Thursday, March 20, 2008

Johnston Science Experiment

Hey all!

I just wanted to let you all in on a new laundry adventure the Johnston family is taking...we have started making our own laundry detergent. Isabelle has VERY sensitive skin and breaks out easily in a rash from perfumes to foods. We had found that Melaleuca detergent (unscented) worked well for us, but it was expensive and had to be ordered specifically through company. I found that many store brands were also expensive and full of perfumes and additives that were unhealthy and bothered her skin. Through my research I found out that the enzymes added to nearly ALL big brands, Tide, Purex, etc...and that it takes around 16 showers to wash the enzymes off our skin. Enzymes are necessary and helpful for stain removal but do not need to be in the whole wash. They are harmful to our mucus membranes and mess with our immune system.

The results of googling laundry enzymes:

A) The main enzymes used are protease and amylase, but a cocktail is preferred to attack all kinds of proteins, they must be grown in a lab, and sometimes they are genetically engineered.

B) Yes enzymes are very effective, but perhaps way too effective, they also attack the proteins in your skin and mucus membranes in such a way that it takes 16 rinses to get them off your skin.

C) if you really need enzymes these people sell a natural papaya enzyme for laundry Not exactly cost effective. Also its liquid, but powdered is also available, for a price.

So, to get my enzymes I use Shout gel on any of the kids food, grass, and mud stains, but do not have them in all the wash now.

Here is the recipe that we are using:

1 Bar of Zote = 6 cups shredded (I freeze after shredding, or leave on counter for a week to dry out) cost $.76 per bar at Wal-Mart

3 Cups Borax $2.99 at the grocery store or Wal-Mart

4 Cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda $2.29 at the grocery store or Wal-Mart

1/2 Cup Vinegar in the rinse cycle HUGE bottle (much bigger than Downy!) for $1.79

I then mix all together in my Kitchen Aid or food processor and store in a plastic tub. I use 1/4 cup per load (remember I do huge loads for 6 people) when washing, and add the vinegar to my softener dispenser in the middle of my washing machine. The vinegar helps rinse any remaining detergents off the clothes, helps set the colors, and softens the clothes.

--Zote Soap has varied uses, including the following:

Hand washing: Moist Zote Soap is rubbed onto the wet garment and rinsed clear.
Stain removal: Zote Soap can be used to pre-treat stains
Delicates: Because Zote Soap has non abrasive ingredients and no salts that could massively deposit in the clothes, it can be used for delicates.
Brightening: Zote Soap contains optical brighteners chemically designed for hand washing. Zote Soap has no chlorine, and thus bleaches without fading color.
Clothes softener: A piece of Zote Soap can be placed in a sock at the end of the wash cycle for soft fragrant towels.

This is a letter I found online:

I actually work at the factory where the Zote soap is manufactured. ( understand the existance of this soap, we need to understand it origin. This soap was used in the past (no washing machines yet) in México, when people used to go to the river and wash their clothes. They simple rub the clothes on a rugged surface (like a rock), and hand wash the clothes. Then consumers started to use a machine called "palangana" that is like the Belly of a turtle (rugged) to wash in home. That´s why no instructions are needed (at least in Mexico) Nowadays, with more washing machines around this technique trends to desapear, but consumers are still finding a way to keep using the Zote soap. We are developing a new Liquid Zote (like a liquid detergent) that you can pour directly to the machine. Since there are a lot of Mexicans in the USA (Texas), they are demanding this product and that´s the reason you can find it on the shelves in Wal-Mart and other stores.It is funny, but there are some many alternate uses for this bar, like Mosquito repelent, hair treatment,fishing bite, fabric softener, YOU NAME IT!!With a 36,000,000 million bars sold last year you can bet we´ll have Zote bar soap for a while.If you need more information, I´ll be glad to help you!

Ingredients: Pink Zote Soap is made with coconut oil and tallow. It contains sodium chloride, glycerin, perfume, an optical brightener and dye. Zote Soap is scented with citronella oil, making the soap fragrance long lasting.


20 Mule Team® Borax is made of 100% Borax, a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen and water. 20 Mule Team® Borax is not harmful to washing machines, plumbing or septic tanks and does not contain phosphates or chlorine.

--Super Washing Soda

-- ARM & HAMMER Super Washing Soda is 100% sodium carbonate. It does not contain fragrance, surfactants or other additives.

ARM & HAMMER Super Washing Soda is 100% sodium carbonate and it is used as a laundry booster and general household cleaner. ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda is 100% sodium bicarbonate and has a myriad of household cleaning, personal care, and deodorizing uses, as well as being a leavening agent. IT is important to note that these two are two distinctly different products and cannot be substituted for one another.

In conclusion, this may not be something any of you are interested in, but we have found it a fun family science experiment and love the results! Our clothes smell awesome, no more rash for Isabelle, everyone likes to grate the Zote, and it is super cheap to make!


amy said...

people are offten mentioning that its used for handwashing but ... how exactly? doyou just rub the bar on the garment directly or disolve it in water 1st? i am trying to remove an ink stain from 100% cotton shorts (very light khaki colored) the stain has been there for a few weeks while ive been researching. i bought PINK ZOTE BAR a few days ago and oxy clean but im just researching before i ruin the garment. lol i lready ruined my bf's TEXAS TECH red hoodie by washing it and turned the ltters pink. its ruined and it was an xmas gift. any ideas to fix that one?

ISFLY Family said...

I am so excited! I think my DD is reacting to our current laundry soap so I'm going to give this a try!

Thank you TONS!

The Donald said...

Interesting laundry tip and great song list!