Tuesday, August 31, 2010

MYHSM: Adventures in Soap Making (finally)

Making Your Home Sing Monday . . . Er . . . Tuesday . . . 
Making your home sing Mondays


I don't know if I've ever mentioned this or not, but I ♥ The Duggar family. Never do I miss an episode of 19 Kids and Counting. One of the things that I love the most about them is their ability to take care of so many children and not lose it.  One of the ways they do this is by doing everything they can to be thrifty. They shop at resale shops and thrift stores, they use coupons, and, when they are able, they make their own household products such as cleaners and detergents.
I am a firm believer in saving money, and I love making my own cleaners (I am a sucker for baking soda and vinegar), so when I saw their recipe for making your own laundry soap, I knew I had to jump on that band wagon. 

Laundry and dish detergents are two of the biggest expenses in our family. When Jake finally got out of diapers a few weeks ago, we jumped for joy. Knowing that we will never have to buy expensive laundry detergent again made us jump even higher. 

Before I go into details, let me go into a price comparison . . . 

I use All free and clear for my laundry detergent. I buy a 32 oz bottle of it every week for around $5. In a years time, that comes out to be a grand total of $260 in laundry soap.

Now, for the ingredients for the homemade soap, I spent around $11 total for a box of Borax, a bar of Fels-Naptha, and a box of washing soda. But here's the thing. I made five gallons. There are about four of my All containers to a gallon. Let's do some math, shall we?

100-11= 89

SO I've just saved my family $89 in laundry detergent. And let's not even mention the fact that the only thing that I will have to replace in about two years is the soap bar at $1.29. 
I'd say that's a pretty good deal.

Now, you wanna know how to do it?
Alright, let's have a short lesson (it's actually really easy!)
You will need:

1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap
1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda!!!)
and 1/2 cupBorax

You will also need:
LOTS of hot water
4 cups hot water
a 5 gallon bucket with a lid (found ours at wal-mart for around 6 bucks)

Don't forget a good pan and a measuring cup:

First, you're going to want to grate your soap on a hand grater:

I used a hand grater simply because I didn't think it would work very well in my food processor.

When you're done, it will look something like this:

(My son actually thought it was cheese)

Next, you're going to boil four cups of water:

Then you're going to turn your heat to medium and gradually add the soap to the water to dissolve and melt down. It will look like this until it's dissolved:

A little lumpy, but don't worry, it WILL melt eventually (it actually took me about 20 mintues). Just keep stirring and squishing and it'll get there.

After the soap has dissolved, you're going to fill a 5 gallon bucket about half way with HOT water:

Then you're going to add the melted soap, the borax, and the washing soda and mix it thoroughly.

Then you need to fill it up the rest of the way with more hot water.
Put the lid on and allow it to sit overnight.
The next morning it will look like this:

It will be a little gelatinous and lumpy, that's okay, just stir it up really good.

NOW, if you want, you can keep some in a used detergent bottle (I use one of my old All ones), or you can just use it straight from the bucket (although you will have to stir it up every time - I prefer the detergent bottle so I can just shake it).
*NOTE It WILL NOT suds up when you use it. This is fine - it IS cleaning your clothes! It doesn't suds because there aren't the chemicals that most commercial products use in it.*

So, how did it work?
Well, quite well, actually. The fragrance is nice and not overwhelming - just fresh. In fact, when the clothes are finished, you really don't smell anything. My clothes came out clean and fresh smelling, which is nice (I have a bed-wetter in the family, and those smells are HARD to get out, this got them out nicely).
Did it work as well as All? Yes. Yes it did.

I am pleased with the results, and look forward to using this for years to come!

*Next week I will be doing a review of my home made dish soap. Keep watching for that!*

Don't forget to visit my friend Nan at MomsTheWord to learn how you can make YOUR home sing!


J. Bramlett said...

You guys still have the old Borax boxes we only have the new ones. See, another reason to do two blogs! ;-)

SuperMom Blues said...

My borax box is prettier . . . LOL!!! By the way, everyone, if you want to see Jenna's version go here:


She has an amazing family and an amazing story! Go show her some love! : )

J. Bramlett said...

Your borax box is prettier..lol! I buy Borax all the time to kill bugs and use in the wash so I had to do a double take when I saw the new one. I miss my old Borax box design, it was easier to use when you scooped out of it instead of poured.

Thanks for the shout out Jen! I linked to you, I wanted to do it sooner but I am just a big lazy bum..lol

momstheword said...

I am so excited for you! Thanks for the link to Jenna's version, I'll pop over there later.

I think I may make powdered when I do mine. I may also use Ivory soap or a castile soap (like Kirk's). I have read some things on the internet about how harsh the Borax is (it contains petroleum) or I could use Zote (it isn't as harsh).

Please let me know how it works with your whites and if they start to get dingy and you have to use Mrs. Stewarts bluing on them.

See, you're my example so that I can learn from you when I get around to doing it, haha! Can't wait for next week either!

Love ya and thanks for linking up today, girl.