Wild Moon Cottage is a small working homestead in the pristine Ozark Mountains. We have dairy goats, poultry, organic herb and vegetable gardens, a start of a tiny fruit orchard, several black walnut trees, wild berries and fields of wildcrafting goodness. We raise our own milk, our own eggs, much of our own medicine and food. I do laundry by hand, make my own vinegar, candles, soap, bread, cheese ........ For a living I am an artist and herbalist. My goal for myself and our homestead is to be as self sufficient and self sustaining as possible.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap Day

There are tons of recipes around for homemade laundry soap and I doubt this one differs much, if at all, from all the others, but I decided to post about it anyway because this was laundry soap making day.

Now I've seen similar recipes listed as "natural laundry soap" but it's actually not. It is more natural with less additives and other caca but it's not completely natural it's just simple, homemade, basic, without waste laundry soap :)

The last time I made laundry soap was actually last summer. I make a quadruple batch which lasts me about a year. Just add everything times 4 or whatever your needs are.

I make dry powder because it's much easier for me to store but you can make the same recipe into liquid soap by adding about a gallon of very hot water to the basic recipe, store well in a container with tight lid. it will have to be remixed each time you use it but you can keep an old long handled wooden spoon handy. If it does dry out just add more warm water. Use 1/8 to 1/2 cup, added to wash before laundry.

Dry Laundry Soap

2 c. finely grated hard soap bar (castile type)
1 c. washing soda
1 c. borax
1 c. baking soda (optional)
a few drops of essential oil (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and store in an air tight container. I use a small frosting bucket from the local bakery with a good lid. be sure and label it. Use 1 to 2 Tablespoons per load and add before clothing.

************ If you find it irritates your skin then you're probably using to much. Also adding the baking soda and using Ivory for the bar soap makes a huge difference. Also, rinsing with vinegar cleans all harsh chemical away.

*** Castile type hard bar soap comes from several makers, Fels Naptha is popular, cleans well and smell very good but is harsher than Ivory or Zote. Zote soap comes from Mexico and can usually be found in Mexican grocery stores. I've read that it's often requested by military folk because it keeps the sand fleas off. Ivory is the easiest to find and the gentlest.

*** Washing soda is just that, basic old fashion washing soda. The only kind I've seen in many years is Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. While I add baking soda as well it cannot replace the washing soda. Don't rely on calling your markets and asking if they have it because most people have no idea what it is or where to look. It's usually located in the laundry section with the powder bleaches.

*** Borax was pretty hard to find for a while around here but the Walmarts have started carrying it again. 20 Mule Team Borax can usually be found on the laundry isle near the laundry additives and dry bleaches.

*** Baking soda is optional but helps remove chemical residue and soften fabrics. It also helps clean your washing machine and hoses of built up gunk.

*** Essential oil is also optional and if used for fragrance it should be added to the rinse or it will likely be lost anyway. However, essential oils can do more than just scent your laundry. Tea Tree oil is an excellent disinfectant. Lavender also disinfects tho to a much milder degree.

*** Thank you Granny Sue for reminding me to add this very important part !

I wash only in cold water and when I first started making this soap the grated bar soap didn't always dissolve so I now use my soap blender to powder it all very fine. I grate the Ivory, mix it all up and put about 2 cups at a time in my soap blender (a glass blender I use only for soap making) and run it about 30 seconds to powder it and mix it all well. I've had no trouble at all with it dissolving in cold water :)

Now to make it that fine without electricity, which many of us are striving for, I can only think to grate it very small and then maybe use a flour sifter. I haven't tried this yet but I intend to :)

Fabric Softener

1/4 to 1/2 c. Apple Cider Vinegar (or white vinegar)
A few drops of essential oil (optional)

Can be added to a downy ball or add to rinse water.

*** Many people worry about using ACV because of the smell but I promise the smell dissipates in the rinse leaving your clothes smelling clean and fresh. I almost never add essential oils, I prefer the smell of sunshine and wind, but sometimes I do add a drop of Amber or Patchouli just because :)


Granny Sue said...

Can you use the homemade laundry soap in cold water, Gypsy, or does it work better in hot water?

I remember when you could buy Ivory Soap Flakes in the store in boxes, just like detergent. I used it for years until I could no longer find it.

Juli said...

Thank you for the reminder ! I meant to add that part.

It workes perfectly in cold water, which is good because that's all I use :) the key tho is to be sure the bar soap is as fine as you can get it. I added that part to the post.

fly tie said...

although i've never done it, i've always wanted to make my own laundry soap. thanks for sharing!

Kelli said...

Awesome recipes! I love them. Thank you for posting this!!!!

Wild Things said...

I really enjoy your blog. I would love to live closer to you. I am so very thankful for blogs so I can get to know people from all over!

Rick Brentlinger said...

I make my own laundry powder, using Colgate Octogon Bar soap. One bar grated, makes about two cups.

I add two cups of Borax and two cups of washing powder BUT, instead of buying Arm and Hammer Washing powder, I buy sodium carbonate from the swimming pool supply store.

It is chemically the same although the stuff from the pool supply store is manufactured a bit differently so its "dryer" or contains less moisture than A & H Washing Powder. Basically what that means is you can use less sodium carbonate in your laundry powder mix and get the same results.

I grate 1/2 bar of Octogon soap into the blender, add about a cup of borax and blend. Then repeat for the last half of the bar.

That pearlizes the bar soap into tiny pellets so it dissolves easily.

Blending the soap with the Borax helps dry out whatever moisture in in the bar soap and allows it to blend down into tiny pellets.

Interesting blog you have!

I haven't read all of your posts yet.

Did you build your earth-bermed house?

My sister in Ohio has lived in an earth-bermed house for almost 30 years. They love the climate-controlled aspect and not having to heat or cool much.