Friday, November 11, 2011

Homemade Liquid Lard and Lye Laundry Soap.

I have been making my liquid laundry soap for almost a year and love it. I wanted a soap made from a sustainable resource and that Baby O's skin could tolerate. She is especially sensitive to the chemicals additives, preservatives and dyes in most soaps. One day while looking at different sites I came across this soap forum HERE. MikeInPdx had posted this recipe and I have been using it ever since. Daughter hasn't had a severe break out since!

This is what Mike had to post :
I keep this soap on hand all the time. It takes a few days to set up but it's really easy to make and works well in soft water. People with hard water will want to have it softened with borax or washing soda before adding soap. 

1 gallon heavy plastic or glass container with wide mouth 
1/2 gallon cold water 
2.25 ounces lye 
1 lb lard, melted 
1/2 cup washing soda 
1/2 cup borax (up this to 1 cup if you can't find the washing soda) 
Fragrance oil or essential oil of your choice (optional) 
Hot water to fill the container 
Add cold water to container. Add lye; stir well (this barely gets warm because lye is so diluted) Add lard, washing soda, borax, fragrance oil. Add hot water to finish filling the container and stir well with a wire whisk. 
Whisk 3 times a day or so until set up. Initially, it will start with a glob of soap on top but will set up more each time you whisk it. After three days or so, you will be left with a nice, powdery liquid that you can use in your laundry. 
Add 1/2 - 1 cup for a top loading machine. Dissolve in hot water before adding to a very cold wash. Otherwise, just add it while the machine is filling. Use less in a front loader; this one WILL suds if you add too much.
Since I had just rendered lard and was almost out of laundry soap I decided to show you how I make liquid laundry soap.
 First I took my 5 gallon bucket with lid and sat it in my sink. Filled it with 1/2 gallon cold water and using goggles and gloves and careful not to breathe fumes added lye (in that order) then stirred with stainless steel spoon to dissolve. (Use Adequate Ventilation)
Once Lye is dissolved and water is clear add melted lard. Careful not to splash!
 Add Lard that has been melted in microwave
 Add 1/2 cup borax
 1/2 cup washing soda
 stir well
 Add additional 1/2 gallon hot water and stir again. Then I place my bucket in my large sink by the washing machine and put the lid on. For the next three days several times a day as I walk by it I will take a whisk and stir it by hand. On the first day or two it will just look like water with a thin white soap foam on top. Just be patient and keep stirring. 

After about three days it starts to look like yogurt and it is done. I use about 1/2 a cup per load. 
There ya go a cheap liquid lye based laundry detergent that can be made in less than 30 minutes not counting the curing time.  I make a double batch at a time that usually lasts me about 3 months.For those of you that don't like using animal fats this can also be made with coconut oil. 

I do treat stains and since I have hard water add about  a Tablespoon of extra borax before my detergent. I use a vinegar rinse and if throwing them in the dryer I put a couple drops of my favorite essential oil on a wash cloth and throw in the dryer with my clothes. They come out clean, soft and smelling wonderful. No preservatives, dyes, or petroleum products that I am aware of.  

I am using fat from my own organically pasture raised pigs, humanely raised. In talking to my butcher I actually save him money because if I don't take the fat then he has to pay to have it disposed of. 

I know that most people just grate Fels Naptha and use that . If it works for you that is wonderful. But Baby O's skin just couldn't seem to tolerate it. So I started looking into what was in it......this is what Fels Naptha contains.

Soap (sodium tallowate*, sodium cocoate* (or) sodium palmate kernelate*, and sodium palmate*), water, talc, cocnut acid*, palm acid*, tallow acid*, PEG-6 methyl ether, glycerin, sorbitol, sodium chloride, pentasodium pentetate and/or tetrasodium etidronate, titatium dioxide, fragrance, Acid Orange (CI 20170), Acid yellow 73 (ci43350)*contains one or more of these ingredients

The fatty acids are a mixture of tallow (probably cow) coconut, and palm oils. fragrances and dyes and this :

potassium penetate An inorganic salt used as a water softener, emulsifier and dispersing ingredient in cosmetic cleansing creams, lotions and soaps. Can be an eye irritant
titanium dioxide Studies have also found that titanium dioxide nanoparticles cause genetic damage in mice.
tetrasodium etidronateSynthetic preservative that  can be irritating to the eyes/mucous membranes.

Hmmmmmmm  Any of these could be the culprit !

Baby O has a skin disease called Keratosis Pilaris. It is a plugging of the hair follicles. This is what it looks like and can appear all over her body. This disease may slowly be outgrown in some patients.

Her dermatologist recommended White Dove or Lever 2000 purchased soaps that she can use. The basis of both of these soaps are a mixture of coconut oil and animal fats(most probably cow tallow). She has been using White Dove and her skin tolerates it reasonably well.

However this is what a bar of Dove Soap contains:

A Dove Bar contains sodium cocoyl isethionate, stearic acid, coconut acid, sodium tallowate, water, sodium isethionate, sodium stearate, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium cocoate or palm cocoate., fragrance, sodium chloride, tetrasodium EDTA, trisodium etidronate, BHT, titanium dioxide and sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate.

That's a mix of coconut extracts, stabilizers, scents/coloring, andseveral ingredients made of or by processing animal fat:

  • stearic acid (usually derived from animal fat unless otherwise stated on packaging),
  • sodium tallowate (treated animal fat),
  • sodium stearate (also usually derived fom animal fat unless stated otherwise).  
But it also contains 
sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate (a colorless salt with useful preperties as
a surfactant. It is usually produced as a mixture of related sulfonates. It is a major component of laundry detergent. The salt has LD 50 of 2.3 mg/liter for fish. about 4X more toxic than the branched tetrapropylenebenzenesulfate. It is however biodregraded more rapidly. Oxidative degradation initiates at the alkyl chain. (Wikipedia)

Tetrasodium EDTA..EDTA is in such widespread use that it has emerged as a persistent organic pollutant, It degrades to ethylenediaminetriacetic acid, which then cycizes to the diketopiperizide, a cumulative, persistent, organic, enviromental pollutant. An alternative chelating agent with fewer enviromental pollution implications is EDDS.  

EDTA exhibits low acute toxicity with LD50(rat.) of 2.0-2.2g/kg. It has been noted to cause reproductive and developmental effect. The same study by Lanigan also found that both dermal exposure to EDTA in most cosmetic formulations and inhalation exposure to EDTA in aerosolized cosmatic formulations would produce exposure levels below those seen to be toxic in oral dosing studies. (Wikipedia

My research stopped there as I think that alone was enough to maybe understand and  justify her skins reactions to these chemicals.  Now that I have found an animal based laundry soap that she can tolerate my goal this winter is to experiment with making herbal soaps that she can use to get completely away from purchased soaps.  I want to experiment with a coconut and lard based soap maybe with oatmeal and some healing herbs. Any soapers out there with recommendations please feel free to help. I have lots of Lard in the freezer.   

By the way Thanks MikeInPdx !

Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter


  1. I know me, so I will never make lye soap. I envy those that do!
    However I would like to hear more about your vinegar rinse, CQ. :-)
    Thanks so much for this post!

  2. Great post....I have lard in the freezer too :-)

  3. Replies
    1. You can get it at Ace Hardware in the plumbing section...just make sure that it's pure lye, not "drain cleaner." Or you can order it on line from Essential Depot.

  4. If you can make liquid laundry soap, you can easily make goats milk soap too, Momma Hooch! I just posted a step-by-step tutorial on my blog for making soap. You can use any liquid, but the goats milk is especially good for sensitive skin. Here's a lard/coconut oil recipe that works great with oatmeal, and you could even add your healing herbs, too. Just follow the same direction's as on the post.

    Terri's Lard Based Goat's Milk Soap Recipe:
    35 ounces Lard
    5 ounces Coconut Oil
    5.8~ ounces Lye
    14.4~ ounces Goats Milk
    Scents (1 ounce +) or Additives of choice

    100-110 degrees.
    This is a great recipe to add honey and oatmeal!

  5. Glad it worked for you...especially for someone with sensitive skin. :)

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this! I followed all instructions but after 3 days mine was still seperating. It has been 2 weeks now and seems to have less water in it when seperated. Any suggestions as to why it is doing this?

    1. I have never had that happen so not sure. I would say give it a little longer and stir the heck out of it.

  7. My castile soap hasn't got any strange things in it, maybe that would be ok for Baby O's skin.

  8. Hi there!

    My youngest daughter had Keratosis Pilaris. When I changed our diet to a fruit-based diet, the Keratosis Pilaris went away completely.

    Neo Soul Mom

  9. Hi there!

    My youngest daughter had Keratosis Pilaris. When I changed our diet to a fruit-based diet, the Keratosis Pilaris went away completely.

    Neo Soul Mom

  10. What kind of lye did you use in the recipe? NaOH or KOH?

    Very interesting process. I do a similar process but heat all the ingredients.

    Nana Nancy

  11. I made this tonight. Thx so much for the tutorial!

  12. I made this tonight. Thx so much for the tutorial!

  13. Follow appropriate skin care regimes, which are suggested by professional dermatologists. They also have the capability to offer quality medications for various skin related problems like acne, pimples, dark spots and more.

  14. sorry I found the other part of the water in your picture , thanks again

  15. Am I correct that this recipe makes 1 gallon total, as described? I'm so excited to try this. I have lard in the freezer just waiting to be rendered. And a real desire to rid my house and our family's bodies of all the toxic yuckies. Thanks so much for this!

  16. May i know why not use potassium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide?

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. I made this about 3 weeks ago, took about a week to "set up". I used tap water not distilled water. After sitting a couple more days it was perfect. It gets our clothes very clean, gets out the dirt and smells, leaves them feeling very soft, I use white vinegar in the rinse cycle. I do pretreat any visible stains. This is now my go to laundry.
    I had been grating fels naptha to make a laundry, I hated grating soap bars, I won't be making that anymore.
    I know everything that goes into this laundry soap and love it. Thank you so much for the recipe and the time you took to create the recipe.

  19. Can you use coconut oil in place of the lard by chance?

  20. The recipe does say you can use coconut oil instead of lard.

  21. Mine is separating, with an inch thick of soap gel on top and liquid at the bottom. I've been using my stick blender to mix it. I usually do it morning and night. I made it yesterday, so do I just need to wait longer?

  22. Where do you get your lard? Any particular brand/kind?

  23. Hi! I made this and it wouldn't thicken up so I finally put it on the stove and warmed it, then used a stick blender. Set up beautifully. More like hot.process soap I guess! Worked well for my aundry!


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