Friday, February 10, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap Update

In January 2010, I wrote about making and using homemade laundry soap. Today, after two years, I am still making my own laundry soap, and find that it does a great job in cleaning my clothes. In fact, today, I made a new batch.

There is difference, though. I no longer make liquid laundry soap. Instead, I make powder laundry soap. After using the powder for about a year, now, I think it cleans better than the liquid did, and the clothes smell fresher, too. And it is much, much easier to to use than the liquid was. So, here is my new laundry soap recipe:

Powdered Laundry Soap
3 cups 20 Mule Team Boron
3 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (buy in the laundry section)
2 bars of Ivory soap
Boron and baking soda are very fine and can adversely affect breathing, so this needs to be mixed carefully. If you are asthmatic, I recommend wearing a breathing mask during this process.

Carefully pour the boron and soda into a 3/4 gallon or gallon plastic container.

In a separate bowl, shred the soap into small flakes. I used to use a food processor for this, but find I get a finer shred scraping the soap with the edge of a paring knife. Power the shreds as much as possible by running your fingers through the soap. Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle to powder the soap. It is not necessary to get it as finely powdered as the boron and soda, but it should be fine enough that it quickly melts in water.

Add the soap to the mixture in the plastic jar, screw the lid on tight, and shake until well mixed.

If desired, you can replace some or all of the Ivory with a fragranced soap like Yardley's Honey and Rose or Lavender. Just be sure you use about 6 ounces of soap total with the recipe above. I really like using the Yardley's Lavendar soap bar. My laundry smells nice and fresh when it comes out of the dryer.

Some people use Fels-Naptha bar laundry soap for similar recipes. I tried it, but it made my clothes smell like moth balls, so I haven't used it again. If you can't find Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, you can substitute baking soda. However, you will need to use 4 cups instead of 3.

As with all powdered soaps, you should occasionally clean your washing machine by running it empty with two cups of white vinegar in the water.

For best results:
Use 2 tablespooon per average wash, unless clothes are extremely dirty. Add to washer as machine fills with water.

If you desire to use a fabric softener, add 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse water. The vinegar smell rinses away. Clothes will smell fresh and cottons will be soft.

Using 2 tablespoon2 for each wash, this recipe lasts for two to three months for the two of us. And there is enough of the boron and soda to make the laundry soap at least twice more, so the buying ingredients gives you enough soap for up to nine months if you buy six bars of Ivory or Yardley's soap.

If you can't find washing soda and boron in your grocery, you can get them below:

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