Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Home Mixed Washing Soap

"Homemade Washing Soap"

For quite some time, I'd been toying with the idea of mixing up some washing soap, using one of the recipes that are floating around on the internets. Over a period of time I assembled the key ingredients: Powdered Washing Soda, Powdered Borax and Fels Naphtha bar soap. Funnily enough it didn't mix itself, so ended up setting around for several months. Finally after shearing at the end of April, I had some time and set out to make some soap.

Really it took probably only about a half hour to mix up. Shaving the Fels into hot boiling water was what took the most time. Once I mixed it all up, it made about three or four gallons of a soap mixture. It stays the consistency of soft jello, unless it is really warm out, then it becomes more liquid like.

Pouring the soap into the bottle--always a messy time for me!

Knowing that I planned to do this 'eventually' I saved a couple of plastic bottles that the store bought washing soaps come in . This way I can store the larger bucket (with lid) outside in the breezeway and fill up my bottle periodically to keep in the house. This is probably the messiest part of it, filling the bottle, but it isn't a big deal.

I wash from 5-6 loads of laundry a week this time of year, I'm not a compulsive clothes washer, so I try to get several wears out of my chore clothes and such. However this is a messy time of the year! I've been doing allot of dog bedding washing too. I mixed up the batch around April 20th and have about two and half more gallons or so left now. The total cost of the initial ingredients were about $6.00 to $7.00 dollars.

As far as cleaning, it does just fine. It does not suds up like the commercial stuff, but does clean well. You don't get a strong soapy smell like the commerical stuff. The only problem I've encountered, is when I had some damp wash cloths piled up and forgot to wash them right away. They developed that nasty sour-mildewy smell, and the soap didn't cut the smell. Adding a little bleach to the whites/towels etc has taken care of that problem.

I also add a little Orange essential oil to the mixture so it smells purty. You have to shake it all up in the bottle before use, but I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. I'll probably do it again. This time I'll only need to buy the Fels Naphtha since I have the washing soda and Borax left from the first batch.

The final touch--adding the Orange oil to the bottle of soap. (I don't add this to the main batch of soap, just as I bring a bottle into the house.)


Vicki Lane said...

Neat idea -- as if you didn't have enough to do! You're something else, Tammy!

Nancy K. said...


Maybe next winter I'll try making some soap...

Star said...

That's very inventive of you. Looks like you need a funnel to fill that bottle up. I discovered, by chance, that an old light fitting shade makes a good funnel for filling jampots. You know, the brass sort, with rigid sides. I like the idea of using orange oil. Would that stain the clothes, I wonder? I spose not, in such small quantities.
Blessings, Star

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Tammy, you've been prized with “Honest Weblog.” Come on over to Boulderneigh to pick it up.

Kathy said...

Orange oil will also cut grease. You can use it straight on a cotton ball to get label-gum off jars and scuff marks off floors.
Try some lavender oil in your next batch of's wonderful! Those French people had the right idea. :)
Good job!

(former "Pumphouse Wash Soap & Honey Co." owner)