So we did a science experiment this weekend! It involved a pocket knife, melting soap and, of course, laundry! What could be better?
I had back-up laundry detergent, in case it turned into a giant fiasco. But I didn't have much. The kids were so excited. I guess they get the excited-about-laundry gene from their mother. But there we were.
We assembled all the ingredients, a five gallon bucket, children and the cub scout pocket knife. We shaved the soap into bits, melted it, added hot water and the appropriate amounts of the other ingredients.
We had to wait until morning for it to gel. Ours didn't really gel -- it did more like chicken broth, with a layer of ugly fat on the top, only this was soap. But I soldiered on.
And I did a load of laundry.
The washing machine did not explode. Nothing was ruined. Nothing was in shreds or purple. In fact, it actually smelled pretty good. Things appeared clean! Success! On to another load! So I washed my sheets! And they turned out clean! Miracle! Oh, the exclamation points that were my life yesterday!
And, as Sarge pointed out, it must have been a success, because the clothes are clean and no one has a rash. And I didn't even have to use my back up laundry detergent.
If YOU want to make your own detergent, there's a great description and recipe here.