for my spelling never did a spell check