Oh my goodness gals! Why did I wait so long to try making my own laundry soap? I am tickled-pink-with-sparkles at the results AND I feel so vintage-farmwife-y using my bucketful of homemade laundry soap!
Anne Geddes Photo (oh honey’s!)
The best part is my laundry smells so fresh and sweet…like a happy baby after a warm bath! And it’s so easy and cheap!
I’ve had my front load High Efficiency washing machine for several years now and have been disappointed with it. The main reason is that my towels and clothes just never smelled SpRiNgTiMe fresh. I used good smelling liquid detergent, good smelling softener and good smelling dryer sheets, but my laundry was not , well… good smelling. I would often clean the inside washing machine drum with vinegar to remove any mustiness and sometimes I ran an empty cycle with just bleach. Still not good. I also made sure that the door remained opened when not in use to keep air flowing through it. Nope. Didn’t help. Boo Hoo! But at last my laundry dreams have come true! (Laaaaaahh…I think I hear angels singing!) Now when I breathe deep with my nose snuggled in hot towels from the dryer, ahhhh…sweet as can be! Ya know darlin’s it’s the little things that make joy-bells ring in my heart!
I was inspired by my darlin’ friend Maryjane from The Beehive Cottage to make my own laundry soap. You can read her own homemade laundry detergent story here! …the one that made me excited to finally try it myself! And boy am I glad I did!
It’s only four ingredients!
1 (4 pound) box of Super Washing Soda
1 (4pound) box of Baking Soda
1 (4 pound) box of Borax
3 bars of Kirk’s Castile soap–Shredded
(you can use Fels Naptha, Zote, or Ivory soaps)
Mix well in a large container.
Add two heaping tablespoons to each load of laundry. Enjoy the sweetness!
I chose Kirk’s Castile bar soap because, from doing some research, it is made with natural ingredients and best for sensitive skin.
Supposedly, it’s safe enough to brush your teeth with it…but, I think I’ll stick with my regular toothpaste, thank you very much!
You need to grate the 3 bars of soap. I used my food processor to grind the soap. Cutting them into small chunks first.
After grinding the soap it kinda looks like Feta Cheese.
The other day I was out junkin’ at a flea market and found this vintage cheese grater. The price was so inexpensive that I thought I would bring it home to use for grating my soap the hand-crank old fashioned way. It worked great! Although it took longer than using my food processor, it was kinda fun. It think kids would enjoy using this old timey gadget. (The info underneath this vintage grater says: Enterprise Manufacturing Co. Philadelphia PA.)
The texture of the soap shreds were much fluffier than the “Feta Cheese” texture from the food processor.
But I’m sure both ways work fine in the recipe.
Okay, so I mixed all 4 ingredients in my bucket and stirred and stirred and stirred until it was fully blended. That’s it! Easy-Peasy-Lemon- Squeezy! Ready to wash a load! Just take approximately 2 heaping tablespoons-full and drop it in the appropriate spot in your washing machine. In my front loader, I have a little drawer to put my detergent in. This is VERY IMPORTANT — if you have a front loading machine you need to take out the little tray that is meant for liquid only. If you put the powder in that tray it will clog. With the tray removed you can just add your scoop of dry detergent with no problems. I found this small scoop at Walmart that I keep in my bucket. In fact I got all of my supplies at Walmart. The boxed items were found in the laundry detergent isle and the bar soap in the toiletries section. The cost for me was around $13 for the supplies. Divided by 150 loads, the cost is around 8 1/2 cents a load. My other detergent was costing me 19 cents a load, so you can see my savings here! Not to mention my sweet smelling laundry now!
Oh yes! One more thing! I use white vinegar in place of fabric softener. It helps keep whites bright and colors bold. It helps remove any soap residue and it works as an anti-bacterial too. I use about 1/4 cup…just enough to fill the softener reservoir. As Maryjane promises, it will NOT make your clothes smell like vinegar. Yay! Now, if you want more fragrance you can put the vinegar in the pre-rinse cycle and go ahead and use your favorite fabric softener or dryer sheets…you’ll still be saving money with your homemade laundry soap.
Maryjane uses a cute teacup to scoop out her soap. So I thought I would give it a try too with my little 1940’s Diner cup! I just think whenever we can make a household chore more appealing, it lifts our spirit! Filling our everyday surroundings with beauty, charm and some happy music it truly makes our days much more delightful! A lot of it depends on our attitude too. If we approach our chores with the thought my job as mama is to take good and proper care of my family, so I’m gonna do what it takes to show them they are loved, it makes all the difference. We all have to do laundry, so why not make it a more pleasant experience!
We obviously have it much easier than our sisters before us!
I found this darlin’ Wash Day instruction on the internet and thought it gave a great perspective on what the homemaker in the early 1900’s had to go through just to do a load of laundry! Now I understand the meaning of “Wash Day”. It took the whole day!
ADVICE TO A 1912 BRIDE
Years ago a Kentucky grandmother gave a bride the following recipe for washing clothes (misspelled words and all) :
- Bild fire in back yard to heet kettle of rainwater.
- Set tubs so smoke won’t blow in eyes if wind is pert.
- Shave one hole cake lie soap in boilin water.
- Sort things, make three piles. 1 pile white. 1 pile cullord. 1 pile work britches and rags.
- To make starch stur flour in cold water to smooth then thin down with boilin water.
- Rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, then boil. Rub cullord but don’t boil — just rench and starch.
- Take white things out of kettle with broom stick handle then rench, blew and starch.
- Spred tee towels on grass.
- Hang old rags on fence.
- Pour rench water in flower bed.
- Scrub porch with hot soapy water.
- Turn tubs upside down.
- Go put on cleen dress, smooth hair with side combs, brew cup of tee — set and rest a spell and count your blessins.
Yes! That Kentucky Granny had it right!
At the end of your day “sit and rest a spell and count your blessin’s”!
Remember the old hymn? “Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.” ~Johnson Oatman, Jr.
Looking back at the way women did their laundry (or any household chore) is so fascinating to me. How wonderful it must have been when the first automatic washing machine was invented. I’m sure it was the starry-eyed dream of every woman!
Times sure have changed! Still it’s fun and even delightful to find ways to live the simple “Vintage Life”! Making homemade laundry detergent is one way to give a nod to the charming past while being thankful for our modern conveniences.
How about you darlin’? What are your experiences in making your own Laundry Soap?
In what ways are you living the Vintage Life?
Do share! We all want to know!
Thanks for stopping by! I LOVE hearing from you!
God bless your darlin’ hearts!