17 November, 2013

Soap! Just plain 'ol soap!

Soap!  Just plain 'ol soap!!

Okay, so I have been making my own handmade laundry soap for my family for about a year and a half now.  Let me just say I LOVE IT!!!  
My husband is even a fan (considering we save at least $20 per month on purchasing pre-made laundry soap).  
We have saved bunches of $$$ while enjoying the clean smell in my home as it is simmering.  I have had many friends ask me "how do you do that, how do you make laundry soap"?  

Well my friends, here it is!  Here's the skinny on how this old girl (well, not that old, but feels like it sometimes) makes hers!  

Here's what you need, but don't mind my unsightly bananas in the background: 

1 C. borax 

1 C. Washing Soda (To make your own, *See instructions below*) 

1 bar of your favorite bar/bath soap 

3-4 Tbsp. per gallon (or to your liking) of your favorite scent booster (like Downy Un-stopables) *optional* (Or, you can even use essential oils and put about 20 drops per batch.)  

2 gallons water, divided into two separate gallons 

1 large stockpot (preferably one to devote to soap making) 

ALSO!  You will need empty containers that will hold 2 gallons worth of laundry soap, or enough containers combined that will hold that amount.  Some people prefer empty containers like old laundry containers, gallon jugs from juice, etc., which is fine, but keep in mind you will have 2 gallons worth of soap you need to fill those up with!  

*But for me, I like to go to my local bakery and ask them for their empty frosting buckets (don't laugh at my lazy 2 gallon markings).  They usually don't even charge me for them since they just get tossed in the trash.  Or, I will end up paying a buck or two.   They are the perfect size and are about 3.5 to 4 gallons each.  The frosting buckets can be sealed, makes it easier to occasionally mix it back up and give it a good stir to reduce the lumps (yes, it tends to clump up a little, like a boogery mess), and it makes it easier for me to just scoop a 1/2 cup from it for each load.*  

Start by grating your soap and placing it in your pot.  You can do this by hand (maybe hire on the kids for a late night in return), by food processor, or as I like to do mine... with my handy dandy Salad Shooter!  Yes, I STILL have one and I love it!  

Now, you will fill up your pot with 1 gallon of hot water (don't mind my little "4-gallon" mark, that's my lazy way of filling it up, and besides I like to do mine in large batches).  (Note:  I normally make an 8 gallon batch each time, so don't let the large batches scare ya!)  

You then set your stove to about medium heat to allow it to simmer until all of the grated pieces of soap are all dissolved.  At this time, if I don't have any washing soda, this is where I would make some.  *See directions below* 

At this time, if you are the kind that absolutely loves the smell of fresh, clean clothes, now is a good time to add those scent booster beads!  You can always go the route of actually making your laundry soap first, and then adding it later (because they dissolve so well) to your liking.  Also, if you are choosing to put in any essential oils, I recommend putting them in after you remove from the heat. 

Once it's all dissolved, take your Borax and Washing Soda and slowly (I mean SLOWLY) pour it in as you are stirring.  Keep it on a medium/high heat and allow it to simmer a little longer, just until it starts to coagulate (thicken) a little.

Fair warning:  If you just dump it in, be prepared for a foamy mess all over your stove and get stuck in between the glass on your oven door from the crazy mess.  I mean, I don't know that this could happen, but possibly.  Okay, so it did happen to me and I have the lovely little white streak inside the glass on my oven door to prove it.  Ha ha!  But, don't blame me because I did warn you

Meanwhile, put 1 gallon of cold water into your bucket and set it aside.  Here you can see my two buckets and once again my lazy markings for my 2 gallon mark.  

When it has begun to coagulate, you can now pour them evenly into your buckets!  Give them a good stir to mix them up.  And right now they seem really liquidy/sorta-kinda lumpy, but in about 24 hours, it will be so much thicker!  You will need to give them a good stir and moosh up the more solid parts before you start using it.  I find that every once in a while I just need to give it a good squish to keep it from being too solid.  
I just stick my hand in and squish it real good all over!  Yes, I actually do that!  Haha!  

And there ya have it!  Here in my picture is showing you the 8 gallons I just made!  I just use about 1/3 to 1/2 cup for each load unless I'm doing something really stinky, or if I'm doing towels.  I will use a little more in addition.  

For what I bought in supplies I spent $10.00 for an 8-pack (about $1.25 per bar) of soap, $3.00 (about $.32 per cup) for the big box of Borax, and about $6.00 for a 12 pound (about $.25 per cup) bag of Baking soda.  So, I just spent on my 8 gallons of laundry detergent about $7.28!!  
Seriously some awesome savings!

I hope you enjoyed this post and that this helps all my friends who are always asking me for my recipe.  :)  I enjoy it, my family enjoys it and I'm sure you will too!

As an added note:  This is great to use with High Efficiency washers and produces low suds.  I was asking my repairman whom I was getting parts from about homemade laundry soap and if they've ever seen problems.  He said that he's seen less problems with homemade soap then commercially made soap and actually recommended it.  

He also mentioned that with high efficiency washers, to actually not use liquid fabric softener in them because that is one of the main reasons that cause your washer to stink and it causes a lot of build up that is hard to get out unless you tear it apart.  I believe this because when we were tearing apart our top loading washer to try and fix it, it had a horrible layer of film that was the softener.  The only way we could get it off, was by scraping it off.  

We ended up getting my well loved front loader finally since our top loader finally bit the dust and caused us to take it out back and shoot it!  


***Making your own washing soda*** 

Turning this... 
Into this!

You might be wondering "now why in the world would she make washing soda, when you can just buy it in the laundry isle"?  Well, because I'm cheap like that and I tend to buy these big bags at Costco when I'm running low, not to mention, it is cheaper to make it!  

Baking soda vs. washing soda
Baking soda neutralizes odors and is a fabric softener.  
Washing soda helps to soften your water (so the hard water doesn't interfere with your detergent's effectiveness) and it is great at removing grease and other tough stains.  

Here's what you need:  
Baking soda, a metal baking pan or cookie sheet and your oven!  Yes, that simple!  

Step 1
First, take a large cookie sheet and spread about 2-3 cups of baking soda on it to where there is just a thin layer.  That way the heat can penetrate all of it more quickly and you won't have your oven on for very long.  If you're wanting to make more to actually store for later, I recommend using 2 pans.  That way you can ensure that it will all turn out right.  

Step 2
Heat your oven to 400-450° F (about 200-230° C).  
Place the pan(s) of baking soda into your heated oven and allow them to heat for about 1 hour, or until the temperature of the soda reaches 400° F.  Where not all ovens are the same and depending on how much you are making, can vary quite a bit, so this is just to be used as a general guideline.  
I stir mine around once or twice just to be sure it would all be heated through evenly.  

Step 3
How do you know it's done?  This part can be a little tricky.  
Baking soda is fluffy, slightly shiny and is a lot more powdery.  
Washing soda is not fluffy, grainy and more dull
You may want to have some baking soda out to compare.  
But just remember that if you just measure 1 cup (or what you're needing for your mix) and bake it, it will not equal the original cup you first measured out.  Yes, it will be a little less because of the chemical reaction.  

Step 4
Remove your pan of "washing soda" from the oven, allow it to cool, then use it in your laundry soap or put it away in a good sealing container that is labeled for later use.  

And you're done!!

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