Fusion Handcrafts offers accessories and home items made by blending modern and old-fashioned methods, materials and designs.I currently offer a constantly growing line of soap and bath products, as well as knit and crochet items.
Welcome to the Fusion Handcrafts blog.

Hello fellow "forward thinkers". That's the new term for us old-fashioned folks that choose to grow and make our own "stuff", according to "Ivory" at Little House in the Suburbs.
For the first time in almost 40 years I get to be hip.
Well, this blog will be my place to share about what I do to live more naturally and frugally. And to get to "meet" you folks that are also interested in such things. I will give info on my soaps and other products available (for those of you who would rather buy natural items) as well as give info about how to make some stuff (for those of you who prefer to make natural items.)
If there is something you would like to see included or that you have questions about let me know.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dishwashing Powder and Laundry Soap

The last couple of weeks have been fairly quiet as far as my soap-making goes. (I’m supposed to be doing that “spring cleaning” thing, just haven’t gotten too much of it done either.) However, I have been experimenting (insert Mad Scientist laughter here) with dishwasher and laundry soaps.
The dishwashing powder that I have made is fantastic. It is all natural, works better than any of the commercial brands that I have used, and I have found that it works great as a powder cleanser-think Comet. My only problem is figuring out the best way to package it. My local customers are supplying me with their own re-used containers. Making it even more economical for them because they don’t have to pay for packaging. However, I’m not sure that will work well for my web-store listing. I always try to keep packaging costs low and as “green” as I can. Anyone with a good suggestion just let me know.
My new laundry soap is also presenting some minor issues. Don’t get me wrong, the product is wonderful; it’s the packaging and presentation that is keeping me from being able to concentrate on my Kakuro game. I made both a powder and a liquid version. The powder is, like the dishwashing powder, wonderful. We’ve used it for several loads and everything is clean, soft and fresh smelling; even after line drying.  The only questions I have here are-how to package it and what scents to offer it in. The liquid, on the other hand, is being my problem child. It doesn’t stay in solution, and takes some serious re-mixing each load to get it measurable. It does work wonderfully, so I will keep working on it to make it more user friendly.

Here are my test notes

Dishwasher Powder- keep the following in mind as results will vary based on machine, water, and soiling
  • I have a newish dishwasher (3 years old)
  • we do not pre-rinse our dishes before they go in the machine, just scrape off the big pieces, the machine has a grinder that takes care of the little bits
  • we have regular city water, not particularly hard but also not softened
  • since I’m a “from scratch” kind of cook and 4 of us are home all the time (3 meals plus 2 snacks a day) we do a lot of dishes (7 to 12 full loads a week)
  • our previous routine was as follows: Cascade tab (with shine shield and Dawn grease fighters) in main cup with a cheap liquid in the pre-rinse cup and Jet-Dry in the rinse cup- anything less than this resulted in a lot of tiny particles in the glasses and white film on glass and metal, and a lot of re-washing
New routine:
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of my homemade powder split between the 2 cups and white vinegar in the rinse cup
Shiny, clean dishes. No streaks or film. What more is there to say?
*Side note: I was experimenting (moowahaha) with this as a powder cleanser in the bathroom- it did an excellent job. Do wear rubber gloves as the ingredients will dry your skin. I used this in the toilet; and not only did it clean the porcelain nicely, but it also made the toilet brush look like new (something the commercial cleaners had not done.) I also used this to clean the bath mat which had become dull and grayed, while it doesn’t look like new it is brighter than it has been in a long time.

Laundry Soaps- again results will vary based on machine, water and load size and soiling- you’ll need to adjust amount of soap and water temperature to suit your needs
  • I am using a 15 year old, heavily used washer
  • my washer is the largest they made in its time, some new HE’s are larger, so amount of soap used will be more than is necessary for most washers
  • we do not sort the laundry by colors (I know, I should be ashamed of myself for this and I probably just lost all of your respect for me as a housekeeper)
  • my husband is an Ironworker so we wash some very dirty clothes- muddy, rusty, concrete-y, smelly, grungy (you get the picture)
  • I have 3 children, 1 that’s potty training and 2 that are learning to cook (lots of messes)
  • due to the dirtiness involved- most loads we do are in warm or hot water
  • when the weather allows, we hang our clothes out to dry
  • most loads got fabric softener (liquid)
Routine- powder:
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons (1/8 to 1/4 cup) powdered soap per load with 1/2 cup white vinegar added to the fabric softener dispenser
Results- powder:
After 2 or 3 loads. Everything seemed at least as clean as with the commercial detergents. My daughter loved hanging these out. She liked the scent and felt the clothes were a little less stiff when she took them down.

Routine- liquid:
  • shake or stir the mix (a lot) to return it to suspension
  • add 1 to 2 cups of liquid soap per load (no need to add the vinegar, it’s in the soap)
Results- liquid:
After 15 loads (I’ve done more with the liquid because I’m obsessing over how to keep it in suspension-the whole “squeaky wheel” thing) Again, everything is nice and clean. Most things seem much softer than with the commercial detergent and liquid softener. The biggest difference is in my husband’s socks and our bath towels. My husband’s work socks were so bad before that a lot of time I rewashed them because they were still stiff after washing and just didn’t seem clean. They are so much nicer now, not stiff and you can tell they have been washed. The bath towels we use are beach towels that are cabana striped in bright colors and white. They had become quite dingy, but now they are bright and white again.
I am very pleased with these products and can’t wait to offer them for sale. In the mean time I, and others, will be doing more testing.

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