When I started cloth diapering (almost two years ago!), I used Soap Nuts for all of our laundry. They work well, but occasionally some garments didn't come out as clean or fresh smelling as we'd like, so I went back to using unscented, dye-free Seventh Generation liquid detergent (which we already had in the house, but that I hadn't used in nearly two years). As the jug kept getting lighter and lighter, I started wondering what I'd do when I ran out. Would I go back to using Soap Nuts full-time? Would I go out and buy a new detergent? If the latter were the case, which one would I buy? Scented or unscented? Liquid or powder? And the big question--which would be the most environmentally friendly choice.
Around the time I started thinking about this, a friend of mine posted something on Facebook about how she had made her own laundry soap and that she HIGHLY recommended other people give it a try. I was really glad that she so passionately shared her experience because it really got me thinking about taking the plunge. What I didn't like, though, was that the recipe made FIVE GALLONS of liquid detergent. I'm sure I'd use it, but that amount just seemed like it would be cumbersome to deal with. I did some laundry today and realized that within a couple weeks, I'd have to buy more detergent if that's what I wanted to do, so I started looking for recipes, and they weren't hard to find at all! The one I liked best was one for powdered soap--a bar of grated soap (Fels Naptha, Ivory, Pure & Natural, or one other one, I think it's called Zote), one cup of washing soda, and one cup of borax--stir these three ingredients for several minutes, and use about a tablespoon of detergent per load.
This recipe came from a blog post (http://www.diynatural.com/simple-easy-fast-effective-jabs-homemade-laundry-detergent/), and in the comments I read that you can use any castile soap. Dr. Brooner's bar soap was mentioned, and I know they have naturally scented soap, so I think I'm going to buy some when we're out shopping tomorrow. I prefer mildly scented things to completely unscented things, but if I have to choose between unscented and highly and/or artificially scented, I would go with the former. Strong artificial scents make me feel like I'm going to pass out, and I'm not being melodramatic.
In my quest for other natural homemade soap recipes, I came across this blog post:
http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2009/04/natural-homemade-laundry-detergent/. I actually can't wait to catch up on her other posts because it looks like a REALLY cute blog.
And I've been thinking of dyeing some fabric, but of course I want it to be as natural as possible, so I found this post: http://earthdivasblog.com/2010/07/13/how-to-dye-fabric-with-natural-dyes/. Another blog I'm going to have to try to catch up on.
Ooh, I love projects. I'm actually feeling a little depressed because I feel like I don't have time to finish anything. Heck, I barely have time to START anything! And on top of that, I'm back to work now. I know, I know...everyone else does it, so I shouldn't be complaining, but I feel like I spend all of my time making everyone else happy and I'm the last person on my list to be taken care of. And the thing is, I don't want to go out for girls nights and yoga all of the time...I want to STAY IN so I can sew, bake, make a frickin' candle, whatever. I need to get my hands dirty but one of them always seems to be holding a toddler. (Sorry, I'm feeling spread pretty thin lately, and today it was just getting to me, because on top of being spread thin, I'm utterly exhausted.)
A while ago I said that I was going to do some work that I didn't get to finish this past week when I was actually *at work*, but I've spent the last 45 minutes or so researching laundry detergents, reading articles, and writing this. Time to get to work, and maybe when I'm done I can continue my research.