Zote soap is a type of laundry bar with a variety of uses, including removing stains from clothing, brightening whites and softening fabrics. It can also be used to make your own homemade laundry soap that is safe for your family, gentle on the environment and much less expensive than buying commercial detergents. This method yields approximately 4 cups of homemade washing powder made with Zote soap, but you can easily double or triple the recipe for a larger batch.
Ingredients and Equipment
All of the necessary ingredients for making homemade laundry soap are easy to find in the laundry aisle of your local supermarket or chemist. You'll need a bar of Zote soap, a box of borax and a box of washing soda. If you're unable to find these ingredients locally, order them online or ask your local store if they'd be willing to carry the items. Use a food processor with grating disc attachment for shaving the soap or a cheese grater for shaving by hand. Use a plastic or glass airtight container for storing your homemade laundry soap.
Unwrap the bar of Zote soap, and use a sharp knife to cut it into strips about 1 to 2 inches in width. This will make shredding it in the food processor much easier. Place the strips in the grating disc attachment and process until the entire bar is shredded. Change the blade on your food processor to the chopping blade. Add 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of washing soda to the food processor and process for several minutes until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and the soap is finely shredded.
If you're grating by hand, simply pull out your cheese grater and start grating the Zote soap bar until you have about 2 cups of finely shredded soap, which should be close to the entire bar. Do not use the large side of the grater, as you need the soap to be as fine as possible to properly dissolve in the wash. Mix the borax and washing soda with the soap shreds in a large mixing bowl until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Keep in mind that it may be dangerous to use the same equipment for making laundry soap and preparing food. Borax, washing soda and laundry soap should never be ingested. Borax can be toxic if consumed and may cause severe gastrointestinal problems or kidney damage. If possible, use an inexpensive food processor or cheese grater specifically for preparing your detergent. If this is not possible, wash the food processor thoroughly according to the manufacturer's instructions prior to using for food preparation. If using a cheese grater, run it through the dishwasher or wash with hot, soapy water before using again.
Storage and Use
Transfer your homemade laundry soap to an airtight glass or plastic storage container, which should be large enough to hold the entire batch of detergent. Label with the contents and store in a cool, dry place near your washing machine. Use approximately 1/8 cup per one large load. Store a measuring cup inside the container of laundry soap to make adding the mixture to the wash easier, or use an old scoop from a commercial container of washing powder.