Thursday, March 28, 2013

Laundry Soap

Not all of my efforts to make our home chemical free are happening in the kitchen. Although, making food is a lot more fun than making soap, because you get to eat it. One benefit to making your own laundry soap besides choosing the ingredients is that is is CHEAP! You buy three simple ingredients and it makes a ton of soap and the ingredients last a long time!

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
You use 1/3 of the bar of soap, and than a half cup each of Borax and Washing soda. You melt it all down with 6 cups of water.

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!

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