Monday, May 19, 2008
Homemade Detergent Lab Trials, part 1
I finally tracked down some Fels Naptha soap at Sentry in Delafield (thanks to the anonymous commenter who mentioned she found it at the Sentry in Waukesha) and was all hopped up and excited to make my homemade detergent. The euphoria didn't last long as while I was grating the soap according to these directions at Modern Cottage I started to get that feeling in the back of my throat. Do you know that feeling? That sorta coughy, sorta icky feeling that lets you know that something is perhaps a bit toxic? Well, I was getting that vibe, a strong vibe, from the Fels Naptha. I grated away and mixed up the potion (Fels, washing soda and borax) anyway and am currently running some lab trials (more on that in a second). However, the vibe was strong enough that I sat down and did some Google investigating and it seems that the verdict is unclear, some people say that Fels is safe for the environment, others say it isn't natural and is bad because it contains petrochemicals. The ingredient list is bizarre: "cleaners, soil & stain removers, chelating agents, colorants, perfume". Seriously? Can a product really get away with being this vague? So, I'm not sold on the whole Fels Naptha thing. If this recipe for homemade detergent works well and I decide to make it again I will substitute Dr. Brommers castille soap for the Fels. Wish I would have thought of that earlier as I could have gotten that by walking a block to Hartland Market!
Anyway, the lab trials are underway. Due to a rather messy and dirty week we have much more laundry than usual, which makes for great experiment conditions. I have two loads of whites and two loads of darks, one of each I will use my ever-faithful, ever-perfect Mrs. Meyers Clean Day laundry detergent in Geranium (which smells like heaven). For the other two loads I will use the new homemade laundry detergent (pictured above, on the right). All other variables in the trials will be kept consistent: water temp, spin speed, clothesline dry. All I need is my lab notebook and it will feel just like a high school lab experiment. Materials, Hypothesis, Procedure, and Conclusion. My lab report will be completed by tomorrow. Please check back for the amazing conclusion. I know you are all on the edge of your seats :)
My laundry day has been made a bit more complicated today, not because of the lab trials, but because of this adorable rabbit who has decided to burrow in to our bed of spiderwort and have her babies right outside our back door. So, I have to be extra quiet and respectful as I head out to hang laundry. No screen door slamming and all that. I think this rabbit is the cutest thing ever, and I said so to my husband. He corrected me and said that, no, the cutest thing ever will be when the baby rabbits appear. I think he is right on this point.