With the current Borax
discussion, I thought I'd bring this thread up with the results of my recent (today) experiment on streamlining the making of homemade laundry soap.
I've been making and using this stuff for years and wouldn't use anything else. I used to be a dipped-and-dyed Tide user, but this stuff is far superior to Tide, or anything else on the market.
At any rate, I've been thinking that there must be an easy, efficient way to make the stuff. Okay, it's not difficult already, but I'm always looking for ways to save time. Sooooooo...
Since you end up with 5 gallons of the soap concentrate, I scrounged up an old, empty and clean 5-gallon sheet rock mud bucket we had from a remodeling project. I poured 5 gallons of water into it to see where the 5-gallon mark would be. I drew a heavy black line there using a big, fat Sharpie. Okay, so now I know how much liquid concentrate I need to have at the end.
I have 2 glass 8-cup measuring bowls. Into one I shredded (using my good old box grater) my bar of Fels-Naptha soap. I added enough water to cover it and microwaved it on HIGH for 2 minutes. Watch it! It will boil up even for that short a time. Plenty of time. I used a wire whisk to stir, and stir, and stir, and stir until it was fully melted. Didn't take long.
In the other measuring bowl, I put the borax and washing soda. Filled it about halfway with water and nuked this for 2 minutes on HIGH. I stirred like mad after I took it out.
While all the nuking was going on, I filled my 5-gallon bucket about 2/3 full with steaming hot tap water. Ours is way hot.
Now, a long time ago I bought a huge (nearly 2-feet long) wire whisk at a restaurant supply store, only about $4.00. Light bulb time!!!! I could use this to stir my soap concentrate. And, yep, that's just what I did.
I poured the borax/washing soda slurry into the water and whisked like mad. Beautiful. Perfect. Once I was happy the stuff was nicely dissolved, I whisked the Fels/water mix and poured that in. Got my big old whisk and stirred just like the witches in Macbeth.
The concentrate came together like a charm. Everything was nicely dissolved and well-mixed.
It's taken me a little while to explain this, but the whole process really only took a few minutes.
Last piece of my puzzle. The containers to store the concentrate in. For years I've been using thoroughly washed out gallon milk bottles. They are fine...as far as they go, but the plastic they are made of can spring leaks and the lids don't always stay tight.
We drink Gatorade here, in the gallon bottles. Those puppies are sturdy and, glory, have a carrying handle.
While my concentrate is still warm, I measure 8 cups of it into my gallon storage containers. Seal the tops and store. When I need a bottle, I gently add warm water to the top of the container, shake and I have my new gallon of soap. I've been using this storage method for several years now and it's really been handy. I don't have to deal with the jelling that occurs when it has to be reconstituted from a large storage bucket. Yes, it does jell in the gallon bottles, but it is of no significance when the other 8 cups of water is added. It's just easier and less messy to handle.
My new method of stirring and making the soap is sooooo much easier than having to measure and scoop, etc. All I have to rely on is my nice black 5-gallon line on my bucket.
P.S. As I said, I wouldn't use anything else. We do lots of laundry here, even though it's just the two of us and the 10 gallons this recipe produces lasts us almost 2 years. How's that for saving money?!