Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Adventures in Handmade Laundry Soap

For the past couple of months I have been making my own cleaning products.  The more you put into something the more it costs, so if I could pare my cleaning supplies down to bare essentials it ought to cost me less than buying typical cleaning products.  I figured people were able to keep reasonably clean for hundreds of years before the invention of modern detergents - there must be a way to do this.  So far I think I'm right!  It turns out that almost everything can be made from some combination of soap or dish liquid, washing soda, borax and vinegar.  As I mentioned in my previous post about shampoo bars, I can at least feel like I'm saving money!

We ran out of laundry detergent this morning.  I found a bunch of homemade laundry soap recipes at Tipnut, and I'm going to go through them and see how they work. I'm using my handmade soap for these rather than buying bar soap (after all, that is the point) - but as long as it's bar soap and not bar detergent (like Dove), it should work. For those of you who are following along at home, I'm starting with recipe #1.

So here are two gallon Ziploc bags of grated handmade soap!  100% lard soap, just because lard is cheap, and this batch was always destined to be laundry soap, so I really didn't care about the skin-conditioning qualities.



No, I didn't use all of this!  Just 2 cups :)  I'll have plenty for experimenting with other laundry soap recipes later.

My 2c of soap gets slowly melted in 1q of simmering water in a saucepan on the stove until it's all dissolved.




The whole mess gets poured into a bucket into which I have measured 2c each of borax and washing soda (both found in the laundry products aisle of the supermarket) and mixed thoroughly until everything is dissolved.  Two gallons of water are added, and I wait for the whole thing to cool down.  I also added about a tablespoon of fragrance oil that I got for free somewhere, just because I don't really like the smell of the lard soap.  Not a spoiled smell in any way, just mildly unpleasant.  The FO isn't a scent I would have chosen, but it was free, and it's better than the lard soap, so I might as well use it.




I know - not a terribly impressive photo - but that's what it looks like now!  There's a layer of white not-foamy-anymore stuff on top that I keep mixing back in.  This will definitely be one of those "shake before use" products!  I'm going to wait until tomorrow before I try and put it in some other container for long term storage.  Some "liquid" soaps based on bar soap melted in water can turn into a sort of gloopy almost gelatinous mass, and if this laundry soap is going to do that I don't want it in some small mouthed vinegar jug that I can't pour it out of!

I now have 2+ gallons of laundry soap.  This should last us a good month, which I think is long enough to get a feel for how well it works on our clothes.  Stay tuned, and I'll let you know the results!  Oh and just for kicks, this is the photo DH took of me while I was cooking soap :)


8 comments:

  1. Wow. Homemade laundry detergent. You're braver than I. Good luck!

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  2. wow! What a great photo of you!

    Though I must say I was not at all surprised about handmade laundry detergent. Good idea: I might try it myself- though recently I found out Crisco is now made with soybean oils- I would probably go with that instead

    -Thistle

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  3. I think this is a great idea, but I'm not sure I'm motivated enough to do it! :-) I admire those who do though. Visiting from SITS. Hope you're having a good day!
    pk @ Room Remix

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  4. I've done 2 batches of laundry soap. First with what I thought were soap flakes...don't know that they were quite what the dr ordered. This nevered thickened up, and so I gave up and used it quite watery..it made a big batch, but there are 5 of us here now, so big is good. The second time I grated up my mom's favorite - FelsNaptha soap bar and did it. That thickened, but it separates,so you've got to shake it up but so far so good. I haven't found the ingredients to make bar soap yet. Heard I should try an Ace hardware for the lye and then go from there. I'll be waiting to hear about your shampoe bars. I thought those sounded like they might be just the ticket. Thought of buying some online to try them out. Found you on Jordan's blog...They do a bit of construction around here and I'm not above going dumpster diving. I did once or twice, but didn't find anything I could use at that spot. You may find some old boards or blocks that could be used for your raised beds..even if it was just a side or 2 at a time, or a year. I also read Down To Earth blog and she has cement blocks around several of her beds.. either seconds from a manufacturer or trash from a redo...
    Happy soaping

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  5. I also just jumped back through your blog and those flower proto type earrings in Sept are really cute!

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  6. I always wanted to try to make a homemade soap, but never thought about making laundry soap.

    I am interested how it will turn out.I don't think I will ever do it, but you never know.

    Stopping by from SITS

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  7. My laundry soap stayed pretty watery, but that's OK - it makes it easier to store. I think I might want to use more soap next time. I didn't pack my cups very tightly, thinking it was better to err on the side of caution. I think next time I'll be able to pack the measuring cup a little more tightly. It still seems to work OK!

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