Sunday, October 25, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap

This is a crossover post from one that I did at Facebook. I got a lot of interest in it, so I thought I might do it here too.

I ran across this while browsing the site. the site. One of the first books I got after getting married was  Hints from Heloise. Mom used to get Good Housekeeping and I'd pick it up sometimes to read and was captivated by Heloise. So I looked for her every month in the magazine, and when we moved back to the Atlanta area, she was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution every Sunday. So I read that one too and clipped columns...while I was in 8-10th grades. When we moved to the Houston area, my only source was GH. After we got married, I found a book. YAY! I've always loved the tips in them, and have run across some others at times...oddly enough, Erma Bombeck had some good ones (when you have to iron a kid's pants for a school play or performance, find out which leg faces the audience, then iron that one ;D) When I was working in the corporate world, there were other tricks I learned...if I had a sweater or jacket that I wore all day over a dress shirt, cuffs, collar and front placket are all that need to be ironed. Cheap shampoo works great on dirty collars and cuffs. Little things that made life a lot easier.

I've collected a number of home books over the years, from Heloise, to Annie Berthold-Bond to Debra Lynn Dadd Bond and Dadd have gone on to internet sites and other books, but I like their originals. Bond has a political agenda I don't care for, but I do still use a couple of her books for reference.

Once we started having kids, yeah, I started treating stains when they happened. As I seldom was washing them at stain time, I'd tie the sleeves or legs of the piece of clothing together and toss it in the dirty clothes. That reminded me to treat the stain again before it got tossed in the wash. I bought nothing but white socks for the boys when they were little. They just had a different colored stripe around the top and I taught them to pin them together to toss into the dirty clothes. Then they were already paired off. Folded their clothes in outfits for the drawers so they had a complete (matching--College Dude was color blind & we didn't know) outfit on. Saved us time and aggravation in the morning.

When we moved into a house in 1990, the boys started developing allergy symptoms, which they had not had before. We did some investigating and found out the house had been flooded a few years before from the creek behind it...the landlord cleaned the carpet and pocketed the insurance money. We had a cleaning business so we did the carpet also and pulled roughly 15 gallons of mud out of the carpet...they'd done a terrible job cleaning. But it was all covered up so well that we didn't know until too late. Absentee landlord, hapless agent and no real recourse at the time. (Then he was mad when we didn't want to buy the house when the lease was up!) That was when I started making my own cleaners. I didn't want to add to the boys' problems with more chemicals, couldn't find the one that I could get at Mom's in Houston and there was a limit to my stocking up when I went to visit so, I bought a few books and a few ingredients and starting making my own. Did it for years. When I went back to work outside the home, the kids started taking on more cleaning and Cabinet Man didn't really want to mess with it so, we started buying it again. Plus, by making my own cleaners, the boys could clean up part of the bathroom and I didn't worry about what they were being exposed to (or if they were wasting it)

Fast forward and I'm home again and I'm starting to get back into the groove of being a SAHM (and I like it) Sunshine is 10 and this is really the first time that I've been able to be home. Back to doing more from scratch and looking up old interests. I keep baking soda and borax around anyway for cleaning, and I already had ivory soap. And I can't find washing soda in the Wal-Mart's...maybe at the farm and ranch place...Also, I have a regular washer/dryer, not front loading (cobalt blue ones are on my Wish List) for someday, so I've not tested the detergents on them. Not even sure where to begin testing that, but as I plan to have a pair someday, I might need to start researching and looking up, especially since there seems to be a problem with mold in many front loading washers...which is odd that the new ones do, when the ones from many years ago don't)

Here's the link to the site:

Recipe #8

2 gallons Water (hot)
1 bar Soap (grated)
2 cups Baking soda

    * Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until soap is melted.
    * In a large pail, pour 2 gallons hot water. Add melted soap, stir well.
    * Then add the baking soda, stir well again.
    * Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.

I also used about 20 drops of sweet orange essential oil. Smells nice. I'll use lemon or lavender next's really faint. Maybe I'll use more too. If your soap is "fresh" it will grate into little curls, like chocolate. If it has been out a bit and dried, it is more powdery. Don't use 'beauty bars' like Dover or something like that. The oils/creams they add to it might stain.

I use recipe #8...grated Ivory soap, baking soda and borax. I have to get the melting the grated soap down really well, but even when it is 'flakey', it works well. I've gotten comments from the kids on the scent (who doesn't like Ivory?), and it seems like the clothes are softer. I don't use fabric softener or dryer sheets (did you know that it leaves a residue on the inside of your dryer--you can get it off with cloth soaked in vinegar), but even the towels seem softer. I have used vinegar on occasion as fabric softener and no, it doesn't smell like vinegar after they dry. I use powder detergent in the summer and liquid in the fall/winter/spring. I use cold water for everything but towels and the water is too cold up here most of the year to dissolve powder. Learned that one the hard way.

I've also used the powdered detergent for the dishwasher. I didn't always keep good track of stuff while I had an outside job, so I would run out when doing laundry late at night or when I just didn't feel like going out in the snow.

We've got reasonably soft water here, so I have not had the problems that other posters on the site might have. Your Mileage May Vary according to your part of the country, water hardness or softness or minerals, etc.

Maybe sometime I'll give my experiences with making my own mixed for Bisquick, brownies, spices, etc....

And a new pic of Duncan, aka, the Duncanator, Duncster, Duncmeister....he's put on a little weight and the dreadful haircut has grown out a bit.


And did you know that Laura over at Decor To Adore is having a lovely Halloween giveaway? YES! Go, now!

1 comment:

  1. you have been MIA! more than me! LOL...

    thanks so much for visiting, commenting and posting about my 300th post celebration! Good Luck. I can hardly wait to see who wins!

    blessings. Dixie


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