Etsy= my new favorite place! So nice to be able to deal directly with artisans.
Dawn can be gotten in pretty large sizes, so given it has a multitude of uses possibly [I'm personally thinking about] rationalizing the occasional plastic bottle??? Heresy, I guess.
For ZW, you would need, as I've wondered about, to consider how to purchase the vinegar, too: glass vs plastic.
Jenny, I see you use the same two, actually three, ingredients for the dishwasher, too, smart and the essence of ZW! No complaints, eh??
Curious about others' thoughts about something I recently read, which seemed to imply that many of the commercially made laundry soaps *made with oils*, Dr Bronners, BioKleen, 7th Generation specifically mentioned (suspect would include Charlie's), coat fabrics as much as fabric softeners do. Eck/phooey
I don't know about coating them like fabric softeners, but soap is different than detergent. I made my own laundry soap (3 different liquid recipes and 3 different powder recipes) from tipnut dot com last year. Even though the first five recipes I made pretty much had the same ingredients, the ratios and/or methods were slightly different and it made a difference in the residue left behind in my washer. Ultimately, I only liked and would repeat one liquid and one powder recipe. They had the best combo of performance in terms of cleanliness of the clothes and least residue left behind.
I found filling the rinse cup (built-in) with white vinegar was very effective in removing residue on the inside of the washer when I was using the recipes that had it, so hopefully that also helped remove it from the clothes themselves.
I never saw any difference in the clothes and linens between commercial brands and my homemade recipes, except the whites actually came cleaner with homemade, which really surprised me.
In my typical moderate ways, I decided to switch off between homemade and commercial, so I am currently using commercial. Tide Coldwater (liquid) happened to be on clearance when I needed detergent, so I tried it out for the first time. Smelly, IMO, and I would never buy it again. I use the barest amount (just covers the bottom of the dispenser cap) and all the clothes come clean with as little fragrance as possible. I also got 7th generation powder for the first time (different store, very good price). I'm not that impressed. I like that it has no scent and the cardboard box, but I find I have to use more than indicated and the clothes get smelly if I don't toss them in the dryer or line-dry them pretty much immediately after the washer stops.
I buy white vinegar in the gallon plastic jugs for now and I reuse them for my own liquid laundry detergent and take some to my DD's school for gardening needs and art projects. At home, I pour the vinegar into a glass bottle upstairs and downstairs for everyday use. I came to this zerowaste concept recently. I started from a health standpoint, so storage was more important to me than purchases. I'll be reconsidering the full product lifecycle moving forward, but I'm just being honest here. :)
I think I have the felted dryer balls figured out. I made 6 balls with 2 things of the fishermas wool. each bit of yarn cost me about 7.00 (used coupons or was on sale). I tried to felt them the way I found on the internet (in a old stocking running thru washer and dryer) but had a couple come un-done.... not fun unwinding that mess!
I was searching around again online and found something that mentioned putting the balls in boiling water then letting them air dry. So yesterday I put the balls in a metal bowl and boiled water and poured it over the top, I put a small metal lid over them to hold them under and let them soak until the water cooled. That seemed to felt them really well this time. They are still wet, I have them sitting and air drying, but they look really good this time.
So it seems buying them on etsy would be more expensive than making them yourself. Though I love etsy, and browsing the great things for sale, I'm trying to live as inexpensively as possible these days.
Hope that helps, let me know how yours turn out if you make them. Oh the other part... I found it oddly soothing rolling the yarn at night while catching up on favorite shows :) another bonus
Thanks for the update. Appreciate the learning curve you're going through.
Also watched a Youtube of a woman demonstrating the winding, then hand soaking, rolling and shaping of felted wool balls in her hands, labor intensive but as with you, seemed incredibly soothing. She was making them as toys for little children (Waldorf) but obviously the same process.
I made my dryer balls last year with the help of my kids. I made 3, my 8 yo daughter made 2 and my 9 yo son made one! They are still like new. I did not use wool for the whole ball. I used an old sock (with a hole!) as the core, folded as tight as possible. That cuts down a lot on the wool. I also wash them in hot water until felted.
They really help cutting down on the drying time. I never used dryer sheet so I cannot compare.
Soap Flakes are 100% natural, no phosphates, come in a cardboard box (or in bulk if you're lucky), and can be used to make any kind of soap you need, from hand to laundry. Just type soap flakes into your browser.
I recently made my own laundry soap, basically the same recipe you found more or less. I used 2 cups of finely grated Dr. Bronners and so far it has worked well. I haven't noticed anything dingy and our really stinky running clothes seem to come out clean and fresh. I have also started using vinegar in the softener so maybe that takes care of the stink too. I had my 6yr old help me make it- he did the grating and then helped me mix it up. I've been using 2 tbsp per load and so far no complaints.
Jenny - If you don't mind me asking...why did you stop using soap nuts? I've just ordered some as it sounds like a fantastic earth-friendly product (in case others are interested - here is a fantastic site for info - www.soapnuts.pro ). You can even buy your own seeds and grow your own if you live in a warm enough climate! (I'm not sure if you can limit the growth by keeping it in a large pot - brought inside during winter - but might be worth checking into!) I've even heard that some people use it in their dishwasher to clean dishes (though it doesn't work as an enzyme cleaner for foods left behind, so must scrub first). :-)
I've been using this laundry soap recipe for a month now, using just 2 TB per load or maybe 1/4 cup for REALLY dirty clothes. I have a contractor husband and 2 toddlers who love to play in the mud, and I have to say that this soap works pretty well. I would definitely recommend it. For the grated soap part, I use Kirks castile soap, which I can get pretty cheap at my grocery store. This is a very economical recipe.
Sorry Sue, here's the site where you can see it. I made 3 batches of it because it was so easy to make and wanted it to last me a while, and I'm glad I made so much. It works even better than the cheap commercial laundry soap I used to buy.
If the address I pasted doesn't work, just google jabs homemade laundry detergent and you will find it. Only 3 ingredients! And you can also use the borax as a natural whitener. It's not bleach, but it helps "whiten" whites naturally. I also sun-dry our clothes, so that must help as well. Hope this helps!
I ordered Soap Nuts after reading your post. After washing several loads of laundry with them, I am in love. My clothes are clean and smell fresh. My clothes came out soft without the use of fabric softner. Next I will try boiling them to make dishwasher liquid. I had been making my own homemade laundry detergent for years but wanted to reduce even more by not using 3 items (borax, A&H washing soda & zote). I have a compost bin, so after using the soapnuts I will just toss them in there. Thanks
What do you all use for hand washing delicate items?
I've been hand washing more clothes in an attempt to reduce my use of dry cleaning. I've been surprised at how many of my "dry clean only" garments can actually be washed by hand if done with care, including wool suit separates. I've been using a pre-ZW bottle of Woolite, but I'd like to switch to a more eco-friendly detergent with less packaging waste.
Bonus tip: a fine-toothed, metal comb (like the kind used to remove lice/nits from hair) is great for removing pills on wool/cashmere sweaters.
Jenny - I've seen similar recipes to yours that use a grated bar of soap in place of the Dawn soap...might work for you!
I will have to try the wool balls for the dryer. I've been using a set of plastic ones for a year or so and love them. Very rarely have static issues. I justified the plastic ones last year because I had not heard of the wool option and I was more pleased with having less chemicals in my life than zero waste. I'm planning on "recycling" them in to cat toys when their life cycle is over!
Sandra - Once I donated most of my "fancy" clothes, I stopped buying Woolite. Once in awhile, I need to wash something "dry clean only". I just wash it in the machine with other delicate items (or the least "rough and tough" laundry) and use less of my homemade detergent than usual and use the most gentle settings on the washer. The key to delicate laundry, in my experience, is avoiding the dryer. I will toss items in on low heat or no heat for 5 minutes to get the wrinkles out first and then I hang dry delicates inside or lay them flat inside. I sun-dry many items, but never delicates.
Thanks for these tips, Karin. I agree, laying flat or hanging to dry the delicates is best. Do you machine wash sweaters, too? I worry about the fibers felting or having the yarn snag on the agitator in my top-loading washer.
To remove wrinkles, I shake the garment gently before laying/hanging to dry. If necessary, I'll either iron with a thin towel over the garment (never ironing directly on the garment) or use the upright steam function on the iron.
I'm still working out what type of detergent to use, both for machine and hand washing clothes. I'm in the midst of finishing up a box of Seventh Generation and using a dash of vinegar in the rinse cycle. I experimented with using 2 Tbs. grated Dr. Bronner's soap and the vinegar rinse, but noticed a mild oily residue building up on the clothes after 2-3 washes. Does the addition of washing soda and borax resolve this issue of residue build up?
Absolutely! The recipe I use (loose) is equal parts washing soda, borax, and grated soap.
Soap by itself is actually a lousy cleaner. It leaves more gunk behind than it removes when in the quantity required for a load of laundry. Little items are okay. Like, I hand wash my crocheted cotton rounds after each use with a couple drops of [liquid] Dr. Bronner's peppermint castile. Same with my makeup brushes (a couple times a year since I don't wear makeup often). But, laundry? Soap only, at least castile soap, leaves a disgusting film all over the washer!
My personal recipe for laundry detergent is 1 part each washing soda and borax. Then, I use about 2/3 part grated soap, but am always adjusting this because we have hard water and I haven't found the exact perfect ratio. I keep changing the soap, too. LOL A full "fabric softener compartment" of vinegar is necessary here with our hard water.
Yes, I wash sweaters in the washer. Cold water with other more delicate like-colored items. I don't dry them in the dryer, usually. DH did accidentally dry my 100% wool cashmere sweater in the dryer and it no longer fits. I just recently read there is a way to get it back to its original shape. Hmmm....we'll see. It is about 5 years old at this point (he just shrunk it this past winter), so it is not in the best shape anyway. The rest of my sweaters have been fine, so one loss in 7-8 years is a success in my book. ;) Granted, I let my sweaters air out between wearings several times before I wash them, so they are not getting washed every single time I wear them.
Maybe try it with your oldest, least favorite sweater first and see?
Not exactly zero waste, but perhaps a baby step... I used to use those home dry cleaning kits. I purchased one and then a couple refills before I decided just washing would have to work for me. This was when I was slowly changing my wardrobe away from fancier clothes.
Lastly, it is okay if something just isn't for you. Perhaps focusing somewhere else for awhile will make you feel better about your journey and let this aspect be for now? Pushing oneself too far to fast can backfire, kwim? Just remember to pat yourself on the back once in awhile for all the changes you HAVE made!