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Shampoo bars an alternative to liquid

By on June 3, 2009

shampoo bars

DEAR SARA: I read an article, and it discussed “shampoo bars.” What is this? — Christine B., e-mail

DEAR CHRISTINE: It’s shampoo in bar form instead of liquid. Many people who make soaps make shampoo bars, too. They consist of natural ingredients — typically, glycerin, essential oils, fruit extracts and a vegetable protein. I recommend checking out Chagrin Valley Soap and Craft. It’s nice that they’re not only all-natural but they’re sold in less packaging than shampoo, too. *See additional photos below.
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DEAR SARA: My husband gave me an early birthday present — a Nutrimill wheat grinder. I love it. It grinds grains right down to a fine flour. Anyway, I am in search of a grain dealer here in northeastern Pennsylvania. I have been looking online, but the shipping is a killer. Thanks in advance. — Staci, Pennsylvania

DEAR STACI: You can check your local health-food store. You might be able to find it at an Amish store, or try contacting a local bakery. They might let you buy some when they place their own order. It’s worth asking. Give a call to your local county-cooperative extension. Inquire about local grain dealers. See whether there is a buying club or distributor in your area. Visit for a directory of natural food co-ops, too. Many farmers’ markets and grocery stores sell wheat berries. Shop around, but don’t be entirely closed off from buying online. Try Bob’s Red Mill ( or Wheat Montana (

DEAR SARA: I read your column about laundry-room supplies. I remember my mom using Fels Naptha soap on us if we had poison ivy. What do you use it for in the laundry? — Laura R., Pennsylvania

DEAR LAURA: I use it for homemade laundry soap. Fels Naptha is made by Dial. You should be able to find it in your local grocery store. If not, Ace Hardware and discount department stores often carry it. You can also order it from them through the online store Some people substitute Zote soap.
Here are two laundry-soap recipes.

Powdered Laundry Soap

2 cups finely shredded Fels Naptha or Zote grated soap
1 cup washing soda (not baking soda)
1 cup borax

Combine ingredients, and store in an airtight plastic container. Use 2 tablespoons per laundry load.

Liquid Laundry Soap

1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap
1/2 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax

Grate 1/3 bar of soap. In a large pan (reserve this pan for soap-making only), put 6 cups of very hot water and grated soap. Stir in washing soda and borax. Using a wooden spoon, stir until it comes to a boil. Lower heat, and stir until it thickens (about 15 minutes). Watch closely to prevent it from boiling over. Remove from heat. In large bucket, pour 1 quart of hot water, and stir in the soap mix. Add another 5-1/2 quarts of water. Mix to combine. Set aside for 24 hours to form a thick gel. For ease of use, pour into a container with a lid (you can reuse an old laundry-soap container or milk jug), and shake before using. Use 1/2 cup of soap for machine load of clothes.

Shampoo bars photos by Chagrin Valley Soap and Craft
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