Laundry Detergent – UPDATE

For the past five months or so I’ve been making my own Laundry Detergent. I’m not as enthusiastic about it as I was at first, but I’m not disappointed enough to give up on it just yet.

I’ve tinkered with the recipe a bit in an effort to eliminate the “dingy” effects of the soap. Depending on the hardness of your water, homemade laundry detergent can cause your white clothes to look dingy after a while. This has not been a huge problem for us – mostly just t-shirts that have been affected. But, I’d like to eliminate this problem if I can.

You can view the original recipe, if you’d like. I am currently using the following mixture:

2 cups Borax powder (found in the laundry isle)
2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing powder (not baking soda – washing powder is found in the laundry isle)
1 bar Fels-Naptha laundry soap (FINELY shredded)

Use 1 tablespoon per load. Two tablespoons for extra large or heavily soiled loads.

Doubling up on the powders increases the “whitening agents” in each load of laundry vs. the mixture I used originally. It also reduces the overall cost per load a bit as the soap is the most expensive ingredient. I have not, however, done the math on that.

Will I keep using it?

Eh…hard to say at this point. It’s really hard to argue with the savings. Less than $2 for probably 60+ loads is a considerable savings over store bought brands (even with coupons!). My plan for now is to try this mixture a bit longer. If I’m still less than thrilled with the results I’ll try using a different laundry soap to see if I get different results.

The other laundry soap option is Zote. The only reason I picked the Fels-Naptha initially was because I found it in the first store I checked. It might be worth a little trip to Walmart to see if I can find the Zote.

Many recipes you can find online use simple Ivory bar soap instead of a “laundry soap”. I read about some concerns with regular soap clogging septic tanks because it has more oils than laundry soap. Part of me thinks that if it’s ok to use in the shower it should be ok to use in the washer. The other part of me doesn’t want to risk it. Though, it would be considerably cheaper than the laundry soap options…assuming you don’t break your septic tank.

For now, for me, it is still well worth the time and effort it takes to make my own laundry detergent. I’ll keep you posted on the dingy-factor.


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