Friday, August 17, 2012

Soap Bubbles... making laundry detergent and dish soap

Soap Bubbles...
This week I managed to have a little fun playing with soap.  I have researched several internet recipes and a few in my books.  While I do have a good powdered laundry detergent recipe made with Zote` soap that I like HERE from Amy of Homestead Revival, I wanted a liquid detergent too because there are some stains (like blood) that respond better to cool liquids.  

I have a Maytag Neptune HE front load washing machine and a water softener.  I have heard that this combination can be too much for homemade laundry detergents, but I am happy to report that Amy's powder recipe and the one I am going to type up now DO work for me.  

In fact, the new liquid detergent removed every bit of chicken blood from my blue jeans after Pat's chicken harvest party the other day where I scalded and plucked about forty birds.  The knees of my jeans were a mess.

What makes this liquid so effective I think is the combination of soaps, an oxygen booster, and the vinegar and baking soda.  Also note- I wash blood stains in cold water, not warm or hot water.  They will set bloodstains. 

Liquid Laundry Detergent

4 cups hot tap water
grate into pan 1/2 bars of Lirio, Zote, and Fels-Naptha 
2 cups Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
1& 1/2 cups Borax
1 cup baking soda
2-3 Tbsp. vinegar (mix in slowly)
***Here's my trick for keeping whites, white and for help removing stains- 1 cup oxygen booster (I use Biokleen Oxygen Bleach Plus)
1 cup is mixed into this laundry soap mix.  I also keep a jar of Biokleen Oxygen Bleach Plus on hand and ready to spot treat tough stains and dingy whites to in the laundry room before washing.  I simply follow lar instructions adding 2 Tbsp to the load for whites. Mixing 2-4 Tbsp to a few cups of water and scrubbing into stains manually with a tooth brush when necessary.

Large saucepan
5 gallon bucket(s) with lid(s)
Long-handled spoon
Empty, clean laundry soap dispenser


Grate the bar of soap. 
I use my mandolin slicer. 

Add the grated soap and water to a saucepan and stir constantly over medium-low heat until the soap dissolves and is liquid.

Fill the 5 gallon container with 2 ½ gallons of hot tap water. 

Add the liquid soap from the saucepan, the washing soda, borax, and baking soda into the 5 gallon bucket. 

Stir thoroughly until all powder is dissolved.
Add vinegar slowly. It may foam up a bit.

Fill the bucket with more hot tap water until almost full. Stir.

Cover the bucket with its lid and let sit overnight to thicken.

Ladle half of the soap gel into a second 5 gallon bucket (both buckets will be half full) and then fill both buckets the rest of the way with water. You'll have a whopping ten gallons of liquid detergent.  I fill a small recycled liquid detergent container with my detergent and shake before each use.

Use as follows:
Top Load machine - 5/8 Cup per Load
Front Load machine - 1/4-1/2 Cup per Load

You'll want to tweak the ratios to accomodate your machine. You may need a bit less or a bit more.  Please get back to this post and let me know how much detergent it takes to get your clothes clean.  

I have also read that some folks add bluing or oxygen boosters to homemade detergents, but so far I have not observed my whites getting dull. I wash my whites in hot water.  For tough stains I am using 1/2 cup liquid detergent.
I figured I was on a roll, why quit?  So then I made a batch of One Good Thing by Jillie's Gardener's Hand Scrub  recipe HERE .  I substituted Dr. Bronner's lavender hemp soap for the liquid Dawn.  I really like it after a long day trellising tomato vines. It removed the dark stains from my chapped fingers, and left my fingers silky smooth. 
 Next, I tried my hand at another of Amy's recipes... her powdered automatic dish washing detergent, recipe HERE.  This was a new one for me.  I'll report back in a few weeks to let ya know how much I like it.  
Then, from the Frugally Sustainable website I made her liquid dish soap recipe HERE and so far I like it too. I used Dr. Bronner's lavender hemp liquid soap for my base. I did not add tea tree oil. I just don't like the scent of it. I know Melaleuca is a good antiseptic, but it's not for me.  

None of these homemade recipes lather up like commercial brand products, but they lack dangerous emulsifiers and chemicals (many of which do provide the bubbles we've become accustomed to) as well. You can add a bit of glycerine which will create more bubbles if you think you need them.  What's important is how they clean and so far, so good.  My dishes, hands and laundry are getting clean.  I have not added any essential oils to my soaps for fragrance though you can do that to gussy them up too. I have only been using these recipes for a short time so I am not certain of the long term effectiveness of any of them yet, but I am hopeful.  I'll report back in a month or so to let you know if I am still pleased.

Now it's time to flaunt your farmgirl style for the 70th time!

Here are the rules for the Farmgirl/guy Blog Hop!

1.) Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals, quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!

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  1. Your home made soaps look and sound great ! Have a good day !

  2. Great Post!I have been wanting to try the Laundry soap and dishwasher soap for quite a while. You have convinced me to try :) Thanks for the info!

  3. Thank you for hosting! I hope you enjoy my contribution... :) I have written about a world I imagine where farmers are the celebrities... The famous people. :) I hope you like it!

  4. What a great blog you have! I look forward to learning much from you. I am a new follower, have a lovely week. :)


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