Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Laundry Soap!

I have gotten TONS of questions regarding my laundry soap after I recently posted a picture on Instagram.  I was making a new batch to gift at Christmas and decided to document my products and the process via pictures.  I quickly took these on my phone with the help of some cute assistants.  I will say a few things.  I adore this laundry soap.  It's my favorite.  It's also so stinkin easy that it's ridiculous.  I made this while my kids were eating supper at the table.  It only takes 10 min to make an entire batch that will last for MONTHS!  The longest part of my process was filling small jars and making the tags cute!  That took 3x as long as making the soap!  Anyway enough yammering on.....

You can alter this in numerous ways.  I use the Gain crystals.  I have used Purex in the past but for me, it is simply, I like the smell of Gain the best.  I have a friend who uses organic soap from the health food store and essential oils in place of the fabric crystals.  You can also eliminate the fabric crystals all together for a more allergy free version but it has zero smell - which to me was always weird.  Anyway the recipe is above - I keep a recipe card on hand so I can refer to it or take a picture of that to text people that ask me.  

The ingredients are:
* 2 cups baking soda - this is the only thing you will have to measure.
* 2 fabric crystal bottles - you can also buy one large one - or use less if you wish.  
* 1 regular tub or 2 small tubs of oxy clean
* 3 bars of fels naptha (some people also use zote)
* 1 box borax
* 1 box washing soda

Now to the method - 
Start by cutting up your soap like this.  My kids always comment it looks like cheese.  I slice it into pieces like this and usually give it another rough chop to get square pieces.  (side note - I have read a million methods for doing this part - I choose this because it's the easiest, quickest, and doesn't make a huge mess).

Once you have your soap cut up put it into a food processor.  This food processor is a mini size.  I have had it since SK was a tiny baby and I used it to make baby food.  I have used it numerous times to make laundry detergent with no problem.  If you hate to use your good food processor that you cook with, you could always get one at the thrift store for next to nothing.  (Also there are other methods - this is just my favorite - I apparently don't have the arm strength and endurance to grate the soap on a cheese grater.  It may also have to do with the fact that method took me forever, made a mess, and it still wasn't as fine of a powder as I thought I needed.  There was also a method involving using the microwave which gave me visions of exploading soap and trying to scrape soap residue from the microwave - no thanks).

This is IMPORTANT - add a couple scoops of the oxy clean powder in with the soap in the food processor.  The soap is sort of a waxy consistency.  When you don't have the powder the soap just clumps together and doesn't make the fine powder that we are after.  

My food processor has 2 buttons for chop and grind.  It is rough (mainly because my food processor is so small) so I have to hold the lid on.  I use both buttons because it makes the blade spin both ways. 

When you are finished if your soap looks like this STOP.  This is WRONG and you want to fix it before going on.  This is too clumpy.  You need more powder.  If you don't get the soap fine enough it doesn't totally dissolve in the wash, thus leaving you with clumps when you're done.  No bueno.  To fix this add another scoop or so of the oxy clean and go again.

This is what it should look like.  It's a very fine powder.  My food processor only holds 1 bar of soap at a time.  I used 1 bar of soap to 3 scoops of oxy clean to get this.  The measurment doesn't matter just get the powder fine.  I did 3 rounds of this until all 3 of my bars were a fine powder. 

When you are done enlist a cute helper and then pour ALL ingredients into a trash bag (or whatever).  I use the double bag method - I have found this to be easiest.  I would suggest using 2 bags.  If you happen to get a small hole in the one actually holding the powder it won't spill out everywhere on the floor.  (I may or may not have learned this the hard way).  I just twirl the top of the bag closed and fold it over and flip and shake and roll it around until it's totally combined.   I have also used a small rubbermaid container to mix but that involved stirring which I didn't like, it also made all the powder dust come up in my face which I also didn't like.  If you put it into something to mix I find it's hard to dump it back out without making a mess everywhere.  Just use the trash bag and thank me later.  You can just toss the bag when you are done.  :)

This batch I used for gifts for my kiddos teachers.  I poured them into cute jars and made fun tags and voila.  The silver scoops included are coffee scoops found at Walmart on the kitchen utensil aisle.  I ALWAYS include the scoop when I gift these.  It is also the exact scoop that I use to measure mine as well.    The recipe calls for 2Tbsp per load.  The coffee scoop is 2Tbsp.  This seems TOTALLY CRAZY I know!  Especially if you have been using the store bought kind where you use large scoops.  Trust me.  I rarely use more than 1 scoop.  If I have a particularly stinky or dirty load I MIGHT use another half scoop.  My clothes always come out clean and I haven't found this to be a problem.

This batch made the jars seen (6) and the other 1/2 of the batch is in a larger jar that I am gifting to someone else.  Because you are making a decent amount, plus you only use 2Tbsp - this will last you forever.  The last time I made some I snapped a picture and posted it so I could look back on how long it had been.  It lasted me 6 months.  That being said - there are 5 people in my family and we do A LOT of laundry....PLUS.....I gifted SEVERAL of the smaller jar sized amounts from my batch for wedding and shower gifts during that 6 months so it wasn't a true measure of how much we use.  Without getting down to the exact time it will last your family - just trust me it lasts WAY longer than the box you buy at the store and it's WAY cheaper.  

When I am not gifting these I pour my entire batch into my large jar I got at Walmart.  It holds everything.  I want to use this disclaimer to say - you make your own choice about what you use in your washing machine.  But.... I have an HE washing machine and I use this.  HE washers don't use as much water, thus requiring a low suds soap.  This detergent is virtually no suds so I haven't found it to be a problem and I haven't worried because of that.  
Happy Washing!  And let me know what you think of it!  

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