I ventured back into town yesterday. It was very interesting. In the bigger of the two supermarkets there was music playing and every five minutes a recording played. It went "we are aware there are many things missing from the shelves right now due to unprecedented times but we want you to KEEP CALM." It sort of had the opposite effect on me. It wasn't calming.
Anything to do with cleaning, washing, sterilising and sanitising was either unavailable or limited. This included hand soap, body wash, hard soaps ... dish washing soap or tablets where you could have one item... disinfecting sprays were two items but there were none there anyway... and so on.
I am so glad I learned to make soap! While it would take up a ton of space (and money) to stock up years ahead on laundry soap and all the different soaps we use it is pretty simple and inexpensive to store away items that will always let you make just about anything you want!
Apart from cleanliness and sanitation keeping things clean affects morale. I am starting to get why soap was such a valuable item during the war and depression years. Especially something that smells good!
Soap making is really easy. I am going to link to some of my soap making tutorials and recipes. Here you will find Rachel's homemade laundry soap recipe. Laundry soap is a great way to get soap making! You will also find a recipe that does not need caustic soda (which intimidates a lot of people but shouldn't!) as you use soap flakes. However this makes beautiful soap.
Soap Making Part 1. So we will start off with Soap Flakes.... in Australia the best is Lux Pure Soap flakes. If you keep this on hand you are going to be able to make hand soap, laundry soap, wool mix... basically anything. In the US I believe Ivory has a pure soap flake. You are looking for pure grated soap. Of course you could find a pure gentle soap and grate it yourself.
To enable you to clean windows, make gentle Wool Wash and many more items Methylated Spirits
is an excellent thing to keep. The Wool Mix recipe is a wonderful introduction into soap making as it sets in a jar as a hard soap which you dissolve in hot water to use. It is the most divine smelling mix... Wool Mix It contained Eucalyptus Oil which is another item to keep on hand. If you prefer you could use Lavender Oil. Both scent things beautifully and both have antiseptic and strong cleaning properties.
This link is to another favourite soap I make that is so smooth. It is a good soap for gifts. Beautiful gift soap. So I need to add Lye/Caustic Soda to the list of things to have in your cupboard plus Coconut oil. Olive Oil is another thing I like to have on hand for soap making.
This post has the laundry liquid recipe that I use. Laundry Liquid recipe. So now I add Borax and Washing Soda/Lectric Soda to my list of items. The beautiful of most of these things is one packet is going to go a long way. And most have many other uses! If you use this recipe in a stronger concentration you have a laundry soaker.
I find that saving jars, buckets, items that could be used as soap moulds and an old cooking pot are all handy. I have my soap making pot and whenever I am mixing something up out if comes!
Epsom Salts is a wonderful versatile cleaner. So is Vinegar. Epsom salts can be added to your wash for a softening effect. You can clean your teeth with it and use it as a mildly abrasive sink and surface clearer. Vinegar is an ingredient in Miracle Cleaner (see below) and mixed with a simple dish soap it will clean the shower screen.
Hydrogen Peroxide is a multi purpose cleaning item. Prepsteader on You Tube has a whole video on the uses of this. I use it to soak the toothbrushes if anyone has been unwell. It also makes a great laundry treatment/ spot remover.
It is very easy to make liquid hand soaps as it is really just a runny version of any soap. You can find many recipes for using soap scraps to make liquid hand soap. Re filling your pump containers with soap you made yourself is pretty satisfying especially now they are hard to get! I like to add a few drops of essential oil like Eucalyptus or a Germ Fighting blend.
The best all round cleaner I know of is Miracle Cleaner. This smells amazing, kills germs and you can make it up from ingredients already mentioned. Miracle Cleaner. If you clean with this your house always smells fresh too.
In Australia we have Sunlight Soap or Velvet soap which are basic all purpose old fashioned soaps. Many of us probably had our hair washed with Velvet soap at some stage. You can wash your dishes or your laundry. Vicky sent me some Zote soap from the US. It made wonderful laundry liquid! You will never be sorry if you line a few drawers with some bars of good all round useful soaps. They take up very little space and they harden further over time which makes them last a long time when you do use them. Some luxury beautifully scented soaps make your linen cupboard smell nice (and your linens) but in a shortage there you have your supply!
My last tip is that if you purchase soap flakes to transfer them into a container rather than leave them in the cardboard box. They retain the scent and stay better long term in a large jar or tin.
Right now soaps are a great gift. Heike made tiny soaps and popped them into little tins to carry in your purse. This was a nice idea for anyone! Thoughtful! My next experiment is to make soap leaves by thinly slicing freshly made soap into single use soaps. I will report back on that! xxx