Sunday, March 13, 2011

spring cleaning - make your own laundry soap - variation on a classic

- in celebration of spring

- in light of spring cleaning

- in consideration of tight budgets
i present, once again, the make your own laundry soap recipe. this time with a variation on the classic.  
first off, here's a copy of the original fels-naptha laundry soap recipe.


the ingredients are simple and easy to find at your local grocery.  this time around, i substituted ivory soap for the fels-naptha.  there have been recent concerns about the safety of using fels-naptha.  research shows it to be safe for home use.  it also shows that it may prove slightly harmful to the environment.  i would like to see further research before making my own determination but until then, i am going to put ivory soap bars to the laundry soap test.

batch size - 5 gallons

i used the following ingredients
  • 4 bars of ivory soap - regular size bars
! note - you can purchase ivory soap bars in economy sized packages for cheap !
  • 2 1/2 cups borax
  • 2 1/2 cups super washing soda
  • water
 important side note

get yourself a good pair of rubber gloves when making your own laundry soap.
if you are anything like me, then you like to get your own hands in the mix.
if so...
get your gloves on folk and save your skin from the heat and possible reactions to the ingredients as they mix.

i chop the ivory soap up into very small pieces or into larger chunks and process in a food processor. you could use a cheese or vegetable grater if you wish.  use what you have - each process works just fine.  the point is that the smaller soapy bitty bits are quicker to dissolve in the water bath and will cut your time invested by a great deal.

- only dissolve your soap over heat -

do not add the borax and the washing soda while the pot is on the heat

* i repeat*

do not add the borax and the washing soda while the post is on the heat

 * do not boil your soap *
heat slowly and stir until all is dissolved

once your soap is fully dissolved - remove your pot from the heat. i set a towel out on the floor so i can work at a level easy for me.  you might have a nice counter space or a table that works for you.  i am a shorty so i work low.

once you've got yourself a set up you feel comfortable working in
  • take the soap mixture off of the heat
  •  add the borax and washing soda, mixing well until all was dissolved
this takes a bit - you'll notice the mixture thickening - just keep stirring - 
make sure you are wearing your rubber gloves for protection

  • i poured 3 quarts of hot water into a 5 gallon bucket
  • add the soap, borax and washing soda mixture to the hot water
  • give it all a good stir
at this point you may add a few 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil.
lavender and grapefruit are my favorites
today i add none as it smells fresh and lovely all on it's own.
  • then add cool water to 3 inches short of the top of the 5 gallon bucket
i have filled to the brim before.
this proves problematic when you decant.  give yourself some space so that you can easily dip in your transfer/pouring pot without spilling out. 

  • let the mixture sit overnight
  • i cover my containers and/or move them to a place where creatures cannot access
  • if you've got kiddos, do the same
once the whole batch is cooled, give it a good stir and begin funneling it in to your storage containers.  i use laundry soap containers that i have collected over the years.  

today's batch proved to fill 
  • 6 - 100oz containers
  • 1 - 50 oz containers
that's a lot of bucks saved folks!  
get your goods and get cooking - it's big payback for a small investment of both time and dollars.

how much should you use?
i have a front loading washer and i use a 1/2 cup per load

good to note:
give your laundry soap a good shake or shiver before using.  sometimes the conjealed stuffs floats to the top.  a good shaking will mix the goods together easily.

there you go, have at it!

1 comment:

Sassychiken said...

I've slowly been getting into "green cleaning" (vinegar really DOES work on everything!) but I am confused about Borax. Isn't it related to Boric Acid? I looked up Borax on EWG and it appeared to be quite toxic. Obviously I'm not missing something because most homemade laundry recipes use it. Thoughts?