Saturday, September 10, 2011

Does Homemade Laundry Soap Work???

Yes it does. Sort of.

After reading oodles of posts about how much cheaper it is to make your own laundry soap, I decided to take the plunge. The simplest formula was 2 cups of bar Laundry Soap, grated, + 1 cup of Washing Soda + 1 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax. I found the instructions on Planet Green. If you like, they also have instructions on how to make liquid laundry detergent.

I went to the hardware store for the laundry soap. There were several choices. All but one said I should scrub the dickens out of my skin if it came into prolonged contact with the soap. Soap on clothes, clothes on skin, me in hospital with giant rash. It wasn't a difficult choice.

 I'd like to introduce you to Zote. It doesn't come with any horrible warnings, and it smells like roses. And it's a pretty pink. Laundry soap should be pretty, don't you think?

Borax was easy to find, but washing soda was a different story. Apparently, washing soda is such a cheap way to clean clothes that all the laundry detergent companies have fought to keep it off the shelves. That's my conspiracy theory and I'm sticking with it. The only store brave enough to carry the product is Wal-mart. I got the Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda.

The next step is to grate the soap. I thought, "How tough could it be to grate a soft, pretty, bar that smells like roses?" It's tough. If you're not an iron worker, use the food processor with a grater attachment, like I did. Then I put on the normal blade attachment to grind up the grated pieces. I found that one bar made two cups of chips.

Mix the soap chips, soda, and Borax in one bowl. Pour it into a container and store it in your laundry room. You only need a small amount--about 2 tablespoons per full load.  Doesn't my picture show it off in all of it's pretty pinkness?

So how does it work on laundry? Great...if you are washing in warm or hot water.

I washed a load of the hubby's work clothes in cold. When I brought the basket inside to hang up, he grabbed a shirt.

"What's this?"

I averted my eyes from the light film that covered his clothes. "I don't know what you mean."

"What's wrong with my shirts?"

"Umm, don't you like the rosy scent?"

Okay. I rewashed them and won't use the soap in cold water again.

I had to buy detergent for the cool loads, but I still use the homemade laundry soap for the warm and  hot. The towels and underthings smell great, and they are nice and clean. Since most of my loads are cold, I will only save a third of the money I could have, but it's still something, right?  I could conquer that problem by making liquid laundry detergent. From what I've read, that includes a final step of mixing it all together with about 2 gallons of water (hot, I would assume). I just don't have the storage space for a large, heavy container.  

How about you? Have you tried a homemade soap? Did it bomb? Was it great?

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