Well, this is a cooking blog, but one of the reasons that got me into cooking was the fact that I needed to save money – I tend to buy gadgets, so I really need to save it. Therefore I became intrigued with the idea of making my own cleaning products so I could save a couple bucks. Does it work?
Well, it depends.
Making your own household products does have a bit of a strong initial investment, particularly in the area of essential oils. I mean, who has peppermint tree oil in their pantry? Or rosemary essential oil? And while it is true that one of their bottles will last you a lifetime (or at least a good deal of time), it does feel bad in the wallet when you add ten bucks to your weekly budget in order to afford the oils.
So I was completely surprised when I realized I had all the ingredients for a homemade laundry soap.
The idea is quite simple: soap, borax and washing soda. The idea is to use castille soap – which has no additives, except for scent, though I used the baby unscented one – in order to not have all those additives; borax, which is a powerful boron compound that helps cleaning – though some people have reported having skin problems with it. Not me, though, so I’m happy to use it. And washing soda, or sodium carbonate.
Wait, washing soda, or baking soda?
Washing soda is actually a relative of baking soda. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a hydrated carbonate salt (NaHCO3) used in baking due to its leavening properties: as a base, it will react with whatever is acidic in your batter releasing CO2, puffing your breads, cakes and cookies. Washing soda, on the other hand, is the carbonate salt (Na2CO3 – see how the middle H became another Na?) and its used to remove the hardness of water (minerals in water) and to remove grease and oil stains, as long as their molecules have an ionic portion.
So, washing soda. And they do sell it at some big box stores. However, I had baking soda, and since the little chemical engineer in me knows that they are related, I decided to look for a procedure to transform it in the house. It’s not that complicated – you just have to bake it!
And with all the ingredients, I mixed them together and now I have a shit ton of laundry detergent, for virtually the cost of nothing since I already had all the stuff needed.