We don't 'need' detergent?

andi2928April 20, 2010

I read this article on Yahoo today... don't think I could forgo detergent... how about you?

Here is a link that might be useful: why we dont need detergent

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mark40511

LOL! I agree that many washing machines across America are going as I type this; many with too much detergent, but I couldn't imagine using just water to wash cloths. I mean, it would be better than NOTHING of course, but still, that would be a step backwards. As for making my own, I don't know. I get this huge Sears bucket of HE powder and it lasts a year and there's barely a scent anyway. I can't stand the way the Tide HE powder smells. It makes me ill.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 1:20AM
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davidro1

Water is a solvent. I use water and very little detergent. I use a different one each time (I have bought several kinds). I use cold water. Sometimes I do a second run, only water, no detergent. Just to let water do its job, of dissolving dirt. It works for me.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 8:30AM
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andi2928

I could see not adding detergent for a load that has alot of buildup and is still sudsing up with nothing added, or if one has a TL so the clothes could be submerged in more water, but I dont think my FL would do so great at that. I will have to run a load through it later, no detergent, and see what happens, just out of curiosity.

Mark- I dont think I will be making my own anytime soon either, Ive got a large stockpile that will take me quite a while to use up and I've never really been interested in it. I love the way Tide HE powder smells! haha
But no matter what detergent I use, even original Gain, after the final rinse, my clothes barely have even the slightest hint of fragrance to them but I always add an extra rinse.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 12:12PM
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Cynic

There's some truth to this. We don't "need" all these things. We don't need shampoo, body wash, deodorant, toothpaste or for that matter toilet paper. But they each have a place for many people.

I use less than recommended except on very dirty loads. I gauge it for the load I'm doing. Especially since switching to Tide Free and Sensitive I don't have to put up with the detergent perfume smell and it does such a good job for me that I don't use additives very often. So now I have Borax, Oxy cleaner and dishwasher detergent to use for other things I guess.

When camping and the like there's times I'd just rinse out some things. Some hand scrubbing and wringing without detergent. But short of a scrub board or beating on a rock I doubt it will lift the dirt out if it's in there like mud sweat and the like.

I'll continue to use modest amounts of detergents and occasional additives as needed. My clothes come out plenty clean for me.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 1:47PM
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lazy_gardens

Water is a solvent for some things ... detergent is a "surfactant" and increases the wetting ability of the water, which helps it remove oily grime as well as water-soluble stuff.

However, most people use far more detergent and other laundry chemicals than they really need to.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 2:22PM
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andi2928

Im sure in my TL that I overdosed many times, but I've been very careful about detergent amounts since I got my FL. With DH being Army, theres no way I could forgo the detergent on his uniforms and field gear, yugh! I will use clorox 2 from time to time, but mainly just the Tide alone and it does a great job for us.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 3:11PM
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moon1234

If you want to reduce your detergent use then you NEED to use hotter water. Detergent binds with the proteins and oils that cause stains and helps to loosen them from the clothes. The hotter the water the easier protein and oil stains can be removed. Try washing a cast iron pan that has dried bacon grease with cold water and soap. The oil will never come off. It takes HOT water plus soap to bind with the oil and allow it to be washed away. Do you think washing your clothes works differently?

An ideal washer does a profile wash. The first rinse/wash cycle would be with detergent in warm water to loosen any soiling that would cause stains to be set. The second wash would be very warm/Hot/Sanitary to remove any remaining soiling/living critters (Bacteria, virus's, etc).

Most people don't realize that body odors are not caused by sweat. Body odors are caused by bacteria that are feeding on the salts/minerals in your sweat. The odor comes from bacterial waste. That is why you don't stink when you first start sweat. It is also why people stink more the longer they leave sweat on the clothes/bodies.

Washing out stains and odors has two objectives:

1. Remove the soiling/sweat that the bacteria are feeding one.
2. Kill the bacteria and remove their waste product (which is what is causing the odor in the first place)

Dry stains usually don't stink. Moist ones do.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 6:12PM
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Cynic

If you want to reduce your detergent use then you NEED to use hotter water.

Just to clarify a bit, I understand the point you are making but you CAN reduce detergent use if you're overdosing to start with as do so many people. You need to find the right amount to use.

Also, some peoples' clothes are simply less dirty than others. Less dirty clothes can use less detergent. If you use the detergent level of heavy mud, clay, perspiration and the like on a set of relatively clean clothes, there's nothing for the detergent, surfactants, enzymes and the like to attack. Again, in this instance, less detergent can be used.

I believe that many people use way more cleaning agents than they need, and just don't know how to wash clothes. I was penny-wise and pound-foolish for a while, using a detergent that didn't do the job to start with and then needed to add a lot of additives which just complicated things, often resulted in more rinse cycles needed and of course increased the cost per load. Now I spend a little more on the Tide Free and I seldom add anything to it.

I've thought many times about making my own detergent but I too have a stockpile and when I was computing the cost of putting together a small batch of homemade, the cost savings was not there.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 9:55PM
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mark40511

When I got that big huge bucket of Sears powder, I added a box of Borax to it and stirred it in really well. I can't remember how long it's been. I use one level scoop and vinegar to rinse and the clothes have zero odor when they are done. All I smell is NOTHING. For a time I switched back to liquid fab softener but I stopped because, not only was it making me itch, but the cats too, from where I washed their blankets and the slip cover on the couch, so I stopped using it. I honestly don't think I would waste my time doing a load of laundry with just water, even if it is HOT water.

No toilet paper? Well, if you don't use toilet paper I hope you use baby wipes or have Bidet.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 10:37PM
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andi2928

I used vinegar for a while, but I didn't notice any difference or benefit in the clothes or the rinse water or as a softener. My machine rinses really well so perhaps I just didn't need it.
I used Downy liquid for a while, but after a few days, the clothes started smelling like rancid cotton candy so I went back to bounce.

I tried a load with just water, didn't work out so well in my opinion. I washed a load of whites in cold, warm and hot and stains were still visible. I'll stick with my detergent!

I don't think I'll ever be "green" enough to not use TP lol

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 11:05AM
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livebetter

This article referenced another article in the Wall Street Journal (The Great American Soap Overdose). I must be what they refer to as a "master chemist". I have perfected a laundry regimen that seems to work great for me and I canÂt imagine giving it up for plain old water. I am using more "earth friendly" products and I add borax and natural bleaching agents (when required).

I like the way my laundry smells after itÂs washed and dried. ItÂs pure satisfaction for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Great American Soap Overdose (Wall Street Journal)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 12:19PM
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luvmylg

OMG!!! No detergent in laundry is what I would equate to going to the bathroom and running your hands under the faucet w/o soap!!! I see so many people doing that and IMHO that just plain nasty!!

I wonder how those that use water only in the would feel if hotels just put sheets/towels/bath clothes through a "water" wash.

Whats next...no dishwashing detergents in dishwashers?

I do agree that a lot people could wash two loads with the amount they use for one though.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 3:00PM
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rosesark

Guilty!!! I am one of those people who probably put too much detergent in. I am having trouble finding a happy medium. I put less, then water in wash does not feel like there is any in there, and no suds at all,and clothes do not smell as clean, so next time i add more,see few suds, but clothes feel stiff and coated. It is hard to tell if i use enough when you open the washer and see maybe 1 1/2 cups of water. When i did towels, there was no little pool of water but towels were soaked. I have pretty soft water, and have tide, borax, clorox 2, purex, liquid tide, liquid tide with bleach. used all of them, still not there yet.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 8:33PM
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davidro1

reading "clothes do not smell as clean" makes me wonder if someone needs to smell a chemical in order to conclude that cleanliness has been achieved.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 2:37PM
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livebetter

@davidro1, I'm not a fan of too much scent in laundry. I find almost all mainstream brands overwhelming.

I have done wash where it doesn't smell fresh. I've washed with scent free and it smell clean and I've washed with something and the load just has a "not fresh" smell to it.

Make sense?? It has nothing to do with scent or chemical. It just doesn't smell "clean".

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 5:03PM
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suburbanmd

"Smelling clean" to me means the absence of a sour or musty or rank smell. I don't use scented anything.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 6:33PM
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sshrivastava

Sometimes fabrics just don't smell good coming out of the washer when using unscented detergents. While fragrance can cover up or neutralize objectionable odors, it is possible to have a clean load that just doesn't smell right. Some fabrics just don't smell good when they are damp. The situation is made worse if you don't immediately hang your laundry to dry or transfer it to the dryer. Even letting your clothes sit for 30 mins in the washer may be enough time for odor to rear its ugly head.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 9:43AM
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livebetter

I add a little Borax to most loads and find that really helps in odor elimination.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 10:37AM
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sshrivastava

Yes, and baking soda in the rinse helps as well.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 11:35AM
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