Questions about homemade laundry soap

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by JWH123, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. JWH123

    JWH123 Well-Known Member

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    I made laundry soap for the first time last night.

    The recipe I used:

    1/3 bar fels naptha soap (grated)
    3 pints water

    - cook over low heat until soap is dissolved
    - then add:
    1/2 cup washing soda
    1/2 cup borax

    - put 1 quart hot water in bucket
    - dump hot soap/soda/borax mixture into bucket
    - stir
    - add more hot water to make total of 2 gallons

    (Instructions say to use 1/2 cup of this per wash load)

    Pretty easy so far! The hardest part was finding a funnel to pour from the bucket into my used liquid laundry soap dispenser. :haha:
    I was surprised how runny it was, but the instructions said to wait 24 hours until it thickened up.
    That was last night.

    This morning (I know it wasn't 24 hours, but I'm impatient!) I try to see what comes out of the spigot of the soap jug. I eagerly hold the measuring cup under the spout, and open the valve.
    Nothing.
    It solidified into a pretty hard gel in the container! I took the container down and shook vigorously to mix it up again. I now have a gloppy mixture that mostly runs out of the spigot, but it's pretty thick and not very uniform. (The container I'm using is a 300 oz, lay down on its side with a pushbutton spigot, container I originally got filled with laundry soap at Costco.)

    Should I wait longer and see what happens? Have I ruined it by shaking up halfway through the 'curing' process? Do I need to use some other type of container (i.e. a bucket with a ladle?) How thick is this stuff when you make it?


    Also, I've read that some people use vinegar as fabric softener or to make sure everything is rinsed out of the clothes. I use a ball to dispense the fabric softener. Any issues with using this for vinegar?

    Thanks for your input!

    John
     
  2. LWMSAVON

    LWMSAVON Well-Known Member

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    The liquid stuff is supposed to look like SNOT. I hate using it because of the look, feel and thickness of it, that's why I like the powdered version.


    you'll be fine with the vinegar like that
     

  3. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Mine comes out just like yours; we joke here that it looks like albino egg drop soup. Trust me when I say that it works great anyway. I use the spigot container just to store mine, and I keep my "working bottle" in the laundry room, which is a regular plastic detergent bottle.
    You'll have the best luck with the soap if you use warm or hot water (cold rinse is fine). If you have hard water, 1/2 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle helps.
     
  4. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I make a larger amount and store it in a 5 gal bucket. When we start using a new batch we don't stir it up, it is think like lemon curd and when you scoop some out the hole doesn't fill back in at all but a little liquid separates out and sits in the hole. After a while you get alot of separated liquid and then I stir it all back in - I have no idea if I need to or not, it just feels like I should (and I am sure the kids drain it off when they do laundry).

    A nice thing about using the 5 gal bucket is that when it starts to get low you can mix up a new batch in the same container - no need to empty if first.
     
  5. Dawndra

    Dawndra I'm back

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    I've made the liquid & powder both. I think the liquid lasts longer (cause I use too much powder I think). I don't have room for a 5 gallon bucket in the way. That's how my liquid looked, too. BUT... it works wonderfully! WAY better than any boughten stuff, I think.

    I'd say go for the vinegar! I have a recipe that calls for using vinegar & baking soda. You have to mix it in a way bigger container, but it works good.
     
  6. JWH123

    JWH123 Well-Known Member

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    OK, thanks for the help. Glad to hear it's supposed to look like snot!

    I'm shy of using the dry powdered version, afraid it won't dissolve completely and somehow end up clogging the pipes / sewer.

    We're moving in a month, and maybe the water at our new place will be softer and powdered detergent won't be a problem. The new place has a cesspool, I don't know if the powder will be worse for that.

    Dawndra - vinegar plus baking soda? I have visions of 3rd grade science fair volcanoes! :eek:

    John
     
  7. LWMSAVON

    LWMSAVON Well-Known Member

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    We have a septic tank and the powder version hasn't clogged the pipes or anything.


    And it dissolves really well in the washer. You only have to use 2 TBSP per wash load.
     
  8. Dawndra

    Dawndra I'm back

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    I tried the vinegar baking soda combo once. I didn't like it as much as the cheap softener from the dollar store.

    I just got a mexican version of fabric softener. It is totally written in spanish. It's super concentrated & I only use 1/3 of what they want you to. It's going to last forever. I think it was $3 at Dollar General Store.
     
  9. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    I make whatever size funnels I need out of a quadruple thickness of tin foil. Course, I always have to laugh when a particularly large snot falls out of the bucket and hangs off the side of the funnel.
     
  10. happycat

    happycat Well-Known Member

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    I make my soap in a plastic tub and let it cool and set up in there (takes only 3-4 hours). Then I squish it up with my hands and pour it into the old laundry soap containers. Shake it up real good, and it's just smooth and free-flowing. Not snotty.

    Edited to add: My recipe is slightly different, not sure if it makes a difference with the consistency or not.

    1 small bar Ivory soap
    1/4 bar Fels Naptha soap
    grate into a saucepan, cover with water and cook, stirring, until soap is melted.
    Pour this into a tub or bucket that has been filled with hot water. Then add 1 cup washing soda and stir until dissolved. Let sit until cooled. I don't add borax to the soap mixture, but only put it into the washer when the clothes are really dirty. I have a front loading washer and use about 2 tablespoons per load.
     
  11. edjewcollins

    edjewcollins Well-Known Member

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    I make the powder and yes I'm a guy and yes some people think I'm wierd, but those same people love the soap :rolleyes: I take the Fels Naptha bar and grate it like cheese in my food processor. I then put the chopping blade on the processor and add 2 cups of the grated Fels with 1 cup of Borax and a 1/2 cup of washing soda. I would increase the soda to 1 cup for hard water. I use 1 tbsp per load unless it's heavily soiled then I use 2. I use the scooper from my kids podewed formula which is 1 tbsp. Everyone loves the stuff and I make it for us and both my wife's parents (divorced). I usually make about 10 bars of Fels worth when I make it. It cleans great and dissolves great in cold water.

    Ed
     
  12. hunter gatherer

    hunter gatherer Well-Known Member

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    John,
    I use the same laundry soap recipe and, yes, mine comes out the same way. Gloppy is the best way to describe it.

    What I do now is mix it all up in a 5 gallon bucket and then whiz it ( after it sets up) with the paint stirrer attachment of my power drill. I then transfer the mixture to empty liquid laundry detergent bottles. It will set up again as it sits in the bottles, but it seems to be much easier to loosen up up a quick shake and the resulting mixture seems to have a more uniform consistency, less gloppy.
     
  13. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    Where do you guys get "washing soda". I can't find anything called that in the stores around here (I'm in Upstate SC). Does it have another name or something??

    Which would be better for a septic system (liquid or powder)? Does anyone have the recipe for the powder??
     
  14. Dawndra

    Dawndra I'm back

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    I get "Arm & Hammer Washing Soda" at wal-mart (the evil empire). It's less than 2 dollars. It's in a yellow box.

    I use the same recipe for powder, just don't add water.
     
  15. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    I tried the local Super Walmart. They did have borax but the only Arm & Hammer item I saw looked like laundry detergent - it's called 'Fabricare' or something like that. It does *not* say 'washing soda' anywhere on the box (but it is a yellow box :) ). Could that be it??
     
  16. Dawndra

    Dawndra I'm back

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    hmmmm I don't know... I bet you could find it online pretty easy. I bet if you went to the Arm & hammer site, they might have a store locater.

    Here, I can get it at the bigger grocery stores and walmart.. Do you have a K-mart there? or a Farm store (we have farm & fleet).. they might have it, too....

    It might pay to call ahead.. you know... let your fingers do the walking & all that.. hehe
     
  17. revontulet

    revontulet Well-Known Member

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    Nope that's not it. It will say All Natural Super Washing Soda, detergant booster and household cleaner. It should be near or next to the borax. Look closely. I get mine at the supermarket.
     
  18. LWMSAVON

    LWMSAVON Well-Known Member

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    If you have a Kroger nearby, they carry the Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda for $1.99




    Here's the link to my website recipe for the powdered version I use.

    http://www.thrifty-mama.com/homemade_powdered_laundry_soap.htm
     
  19. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    Well, I went to google and did a search. Came across another discussion group where they were talking about 'washing soda' and another person (also in Upstate SC) mentioned that she had been unable to find it and had checked every store she could think of. So maybe it's just not available around here.

    I know Publix (grocery chain) will order things for people so I guess I'll talk to them and see if I can get some that way. Wish me luck!!
     
  20. southernbelle32

    southernbelle32 Well-Known Member

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    Barbara We have a publix and this is the only store I could find that carries the felsnapatha soap!! I find the washing soda at Winn Dixie and Publix!!! Hope this helps

    Sandy