Thursday, April 28, 2011

Laundry Soap and Liquid Hand Soap

So easy and saves me oodles. Last week I did the math and this soap costs less than two cents a load. I use the kitty litter bucket when I double the recipe.
2 gal. water
1/3 bar of Fels Naptha -- finely grated
1/2 c. borax
1/2 c. Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)

Bring 1 gallon of water to boil, toss in grated soap. Stir and continue boil until fels naptha is completely melted.

Take off heat and add borax and washing soda. Stir. Add 1 gallon of water. Stir. Done. If I'm storing my laundry soap in plastic milk jugs, I wait until the soap as cooled. The soap will "gel up" over night. Stir before each use. 1/4-1/2 c. per load.
This is a low suds soap so it is HE friendly!

I started making my own laundry soap not only to save money but also because I could. :)  I started to look at products that I used/consumed and asked myself, "Can I make that?" It's amazing the stuff I've learned over the past couple of years just because I asked this simple question. I also make my own liquid hand soap....I know, you can buy a big container to refill your soap dispenser for cheap at Sam's Club. I haven't done the math, but I'm guessing that my homemade soap is still cheaper. Besides, there is a bit of satisfaction in not relying on some big chain store. 

I've had to play around a bit with liquid hand soap. During my first attempts I reused a foam dispenser...Dial or something like that. This worked well until the dispenser wore out, resulting in foam puffs flying everywhere. I did buy a pump dispenser on Amazon which worked well....for awhile. The best recipe for pumps is simply Dr. Bronners Castille Soap (liquid) mixed with equal parts water.

Athome America Soap Dispenser
A friend of mine, Keri, sells Athome America and I was thrilled when I found this dispenser. It's cute and it works well.
However this dispenser doesn't work well with my castille/water combo recipe. The soap is just too's like trying to drink water out of a cupped hand and much of the soap was getting wasted as it spilled out onto the counter or sink. So, after months of hand cupping, I decided to play around a bit. I still haven't perfected the recipe but I'm on the right track. Progress, not perfection, is good enough for me.

I had some soap crumbles that were just waiting to be used. These crumbles were acquired when a friend and I made soap over Christmas break. As we cut the soap into bars, some of the soap crumbled. We had made two pans of soap that day so my crumbles have a wonderful mixed scent of sandalwood and lavender. As I was shaving the pieces so that they would melt better, I decided to give my coffee grinder a whirl. It worked perfectly! My coffee may now taste like soap though.

While I was grating the soap, I brought 1 cup of water to boil. Once the water was boiling, I added 1/3 cup of my finely grated soap. (These amounts need to be adjusted a little. My hand soap turned out a little too thick so I think next time I will use 2 cups water to 1/3 cup soap.) Once the soap melts (doesn't take long at all!), remove pan from the heat and blend. CAUTION: The hot soap will splatter. Although this is great for clean up, it's not so great on bare arms...or my bare face. Next time I will use a deeper pot. The blending will cause some foam but that's OK. I blended a bit, let the mixture rest a few minutes and blended some more. I repeated this about 5 times. I waited for the mixture to cool before pouring into my soap dispenser. The mixture will thicken but it takes a few hours to do so. If it becomes too thick, add water and blend. Mine looked good but after 24 hours it thickened a little too much. I just added a little water to my dispenser and shook vigorously. Love it! I love that my hands don't feel completely dried out after I wash them. (Has anyone ever felt so dry after washing your hands -- usually at public places - that you feel a strange desire to lick your hands? Maybe not. Anyway, I hate that!) And I love the sandalwood/lavender scent. Happy soap~making!

 *Readers, if you have a favorite soap recipe, I would love for you to share!!*

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