Return to the Laundry Room Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Homemade detergent and a front loader

Posted by imgodsgrl ( on
Fri, Dec 12, 08 at 8:48

Okay, I have a question. I thought I had seen the answer once before, but now I can't find it. I have an "original" Maytag Neptune. I am wondering if I can safely use homemade detergent in it and how much for each load.

currently I use cheer powder (about 1/3 of scoop), occasional bleach (hot water wash for towels) and vinegar as my "fabric softener." I would continue with the bleach and hot water for towels and vinegar in all loads probably, but I wasn't sure about changing to homemade detergent. I'm not having any trouble mind you - just trying to be budget concious and maybe a bit friendlier to our clothes and our environment. I'll have to run the numbers for cost to be sure that I'd be saving or at least breaking even, but I'm giving this some serious thought.

So, can I use homemade and how much should I use?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Homemade detergent and a front loader

Why not try simply reducing the amount of the Cheer you are using? This would save money and immediately reduce the environmental impact by using less product. There are 16 tablespoons to a cup, so 1/3 cup is more than 5 Tbs. Try using just three or four tablespoons, or even less, for ordinarily-soiled loads, increasing only as the laundry challenge changes.

Making your own powder may or may not be cheaper, but also it may or may not be more environmentally "friendly", depending on what ingredients, and how much, you use.

Cheer is an old-line powder, that is naturally low-sudsing, without optical brighteners (though it does have enzymes). I have always found it to be very satisfactory and pretty inexpensive, too.



RE: Homemade detergent and a front loader

The problem with cost on homemade is that if you buy the small containers of it to make a batch at home, you're probably spending more than many commercial brands. A couple people here have posted costs before and it came to about 10-12 per load. That's not cheap IMO. And often with the homemade you need some extra additives to boost the effectiveness, which adds to cost. At that rate try a cheap brand and use the additives, which probably brings you back to the cost of a decent brand for cost-effectiveness.

But run the numbers to be sure. Don't forget to factor in any special trips you make to get supplies, since it is an added expense.

I'd try Molly's suggestion first though. You may be surprised how little you actually need. Time and time again we see people posting about "buildup", aka, they're using way too much detergent! Then they blame the detergent!

RE: Homemade detergent and a front loader

Thank you so much. I will reduce the cheer that I use...we have slowly been doing that over time, but I was afriad that if I cut it to 2/3 tablespoons it might be to little...anyway...I will give it a shot...thanks so much.

RE: Homemade detergent and a front loader

I have made homemade detergent. I used it in my top loader, but I am afraid of trying it in my front loader. As Cynic said above, it really isn't as economical as you might think. But, I have found that washing soda and borax are necessities that I cannot live without for handwashing dishes at my cabin... All is not lost.

What I have left for homemade detergent, I will use at the laundromat for dog beds, etc.

RE: Homemade detergent and a front loader

I have been using soap based laundry products in my front loaders for 28 years with no problems. I used to use Ivory Snow, which was a laundry soap powder. Now I make my own with Zote soap, borax and washing soda and use it exclusively in my Affinity front loader. I use about 3 tablespoons per load.

RE: Homemade detergent and a front loader

I have just revised the amount of laundry soap I can use per load. On another board I have learned some important facts on using soap, as opposed to detergent, in the laundry.

A preferrably hot or at least a warm wash is essential to rinisng out soaps. Cold water contracts the fibers, and can trap soap in the wash. Vinegar, in laundry speak a sour, aids in the rinsing out of soaps. Too much sour is worse than none at all. Sours counteract the harshness of alkaline soaps (and remember that the washing soda is very alkaline). Too much sour will "will cause textile fibres to shut down tightly and trap any remaining soap/detergent and other muck." (Thanks to Laundress at the other board for this infomation.)

Armed with this new knowledge, I looked at the cycles on my Affinity, and have revised how I wash. I always used the hot cycle for whites. My new machine only offers a cold rinse on the hot cycle. So last time I washed, I changed my usual routine.

Instead of hot wash/cold rinse I changed to warm wash/warm rinse. I used 1/4 cup of the soap powder, instead of my usual three tablespoons plus my usual scoop of Sun Oxy Wash. In the softener compartment I put in 2 tablespoons of vinegar, I usually use none.

The results impressed me. The clothes were still soft and fluffy as usual. Even with the increased ammount of laundry powder, they seem to have rinsed out more thoroughly. I have less of a scent on the clothes than before, and the clothes were cleaner. From now on I will be using a warm rinse whenever possible, and two tablespoons of vinegar in the softener department.

RE: Homemade detergent and a front loader

We live in Canada where, in the winter, cold water is very cold. My husband plumbed a link from the hot water line to the cold water line with a backflow valve (to stop cold water from bleeding into the hot line) in order for me to have warm rinses. I found a remarkable difference in the way warm water rinsed out soap compared to cold and will never rinse with cold water again.

RE: Homemade detergent and a front loader

And don't forget that "hot", "warm" and "cold" are relative, not measured terms. Some consider 90 as being "hot", while some consider it "cold"!

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Laundry Room Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here