Friday, August 21, 2009

Making Powdered Laundry Soap

I made laundry soap this morning and decided I'd try taking pictures of my work, both for the sake of having pictures for a tutorial and for the sake of trying to hone my meager photography skills. I've posted more of the pictures here and would love any input on the photography aspect of my project in the comments.

And now, on to the laundry soap!

I realize some of you already make your own laundry soap, but I thought a tutorial would be fun and hopefully helpful.

Ingredients:
1 bar Fels Naptha (I have friends who use whatever soap is on sale, but my results increase exponentially with Fels Naptha, so anymore, I don't do subsitutes)
1 cup washing soda
1 cup Borax


Instructions
Grate the Fels Naptha. If you have a food processor, I highly recommend using it. I use the fine grater on my Cuisinart.

I then pour the grated Fels into a bowl (isn't it gorgeous?!),


put the chopping blade in the processor and replace the Fels.

Pulsing with the chopping blade for a bit takes it from this:


to this:

which I think has to be faster to dissolve.

Add the borax and washing soda and mix:


Then transfer to jar, or whatever works for you. I personally love the look of my laundry soap, so I like to keep it in a glass jar.



I made a double batch, which fits easily in a half gallon jar. It's actually a little over 5 and half cups of soap. I use about 4t per load, so I get 65+ loads out of it. I need to use less now than I did before Jonathan installed the water softener, so if you have hard water, your loads/batch may vary.

9 comments:

TAB said...

Cool! But, doesn't that leave your clothes unscented? That's one of the things I love about store-bought laundry detergent. So, how would I go about adding scent??

Laurel said...

The Fels Naptha leaves only a very light scent (though you would never guess it when you go to grate it!)... so virtually unscented, yes.

One option is to add essential oil to the soap. I grew up with very little laundry scent b/c of my sweet Mama's allergies, so I've never experimented with adding scent, and I don't have any great tips for how to do it.

Another option is to make liquid laundry soap. That makes it easy to add essential oil. Here are a couple of links for that -
http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/laundrysoap.htm
and
http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/04/09/making-your-own-laundry-detergent-a-detailed-visual-guide/

Laurie Lynn said...

That is nice looking laundry soap! The glass jars shows it so nicely!
So, if I were to make some (to save money), I'd have to invest in a food processor!? You know, one thing leads to another! But seriously, the savings are substantial!
I'm not a photographer, but I think the photography aspect of your project is great, Laurel!
Thanks for sharing!

Laurel said...

You actually don't have to have a food processor. It just speeds up the process. :-) You can grate the soap on a hand grater and chop it up some for easier break-down. Or just crumble it into smaller pieces after grating. If you open the package and leave it for a week or more, it dries out and will crumble easier.

Laurel said...

You actually don't have to have a food processor. It just speeds up the process. :-) You can grate the soap on a hand grater and chop it up some for easier break-down. Or just crumble it into smaller pieces after grating. If you open the package and leave it for a week or more, it dries out and will crumble easier.

Laurie Lynn said...

Okay. So I can't use soap making to justify the purchase of a food processor? Oh well! Thanks for the tip for drying out the soap for easier grating. I want to try it, Lord willing! I can't be sure I'll be a convert, but maybe!

Laurel said...

On the other hand (talks a little louder so Mike can hear) it's so much easier with the food processor.... ;-)
Let me know what you think if you try it. With or without processor! :-)

TAB said...

I really want to try it. I keep running into blogs of people who make their own laundry soap. We go through it soooooo fast and I am always up for a new homemaking adventure. A food processor would be nice to have. I've needed one for so many different things.

Oh! And I thought your pictures were really nice too! The natural lighting was just right. Did you try the macro mode?

Laurel said...

Tab, I've been meaning to look and see if I could tell from the details of the picture which ones I did in macro mode and which ones I didn't. I finally got around to checking tonight, and I can't tell. I'm pretty sure I used it on some of them, but wish I had noted which ones, if any, I didn't. Next time I should take notes. :-)