Monday, January 2, 2012

Make Laundry Soap at Home

Yesterday was my second time making laundry soap (detergent) at home.  The first time I followed the Family Homestead recipe.  Some very nice step-by-step instructions can be found here.

This time, I tried a recipe from the Hillbilly Housewife.  I thought, at first glance, that the recipe was the same as the one I had used before...but it was not.  There is baking soda in this one..keep this little tid bit of information in mind for later.

First, shred up a bar of Fels-Naptha.
 Get 4 cups of water boiling.

 Add those 4 cups of hot water into your grated soap and heat on low until completely dissolved.  FYI, the photo below is not dissolved  ;)
 Meanwhile, heat up 3 gallons of water in a large pot.  I used a milk jug to measure out the water.
 After the soap is dissolved, you will need to add 1c baking soda, 2c washing soda and 1c borax.  These can all be found at a typical grocery store (Meijer, Kroger, etc).
 Here goes the baking soda.....
 And here is what happens when you turn away from the stove for 1 minute!  I didn't remember this happening last time...baking soda will do that to you.
 Next time, I need a bigger pot!  Luckily, spilt soap is better than spilt food.
 Once the washing soda and borax are added, carefully add the 3 gallons of hot water and the soap mixture to a 5 gallon bucket.
Stir well and let sit over night.
 The next day, the soap will be gelled, a lot.  There will be big chunks as well as watery liquid.
 Mix well since you need to pour this into containers.  After seeing me struggle, the bf pulled out the drill with the paint stirrer attachment to make the mixture pourable.  I was 3/4 of the way done by then...
 Also, before the bf came to my rescue, I was using a rice bag and sour cream container to 'push' the chunky mixture into the reused detergent bottles.  Can't help but laugh at this.
He cut the bottom off of a milk jug to use as a funnel which worked well once the detergent was "chunk-free".  We store the containers in the crawl space until ready to use.  I found that using around a capful of detergent in each load works well.  We have a front loader and haven't had any issues.  I am hoping that the baking soda does not interfere with my success thus far.  Although I must say, from what I remember, the baking soda didn't seem to change the consistency of the final product.

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