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Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Lately I've been making my own soap. Laundry detergent, fabric softener, dishwashing gel, dishwasher detergent, and body wash. It all started when a friend of mine told me about a recipe for laundry detergent online and I decided to try it out since all that stuff is getting so expensive. I did a google search for homemade laundry soap and found a great wesite called tipnut and she has 10 recipes for laundry soap. The first one I tried was recipe #4. I found Fels Naptha Soap and Borax at my local grocery store in the laundry aisle, but had to get Washing Soda at Kroger. It worked really well and was very easy. I grated the bar of soap in my coffee grinder since I don't have a food processor. I figured up the price per load of laundry was about 10 cents. Compared to what I was paying for soap, that wasn't saving me any money. So, when that was gone, I tried recipe #1 using 2 bars of Ivory Soap. You can get the big pack at Wal Mart for a little over $4, and it works out to about 40 cents a bar. It made 3 gallons, and I figured the cost to be less than 2 cents a load. Quite a substantial savings. I was pretty easy to make, too. I mixed it up in a 5 gallon bucket, and then put it in some empty detergent bottles I had saved for my husband. He likes them when he changes the oil in the cars.

So, that led to me thinking "What else can I make?" Dishwasher Detergent!! I already have all the ingredients anyway! Here's the recipe I like best for the dishwasher: 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Baking Soda or Washing Soda, 1/4 cup salt, and 1/4 cup Lemi-Shine (you can find at Wal Mart with the dish soap). Use 1 tablespoon per load. It fizzes when it gets wet, because of the citric acid in the Lemi-Shine.

Well, today I ran out of body wash, and I had bought the 10 pack of Ivory for my laundry soap, so I grated up the Ivory and melted it in a pot of boiling water. I found a recipe that said to combine the melted Ivory with 1/2 gallon of water. It is really runny at first, but as it cools, it thickens up just like real body wash. So, for about 40 cents for the bar of Ivory Soap, I have 1/2 gallon of Body Wash! I just refilled all the empty or 1/2 empty bottles in the showers.
Edit: The body wash didn't turn out so well. It thickened up too much so it wouldn't squeeze out of the bottle, so I reheated it and added more water, but it still got too thick. I'm going to do some more research and see what went wrong and get back to you. Everything else had turned out wonderfully, though!

Yesterday I had to go to the grocery store, and I saw Colgate All-Purpose Soap. It was by the dish soap. On the back of the wrapper it says, "For removing hard to get out spots from the family wash, and makes dishwashing quick and easy... because it dissolves grease fast. You'll like it, also, to help you keep your stove, cabinets and woodwork sparkling clean." I thought that sounded interesting, so I got the bar for about 60 cents. I did a search for liquid dish soap and this is the one I came up with. I halved the recipe since I only had one bar. In place of the lemon juice, I used the Lemi-Shine from the dishwasher version. It was neat, because the citric acid in the Lemi-Shine causes the mix to foam and expand when it gets wet. The kids thought that part was pretty neat. I washed a load of dishes by hand just to test it out, and they were clean, no greasy feeling, and it made alot of soap! The only thing is that it doesn't make suds, but then again, neither does the laundry soap. That was the hardest part to get past. But I wiped the countertops and cleaned the kitchen like normal with it, and everything was spic n span. So much cheaper than even the cheap dish soap.

So here you have my novel on making soap. I think it's fun to do, and I'm saving money in the process. Let me know if you try any of this stuff out, and what you think about it!


Sara Mattson-Blume said...

Wow! That's cool! Thanks for sharing...

June said...

Amazing - I would have never thought to try this, but you are right about how expensive everything is getting, especially when you have a large family and doing laundry and cleaning every darn day! LOL. Thanks for sharing these tips!