Gathering Summary: Homemade laundry soap and GMO discussion, with Sheree Tompkins, 022713

Laundry Soap Ingredients and Equipment

Laundry Soap Ingredients and Equipment

by Catherine Haug, March 2, 2013

Photo, right, of ingredients and equipment, by S. Tompkins

This was our first event at a new venue: the Crestview Senior Housing Clubhouse. We all sat around a big table while Sheree demonstrated how to make laundry soap at another table.

This is just a short synopsis; you can find more detail in the complete, printable pdf file: Gathering Summary: Homemade Laundry Soap and GMO Discussion, with Sheree Tompkins, and in her handout:  Homemade Laundry Powder or Liquid, by Sheree Tompkins

We took turns grating the bars of soap into a bowl, and passed around the finished product so all could see that it looks like. Sheree also brought a jug of liquid soap that she made from her powdered mix, and a bucket of liquid soap that she made by a more direct method (not mixing up the powder first) to show us what the gel mixture looks and feels like when scooped up in a ladle.

Cora Reynolds, a 97-year old resident of the housing complex shared with us how she used to make laundry soap bars when she lived in North Carolina, in the  old days before her community had electricity.

Then Sheree joined us at the big table to share GMO handouts and to talk about the Non-GMO Tipping Point Network of which she is the coordinator for NW Montana.

Read on for more detail about the presentation and discussion.

Homemade Laundry Powder

Presentation Topics:

  • All-natural ingredients, recommendations;
  • Sheree’s method for laundry powder
  • Liquid laundry soap
  • Cora Reynolds’ memory of making laundry soap bars
  • Kassandra’s homemade citrus cleaner

Several Q&A:

Q: Can this be used in an HE (High Efficiency) washer?

A: Yes. Because they are a low-suds soap, both the powder and liquid can be used in an HE.

Q: Which is better, powder or liquid?

A: Powder is better for regular loads and heavily soiled clothes. liquid is best for situations when you would otherwise use Woolite – lingerie and other delicates.

Q: How much do you use?

A: Powder: 1 Tbsp powder for regular loads, or 2 Tbsp for heavily soiled. Don’t use more than that or you’ll see a lot of lint in your dryer and your fabrics will thin out more quickly.

Liquid: This depends on how much water you work into the mix. Sheree’s recipe on the handout indicates 1/2 cup per load.

Q: What about fabric softener?

A: Sheree fills a downy ball with vinegar, to put in the washer (see also The Essentialist Kitchen Hint: Natural fabric softener). She also uses felted wool balls in the dryer.

GMO and Non-GMO Tipping Point Network (TPN) discussion



(Frankenfood image, right, used by permission from the Organic Consumer’s Association).

  • Sheree shared handouts from the TPN regarding GMOs.
  • What is a GMO?
  • Roundup-Ready crops
  • The harm of GMO (we barely touched on this)


Related articles and files:

Related websites:

2 Responses to “Gathering Summary: Homemade laundry soap and GMO discussion, with Sheree Tompkins, 022713”

  1. Susan S. says:

    Got the recipe for making laundry soap, but not sure where to find some of the ingredients like Fels Naptha, Kirks Cold water castile, Zote, and washing soda?
    Thanks for info on this.

  2. Catherine says:

    Thanks for your question; I’m sorry I didn’t include this in the summary.

    Most grocers sell both Fels Naptha and Kirks Coco Castile in the cleaning supplies isle. At Bigfork Harvest Foods, they are on the top shelf on the side of the isle where dish soap can be found (opposite side from laundry detergents). I’ve not seen Zote, but I’m told some stores in the valley do sell it.

    Washing soda is a bit harder to find; Bigfork Harvest Foods doesn’t sell it, although I have asked them to add it to their inventory. Sliters may sell it, but I haven’t had a chance to check that out. I’m told that Costco and Walmart sell it, but I don’t shop at these stores, so cannot confirm.

    You didn’t ask about Borax, but I believe all regular grocers and some natural food stores sell the 20 Mule Team brand Borax. I buy it at Bigfork Harvest Foods.

    You can buy all of these online through Amazon, as well.