Saturday, March 3, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent - An Honest Review

Laundry soap is expensive but oh so necessary.  When I heard about homemade soap, I was my usual skeptical self.  I mean, really, I have 4 kids whose favorite thing is getting as dirty as humanly possible!  It is a wonder they come clean with store bought detergent!  With my doubt in mind, I decided to give it a go.  I followed the instructions pretty closely.  Here is the recipe:
Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap
4  Cups - hot tap water
1  Bar of Fels-Naptha
1 Cup Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax
Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. Put melted soap mixture, washing soda, and borax into a 10 gallon bucket.  Add hot tap water to fill bucket.  Stir until dissolved. Let sit overnight. The mixture will turn into this clumpy gel looking stuff.  
Use 1/2 cup for top load machines and 1/4 cup for front loaders.
Now for the review:
It was a pain in the behind to grate the soap.  I did not want to spend the money on the Fels Naptha, and my baby is allergic to Ivory (another substitution), so I used a couple of bars of Johnson’s Buddies LOL.   When I was melting the soap, it tried to stick to the pot I was using.  That kinda shocked me a bit. Who knew that soap sticks!  That weirded me out to a whole new level of weird. You use soap to clean stuck on stuff.

Anyway, the ingredients were very inexpensive, less than 10 bucks for everything. I have a LOT of wasing soda and borax left over.  I did not have two 5 gallon buckets so I just made one and figured I would use half the amount in the wash.  To get the clothes clean enough for me, I ended up using 1/2 cup in my front loader.  You do need to pretreat things like ketchup, chocolate, coffee, and heavily soiled places (This means some items pretty much needed to be completely dipped in a vat of Shout).  Other than that, it works well!  The clothes smell clean.  I have a bedwetter in my house and those sheets came out smelling fresh and clean, I did use a dryer sheet as well.  Overall, even when I think about the cost of using a stain spray and doubling the recommended amount of detergent, it is still FAR less than other detergents.  I am going to play with this a bit.  I think I am going to use a bit more washing soda in the next batch.  I am also going to use my food processor to grate the soap and will probably NOT use Johnson's Buddies.
So I give it 5 stars for the savings, 3 stars for “on its own” cleaning, and 4 stars for cleaning when combined with a stain remover spray.
Do you use homemade laundry detergent? If so, what recipe?

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Over Yonder said...

I make a powder version with 1 cup borax,1 cup washing soda, and I think it's a bar of soap shaved. I use Ivory but have some of the fels naptha I'm going to try also. I've been using it for 9 months and it is ridiculously cheap and it works for us. On REALLY smelly clothes though I use some vinegar in the softener compartment. I use a half of a dryer sheet especially in the winter for static.

gidget.e said...

I like the pink Zote soap.