Friday, December 21, 2012

Laundry Soap in A Messy Life!

In our world, our budget is our primary concern, and our laundry is the biggest chore, and we don't even have kids!  But between the fur (two border collies) and my job, we need our clothes to be scrubbed clean and smellin' fresh!  And we have the added bonus of Daddykins having sensitive skin, that only tolerated Tide (so expensive!) so I dove into my limited memories of high school chemistry and remembered borax, a fine base!  Which led me to my laundry soap recipe!

You'll need:

1 bar Ivory Soap 
1 cup Borax (found in the laundry detergent isle)
1 cup Washing Soda (usually right near the Borax.. it is Arm & Hammer, but it is NOT baking  soda!)
1 old sauce pot 
1 old cheese grater 
1 large stew pot
A large bucket (I re-use the powder laundry detergent buckets from work, but any bucket will work)

The How To:

  1. Fill the stew pot mostly full with hot water (about 2 gallons) and heat it on the stove top in high until ready to use
  2. Add about 6 to 8 cups of hot water to the sauce pot, and heat it on the stove top, also on high 
  3. Grate the Ivory soap into the sauce pan, and stir occasionally until fully dissolved (water will be cloudy) 
  4. Measure out one cup Borax and one cup Washing Soda while the soap dissolves, and then add in Borax and Washing Soda 
  5. Stir constantly until mixture becomes quite thick.  It will appear to thicken the moment you add the powders, but it will thicken to a texture similar to honey when it is done.  
  6. Empty mixture into your bucket, and then add the now close to boiling hot water to the bucket. 
  7. Stir vigorously  making sure it is mixed well.  
  8. Let it set for 24 hours, and you are ready to go!  

A few points:

  • The finished product will be a mix of 'water' and solid, don't worry, it will still work! 
  • Some recipes call for for Fels Naptha Laundry Soap, using only 1/3 of the bar, but with Daddykins' sensitive skin, I kept going with a full bar of Ivory soap because I knew he did not react to it 
  • Some recipes also call for using only a 1/2 cup each of Washing Soda and Borax, but we get very dirty, but still need to be very presentable so I use a cup of each. 
  • If you would like your laundry to be more fragrant, adding less than one ounce of your favorite essential oil when you are in the final mixing step will not hurt your laundry! 
  • I use about a half cup to a cup for each load of laundry, depending on size and soil level.


Tide = about 45 to 50 cents a load 
Home Made =  
  • Bar of Ivory Soap: 50 cents
  • 1 cup Borax: about 70 cents
  • 1 cup Washing Soda: about 70 cents
 = $1.90 per bucket and at least 10 loads (more like 25 per bucket = 19 cents per load (calculating high), and 7.6 cents (calculating low)

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