Wednesday, December 28, 2011

DIY Laundry Soap

So i've recently stumbled upon the amazing website that is Pinterest. Love love LOVE it! I could spend many time sucking hours on it browsing for different things, anything from recipes to canning to crafts and home made cleaners. I've always been one for saving a dollar and recently it's come across my table to make laundry soap and dishwasher soap. I will soon be trying a liquid hand soap recipe as well.

After many hours of searching and reading and finding many recipes all with the same basic components borax and washing soda I finally landed on a recipe that I found at The White Silk Purse. She shares a fantastic laundry soap recipe that is more of a paste than a liquid which really piqued my interest. Not to mention the fact that this "paste" can be used as a stain pre-treater, I used a toothbrush and a bit of water to rub it into the stain and then wash as normal. The reason why I was more interested in this recipe over the others is because of the fact that i'm not mixing a large amount of liquid in a 5 gallon bucket only to probably spill it and make a mess when transferring it to another container. And you are only using 1 tablespoon per load of laundry. Not to mention I was able to put it into wide mouth pint canning jars (something I always have on hand) without a funnel. I was able to ladle each jar full with little issue and had to only wipe small amounts from the outside of the jar.

Now I wish I had taken photos of each step of the process to share but really didn't think about it, I was far to excited to get started! Now it's time to gather your ingredients and supplies :) I used one small stainless steel stock pot to boil my soap in, make sure that you use a large enough pot so that there isn't any splashing. Here we go!

1 small soup/stock pot
1 stirring spoon
1 cheese grater or food processor with grating blade
1 cup measuring cup
4 quart canning jars (I used 6 wide mouth pint jars)
2 bars Fels Naptha
2 cups 20 Mule Team Borax
2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
6 cups of hot water (+ more water as needed)
Figured it might be easy to show photos if you're unfamiliar with these items

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. I cut the bars in half the long way and run them through my food processor with the grater attachment, but it could be grated by hand. 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. Don’t let this boil or you’ll have soap all over the place. (Don’t ask!)

When the soap has melted turn off the heat and add the Borax and the Washing Soda. (Do not confuse Washing Soda with baking soda. They are NOT the same. Washing Soda is in the laundry aisle.) Stir and stir and stir. You will stir for about three minutes. The powders will dissolve into the liquid.

Pour the liquid equally into 4 quart jars. Now, add just enough water to bring the contents up to the “shoulders” of the jar. This will leave about 1 ½ inches of headspace. 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.

Take one of the jars and cut up the firm soap. I just stick a knife down into the jar and cut kitchen aid. Now, because I am frugal I pour about 3 tablespoons of water into the quart jar and swish it around to get all the rest of the soap out. If there are crystals, I use HOT water and stir a bit. I add this to the mixer too.

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's like creaming the butter, sugar and eggs when you make cookies. (I can blend/mix two jars at a time in my mixer bowl.)

Pour/spoon the now blended soap back into the quart jar(s). Your jar(s) will be all the way full now and you may even have a little more for another jar. Pop a lid onto the jar(s) and your soap will keep indefinitely. It gets a little firmer in the jar when it sits, but it stays spoonable.

These are how my jars look in the cooling stage. I ended up with 5 1/2 wide mouth pint canning jars at this point. that may change tomorrow when I re-blend and add a bit more water. A few have separation happening but that's nothing to worry about as i'll be blending them all tomorrow :) Can't wait to give this stuff a try!
In the cooling state

I got all of my supplies at walmart, The box of borax was $3.38, the A&H Washing Soda was $3.24, fels naptha bars $0.97/ea, and the case of 12 wide mouth pint jars was $9.24 total cost was $17.80 +tax. Also keep in mind that you will be re-using your pint jars each time so the total cost will go down, not to mention you get more borax and washing soda than you need for one batch so the 2nd batch will be much cheaper than the first. I used some of my leftover borax and washing soda to make dishwasher detergent which I will also post about. Prices of course will vary between stores and area, i'm in Las Vegas so of course everything is a tad more expensive than it may be elsewhere. Hope you enjoy your homemade laundry soap!

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