Monday, September 17, 2012

Laundry Soap

If you have been here in my little blog world, you know I make our laundry soap.  I have used a couple of different recipes, but they were the same. You needed a large 5 gallon bucket, 2 days worth of time, and could not make more until the bucket was completely empty. That meant there were at least two days I couldn't wash anything.  Or at least, that is how it worked for me, as I didn't have a second bucket.

So, I came across homemade laundry soap when looking through Pinterest one day. It's been sitting in my cleaning board for quite some time.  And now that I have a new (to me) washer in our new (to us, again) home, it was time to break out the new recipe. According to The White Silk Purse, this only costs $0.017, but you will have to read all the specifics over there.

Concentrated Laundry Soap

You will need:
2 bars of Fels Naptha
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda (NOT baking soda. Two distinct things)
6 cups hot water
Essential oils

Put 6 cups of water on to heat. It will almost boil by the time you are done. While the water is heating, grate the Fels Naptha.  Add the soap to the water that is heating, and stir frequently. This part takes 10 – 15 minutes. Keep stirring until the soap is completely melted. Be careful not to let your mixture boil over!

When the soap has melted turn off the heat and add the Borax and the Washing Soda. Again, do not confuse Washing Soda with baking soda. They are NOT the same.  You can find both Borax and Washing Soda in the laundry aisle.Stir and stir and stir. You will stir for about three minutes. The powders will dissolve into the liquid. Add a few drops of essential oils to scent your soap how you would like. I had tea tree oil and peppermint on hand, so I added 5 drops of each.

Pour the liquid equally into 4 quart jars. This was almost may favorite part. I didn't have enough of my new jars, so I pulled out some old mason jars Heath's grandmother gave me. Now, add just enough water to bring the contents up to the “shoulders” of the jar. This will leave about 1 ½ inches of head space. Put lids on the jars and let them sit overnight (about 8 hours).

The soap in the jars will separate while it is standing. This is OK. There will be firm soap on top and kind of gel-like soap on the bottom. Sometimes "crystals" form at the bottom of the jar, don't worry. This actually happens pretty quickly.

This next part is really quite fun. In the morning, take one of the jars and cut up the firm soap. I just stick a knife down into the jar and cut it up like a pie. Next, pour all of this into your mixing bowl of your stand mixer. There were a few crystals that stayed in the bottom, so I just swished a tiny bit of hot water around to loosen them up and poured them in the bowl as well. 

Start on the lowest speed of your blender or mixer and increase the speed gradually. Your result will be something that looks like really thick, pale yellow whipped cream. You may need to scrape the sides down with a spatula a few times to get it all the way blended/mixed. It looks much like butter by time you are done.

Pour/spoon the now blended soap back into the quart jars. Your jars will be all the way full now and you may even have a little more for another jar. In fact, I went from having 4 quarts to having 5 quarts. Pop a lid onto the jars and your soap will keep indefinitely. It gets a little firmer in the jar when it sits, but it stays spoonable.
It is supposed to take 1 tablespoon per load. I have a coffee measure that I am not sure of the measurement. And instead of testing it out, I just put two scoops in the wash.  The clothes are clean, but do not have any smell. I may have to work on a softener, as I really like my clothes to have a scent when I pull them out of my drawer.
Have fun trying this out!