Friday, December 7, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

As a single parent I am always looking for ways to make my money go farther. A few months ago I started making my own laundry detergent and I definitely won't be turning back to store bought again. The best part is that you only need 2 TBSP for a regular load, and the cost breakdown is just pennies per load! I'm not a math person, so you'll have to look elsewhere if you want the actual cost breakdown :) The link below is the recipe that I've been using. The only issue I have is that the Fels Naptha bars smell very strong. They made my whole house smell of pine-sol type cleaner until I got them mixed up into the detergent. Grating these bars is not too bad if you have a fresh bar because the soap is soft. I ran small amounts at a time of the mixed up detergent through a food processor to get the soap chopped up finer. Works great and even though I hate the smell of the bar initially, it's much better after it's mixed up with the other ingredients and my cloths come out smelling very nice, fresh, and clean! I do think however that my whites are looking a little dingy. In my research that seems to be a common complaint with the Fels Naptha Laundry Soap. Happy with it overall though.

Click on the image below to check out the tutorial by Sew Much Ado.

Due to the smell of the Fels Naptha and kinda dingy whites, I did some research and decided that I wanted to make this with Zote Laundry Soap. So I found some pink Zote bars and made up a new batch. Zote bars are 14.1 oz, so I doubled everything in the recipe, and added a half cup of an 'oxygen' laundry booster, hoping the combo of the zote and the addition of the oxygen booster will give my whites a boost, and help with any stains I may have not pre-treated. My observations are that the bars of Zote do not smell just sitting in the wrapper in my laundry room, but is still irritating to me when I'm handling the soap. The bars are harder, so harder to grate though I was able to grate them up fine instead of coarse because of this and the soap is so crumbly there was no need to run in through the food processor after I had it mixed up with the other ingredients, it broke down enough that it wasn't a problem (and maybe my bar had been sitting on the shelf for a while and dried out, that may not be the case with every bar). Oddly enough the Zote smells stronger to me than the Fels Naptha mixed up in the detergent, go figure...

Grating up the Zote, my bar is really hard= hard work ;)

So I've been using the Zote mixture for a couple weeks or so now. My overall opinion of it is that my stuff is cleaner. For example, I had an oil stain on a pair of jeans that I kept forgetting to treat and they were laundered at least twice in the Fels Naptha detergent and didn't come out. One wash with the Zote detergent and the stain was gone. I think my whites are looking less dingy as well. I do think however that my clothes smelled better with the Fels Naptha after coming out of the wash. My Zote loads don't really smell like anything to me when they come out, which is fine.

Overall, I'm very happy with my homemade detergent and I plan to keep making my own. I may experiment more down the road and try the white Zote and adding those scent crystals, there are tons of recipes on Pinterest if you decide you want to give this a try.

Also, I've been using plain white vinegar to rinse and no fabric softener  Just fill up your dispenser with it. It doesn't leave stuff smelling like vinegar, and will help rinse out the soap residue. Avoid over drying your clothes, this causes lots of static! Hang up sweaters and the silky synthetic stuff to dry if you can. I found a recipe that uses vinegar and hair conditioner that I may give a try for these dry winter months when static is especially hard to fight.

By the way, I found all the ingredients at my local Walmart, except Zote which I found at BigLots. If you can't find it locally you can order it from Amazon.

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**UPDATE 5/3/2013- I have gone back to Fels Naptha, I just like the clean scent of the mixed up detergent so much better and it's easier for me to purchase locally. I tweaked SoMuchAdo's recipe by adding a full cup of name brand Oxy Clean to a double batch and I am very happy with it! I've also added a foil ball to my dryer and it does seem to reduce static. I plan to buy up some wool yarn to make dryer balls at some point, those are supposed to be great at cutting down static. Perhaps a new tutorial when I need to make a new batch!

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