Sunday, July 13, 2014

"Microwave" Laundry Detergent (Homemade Laundry Detergent, Part Two)

I was (and still am!) doing countless loads of laundry today, and I was about to run out of my Homemade Laundry Detergent. I didn't want to go to the store, because the baby was (and still is!) sleeping. I still had Borax and Super Washing Soda, and then I remembered we had a couple bars of Ivory soap.

I have been waiting for an excuse to blow that stuff up in the microwave!
"Microwave" Laundry Detergent
OK, so not blow it up per se, but I've seen numerous websites that describe putting Ivory soap in a microwave and watching it bubble up and expand. It can be a science experiment in and of itself, or it can put the "fun" in "functional." I've been a little leery to try it, but here was the perfect time to give it a go.

*Spoiler alert-- it works!

(Lots of blogs and pins describe variations of this process, but I will credit The Make Your Own Zone as the site I referenced before I stuck the soap in the microwave.)

"Microwave" Laundry Detergent
1 bar Ivory soap (It HAS to be Ivory. No other brand will work quite this way.)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Super Washing Soda
"Microwave" Laundry Detergent
Those boxes of Borax and Wasing Soda make quite a few batches of homemade detergent.
Unwrap the Ivory soap, and microwave it on paper plate(s) for about one minute.
Microwave Ivory soap
The soap is just starting to expand. Can you see my reflection through the food particles? Obviously I didn't clean the microwave before attempting this! 
I say plates with an "s" because the soap foams up and over the sides of the plate.  I started out with one plate but had to stop the microwave and slide a couple more underneath the mountains of expanding soap. You could try lining the bottom of the microwave with paper towels instead.
Microwave Ivory soap
The soap, before and after.
Let the soap blob cool, then break it up into small pieces. I didn't need to use a food processor--just my hands! I rubbed the soap between my palms until it was super fine and crumbly.
Crumble Ivory soap
I crumbled the soap directly into bucket I use for detergent.
Not all of the soap had fully expanded, so I put the remaining piece back in the microwave for 20 seconds, and it foamed up again. I finished crumbling it up between my palms.

Then I mixed in the Borax and the Super Washing Soda.
Ivory soap, Borax, Super Washing Soda
The yellow flecks are the leftover Fels Naptha particles from my previous batch that was still in the bucket.
I plan to use 1-2 Tb per load, just like my original detergent. We'll see if it works as well as Fels Naptha!

This detergent has the added benefit of not needing to dirty up the food processor to make it. It also might motivate you to clean your microwave, so it won't keep smelling like soap. Heat up a cup of water or white vinegar in the microwave afterwards; it makes it easier to wipe out all the food splotches and whatever soap particles that bubbled onto the surface.

Fun stuff! The fact that I was able to not only make this but also blog about it before the baby woke up shows you just how quick and easy it is.  Now, back to laundry!

~Mulligan Mama

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