Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Laundry Detergent

I just finished making a big batch of laundry detergent. I don't yet know how well it will work, but I'm optimistic after reading the comments on the site where I got the recipe.

I found it here at The Simple Dollar.

I've actually seen the recipe all over the place, but this was the latest one and the one I used. I added some essential oils because I didn't like the smell of the Fels Naptha soap and wanted to cover it as much as possible. I used Orange oil, Tea Tree Oil, Lavender Oil, and Peppermint Oil. Yes, I realize that sounds like a strange combination, but it smelled good to me. As a matter of fact, at one point, before adding the Peppermint, I thought about how weird I am that I actually thought it smelled like it "needed" some mint. But all of those oils, perhaps with the exception of the peppermint which I just don't know about, have antiseptic qualities to them so they should actually help to clean our clothes while helping it smell a little better, too.

Then I used an old All container to pour some of it in. I had one load worth of detergent left in there. That used to be my favorite detergent, but today it just smelled awful compared to what I'd just made. It cleaned relatively well and no one broke out if I used it. Then I tried Melaleuca detergent and liked it better than the All, but it was really expensive and we just can't do that. Then I heard about Charlie's Soap. I really like this stuff! If the homemade stuff doesn't work out, we'll go back to Charlie's Soap. I would highly recommend it to those who don't want to try making their own or are just looking for a really good laundry detergent! It works great! It has no scent at all and got our clothes--even the dirty filthy nasty and sometimes mildewy stuff that a large family on a farm can generate--really clean. From what I've heard, this homemade stuff is as good as Charlie's Soap, yet even cheaper. So we'll see.

There are recipes out there for powdered detergent, but I prefer liquid. So I chose that recipe. It makes 3 1/2 gallons. You're supposed to use anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup per load. We'll be trying that out to see what works. But if you figure it takes a full cup of detergent, there are 52 loads worth in the batch I made today. And I only used about $2-$3 worth of stuff to make this. That's less than some of the cheaper laundry detergents you can buy today, but it is said to work better than Tide. We'll see about that. But certainly it will work at least as well as the cheap stuff. If it isn't better, it's not worth the trouble. But if it really is as good as the Charlie's Soap, it works out to be a LOT cheaper and therefore was very worth my time and effort.

I'll let you know after I wash a few loads.



Brit said...

I prefer liquid also! Laundry detergent is one of the things that I don't mind splurging on. Tide Pure Essentials is my favorite and I can't imagine using anything else!

susie said...

I used to make my own laundry detergent, only I used the powder one. It worked well. When we switched to the front loader, I decided I wouldn't be able to make my own anymore. It's really inexpensive, works well, and it doesn't take a ton of time.

You may find that you'll want to add some of the tea tree oil to the last rinse, as well, for antiseptic properties.

Melissa Nelson said...

Well, I've read that it works for front loaders, too.

Is the powder good even with hard water? I'm guessing it probably would be since my laundry is coming out super soft. I haven't had towels this fluffy since I don't know when! I've just always heard that liquid is better with hard water and that's what we have. The powder would definitely be easier to make though!

susie said...

It's good to know that it works for front loaders. I need to be careful about the suds in the front loader. Another reason I stopped using it was due to the borax. I was concerned about using borax and washing diapers. I didn't want to ruin the diapers. Now that I don't have anyone in diapers (wah, but good too), I might be able to try it again.

It's easy to do and fun, actually. Grating up all the soap is fun. I bought the glycerin soap at Michael's, but later learned that they carried it at Wal-mart, too.

The powder worked well in our water here, which is probably quite hard. Please let us know how the liquid works. I may give that a shot.


susie said...

I forgot to mention. You might want to try some oxyclean in this as well. It might add something to the mixture so that the whites don't get so grungy.

Melissa Nelson said...

What I am finding so far is that the detergent cleans really well. At first it seemed to not work, but I think it was the All bottle that I was storing it in. When I used the detergent I made that didn't have any trace of detergent I didn't like as well, it worked better. It's as if there was something in the All that stopped it from cleaning so well. I don't know if that makes sense or not.

I just looked in the washer as it was agitating and there are NO suds. So if suds are the issue with front loaders, this stuff will work.

I didn't know borax was an issue with cloth diapers. I was thinking about switching back to cloth soon to help potty train Gloria AND because they changed the only disposables that I still liked and now I don't like them. Why is borax bad?

And oxyclean would probably add to the cost to the point that I might not bother making it.

rcsnickers said...

oh good, I want to try this. Questions for you: what are the pro/con for liquid and powder? I have a front loader. I also cloth diaper and have never heard of borax being bad on them or for them. I have used it a few times. I really never saw anything great to use it every time I wash my diapers.

also, I have a front loader. Do you still use only a small amount of this detergent for front loaders?

How can I tell if we have hard water? I am starting to think we do. My towels are always rough feeling even with fabric softener.

So far I use sam's surfresh. The 5 gallon lasted me 20 months and over 600 loads. It cost $11.88. now it is a smaller container and higher price so I am looking to make my own!

Sorry for so many questions. Just a smaller big family learning from the experience of a big family like yours!

Thanks, I have learned quite a bit just reading through your archives. Congratulations on the newest baby!