Well, after you read this post, you will probably think I have flipped my 21st century lid- I have started making my own cleaning products! I have been reading a lot about making my own cleaning products and when I saw the “ingredients” required to do so, I realized that I could save us TONS of moolah by making my own.

Besides saving money, it has numerous selfish benefits to me. The first is that unless I put an essential oil in my cleaning products, they are all unscented!! This excites me because store bought cleaning products (even supposedly unscented ones) affect my allergies and asthma every time I use them. It has gotten to the point that when our bathrooms get cleaned, Travis has to do it because I have asthma attacks from the fumes! Benefit number 2 (in my book) is that the ingredients are, for the most part, strong enough to clean, sanitize, and deodorize everything without breaking me out! This also goes back to my plethora of allergies (Travis thinks I should live in a bubble at times!) Third benefit, as sited in the book I am using to get my “recipes,” The Naturally Clean Home, by Karyn Siegel-Maier, is that women who stay/work at home have a 55% higher chance of developing cancer because of the constant exposure to the fumes and carcinogens found in household cleaning products. Now, I am not a carcinogen-fearing freak, but when I realized how much time I spend in the apartment now and how that won’t diminish once Sam arrives, I decided I would do what I could to make our home healthier. Another tidbit sited in my book is that the air in the average home has 70% more chemical contaminants than the outside air! That is CRAZY how dirty my home air is (no wonder Peeper likes the back porch so much!) The fourth benefit, albeit more of a precaution on my part, is that chemicals and the fumes from them, contribute to children developing asthma and eczema. I realize genetics plays a major role in the development of those as well, but seeing how I have both, again I want to do what I can to hopefully lessen the chance than Sam will have to grow up keeping an inhaler with him and packing eczema cream when he goes somewhere to visit “just in case.”

So, the first cleaning item I have made is laundry detergent. I should run out of my Tide Free this weekend, so I figured now was a good time to create my own detergent. Once Travis comes home, I will get him to help me figure out the cost savings (I am not sure exactly how to start doing that) but I know already it will save me a TON. We spent a total of $35 for all my ingredients. My Tide is around $6-7 per bottle (if not on sale or I don’t have a coupon) and I know I can get more than 6 uses out of my detergent before having to buy new ingredients. The Tide bottle says it is good for 32 uses and my detergent totals 12 cups and I use 1/4 cup per load for a total of 48 loads (per mixing- again,  I will get multiples of these before needing new ingredients.) That is as far in the math realm I plan on venturing without my trust math assistant in the room with me to figure out exactly how much each load will cost.

Anyway, the ingredients you need to make your own laundry detergent (I chose the liquid recipe) are: liquid castile soap (Target has the Dr. Bronners version in the health and beauty section,) baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate,) washing soda (Arm & Hammer also makes this, but I couldn’t find it- I got mine in the pool supply section of Lowe’s- it is pH additive- aka sodium carbonate, just make sure it is 100% sodium carbonate,) glycerin (again, I got this at Target from behind the pharmacy counter,) warm water, and an essential oil of your choice (ones good for laundry are: cedar, chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, peppermint, rose geranium, rosemary, sweet orange, and tea tree.) Again, if you want unscented detergent, like me, don’t put an essential oil in there. The essential oils, besides fragrancing your clothes, have other benefits. For example, eucalyptus & peppermint help you fight off colds, sweet orange is a stain remover and whitener, and tea tree is antifungal and antibacterial.
You will also need a heavy plastic container to put everything. My book says that a milk jug is not heavy enough. My trusty assistant, Travis, picked out a GREAT container at target in the plastic section that has a spout out of which will flow my detergent since I am not a great liquid pourer. Once you gather your supplies, it should look something similar to this picture:

I doubled the recipe, to fill up my container, but to make one “serving” (due to lack of a better word) you will add the following to your container and then SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE!

1 oz. liquid castile soap
2 Tbsp. glycerin
1 cup washing soda (sodium carbonate)
1 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
6 cups warm water
10 drops of the essential oil of your choice (optional)

After you SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE, you should get something that looks similar to this:


You will notice that I have clumps in the bottom of my container- those aren’t supposed to be there. Being a list person, I put everything in in the order the book listed them. I have come to realize this was probably not the best thing to do since the powder packed down on the bottom under the water and clumped. Next time, I will add my water, and shake after each ingredient is added so that everything will dissolve easily. I told Travis what happened and he says he can fix it, so I will leaving the “fixing” of my detergent to him. 

Anyway, when it is time to do laundry, I will start the water in my washer first (washing soda is a STRONG base and can burn holes in clothes if applied directly to them- I want to avoid that,) then add 1/4 cup of my detergent (if you have a large washer, you can use up to 1/2 cup) and, finally, add my clothes. Once I run out of my dryer sheets, I will make my own laundry softener by pouring white vinegar into a Downy ball up to the line and throwing it in the wash. I will probably break down and buy an essential oil for this step so that Travis, Sam, Peeper, and I don’t walk around smelling like Easter eggs. HA! 

This whole process, while lengthy to type and explain, has only taken me about 10 minutes to do- not too shabby. If any of you decide to make your stuff, PLEASE let me know. I will be interested to hear what you think. Once I run out of my glycerin, I will probably switch everyone in the family over to the baby laundry formula so that I don’t have two laundry containers to keep up with. I have also found online recipes for soaking and washing cloth diapers- you better believe I will be printing those and creating those when it gets closer to Sam’s due date! Well, I am off to vacuum our apartment, so until next time…HAPPY CLEANING!