Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap: Part TWO

A few of you had some questions about my homemade laundry soap, and I wanted to address them in case anyone wanted to try to make a batch yourself.  So, here goes!

Carolyn said:

  • Clothes come out smelling clean? It gets out the boy grime? Do you use fabric softener with it or just this in your machine?
Yes! My clothes do come out clean and smelling great--although I do use a Bounce dryer bar, and I'm fairly certain that is where the smell comes from, because the detergent itself doesn't have much of a smell. (I love those bars, by the way--I dry everything on a low heat setting, and I feel like they last forever!) Remember, however, that I do pre-treat the major grime/stains/grass stains by wetting the stain, rubbing it with a bar of the Fels Naptha soap, and working it into the fabric a bit before washing. I found that to be necessary when dealing with little boy/man grime.

Also--a friend of mine uses this same recipe, but uses a bar of IVORY soap because she likes the way it makes the detergent smell. She says it works just as well!
  • What about this - if I don't want to store so much of it - what if I just half the recipe?? Shouldn't be a problem, right?! I am just thinking it is easier to store half a bar of soap than all that concentrate.
You are absolutely right--I see no reason at all why you couldn't HALF or even QUARTER the recipe! What a great way to try it out before making a huge batch!
  • Could I store the "ready to use" portion in the now nearly empty liquid laundry Tide or Gain soap dispenser? (i.e. the ready to use stuff is liquid-ey enough to come out of the nozzle?)

You absolutely can store it in an old bottle. Any plastic bottle that you can pour from will work just fine!  (Oh, and Care? Lola most certainly did get her cheese!!)

MaryAnn said:

  • I made a batch of the powdered version. I think it works really well on everything except my husband's work clothes. They just smell like his workplace and not much of anything can get that out. My question with the liquid version is how do you get the concentrate out of that five gallon bucket poured into the empty jugs? I'm pretty sure I would make a HUGE mess so maybe you have a method?
MaryAnn--two things. 

I will admit that my husband's work clothes are yucky too--and this detergent doesn't get that yuckiness out. However, in all fairness, neither did Cheer or Wisk. You are right: there are sometimes just smells (my husband is a carpenter and there is a distinct burnt metal smell that gets on his clothes when he is dealing with those materials at work--it does not come out no matter what I do, and I am open to suggestions on this post if anyone has an idea!) that won't come out of there, and this is one of them.

My philosophy on this, honestly, is that I know the clothes are coming out clean, even if they don't smell as fresh as I would like them too. (Nothing, not even the expensive store brands, made them smell the way I hoped they would!) The dryer bar helps--and truthfully, knowing he is just wearing them back to work to ingrain that same smell in them again makes me not worry all that much about it. I keep his clothes separate, and wash them in a separate load. Sometimes, that's just all you can do!

As for the second part of your question, I just use a regular ol' Pyrex glass measuring cup (a 4-cup) and dump it in the bucket to fill it, then pour it in the mouth of the jug. Very easy, and nowhere near the mess you were probably envisioning!

On Facebook, I had a few more questions:

  • Where did you get the ingredients at?
You can find them all, most likely, at your local grocery store. Our local Walmart also carries them.

  • Can it be used in HE washers?
Yes. My washer is an HE. The detergent does not create suds in the washer, so it is safe for both regular and HE.

  • How long have you used it, Devin? Does it really get your whites white? That is the one complaint I've heard from a friend who made her own.
I have used this detergent for over two years now. I will be honest; I have a technique with my whites to keep them as white as I can. I put a scoop of Oxyclean in the washer and turn it to the hottest wash. I let the clothes wash for about 10 minutes, and then stop the washer and let the clothes sit and soak in the Oxy/detergent mixture overnight. Then, in the morning, I start my cycle up and let the clothes finish washing. I think my white look great!

To be fair, I would like to say that I have always done this technique--even when using the store bought detergent. This is just how I "do" my whites (since I stopped using bleach long ago); I don't do it just because of this detergent.

I hope this helps, and answers some of the questions that are out there regarding laundry soap making.   Make sure you let me know if you make a batch--I hope you love it!!


Mary Ann said...

Thanks for the follow up, Devin! I agree with your philosophy on the hub's work clothes. Mike works in a factory setting & it is a kind of burnt metal smell that never seems to go away. Tide did a fairly good job of dealing with it but it was probably just masking the smell more than anything.
And yeah, your pyrex measuring cup deal sounds a lot let messy than what I was envisioning :-)
Thanks for the tips!

Anonymous said...

I use a scoop of baking soda with my detergent with my whites and any clothes that smell. It will also take the sour smell from swimming gear when you don't get it washed quickly enough. It works great in HE washers.