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More on laundry: A money-saving failure

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about line-drying, but today I’m going to share a not-so-successful thing I did recently. A year or so ago, I read about how to make homemade laundry detergent on The Simple Dollar. The thought of mixing up a 5 gallon bucket was overwhelming to me, though, so I put off trying it for a while. However, this summer I finally got motivated. First I tried making a powdered version, but that got my food processor all soapy. So, I tried the liquid detergent recipe, but I cut it in half to make it a little more manageable.

It turned out pretty well…it was decently thick, and had a pleasant soapy scent to it.

And, at first I thought it was working fine. It wasn’t sudsy, but the clothes appeared to be as clean as usual. After a couple of weeks, though, my kid’s clothes and especially my kitchen towels and washcloths began to have a funky smell…sort of a combination of stinky feet and the smell of a hamper, which is not exactly the scent I was hoping for. At first I thought that perhaps the line-drying was to blame, so I tried running a few loads through the dryer. Although these clothes were fluffy and soft, they still smelled like stinky feet.

So, I broke down and bought a container of regular detergent, and the clothes washed with it have a lovely, fresh scent even when I line-dry them.

I’m so bummed about this…the homemade detergent cost only pennies, and it wasn’t even hard to make. I really, really wanted it to work well! Sigh. It did seem to do the job on things like bath towels and sheets, so I will probably keep it around to use for things like that(but definitely not for kid’s clothes or kitchen towels!). Still, I wanted to be one of those people who never bought laundry detergent again.

If any of my dear readers have some advice on how to make this work, I’m all ears. But until I figure out something better, I’m sticking with my store-bought detergent!

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Friday 25th of June 2010

I just dropped by after googling a homemade yogurt recipe! I'm a college student so money is pretty darn tight usually.

Laundry is one of those things that can sneak up on ya! My homemade laundry soap is just a 1:1:1 ratio of grated soap, borax, and washing soda. If it's a particularly tough stain, I use a bit of baking soda added to it! (It's a very nice solution - and I have used the same soap I bathe with!)

Best thing is: I can tote my entire supply of washing powder to the washing machines with one hand. My 48 load supply fits in a clean peanut butter jar! I only use 1 tablespoon of the stuff.

You do have to grate your soap by hand - I ended up with a very soapy food processor when I tried it.

April Jo

Monday 17th of May 2010

Just read your post today about laundry detergent. I know its been a while back tho since it was posted! I now use a powdered version, and wont go to any other.

12 cups borax=1 box 8 cups washing soda (arm and hammer)=1 box + one cup 8 cups baking soda=4 boxes 8 cups Felps Naptha bar soap=3 1/2 bars Use 1/8th of a stretches FAR! I double mine to make it go even further. I use my food processor CAREFULLY to grind the soap. But I did just use a grater at one time. Its been a while since I have had to make any! Love that even better!! No smell either. When you smell the soap you think-NO WAY! But it does not smell. I also do not us ANY fabric softener. With the above combined ingrediants, there really isnt a need. I have NEVER had a problem with static. Save LOTS of $$$$$$ between cheaper ingrediants AND no fabric softener to buy! Plus a note on the suds.............. the indgrediant that makes suds....cant think of the name, is actually what you ***DONT**** want. This recipe above has NO SUDS. Suds break down your fibers. Same with shampoo...if it suds, its too harsh for your hair! I have a lady who makes my shampoo!! This is something I only recently learned!


Tuesday 29th of June 2010

I have been using homemade laundry detergent for about 3 months and have noticed that my clothes are looking a bit dingy. It is such a disappointment because it was so cheap and easy to make. Not sure why it's doing that, but I think I might have to go back to buying my detergent. :(


Thursday 4th of September 2008

Hmmm....I'll have to find me some Fels Naptha, then! My mixture does have washing soda in it, so I'm good there.

I've never tried the vinegar thing. I just don't use fabric softener, and that's a lovely free option! lol

Grandma Tippytoes

Thursday 4th of September 2008

The results are not the same if you use Ivory or another castille soap. You must use Fels Naptha with Washing Soda for the formula to work well....that's just my observation. I originally got the recipe from Miserly Moms and it works great for me. (Two smelly boys and a machinist husband who comes home from work with oily uniforms). I will say that I tried her idea of using vinegar in the rinse instead of fabric softener and that did NOT work for us at all. But in the game of saving money, it never hurts to try!


Thursday 4th of September 2008

KC-yes, I emailed him, but haven't heard back from him yet.

As of my last reading, I don't remember any of the other commenters complaining about bad odors either. I don't know if this is because they haven't been doing it long enough or because they're doing something different than I am! lol

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