20 February 2011

Laundry soap and Bicarb Soda

"Cath, I just wanted to know what bar of soap you used for the laundry powder recipe. I used velvet because it said it was suitable for use in the laundry but it does seem to be on the pricey side - $2.70 for 4 bars of soap. Could I use any no name soap?  Also, do you know where you can buy bi carb in bulk. I'm trying to get the cost down. "   Wendy

I've answered Wendy's questions on the website but thought I'd post the answers here too. Sometimes you miss things on the website.

When it comes down to it you can use any bar soap to make the Cheapskates Washing Powder. Laundry soap is the cheapest if you are going to buy soap especially for this, bathroom soap smells nicer if you like the scent.

Making your own laundry powder is a great way to use up the ends of bars of soap, you know the little slivers that no one will use in the bathroom. Save them in a dry jar until you have around 125g (the weight of a bar of soap) and use them up. They don't have to be the same - soap is soap when it comes to laundry powder. The last lot of laundry soap I bought was from Coles, Smart Buy brand, 4 cakes for $2.49. Aldi don't sell laundry soap, but they do have 8 cakes of bath soap for $2.29, just be aware they are only 100g cakes, rather than the 125g bars of laundry soap.

These days I use a combination of laundry and bath soap, we don't seem to have as many slivers of bathroom soap for laundry powder now that we make liquid hand soap with them.

Use the zester side of the grater to grate the soap into a nice fine powder. This will help it dissolve faster when you add it to the washing machine. Or you can do what I do and use your food processor. I break the bar of soap up with Wayne's hammer and add the pieces to the food processor. Then I process until the soap has been reduced to a fine powder. Occasionally I will use the grater accessory on the food processor to grate the soap, but it is faster to just whizz it with the steel blade.

I'm often asked if it is safe to use the food processor to grate soap, and I usually smile. I always wash mine in hot, soapy water after each use, what do you do?

Bulk bicarb is available from pool shops, but you will probably find it is a lot cheaper from a stock feed store (use Google or the Yellow Pages to find the closest to you). Just be aware that bulk is usually 25kg and that is a lot of bicarb soda. You might need to find someone to share it with. It needs to be kept dry so a large container with an air- and water- tight seal is essential.

Costco sell Arm and Hammer brand bi-carb in 5kg bags that work out to about half the price of buying the same weight from the supermarket. If you have a Costco membership (or know someone who does) it may be a cheaper and more manageable option.

Whatever soap you use, making your own laundry powder is still a cheaper option. For around 5 minutes of your time and perhaps $2.30 in materials you'll get a lot of laundry powder. Remember, Cheapskates Washing Powder is truly concentrated. You only need to use two level teaspoons for a front loading or small top loading washing machine and three level teaspoons for a large top loader.

Use my stain removing soap for stubborn spots and really dirty marks and you'll always have a clean wash for less.

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