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Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Soap Story

Looks like a year's worth
This past weekend I made about five gallons of laundry detergent for less than four bucks.  I got the  recipe from the Urban Farming Guys at the site here. She uses one cup of detergent per load; my HE washer, combined with the naturally soft water we have coming out of the taps, uses only a couple of tablespoons of regular detergent per load.  So I didn't mix it with another five gallons of water and had an interesting surprise.

Equipment for forcing the issue
It gelled enough that I had to force it through my spider to get it broken up enough to bottle it. But it stayed liquid so I'm satisfied with it.  I think I will have use more than a couple of tablespoons, though, even with the HE washer and soft water.  But, you can't beat the price.  I think the last time we bought that enormous bottle of detergent from Costco we paid about fifteen dollars for it.

Here's the recipe, if you prefer to work that way:

Really Cheap Liquid Laundry Soap

You will need:

1 old sauce pan (make sure it's non-reactive, i.e., stainless steel)
2  5-gallon buckets
1 bar of Fels Naptha soap (or Ivory or Zote)
½ cup washing soda (not baking soda)
1 cup Borax

Grate the bar of Fels Naptha soap into the old saucepan and add around a quart of water.

Heat on medium low heat until it's melted.  Pour into a 5-gallon bucket.

Add the half cup of washing soda and cup of borax and stir until they are dissolved.

Fill the bucket with hot water and stir to mix.  Cover and leave overnight.

The next day, stir the soap to break up the globs.

Divide the soap between two 5-gallon buckets

Add enough hot water to both and stir to mix.  Bottle it up.

Use one (1) cup per load.

So there you have it- really cheap liquid laundry soap.  Would I do it again?

Probably.  I have five more bars of Fels Naptha soap in the cupboard.


jules said...

Is this your first time trying homemade laundry soap? I'd be interested to see how you like it and if you think it gets your clothes clean(er).

Paula said...

It is my first time making my own laundry soap Jules, and it worked fine on the grimy cotton blanket I washed last night. I cut down the king sized blanket we hand and hemmed it by hand and noticed it was a little on the grotty side, so challenged the new soap with it and it worked just fine! We'll see on my work pants, once the season is in full swing.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Boy is that tempting. Keep us posted on its effectiveness! I need to decide before my current bottle of detergent is empty.

Lyssa said...

I made a batch using this recipe a few months ago, and it works great on everything! I haven't used anything else.

I skipped the last step, where you divide into two buckets and fill with more hot water, so mine is thicker (gloppier) and more concentrated. That step is important if you want to pour it out of bottles like regular detergent, but I just keep my five gallon bucket next to the washing machine and dip a small ladle out for each wash. I did use a mixing paddle on a power drill to break up the gel. It doesn't need to be perfectly smooth.

Paula said...

A mixing paddle on a power drill would have really helped, Lyssa- wisht I had one!

Amanda said...

i've always found the idea very enticing, but every single thing i've read says that you really shouldn't use it in HE machines, that it'll kill them. That might be widespread urban myth, but I love my machines more than I could ever love a man, so i'm unlikely to try.