Soft Soap Surface Spiffer





Introduction: Soft Soap Surface Spiffer

Here is a semi-solid cleaning solution for delicate surfaces; microwave oven doors, glass-top ovens (MUCH less expensive than the commercial products), table tops, car interiors, windows, walls, and just about anything else that isn't harmed by water. Microfiber cleaning cloths are ideal for soft surfaces, such as coffee makers and microwave doors.  The cleaner cuts grease, and washes away easily, and can be used to buff most spills out of carpets with a damp terrycloth towel. Also, with a couple of tweaks, it becomes a super-high-quality laundry detergent, at a small fraction of the cost of any store-bought product.

Step 1: Soft Soap Surface Spiffer Main Ingredient

Any bath bar or bar-type laundry soap will work fine.  Use a standard 4-ounce bar (a little larger or smaller is fine), or half of a larger bar, such as Lirio or Zote, which can both be purchased in stores that sell Mexican products, or online at stores such as Walgreen's.

Step 2: Borax

Borax!  Cheap, efficient cleaning booster

Step 3: Washing Soda

Washing Soda -- this is one of the major ingredients in many commercial cleaing compounds.  Like Borax, it is EXTREMELY inexpensive, and can be bought at most major groceries, as well as some online retailers.

Step 4: Grater

For the soap.  Grating helps the soap to dissolve in the water more quickly and thoroughly.

Step 5: Empty Containers

You can store your custom cleaner in any waterproof container.

Step 6: Step 1 - Grate the Soap


Step 7: Step 2 - Get the Other 3 Ingredients Ready

1.) Measure a scant 4 cups of water into a bowl or measuring cup. 
2.) In two small cups or bowls (one for each powder), measure two rounded tablespoons of Borax, and two rounded tablespoons of washing soda, respectively. 
3.) Pour the water into a two or four-quart saucepan, and heat the water on high until it begins to steam.
4.) Add the grated soap to the water, and turn the heat down to low or medium-low (you don't need it to boil), and stir with a large spoon until the soap is completely dissolved. 
5.) Add the washing soda and stir until dissolved.  The solution will thicken slightly, which will help keep the Borax from forming lumps.
6.)  Add the Borax and stir until dissolved.  Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool for 20 minutes. 

Step 8: Step 3 - Pour Into Containers

7.) After 20 minutes, the cleaner will be cool enough to pour into containers, but still warm enough to pour smoothly. You can use a spatula to scrape out the saucepan.
(The rose-colored glycerine soap is next in line!)

Step 9: The Finished Spiffer

Now, all you do is to let it cool to room temperature, and then put the lid on.   The soap will be opaque when completely cool.

Step 10: Two Different Batches, Cooled & Ready to Go

Here are two finished batches of cleaner -- less than 15 minutes of work, and cheaper than a cup of coffee!

Step 11: Bonus Laundry Soap!

If you would like to try a batch of laundry soap, here are the details (the steps are almost the same).
You will need:
1.) A 5-gallon bucket
2.) A LARGE saucepan (standard pasta-pot size)
3.) 3 one-gallon pails (optional)
4.) 1 bar of bath soap or 1/2 bar of laundry soap (same as the original recipe)
5.) 1-1/2 cups of Borax
6.) 1-1/2 cups of washing soda
7.) 3 gallons of water

Pour approximately half the water into the 5-gallon bucket, and half into the large pot.  Heat water (in the pot) until steaming, and turn the heat to low or medium-low.  Add soap and stir till dissolved.  Add washing soda and stir again until it dissolves.  Add Borax and .....stir till it dissolves!  Pour contents of pot into the bucket and blend soap solution with water (separate into one-gallon pails if desired).  Voilà!  World's finest laundry soap.  Use between 1/2 and 1 cup per load of laundry, depending on load size, level of YUCK, and personal preference.

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    34 Discussions

    I sure don't know how I missed this one! Very nice! I just made an entry on laundry soap recently and will reference this to it. Thanks for sharing!

    This is a great recipe that has been around for eons but I am not sure I understand the need for making the liquid form of this in large batches for storage. If you decide to mix enough liquid for storage be sure to use DISTILLED water. I also make lotions and creams and using tap or well water is risking bacteria. Distilled water will keep for at least 6 months to a year without needing any special antibacterial chemicals. Avoiding those is the reason I have always made my own cosmetics and soaps

    This recipe is pretty close to what I helped my grandmother and mother put together for laundry day but we used our own homemade soap. One of my jobs was to grate all that homemade soap into a bucket for use on laundry days. Back in those days the amount of lye used was estimated so there was so much leftover lye that my hands would be near raw LOL.

    On Sat mornings mom boiled a kettle of water. I measured out 4 cups of the grated soap, 1/2 c.borax and 1/2 c. baking soda into a bucket. The boiling water was poured into the bucket and everything stirred for about 20 minutes while it cooled down to a thick gel. This muck was used to wash clothes. Whatever was left over went into the wash tub for bathing dirty kids later that evening. For the ladies it was reheated a little and a 1/4 c of goat's milk added to it. If you still have some left, use it to was dishes.

    I am over 60 now and have used this formula from wash tubs to wringer washers to electric washers with great result and still make my own soap..

    BTW a soapmaker's secret for extra suds - add 1 tbsp castor oil for each 4 cups of grated soap or 1 ou for every 2 lbs of weighed oils if you make your own.


    3 replies

    Wow - never thought to use distilled water! That makes perfect sense, though I've never had a batch go bad after 5 months in the garage. But the water is really clean around here (just found out last week they don't even add chlorine).
    I spent waaaay too long looking for a laundry soap recipe (where were you when I needed you?? :D ). There were so many different recipes, I just decided to wing it. The lack of suds was strange (how can you clean your undies without suds?), but I won't ever go back to commercial stuff. Does castor oil add any cleaning power to the mix?
    You had your bare hands in LYE? Yikes!!

    I've never had a problem with my 6 gallon batches either. At a half cup per load, one batch can last me well over a year.

    Homemade lye soap is lye and fat mostly. If you guess and add too much lye, then the extra can burn you. At least that's the take I get from what she said. I suppose they didn't have any pH paper down on the farm back then.

    The castor simply adds suds. Pure lard soap has almost no suds. When I was a very young girl we made the soap from hog fat. My grandmother would toss in some castor to get suds. You don't need suds for cleaning but psychologically we think it is cleaning better when we get better suds.

    Yes lye can burn but I learned that vinegar will neutralize it so I keep a spray bottle of white vinegar beside my soap pot. I always get a few tingles where I have splashed some on me and just give it a spritz or two and never any burns.

    my recipe for laundry soap:
    1 bar of laundry soap (fels-naptha, etc)
    1-1/2 cups of Borax
    1-1/2 cups of washing soda
    6 gallons of boiling water

    Grate soap and put into the bucket. Add powders. Pour boiling water on top, two gallons or so at a time. Stir between additions of boiling water.

    This is much easier than boiling soap on the stove. Because you use all hot water, everything dissolves, but after everything cools, you will still find the soap will gel up to an extent. Stir before use, use 1/2 per load (roughly 3 cents last time I added it up

    2 replies

    It takes about 10 minutes to get my water hot enough to dissolve the soap, and then after adding the powders, I just dump it into the cold water (either distributed over 3 buckets or into one large one), and it's instantly cool enough to handle.
    How long does it take to get 6 gallons to come to a boil on your stove? Do you have a gas stove, and/or use multiple pots?

    Yea, it should take longer, but I can multi-task and just do 4 pots full while doing other things. If 6 quarts of water come to a boil unattended, this is no major problem.

    OTOH, if you have the powders and a bar of soap all grated up and that mix boils over while you were otherwise occupied, that will be quite a mess. You will only ever do this once, trust me.

    I grate my soap about the same as your picture shows and it still takes me longer than 10 minutes. Plus I need to scrub and rinse the soap out of the pot at the end too.

    In addition to the cost of the ingredients, there is the cost factor of time spent making this, plus the use of the stove, etc. I have never seen the washing soda in any of the store in my area. Not sure if I'm going to make it, but definitely have it tagged--looks like the ideal cleaner for the acrylic tub enclosure. Where do you find the washing soda??

    3 replies

    Re: washing soda -- they sell it on for the lowest price *anywhere* ($2.99 for the 55 ounce box), and the shipping is free.
    It doesn't take much time at all (20 minutes if you slow down and take it easy), so the power cost is minimal as well.

    Thanks, everyone. Now you have my interest, so I'll have to get my items together and do some cooking!

    I get my washing soda at WalMart - they always seem to have plenty in the laundry aisle - occasionally have it with general purpose cleaners, as well

    Works great for laundry - and for cleaning silver....wonder if there is an 'ible for that :-)

    Just a quick question. I noticed that some of the comments suggest that this soap does not 'suds' up much. Has anyone tried using this as laundry detergent in a high efficiency wash machine? I know that my wife buys HE detergent for our front loader, which costs a premium. She would appreciate the money savings if this would work!

    1 reply

    Re: Front loader -- I hope someone can answer this, because it sounds like a match made in heaven! It doesn't suds up AT first look at this mixture in action was disappointing, because it looked like there was no soap in the water. Couldn't see or feel anything. But it totally combines with the crud and then gets flushed away in the rinse cycle. I hope you decide to give it a try, and please let me know how it goes if you do!

    Update on spray cleaner -- it works! I melted 1 tablespoon of the cleaner in 1 cup of hot water, and then added a second cup of cold water. After sitting out overnight, it gelled slightly, but worked just fine again after a brief re-heat. I think this will be my main window cleaner. Thank you to tsvlasuk!

    3 replies

    Why not just use white vinegar in a spray bottle for windows? It's like $2.50 a gallon, and works.

    It sure does! Plus, it won't go bad.....ever....! And it doesn't gel in between uses.
    The upside of the soap cleaner would be that it smells so niiiiiice and is only around 25 cents per gallon.

    I just assumed vinegar was the cheapest thing you could use for cleaning glass. I'll have to give it a try, thanks!