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Monday, December 28, 2009

Cleaning after the SHTF...

As a Kid one of my monthly chores was to help my Great -GrandMother make soap. A total pain in the butt and time consuming. Anybody that wears clothes knows they have to be washed. How to do this when the SHTF and ya can't get to Harvey's?

So I was searching internet the other day and came across a thread on making your own laundry detergent, so I figured I would try it. It worked great for me, its cheap and easy to make, you can make much more than 1 batch, and the items are multi-purpose; all of which are a BIG plus.

The Recipe: Liquid Laundry Soap Makes Enough for About 180 Loads 1 each, Bar - Fels Naptha soap (or Ivory) 1 cup - Washing soda 1/2 cup - Borax 1 - 5 gal. HDPE plastic utility bucket with lid. Grate the Fels Naptha soap into small pieces. You can chop it with a knife, cheese grater, or food processor (the finer, the better).
Heat four quarts of water in a large, heavy saucepan on top of stove and add soap, stirring constantly till melted. This will take a while depending on the size of your grated pieces.

Meanwhile, fill the five gallon bucket half full with warm water. Add the 1 cup of washing soda and the 1/2 cup of Borax and stir well. When soap is melted pour into bucket, then continue to fill bucket with warm water until full. Stir well and let sit overnight until cool. This "concentrate" will thicken as it sits. Stir before using.

Now, I use this concentrate straight out of the bucket and use 1/3 cup per large load. The original instructions said to save an old laundry detergent container, fill half full with concentrate then add water to top. Shake and use 5/8ths cup per large load. Repeat till your concentrate is gone. This will give you 10 gallons of laundry detergent. That just seemed more trouble than necessary. So I use the concentrate as-is.
No need to have to make room for another container. You will have enough leftover soda and Borax to make approximately five more buckets of detergent.

My results:I was extremely impressed in how EASY this was to make. I made a 5 gallon bucket in under 30 minutes, and thats with grating the soap. Now I could not find the Fels Naptha soap at several grocery stores and Walmart, so I used 1 bar of Ivory soap. Check your local Ace hardware store, they may have Fels there. And as the instructions say, after you are done mixing, let cool overnight, it will kinda gel up that is Normal, just stir it and get the amount you need.
I have washed several loads of laundry so far and I was (and my wife) pretty impressed (and the wife was skeptical, especially when it calls for 1/3 of cup per large load). The clothes come out clean and have a gentle smell to them. If you want your clothes to smell more, add some liquid fabric softner to the load or a dryer sheet. This will cost under $15.00 to make.

If you're not set up with alternative energy, the washing machine ain't gonna work. Get a large metal tub. Heat water on a fire and add to clothes. Make a strong stir stick. After the wash, let the water cool, pour out and add clean water for rinseing. Squeeze out and hang up to dry. If you want to get wrinkles out. Go to a flea market or antique store, buy a metal iron. Heat and Iron. This is also a pain in the butt but...


Kymber said...

teeheehee....rridgeoutlaw....awesome freakin post! thanks!

SciFiChick said...

I use the same recipe for my laundry soap. It works great for me to and you cant beat the price!

Anonymous said...

We bought a washtube and scrubbing board from Lehmans some years back. I keep a lot of concentrated laundry detergent in my home storage because my daughter has allergies and needs the clothes washed in a detergent designed for folks like her. If we ever ran out, I am not sure what I'd do in that regard.

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