Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A sweet smelling fragrance

Last night I actually made my second batch of laundry soap. I concocted the first batch at my daughter's house in Florida, after everyone had gone to bed. After all, there's no sense trying to do it with several curious little helpers!

I can just imagine my conversation with my grand children:

Eve: "What are you making Grammy?"
Me: "Laundry soap."
Eve: "Can I help?"
Jack: I want to help too. Ew! It smells and feels like slime."
Me: "Jack, Get your hands out of the slime!"
Eve: "Mommy! Jack got yellow slime all over me."

Anyway, you get the idea.

So there I was at 11:30 PM, wishing I had a clothespin to put on my nose because the smell of the melting soap seemed over-powering at times. The bar of Fels Naptha soap had to be grated and then melted/dissolved in a pot on the stove over medium to low heat while stirring constantly. That process took about a half hour and by the time I was done, my arthritic feet and knees really were protesting.

Hm, there had to be a better way!

Last night when I started making my own batch here at my house, I decided to try the crock pot which took a lot of drudgery out of the process. So here's my adapted recipe.

Grate 1 bar of Fels Naptha bar soap into the crock pot. Add 4 cups of hot water, cover and turn crock on high. Stir occasionally until all soap is melted/dissolved. This will take an hour to an hour and a half but is soooooooo easy! And since it's covered, there wasn't a lot of the soapy smell through the house.

Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot water and add 1 cup Washing Soda and 1/2 cup Borax. Stir until powders are dissolved and then add the melted soap. Fill the bucket the rest of the way with hot water and stir thoroughly with a long wooden paint stick or long handled spoon (Plastic preferred). Cover and let stand overnight.

In the morning, stir again. Mixture will be thick and jelly-like. Pour into plastic storage containers using a ratio of half soap mixture and half water. The five gallon bucket of concentrated soap will make 10 gallons of ready to use detergent. That's about 180 loads for top loading machines and 640 loads for front loaders. Shake the containers each time before use.

To use your homemade detergent, add 5/8 to 1 cup of the liquid soap to a top loading machine -OR - 1/4 cup of the liquid to a front loader.

Optional - you can add 5-10 drops of any fragrance essential oil to each plastic gallon container of the mix for a fresh laundry scent (we're so spoiled by the perfumy pre-made brands). I like lavender essential oil for sheets and fresh linen for most other loads.

I haven't tried mine yet, but my daughter likes the way hers works and it only costs about 3 cents per load to make.