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There's a lot of humming going on about whether "to Borax or not to Borax" in home-made detergents and while there are many recipes for home-made laundry, dish and dishwashing detergent out there, this focus is on laundry detergent because I haven't tried making the others yet. But in general, the warning concerns any way in which borax is used in the home.
The borax issue that seems to be of most concern deals with the possibility of harm to the male reproductive system. To understand this better, read the links given here as well as the links given at those sites to get to the knitty-gritty of this. I have decided which way I'm going. I will tell you and I will tell you why in just a little bit. You may not agree and that's okay. This is something you're going to have to decipher for yourself.
If not making your own laundry detergent, you may still want to read the first article for the health of family...and for purse change.
Both articles are good. But they say different things.
I like the first one for the links, the info about Tide detergent and the recipe given for homemade...although mine is simpler. I have not done the comparison thingy, though, so maybe hers is better. I am sure it's better if mine doesn't include borax...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
So Click HERE for the first article which is anti-borax. It includes instructions on making a detergent without borax.
Click HERE for the other side, a very reasonable side, to the story.
So, the way I'm going? ...I'm either going to continue using the borax, (I already halved the amount I was using due to Sr. Chief's having an issue with itching from it), or I'm going to switch completely over to the recipe given in the first link. (How's that for master decision-making?)
So, why not sell my borax on e-bay to the highest bidder? Because I tried the method suggested in several places of merely replacing the borax with baking soda -measure for measure- and now I'm going to have to rewash every one of Sr. Chief's undershirts because they have 'ring around the collar' which they haven't had before.
Why, thank you for asking...Yes, I'm ticked!! I made an entire batch Friday and it's only Sunday. But this skinflint, (me, not Sr.), will not be throwing out the newly made batch to jump on the no-borax wagon any time soon. More than likely, I will go through what I have, trying Dr. Bronner's and Fels Naptha as pre-treatments on undershirts and any other spots seen on the laundry. But let me just tell ya...I hate pre-treating! (And don't you dare raise your eyebrows and say something ridiculous like, "Hate is a mighty strong word there, Cindy Lee!")
I'm not washing infant clothing or diapers and Sr. and I aren't planning on more children...unless it's grandkids, that is. After reading the sensible words of Betty's page as well as comments from those sounding like they've been around much longer than I using borax in their family's laundry...and their family grew up having no problems making more family...Well, I'm just not in a big hurry on this one.
By the way, these aren't the only articles I read. The internet is packed with them right now. I just thought these both were not so packed with scientific language that the average bear wouldn't be able to make heads or tails of them...BUT if you want scholarly reports to scare and maybe confuse the be-jingles out of you...be my guest...
If you're interested, here is my laundry detergent recipe...I wouldn't recommend replacing the borax with baking soda at this point, however, so if borax scares you, please do use a different recipe. If I later develop this one differently without borax and it WORKS, I'll make it known. (I am considering lowering the borax yet again and subbing with the Dr. Bronner's or Fels Naptha...we'll see.) The original recipe came from...somewhere else...(If you're reading this and it looks like something you shared...let me know so I can give you credit!) I've tweaked it a lot though, so it probably doesn't look much like the original version.
FYI: This is not a dry detergent. It is a gel-like liquid. I store it in 4 half-gallon canning jars and scoop with a small measure, using 1/3 C. for small - medium loads and 2/3 for heavy duty or large loads.
1/4 Bar Fels Naptha soap
1/4 Bar Ivory soap
1/4 C Dr. Bronner's liquid soap (I use lavender)
1/2 C Borax (this is where some opt to substitute Baking Soda, but, I don't recommend it.)
2/3 C Washing Soda
2.5-3 Gal. bucket
4 Wide-mouthed 1/2 gal canning jars
Hot Water...26 Cups
Use a cheese grater to grate soap into a LARGE pot.
Place pot over medium heat.
Add 6 Cups water and stir as soap melts.
Slowly stir in the borax and the washing soda until all is melted together. Turn off heat and move pot off burner.
Put 13 Cups hot water into bucket
Carefully stir in soap contents of pot.
Stir in another 13 Cups, still stirring until well blended.
From here, the detergent may be left in the bucket/pail if it has a good lid. I use a wide-mouthed funnel to divide equal amounts into the half gallon jars. They are lighter and easier for me to store/handle.
The mixture may show separation from time to time. If it does, just give the jar a good shake before using.
Oh...and it has a very fresh, clean smell in the jar, but that smell doesn't seem to linger on the clothes. I'm thinking this is a good thing because it means soap residue is at a minimum. This detergent is also low-sudsing, which is a good thing. So, don't see red if you don't see bubbles. The clean is in there!