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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Soap Making 101

I was running low on the laundry soap
and had to make more.

I thought, why not try to document the
very simple process and
post it for all of you who say you
can't do it.

First of all, I got my "recipe" here.
I also got the soap from them as well.
There is a recipe for powdered soap - which
would be even less time consuming than
liquid soap, but I don't make it that way
because I have a machine that wouldn't
be able to use powdered soap.  Just

I actually do all the grating and measuring
of the product one time.  I just place the grated
soap in a quart size baggie, the powders in another
baggie and toss them all together into a gallon
freezer baggie. 
I probably should have taken a picture of it
all together, but I'm new at this and
didn't think of it.

Next time it's a cinch!

So here we go:
I take my bar of grated fells naptha...

Not that you care, but next time I am going to use
ZOTE.  It's pink and more fatty and smells a little
like citronella.  I currently use it only on stains,
but I am going to try it in place of the Fells...


I put it in a medium sized saucepan and cover with water.
Do not freak out about how much water like I did
the first time. 
Just cover the soap by an inch - like you're
making chicken stock or something.

I put it on the stove on low.
You don't want to COOK the soap, just
melt it.

After a few minutes it looks like this:

Yum!  Fight the urge to whisk it.  Just gently stir or
you will end up with too much foam on top and
won't be able to see if the soap is melted.

Once the soap is melted into a clean-smelling watery
concoction, it's time to mix it all together.
I haven't looked at the actual recipe for probably
a year, so I do this step differently every time.
It usually turns out the same.

What I do at this point is:

I take my Borax

 you can find this at your grocery store laundry isle.

and I take my Washing Soda, which is in the same area.  I
am sorry I don't have a picture...I don't
currently have a box handy.
It is NOT the same thing.

I dissolve them with very hot water from my tea kettle in
this bucket:

I DO use a whisk here just to make sure it's good and dissolved.

While I'm doing the whisking, I am simultaneously filling up
my clean dishpan with hot tap water.

When the powders are dissolved or when my pan is overflowing
(whichever happens first)
I add the melted soap to the powder,
give it a few whisks to make sure it's
combined well...

And then add the dishpan full of hot water to the bucket.
I usually have to fill up a couple of pitchers too...
to get it nice and full.

And stir, stir, stir to make sure everything is all combined.
How do you like my fancy stir stick? 
Hubby made it for me.  It's a 1X4 (I think)
and he was nice enough to duct-tape the other end
so I don't get splinters when I am stirring my "cauldron"
as he says. 
We are all about SIMPLE here. 

At this point you could use it right now if you want to.
I usually do not need it immediately, so I cover it and let it sit
in my kitchen until someone big and strong comes home to
move it to my second story laundry room...
sometimes it will sit there until I trip over it one too many times
and I will carry it up myself, cursing all the way up
and apologising to my Lord all the way down...
But that's just my house.
You are surely more organized and less
than I am!

I am not quite organized enough to be able to tell you exactly how long
it takes us to get through a 5-gallon bucket of laundry soap.
I would say it's more than a month...but less than 6?  I should really
keep track.  But I won't.  I just know that
I have been doing this for over a year and I have only
had to purchase more washing soda and Borax

With this last batch, I did use up the Borax, so I will
go get that and washing soda again.
I ran out of Fells Naptha as well, but as I said at the beginning,
I will be using another bar of laundry soap
next time, and if it works I will
have 8 more batches ahead of me before I need
to purchase any more soap.

I really like making my own laundry soap.
I hope you found this at least a little helpful...
if not, well, you can always follow the directions. 
Toodles for now!
Just Amy

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