Friday, April 22, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

Frugal times call for frugal measures! Plus, it’s Earth Month, my favorite time of the year. Your homework assignment this week, boys and girls, is to make one batch of laundry soap for one of the following reasons:

  • the entire batch costs less than $1 to make, making enough for approximately 90 loads – you’re washing your clothes for pennies, people
  • this formula is almost completely natural, and no phosphates, so it won’t kill the little fishies (yup, fishies) down in the creek (or cause a sickening overgrowth of algae thus suffocating the fish living in it, which then in turns throws the entire ecosystem out of balance and… you get it)
  • which I might add, if someone paid me to write this blog and not work, I would photograph an entire soap making journey from mixing lard and lye to creating our sudsy creation, but, back to our reasons –
  • it’s really fun, the kids will love it, it’s a Bill Nye kind of moment
  • it makes you feel Amish

~I laugh now because growing up my grandma would say “Well, I’m glad I live in these modern times, because I ain’t never woulda had my soap made!”

First, I will start off by mentioning a very important disclaimer. This is not a sudsy laundry soap! It is not filled with the strange phosphates and bubbly chemicals found in your grocery store laundry soap. BUT, it’s the enzymes in the ingredients that are actually cleaning!

Secondly, if you clothes are particularly, uh, stinky (such as when the husband comes home from the deer lease), add a few tablespoons of vinegar into the mix. (I mean like actually add a few tablespoonfulls to that load in the wash.)

Ready for the fun?

The ingredients. You’ll need a bar of Zote laundry soap. Some people use “Fels Naptha” laundry soap (no idea what it even looks like, I was born in ’83 people), but Zote was all I could find. A box of Borax (which also is a lovely roach deterrent). A box of washing soda. This was the hardest for me to find. Walmart didn’t have it, but my local grocer did!

Some interesting facts:

  • Do not use Oxi-Clean. I tried this with my first batch, and it turned into…. ectoplasm (remember from Ghostbusters?). The whole thing started foaming and…. growing, thank God I made it in the tub. Then it congealed…. still usable, just weird. Some people still use Oxi-clean and instead they make a powdered form, I have yet to do this.  Which is why I’m now on the hunt to find 101 uses for Oxi-Clean.
  • Washing soda is made from Sodium Carbonate (I wiki-ed it). The mineral is derived from the ashes of plants, and is commonly used in water softeners. If you can’t find it at the store, and your local Amish friend is out, some say you can buy it from your local pool supply store (although this would be industrial grade, so I didn’t want chance it on my favorite jeans).
  • Others swore they made their own washing soda by spreading large amounts of baking soda out on a pan and baking it. I’m just glad I found some washing soda. EEK!

Ok, the process is very easy, really:

  1. Grate one-third of the Zote laundry soap bar into a pan. Some ask, you’re using your kitchen grater, and your food pots??? And to them I answer, YES, I’m making SOAP, it will rinse off. Ok, grate your soap, add 6 cups of water, and heat until the soap, uh, melts.
  2. Add 1/2 cup washing soda, and 1/2 cup Borax, and stir until it dissolves.
  3. Now get a bucket, a 2 gallon will do. Pour 4 cups warm water, add your soap mixture and stir. It’s turning to gel! SO COOL!
  4. Then add 1 gallon plus 6 cups (I measure with my tea pitcher)  of water and stir!

That’s it! I let it sit overnight, but I’m sure you could use it right away. I pour the finished product into empty laundry detergent bottles that I saved. Overnight it will gel little more, but it won’t be solid, some people describe it as an egg noodle soup look (eww!). Just shake the container a little before you scoop it out…. All you need is one cup (the little laundry cup) per load!

*Note: If you save your old laundry detergent bottles, pour the mixture immediately into the containers through a funnel before it thickens. Otherwise it gets clumpy and kinda spills all over your clean bathroom floor as your trying to balance the pot in one hand, and hold the funnel and bottle in the other.

This makes a good size batch of laundry soap. It fills one 150 fl. oz. detergent container, and 2/3 of another large tupperware container I have. I would estimate it’s about 90 loads worth. Too cool, right???

…Here’s what it looks like. Look, there’s my husband’s arm! I wonder if we’ll ever put his picture on here… tee hee hee.

Hope ya’ll give it a shot, do it in honor of Earth Day! It only takes about 30 minutes to make, and if nothing else, you’ve amused your kids, and only wasted $6 on ingredients…

~Peace, Love, and Soap Making Ya’ll!

 

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Laundry Soap

Yield: 200 fluid oz.

Ingredients:

1/3 bar Zote laundry soap
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup Washing Soda
Water

Directions:

Grate one-third of the Zote laundry soap bar into a pan. Some ask, you're using your kitchen grater, and your food pots??? And to them I answer, YES, I'm making SOAP, it will rinse off. Ok, grate your soap, add 6 cups of water, and heat until the soap, uh, melts.
Add 1/2 cup washing soda, and 1/2 cup Borax, and stir until it dissolves.
Now get a bucket, a 2 gallon will do. Pour 4 cups warm water, add your soap mixture and stir. It's turning to gel! SO COOL!
Then add 1 gallon plus 6 cups (I measure with my tea pitcher) of water and stir!

Then portion into saved laundry containers.

 

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8 Responses to “Homemade Laundry Soap”

  1. 1

    Laura @ WyldeThyme — April 19, 2012 @ 12:46 am

    I use the fels naptha soap… I found it right next to the borax. I don’t add any water: 1 bar grated soap, 1c borax, 1c washing soda… works great (and fits in a coffee can). use 1 – 2 T per load. glad to see you are spreading the word on how easy it is to help our environment AND save money! great post!

    • katieb replied: — April 20th, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

      Does Fels Naptha have any smell? I just might try the dry version next time…. save some space!

  2. 2

    danielle — April 19, 2012 @ 3:10 am

    Seems like such a fun project for kids! Im sure itll get them to maybe want to even help with housework eh? Ill test it on my niece and nephew! ha

    • katieb replied: — April 20th, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

      It is SO much fun! I feel like a scientist (and kid) every time I make it. I almost look forward to when we run out! 🙂

  3. 3

    Jill taylor — April 19, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

    will this work in the front loading machines that say they need HE soap?

    • katieb replied: — April 20th, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

      It will! HE machines can’t handle that high sudsy soap, but this will be perfect as it doesn’t foam up!

  4. 4

    shirlsaw63 — May 3, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

    I too use the Fels Naptha and don’t add water. I don’t notice any smell related to the Fels Naptha.

    • katieb replied: — May 9th, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

      A reader just gave me a bar of Fels Naptha; I can’t wait to try it!

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