Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Failed Science Experiment

Well, only half of it failed.

Because this is me talking, here's a backstory to the why I attempted the science experiment:

When we moved here, the lovely people at our church threw us an old-fashioned "pounding" (its happened to us twice now, at churches with older members-they give you food and household stuff).  The last pounding we had we got a lot of canned food and about half of it was stuff we would never eat and we gave it to a canned food drive.  This time? It was a HUGE amount of stuff! Like filled the bed of R's F-150 amount of stuff.  And it was all useful stuff!  I appreciated the household stuff they gave us even more than the food.  R had moved up here with some laundry pods (because of the ease to move them) and we didn't need laundry soap again until this month!  So, R had moved here with some pods, but by the time I got here, they were mostly gone.  Then, at the pounding, we got a huge can of pods.

I. loved. them.

They are SO easy!  I mean, it's really not that hard to pour some soap in the cap and drop the cap into the wash, which is what I do with liquid soap, and I don't use powdered soap, so there it is, but somehow the pods just became amazing.

If you were blessed with a front loader, I don't think you'd be as impressed with them.  I think you'd be happiest with a liquid dispenser sitting on top of your washer and just pushing the spout and filling that little tray right up (which is what we do at my mom's).

BUT.  If you have a top loader, like mine, then pods are your friend.

So when we ran out of soap and finally needed to buy our own again, I decided to join the ranks of people making their own laundry detergent.  The liquid version intrigues me, and I may try it eventually, but I decided I'd make the powder stuff and then turn it into my own pods.  And since we'd been buying pods for the dishwasher, too and the ingredients are very similar, I'd go ahead and try to make pods for the dishwasher, too.

I used this recipe from One Good Thing by Jillee to make the powder, but I changed it like this:

I'm sure where I read it, but I knew I could use Ivory instead of Fels-Naptha.  And I had some Ivory soap, so I used it.  I used about a bar and a half.  To make it easier to grate, I microwaved it first!  If it is not as old as the bars I had, it will make an awesome cloud (because Ivory soap, the soap that floats, is whipped, and the air inside will expand and make a really cool poof of soap!) and you can just crumble that (I know, I've done it before) but if your soap is old like mine, you may have to do a combo of microwaving and crumbling and grating.  Also, if you microwave it your microwave will smell like soap for a little while.

Then I added the borax, washing soda, baking soda, store brand oxy-clean, and Downy Unstoppables in the ratio of her recipe.

Then, to make the pods, I started adding hot water in tiny increments until it was wet enough to hold its shape when smooshed.  And I started packing it as tight as I could into ice cube trays (that are now dedicated to soap making and not used for things we eat).  I had more soap than trays, so I used cupcake liners and a cupcake tray to finish it out.

And I left it to dry.  I figured it'd take a couple days.

I underestimated how dry West Texas is!

The next morning, they easily popped out of the trays and held their shape perfectly.  The cupcake liners were necessary since I plan to use that tray for cupcakes in the future, but it was a PAIN to get the liners off.

I put them in an old pod container and a pretty jar. (Please ignore how dirty the top of my dryer is.  Even when I've just cleaned it, it looks dirty because, as you can see, it's very old and has lots of scratches.)

(Also, that wire there? That's how the washing machine was grounded before we moved in.  We had them put a grounded plug there and throughout the house.  Seemed like a good idea to us...)

Her recipe calls for 1/2 cup of the dry stuff per load.  To me, that would mean the cupcake ones were enough and the ice cubes would need two.  After using them for about a week now, though, I have to say that I think that once ice cube is enough for most loads.  REALLY full loads I've used two, but I don't think most loads need that much.

Also after using them for several loads, here's my tips:

Put them on top of the clothes near where the water comes into the washer.

If you have cupcake sized ones, after the water fills the tub, go and make sure its broken up.  You may need to help it along.  Also, try not to make cupcake sized ones because they don't break up as well. : )

SO, since this laundry pod thing turned out so awesome, I thought I'd try the dishwasher pods next.  Since we have really hard water and LemiShine is a must in every load, I though I'd add it to the mix.

But guess what?

LemiShine reacts with hard water.

So you get this:

And, later, this:

And then this:

And then you take them outside and clean your counter with the overspill and its never been cleaner, like this:

But even 24 hours later, outside, they are still not done bubbling.

Bad idea.

I have an idea on how to improve it next time and, once it's successful, I'll let you know about that, too!