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Bamagirl

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I was reading through the forums and found a thread about laundry soap. I had a couple questions about it, but didn't want to hijack the thread, so I decided to create a new one.

I am wanting to make a laundry bar once I get started making soap. If I make the 100% coconut bar, how long will it have to cure before I can grate it?
Also, I make a laundry powder now using Fels Naptha, but the soap to borax/soda ratio is different from what I've read on here for the CO bar. I use 1 bar Fels Naptha (grated) to 2 c washing soda and 3 c borax and use 1 tbsp per load. I read in the other forum that you use 2 parts CO to 1 part borax and 1 part washing soda and use 2-4 tbsp per load. Is the difference in ratios due to it being homemade soap? I don't mind using more soap, (I have an older top load that is not he, so suds won't be a problem) as I probably would prefer more suds than my current recipe, but I messed up last time I made it and added too much Fels Naptha and my darks started to fade. But I am thinking since it is using homemade soap, it may require more. Has anyone had any issues with dark colors fading?

Thanks so much!
 

Susie

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I was reading through the forums and found a thread about laundry soap. I had a couple questions about it, but didn't want to hijack the thread, so I decided to create a new one.

I am wanting to make a laundry bar once I get started making soap. If I make the 100% coconut bar, how long will it have to cure before I can grate it?
Also, I make a laundry powder now using Fels Naptha, but the soap to borax/soda ratio is different from what I've read on here for the CO bar. I use 1 bar Fels Naptha (grated) to 2 c washing soda and 3 c borax and use 1 tbsp per load. I read in the other forum that you use 2 parts CO to 1 part borax and 1 part washing soda and use 2-4 tbsp per load. Is the difference in ratios due to it being homemade soap? I don't mind using more soap, (I have an older top load that is not he, so suds won't be a problem) as I probably would prefer more suds than my current recipe, but I messed up last time I made it and added too much Fels Naptha and my darks started to fade. But I am thinking since it is using homemade soap, it may require more. Has anyone had any issues with dark colors fading?

Thanks so much!
You can grate it as soon as it is solid enough to unmold and cut. I would wait a couple or three days just to be sure it is done saponifying, but that is optional. You can stick with your ratio of washing soda/borax as the amounts of those depend more on your water than which soap you are using. I would absolutely use some vinegar in your rinse water- I use a Downy ball and fill to the little line.

Suds do NOT equal cleaning ability. We have been programmed with the high sudsing synthetic detergents to make that equation, but it is not true.

I can't help you on the fading. I used homemade laundry soap exclusively for quite a while without fading.
 

Bamagirl

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You can grate it as soon as it is solid enough to unmold and cut. I would wait a couple or three days just to be sure it is done saponifying, but that is optional. You can stick with your ratio of washing soda/borax as the amounts of those depend more on your water than which soap you are using. I would absolutely use some vinegar in your rinse water- I use a Downy ball and fill to the little line.

Suds do NOT equal cleaning ability. We have been programmed with the high sudsing synthetic detergents to make that equation, but it is not true.

I can't help you on the fading. I used homemade laundry soap exclusively for quite a while without fading.
Thanks for replying!

Yep, I was one of those ingrained to believe suds=clean, once I made my own laundry soap I changed my mind. :smile:

I have used the soap/borax/soda for washing for several years now and I had never noticed fading either, but the only thing I did different was for some reason I got my ratios mixed up and had much more soap. I'm still not sure this caused the fading, but made sure of my ratios last time I made it.

Another couple of questions, how big do I need to make the bars to grate? If I make a 16 oz recipe, I am assuming I would get several bars out of it and figured I would make them roughly the size of the fels naptha bars (they are 5.5 oz)? Also, do you add scent to your laundry bars and if so, does it last in the wash? (I am currently using Purex Crystals for scent in my laundry)
 

rparrny

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Also, do you add scent to your laundry bars and if so, does it last in the wash? (I am currently using Purex Crystals for scent in my laundry)
I use a homemade liquid but I would think the EO would get lost in saponification...I would put my EOs in my washing soda and then combine.
 

Seawolfe

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Im one that uses 2 parts soap to 1 part borax and 1 part washing soda - and I got that off the internet too. Go with what works for you.

Re bar size, my best luck has been making a slab and then cutting, cavity molds made bars that were too small for hand grating. Dont wait too long before grating!
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Aye, if you go with a ratio of 2:1:1 then the size of the bars don't matter so much - you grate a bar or two, weight the gratings and add in the other parts in the right amount based based on that.
 

Bamagirl

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I use a homemade liquid but I would think the EO would get lost in saponification...I would put my EOs in my washing soda and then combine.
I used the liquid version of the same recipe(Fels Naptha, borax, washing soda), but it kept gelling and separating and I just didn't like it. However, I don't think that is what you are talking about is it? Is the liquid easy to make? Are the ingredients hard to find?

*****Off to search the forums for a liquid laundry detergent
 

Bamagirl

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Im one that uses 2 parts soap to 1 part borax and 1 part washing soda - and I got that off the internet too. Go with what works for you.

Re bar size, my best luck has been making a slab and then cutting, cavity molds made bars that were too small for hand grating. Dont wait too long before grating!
Ok, so basically very short cure time for laundry soap? Glad I found that out, I know in the reply above they said wait a day or so, but I thought that was because I was impatient. If I make a batch, I would need to go ahead and grate it all then? I may need to see if I can only make a 1-2 bar batch.
 

Bamagirl

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Aye, if you go with a ratio of 2:1:1 then the size of the bars don't matter so much - you grate a bar or two, weight the gratings and add in the other parts in the right amount based based on that.
:oops: I am so used to just grating the bar of bought soap and adding my other ingredients, that I didn't even think about I would have to weigh to get the correct amounts now. Thanks for pointing that out, otherwise i would have probably drove myself crazy trying to get a bar that is exactly 5.5 oz like what I use now.
 

DeeAnna

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"...I use 1 bar Fels Naptha (grated) to 2 c washing soda and 3 c borax and use 1 tbsp per load. I read in the other forum that you use 2 parts CO to 1 part borax and 1 part washing soda and use 2-4 tbsp per load. Is the difference in ratios due to it being homemade soap? ..."

Opinionated personal opinion here, so take it for what it's worth!

My take on the bloggers who share these recipes is they're mostly regurgitating what others say without bothering to do any homework. The recipes that mix a small amount of soap with borax, baking soda, and washing soda are not very effective. Recipes calling for 1 TBL or less of soap mix per washer load, especially in a traditional washer, are not really doing much cleaning. These recipes are going to freshen lightly soiled clothes, so if you work in an office, this might be tolerable. But recipes like this simply not get enough soap into the washer to do a decent job of removing much body oil or greasy soil.

Baking soda has no place in any laundry mix. Washing soda or borax will do the job just fine.
Washing soda should be used in DRY laundry mixes. It breaks down in liquid mixes during storage and becomes ineffective.
Borax should be used in LIQUID laundry mixes. It is the alternative to washing soda for a liquid formulation.
There should be a decent amount of soap in proportion to the other ingredients in the mix.
Use enough to get effective cleaning. If you're using 1 TBL per load and having to pretreat often for greasy or dirty spots, you probably need to use more mix. The same also goes for washing in hard water -- soap is less effective and creates a gray soap scum that can build up in fabrics. You may need to use more soap mix, wash in warmer water, and/or add a separate water softener product.

My recipe is 50:50 mixture by weight of soap and washing soda. I dislike measuring by volume, especially when dealing with shredded soap -- it packs down or fluffs up way too much for a volume measurement to be accurate. I also use an oxygen-bleach powder (Oxyclean clone) either blended with the soap and washing soda mix or added separately to each load as needed.

I use 2 to 3 TBL of the basic soap and washing soda mix per load. I have an HE washer, my water is soft, and this works pretty well. If I mix the oxygen bleach powder into the mix, I use equal parts soap, washing soda, and oxy bleach and increase the amount of powder used per load to account for the added oxy bleach powder.

My last batch of soap for the laundry was 70% CO and 30% lard, but 100% CO is a very good choice. I use zero superfat. I grate the soap just as soon as it is firm enough to handle -- maybe 18 hours or less after it's been poured into the mold. It may be warm and even a bit zappy at that point, but I wear gloves and work with it anyway. I grate the soap with my food processor and lay the shreds out in large flat pans to cool and slightly dry while I grate the rest of the batch. If I heap the shreds in a bowl, the shreds in the middle stay warm and damp enough to stick together, and I want them to stay loose and fluffy.

After the soap is shredded, I then change to a blade in the food processor and fill the bowl about half full with 1/2 soap shreds and 1/2 washing soda. I process the soap mix until the shreds break down into a fine powder. It takes about 30 seconds per batch. I'm looking for the soap to be the size of table salt so it dissolves fast, even in cold water. If it's more the size of coarse cracked pepper, it's not going to dissolve quickly enough. I put the finished powder back into the flat pans to cool and dry before packaging the mix into a large tub for storage.

If the soap starts to ball up in the processor bowl rather than break down, that means the soap is getting too hot and soft so it is smearing together. The solution is to stop, add another big handful of washing soda, and try again.

ETA --

I add an FO when making the soap just like I would for a regular bath soap. The scent is nice in the mix, but dissipates in the wash. Same goes for EOs dropped into the food processor while powdering the soap. The scent doesn't linger in the clothes.

I just pour the soap into my usual loaf mold. When I get it ready to shred, I cut it roughly into shapes that fit into my food processor chute. It doesn't need to be fancy.

If you weigh the solid soap -- not the shreds -- it's easier!

If I only had the ability to grate the soap into large shreds, I wouldn't make a dry powder mix. Shreds are just too coarse and they can't dissolve fast enough in the cold water wash I usually use. I'd be making liquid soap per Susie's links (see below).
 
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Susie

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Bamagirl

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"...I use 1 bar Fels Naptha (grated) to 2 c washing soda and 3 c borax and use 1 tbsp per load. I read in the other forum that you use 2 parts CO to 1 part borax and 1 part washing soda and use 2-4 tbsp per load. Is the difference in ratios due to it being homemade soap? ..."

Opinionated personal opinion here, so take it for what it's worth!

My take on the bloggers who share these recipes is they're mostly regurgitating what others say without bothering to do any homework. The recipes that mix a small amount of soap with borax, baking soda, and washing soda are not very effective. Recipes calling for 1 TBL or less of soap mix per washer load, especially in a traditional washer, are not really doing much cleaning. These recipes are going to freshen lightly soiled clothes, so if you work in an office, this might be tolerable. But recipes like this simply not get enough soap into the washer to do a decent job of removing much body oil or greasy soil.

Baking soda has no place in any laundry mix. Washing soda or borax will do the job just fine.
Washing soda should be used in DRY laundry mixes. It breaks down in liquid mixes during storage and becomes ineffective.
Borax should be used in LIQUID laundry mixes. It is the alternative to washing soda for a liquid formulation.
There should be a decent amount of soap in proportion to the other ingredients in the mix.
Use enough to get effective cleaning. If you're using 1 TBL per load and having to pretreat often for greasy or dirty spots, you probably need to use more mix. The same also goes for washing in hard water -- soap is less effective and creates a gray soap scum that can build up in fabrics. You may need to use more soap mix, wash in warmer water, and/or add a separate water softener product.

My recipe is 50:50 mixture by weight of soap and washing soda. I dislike measuring by volume, especially when dealing with shredded soap -- it packs down or fluffs up way too much for a volume measurement to be accurate. I also use an oxygen-bleach powder (Oxyclean clone) either blended with the soap and washing soda mix or added separately to each load as needed.

I use 2 to 3 TBL of the basic soap and washing soda mix per load. I have an HE washer, my water is soft, and this works pretty well. If I mix the oxygen bleach powder into the mix, I use equal parts soap, washing soda, and oxy bleach and increase the amount of powder used per load to account for the added oxy bleach powder.

My last batch of soap for the laundry was 70% CO and 30% lard, but 100% CO is a very good choice. I use zero superfat. I grate the soap just as soon as it is firm enough to handle -- maybe 18 hours or less after it's been poured into the mold. It may be warm and even a bit zappy at that point, but I wear gloves and work with it anyway. I grate the soap with my food processor and lay the shreds out in large flat pans to cool and slightly dry while I grate the rest of the batch. If I heap the shreds in a bowl, the shreds in the middle stay warm and damp enough to stick together, and I want them to stay loose and fluffy.

After the soap is shredded, I then change to a blade in the food processor and fill the bowl about half full with 1/2 soap shreds and 1/2 washing soda. I process the soap mix until the shreds break down into a fine powder. It takes about 30 seconds per batch. I'm looking for the soap to be the size of table salt so it dissolves fast, even in cold water. If it's more the size of coarse cracked pepper, it's not going to dissolve quickly enough. I put the finished powder back into the flat pans to cool and dry before packaging the mix into a large tub for storage.

If the soap starts to ball up in the processor bowl rather than break down, that means the soap is getting too hot and soft so it is smearing together. The solution is to stop, add another big handful of washing soda, and try again.

ETA --

I add an FO when making the soap just like I would for a regular bath soap. The scent is nice in the mix, but dissipates in the wash. Same goes for EOs dropped into the food processor while powdering the soap. The scent doesn't linger in the clothes.

I just pour the soap into my usual loaf mold. When I get it ready to shred, I cut it roughly into shapes that fit into my food processor chute. It doesn't need to be fancy.

If you weigh the solid soap -- not the shreds -- it's easier!
Thanks for your reply.

I had actually read that about the washing soda and borax right after I made my last batch. I will probably just add the washing soda next time and give it a try. I also make a liquid version using Dawn/borax/soda for my husband's work clothes (he's a mechanic) and will try it with just the borax next time as well (unless the CO version cleans better).

I usually just add my generic oxiclean to my whites as I am fearful it will either fade or mess up my dark clothes, but since you add it in with your mix, I am assuming that has not been the case for you? If not, I may even try a version with that.
 

cmzaha

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:razz: I still prefer Tide!! just find it cleans and whitens better than lye soap and I do not find I save much money after buying washing soda and borax. But that is just my humble opinion. Surfactants do actually have a place in this world...:shock:
 

rparrny

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I used the liquid version of the same recipe(Fels Naptha, borax, washing soda), but it kept gelling and separating and I just didn't like it. However, I don't think that is what you are talking about is it? Is the liquid easy to make? Are the ingredients hard to find?

*****Off to search the forums for a liquid laundry detergent
Possibly the same...after you leave the liquid in a 5 gallon bucket it gels...that's what it's supposed to do, I can't reach it all with my SB so I whisk it to combine, then dilute it 1:1 then transfer into smaller containers. I shake the container a bit before using but really have no issues with it...I pick smaller container to make the shaking easier.
 

DeeAnna

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Bama -- I am not having trouble using the oxy-bleach in my laundry mix for all my washing -- as far as I can tell, colors are staying nice. But I don't do a lot of delicate laundry and I'm not hugely particular about washing. So I want to say that this is just what works best for me -- it may not be for everyone. I've done the mix with and without. I just like the simplicity of an all-in-one product.

I'm a former Tide girl too, but I like using my laundry mix now that I've got it dialed in better. I did a cost comparison awhile back and the laundry mix came out the modest winner over Tide. I double checked again today, and I got similar results --

I figured up the cost of a batch of my soap + washing soda + oxy bleach mix -- and my cost did include paying myself the same hourly wage I pay to the ladies who help me in my business. To do an apples and apples comparison, I chose a comparable Tide product -- Tide with Bleach Alternative ($18 for 72 loads). Cost per load comes to $0.20 for the mix and $0.25 for Tide. Modest savings.

If I omit the oxy bleach and compare the plain soap + washing soda mix to plain Tide ($18 for 96 loads), then the cost for the mix is $0.10 per load vs $0.19 for Tide. Definitely cost effective.

Other things that I don't like about using Tide --

It is very easy to over measure the amount of liquid per load if I use the cup that comes with this product. I think their measuring cup is deliberately designed to encourage this! I doubt I ever got the full number of loads claimed on the label, and that adds to the cost of using Tide.

I also did not like how my washing machine (top loader HE model) got stinky when I was using Tide regularly. When you factor in the cost and annoyance of that pricey washing machine cleaner stuff -- that adds to the cost too.
 

Seawolfe

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That is good info about not needing Borax with dry soap - I'll try it next batch. I really appreciate all that information!

I started making laundry soap 'cause hubby had a bad case of dermatitis on his back. So when I compare prices I compare to the scent free hypoallergenic laundry soap, and boy that stuff can be pricey!
 

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...I had zero luck making my own laundry soap with my own CP Soap.
However, it wasn't 100% CO So I'm following this thread...
 

DeeAnna

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My current batch is 70% CO and 30% lard and it's doing fine. But the more CO the better, IMO, for best performance in cold/cool water and the most effectiveness at removing oil/fat/grease, including body oils. If you don't like CO, I would think PKO would be a suitable alternative.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I use a powder and add in my EOs in the drawer (at the front where one puts the powder) and it scents the washing very nicely - it doesn't smell like soap, but nicely of mandarin (the scent of the month for our laundry here)
 
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