homemade laundry soap recipes

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by outofmire, Jun 26, 2004.

  1. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    On a previous thread about doing laundry by hand, some of you said you use homemade laundry soaps and that they work better than commercial detergents.

    Well, I'm curious what your recipe is because I used to make my own laundry soap from a recipe I found online and it didn't work near as well as detergents.

    The recipe I used called for fels-naptha, but I couldn't find it locally so I just used Ivory. Maybe that makes the difference? I also used borax and some other kind of boxed powder (can't remember now what it was).
     
  2. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I use my own homemade soap, but it's soap that I make from scratch, starting with Red Devil lye and Olive oil.
     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I make laundry soap with lye and shortning. I save the olive oil soap for me.

    I've never mixed borax with it since I do all my laundry by hand.
     
  4. MoonShine

    MoonShine Fire On The Mountain

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    I've made a fels-naptha,borax,etc soap several times. It was okay in a pinch but wasn't all I thought it would be. Clothes didn't come very clean.
     
  5. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    Moonshine, that's the same experience I had.

    Cyngbaeld, was it you that said on a previous thread that your clothes got cleaner with your homemade soaps? And you were referring to old fashioned lye soaps, right? Can you give us more details....I have a lye soap recipe using just lard and lye. I've been meaning to try my hand at it, but wasn't quite sure if I could make it on my wood cookstove because I was still trying to get better control of the stove first. How do you use the soap for laundry...just put pieces of soap in the hot water? Sorry to ask such an elementary question, but, afterall I am in elementary school when it comes to old fashioned homesteading.
     
  6. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Shae, I have made most of my soap on a wood heating stove. I use just lard (cheap shortning) and lye when I make laundry soap. I also don't superfat it like I do the bathing soap. I do the hot process on the wood stove.

    I tried just putting the soap in the water, but get better results by rubbing the bar into the dirtier spots or if the item is really really dirty getting that whole item quite soapy and then wad it into a ball and set it aside for an hour or so, then scrub it. After soaping the wet clothes I leave them to soak at least an hour unless they aren't very dirty. For stains, if you leave it out in the sun, a lot of things like grass and milk/formula stains will come out. I have been known to leave something outside for several days until the really bad stains came out. (My mom taught me to do this.)

    Wash water from lye soap can be used on plants. Most detergents are questionable for this.

    I've had a lot of things come clean with the lye soap that I had washed before with detergent and it had not removed the dirt.

    my basic recipe.

    22 oz shortning or lard
    3 oz coconut oil
    2 oz olive oil
    4 oz red devil lye
    10 oz water (distilled or rain water)

    If you don't have coconut or olive just use 27 oz of shortning or lard

    Use a scale and measure the fats and oil. The best one is one that you can put the pot on and zero out. Then you can measure fats directly into the pot. This is preferred but not abosolutely needed. The measurements for everything except water is a weight, not a volume.
    Only use stainless steel or glass containers.
    Use a nylon spatula for stirring.

    Measure the water and pour into a container that is at least a quart in size and that you can pour from. A large pyrex measuring cup works well.

    Weigh the lye and slowly add to the water. NEVER ADD WATER TO LYE!!!!

    Mix your lye under an exhaust hood or take it outside to mix. The fumes are very bad for your health. Make sure you mix it in a heat resistant container. I sometimes put ice into the measuring cup and then pour the water in to get the 10 oz. This cuts down on the heat build up, the cubes will melt. You need to stir the water while you add the lye. Some people wear rubber or latex gloves. I don't because I can tell when I get something on bare skin but if I'm sweating inside the gloves I can get lye in there and not notice till it burns. If you splash yourself, immediately wash with soap and lots of water. Don't do this barefooted wear closed shoes.

    When the lye is mixed pour it into the fat, then turn on the heat. I don't like to pour lye water into hot fat because it might spatter. Stir the mix while the fats all melt.

    There are several methods of cooking the soap, but since I was mostly doing it over a camp stove outside or a wood stove inside during the winter, this is the method I use. Stir the soap slowly and gently so you don't incorporate too much air. The spatula is better than a spoon for keeping the soap from sticking an burning. You need to cook it slowly so it doesn't spatter too much, but it needs to stay hot, pretty close to boiling but not quite. As it cooks it will turn into a soft translucent salve. At one point, soon after you start cooking it, everything will separate and you will have curdles and you will think 'oh! I ruined it'! Just keep cooking and stirring till it is translucent. If it seems too be way too thick add boiling water about an ounce at a time until the soap is soft again.

    Pour the soap into a bulk mold. I use clear plastic shoe boxes that have lids, but the lid is not strictly needed. It will look kind of lumpy. Just spread it out with the spatula. Your pot should look pretty clean at this point if the soap cooked enough. You can start using the soap as soon as it cools, but I generally dump the mold out the next day and slice it into bars then let them dry some. I use baking racks with plastic canvas over them so the air can circulate. To make sure the soap cooked all the way to neutral I touch a little to my tongue. You shouldn't be able to taste it at all. If it bites then it just needs more fat. You can add more if you rebatch.

    Lye is made in large batches but doesn't always have the exact same strength so this can't be and exact science. But this is pretty close.

    To make a luxury bar I remelt the basic soap and add more fat. I really like castor oil and I usually add more coconut. You don't have to cook the soap when you rebatch. Just melt it slowly (a double boiler is good) and stir in the additional fat. If you want you can add herbs and essential oils at this point.

    There are lots of other recipes and I have made this one using only light olive oil and coconut to make a shampoo bar.




    Kim
     
  7. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, Kim, that's what I was after.
    About how long should it take to make the soap? And how long do you let the soap dry?
     
  8. jerneeon

    jerneeon Well-Known Member

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    I'll stick with Tide. And here's why:

    Dear Tide:
    >>>
    >>> I am writing to say what an excellent product you have. I have used
    >>> it
    >> since the beginning of my married life, when my mom told me it was the
    > best.
    >> Now that I am older and going through menopause, I find it even
    >> better! In
    >> fact, about a month ago I spilled some red wine on my new white
    >> blouse. My
    >> unfeeling and uncaring husband started to berate me about how clumsy
    >> I was
    >> and generally started to become a pain in the neck.
    >>>
    >>> One thing led to another and I ended up with a lot of his blood on my
    >> white blouse. I tried to get the stain out by using a bargain
    >> detergent,
    >> but it just wouldn't come out.
    >>>
    >>> After a quick trip to the supermarket, I purchased a bottle of Liquid
    > Tide
    >> with bleach alternative. To my surprise and satisfaction, all of the
    > stains
    >> came out! In fact, the stains came out so well that the detectives
    >> came
    > by
    >> yesterday and told me that the DNA tests on my blouse were negative.
    >>>
    >>> Then my attorney called and said that I would no longer be
    >>> considered a
    >> suspect in the disappearence of my husband. It was quite a relief!
    >>>
    >>> I thank you, once again, for having such a great product. Well,
    >>> gotta
    > go.
    >> I have to write a letter to the Hefty Bag people.
    >>>
    >>> Signed, A Relieved Menopausal Wife
     
  9. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Find out how hard or soft your water is before making your own laundry soap.

    Detergents work MUCH better in hard water, with less rinsing. If you're worried about the environment, there are several good products on the market (though you may have to go to Trader Joe's or a health food store, or order online). If you invest in the new water/energy efficient washers, you use very little detergent, and still get decent-looking clothes. If everyone had more efficient washers, and used less soap, you could still use the normal detergents out there and not ruin the environment.
     
  10. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    TIDE IS HORRIBLE!!!!!! DON'T GET WITHIN 10 MILES OF ME IF YOU ARE WEARING IT!!!!!!!

    Excuse the yelling. I am very chemically sensitive and Tide is one of the very worst offenders.


    Shea, It takes maybe 3 hrs to make a batch of soap your first time. You can double or triple batch it if you are using a lot. It only takes a little longer than a single batch. If you need less soap than that just make some friends and share! You can use it the next day without drying it. The drying just makes it harder and it seems to keep a little better if you let some of the moisture evaporate. If your water is hard, you can use some soda to soften it.
     
  11. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I can't wait to try it.