Monday, January 2, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap.

Sometimes I make my own laundry soap.  I know that’s pretty big out in blogland, and a lot of my fellow stay at home moms do it.  I don’t do it because it’s a lot cheaper.  I can usually find a deal on detergent that makes the cost just a few dollars per month.  Also, I use OxiClean like an addict.

That stuff makes me go all June Cleaver, but it ain't cheap.

Oh, back to the homemade stuff.  I don’t do it because I am an all natural girl who doesn’t like to have harsh chemicals in my house.  I love me some highly toxic rust remover, and I’ve been known to use enough ammonia on my kitchen tile to cause a headache (my head, not the kids.  i’m not a monster.)

No, I do it because I hate to run out of things.  Running out means I have to remember to put it on the list, then I have to remember to take the list to the store, then I have to remember to look at the list in the store.  Too much pressure.  Also, I don’t have a laundry room.  My washer and dryer are in one of the bathrooms.  That makes me feel very sorry for myself, by the way.  (i'll pause while you feel sorry for me, too.  done?  ok, let's move on.)  It also means I don’t have room to store giant jugs of laundry detergent.  By making it with little water added I can store months and months worth on a small section of shelf.  I don’t do the big 5 gallon Duggar liquid type.
(no Duggar bashing will be permitted in the comments.  thank you.)

I use a combination of dry ingredients that I scoop, and a gel I make and keep in a squirt bottle.  A word about the gel.  Don’t do this if you have a weak stomach.  It looks alarmingly like the results of a head cold.  You have been warned.  For the dry mix I do equal parts of washing soda and borax.

Sometimes I put it in this cute vintage jar, since in my mind I’ve turned my laundry room/bathroom into a cute, kitschy 1950’s laundromat.  Sometimes I just leave the scoop in the boxes and do it like some sort of lazy slacker with no sense of style.

For the gel I shred half a bar of  soap with my food processor.  No, I don’t think that means that I can never use that food processor for food again.  In fact, that’s probably the cleanest my processor gets throughout the year.  I usually use a laundry bar, like Fels-Naptha or Zote or Octagon, but sometimes I just use a bar of Ivory.  After I shred it I put it in a saucepan with about 3 cups of water (i totally guessed at that amount.  i fill my “medium” saucepan with water.  that’s all i know.)  I sloooooowly heat the water, stirring occasionally, until the soap is melted.  Then I let it cool.  At that point it will be a firm, gelatinous blob, maintaining the shape of the pan when you lift it and scream, “KIDS!  COME LOOK AT THIS FREAKY THING I MADE OUT OF SOAP!”  I use my pastry cutter to chop, chop, chop it in the pan, and it becomes a gel (see food processor note above about using the pastry cutter on pastry again).

My smarty pants husband surmises that if I would stir the cooling concoction occasionally, I would achieve gel that way.  Probably.  If I ever remember to do that I’ll report on my success or failure.  Then I pour the gel into a squeeze bottle.  I add a squeeze to each load, and I also use this gel as a pre-treater.  I’m not sure how well it works compared to things like Shout or Spray and Wash, because I never use those.  Any stain that remains is subject to a soak in OxiClean, and if that doesn’t work it becomes “play clothes”.  Or the shirt Bekah wears out in public and I exclaim, “Oh Bekah, did you get something on your shirt on the way to Walmart?  When we get home I’ll pre-treat it with Shout and get it clean.”

So there it is.  My laundry soap tale.  Maybe someday I’ll write about my dream house, which has no closets, but has a huge laundry room with shelves and hanging rods and a deep sink and an ironing nook.  Someday.

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