Thursday, January 9, 2014

Making Ahead: Laundry Soap

   It has been a perfectly drizzly, gray day. Rainfall is welcome, but he gloomy clouds I could do without. Days like this are 'catch up' days on my homestead giving me opportunity to do the things often pushed aside or overlooked by the busyness of it all. Eggs were boiled for quick protein pick me ups. Some fresh cheese is culturing. I even found time to stir up some of our creamy goats milk soap. One on hand item I really needed to get made ahead was my laundry soap.

into the soap container

   Some time ago we had some pipe problems in the area connected to our washing machine and sink. It seems the laundry detergents had been building up a glassy-type coating in the pipes that eventually blocked them.
   Several shoveled trenches later, we replaced those pipes and started researching laundry detergents; the making of them and the cost effectiveness of making them. With much test and trial, we have developed our version of home made detergent.

two bars of laundry soap, grated

bar soap (such as Zote, Fels Naptha, or my home made soap)
baking soda
boric acid (Borax)
washing soda (Arm &; Hammer)

   The first ingredient is bar laundry soap, such as Fels Naptha or I used two bars of Zote. Personally, I grate my soap by hand, however, a food processor works just fine. Size of flakes really isn't important here because we are going to blend it in the food processor in just a minute. The key is to get the bars grated and ready to process.
   Using the largest mixing bowl you can find, measure out your soap ingredients. For every one cup of grated soap flakes add one cup of borax, one cup of wash soda, and one-half cup of baking soda. Once this is measured out, get your food processor ready.

blending the soaps into a fine powder
   Now, this step is optional, but I really like the soap to be a finer powder than it is when measured out. I place scoops of the soap mixture into a food processor and pulse it until the bar soap is almost not noticeable. Blending it like this, the soap dissolves better in our cold wash cycles.
   The soap is stored in an airtight plastic container. I make as much soap at one time as my container will hold. As the soap is poured into the container after blending, you can add a few drops of essential oils to the soap and stir well. Sometimes I add tea tree oil, however, due to my frequent migraines I often leave it as is.
   This soap has several household uses. Using the soap for laundry, I add one fourth a cup to a standard wash load. If washing my husband's work clothes (he's a welder) I add half a cup and use an extra large cycle. A paste can be made for pre-treating a stain. Mixing the soap with water (equal parts) will result in a gel/liquid version of laundry soap (extra nice in unseasonably cold weather). For scrubbing powder, I mix one cup of prepared soap with one half a cup of coarse salt and a few drops of citrus essential oil. In the dishwasher, we simply fill the soap tray with prepared soap mix. Mixing a teaspoon of soap with a sink of warm water works great for hand washing dishes.
   We have been using this soap for several years now and are very satisfied with the results. Being mild in nature, this soap is gentle on the skin and non-drying; the lack of fragrances works well for our family suffering skin allergies and migraines. We have recently used it for scrubbing barn implements and stock tanks!
    Here's hoping tomorrow brings sunshine- I miss my garden!   

1 comment:

Lisa Coon said...

Interesting. I also make my own laundry detergent. I have slightly different recipe (same components, different measurements). I ususally use Ivory, but every once in a while I by a bar of Dr. Bronner's. I never thought to use it as a dish detergent, though. I've tried homemade dishwasher detergent, but it left a film even if we put vinegar in the rinse.

Lucky you getting rain. Up her in the north we're buried in snow.

Oh, and your food processor looks as old as ours (I think ours was made in the 70's and was a hand-me-down). The thing works great! Heavy though. :)