Sunday, July 25, 2010

Soap Opera

When I was a little girl, my grandmother lived across the street from us, on what had been the family farm.  Not a farm for profit, a farm that provided food for the family.  I loved running around on the property, and playing in the old barn, and I always told my gram that someday, I was going to live on the farm, and raise chickens and pigs, and make my own soap.

Well, I do not live on the farm.  My parents actually inherited the property, and have been working hard to make improvements to the house and yard.  It does not even look like a farm at all anymore, except the old barn still stands.  And there are no chickens and pigs, either at their house or mine.  But the one thing I made good on was the soap.  I have made my own soap.  Specifically, laundry soap.

Nothing revolutionary here, people have been doing this for a while.  I am pretty sure the whole idea was made very popular by the Duggar family.  It really can save money, and the soap does clean your clothes beautifully.  You can make either liquid or powder.  I choose to make powder, because I find it easier to both make and use. 

I was able to find all the ingredients at a local grocery store.  The cost was about 7 dollars, and two of the ingredients have enough to make 5-6 batches of laundry soap.

You start off with a bar of Fels Natha  soap.

You unwrap it, and, using a cheese grater, you crate the bar.  Since I am making powdered soap, I simply grate it right into the Glad container that I will be storing the soap in.  Grate the entire bar, so that it is in very fine shavings.

Next, you need 1 cup of washing soda.  I use Arm and Hammer.  Please make sure you use washing soda, and NOT baking soda.  They are different chemically, and the washing soda is necessary to insure the powder is able to get out stains.
After I measure 1 cup of washing soda, I dump it into the container, on top of the grated soap.
Finally, we are ready to add the final ingredient- Borax.
Once again, 1 cup or Borax is measured out, and you dump into the container with the other ingredients.

Now, you place the lid securely on the container, and shake it up to mix.  I also used a measuring spoon to mix up the ingredients, to make sure it is fully blended.
Now, we are ready to use it!

For large or heavily spoiled loads, you will want to use 2 tablespoons, but for small or normally soiled loads, 1 tablespoon is enough. 
Add to your empty washer, then start the washer so that it fills with water.  As the water fills the washer, add your clothes.  Then you are done!

This is probably enough powder to do 40 loads of laundry, no joke.  The first time I made laundry soap was in November.  We just ran out last week.  And our clothes are always clean and fresh.  I think someone once calculated that each load costs something like 4 cents by using this home made laundry soap.  Not sure if that is accurate, but I do know that this is even cheaper than buying soap in bulk at Sam's Club.

If any of you have other recipes for soap, or have made other things like this that save money, let me know.  I love learning about these kinds of things!