Cold Water Laundry Tablets.

My quest for the perfect laundry detergent never seems to end 🙂  Bob’s still on detergent #1 (which is fine, there’s nothing wrong with it!).  I loved the results of the laundry sauce but it was A) sort of a pain to make and B) sort of messy to use (i.e. using a measuring spoon to scoop out the sauce, then having to try and rinse anything that stuck to the spoon in the ice cold laundry water which then sprays everywhere if you don’t do it right….minor things but still not perfect).  I may have found a winner with option #3 – cold water laundry tablets (we’ve been calling them laundry bombs because that sounds like more fun :)).  Thanks to budget101.com for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap, powdered (see below for instructions on powdering)
  • 1 1/4 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
  • 1 1/4 cup Borax
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup hot water

Instructions:

  • Combine all dry ingredients until they are well blended in a medium sized bowl.
  • Slowly add hot water to ingredients.
  • Mix well until mixture resembles dampened cornmeal.
  • Using a tablespoon, scoop the mixture and pack tightly (as though you were measuring brown sugar).
  • Turn onto a hard surface and tap lightly to drop the mixture out of the spoon onto a piece of wax paper or parchment paper.
  • Repeat until mixture is gone.
  • Leave overnight to dry completely, then store in a covered container.
  • To use, add one tablet per load of laundry.

Instructions to powder Fels Naptha:

  • Put bar of Fels Naptha on a paper plate (or real plate, but not a paper towel) in the microwave on high for 1 minute 40 seconds.
  • Let cool enough to handle and cut into pieces, then use a food processor or blender and pint jar to pulverize the chunks into a powder.

Notes:

  • Powdering the Fels Naptha was an interesting experience.  You can see from the picture how weird it looks.  I started with the bar in the middle of the plate, and it made almost a little tornado in the middle of the bottom of the bar that pushed it up and over as it heated.  It ends up being almost like dry foam, kinda spongy!
  • I (based on some user comments on the original post) also added about 1/4 cup of scenty laundry crystals to the hot water and dissolved them before adding the water to the powders.  I liked the scent of the laundry sauce and I wanted to bring that forward into this recipe.
  • The tablets will be very fragile, especially as they are drying.  Bob came to investigate a few hours after I made them, and (both of us having “do-not-touch syndrome” leftover from our childhoods) immediately picked one up and crushed it before I could even say a word 🙂  They will hold up with gentle handling, but gentle is the key word.
  • The original recipe said you would get 40 tablets.  I got 63.  I used a tablespoon so I’m not sure why there was such a difference?
  • I tested mine yesterday and I didn’t notice any ill effects with my laundry.  No change in static level after the dryer, no weird spots or stains (at least that I’ve noticed yet, if I come across anything I’ll post it later!).
  • So, for reference:  dry laundry detergent #1 is by far the quickest and easiest to make, and easy to use too (spoon in a couple of spoons of the dry mix into the washer, no challenge there).  Laundry Sauce is the hardest to make and the messiest to use, but it smells great.  This recipe seems like it’s in the middle as far as effort to make, but the easiest to use.
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