Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pink ZOTE Soap Makes Fabulous Homemade Laundry Powder

Hi everyone,
Okay, so one of the things that I've gotten sidetracked from is talking about how a single girl like myself budgets and makes things work or do without. Or to phrase it better how I have champagne taste and still manage to live on a soda pop can budget. Oh, no I don't drink..but you know  what I mean about having an eye for luxury, but still living on a budget :) :) :) 

This is a sweet little place that I spotted while out driving yesterday (Wednesday) with my father. It is actually an equestrian center. Isn't so beautiful and red with the typical Oregon skies? I would so love to have a place of my own just like this someday.

Do you remember me mentioning pink ZOTE soap? It's a soap that's made in Mexico. Apparently most  of my friends can buy it near them, except for me. So when I discovered the Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio sells it..well, I was very happy!!!  They are a fabulous business that caters to Amish and non-Amish. It's got all kinds of things for every need. I'd recommend browsing around their online website and even ordering a catalog or two. it's well worth the price :) :)

So I decided to purchase some of this soap. A really sweet blogger lady, Maryjane over at The Beehive Cottage has this fabulous recipe for pink homemade laundry powder.  In fact, I think it was because of her that I went in search of this wonderful product in the first place. So I'll give you the recipe here as well as the cost of materials. 

First you need ingredients, plus a few extras. You will need one full 4-pound box EACH of BORAX, Baking Soda and Washing Soda.  Borax and Baking Soda are very easy to find in just about EVERY store.  It's funny to think that one of my cleaning supply ingredients is actually found in the baking aisle, but hey, who am I to complain? Baking soda has many fabulous uses. Washing soda  is a bit harder for me to find. However, I can readily find it at my local Fred Meyer store in the laundry supplies section, right next to the BORAX. Here's a nicer bullet-point list of what you'll need to start:

- 1, 4-lb box of Borax
- 1, 4-lb box of Baking Soda
   (I use Arm & Hammer brand)
- 1, 4-lb box of Super Washing Soda
   (again, I use Arm & Hammer brand)
- 1 1/3 bars of pink ZOTE soap, 14.1oz/bar
   (or 3 full bars of Fels Naptha)
- 1 air-tight container large  enough to hold all this laundry powder.  I used a Rubbermaid container that holds 9.5 gallons...large!!!

I had read that these bars of soap are big. However, no one told me how HUGE each individual bar really is. Each bar is the size of a small brick. That is my hand holding a single bar of this pretty soap :)  :) :)

You will only need 1 1/3 bars of pink ZOTE soap for this recipe. Yes, it really is enough and  when you see for yourself how large  these bars really are, then you will understand why you only need that much. Each bar of pink ZOTE soap is 14.1 ounces.  You will need a knife to slice the soap into sections. I used a standard butter knife. The soap was extremely easy to slice since it has a minimum fatty acid content of 66%. You don't have to use pink ZOTE soap, any other soap of your choice would be fine...just make sure it's about 18 oz, give or take an ounce. You could also use three bars of Fels Naptha or another bar soap of your choice.

You will need something to grate the soap. I started out with a traditional grater. However, this soap is so soft, I switched to my rotating cheese grater from Pampered Chef. Note, I only use this grater for soap now and nothing else. You could probably use it for grating soap and cheese as long as you washed it really well in between. However, I prefer to designate my grater for soap ONLY!!! I did cut the pink ZOTE soap into sections to make it easier to use in this grater.

When you are all done grating the soap, this is what it looks like. It looks like finely grated cheese. I use a grate that is fine for parmesan cheese or something slightly softer. I don't think it really matters as long as it's finely grated. It'll also break up a little bit more when you mix it in with the other ingredients.

Then you mix in a full 4-lb box EACH of Borax, super washing soda and baking soda. Mix it all together well. I use a fork, but a spoon would work just as well.  Isn't this just about the "prettiest" homemade laundry powder you ever saw?  This makes nearly  16 pounds of soap all together. Actually more like 13-14 lbs. It only takes 2 Tablespoons per load of laundry. That's all you need.

I did read that if you have an HE front-loader washer, dissolve 1-2 Tablespoons in warm water to form a liquid. Then you can add it to the machine and it'll work fine. I've never tried that since I still use a tradition top-loading washer.  However, if you tend to wash your clothes with cold water, you could still do the same thing of dissolving the soap in just enough warm water until it becomes a liquid. Then add it to your cold water wash.

That's basically it. Now what did all of this cost me?  Not a lot at all...  Since I had to order the pink ZOTE soap from Lehman's , there was the matter of standard delivery shipping. Shipping was $7.95 from Lehman's. Remember, I did order something I did some math and figured that the shipping for the soap alone would have worked out to about $2.07 cents for three bars of pink ZOTE soap. Okay, here's a breakdown list of what I used and what it cost me:

--- 1, 4 lb box of BORAX $4.49
--- 1, 4 lb box of Super Washing Soda $ 3.19
      (I used Arm & Hammer brand)
--- 1, 4 lb box of Baking Soda $2.99
      (again...I used Arm & Hammer brand)
--- 1 1/3 bars of pink ZOTE soap ca $1.76
      NOTE: 3 bars of pink ZOTE soap from Lehman's catalog cost $3.95. That's a GREAT deal. So 1 1/3 bars of this soap is about $1.76

This recipe is supposed to last for 150 loads of washing. That is a LOT of dirty laundry. So if I do NOT factor in the shipping I paid for soap, that would be:

$12.43 for EVERYTHING together
$0.08 cents/load

If I DO factor in the cost of shipping that would be:
$14.50 for EVERYTHING together (including shipping)
$0.10 cents/load

So I'll definitely be keeping track of this as the weeks go by...and when I've finally used up that last lovely tablespoon of pink laundry soap, there'll be a final tally to see what it really cost me.  Thanks for hanging in there with me. I  love talking about unit cost, especially when things are tight financially. This really helps me a lot.  I'm all about figuring out ways to get the job done for less and making my dollar stretch as far as it can!!! Oh, in case, I don't "see" some of you until the new year, I want to wish you all a very Happy CHRISTmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year !!! That's the news from Oregon today. Love and hugs, Heather :)


Sherry Gore said...

Love this post! Your soap is so pretty. My homemade laundry soap involved a fire, a kettle, a lot of fat greasy unsightly tallow, a bucket, and a stick.
You go, Heather!

Becky said...

I'm going to try this recipe for laundry soap. I have a Lehman's catalog right behind me. We will substitute BIZ for the Borax as it keeps our front loader smelling fresh.

Kim B said...

That sounds a like a little work but wow what a savings.
Thanks for always visitng me on my blog, friend. You make me smile and I hope you have a Happy Holiday, Hugs, Kim

Bramblewood Fashion said...

Hi Heather!

Here is the link for the tag. :)


Maryjane-The Beehive Cottage said...

Oh Heather, I am thrilled you made the laundry detergent! Doesn't it smell heavenly! Yours turned out so nice! Yes, ZOTE is huge! Thanks for the lead back to my blog.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas a w bright New Year!


Cindy Adkins said...

Wow, amazing Heather!!!
Wishing you and your dad a Merry Christmas!!!
Sending love & hugs your way,

Mrs. Paul said...

Merry Christmas to you and your Dad Heather. It has been a special year for me finding you and your blog. What an amazing young woman you are. Love the pics you took of your soap. I think you will like it - I sure do. Blessings and hugs,
Dorothy in Arizona

Anonymous said...

Yay, you got your zote! Thanks for doing the numbers - that's really such an excellent deal. Actually, it's time for me to do some more Zote shredding. We've used up 2 or 3 batches. Great post, Heather. Merry Christmas~

Juli said...

Saw your link on Lehman's Facebook page. Thanks for the easy recipe.

Anonymous said...

Can I use this in my HE Front Loading machine?

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

I did read that if you have an HE front-loader washer, dissolve 1-2 Tablespoons in warm water to form a liquid. Then you can add it to the machine and it'll work fine. I've not tried that yet, since I have been using traditional front-loading washing machines. However, if you tend to wash your clothes with cold water, you could still do the same thing of dissolving the soap in just enough warm water until it becomes a liquid. Then add it to your cold water wash.

Some of my friends have HE washing machines and they say it works fine, just follow the instruction above. I hope that helps ;)

Anonymous said...

Any body have a Food Maxx or a Food 4 less where you are? .88 cents a big bar! Wal-Mart seems to have the best price on Borax and Washing Soda. $3.29 and $3.24! Another great thing I found is that Pool supplies carry Soda Ash (washing soda) for about $31.00 for 50 pounds.
Ask for Sodium Carbonate. Have yet to figure out a cheep way to get Borax out here in CA but I'm working on it. Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

Zote can usually be found in ethnic Latin grocery stores, if you have one in your city try there first vs shipping. I live in south Texas so it's pretty easy to find here.

Anonymous said...

You actually have more ingredients there than you need :-) Baking Soda & Washing Soda do not need to be used to gether. Use Washing Soda as it has a higher ph, but if you have sensitive skin or use on diapers use the Baking Soda (Washing soda has a ph of 11 & Baking soda has a ph of about 7). The Washing Soda is a stronger base for the detergent so both are not needed. Baking soda often disintegrates before it removes any stains and is less effective - from a chemistry point of view.

Borax is also not a needed addition for a powdered detergent. It sounds great because we assume that it will whiten our clothes, though the Zote soap does that nicely (better than fels naptha for example). Borax will not break down well unless in hot water & is not as strong as washing soda. Commercially it is only found in liquid detergents which lose their potency after they are opened and not kept air tight. You want Borax in liquid detergents, but it's really not needed in dry form.

Anonymous said...

I found Zote laundry soap at Big Lots here in Oregon, if you have one near you, check it. Its a regularly stocked item there.

Claudia said...

I´m mexican and zote is a very cheap soap we have pink & White it´s a classic laundry soap and we use when wash or pre-whash in hand (I don´t if I write correctly). Now sold it in liquid presentation because here when the whites are "yellow" we "cook" the soap and soak the cloths in the same hot water. (grandma´s secret)

brian said...

Our local Piggly Wiggly sells Zote flakes. Couldn't I just mix that in instead of grating the bars?

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

@Claudia - I LOVE ZOTE soap. It's fabulous and the price is so good :) :)

@Brian - I don't see why you couldn't do that. Just make sure it's the same amount in terms of ounces. There's a lot of options...because you can basically use whatever bar soap you want...but if it already comes in flake form..sure. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

Thanks for visiting me :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

Unknown said...

I saw the flakes. It was $2.99 compared to the .97¢ bar. We use one box of borax, one of washing soda, and one container of oxy with the two bars of soap. I am trying one white bar and one pink this time. We are also tossing in some unstoppable pellets for lasting fragrance.

Unknown said...

I use a similar recipe and I absolutely LOVE it! The 1st batch I made didn't last long because I gave most of it out as samples to my family (who also loves it!) and I had to get use to the fact I didn't need to use a whole cup. 2-3 tablespoons is truly enough and I have a 10 year old that likes to be 1 with the grass. I made my second batch at the End of September and I still have plenty of detergent to go another few months and I wash every week. I can say I have saved a ton of money on detergent! Now if I can find a way to save on fabric sheets............