Most of the recipes I found for making homemade soap involved buying fels naptha bar soap. Being a rookie, I figured this was the soap I had to use. Well, I bought the stuff, and the first thing I noticed is that it has a strong smell. Very perfume-y, and that doesn't exactly make me think "chemical-free". It actually brought up some old memory of relatives that must have made their own soap or used fels-naptha. It was such a cloudy memory but those olfactory glands can sure spark a vision! Anyway, I learned that you can use essentially any bar soap, such as Dove, Ivory, etc. So next time I will be buying an unscented bar of soap - or possibly just using castile soap which I happen to have anyway.
The other two ingredients are washing soda and Borax. You can usually find all these items in the cleaning isle of any walmart or grocery store. I also learned that in a pinch, you can actually bake your baking soda to make washing soda. Interesting!
The most labor-intensive part was grating the fels naptha. I've heard that Ivory grates much easier.
|mmmm cheese...oh no wait...its soap|
This is when the stink from the fels naptha got really strong. My husband said it was burning his nose. Luckily, the clothes I have washed with it end up smelling like nothing, but the hour after making this stuff was horrible.
After everything is dissolved you add this to 1 gallon plus 10 cups of water in a large bucket. Mix it well and let it sit! It gelled up overnight, and this is what it looks like:
I've heard it an look like many things - more solid or more liquid, chunky, etc. You just grab some of all of it when you measure out your 1/2 cup for your load of laundry.
I may also add some essential oil next time - like lavendar. I don't think it'll make my clothes scented but I do laundry so often, it would be nice if it had a pleasant smell!