Monday, February 26, 2007

Frugal Laundry

In my search for less toxic and more environmentally friendly cleaners, I've been wanting to make the homemade laundry soap recipe from kidsorganics.

However, it calls for grated castile or glycerin soap flakes. Where do you buy that? Not at Wal-Mart. I can't even find good old-fashioned Ivory soap flakes anywhere. (Can you?)

So my thrifty self thought of a way to gain access to grated soap for free: you know those bits of soap bars* that are too big to throw away but fairly annoying to use? I started collecting them.

When I had a pile--actually, when I ran out of my Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent --I put the bits of saved soap in the Cuisinart and pulverized them. (Here I learned that soap grinds to a very fine powder--which wafts everywhere and makes one sneeze furiously.

I didn't have the required eight cups of flakes--I had two. Adjusting the recipe, I added three cups of borax and four cups of baking soda, along with the little bit of bergamot essential oil I had left in my little jar (less than 1 tablespoon).

The result is nine cups of very beautiful smelling laundry soap, made for very little cash or labor. Also, according to kidsorganics, I need use only 1/8 cup (that's two tablespoons) for every load. If my math is right, that makes 72 loads. Wow.

If it works, it will be fine value indeed--recycling soap and using cheap, natural, non-petroleum, phosphate-free ingredients.

Can't wait to do laundry!

*I'm talking real soap, not detergent bars. To learn about the difference, please read The Dope on Soap.


Ms. Theologian said...

It is a rare person who can find a use for soap fragments, my friend. :) I love how you're illustrating with your own photos. Your blog really looks great. :)

Femminista said...

Thanks, Most Venerated Blogging Mentor. ;)

Tiana said...

This is great! Is this usable in a front-loader.

Femminista said...

Hi, Tiana. I don't knw anything about front-loaders. I've heard that they are super-efficient and eco-friendly--and more expensive?? Do you need low-suds soap for front-loading machines? If so, this should work--it didn't seems to suds up much.

Tiana said...

I've only ever seen liquid soap for it. I'd have to research if a powdered soap would be ok to use...I'll let you know if/when I find out.

Tiana said...

Ok yes. Powder can be used in a front-loader if it is low sudzing and you only use 1 Tablespoon for a full load.

Femminista said...

Thanks for investigating!

TeaMouse said...

What a great idea, my husband was making our own soaps for awhile and they are much better than the stuff(detergent bars) we'd been using.

He had one it was an oatmeal and honey one that was just amazing on my dry skin.