About a year ago, for no particular reason, I dissolved a bar of Ivory soap in a gallon of water. The resulting pearly, viscous liquid looked like some hand soaps we’re familiar with, so my wife (Donna) and I used it as such. We put it in pump bottles beside the sinks where we wash hands. It worked great and was considerably cheaper than the hand soap that originally came in those bottles.
A year later we’re still using the home-made liquid hand soap and have expanded the idea into laundry detergent. By Donna’s suggestion, I’ve been making the laundry ‘detergent’ using Octagon soap because [I think] it has a higher concentration of lye and is more of an industrial grade than Ivory.
In the last 4 to 6 months, Donna has experimented with the application dosage while I experimented with production methods. We’ve shown it to several people who have been fascinated by it, so maybe it’s time to see if you’re so fascinated.
We find Colgate’s Octagon soap at our local Food Lion grocer. It’s not in the bath soaps aisle, but with the heavy cleaning products.
I’ve found the quickest and most thorough method of dissolving the soap is to shred it and boil it.
I started out with the standard cheese grater. I now have a food processor shredding disc attached to a drill. The easier, the better, ya know.
Get a gallon of water boiling, drop in the shredded Octagon and stir. And stir. And stir.
I’ve recently started adding another ingredient: Tri-Sodium Phosphate. It’s the same stuff they (used to) put in commercial detergents and dish-washer liquids. Although TSP is now banned as an ingredient in commercial detergents it’s still available as an industrial type cleaner in some places.
I use two tablespoons of TSP per gallon of soap water solution.
I’ve learned to let the solution cool in the pot before pouring it into the gallon-size pickle jar. It remains a liquid for a couple of hours.
Then it begins congealing … or something.
After sitting overnight it turns into a gel very much the consistency of Jello. A hard shake returns it to a sorta liquid.
The ‘sorta liquid’ has a viscosity that is usually described as nasty and is the reason we call it Laundry Snot.
So far, just fun-n-games.
Does it work?Is it as good as commercial detergents?
Them’s the questions that had to be answered. So we did a comparison test.
Using two almost identical t-shirts, we soiled them with four different stains.
Johnston County red mud, French’s mustard, W Ketchup and Kraft Hot Fudge.
We allowed the stains to dry for two weeks before putting the shirts in the washer.
It appears that the shirt washed in Snot is as clean (or slightly better) than the shirt washed in Tide.
The Tide detergent used in the test was $15 for 100 ounces, or about $19 per gallon.
The Snot costs me approximately $1.20 per gallon, counting the TSP.
The recommended per load usage is 4 ounces of Tide per load, while Donna says it takes about 8 ounces of snot. So you do the math, I don’t particularly care to.