Almost every body is heard about Savon de Marseille (Marseilles Soap) as great laundry soap, but since I am living in South of France, I had noticed that not all soap has named by this almost mythical name is real Savon de Marseille.
Water here is known as very hard and it is not very friendly not for your hair not for clothes. Stains comes out from textile much more harder than washed with soft water. Since these 'discoveries' white vinegar, ash soap and soda crystals are in my must to have house hold list:)
How to make Ash Laundry Soap at home please find here.
If you ever been in French soap shop you should come across these soap flakes, that is very long lasting option if used as base of your own liquid laundry soap. However I was not satisfied with using them directly in my washing machine as recommended. Soap flakes always get stacked in distributor and I had feeling that it does not clean clothes good enough, especially if used for bedsheets and towels. So I made my own adjustments to this ready to use laundry soap and I am happy to share it with you.
List of materials
for liquid laundry soap from soap flakes.
1) soap flakes
2) sodium carbonate
3) distilled water
4) saucer pan
5) heat resistant glass bowl
6) silicon spatula
7) pH test strips (optional)
Let me be clear right now about these ingredients.
Soap flakes you can buy in almost any soap shop, just make sure they does not contain colorants, if you plan to use it for cloth washing. If you are allergic or any other way sensitive to fragrances, choose unscented soap flakes. You can add your favorite essential oil later when ironing your clothes or in your wardrobe shelfs and drawers. You can also buy homemade coconut oil or olive oil soap shreds as more natural option. Industrially made Soap flakes always will have some extra supplements even they are coming from Marseille:). So read the label before you buy them.
Sodium carbonate is formed from the mixture of salt and carbonic acid. It is also know as washing soda or Salsoda and is widely used as water softener and also commonly used as a mold combatant. In this recipe it will help you to deal with tap water in washing process. Just remember it is NOT the baking soda!!
Water in this recipe could be also rain water, or filtered water, because tap water can contain too much calcium and magnesium ions found in hard water. Distilled water is most commonly used for any homemade soap. I found that also homemade liquid ash soap could be great substitute for water for stronger cleaning laundry soap. You can read how to make ash soap here.
Saucer pan will be needed for water bath. It should be larger stainless steel pot where you can freely put your soap bowl.
Heat resistant glass like Pyrex bowl or borosilicate will work great for your soap mixture, do not use metal bowls.
Silicon spatula probably you have already at home to mix the soap.If not you can use wood spoon too.
pH test strips is a basic method that you can use at home to check pH value of your solution and yes, also your soap:) Good laundry soap start with pH value higher than 9 and usually are between 10-and 12. Most of the homemade soap bars you can buy in local farmer markets has ph around 9, but not higher as they contain glycerine that is natural byproduct of homemade soap. Homemade Laundry soap is usually made from coconut oil or olive oil or is combined with other good cleansing oils, but glycerine could be salted out of these soaps. Ask the seller they always will be happy to answer your questions.
Here is my recipe for laundry soap
Let's start !?
1) fill the less than half of saucer pan with tap water
2) fill heat resistant glass with 700 ml distilled water
3) add 3 tablespoons or up to 60-70 gr of soap flakes to distilled water
4) start heating at medium heat range to high temperature could cause ''earthquake'' in heating glass and will start dancing in the in a saucer:).
5) when it heats up you have to start mixing the soap with silicon spatula to avoid soap flakes to stick to the bottom.
6) When all soap flakes are well dissolved, you can check your soap pH value, using simple pH paper strips. At this stage pH value will be far away from good cleansing soap range. It could be around pH 9 at this stage of soap mixture. If you wish to use this as handwashing soap for clothes you can stop here. Let it cool and your handwashing soap is ready.
Next step is to transform it to laundry soap for use in washing machine.
7) Add the 1-2 tablespoons of washing soda, let it dissolve well in soap and check pH again. It could be around pH 10. If you will use ash soap as water replacement in this recipe you will get your liquid soap at pH 12.
Your fresh made laundry soap will slowly turn is sticky gel consistence which you can dissolve with more water if you feel it better. I found that best soap flakes and water ratio is around 1:10.
Can you imagine how much laundry soap you can make with few tablespoons of soap flakes?
My final notes:
You can keep this soap in glass jar or hard plastic if you have some used soap bottle left at home, do not trow it away you can reuse it. Please remember always wear the gloves when you work with high pH laundry soap, it is great to clean your clothes, but could be be very itching to your bare hands.
I hope this will encourage you to do this small chemistry experiment for yourself at home and enjoy more sustainable living. Fell free to share your experience in comments.
Read also '' How to make liquid ash soap from ashes?'' here.
-Lita- Soap mentor, chemist, biologist and Liquid Plasma Crystals formulator
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