Sunday, January 20, 2013

Zote, What on Earth is Zote?

There are some disadvantages to living in the woods.  Even though we are technically living in the city, we don't have city sewer.  We have a septic tank and we have to be careful about putting too much water down the drain.  Therefore, I am not able to do several loads of laundry in one day.  I have to do one or two a day.  Today when doing some laundry I discovered that I am almost out of my laundry soap and fabric softener.

Most people these days are familiar with the homemade laundry detergent recipe.

Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent:

1 5.5 oz. Bar Shaved Soap (Fels Naptha or Ivory)

1 cup of Borax

1 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda


Stir the ingredients together (after shaving the soap) and use 2 TBS per load of laundry. This method should work well in HE front loader washers as well since it is a low-suds formula.

Instead of Fels Naptha soap I am trying a product called Zote.  It smells so good. It smells like clean fresh soap and not perfume. Zote only costs $1.19 for a 14.1 ounce bar and makes a double batch. Because it comes in a bar just as Fels does, it has to be ground up.  There are many methods to do this like a cheese grinder, knuckle buster or blender.   Zote is a softer soap than Fels or Ivory so I cut the bar up in pieces, put it outside (or in the freezer) to get cold and ground it up in the blender.  I hope I got all the soap smell out of the blender or we will be blowing bubbles from our next smoothie. 

I cut the bar of soap in pieces and then ground the soap up in the blender.
Then I added the Borax and Washing Soda and blended it again to make a fine powder.

Now the fun begins.  I took my newly made laundry soap down to the laundry room and put a load of clothes into the washer.  Then I scooped 1 tablespoon of the new detergent in.  I didn't use any fabric softener because I wanted to see how it was without it.  An hour later I went down to throw the load into the dryer.  Oh my gosh, there was water on the floor, under the laundry tub and it had seeped a little into an adjoining bathroom.  I thought my new soap must be a complete failure but I couldn't imagine why.  I dried everything out with towels and fans.  Then later (remember I can do two loads a day) I thought I would try it again only this time stay and watch.  I loaded the machine and put the soap into the dispenser, turned it on and waited and waited and waited.  Imagine how painful that was for someone with my personality.  Nothing went wrong.  The machine went through all the cycles perfectly.  The clothes had no residue and smelled good when they came out.  I don't know how well it cleaned because most of our laundry isn't dirty, it just need freshening up.  Who knows what had happened but it seems to have resolved itself.  Stay tuned, I will report if this soap turns out to be a failure but it looks and smells good so far.

Homemade Fabric Softener

6 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups Suave Hair Conditioner (any inexpensive hair conditioner will do)

This recipe can also be cut in half because it make a lot.
1. Mix water, vinegar, and hair conditioner in a 1 gallon container; stir. Do not shake it; it will cause foaming.
2. Use the same amount you normally use in a rinse cycle or spritz it on a wash cloth and throw in dryer.


  1. MYSTERY??? I hope you don't have that mess again. Have you made the LIQUID version of the homemade laundry soap? This dry version seems a lot easier to store. Are there any negatives to the dry version?

  2. I have made the liquid and it needs a big container. You have to heat it to get it melted. I only did that once and switched to the dry. It works beautifully and is so easy. I haven't had any problem and I have a front loading washer. It always dissolves and I never have any thing on the clothes. It stores in an ice cream bucket. This zote soap is softer so I needed to freeze it to blend it but I see no reason for my problem. I don't think it was the soap. It might have been the drain but whatever it was, it's fine now. Thanks for commenting. I like the feedback.