Now that I make my own soaps for bathing, I really don't want to use these store purchased soaps on my skin.... but I really don't want to throw them away, either. The answer? .... I have been grating them up and making Powdered Laundry Soap out of them for Dave and I. And let me tell you, over time, it REALLY saves some money!
Here is my recipe for Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap:
- 2 cups finely grated bar soap
- 1 cup Borax
- 1 cup Washing Soda
- a few drops essential oils (optional)
Mix all together in a large bowl (glass, plastic, or stainless steel - NOT aluminum) until thoroughly blended. Use only 1 Tablespoon per average sized load. Add an extra 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon for extra heavily soiled laundry and/or larger loads.
I DO NOT advise grating these hard, commercial bars of soap in your food processor. It is much too hard on them and can easily break the bowl, snap the pin that holds it on, and/or destroy the motor. (yep, I had to get a new one.)
For these hard bars of commercial soap, they grate up pretty quickly, easily and finely on a hand grater. If you still have difficulty grating them, microwave them for just a few seconds (careful, too long will burn them) to soften them and they will grate up much easier, though not as finely. If you do not have a microwave you can easily soften them in your oven, the dash of your car on a hot day, or even just sitting in the sun on the concrete, brick or rocks. It doesn't take long.
Once you have the bar soap all grated up, if it still isn't as fine as you would like, dump it into your food processor with just a little of the Borax and Washing Soda. Whirl all until fine and smooth. The two powdered ingredients cling to the soap so that the soap doesn't stick to the blade nor the sides of the processor and it smoothly powders all nice and fine. Then add in your remaining borax and washing soda, blending well with a spoon (wooden or stainless steel, NOT aluminum).
For added savings and a much harder working laundry soap, I purchase my Borax and Washing Soda at a chemical supplier in large bags. Not only is it much cheaper that way in the long run, but it is a much stronger, better grade product. For example ..... the Borax you purchase at your local grocer or retail store is usually 20 mule. What I purchase at a chemical supplier is 5 mule (MUCH stronger). Since it is still less expensive (ounce per ounce) I can still use the same amount in my recipe AND save money while having a laundry soap with much more cleaning power!
Since these commercial bar soaps usually already have a strong fragrance to them, you might not want to add any more. But if you desire stronger grease cutting ability from your laundry soap, thoroughly blending in a few drops of grease cutting essential oils (such as pine, rosemary, or any of the citrus) works great. They also help to rid your laundry of odors and germs.
You don't use POWDERED laundry detergent and prefer liquid? That's easy..... simply dissolve the amount of powder you would use for a load in a cup or two of hot water, stir until dissolved, then add to your laundry and wash as usual.
One more added tip ..... when you are grating up the commercial, perfumey, store bought soaps, I STRONGLY advise wearing a mask over your nose and mouth. I didn't when I was grating up the hotel soaps and within an hour, EVERYTHING in my upper respiratory tract was as packed full of mucous as it could possibly get! I was miserably sick for a good long while. I also don't advise using laundry soaps made from store bought soaps on a long-term basis (unless they are all natural, of course), but it is a great way to use the ones you have on hand up without having to throw them away, and save a little money in the process.