Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Experiencing Your Character's Story

My First Attempt at Homemade Laundry Soap. Who knew?!!

As a writer, I value a variety of experiences; they enrich our stories. Like other readers, I've read about settings that I've visited and the book was way off. I try to keep authentic. Plus I'm just a person who likes to do stuff.

Currently, I’m working on a long term project and my heroine can really use my latest experience—making laundry soap. (Do you know how many times I’ve typed soup, when it should have been soap? :))

This snagged me/got me started reading recipes on Internet, and there are a lot of them: In today’s economy, money saving tips are great. With small children, my neighbor’s daughter makes homemade soap.

I thought I’d try this as it doesn’t look too hard. (EZ as pie, really!) There are all sorts of how-tos online. Basically, I didn’t have a 5-gallon bucket; I went with a large Animal Crackers container (not good). The stuff turned out to be a gel/pudding thickness and a lot of it.

Using ¼ cup per wash load, these containers of soap should last a while, or even a half cup. One take was that it cost .04 per load. I do know the ingredients yield a lot and are around $6 here in SW MO. That $6 goes thru several “experiences”.

The advantage is not only $, but no heavy scents—unless you want to add them. Plus, you’re not getting a lot of chemicals you don’t want. The basic 3 ingredients recipes are combined in different strengths.

Every recipe on Internet seemed to have different strengths, proportions to water, but the 3 basics are a bar of soap (FelsNaptha is laundry soap. I’m using Ivory next time), Arm&Hammer Washing Soda and Borax 76 oz. size.

The directions: Slowly add grated soap into boiling water and stir slowly. My big old French wooden spoon did nicely.

NOTE!!! Grate very finely to help dissolve better. Some directions said to use a food processor. I grated and measured onto a paper plate.

Add the soda and Borax, stir. Add warm water as directed and stir. Let set overnight. Mine gelled right away. Next time, I'm dissolving the soap in water in a smaller pan and then adding to a graniteware pot I found in the basement. Jugs with handles, small ones, or a vinegar jug work best, because shake before using. Or I have to.

Later. It’s always later when you first try something, right? Later, my neighbor gave me a great recipe she’s made for years.

Result: this laundry soap is cheap and really, really works well. 

We learn by mistakes and for this first time, I learned that I would use more water in the grated soap soup. I think I’d like more slime texture than gel. Next time, I’ll add baking soda for a sweeter wash, and maybe some lavender oil. On the other hand, using something other than FelsNaptha may produce another product.
Those with HE washers posted that they use this homemade laundry soap, and some said in the liquid form (there are dry recipes). I have an old washer that did just fine with the liquid, but caution those with HE washers to read the material.

Here's a big nod to Budget101.com for her comment below on Laundry Sauce, made in the microwave. Be sure to read.

If you have any recommendations about homemade laundry soap, I’d appreciate them. Correction: My heroine might need them :). I can just see her trying to give the extra amounts away to her neighbors like I'm doing.

1 comment:

Cait said...

Okay, Budget101.com's link for homemade laundry "sauce" is:

Please check this out?