For the past couple of months I have been making my own cleaning products. The more you put into something the more it costs, so if I could pare my cleaning supplies down to bare essentials it ought to cost me less than buying typical cleaning products. I figured people were able to keep reasonably clean for hundreds of years before the invention of modern detergents – there must be a way to do this. So far I think I’m right! It turns out that almost everything can be made from some combination of soap or dish liquid, washing soda, borax and vinegar. As I mentioned in my previous post about shampoo bars, I can at least feel like I’m saving money!
We ran out of laundry detergent this morning. I found a bunch of homemade laundry soap recipes at Tipnut, and I’m going to go through them and see how they work. I’m using my handmade soap for these rather than buying bar soap (after all, that is the point) – but as long as it’s bar soap and not bar detergent (like Dove), it should work. For those of you who are following along at home, I’m starting with recipe #1.
So here are two gallon Ziploc bags of grated handmade soap! 100% lard soap, just because lard is cheap, and this batch was always destined to be laundry soap, so I really didn’t care about the skin-conditioning qualities.
No, I didn’t use all of this! Just 2 cups 🙂 I’ll have plenty for experimenting with other laundry soap recipes later.
My 2c of soap gets slowly melted in 1q of simmering water in a saucepan on the stove until it’s all dissolved.
The whole mess gets poured into a bucket into which I have measured 2c each of borax and washing soda (both found in the laundry products aisle of the supermarket) and mixed thoroughly until everything is dissolved. Two gallons of water are added, and I wait for the whole thing to cool down. I also added about a tablespoon of fragrance oil that I got for free somewhere, just because I don’t really like the smell of the lard soap. Not a spoiled smell in any way, just mildly unpleasant. The FO isn’t a scent I would have chosen, but it was free, and it’s better than the lard soap, so I might as well use it.
I know – not a terribly impressive photo – but that’s what it looks like now! There’s a layer of white not-foamy-anymore stuff on top that I keep mixing back in. This will definitely be one of those “shake before use” products! I’m going to wait until tomorrow before I try and put it in some other container for long term storage. Some “liquid” soaps based on bar soap melted in water can turn into a sort of gloopy almost gelatinous mass, and if this laundry soap is going to do that I don’t want it in some small mouthed vinegar jug that I can’t pour it out of!
I now have 2+ gallons of laundry soap. This should last us a good month, which I think is long enough to get a feel for how well it works on our clothes. Stay tuned, and I’ll let you know the results! Oh and just for kicks, this is the photo DH took of me while I was cooking soap 🙂