**I've made a new post that you can find HERE. The instructions are more clear in my new post and I've included answers to some of the questions I've received over time.**
I've been interested in trying out home made laundry detergent for some time. Funny how it's become a pretty popular thing to do- at least among the bloggers I hang around with. It would be nice to save a few pennies in that area if it all works out like I'm hoping. I've gotten off to a rough start though. First of all, I bought a huge bag of baking soda from Amazon for cheap to use in the detergent. Then I somehow managed to have it shipped to my old home in Utah that we sold! Luckily the new owners knew that the next door neighbors could contact us and my friend there called me and shipped it out to me. I should have just told her to keep it! Without the free shipping the cost tripled because it was really heavy! So, I'm TOTALLY not saving any money with this my first time around. Oh well. Live and learn I guess.
Next I was looking for washing soda. Well, you can't find it in this town. I've looked everywhere! The online prices weren't great. Then I was meandering around the vast internet reading about various detergent recipes and some commenters were asking where you could find washing soda. Another commenter piped up and said you could just heat baking soda in the oven for an hour or so and you'd have washing soda. What?!!! At the time I looked this up- quite a while ago- I couldn't find much else about it. So, I asked my oh-so-helpful husband who just happens to be a chemical engineer. (So handy to have him around!)
This is what we do instead of going on dates- we talk science! ( : We're kinda goofy like that. After much explaining on his part and some grumbling about how I don't "get" anything on my part he finally helped me understand the following:
Baking Soda is Sodium Bicarbonate or NaHCO3
Washing Soda is Sodium Carbonate or Na2Co3
If you heat the baking soda you cause a chemical reaction or in this case you essentially begin its decomposition. It would look like this: 2NaHCO3 --->Heat---> Na2CO3+H2O+CO2
All of that means that the baking soda you heated changed into 3 new things: sodium carbonate, water and carbon dioxide. The water and carbon dioxide are gases at this temperature so they just float away or evaporate and you are left with the sodium carbonate sitting there.
Sodium Bicarbonate beings to decompose at about 100° C and you'll have complete conversion to Sodium Carbonate at about 200° C. **Edited** I forgot I was in celsius! 200° C is about 400° F. Woops. This is good to know as you'll want to know what temperature to heat it to.
So, here are some pictures documenting my science lesson for today! (I have since found other people writing about this on the internet, but we did figure it out for ourselves, so hopefully I'm not copying anyone.) This is helpful because I've found that many people don't have easy access to washing soda but pretty much everyone can get baking soda- and it's quite cheap!
So, to begin get yerself a big ol' bag of bakin' sody. (Try any large store like Walmart on the pool aisle, or a hardware store or the grocery store.) Now, really, you probably only need a few cups of it depending on the laundry detergent recipe- so even the little boxes of baking soda would work.
Stick that there pan o' sody in the oven and let 'er rip!
OK, OK enough with the goofy talk. I'm feeling a little silly by 11:30 at night after going 100 miles an hour all day! Why am I up sharing this with the world? No idea. (Oh yeah, it might be because there are diapers in the wash and I've gotta stay up until they go in the dryer! Bleh.) So there you have it, and I'm going to bed. Tomorrow I'll hopefully do a post about the laundry detergent I proceeded to make after the washing soda was done.