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I love making things! I think that’s no secret. I make my own laundry detergent and household cleaning supplies. I hand wash all my wool even if they are super wash. I also hate rinsing so go through a lot of no rinse wool wash. I recently wondered if I could make it myself.
A quick search on the web and I came up with THIS recipe. It seemed simple so I thought I’d give it a shot and share my results with you all.
What you’ll need
4 cups of soap flakes (about 8 oz.)
1 cup Denatured Alcohol (also know as Methylated Spirits)
25 ml essential oils (eucalyptus was suggested)
1 glass jar with a wide opening
To get started I measured out my soap flakes. I make my own laundry soap bar so I used that. Other good soaps include Zote, Fels-Naptha, Dr. Bronners, Kirks, Ivory or you can just buy soap flakes. I grated enough to get 4 cups which ended up being about 8 oz. Then I added them to my jar. Be sure to use a glass jar because the essential oils will eat through plastic. If you don’t blend it like I do at the end you’ll want to get the soap flakes as fine as you can.
Next up was the Denatured Alcohol (also known as Methylated Spirts in other parts of the world). This ingredient was a bit odd to me. I found it at my local Walmart by the spray paint, and paint thinner…Seems odd to use a product like this, right? My guess is it evaporates quickly which is what makes this wash a no rinse wash. I decided to look a little further into this and found Denatured Alcohol is eco-friendly because it’s made from a renewable source. But is it safe for your skin or your wool? In my reading I found one site suggesting to not use on wool because it could damage it and one other suggesting not to use any Denatured Alcohol with colorants because it can stain. Mine was colorless. I also found several sites that suggested using it to remove stains. I’m still not really sure about this ingredient but I decided to move forward. It’s very poisonous and something that shouldn’t sit on your skin or be inhaled but I figured the item would be fine after it was washed because the alcohol would evaporate once dry. I am no expert so I suggest you do your own research on the product. I also wonder if rubbing alcohol would be a good substitute?
Anyway…After reading the warnings on the can I decided to wear gloves. I tried not to inhale any but I could tell it had a alcohol smell to it. Much like rubbing alcohol. I measured out 1 cup and added it to my jar.
Lastly, I added my essential oils. The original recipe calls for all eucalyptus. My guess it’s for it’s cleaning properties. I’m not the biggest fan of straight eucalyptus so I did half eucalyptus and half lemongrass because that’s what I had. It had a nice clean smell to it. Lavender, tea tree and peppermint are good options as well. Pick something you like the smell of because this is the smell that will stay a bit after washing. Of course no scent is probably fine too!
Once I added everything together I basically had wet soap flakes. I stirred it to see if the soap would break down at all. It did enough to squish down in the jar but it was pretty obvious it wasn’t going to dissolve. I didn’t want to add any water to dissolve the soap because I knew that would shorten the shelf life.
After some thought I decided to break out my hand blender. This blender is strictly dedicated to soap making so If you have one you plan to use on food as well I would not use it on this and just leave the flakes as is. It didn’t take much blending to get a more paste-like mixture.
And that’s all there is to it! Be sure to keep a lid on your jar because the Denatured Alcohol evaporates easily.
Does it work?
To use the wool wash I dissolved a tablespoon of the paste into 1 cup of hot water. Make sure to stir the mixture first.
To my supersize the soap paste fizzed a little and quickly dissolved. I wondered if all the Denatured Alcohol had all evaporated at that point and maybe I should have used cooler water? Not sure but it’s what the instructions said to do.
I also add a pea-sized dollop of lanolin because my favorite no rinse wool wash is lanolin enriched. It had mostly melted on my warm spoon by the time I got a photo. Lanolin helps keep fibers soft, supple and also reduced static.
After the water had cooled a little I added the diluted wool wash to my bowl and a cowl that was in desperate need of a washing. I decided to stick my hand in without a glove. I figured the Denatured Alcohol was diluted enough at this point (and possibly had all evaporated) so my hand would be ok. I swished the cowl around and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
I took the cowl out and got as much water out as I could and set it to dry.
Looking at the water it defiantly cleaned the cowl!
I didn’t rinse my wet hands right away but they dried quickly and it didn’t feel l still had soap on them. There was no smell of alcohol either, just the essential oils. I did go wash my hands after I set the cowl to dry just in case. After the cowl dried it felt, looked and smelled great. I’d say it worked!
While I think the idea is interesting will this replace my normal no rinse wash? Maybe not… It seemed to get the job done that’s for sure and it’s cheap but is it the best thing for the job? That, I’m not sure of. It’s an age old recipe but just because something is old doesn’t automatically mean it’s good or good for you. My one worry is still the Denatured Alcohol. Is it safe? For your skin or your wool? After reading up on it I’m still not 100% sure… After the wool is washed it’s evaporated but letting it sit on the wool, is that good for it?
My plan is to use what I’ve made on my gauge swatches but I’m not sure I’ll keep using it after that. We’ll see…As for the left over Denatured Alcohol I plan to use that to clean my windows. It works great or that! It also gets sticky label goo off things really well.
What do you think? Have you used this recipe? Would you try it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!