It's a recipe, sure, but not one for eating!
I'm as concerned (more or less) as the next mum when it comes to a) not having nasty chemicals in my house and b) not spending the whole paycheck every month. So, as I was googling around for some homemade lotion recipes for Christmas crafts last month, I ran across a few websites with essentially the same recipe for homemade detergent. After much rumination, I added the required ingredients to my shopping list.
Most of the recipes I came across used Fels-Naptha soap, which is readily available in the states (or online at soapsgonebuy.com) but has a nasty orange colour. Sunlight is the only one readily available north of the border, but, never one to do things the easy way, I picked some Pink Zote up in Bellingham last weekend on my fortnightly Trader Joe's pilgrimage. Zote is gorgeous pink and smells a bit like citronella.
This is so easy, and cleans so well (so far) that I can't believe I hadn't yet tried it. You can use a little of the liquid for a stain pretreatment. We are even using it in our dishwasher now too, with vinegar in the rinse-aid) compartment.
Did I mention it's less than $3.00 to make 1250 loads worth?
1 small bar laundry soap (Zote, Fels-Naptha, sunlight) approx 200 grams
1/2 cup borax
1 cup Super Washing Soda
20 drops essential oil (I used lavender, but lemon, orange, etc wouold do)
Grate the bar of soap into a large steel saucepan. Pour over about 4 cups of water. Heat on low, stirring occasionally, until it is totally dissolved. Add in borax and washing soda. Stir until dissolved.
Pour all into a 5 gallon paid with a lid (I used a large rubbermaid-type container). Add enough water to make 5 gallons. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to gel up. Stir in essential oils.
Decant into an old detergent bottle and use 1/2 cup for a top loader, 1/4 cup for high efficiency machines