Dollar Tree find

A quick post.  I went to the Dollar Tree last week to see what they had for containers, but didn't find what I was looking for.  I did however, notice a small section (at the end of an aisle) of Betty Crocker stuff.  I spotted this small grater and thought it might work for shredding soap! 

The grater might look large in the picture, but it's small.  The total length of it (the red plastic) is 7 inches long and it's 3.25 inches wide.

I didn't get to use it yet because I had already grated the rest of my laundry bars.  What I did though, was test it by rubbing my stain stick on it a few times.  The grater holes are small, and the shreds turned out really fine and small...and they "fall" into the bottom compartment, so it's nice that they're contained. 

I just put a regular bar of soap in the bottom compartment to show the size.  The next time I make laundry soap bars, I'll see how it holds up.  If it doesn't work quite as well, then no biggie...it was only $1.00!  :)


homemade laundry soap

It's been a while since my last post....I'm still here, just haven't been motivated to do much of anything in the past month.  I have a lot of catching up to do!  I did, however, try my hand at making laundry soap. I'm not sure why I waited so long because it's actually very easy to make.

When I was looking at recipes, I noticed there were a few variations.  I decided to keep it simple and go with the most popular one that had only three ingredients....borax, washing soda and Fels-Naptha.  I also chose to make the powdered form over the liquid form because it's easier to make and takes up less storage space.

The recipe:

1 cup 20 Mule Team borax (sodium tetraborate)- stain remover and deodorizer...more info here
1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda (sodium carbonate)- a water softener, stain remover...more info here
1 bar Fels-Naptha, Zote or handmade* soap, 5 oz., grated  (* link to handmade suggestions below)

Mix together and there you have it...homemade laundry soap!
Use 1 Tbsp-2 Tbsp per load.  (safe for HE machines)

All ingredients can be found in the laundry section at Walmart, although I couldn't find Zote, just the Fels-Naptha.  I actually ended up making my own soap to replace the Fels-Naptha because I didn't care for the scent...or the ingredient list (I wanted to make mine more natural). 

*I did a quick search on etsy for handmade "laundry bar soap" and was able to pull up some listings here, if one was wanting to go the more natural route.  Just make sure that the soap is formulated for laundry, and not a regular bar of handmade soap.  Why is that?  Because most soapmakers "superfat" their soaps....a better understanding of it can be found here.  Those extra (unsaponified) oils are good for your skin...not on your clothes!

I made 100% coconut oil soap with 0% superfat, scented with sweet orange essential oil.

I grated the bars of soap using a cheese grater (smallest-sized shreds) and let the shreds dry out for about a week before combining with the borax and washing soda.

I also cut up one bar to make stain sticks. These are working very well for me!  I dip the bar in water and rub into the stain.  I've only used them on grease/food stains so far, and the stains are coming out.  Sometimes it takes two tries, but they do come out.

This step isn't necessary...you can combine the shreds, borax and washing soda and be done.  I went an extra step and used a food processor to grind them into a fine powder.

The results:
It's been about two weeks now and I've been using homemade laundry soap only. The clothes haven't discolored, they don't stink, and they don't have any residue on them.  The clothes look and feel clean...the laundry soap is working great!  I plan on making a lot more of it, just need to find a larger container to store the soap in. 

Additional notes:
  • Even though I scented my soap with sweet orange essential oil, none of the scent comes through in the wash.  I can faintly smell it in the container, but the clothes do not come out with scent on them.  I'm ok with this because I don't care for strong-smelling detergents anyway.  Plus, my son has eczema, so the less fragrance (and other chemicals), the better.
  • I recommend visiting the DIYNatural website for more in-depth information on making your own laundry soap...it's very informative! Cost savings breakdown, toxicity, HE washers (info on front-loading machines also), tutorials...they have lots of information.  
  Edited to add a link to a video (thanks Maja!):
  •  If you're a visual learner and want to see the process, this video by Soaping 101 is excellent.  The link to the video is here.  There are segments on making your own washing soda and stain sticks as well!
I will continue to use my homemade laundry soap, and if anything changes I will definitely report back!


swagbucks and soap supplies

A little over a year ago, I signed up for Swagbucks to earn gift cards.  It takes me a long time to build them up (I go at a snail's pace), but it's very rewarding when you finally reach your goal!  My first purchase (I redeemed my Swagbucks for Paypal cash) was a reactive bowling ball...I have a "regular" bowling ball, but after ten years of throwing a straight ball, it was time to learn how to throw a hook! The Swagbucks didn't cover the entire cost of the ball, but it sure helped out.

So after the bowling ball purchase, I started over again accumulating SB.  I thought this time I would apply it toward soap supplies, because it would sure help out with the shipping cost.  I was out of lye, so this is what I applied the Swagbucks to...and I redeemed them for $25 Paypal cash again.  I ordered the lye from Essential Depot...and at the time, it was on sale for $1.99/2 lb. 

4 x $1.99= $ 7.96 (for 8lbs.)
               + $19.71 shipping
                  $27.67 total
               - $25.00 Swagbucks/Paypal gift card
                  $ 2.67 out of pocket

I got 8 lbs. of lye for $2.67...that's .67 per bottle!  Shipping is always higher than my order too, whenever I order from ED, so it's nice to apply Swagbucks toward the shipping cost....doesn't "hurt" so much!  Do you participate in Swagbucks?  What have you used them for?

By the way, I am not being compensated by anyone for writing this post.  I just wanted to share my savings experience!  There is a referral button though, at the top right of my blog...if you're thinking of trying it out,  I'd appreciate it! :)    


sweet potatoes and brown sugar

I wanted to use another puree in my next batch.  This time with sweet potatoes, and some brown sugar because that goes well with sweet potatoes...then of course some kaolin clay since I like to add that in almost every batch!  I didn't add any scent though...just kept it as natural as could be, and for being unscented, it smells so good right now...a bakery, doughy smell. 

sweet potatoes and additives

dissolved brown sugar in water first

sweet potatoes added after brown sugar was dissolved, then added lye

Note:  I didn't have a volcano or any problems making the lye solution like this, but I probably should have done it in an ice bath, or else added the dissolved brown sugar into the oils before adding the lye water solution.  It just got way too hot the way I did it...like "smoking" hot!

finished bars
These were challenging to photograph, but the bars are beige with soft warm undertones.


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