The start of a new era

old farmhouse demolitionThings are moving forward at the future site of the Runamuk Acres diversified farm, in preparation for our new beginnings.  After much deliberation and–at times–heated debate–Keith and I hired a team of local loggers to do some careful thinning of this un-kempt forest in preparation of our upcoming endeavors. Read more

How to make your own laundry soap

diy laundry soap

If you’ve never made your own laundry soap you don’t know what you’re missing.  The laundry soaps that are available commercially are expensive, and filled with ingredients that I’m not even going to attempt to pronounce.

This laundry soap is very economical and simple to make.  It works just as well as anything you’ll buy at the store, with the added bonus that each load only costs pennies to wash.  We’ve been really happy with the results so far.

how to make your own laundry soapThe Recipe

fels naptha for homemade laundry detergent
Fels Naptha has a great soapy smell!

2 bars Fels Naptha laundry soap

2 cups Borax

2 cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

6 cups water (plus a little more as needed)

It cost me just over $8 for the Borax, the Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, and the 2 Fels Naptha bars, and each batch makes about 6 quart-sized mason jars.  Two teaspoons–seriously-2 teaspoons–per load, and more than two hundred loads per batch of soap, for pennies per load.

The boxes of Borax and Washing Soda will make several batches, but you will need to pick up more Fels Naptha to make another batch of laundry soap.  These are usually about $0.97 and you can find them at the grocery store or Wal-Mart among the other laundry soaps.

How to Make the Laundry Soap

making homemade laundry soap
I just use my cheese grater to grate the bar of laundry soap.

Step 1:  To make the laundry soap the first step is to grate the Fels Naptha bars.

Step 2:  Place the grated soap into a large kettle on the stove and add the 6 cups water.  Heat the mixture–but do not boil–to dissolve the Fels Naptha, stirring occasionally.  This part takes about 20 minutes.

Step 3:  Once the grated soap has completely dissolved, add the Borax and the Washing Soda, stirring well to dissolve and combine the mixture.

Step 4:  Now you can pour it into mason jars–I fill the jars about three-quarters full and then top them off with more water.  Cover them and leave the jars 8-hours or overnight.

In the morning the soap will have separated and look like this.

diy laundry soap
This is what is should look like in the morning, and you will simply puree it to combine it again.

Step 5:  The soap on top will be solid and of a cheesecake-like consistency, simply take a butter knife and slice it like a pie so that you can empty the contents of the jars into a blender.

Step 6:  I puree the soap one jar at a time, rinsing the mason jars out with a few tablespoons of hot water and adding that to the blender as well.

Step 7:  Now that the soap has been pureed it goes back into the mason jars and is ready to use.

Voila!  Laundry Soap!

making your own laundry soap
Finished laundry soap, ready for use.

This is what the laundry soap looks like all finished.

The laundry soap has a pleasant soap smell on it’s own, but if you so choose y0u could add any sort of essential oils that you desire to scent your laundry detergent.  I’ve been toying with the idea of adding lemongrass to my next batch.

Certainly it’s more time consuming to make laundry detergent yourself rather than simply purchasing it at the store, but just one batch will wash more loads of laundry than anything you’ll find there.  And for those of us on a tight budget, who like to know exactly what’s in the products we’re using, this is a great solution.



Have you tried making your own laundry soap?  Do you have a different recipe or method you’d care to share?  Feel free to leave your comments below!

This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday.

Beekeeping for beginners

beekeeper sketchBee-school is new to this region of Maine.  Before the Somerset Beekeepers were established 2 years ago folks had to travel to Rumford or Albion for any sort of beekeeper education.  But now we have our annual bee-school, offered by the Somerset Beekeepers and hosted by the Somerset Cooperative Extension in Skowhegan. Read more

I’ll be back!

It’s been a while since I last posted, and I don’t have the time to do it now, either. But for those of you who might follow this blog on a regular basis, I just wanted to give you a brief up-date.

Runamuk is in hot pursuit of a loan so that we can establish a foundation at our new home. We’re going to need a well, septic, earthwork, a house, garage-workshop, and two polytunnels for seedling production. Read more