So I'll start by saying that I've experimented with laundry soap. A lot. I've tried powdered and liquid forms, soap made from fresh-cut Soapwort (which actually smelled incredibly great, but dyed my whites just the teensiest bit green), and even washing with plain ol' vinegar or baking soda.
This time, instead of following any recipes I found online, I decided to blend a few of my favorite ingredients together and make a hybrid. The result is my favorite scent, with my two most favorite cleaning agents, blended together in liquid form, making a great, powerful laundry soap.
Because we just moved into our homestead, we don't have a washing machine yet. Which is totally okay, because my Love went ahead and made me a set of simple bucket washers, just like we have at the cottage (instructions for making and using those are in the roster for future blog posts). Only here, we have the convenience of running water, rather than multiple trips to the freshwater pond to collect wash water.
Alright. Down to the nitty gritty. Here's what you'll need to make your own liquid laundry soap:
1 bar of Ivory soap*
1 cup of Borax
1/2 cup washing soda
4 cups of water, plus 8 liters
Large, clean bucket
Storage containers for the finished laundry soap
*avoid other bar soaps, because they have too much lotion content, and will leave a gross film on your clothes
1. Grate the bar of Ivory soap as finely as possible. You won't use the whole thing in this batch, but I find it easier to store the grated soap flakes in an airtight container, ready for the next batch, rather than a partial bar. Alternatively, you can simply make a larger quantity of laundry soap.
2. Pour 4 cups of water into a stock pot, and turn heat to medium. Allow to heat just below a boil.
3. 1 cup of Ivory soap flakes to the water in the stock pot. Allow the soap to completely melt, leaving the liquid smooth with no lumps. I find it helps to gently whisk the mixture to make sure the last few bits of soap are dissolved.
4. Add Borax and washing soda, and stir constantly until all chunks are dissolved and the liquid is smooth.
5. Take just a minute to breathe in the delicious scent that resembles that of great-grandma's clean linens. Turn off the stove.
6. Pour 8 liters of warm water into a bucket large enough to hold it, with enough extra space to add the liquid from the stock pot.
7. Give the liquid in the stock pot a good stir, Add it to the bucket of water, and stir well for a few minutes. Allow to stand for ten minutes, then stir again.
8. Using your funnel, pour the laundry soap into your storage containers. I re-use 4 liter water jugs for mine. You can just leave the soap in the bucket, if you have a tight-fitting lid for it.
You'll want to give the soap a shake every so often (I just give it a good shake before I use it each time). I suggest this because I find that the water seems to separate, but blends right back in with the soap as soon a it's agitated or mixed together.
Now, in my little bucket washers, I use about 3 tablespoons of soap per bucket. In a regular washing machine, I would suggest using about 1/8 cup per load. You really don't need a lot, because it's made from only real, cleansing ingredients. I sometimes add a bit of vinegar (maybe about 1/8 cup) to help get some of the deep stains and smells out of some old rags.