Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gift packaging for homemade laundry soap

Well, it has been many months since I posted here in my Christmas Kitchen. It hasn't been a matter of not wanting to post here, but rather a matter of not being able to find the time. I've been so busy with everyday life that many once-enjoyable "extras" have had to be passed over.

This past weekend, however, I found myself in need of a quick and easy hostess gift. Our hostess lives in a park model RV, so I wasn't sure of what to take. I knew she didn't have a lot of room for extra knickknacks. So I thought that a consumable gift would be in order. I considered a jar mix -- say, for coffeecake or muffins -- but I wasn't sure what she might have for baking pans. Then the light dawned -- I was making up some of my homemade laundry soap that morning, being almost out of it. What a perfect consumable gift that would be! After all, everyone does laundry! So I just doubled the batch and put enough for 6 loads of laundry in a quart size zipping bag, then packaged it in a fun way. What a hit this gift was!

I decided that other people might be interested in this gift idea, too. First, here's the formula for the homemade laundry soap:


1 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated (I use a hand grater and grate the soap onto waxed paper)
1 and 1/2 cups washing soda
1 and 1/2 cups borax

Combine all ingredients in a large glass or metal bowl.

Place about 1/3 of the mixture in a blender and blend until it becomes a powder. You will see small particles of the Fels Naptha, but in general you want a fairly uniform, dissolvable powder.

Empty soap powder out of blender into a container (which has a cover) to keep in the laundry room. I use recycled quart yogurt containers to keep my soap powder in.

Repeat with remaining mixture.

(After making the soap powder, wash the grater, bowl, blender container, measuring cups and any other utensils well in hot soapy water. Rinse with boiling water. This is just what I do -- it's not a good idea to ingest borax, so I want to make sure I get every trace of it off my utensils. That's also why I use metal or glass utensils and not plastic -- it seems to me that plastic is capable of absorbing substances.)

Use 1/4 cup soap powder for each load of laundry. I like to run a little warm water into the machine first, then add the powder and make sure it's dissolved before adding the clothes and turning the water temperature to cold.

I have been very, very pleased with the effectiveness and the low cost of this laundry soap powder!


To package the laundry soap as a gift, here's what I did. You could use any amount of the soap you like, but I found that enough for 6 loads of laundry (1 1/2 cups) fit very comfortably in a quart size zipping bag.

I then slipped the plastic bag full of soap powder into a brown paper lunch bag. I folded down the top of the bag a couple of times. Then, I printed out an instruction label like the one at the top of this post -- and feel free to borrow it, if you like. I held it in place at the top of the folded bag and then sewed the bag shut (and the label in place) using my sewing machine threaded with red thread. It looked very unique and my friend was so delighted with the packaging that she put it on display. I hope she eventually will break down and use the soap powder!

So there is a new gift idea for you to think about for this Christmas. With many people trying to be more frugal, it might be a very successful gift. I can see this packaged maybe in (or with) a clothespin bag and maybe a crocheted or knitted dishcloth or two. Have fun with this idea!