Saturday, June 7, 2008

Homemade Laundry Soap Continued

A reader asked for some clarification of an earlier post regarding making laundry soap. So I'm going to add a bit more detail here.

Washing soda is a relatively strong base. It is a white powder. In homes people use it for "boosting" laundry detergent -- it softens the water -- and for raising the pH in swimming pools. Arm and Hammer sells it in a big yellow box that looks a lot like baking soda boxes. You can't substitute one for the other though. Baking soda has a pH around 8 and washing soda is around 11 -- so it's a much stronger base. (So strong you might use gloves when handling it.)

I found it in the laundry detergent section of a grocery store. It's inexpensive and lasts a long time. I've also heard of people finding it in swimming pool supply stores, but there it is called sodium carbonate instead of "washing soda".

I've considered using liquid castille soap in the laundry soap. I'm hesitant since it would take some experimenting to work out the proportions. Perhaps there's website out there where someone else has worked that out for us, but I've looked briefly and not found anything. I have used Dr. Bronners castille bar soap, grated, and it worked great. It was even peppermint scented. I was hoping we'd all smell like candy canes in our fresh washed clothes, but alas, the scent was so subtle no one noticed.

Another idea is to use the same proportions for soap, washing soda, and borax that I listed, only don't add water. Just use it dry and let it dissolve in the wash. I've never tried that, but I hear it works well.

I hope you give it a shot. Making my own laundry soap has saved us lots of money and cuts down on what chemicals we use in our home.

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