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05 May 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap

Yes, I'm a new convert to this process. I've been tossing around the idea of it for the last year...ever since I searched online for and gave the recipe to my younger sister in Oklahoma. Up until this week, I never thought that I had the time to do this. I mean, I've got THREE BOYS (four if you count Biker Boy), I bust my tail most days thinking for them AND myself, I'm trying to get my fledgling business off the ground, run errands for the family, keep up with laundry, squeeze in a rare day out with a girlfriend, and everything else that day-to-day life throws my way. MAKE laundry soap? Really? Do I need to be a special type of certifiably insane to add THIS into the mix?!?

Well...*sigh*...the decision has been made for me. Whether I'm ready or not. After searching ELEVEN stores near my house for my trusty soap this week, I have found that no one is going to carry it any more. My kids & I share the same contact allergies to a lot of different fragrances, so this soap issue is a big one for me. At first, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown - one more thing that I have to scour the web for, then pay to have shipped to my house, most likely by the case-load. Was the cost going to be worth the headache?

Then I heard it...that little niggling whisper..."Suck it up, Buttercup! It's time to make the soap yourself & save some money." I bought a box of Borax, a box of baking soda, & a 3-bar pack of Ivory soap & headed home to pull up my link & read through what I needed to do. Since we moved into this house last October, I don't have the storage space any more for the 5 gallon bucket liquid versions that some folks out in the WWW are using, so I went with the powdered form found HERE.

The first batch that I made this morning was a triple batch (3 bars of ivory soap, 1 1/2 cups of Borax, 1 1/2 cups of baking soda). From start to finish, the entire time to make this was...are you ready?...forty-five minutes. I was impressed! {Hey! Sometimes I'm easy & it doesn't take much, okay?!?}

This is my bowl of Borax, soda, and grated soap on top. {NOTE: You can shave some time off if you have a fine grater blade for your food processor. It's just soap & washes right off - won't hurt ya! Me? I don't own a food processor and I'm a bit of a tightwad, so I just used an old-fashioned "knuckle buster" to grate mine.}
Grab a spoon and start mixing...Keep stirring. It kinda starts out but doesn't stay lumpy, it actually smooths out & reminded me of pancake mix...except for the smell...that reminded me of my great-gramma's Ivory Snow she used when I was a kid.Originally, I was going to use some glass canning jars for storing it in the cabinet above the washer, then thought better of it. My two oldest boys are at that age that they're learning what I call "life skills" and, well I'll be honest with ya, not only do they have ADHD (what I lovingly refer to as "etch-a-sketch syndrome") but they're klutzes ta-boot. I could just picture it in my head...them coming in on Saturday morning to do their laundry and ME coming in five minutes later to find laundry powder and broken glass all over the floor to clean up. Sure wasn't looking forward to THAT!

As I was digging through my craft cupboard for a wooden spoon to stir my chemistry experiment, I found these little beauties (below). Not sure of their "size" but I'm thinking around 48 ounces - they look larger than my quart jars in a side-by-side comparison. The antique labels came from a stash of vintage Melissa Frances stuff that I've had waiting for just such a project. Perfect! As you can see, my "mixture" made enough to fill one jar & start a second.
I tried it in two loads of towels today & it washes just as well (maybe better!) as the Purex Free & Clear liquid soap that I've used for the last 9 years. It only takes TWO TABLESPOONS per load, so this will last me quite a while, even with all the laundry I do for a family of five.

Now to finish filling up the second small canister & then the big guy in the back (that used to hold Biker Boy's protein powder mix). I've got him trained now...he ALWAYS asks me before tossing things into the recycle bin...the man KNOWS that if I can use it in a project to save me some money, I will! {truth: he absolutely HATES watching me stand on my head, diving through the garbage bins for things I can use!} *LOL*
Here are my bonus tips for the day: {1} for whitening/brightening/stain removal, I use hydrogen peroxide. I buy these big bottles (pic below) at Wal-Mart for 98¢ & it only takes 1/2 cup for a full load of towels, socks, & seat-covers. I use the sprayer for applying peroxide directly to a stain. It will NOT harm your colors OR delicate items. (Who needs OxiClean, Woolite, & Clorox 2? Not me!) {2} for the rinse cycle as a fabric softener...1/4 cup of good, old-fashioned white vinegar. I promise, your clothes will NOT come out smelling like a Caesar salad! *LOL*
Here's the cost comparison, so if you're asking "is it worth it?," you'll know the answer is "Um......YEAH!"

Purex Free & Clear liquid (64 loads) - $5.97 ea {Wal-Mart} (I average 4-6 bottles per MONTH)

3-bar package of Ivory soap - $1 {Dollar Tree}
4 lb box of Borax - $2.89 {Wal-Mart}
2 lb box of baking soda - $1 {Wal-Mart}

EDIT: Today, I made (3) triple batches of soap (filled both small containers & half of the larger one). Total cost for 3 packs of soap, 1 box of soda, & half a box of Borax ~~ $5.45 ~~ COST SAVINGS FOR THE YEAR ~~ over $200 ~~ you can't beat that!

Now to convince Biker Boy that the money I saved making my soap NEEDS to buy refills for my COPIC markers....


Teresa Jenkins said...

Great info! Thanks for sharing... I'm with you on the savings going towards copic refills!!!!

ImaYaYa said...

Great tut Nora!! Can't wait to try it. I think I want the powder too... I can't think of the liquid and the sludgy stuff! LOL.. Off to buy the ingredients today!

Nicole *Ü* said...

I use Fels Naphtha religiously to get stains out and just got a recipe to use that to make laundry soap. You can either cook it to make liquid or mix it with the soda and Borax for a powdered version. I thought I'd try the cooking one for kicks but haven't done it yet! Glad to know it works so well. I hadn't heard of one with Ivory.

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