Saturday, August 9, 2014

Laundry Soap and Reusable Fabric Softener Sheets

Well, here are two recipes that a lot of people have asked me about over the years, so I thought I’d share them with you. Actually, the Laundry Soap I’ve been using for many years, but the Reusable Fabric Softener Sheets I’ve only been using for a few months.

The reason I started using homemade products like these is because as you must know, the store bought versions get so expensive, even if you buy a generic brand product from wholesale stores. As soon as I started using the laundry soap and saw how great it works, I knew I’d never go back to store bought. The savings are phenomenal, and it cleans the clothes. It also has a light pleasant lemony scent.

Let me say that there are many different recipes out there for both of these, but these are the ones I tried and use, and they work just fine. I’m going to try some of the other recipes then do an updated post on what I’ve discovered, comparing them, so be on the look out for that. But if you’d like to at least get started with making your own, give these a try. I’ve noticed that some of the other recipes do use some or all of the same ingredients, so if you decide further down the line that you’d like to try a different recipe, you won’t be out a bunch of money spent on these ingredients.

So, let’s get…cooking? ;)

For the Laundry Soap, find yourself a container big enough to hold at least 2 gallons of water. I started making mine in double batches, and I had a big very sturdy bucket with handle and cover from my store bought detergent days. I rinsed it out and have been using that all these years. I think my bucket is a 5-gallon, so the double batch holds 4 gallons of soap just fine. I also don’t even measure the water anymore; I know where the top of the finished Laundry Soap comes to in my bucket, and I just make sure that I add enough water to reach that mark.

First, set 6 cups of water on to heat while you grate the Fels Naptha bar soap. Some people like to get a pot, grater, spoon, etc to use solely for these purposes; I just use what I use for cooking and wash them very well afterwards. However, I do have a plastic slotted spoon that I only use for the soap.

The water doesn’t have to boil, but when the water is very hot, add the grated Fels Naptha and stir until it dissolves. Add the washing soda and Borax and stir until they dissolve, which should take less time than the bar soap. Be careful not to have the heat up too high, as it can bubble up and over very quickly when you add the other 2 ingredients. Also, stay with it and stir; it only takes a couple of minutes until it’s ready.

When fully dissolved, pour the mixture into your ready container or bucket. Add 4 cups of hot water from the tap and stir. Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups more water (can be cold or room temperature) and stir well. Let the soap sit for 24 hours, stirring every so often.

The soap may have a jelly-ish texture, and that’s the way it is. You can stir it before you use it if you’d like, it does dissolve in the wash, even with cold water, which is all we use with our washer. This Laundry Soap doesn’t clog the washer, nor should it irritate the skin. It doesn’t have a bunch of suds; the ingredients in the soap are what clean, not suds. Use ½ cup for each load of laundry.

Now, on to the Reusable Fabric Softener Sheets. Find a container big enough to hold 3 cups of liquid plus 4 whole sponges. I ended up buying a set of 3 containers with lids at Walmart for under $3.00 and kept the other two for use in the kitchen.

I’ve heard that some people have made this using washcloths; you can get a 12-pack of them at Walmart for about $3.00. I actually had trouble finding a package of plain ordinary sponges without some scrubby material attached to one side, until I happened upon a 4-pack in CVS pharmacy for $1.29. Seriously, I looked at Walmart, Kroger, and several dollar stores without success. Thank you CVS!

So, making the Reusable Fabric Softener Sheets is very difficult, quite complex. Get ready for it…..ready…are you ready?? Measure out 1 ½ c of your favorite fabric softener and pour into the container. Then add 1 ½ c water, and…….STIR!!!!! ;)

Okay, you may need a break right about now, to gather up your strength again for the next step. Do what you need to, but when you feel rested and ready to move on….cut the sponges in half. ;)

Add the sponges (or the uncut washcloths) to the liquid in the container. They’re ready to use as soon as they soak up the liquid.

Now, I have to tell you about these. The original recipe I saw said to use 1 c fabric softener and 2 c water. I did do that for my first batch, but they were very watery and didn’t really make a difference in my laundry. The original recipe also said to squeeze out the excess liquid before tossing one of the half-sponges into the dryer. No, don’t do that. Especially if you want to actually have clothes that are a little softer, static free, and have a bit of a scent. If you use the washcloths, I might give a little squeeze so as not to drip, though.

I found that these worked better when I adjusted the amounts of softener and water, and I’m still saving money. When you take the load out of the dryer, just toss the used sponge back into the container. It’s so easy, and the money I’m saving is a big help to my family. I hope you like these recipes and that they benefit your family as they have mine. Enjoy! ~TMMF

Laundry Soap

1/3 bar Fels Naptha bar soap
½ c washing soda
½ c Borax

Reusable Fabric Softener Sheets

4 plain sponges
1 ½ c your favorite fabric softener
1 ½ c water

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