Thursday, 2 February 2012

Some handy hints, a little bit of thrift, and a lot of gloop

I know that really washing day should be Monday (the reason being that you can dine off the cold cuts from Sunday as the home fires will be heating up the water and all hands on the laundry, and also that it gives you the week to get things washed, rinsed, dried, ironed and aired, all ready for the weekend), but in the absence of a tumble dryer and the presence of sun and nipping  northeast wind, Thursday it has to be.

Now for some reason, most probably alliterative, Thursdays in Blogland seem quite often to be Thrifty, and to enter into the spirit of things I thought that I would take as my theme washday economy.

It all came about because I wanted to make some more of the world famous Laundry Gloop, and encountered a broken link to the place where I usually find the recipe. So in the public interest (and so that I can find it again), I thought that I would post the recipe here.

And if you don't know about Laundry Gloop, it is a most wonderful thing - a dead cheap, easy to concoct, homemade laundry, well, gloop. I think it probably went under the more dignified name of soap jelly in the past. But you use it instead of laundry liquid or washing powder.

To make Laundry Gloop you need a big saucepan - I use a preserving pan.

The essential ingredients are:

8oz/250g washing soda (also known as soda crystals)

1 bar of cheap white, unscented soap (I use a 150g bar of Boots White Windsor household soap, or supermarket plain own brand white bath soap)

Hot water

Optional ingredients:

8oz/250g borax (available on Amazon/Ebay), or borax substitute. This gives extra stain/smell removing properties.

Your favourite essential oil - I use lavender.


1. Grate the soap using a cheese grater.

2. Meanwhile heat up a couple of litres/4 pints of water, no need to boil.

3. Add grated soap, washing soda and borax (if using) into the warmed water. Stir really well until thoroughly dissolved.

4. Add further hot water to make 4 or 5 litres total - the amount is not crucial, I just fill the preserving pan, and whisk all together. You can add a few drops of essential oil at this point if you want.

5. Pour this liquid into plastic storage containers - large biscuit/cake boxes or plastic lidded buckets are best. It turns to jelly as it cools, so make sure you transfer while still warm (not hot).

To use: put half to one cup in the washing machine DRUM (not the drawer) on top of the washing - I scoop it out of the storage tub into a plastic dosing ball.

To keep whites bright, you can add some Ecover laundry bleach to the machine drawer if you wish. But if you want to be super-thrifty, to keep your whites white don't mix them with any coloureds, and hang them outside to dry where the oxygen in the air will act as a bleaching agent.

And there, with a warm glow of thrift, I will leave you (it's just about the only place in this house where there is a warm glow today, but I always find thrifty thoughts quite uplifting and fortifying).

(If you would like to know more about homemade cleaning materials, I can recommend this book, and for thrift in general, this one is the grandmother of them all!)


Angela said...

Thanks for the recipe - and the recommendation. I've seen it mentioned on other blogs, but it is good to hear it from a trusted friend!

ted and bunny said...

for once, I can add a glean of extra thriftiness to your laundry tips- if you want really REALLY white whites then hang them out at night in a sharp frost.
You'll have to manhandle them back in once morning comes and they're rigid with cold but the moon bleaches them whiter than...well whiter than my poor frozen hands are at this very moment!

Mise said...

It sounds wonderful. I confess that my first thought after reading the recipe was 'where can I buy this readymade?' Now I'll have to get my head round making it myself.

greenrabbitdesigns said...

I really admire you braving the elements to peg your washing on the line!! Brrrrrr!

Jooles said...

Ooooh i do love a line of fresh laundry blowing in the wind :o)
I haven't ventured out to the line yet this year!
happy washing!
love jooles x

Susan McShannon-Monteith said...

Everyday or anyday is laundry day here. It is especially enjoyable with a -10C wind out of the north so when it is time to take it off it is frozen like a board. Overnight on a line in the basement and it is perfect.
I think I'll try this gloop recipe.
Have a wonderful weekend Hun.
Susan x

lavender attic said...

I've never heard of gloop before, must give it a try at half-term. Someone told me the soda crystals clean your machine from limescale on the element as that true?
thanks for the tip! x

Callies Cottage said...

Fantastic!I will most def have a go at this Thank you...Mmm lavender oil,rose geranium,may chang?...
Keep Warm and cosy!
Warm Wishes,

{Leila}Where the Orchids Grow said...

I have started to make my own laundry soap using this recipe too. I am now experimenting with the dry recipe rather than making the gloop and I must say I love it! Cheap, easy and it gets the job done. What more could you wish for!

The Weaver of Grass said...

This is amazing - takes me back to my mother's day all those soda crystals and borax. Not sure I can face the task but admire you for your thrift. And I must say that wash powder has got really expenssive these days hasn't it.

Thrifty Household said...

There's also a recipe for a whitening agent...I'll email it to you!

Jak said...

How strange, I printed this 'receipe' off another blog a couple of days ago, this was a liquid and thought I might try it. Looks like I'll have to rescue my biscuit/choccie containers out of the blue bin. I heard that hanging your whites out on a frosty morning improves their whiteness, these is a risk, of course, that once frozen, they might knock you spark out!
Jak x

Katy Cameron said...

I have seen these handmade concoctions mentioned in a number of places, but thus far have been too lazy to try it! Probably because I have to tumble dry as I have no garden/drying space (being in a first floor flat) and I'm all for minimal laundry input lol I am environmentally friendly enough to only do a wash every 3-4 weeks though, then I have enough clothes for a separate white wash, 2 coloured washes and a towel/bedding wash.

Julie said...

I think I may just have to give this a go. Other recipes (is it wrong to call something that would make you horribly ill a recipe?) I have seen include borax which I have a niggling feeling is Something To Be Avoided - I have absolutely no idea why. Anyhow, I'll have to adopt the ecover bleach if our whites get less white since we don't have enough outdoor space for would be destroyed by the children and I'd rather they could play then the washing hang. We just make do with a clothes pulley - works but not the same as outdoor freshness. Seem to be rather long-winded today, sorry! Juliex

FeltByRae said...

Ooh, fabulous - thanks for that recipe, my washing powder is running low and only this week I was grimacing about the price I'd have to pay to stock up... now I can make own... in your face big manufactuers!! Yay!

Barbara said...

Interesting recipe but does it not clog up the machine?


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