Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Homemade Laundry Soap

Homemade Laundry Soap!

So I found a few bloggers who emphatically encourage you to save money by making your own laundry soap.  You can save lots of money (It's less than $20.00 for supplies for a year reports one site!) and you only have to make one batch for the whole year!  That's a lot of savings since my usual liquid detergent costs me $15.49+ for a 109 load bottle, which lasts my family of 3 about 2 1/2 months.  So a one time trip to the store to get the goods and one time spending about a half an hour to put it together for an entire year!  Sounds great, sign me up!   It works for my HE frontloader!  Awesome!  And it's good for sensitive skin!  An added bonus!

I decided to try the recipe for a powder. Usually I purchase liquid at the store, but the liquid recipes require me to cook the soap ingredients on my stove,  add water when cool, and buy a glass beverage dispenser to store it in.  It seemed way more involved than I wanted to get for making laundry soap!  So I hit my easy button and made the powder!

Here's the recipe I used:
1- 4 lb. box 20 Mule Team Borax
1 1/2 bars of Zote Laundry Bar Soap or 3 bars Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap, finely grated

Mix together and store in an air tight container. Use 1 - 2 tablespoons per load. 

Sounds easy enough!  I noticed some comments on the difficulty in finding the Zote or Fels-Naptha and they recommended looking at a hardware store.  So off I went to my local Home Depot.  I was very disappointed that they had nothing on my list!  So back in my car to the next location, Lowe's.  Yes!  They had the Zote!  And it was only $1.09 per bar!  They had either white bars or pink.  So, of course I chose the pink!  Let's make our homemade soap pretty!

My next stop would be my local Walmart.  I went to the laundry aisle and voile! There were all of the ingredients for my project sitting next to each other on the shelf, including the Fels-Naptha!  LOL!  I should have just started at Walmart!  Lesson learned for next time! Only the Fels-Naptha is yellow and I think the Zote smells nicer! So the Baking Soda was $2.12, the Super Washing Soda was $3.24, the Borax was $3.38, and the Fels-Naptha was $0.97 per bar.    

Since the Fels-Naptha is yellow and I had my heart set on making pink laundry detergent, I went for the Zote!  So my grand total was $10.38 for all of this year supply of laundry soap!  Woohoo!  Since I was really lower than what the blog said, I purchased this tote to store it in. 
It's a 20 quart Sterilite container that cost me $3.97 at Walmart.  Since actually making my soap, this is a little big.  My detergent only took up half of this space, but it did make it easy to stir without a mess.  So, now to actually get down to the soap making since I have all of my supplies.

Step one, grate the soap.  The blogs I looked at had some complaints that there was soap residue left on the clothes, So I decided that instead of shavings of soap, I had better grate it a little finer so it would all melt.  I started with my box grater (good old Bessie the cow bell!) but after one pass, I knew this would be too much time and effort.  So out came the Cuisinart multiprep 3 cup mini processor!  I chopped the Zote up into pieces about 2 inches square and I threw 4 in! My minichopper hated this!  When it started to get hot and smell, I recalled that someone else had made the comment that they needed to add something to chop the soap.  So I chopped the soap up into about one inch chunks and put in about a tablespoon of the baking soda to the soap, which helped tremendously and made my minichopper happy! (I personally chose the baking soda since I knew if I breathed in the powder, I wouldn't have some kind of coughing fit or allergic reaction to ingesting it!).   When I was finished, it looked like this:
So pretty!  This is making me excited to get some laundry going and try it out!  LOL!  Once I had all of my batches of soap finely grated (like parmesan cheese!), I layered all of my supplies in my tote and  stirred it with a paint stick I found in my garage!  Here is what it looks like all mixed!

Now several bloggers had made their storage look really pretty.  That's great for them!  As for me, I'm the only one in my laundry room so what's the point of buying fancy stuff!  I also saw that people were printing out fancy labels for their jars.  Well, here is what I did!  
All I needed was a blue sharpie marker that I already had in the house!  I mean, if the point of making the soap is to save money, why waste my savings on a fancy glass jar that I would drop off the shelf and shatter and all of the expensive fancy printed labels and the the ink to print it with! 

I washed my sheets first using 2 tablespoons of my new soap!!  They turned out great and smell nice too! There was no soap residue.  I would definitely recommend you try this out!  Although some bloggers recommend making your own fabric softener too by using vinegar, I just couldn't do it! I love my Downy too much! Baby steps! LOL!

Total time involved from start to finish, including clean up:  40 minutes (less if I would have used a larger food processor).

Grade: A

Skill Level:Easy

Difficulty Level:Easy

Frustration Level: Mild (Grating the soap takes time as well as clean up.  Never do this project with small children around as they will want to "help" stir and you will have all mess and no soap!)

Update Note:  I went to make more laundry detergent and found that my Zote soap was dried.  When I went to cut it, it was crumbly.  This actually worked out better than when I initially made the soap!  I was able to put half of a bar in my mini processor and it pulverized it to a complete pink powder!  Took only 5 minutes to turn 1 1/2 bars of soap into an easily mixable powder!!  You may want to open your bars and let them dry a little.  It did nothing to deter cleaning and worked the same in my HE machine as when I made this originally!