Homemade Castille Soap (Laundry Bar)

This recipe is used for making laundry detergent and for a laundry stain bar. The directions are for cold process soap in general. This is the process and safety tips I use and they work well for me. You may find more understandable instructions elsewhere on the web.

Clause: I am not responsible for any accidents or injuries resulting from the use of these soap making instructions. Make soap at your own risk. Please be careful and responsible.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:

olive oil 14.4 oz

palm oil 1.6 oz

water 6.08 oz

lye 2.07 oz

SOAP MAKING DIRECTIONS (these instructions can be used for any cold processed soap making recipe);

Measure out all ingredients prior to making soap. You will need a small digital or manual postal type scale.

Heat oils in pan on stove to reach 110°.

Mix water and lye:

  • NEVER use aluminum or metal container or utensils to mix lye. Use plastic or glass container and wooden or plastic utensil.
  • NEVER add lye to hot water. Always use COLD water, the colder the better.
  • NEVER ad water to lye, this can have “volcano-explosive” effects. Always add lye slowly to water while stirring gently (and ALWAYS mix in a well ventilated area or outdoors).
  • ALWAYS keep a spray bottle of vinegar on hand. This can be used as a neutralizer for the lye in the event of burns.

Let lye mixture cool to 85°-95° (You may immerse the container 1/2 way into a cool ice water bath in the sink. Make sure you don’t get any of that water in the container and make sure the container is stable and will not tip or spill.)

Place pan of oils on a sturdy surface. Once lye has cooled to temperature, slowly pour lye/water mixture into soap mixture, while blending with an electric stick blender. (You can also stir by hand but it will take much, much longer. I have not personally done this so I can not tell you the time frame.)

Watch for “trace”. Trace is when the soap mixture thickens to a thin to medium pudding consistency and when you lift the blender and drizzle soap it will leave a “trace” of drizzle in the mixture. You will also notice the top getting shiny.

At this time you will add your pre-measured additives such as fragrance (or ground oatmeal etc. when making bath soap. NOTE: The above recipe is not for bath soap although it could be used as such but produces very little suds.)

When it reaches regular pudding consistency, it is done.

Pour into prepared, lined molds. I prefer large cigar boxes, or you can use any stiff cardboard box. I line them with freezer paper as if wrapping the inside of a present. It takes some practice but works quite well.

Place soap away from drafts and cold. Some prefer to wrap with a towel or small blanket. I just put mine in the oven with the light on. (no heat.)

Let ‘cure’ for 24-48 hours. Most soaps take only 24 but this soap may take longer. You want to make sure it is still soft enough to cut into bars but not so soft that it will be runny in the middle. If you can very easily put a finger indent in it, I would leave it sit a while longer.

Once set, remove from mold, and cut with large knife into equal size bars. (A good size for bath soap is 3 1/2″ x 2 1/4″ x 1″ or you can make round ones by pouring your mix into a cleaned out Pringles potato chip can, no lining necessary, when ready just peel off can and cut soap. For laundry soap I like to make them about 3″ x 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ which can be grated for laundry soap and also used as a stain stick (just spray water – or TKO cleaner- then rub on soap bar.)

Stand your cut bars on end on cardboard box or flat surface with space in between the bars. Keep in well ventilated area. This allows air to circulate and finish drying the soap. If necessary, label box with date and soap type. Turn soap over after a week or so. Let soap cure for about 2-4 weeks before using.

TIPS:

  • make sure there are no lumps in your soap and that it is not grainy. if so, you may need to heat up the soap some to remedy this.
  • Lye is a dangerous chemical and can burn your skin and eyes. Always wear rubber kitchen type gloves and goggles.
  • When mixing lye, keep the room well ventilated or mix outside if possible. Fumes can be harmful.
  • Do not make soap while toddlers and small children are close by. It is best to make soap during their nap times or when they are not at home.
  • Again: Keep vinegar handy. Vinegar neutralizes lye.
  • Again: Add lye to (cold- never hot) water, Never add water to lye.

Enjoy your soap! Your laundry! and the clean!

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My (brain) Book

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had this little green notebook that I picked up for about 50¢. On the cover I wrote “MY BRAIN” and used it to write down absolutely everything! Since we were purchasing our house, putting improvements on our land, a baby was coming, I had a lot of doctor appointments, I was still working outside of the home, and all sorts of various other things, I had to have something! (You know, “pregnancy brain”? Which never really went away, by the way.) Anyway, It worked for me. It was a mess but it was a small book so I knew if I just flipped through it, I would eventually find what I was looking for. I have never found a working “system” since.

A few weeks ago I found a great little notebook on Simply Vintage Girl’s blog that uses 4 x 6 notecards and craft rings.  It’s quite a bit bigger than ‘the little green brain’ that I carried around those years ago. But now that I am home most of the time, It’s not something I need to carry around much anyway. I went ahead and made one for myself. Not quite as cute as hers, and I just used what I had around the house (except for buying a few packs of index cards). Now, I’m just like the Scarecrow on the Wizard of Oz! I have a brain! (and it’s even divided into sections for easy reference!)

my book

I made several tabs to try to keep more organized. I even left a few blank, just in case need more (and I am sure I will) because I forgot something.

tabs side view

Now all those great websites and crafty ideas, recipes and cooking tips, gardening plans and sewing ideas, that I find while browsing around the Internet will be forever stored in my (brain) book (until I remove them). With the pages being removable and replaceable, I should be able to use this book indefinitely…or until I wear it out. Awesome!!

Thanks Vintage Girl for you’re great idea on this one! You’ve helped me out a GREAT deal in (hopefully) finally getting it all together! (Is that really even possible?!?)

Scrimply Thrifty’s Homemade Cleaner Recipes

I found the greatest shower cleaner by accident. I make my own laundry
detergent and when I did, I spilled it over the top of the jugs, I set
them in the tub to cool and there was a “clean ring” where they were
sitting. So I put some in a spray bottle and sprayed the tub, let it
sit for about 5 or 10 minutes and then cleaned it with one of those
sponges with the netting on it (like you would use to clean bugs off
your car). Any textured sponge, scrunchie, or textured kitchen scrubber
type would work. It took very little elbow grease and my tub was shiny
clean when I was done! I was amazed, It works better than store bought
cleaners and is dirt cheap.

Trisha's Labeled Homemade Cleaners

Trisha's Labeled Homemade Cleaners

Here is the recipe (this makes 4 jugs, you can cut the recipe to make
less to try it out:

TRISHA’S HOMEMADE LAUNDRY DETERGENT (and tub/shower cleaner)

1 bar of ivory soap (shred on cheese grater)
1 bar of fels naptha (shred on cheese grater) –recently used my homemade castille soap and it worked great!
2-4 cups washing soda (do not use baking soda) 
1 1/2 – 3 cups borax (found in laundry aisle)
6 tbsp glycerin (supposed to infuse the oil into the mix so it doesn’t
settle on top and seems to make it thicker) this is optional.
2 Tbsp tea tree oil.

Boil 2 quarts water in large pan on the stove.
Reduce heat to just below boiling and add shredded bar soaps. Stir until soap is melted.
Add 2 more quarts boiling water, washing soda, and borax, mix well.
Pour it into a large bucket with a pour spout.
Add glycerin and tea tree oil. Stir.
Using a funnel (make sure it’s stirred good) pour equal amounts in each
bottle (4 – gallon jugs, vinegar or laundry detergent jugs work best,
milk jugs cant handle the boiling water)
Next, add hot water (doesn’t have to be boiling) to the jugs but
not full. Leave room for shaking.
Let cool and shake once or twice (or more) a day for a few days to keep
it from getting too gloppy.
Shake before using.

Soap may be a little gloppy or thick and it may separate. Make sure you shake well before every use. You may have to squeeze the jug a little for it to come out. The consistency has varied in different batches I have made. I do prefer it to be thicker, since I have a front load washer and I stays in one place so I can see how much I put in, but sometimes it does turn out sepearted and runny. I am still working on getting it to a good consistancy.

Add 1/4-1/2 cup per load of laundry, depending on how badly the clothes
are soiled.
Safe for use in HE washers. (This soap is not sudsy.)
Pour into spray bottle for use on tubs and sink to remove soap scum. If too thick, just add some hot water (up to half and half) before using. Shake well before each use.
Does not work on grease (kitchen use) Trust me, I tried! (but my other “All Purpose” cleaner does)

Use white vinegar in the rinse cycle for fabric softener.

TRISHA’S ALL PURPOSE CLEANER

1/2 gallon white vinegar

1/2 gallon water

30-50 drops of tea tree essential oil (about 3/4 tsp)

20-30 drops of other essential oil (lemon, orange, lavender, etc.) (about 1/2 tsp)

Fill gallon jug with 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water, add of tea tree oil (vinegar and tea tree oil are both disinfectants) and add other essential oils, for a more aromatic scent. You can add about 1/2 tsp liquid dish soap for added cleaning but it really isn’t necessary (or nessairly healthy). Pour into spray bottle. Spray on dirty surfaces and wipe clean. This disinfects, cleans grime and grease and shines. I use it just about everywhere, kitchen counters, sinks, stove (use a little baking soda and the spray for burnt on or difficult stove messes) I use it in the bathroom (not anymore in the tub, but I used to use it with some baking soda and it worked great but needed more elbow grease. Now I use the laundry soap on the tub for “better than Scrubbing Bubbles” clean.) I use it to clean the sink, toilet (inside and out) and mirrors. I use it to spot clean the floors. (some floors may not take kindly to vinegar, so please check first) I also spray trash cans or other odorous areas and let dry, it nearly (and sometimes completely) takes the smells away. I use it for dusting throughout the house as well, although I have no furniture that is sensitive (such as delicate wood or stain that might dislike vinegar/water. There is a vegetable or olive oil/lemon recipe that works much like a furniture polish but I just don’t use it, I’m just thankful it gets done the way it does.) and I’m not concerned about ‘shine’ as long as it’s clean and dust free. (If using for dusting, use with care.) This is the best all around cleaner I have ever used, it is so much cheaper and non-toxic to boot!

PRODUCE-VEGETABLE WASH

 

1 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

2 Tbsp baking soda

2 Tbsp lemon juice

 

Mix water and baking soda in a bowl. Very slowly, mix in vinegar and lemon juice. Wait until it is done fizzing and pour slowly into spray bottle. 

 

Spray on fruits and vegetables. Let sit for 5 minutes. Scrub with vegetable brush and rinse. 

 

GARBAGE PAIL DEODORIZER – BATHROOM AIR FRESHENER – CARPET DEODORIZER

 

½ to 1 tsp tea tree oil (and or other essential oil)

1 cup baking soda

 

Pour baking soda onto plate (paper works best) add in oil(s) by drops. Mix and work out all the lumps with a fork. Pour into a jar for storage.

 

TO USE:

Garbage Pail: Sprinkle in bottom of trash bag to keep fresh, or in bottom of pail before rinsing to absorb odors. Periodically rinse pail with vinegar and water and allow to dry in the sun.

Air Freshener: Store in opened jar or box and keep in area where odors occur.

Carpet: Sprinkle onto carpet, allow to sit for about 15 minutes, vacuum.

You can also use this in the washer in your laundry, add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup to the wash load for a fresh laundry boost. (no guarantee the scent will stick through wash and dry).

 

KITCHEN SINK DRAIN (UNCLOGGER) DEODORIZER

 

My mother in law loved this one! When the drains of your sink are getting a bit smelly, pour in 1/2 to 1 cup baking soda, making sure some of it goes down the drain, follow it with 1 to 1 1/2 cups of HOT  white vinegar poured slowly over the baking soda so it fizzes and runs down the drain. (The vinegar can be heated in the microwave, be sure to wipe down your microwave afterward, since boiling vinegar in the microwave is the best way to clean your microwave.) Let sit without running water for as long as possible. at least 10-15 minutes. Run water and your drains will no longer be stinky.

 

Making these mixes/cleaners I save about $30-$35 a month on the basic cleaners, detergents and softeners!!! And probably a lot more on things you buy less often.

 

NEW COMMENT 5/22/09:

I have found a new cleaner called TKO, found at health food stores or online. It is made from the oil that comes from the orange rind. I bought and 8 oz bottle for $15 and that in itself seems kind of pricey but you use 1-2 oz to one gallon of water which still makes it much cheaper (and healthier) than buying one 30 oz spray bottle for this and one for that. This orange oil cleaner is 100% safe around kids and pets, if someone were to accidentally drink it, it would not hurt them. It even cleans off sharpie markers from many surfaces (if used undiluted). I use this for cleaning counters, tables, trash cans, sinks, furniture, windows, etc. The wonderful thing about it is the great orange citrus scent! It makes cleaning more fun by uplifting my mood. I still use the vinegar AP cleaner with baking soda for the stove and other tough jobs and of course the Laundry soap cleaner for the tub, but this works great for almost everything else.

 

Okay, now the BIG SECRET! I found this same stuff at my local feed store, under another name, in the organic gardening section. It was in a 1 liter (almost 34 oz.) bottle for about $20.00. It apparently repels pests as well. I haven’t bought this other brand yet because I still have 1/2 bottle of TKO but will let you know the brand when I do purchase some.  P.S. It’s a good insect repellant as well and has many other uses and for that it would be best to give you the website rather than to list the many uses here. http://www.tkoorange.com/html/home_use.html. If you use another brand of this type of orange oil cleaner/pest repellant, please make sure it does not have any additional chemicals in it that could be harmful to your family or your pets.

How to make homemade yogurt without a yogurt incubator

Yogurt is such a healthy food for all ages. Easy to eat, easy to digest, and full of beneficial bacteria that are great for your digestive system. What could possibly be bad about yogurt? I’ll tell you. Store bought yogurt contains plenty of artificial and unhealthy ingredients and the prices keep going up and up. What can you do about it? That one is easy. Make your own. Here is an easy “how to” to make your own favorite flavors of healthy and low-calorie yogurt right at home.

Homemade Yogurt Recipe:

What you need:

  • 4 cups milk (any type)
  • medium sized pan
  • wooden or plastic spoon
  • candy thermometer
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (preferably organic), this is your yogurt starter
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup dry milk powder (depending on your desired thickness)
  • glass or plastic jar(s) or container(s) with lids

Make sure all of your equipment is clean and sterilized. Place milk in pan and heat on stove until it reaches 180°, stirring constantly. Do not exceed 185°. Remove from heat and let cool to below 120° (but not below 90°) or sit in cool water bath (stirring occasionally) to reach this temperature quicker. When cooled, stir in yogurt starter and dry milk powder until mixed thoroughly. Pour yogurt mix into your containers and put on lids. Place in warm area, 110° is desirable but as low as 80° is acceptable, although it will take longer to set up. Placing the yogurt in a gas oven with the pilot light on, or with the oven light on, is an acceptable place to sit your yogurt. Leave it sit for about 8-14 hours to allow the bacteria to incubate. Do not agitate or disturb while it is setting. Once yogurt has thickened, place into fridge and chill before serving. This yogurt will keep for up to two weeks. Remember to save 1/4 cup of this yogurt as a starter so that you can make more homemade yogurt.

Flavoring the yogurt is the fun part. This is where you get to experiment with making the tasty yogurt you enjoy. Plain yogurt is great as well, but many taste-buds do not agree. If you enjoy flavored yogurt then you can just let your imagination run wild. Below are a few options, although you will need to adjust amounts to your own personal taste. These measurements are per one 6-8 oz. serving.

  • Vanilla yogurt: Stir in 1/4 tsp powdered vanilla extract and Stevia or other preferred sweetener to taste.
  • Strawberry-Banana: Blend 1/4 of one banana and 1-2 strawberries in blender, pour into yogurt and stir well. Sweeten if desired.
  • Chocolate: Add desired amount of chocolate syrup or fudge. Stir well. (I will be experimenting on a healthier cocoa & stevia version soon.)
  • Orange Cream: Stir in 1 – 1 and 1/2 tsp (thawed) frozen orange juice concentrate and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Sweeten if desired.
  • Lemon: Add in 1 packet of True Lemon and stevia or other sweetener as desired.
  • Coffee: Add in 1/2 tsp Folgers instant coffee and 8 drops (Now! brand) liquid stevia extract (or two servings of your favorite brand, or your favorite sweetener.)

It is best to add flavoring just before serving, you will want to experiment with measurements depending on your amount per serving. If you do choose to add your fruit to the whole batch up front, you will want to use up your yogurt in a few days, since the fruit and yogurt do not contain preservatives and the fruit will go bad in the yogurt. If your yogurt smells or tastes bad, do not eat it. Throw it away and make a new batch using a new starter yogurt.

What is your favorite flavor of homemade yogurt? We’d love to have you comment and tell us about it, or just tell us your tips and tricks for making homemade yogurt.

SAVING $:

These prices are based on Dallas, TX area prices as of 11/2008.

Store bought yogurt.

  • Average price = 12¢ – 25¢ an ounce

Homemade yogurt:

  • Milk = 64¢ – 96¢ for 4 cups @ 2¢-3¢ an ounce (based on milk prices $2.50-$4.00/gallon)
  • Starter yogurt (one time) = 24¢ for 2 ounces @ 12¢ an ounce)
  • Dry milk powder= 19¢ (1/4 cup)
  • Flavoring can vary but I would guess the most expensive would be blueberries often at $4.00/lb. or more. Use 1/4 lb in a batch = $1.00
  • Your total cost for 32 ounces of flavored yogurt = $2.07-$2.39 for the first batch and $1.83-$2.15 for each successive batch. That comes to 6¢ – 7¢ an ounce.

That is 50-75% less than store bought yogurt. What are you paying for anyway? High fructose corn syrup? Aspertame? Artificial colorings and flavorings? Less beneficial bacteria? Did you know the incubation time required is not more than 4 hours for commercial yogurt brands, and the longer these beneficial bacteria incubate, they multiply many times over. And since commercial yogurt is often heat-treated and pasturized, killing much of the good bacteria in the process, it is clear that homemade yogurt will have much higher amounts of healthful bacteria.

Just try this healthy alternative to high cost yogurt with questionable ingredients. You will fall in love with the flavor of fresh yogurt with fresh fruit. You will love the healthy benefits of fresh yogurt. And you will love the extra cash in your pocket book. It’s so easy and fun, you will wonder what took you so long to try it.

Enjoy your refreshing and delicious homemade yogurt!