A few weeks ago, I got a hankering to make liquid laundry soap. I’m not sure why, because I’ve been fairly committed to making powdered soap for quite some time.
I found a big bar of pink Zote soap in my stash. It felt so soft that I wondered whether I could melt it without grating.
The answer is yes!
My second question after reading some tutorials on making liquid laundry soap was whether I could do it without using a five-gallon bucket.
The answer is yes!
• 1 bar Zote laundry soap (14 ounces)
• 2 cups borax
• 2 cups washing soda
• Your largest non-reactive cooking pot, at least 6 quarts or up to 20 quarts (a canner works well)
• A five-gallon bucket, if your cooking pot or canner holds less than five gallons (20 quarts)
• Long-handled spoon
• Something to stir the mixture in your five gallon bucket, if you’re using one, such as a broom handle
• Stick blender (optional)
• Canning jars and lids (up to 18)
• Gallon jugs (up to 18)
1. Get out your biggest pot. I used my stainless steel canner, which holds five gallons. If you don’t have a pot that big, use your biggest (at least 6 quarts) and transfer the mixture later to a five-gallon bucket. (If you have a glass-top stove, consider reading this before you start.)
2. Toss a whole bar of Zote soap into the pot. (You could certainly try this with Fels-Naptha if that’s what you have. I would recommend using 2 bars, as they’re smaller.) Add 2 quarts water and bring to a simmer. Stir periodically, and the soap will start to melt.
3. Monitor until soap melts completely, about 40 minutes. If you want to hurry it along near the end, you can mix it up with your stick blender once the remainder of the soap is very melty and translucent.
4. Add 2 more quarts water and bring to a simmer.
5. Add 2 cups each borax and washing soda. Stir until completely combined.
6. Remove from heat. If your pot holds less than five gallons, transfer the mixture to your five-gallon bucket now.
7. Keep adding water until your pot or bucket is nearly full, to a total of about 4.5 gallons. Mix well.
8. You have two options now: you can let it cool overnight, or you can put it into jars and jugs now. If you let it cool overnight, it will gel up quite a lot. It will be easy to get into jars, but impossible to get into jugs unless you reheat it.
9. To store concentrate, divide into widemouthed containers (quart jars work well, and a canning funnel helps). Cover and label. (Always label with the ingredients! It comes in handy if your kids ever get into it and you have to call poison control)
10. To prepare laundry soap, mix three parts water with one part hot, melted concentrate. Shake gently to combine. Label.