Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wow, That Was Fluffy! (Making Laundry Detergent)

Last year around this time, I made homemade laundry soap for the first time.  A friend of mine had  mentioned it at Bunco, and I decided it was worth a try.  It cost around $28, and it lasted us just shy of one year.  That was for a family of 5, doing ALL laundry except cloth diapers.

Since we liked how the detergent worked and we liked the price, I decided to do it again.  I couldn’t find the exact recipe I used last year, so I hunted for a similar recipe online.  This time, it only cost a little over $18 plus tax!  It seems like it might be slightly less detergent than what I made last year, but it’s still quite a lot!

Click on the picture below to view the recipe that we used this year:

laundry, detergent, Purex, Zote, homemade

The only difference is that I decided to try Zote soap this year, rather than using Fels Naptha.  
It’s pink.  It sounded pretty.  I must be spending too much time with my daughter.   Too bad Zote isn’t sparkly ;)

We don’t have a food processor, so grating the soap is tedious business.  (Okay, that’s kind of a lie.  My husband just got a food processor as a Christmas present, but he wasn’t really too keen on me using a BAR OF SOAP in his brand new food processor!)

Last year, I found that grating the bars of soap by hand took FOREVER. 
And ever. 
And ever.  (Get the idea?)

So this year, I decided to try something I’d seen online – microwaving the soap.  Oh my, that was an experience!  It’s still easier than grating, and I had a VERY clean microwave by the end of this process!

This is what a bar of Zote soap looks like after spending a few minutes in the microwave.  Because we have a small, low wattage microwave, this filled the ENTIRE microwave.  (It deflated when the microwave stopped.)  I’d read that it only takes a minute or two, but it actually took 6 – 7 minutes in our microwave.  There were still a few ‘wet spots’ in the center of the plate under all the fluff, but I gave up on those!  The whole house smelled like citronella during this process!


(For those who may have googled ‘microwave Zote’ and found this post, please note:  I cut the bar into 6 pieces and spread them out across the plate.  I microwaved it one minute at a time until it seemed ‘done’.  It looks like cotton candy, but it is actually very dry and brittle.  If you poke it, it releases a lot of steam from the moisture that is being released from the soap, so BE CAREFUL!  Let it cool!)

This is what it looked like after cooling for 20ish minutes.  I just used my fingers to crumble it into a powder.  It feels so soft in your hands as you do this!


While the Zote was cooling (before I crumbled it), I mixed up the other ingredients in a bucket lined with a plastic trash bag.  Be prepared for a LOT of stirring!  Make sure you use a sturdy spoon and dig deep!  Mix all the ingredients, and then decide how you want to store it.


We have ours stored in two Purex Crystals containers.  I fill the Purex cap to the bottom line for each load of laundry.  (This is in a top loader; you may want to use a little less in a front loader.)

The Purex containers are stored in the cabinet above the washer.  What doesn’t fit in our Purex Crystals containers goes into a large plastic Sterilite cereal container that is stored in the cabinet under the utility sink.

I am hopeful that this will, once again, last close to a year.  Even if it comes up a little short of a year, it’s still a very economical detergent recipe!

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