Monday, April 7, 2008

...for making liquid laundry soap!

Last year, or was it two years ago??...we started making our own laundry soap. It's quite easy, and, I truly believe economical. I'll have one of the older kids do a cost-analysis on that, but for are step-by-step instructions on making your own laundry soap!

Step 1:Gather your ingredients and supplies.

You will need 3 pints + 1 quart water for the initial step. Fels Naphtha Soap, Borax, and Washing Soda. You will also need a bucket large enough to hold 2 gallons of water, a wooden spoon, 1/2 cup Measuring Cup, and a grater. (We use a hand grater that is typically used for grating hard cheese and/or chocolate). When the soap is ready, you'll need two 1-gallon jugs and a funnel. Optional ingredients are Grapeseed Extract and any essential oils you may like.

Step 2: Put two pans of water on the stove. Put 3 pints of water in one pan, and 1 quart water in the other pan. You want the water in both pans to be very warm - too hot to touch - but not boiling.

Grate 1/3 bar of soap into the pan with 3 pints water.

Stir until all the soap dissolves.

Step 3: Add 1/2 cup Borax and 1/2 cup Washing Soda to the dissolved soap mixture.

Stir this until the Borax and Soda are combined.

Step 4: Pour this mixture into your bucket.

...and then pour in your 1 quart hot water.

Stir a couple of times and then...

Step 5: Add cold water until you have 2 gallons in the bucket.

As you can see, we marked off a '2-gallon line' on our bucket.

Step 6: Stir every 15 minutes until the mixture thickens. This step is very important. If you don't stir, you'll get big clumps of stuff. Every one in the family takes part in this step. If you happen to be in the kitchen when the timer goes off, you get to stir and re-start the timer. After about 2 hours, or so, I decrease the time to every 10 minutes. Continue in this fashion until the soap cools. After the soap has cooled, you can add your GSE and/or essential oils, if you'd like.

Step 7: Pour into gallon jugs and then get to washing!

We had some gung-ho stirrers this time...notice the bubbles on top

This was a good clumps whatsoever, notice the nice stream!

Two Gallons, 64 loads, $1.00...Excellent!

* Use 1/2 cup per full load. That's 64 loads of laundry...or a little less if you have a front loader.

Thank you to Headmistress, Zookeeper for the cost analysis she has on her site. She estimated it costs about .50 to make each batch (including the cost of the ingredients, the water, and heating the water). So, that's 64 loads of laundry for 50 cents!! On her site, she mentions 80 loads of laundry..but I'm not sure where she gets that number. If I'm doing my math right, there are 16 cups in a gallon. So, one gallon is 32 loads of laundry x 2 and you get 64. Maybe she'll post again *smile*. So, using the $0.50/batch you come up with $0.008 cents per load of laundry. Can't beat that can you?? I'll get our cost analysis for our area soon!

Okay, we did our cost analysis. Our ingredients are bit more expensive in our no stoplight town, but still very, very inexpensive. The Fels soap is $1.55, the Washing Soda is $2.49, and the Borax is $4.05. This breaks down to $0.92/batch. I figure if you add another $.08 for the water and heating it, that brings it to $1.00/64 loads of laundry and $0.016/load of laundry. Still a pretty good deal!


Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Good tutorial. I've linked. We did a cost analysis a couple years ago on our laundry soap.
see here.

Safe Thus Far said...

And I was proud of myself for figuring out how to buy laundry detergent from Amazon! Maybe I'll have to rethink things.

Jennifer Bogart said...

Great tutorial! I posted a linky on my blog to you ;). So inspiring!

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

We have a front-loader, so use less soap, hence the 80 loads. In fact, sometimes we use about 1/4 cup, giving us approximately 120 loads.

Prices have probably gone up for us, too- we did our cost analysis a couple years ago.

KeepItSimple said...

Thanks for the clarification, headmistress, zookeeper!!! I thought I was going to pull out the flash cards - confession - I did do the math several times, and even double checked the number of cups I THOUGHT were in a gallon *smile*.