Saturday, July 18, 2009

Laundry Soap 101

Overall, I am very pleased with my homemade laundry detergent! The process is way easier than baking bread, or sewing a pillow, or many other "homemade" things I have tried. I am NOT someone to do things the hard way...I mean, I buy bottled water and boxed cereal, so believe me, if this was too difficult I would NOT be saying I would ever do it again! But, it was TOTALLY easy and COMPLETELY worth it! I get my own detergent which only has ingredients that I put in there and it does its job well, so I have no complaints whatsoever! It seems that the "less" stuff a product has in it, the more expensive it is at the grocery this is truly a value!!!!

Here are the supplies I purchased for my soap making adventure. (Yes, Bethany, I purchased a bucket...they looked so shiny and pretty and clean!) I also purchased a box grater because believe it or not I didn't have one already! I had a flat grater that was always annoying to me to use because you had to hold it up and it was always slipping, so I don't really consider the grater a purchase just for the soap...I really needed it anyway. Other than that I got Borax, Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, a big box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda, and a 10 pack of Ivory.

My recipe:
1 bar of Ivory Soap, grated
1/2 Cup Borax
1/2 Cup Washing Soda (changing it to 1 full cup next time)
1/2 Cup Baking Soda
3 gallons of hot tap water
4 cups of simmering/boiling-ish water

I poured 2 gallons of hot water into a large stock pot and put on the stove on low/med low to keep it hottish. Then I filled my gallon jug once more and left it in the sink until time to use. This way I had all my bulk water ready when the time came.
Then, I heated the 4 cups of water to simmering state on the stove and then slowly added the grated Ivory soap and heated, stirred, heated, stirred, heated, stirred...until it was all dissolved.

You can see my clock on the stove in the background. I started heating the water about 6:40 and at 7:00 all the soap was dissolved and ready to pour. All the photos I saw had the water looking "dirtier" than mine with the soap mixed in, but mine was pretty clear.

Then, I poured all my prepared hot water (3 gallons) into the big 5 gallon bucket. I added the soap mixture from the stove, the Borax, Washing Soda, and Baking Soda. Most of the recipes I have read do not call for Baking Soda but I decided to add it because some of the recipes I read said that adding baking soda helps it to clean better and deodorize clothes more. Since I was not adding scented oils or anything for fragrance (you can do that, it is optional but we prefer no scents for skin sensitivity) I decided I could use the baking soda!
Anyway, you stir all that really well until it is all dissolved, slap on the lid, and you are done.

It took me about 40 minutes from the time I started getting my pots and ingredients out until the time I was totally finished. I can't believe how easy it was!!!!

I let mine sit overnight but I have heard you can use it right away if you need to. After it sits for a while it firms up some. I took an unbent wire hanger to stir mine before I scoop it out each time. It just hangs over the edge of the bucket with the lid on. I used 1 cup in my load I washed with it yesterday. It worked great! My clothes smell nice and clean and they feel fresh, no residue or anything.

I was told that you should wash an empty load first because it will clean out your washing machine really well and that could cause that first load to get yucky. I did do that.

I think the next time I make it I will use a full cup of washing soda in addition to the baking soda. Apparently the washing soda is what makes it lather up and I did noticed my load wasn't "bubbly" while in there, even though it worked fine, I just like for my soap to bubble, don't you? ha ha!

Aside from the bucket and grater, my supplies total cost about $12, which is enough to make at least 10 batches and it will make 12 batches if I just buy two more bars of Ivory. So, it cost me about $1.10 for my batch of detergent which I read that amount would be 52 cups of detergent, or 52 loads! That is over a month's worth of soap if I do a load per day! Talk about SAVINGS! 52 loads for about $1!!!!!!

I originally got my info from this website which does a break down of the cost and a washing test comparison! It is pretty interesting info.

I also got inspired by another friend's post about making laundry soap HERE.


Karen said...

Great "how-to" should do a video sometime....

Andy's Bethy said...

I meant to call you yesterday and ask how it went, but got distracted by Godfrey.
I am so glad to hear it turned out good. I will have to try it soon. Good good stuff!!! As soon as I find out if ivory is safe for uniforms, I will be giving it a whirl.

Marcy said...

I can't wait to hear how your clothes come out after you use it. I want to know how it smells!

Marcy said...

Okay, I admit I hadn't read your whole post before I commented, but just skimmed through. You already answered my question! Sorry!

Crystal Espy said...

Thx so much Carrie going to try it this weekend..will let you know how it goes :)