Laundry soap for delicates

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sephera

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I am making a laundry soap to wash wool and silk.
I decided of 33% Palm oil, 33% Olive, 33% coconut. 0% super fat. Adding a dash of turpentine, and borax at trace. How much borax per pound goes in at trace? What does Borax do to the soap? I understand it softens the water.

In this recipe I also use one teaspoon of salt, and sugar per pound.

I will be doing CP OP. Is that a good idea?

What can I do to make an extra hard bar.
 

Susie

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Hey and welcome!

What made you choose that particular recipe for laundry soap?
 

Arimara

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Olive and palm oils are wasted in a laundry soap. You'd benefit more from a high coconut oil soap sans superfat. I have no idea what turpentine is for in this and why you'd want to use boric acid in a laundy soap. The acid would increase your superfat (which you really would not want unless you want a gradual oil build-up on your delicates) and is ill-suited for NaOH based soaps. I'm sure others will chime in at some point. You'll get better help from them as I usually make liquid soap for my clothes.
 

sephera

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Thanks for your responses, I have made 100 % coconut oil soap before and I do use that in the wash for regular clothes. I hand wash delicates and this seems harsh and strips the colour. Perhaps I am using too much soap.

That's why I wanted to try 33% Palm, Coconut, Olive. Soap Queen said it made for a very balance bar. I figured if I dropped the super fat down to zero, it would work for delicates silks and woolens...? If it's good enough for skin then it's good enough for clothes.

Something like this http://www.thelaundress.com/wash-stain-bar
 

Susie

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$6 FOR A 2 OZ BAR???? I am in the wrong business!!!

You need to just stick with 100% coconut oil, 0% superfat soap or go with synthetic detergents. You do not need residue on your clothes, and I am very much afraid that that is what you are going to get with that recipe. I second the "don't add borax". I never found it did anything good in a bar soap. Also, no turpentine unless you have motor grease or some such on your clothes.
 

Arimara

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I've been finding that there are a lot of misplaced misgivings when it comes to surfactants. Just because something is synthetic does NOT mean that it bad for you and your skin (or clothing). There are plenty of surfactants that may well serve you better than soap would and are much more gentle to boot. But, it will take some research to learn how to use them and where to buy them. The only other thing I could personally suggest is that you go OLD SCHOOL and use an 100% lard (or beef tallow) soap for your delicates, sans superfat. It will definitely have less of that cleansing factor than coconut oil.

If you must add something to your soap for washing, consider washing soda(look for Arm & Hammer). I have not used it in a soapmaking process, but washing soda is a nice additive to have on hand when washing in general.

Susie- Those be NYC prices, matey. These soaps are likely $8-10 a pop in the some stores. I should waltz into one of those stores and price these over-priced buggers.
 
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earlene

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Olive and palm oils are wasted in a laundry soap. You'd benefit more from a high coconut oil soap sans superfat. I have no idea what turpentine is for in this and why you'd want to use boric acid in a laundy soap. The acid would increase your superfat (which you really would not want unless you want a gradual oil build-up on your delicates) and is ill-suited for NaOH based soaps. I'm sure others will chime in at some point. You'll get better help from them as I usually make liquid soap for my clothes.
I believe the OP said Borax not boric acid. I use Borax in soap. I have always used Borax in my laundry detergent. It softens water and makes it easier for the soap to do its thing (removing the dirt from the fabric).

I also use Borax in bar soap as well. It is highly recommended at one of the Blacksmithing forums as one of the best hand cleaners. Some Blacksmiths say it works better than soap with pumice. So I have made soap with only Borax, soap with only pumice and a combination soap with both for my brother, who is a blacksmith. I am still waiting to hear which one he likes best.

But even before I made that soap for my brother, I made soap using Borax as an additive because I found a recipe in a soapmaking book and thought I'd give it a try. As far as I can tell it is not an acid, but an alkili and has no effect on the superfat.

Turpentine on delicates sounds odd to me, but I have seen Turpentine soap. I have never used it though, so don't know what it's like. I would suspect it works as a stain remover. It sure cleans paint brushes pretty well, but I don't much like the fumes. :?

edit to correct book reference and spelling error
 
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Arimara

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I believe the OP said Borax not boric acid. I use Borax in soap. I have always used Borax in my laundry detergent. It softens water and makes it easier for the soap to do its thing (removing the dirt from the fabric).

I also use Borax in bar soap as well. It is highly recommended at one of the Blacksmithing forums as one of the best hand cleaners. Some Blacksmiths say it works better than soap with pomace. So I have made soap with only Borax, soap with only pomace and a combination soap with both for my brother, who is a blacksmith. I am still waiting to hear which one he likes best.

But even before I made that soap for my brother, I made soap using Borax as an additive because I found a recipe in Anne Watson's book and thought I'd give it a try. As far as I can tell it is not an acid, but an alkili and has no effect on the superfat.

Turpentine on delicates sounds odd to me, but I have seen Turpentine soap. I have never used it though, so don't know what it's like. I would suspect it works as a stain remover. It sure cleans paint brushes pretty well, but I don't much like the fumes. :?
I won't lie- I'm good for confusing the two. Well, I could be ignored for the Borax but turpentine? Someone has to explain that to me. I don't recall ever seeing the soaps that has that stuff in it but I don't imagine I'd want turpentine soap unless I needed it.
 

sephera

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I believe the OP said Borax not boric acid. I use Borax in soap. I have always used Borax in my laundry detergent. It softens water and makes it easier for the soap to do its thing (removing the dirt from the fabric).

I also use Borax in bar soap as well. It is highly recommended at one of the Blacksmithing forums as one of the best hand cleaners. Some Blacksmiths say it works better than soap with pomace. So I have made soap with only Borax, soap with only pomace and a combination soap with both for my brother, who is a blacksmith. I am still waiting to hear which one he likes best.

But even before I made that soap for my brother, I made soap using Borax as an additive because I found a recipe in Anne Watson's book and thought I'd give it a try. As far as I can tell it is not an acid, but an alkili and has no effect on the superfat.

Turpentine on delicates sounds odd to me, but I have seen Turpentine soap. I have never used it though, so don't know what it's like. I would suspect it works as a stain remover. It sure cleans paint brushes pretty well, but I don't much like the fumes. :?
Thanks can you please tell me how much borax you use per pound, and do you use it with trace?
 

sephera

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I don't mind using surfactants, it is ok for lightly soiled clothes to get rid of heavy soiled clothes you can't go past soap...?

Turpentine is just a stain remover, like eucalyptus, sometimes you need oil to remove oil.
 

earlene

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Thanks can you please tell me how much borax you use per pound, and do you use it with trace?
sephera, looking back at my notes from my first and last batch of soap made with Borax, the first time I used 0.7oz ppo. The last time I made it I used 1.1 ounce ppo. I dissolved the Borax in hot water held out from the total water for the recipe, then added the Borax solution at emulsion (for swirling) or trace. Since it is a solution, it can actually be added before emulsion. I have never added it as a powder the way I added pumice.

I've seen recipes including Borax where they use dry measurements (1/3 cup) as opposed to ounces. If I recall correctly, what I did was measure dry, then weighed that on my scale so that I would have an accurate record of weight.

So far I have not gone above the 1.1 oz ppo, but I am sure a bit more would be fine, especially for laundry purposes. You just have to make sure you can dissolve it all in the amount of water you have available, otherwise you end up with undissolved Borax.

I have also seen older recipes that say to dissolve it in the the lye water, but I have not tried it that way.

Oh, and in going back over my notes, it wasn't Anne Watson's book that inspired me to try Borax soap. It was another book from my local library.
 

DeeAnna

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Petroleum products in soap:
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=7114
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=10966
http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=45440

Obviously solvents are sometimes used in soap, but I personally would not use solvents in a soap to wash delicates. Solvents are better suited for very greasy chore clothes and dirty, greasy hands.

Synthetic detergents have a lower pH. If you are concerned about color fading, the higher pH of lye-based soap may be one reason why this is happening. Switching to a syndet is the way to prevent this problem.

Edit -- About borax --

Some old recipes for bar soap call for adding borax. Some recipes for liquid soap also call for borax to be added. In both cases, the borax is added to be a neutralizer for excess lye. Most people trot out that borax is an alkaline chemical and a "buffer" to boot, so it can't possibly neutralize lye. They're wrong.

Borax (sodium borate) is the salt of a weak acid (boric acid) and a strong base (sodium hydroxide). This parentage creates what chemists call an alkaline "buffer". A buffer is a chemical that "wants" to bring the pH into a specific range that is characteristic of each buffer. This means borax can act as an acid to lower a pH that is too high from the buffer's point of view. Or borax can act as an alkali to raise the pH that is too low, again from the buffer's point of view.

Soap can have a higher pH than borax, whether the soap is lye heavy or not. This means adding borax will tend to reduce the pH of the soap-borax mixture. If the soap happens to be lye heavy and sufficient borax is added to neutralize the excess lye, this buffering action is a good thing -- the excess lye and the borax will react with each other and the result will be a "neutral" soap (in other words, not lye heavy).

If too much borax is added to a soap that is not lye heavy to begin with, this buffering action can be detrimental, however. The borax doesn't have any excess lye to react with, so it will react with the next most alkaline material -- the soap itself -- to try to lower the pH to the range that borax prefers.

This means if you blindly add borax to a superfatted or neutral soap, you may be increasing the superfat of the soap.

If you look up discussions about liquid soap making on this forum where people talk about using borax for neutralization, you will see some reports that the liquid soap "breaking" into fatty acids in response to adding borax to soap that does not need neutralization. This same breakdown can happen in bar soap too. You don't see the results of this breakdown like you can in liquid soap, but it happens, regardless of whether you see it or not.

I will end with a quote from an industrial soapmaker over a century ago:

"...Another chemical commonly added to soap is Borax. In view of its alkaline reaction to litmus, turning red litmus blue, this salt is no doubt generally regarded as alkaline, and, as such, without action on soap. On the contrary, however, it is an acid salt containing an excess of boric acid over the soda present, hence when it is added to soap, fatty acids are necessarily liberated, causing the soap to quickly become rancid...." (pg 88 )

"...Boric acid in aqueous or glycerine solutions, and borax (biborate of soda) are sometimes used [to neutralize excess alkali in soap], but care is necessary in employing these substances, as any excess is liable to decompose the soap...." (pg 66)

W. H. Simmons, H. A. Appleton, The Handbook of Soap Manufacture, 1908. Added emphasis is mine (DeeAnna).
 
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earlene

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Interesting, DeeAnna. I'll have to keep an eye on that Borax soap.

Incidentally, many Blacksmiths use Borax for flux when soldering, alone or in a mixture with Boric Acid. And it does clean their hands very well.

So what happens to 0% CO soap when making laundry soap with Borax? I have never seen any oil separation in my laundry butter.

And another question. How does Borax thicken liquid soap?
 

Susie

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Interesting, DeeAnna.

And another question. How does Borax thicken liquid soap?
I have tried to thicken liquid soap with Borax at least 10 times (maybe more, I will check later) with no noticeable thickening unless I use enough that it actually breaks the soap. Then it turns into a mess.
 

DawninWA

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Other people are more qualified to answer your questions about borax and such. I was just going to say that the laundry bars I use now are not far off from yours. They are 50% lard, 25% coconut, 25% olive. They work fine. I'm pretty sensitive to coconut, so I can't do a 100% coconut soap.
 

DeeAnna

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"... I'll have to keep an eye on that Borax soap...."

You might not see anything if the soap you're referring to is a bar soap. It may simply have a higher fatty acid content, but that's not always visible nor does it necessarily affect the texture.

"...So what happens to 0% CO soap when making laundry soap with Borax? I have never seen any oil separation in my laundry butter...."

Maybe there's no separation ... but have you ever wondered why laundry butter is a thick pudding texture? Where does that come from?

The end result of breaking down soap with borax is not oil -- it's fatty acids. Fatty acids form an opaque fluffy material in or on a liquid soap solution. FAs can float on a watery soap solution or they can remain suspended within a thicker mixture.

"...How does Borax thicken liquid soap?..."

As I said earlier, borax is a SALT as chemists define a salt. Some salts -- not just table salt (NaCl) or borax-- will thicken a liquid (KOH) soap, especially one that is higher in oleic acid. A salt does this by altering the solubility of the pure soap in the watery-salty liquid in which the soap is dissolved.

The same thing happens in a bar soap although the effect is somewhat different -- salts have the effect of hardening this type of soap.

The problem with borax is that it wants to do 2 things at once -- thicken and buffer -- unlike a more neutral salt such as NaCl. Table salt is the product of a strong base and a strong acid, so it has little buffering ability. When using borax, you have to balance its thickening effect with its tendency to break the soap into fatty acids due to its role as a buffer. Sometimes that balancing act doesn't work out well.

In effect, the thickening effect created by a salt is the beginning of the process of "salting out" the pure soap from the surrounding watery solution.
 

earlene

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Thank you, DeeAnna. Having just salted out some soap, that was a good example that I could grasp.

Yes, the Borax soap is bar soap. I was referring to the reference that said it would more easily go rancid, so that would be of concern. The first time I made it I was not yet using ROE or EDTA. (I don't have any of it left to watch, though.) I did use ROE in subsequent Borax soaps, however, but not EDTA. I have some of the Borax soap I made on June 25th so I'll watch it for DOS.

I actually hadn't given any thought as to why the laundry butter becomes and remains thick like pudding. To me it just seemed like it became a whipped soap that held the whip like whipping cream does with added cream of tartar and thought about it no further. So it might be FAs produced during the chemical reactions, which help stabilize the whipped nature of the 'butter'? That's a fun fact (if I am understanding you correctly.)
 

DeeAnna

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"...So it might be FAs produced during the chemical reactions, which help stabilize the whipped nature of the 'butter'? That's a fun fact (if I am understanding you correctly.)...."

The recipes I'm finding on the internet for laundry butter call for adding borax (and washing soda) to pre-made bar soap that's been dissolved in water. Here's one: http://www.ibelieveicanfry.com/2014/12/homemade-laundry-butter.html If that's how laundry butter is usually made, I really do think the borax is breaking down the finished soap and the fatty acids are helping to thicken the mixture.

***

I don't make laundry butter -- and now that I've been looking at various recipes, I doubt I ever will.

Based on the info from the above link, there are only 1.2 grams of actual soap added to each load of laundry. (My basis -- she says to use 5.5 oz of soap to make a 2 quart batch of laundry butter and use 1 TBL butter per load of laundry for a total of 128 loads.)

I use roughly 5 grams of soap each time I take a shower -- how can I get a load of grubby laundry clean using only 25% of that amount of soap???? Even if I use twice that amount of laundry butter, that's still less than half the soap per load of laundry than I would use for bathing!

So first thing, I don't see there's remotely enough soap added per load to do much if any cleaning. And if some of the soap has been turned into fatty acid by reacting with the borax, that reduces the miniscule amount of soap even more.

Here's a report from one user who is not pleased with laundry butter: http://somedaywewillsleep.com/i-used-my-own-laundry-butter-for-12-months-and-heres-what-i-learned/

And here's a blog post from another user who insists the butter works, but also recommends pretreating stains before washing. While pretreating stains is not a bad thing, if a person has to pretreat most stains to get good results, that's telling me the pretreat is doing the cleansing, not the laundry butter. http://ladybugwrites.com/2016/02/03/homemade-laundry-butter/
 

sephera

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Other people are more qualified to answer your questions about borax and such. I was just going to say that the laundry bars I use now are not far off from yours. They are 50% lard, 25% coconut, 25% olive. They work fine. I'm pretty sensitive to coconut, so I can't do a 100% coconut soap.
Yes that's what I was aiming at but I substitutes lard for Palm as I am not keen on animal fats in clothes. Even if there should be no trace left.

I find it such a waste to use EVOO for soaping even though it cost almost the same as Olive and pomace. It's just we have to much abundance of it now, this oil was only used for drizzling on food.
 
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