This post is another installment in the 100 Years Ago series based on writings found in a home reference manual written in 1902.
I’ve written several times over the last few months about my adventures in making Homemade Laundry Soap. This was a whole new adventure for me and I thought I was being pretty cutting edge. While others were going down the accepted route of putting a bottle of laundry detergent from the store in their grocery cart, I was being daring and new and brave enough to create my own homemade mixture. Turns out I was not really doing anything new at all.
I guess in some sense I knew this already. When I was stirring up my second batch of homemade laundry soap Hubby walked through the room and said “Look at you, you’re like some pioneer woman or something”. And truth be told, that’s how it felt too.
SOME VERY FAMILIAR INGREDIENTS
But even so, I was not expecting the recipe I came across in my antique book. Here’s an excerpt from a category titled “Laundry Work”:
“To wash chenille curtains – Two ounces ether sulphate, two ounces borax, two ounces soda, one cake ivory soap; shave soap and let dissolve in warm water, then add all ingredients to sufficient warm water to wash curtains in”
Well how about that? Sound familiar anyone? It’s amazingly close to the recipe bloggers are sharing today for homemade laundry soap. With the exception of the ether sulphate (which is a foaming agent), it’s almost an exact replica. Grate a bar of soap and dissolve in hot water, use equal amounts washing soda and borax and mix into a lager amount of water.
HOW SHOULD WE DO IT TODAY?
What strikes me as the difference between the old and new recipes is that in the olden days, they just “soaped up” the water for one batch of laundry. I think today when we make our own laundry soap, we somewhat subconsciously are trying to replicate a bottle or box of detergent from the store. We want our soap in the familiar “big batch” style so that we can just toss a scoop into our machines when it’s time to do a load. And of course, that does make sense in our busy lifestyles.
But we could do it the old school way too. I read a helpful hint that sounded pretty easy that said to just throw into each load, 1 tablespoon of washing soda, 1 tablespoon of borax, and 1 tablespoon of liquid castile soap. No mixing ahead of time required. Kind of like how great-grandma did it, don’t you think?
WHAT SOUNDS BEST TO YOU?
Do you make your own laundry soap? What sounds best to you – a big batch ahead of time, or just throw the individual ingredients into each load? Please leave a comment with your thoughts . . . I’d love to hear what you think!