Friday, March 20, 2015

Laundry Butter Recipe

I received permission to share this recipe with you.
This is from fat farm girl soaps.
It's an animal-free veggie-based variation on the cream soap that our grandmothers made for their own laundry, and it's *super* cheap! My grandmother made hers with tallow/lard soap, and instead of borax she used plain old salt, but this is better. You *can* use plain salt if you have concerns about borax.

Coconut oil soap is super cleansing, and is able to strip dirt right out of fabrics. The cool thing about Laundry Butter is that it's multi-purpose: you can use it as a laundry soap, a stain pre-wash, and it can also be used as a household cleaner for floors, draperies, etc.

Our household of three adults and 2 farm dogs spends about $4 total on laundry soap each year, and this is why.

If you don't buy coconut oil in bulk, to make coconut laundry soap, I recommend that you buy the coconut oil tub shown in the picture. It only costs $6 at Walmart, and will give you right around 3 pounds of soap. You can also use parts of laundry bars as stain sticks by just wetting them and rubbing them directly into stains.

However much soap you decide to make, be certain that you calculate for 0% superfat.

The way I make coconut soap is I scoop my room temp oil into a safety bowl in the sink, I add my lye solution, and I mix my soap past trace to full emulsion. When the soap looks like mayonnaise, use a spatula to pile it into a three pound loaf mold; a small bread loaf pan works for this if you line it with parchment or freezer paper and tape the inside corners to seal them. It will take about an hour for the soap to gel and solidify. I cut mine right away, others choose to wait until the next day.

To make Laundry Butter Cream Soap:

*Grate 6 ounces of 0% SF coconut laundry soap
* In a stainless steel pot with a lid, bring 6 cups of distilled water just to a boil, then take off the heat
* Pour grated soap into hot water and stir to dissolve completely
* *Slowly* sprinkle in 1 cup of borax, and stir until dissolved. *Do* *not* add to boiling water or with the soap when the water is super hot, or it will crystalize and you'll never get the crystals out.
* Stir in 1 cup of washing soda (made by baking 1 cup of baking soda @ 400F for 30 min.) and stir to dissolve. 
* Cover pot with the lid and let the mixture gel at room temperature for 3 to 6 hours until completely cool and set. Don't try to speed up process, or you'll end up with more crystals.
* When mixture is completely cool and gelled, use the stick blender to emulsify, making sure to get the bottom of the pot where some of your borax may have settled. Blend until the soap is the consistency of thick, creamy mayonnaise all the way through and all clumps are gone.
* At this time you can add any EOs that you'd like. Some essential oils survive the washer better than other. Some scents stay better if you use a clothes line rather than a heat dryer. Lemongrass is my best seller.
* Bottle into 2 one quart canning jars, tamping lightly on a folded towel to expel air bubbles. Store at room temp.

This recipe can be easily expanded. I make mine in 6 gallon batches to accommodate five flats of quart-sized jars. From start to finish, I can turn out a full batch in a 6 hour day.

The perks of Laundry Butter are:

Compact size: 1 jar washes approximately 160-175 standard loads in either front loading or top loading. washers. Unlike liquid soaps, you don't need a 5 gallon bucket to store a year's supply, and every jar weighs right around 3 pounds, making it ideal for college students and apartment dwellers.

Naturally phosphate free, making it gentle for the environment.

Less messy than either the powdered or liquid laundry soaps.

Very economical: it's not just multi-purpose, it's also super-concentrated. One Tablespoon washes a standard load of laundry. *And* the jar is recyclable. I give my farmer's market customers $2 off when they bring their jars back.

It's good for people with skin sensitivity. I have severe skin allergies, and this is the one soap that doesn't make me break out in hives.

For the record, if you make this soap to sell in bulk, you can make radical profits. Whilst the cost, not including the jars, is less than a dollar per jar, I sell this soap for $10 a jar, which is comparable and more economical that store-bought detergent, and it cleans just as well.

Updated laundry butter recipe with photos:

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Thanks for viewing!  Dawnie


Anonymous said...

I was so excited to try this recipe but I cannot get it to emulsify... it just keeps separating. How do you get yours to emulsify? I feel like it needs emulsifying wax.... I followed the directions exactly. What went wrong?

I'll Pour said...

Once you let it set and gel, it should be thick and ready to whip. Once it was thick on the top and not on the bottom until I whipped. Another time it was a little liquid, but once I whipped it, it gelled up. Did you use zero percent fat coconut oil?

Unknown said...

I've been wanting to make this for months. Made my coconut soap & bought the ingredients months ago. But, being new to soaping was scared to try. Today I followed your simple easy to follow instructions & just made my 1st batch. It's beautiful. I'm going to sell in the purple Ball 100 yr anniversary addition. I'm washing my first load of laundry now. Oh, I also added Lemon Grass, smells Soo good. Thank you for your blog. Was great help!

Unknown said...

I just made this the other day. And I am using the laundry butter right now. I notice that 1 tbsp isn't bubbly. So I added 2 more tbsp and notice small bubbles. Is this because of my water?

I'll Pour said...

I am glad you enjoy it Tami May.

I'll Pour said...

Lesley, it could be. I find this recipe softens the water.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the plug, Dawn!

Lesley asked about suds. Laundry butter should not suds--this is what makes it appropriate for use in front loading washers. All sodium-based soaps should be low sudsing. Just keep in mind that bubbles have nothing to do with cleansing ability; bubbles are just marketing psychology.

Anonymous asked about separating laundry butter. This is a result of not allowing your laundry butter to completely cool before mixing. It can also result from storing your laundry butter in conditions that are too warm.

Happy soaping!

_miki odendahl, Fat Farmgirl Soap Company

Unknown said...

How much essential oil do you recommend adding to the recipe?

I'll Pour said...

I use about a teaspoon of essential oil or fragrance oil per quart jar. I don't necessarily measure when the soap is for me. I like my soap fairly fragrant. When the laundry has completed the wash cycle, only a tiny amount of fragrance stays on the clothes.

Anonymous said...

If I wanted to use salt rather than the borax would I use 1 cup of salt?

I'll Pour said...

I haven't tried salt instead of Borax. Salt does have super cleaning power.

Unknown said...

Can you pour the finished product in silicone shapes that would be like pods? Would it hold its shape?

I'll Pour said...

I don't think they would be thick enough. I have mixed some with the salt I use for my fabric softener. If you have the liquids right, you can dry the pods out and it should work. For me, it isn't worth the trouble. If you have kids,a spouse,or go to the laundromat, it may be worth it for you.

Anonymous said...

Newbie here. Made laundry butter for the first time and it turned out great. Happy with it. Then tried your laundry butter recipe. Water and soap separated, and 12hrs later tried to blend together. And it doesn't. Where is my mistake??

I'll Pour said...

Did you use a super fated soap? I had an initial separation, but when I blended it, it whipped up and I didn't have any issues. I have made this several times.

Brankica said...

Great recipe thank you very much! I have made two batches so far but each time I think my borax went into crystals. The water was lukewarm so not sure if I have to wait till is totally cold? Any suggestions? Thank you!

I'll Pour said...

I had issues when I didn't use coconut oil soap. What soap did you use Branica?