Thursday, January 12, 2012

Questions About Home Made Soaps

I found one site (Tip nut) who was a DIY Soap queen and she had a question and
answer page, I 

Where Do You Buy Washing Soda?
The brand of washing soda I’m most familiar with is Arm & Hammer.
Look in the laundry aisle of your grocery store or Walmart, that’s where I find it.
You can order it online, do a search for “Arm & Hammer Washing Soda”.
It’s apparently also known as Soda Ash and can be found at art supply stores, JoAnn Fabrics, and other places that sell textile products.
Try asking your local grocer to order it for you if they don’t carry it. The UPC code is 33200-03020 or 033200-030201.
You can try calling Church & Dwight the suppliers/makers for Arm & Hammer Washing Soda…1-800-524-1328…give them a UPC # 33200-03020 and they can direct you on where to find it locally or purchase it through them over the phone. You can also contact them via their website here: Church & Dwight – Arm & Hammer.
Where Can I Buy Fels Naptha?
Check the laundry aisle in your local grocery store or Walmart.
Fels Naptha is made by The Dial Corp. You can check this website to locate the nearest store that carries this soap: Henkel North America – Store Location.
You can order it online at Amazon.
Help! My Liquid Detergent Is Too Thick, Too Watery, Too Chunky, It Separated, It’s A Solid Mass, It Doesn’t Look Like I Think It Should!
Making homemade laundry detergent is not an exact science. If the soap turns out differently than expected, still give it a try since the soap ingredients are all there. I can’t tell you what you did wrong or why a detergent turned out differently than expected. If you followed directions to a “T” (stirred really well, used hot water, measured correctly, etc.), then the likely culprit is the brand of soap used. If the liquid detergent gelled into a solid mass, try mixing in more hot water. If it’s too thin, try adding more soap or Borax or Washing Soda.
It Doesn’t Look Like Laundry Gel, It Looks Like Goopy Glop!
Congrats! That’s how it’s supposed to look.
I Want To Use My Favorite Brand Of Soap In The Detergent, Can I?
You’ll have to experiment by making a batch first to know for sure. I would cut batches in half (or even less) when first experimenting with a soap. This way there won’t be as much waste if it turns out poorly.
You don’t want to use a bar of soap heavy with perfumes or oils since this may transfer to your clothing (stains). They may also cause a chemical reaction with the other detergent ingredients.
 You can use any soap that lists sodium palmate, sodium cocoate, sodium tallowate, etc. Just be sure you are using real soap and not detergent beauty bars with added free oils. (i.e. dove, etc).
I wouldn’t use beauty bars or shower gels or body wash.
Are There Soap Alternatives For People Who Have Allergies Or Sensitive Skin?
Try soaps that you know you’re not allergic to, but watch the ingredients in the bar to make sure it won’t react with the rest of ingredients of the detergent. The only way to know for sure is to try it.
How Do You Grate The Soap?
I use a handheld cheese grater but you can also use a food processor (just make sure you clean it well after use). Grate the soap first before adding to a food processor and chop until fine.
Can I Use Liquid Soap Instead Of Grated Bar Soap?
Again, making homemade detergent is not an exact science–there’s lots of room for experimentation. For liquid laundry detergents, I myself have not tried using liquid soap instead of bar soap. I think Liquid Castile would be ok, you might want to dilute it with water first (no, I don’t have a dilution ratio to suggest). If you do try it, let us know how you made out in the comments area below.
What Is The Difference Between Washing Soda And Baking Soda?
Washing soda is Sodium Carbonate Decahydrate. Baking Soda is Sodium Bicarbonate. No they are not interchangeable and results will vary if substituting one for the other.
How Long Can It Be Stored For?
The powdered version seems to last forever, but I have no exact expiry date to advise. The liquid detergent also lasts a long time, but will thicken up over time. It was also suggested in the comments area that bacteria may grow in the detergent if it’s stored too long–what too long actually is, I can’t answer.
Can You Safely Use It With A High Efficiency Washer (HE Machine)?
I have no experience with this but there are lots of comments that say it’s fine to use. Be aware that using anything other than what your machine manufacturer recommends may void your warranty.
Homemade detergent is low sudsing which is important for HE machines.
Can You Use It In a Front Loading Machine?
I have no experience with this but there are lots of comments that say it’s fine to use. Be aware that using anything other than what your machine manufacturer recommends may void your warranty.
I Have Hard Water & My Clothes Don’t Come Out That Clean, Suggestions?
Try adding baking soda or oxyclean or vinegar as laundry boosters, suggestions for baking soda are to start with 1/2 cup per load.
Aren’t Washing Soda & Borax Caustic? Poisonous? Are They Safe To Handle?
As with all soaps and cleaners, common sense is needed when handling soaps and detergents–homemade laundry detergent ingredients are not excluded from this. Going against dire, dire warnings about how dangerous Borax and Washing Soda are to the skin, I handled all ingredients with bare hands and experienced no burns and all flesh is still intact. If I had small cuts or scrapes on my skin, my experience may have been different. To be safe you may wish to use rubber gloves. Avoid breathing in any of the powders and ingredients. I imagine breathing in a mouthful of commercial laundry detergent, or getting it in my eyes or up my nose, would be very uncomfortable and unwise, the same goes for homemade detergent ingredients. It goes without saying: Don’t eat it to find out if it’s poisonous or not. And of course: Keep this out of reach of kiddos just like you would for any other cleaner, detergent or soap.
Can It Be Used In Cold Water Instead Of Hot?
Sure it can. If you notice clothes don’t come out as clean as you’d like, try a laundry booster such as vinegar or oxyclean.
Can It Be Used For Washing Baby Clothes & Diapers?
This question is asked for two reasons: Will it irritate baby’s skin and will it be strong enough to clean nasty diapers. Although I’ve never used homemade detergents for this purpose myself, I don’t see why it couldn’t be used. Martha Stewart recommends both Washing Soda and Borax as laundry boosters when washing diapers. The instructions on the box for Arm & Hammer suggest it be used as a diaper soak. Many have affirmed that baby items wash up nicely with no ill effects.
How Fine Do You Have To Grate The Soap?
Grating the soap first is done so that it melts faster when heated or dissolves better in the wash. The finer it is, the quicker it melts.
Will It Fade Dark Colored Clothing?
I have noticed no fading or damage to clothing. I’ve laundered work clothes, everyday clothes and office attire in homemade detergents.
Freshly Laundered Clothes Smell Like Nothing! Can You Add Essential Oils For Fragrance? If So, How Much Do I Add?
Yes, Essential oils are a nice touch to homemade detergents (freshly laundered clothes really don’t have any nice fragrance added with homemade detergent). How much you add depends on how strong the fragrance is that you’ve chosen and what laundry detergent recipe you are using. Experiment for yourself to see what you like best. For starters you can try these two suggestions as guidelines: Recipe #4 (Powdered) I’d start with 5 drops, mixed in very well. Recipe #9 (Powdered) I’d start with 20 to 25 drops, mixed in very well. Also noted in the original post: You can add between 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (per 2 gallons) to your homemade laundry detergent.
Can I Still Use Bleach In My Laundry?
Bleach has been used by myself successfully with no harmful effects. You will want to watch the ingredients in your soap items though (make sure the soap bar you use can be mixed with bleach safely), bleach will react negatively with vinegar for example.
Is There A Soap Residue On Clothes After Washing?
I haven’t noticed it but if you do, here are a couple things you can try: Increase the water amount, decrease the load size or decrease the detergent used per wash. You can also try a vinegar rinse by using a Downy ball or add vinegar during the rinse cycle.
Can I Safely Use the Gray Water From Washing Clothes In Homemade Detergent In My Garden?
I have no idea, sorry.
Are These Recipes Safe For Septic Tanks?
I have no idea, sorry.
Why Aren’t There Any Suds In The Water?
Homemade detergents are low sudsing, you won’t see many suds in the wash. No worries, this is normal and your clothes will still come out clean.
After Mixing Ingredients Together, The Detergent Smells Really Strong & Foul–What’s Wrong?
The brand of soap bar you used is likely causing a chemical reaction with the other ingredients. Throw out the batch (don’t get it on your skin or breathe it in) and use a different brand of soap.
The Soap Isn’t Completely Dissolving In The Water, Why?
If you’re having problems with chunks of detergent not dissolving, try mixing the detergent in some hot water before adding to the load of laundry.
If you are using the powdered version of detergent, try grating your soap into finer pieces.
Any Ideas Of What I Can Use For Storing The Liquid Version In?
Use pails made from heavy plastic, make sure there’s a lid or cap to keep the detergent sealed. I found some big heavy pails through a restaurant, if you know someone working in a restaurant, see if they can help you out.
Comments have suggested using empty plastic vinegar jugs.
Comments have suggested using the large plastic kitty litter containers.
Is Borax or Washing Soda Safe For The Environment? I’m Trying To Find An Eco-Friendly Soap!
According to this website, washing soda is environmentally friendly:
Borax is an ingredient included in many “Green” recipes.
I would guess that it’s not the most environmentally friendly option out there, but it would be better than most regular commercial detergents.
How Much Soap Should I Use Per Load Of Wash?
Read the instructions for the particular recipe you’re using, each of them have suggested amounts to use. Feel free to adjust as needed.
Ugh! This Stuff Didn’t Clean My Clothes At All!
It could be one of two things: not enough detergent used in the load or the brand of bar soap used in the recipe. Experiment with the amount of detergent you use in the wash, you should discover the needed amount. The suggested amounts to use per load may not be right in your case since the brand of bar soap you used might not be as good a cleaner as others.
Is It Really Worthwhile Making Your Own Detergent?
The powdered laundry detergents are the easiest to manage in my opinion (for both mixing and storing). It doesn’t cost that much to give it a shot and see how you like it. If you do find it works well for you–imagine the money you’ll save over time!
Adding Some Antiseptic Quality To The Soap
This is a great tip sent in by Susan and I think it should be added to this main section so it doesn’t get missed (thank you Susan!)…
For readers who were worried about bacteria surviving in the wash using cold water they could try using Dr. Bronner’s teatree soap or adding teatree oil to their detergent for it’s antiseptic properties.  Also, adding vinegar to the fabric softener cup on the washer will help to keep things more sanitary by breaking up leftover wash residue.
Thanks to Tip Nut for this info!