I have never made soap. Its one of those things that I’ve read about, considered doing, but haven’t quite found the gumption to try – yet. It is on “the list”.
What I have done is sorta-made some of my own soaps.
Laundry soap was the first I tried. I have made a gel recipe, and a powder recipe. I make the powder because its just easier to whip up a batch. It works well, my clothes get clean, and a batch lasts quite a long time. It is cheap and effective.
Recipe: Combine finely grated soap (Fels Naptha is recommended, but you can mix it up. My fav is Ivory), 1 cup of Borax, and 1 cup of Washing Soda (not the same as Baking Soda. Do not make this mistake!). Easy. I keep it in an old plastic salad shell on my dryer.
Be forewarned, this is a low-sudsing soap. We have grown up with many misconceptions. Clean equals: sudsy, smelly (like, as in, floral, or ‘clean’ smelling) and that the more the better. This laundry soap, like many homemade soaps, uses not very much to get your stuff clean. One Tbl. scoop (I use an old espresso scoop) for the average load, a little more for a dirtier or larger-than-average load. Wash in cold, warm, or hot. Sometimes I put the soap in first, then add a little hot to get the soap to disintegrate faster, especially if the load is really dirty.
I found I was going through a lot of hand soap, with all the good hygiene in the house (coupled with kids who use a half-dollar dollop when a dime-sized amount will do – oy!). I bought the containers that make foaming soap from Target, and then bought ONE expensive refill bottle, before I decided to try to make my own (have I mentioned before I am cheap?). I was not a maverick in this area, as there were many blog posts about doing this. I decided to try this method. It works great, no complaints. I find it is easier, especially, for my little kids to get their hands clean with the foaming soap.
Recipe: Get an empty foaming soap container, fill to the fill line (which is probably the bottom of the pump aparatus. You don’t want to fill past that. Bad things may occur.) then add around a Tbl. (maybe a little more, a little less) of Dr. Bronner’s soap. I like the eucalyptus one, and the peppermint one. Make sure you add the soap last, or you will have a foamy mess on your hands. Just cap the container, slightly agitate it, and you’re ready to go!
Dish soap can be made using good ol’ Bronner’s soap, though it doesn’t get dishes grease-free IMHO, which has caused remarks from Hub’band, who is the evening dish-doer. So, though we have done this, we really don’t stick to it. I usually use Seventh Generation brand soap. (Oh, and if you’re bored, check out the documentary about “Dr” Bronner on Netflix. Kind of interesting, kind of sad.)
Recipe: Put 3 Tbl. of water, add 1 cup of Dr. Bronner’s soap or other castile soap in a small container (I re-used a single serve yogurt that had a plastic lid). That’s it. You can halve or quarter the recipe. Just use a splash, as usual. Again, this won’t be crazy-sudsy, but it will be clean!
Likewise, though dishwasher detergent CAN be made, it seems to leave a crusty mineral-y film on the heating element of my dishwasher. At least, that is what I intuit is doing it (I suppose it could be the minerals in my water, but I did notice it at least getting exponentially worse when I started doing the homemade stuff.) I now realize, however, after revisiting my recipe, I have been using baking soda, where actually, washing soda is called for! So now, I may have to try it again, to see if I have better results. Usually I have bought the Seventh Generation or Full Circle (Cashwise generic natural/organic) brand. The good thing about using a natural detergent – well, at least one good thing out of several – when you open your dishwasher while its running, you don’t get a chemical facial. Nice!
Recipe: 1 part washing soda to 1 part Borax. Put vinegar in your rinse cup, and your dishes will be less spotty, too!
It is empowering to do these things myself, easily, cheaply, and effectively. What do you make yourself? What new things should I add to the list?