Homemade Laundry Detergent

kellycrashSeptember 10, 2011

Thinking about making my own....

What do you guys think of this recipe?

Homemade Laundry Soap

1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap, as listed above

1/2 cup washing soda

1/2 cup borax powder

~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use 1/2 cup per load.

Here is a link that might be useful: Family Homestead Laundry Soap Recipe

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@ kellycrash

What is your goal in making your own laundry soap? Is it due to cost? Control of ingredients? Environmental concerns?

Before using and promoting a homemade laundry detergent recipe, do you fully understand the role each ingredient plays? What is the hardness of your water? Do you understand how soap interacts with hard water, and the mess it can make in your machine? Do you know the final alkalinity of the wash solution and how that may or may not affect corrosion of your spider assembly?

Soap flakes will create soap scum when combined with hard water. This will stick to your clothes, but what's even worse is that it will coat the inside of your machine and get you well on your way towards a mold/mildew/odor problem. Washing soda is a precipitating water softener, so again if you have hard water this is going to cause a white, powdery residue to coat your clothes and washer parts.

Alkalinity is a well known enemy of the aluminum spider assembly at the rear of all front load washer drums. Particularly alkaline wash solutions may need the addition of sodium metasilicate or similar product to protect your spider from corrosion. If the soap does not rinse away properly, or you use ingredients that form a precipitate, this will coat your spider with possibly alkaline products, significantly accelerating corrosion and reducing the life of your machine.

While homemade laundry soap or detergent may be a frugal person's fantasy, it's a "cheap at any cost" solution. If you don't know the long term effects of what you are putting into your machine, your frugal fantasy may end up costing you thousands of dollars down the line for a new machine or to replace ruined clothes. We have so many good detergents on the market today, most researched and formulated by people who are degreed, trained chemists. Why would we want to turn back the clock and use something in our machines that product science has rendered obsolete? It's almost like saying "hey, don't use your washing machine - use this washboard instead." Personally, I prefer benefitting from modern research and science versus turning back the clock and using ingredients that were prevalent in the 1800s. But that's just me.

My personal opinion: stay away from this stuff unless you know exactly what you're doing.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 1:08PM
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Listen to what Sonny is telling you. There is a reason synthetic detergents replaced soap. Soap can NEVER be completely washed out of fabrics regardless of how soft your water is. Ever hear of soap scum and bathtub ring? 'nuf said.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 2:30PM
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"Soap can NEVER be completely washed out of fabrics regardless of how soft your water is."

Make that RINSED out. GEEZ

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 3:35PM
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Warm and even HOT rinses were required to help flush it when soap was commonly used back in the day. There were elaborate procedures outlined on how to treat clothes to get rid of soap dinginess & residue (when switching to detergents).

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 4:31PM
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I am 80 years old and lived with soap for years before detergents were developed. With San Francisco water (pretty soft) soaps cleaned very well. They gave a creamier lather in the tub and lots of it. The best ever was Proctor and Gampbell's DUZ. The motto was DUZ does everything. And it worked very well until we couldn't get it any more. We moved to a harder water area and then Tide was the answer. If I had a water softener, I would prefer a good soap to detergents. As far as this home brew formula, I have seen it before. Don't know how good it could be, because it is pretty simple and only offers soap without the compounding that went it the best commercial soaps.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 1:46AM
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Wow. You've totally scared me! I have expensive front load machines. My initial thought on making my own detergent was to save money. I don't even know if I have hard or soft water. You've definitely given me something to think about and consider.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 7:18PM
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kellycrash, I have friends who've made their own laundry soap. Some have used the recipe you use and some have used a powder recipe. They all say that after a period of time they noticed their laundry was fading. Washing soda is very strong.

If you watch Sears' sales and catch their Ultra Wash detergent (comes in liquid and powder which is fine for HE washers) half price sales, you can get as good as deal as what you make yourself. I like the Stain Fighter formula. If you don't live near a mall or shopping center, there are Sears appliance stores in many towns, and they sell the detergent.

I also get great buys on other HE detergent by buying it in bulk at a warehouse store, often with coupons. It's also not unusual for stores like CVS and Walgreen's to have great loss leader specials on laundry detergent.

If your laundry soap causes you to have problems with your washer, you'll end up spending a LOT more money than you have saved.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 2:31AM
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