my thoughts on motherhood, kids, books and stuff

Homemade Laundry Soap. Review #1

I guess it is time for my first review of the homemade laundry detergent I have been using for about five days.

This is the recipe I used.  I read many sites with recipes that were all very similar.  I liked that she posted pictures with hers so that is what I went with.  I also read a lot about people’s experience with the detergent in he (high efficiency) front loader machines because I didn’t want to use anything that would screw up my washer.  I read a lot of experiences of people that have been using them in their he machines for years so I am not too worried about it.  Also, the detergent hardly makes any suds…in fact, less than the he ALL that I was using so it may be even better for it.  I did use the Fels-Naptha soap, and  I hear that the Dove soap makes quite a bit more suds.

I cut the recipe in half for my first batch.  After mixing it I used a funnel to pour it into two clean gallon sized apple cider containers.  I then set it out to "set up" for the next 24 hours.  Uh…problem there.  It set up too much and was so thick I couldn’t even pour it out of the jugs.  I read online that pouring some boiling water in it and stirring it up would thin it out so I tried that and then I poured it all into a 5 gallon bucket instead.  (5 gallon was overkill…I am going to pick up a 2 gallon one next time I go to the store). 

I let it set up for another day and then I was ready to try it.  The consistency is like jello that is not quite set up or thick egg flower soup.  I used 1/4 cup (use 1/2 for regular machines) and I put about 1/3 cup vinegar in my fabric softener cup.  Vinegar can also be used in a Downy ball.  You can also use 1/2 cup of baking soda with your detergent as a fabric softener…I haven’t tried that.

I was thrilled with the results of my first batch.  I couldn’t stop smelling the clothes because they just smelled so…un-smelly.  There just isn’t a fragrance and it makes them seem so fresh.  We have two kids with extremely sensitive skin so I am hoping this helps them.  I might try adding a little bit of tea tree or lavender essential oil to a bit of it so see how I like that and to see if my kids react to a light fragrance.

I also have been adding a couple tablespoons of Biz to my laundry for the past few months and I am continuing to do that.  I don’t always catch stains before they make it through the washer and dryer so I figure any little help I can get is great.  I hear Oxiclean works good as well, so I might try that when I run out of Biz.

So, for only using it for five days I am very happy with my detergent.  The only negative thing I have noticed so far is I could slightly smell Brett’s cologne on a shirt that I took out of the dryer today.  Barely, but it was there.  I might up the amount of soap I use by 1/8 cup or use a little more Biz. 

Also, you don’t get the same fluffy soft clothes that you get when you use fabric softener like Downy.  I have used liquid Downy for years and I am used to very fluffy towels and clothes that smell April Fresh, so it will take a little time to get used to.  They are still soft enough, just different.  I can tell that there are not the chemicals clinging to the fabric that there used to be…which isn’t so bad if you don’t have allergies or skin sensitivities, I suppose.

I do put about a third of a dryer sheet in with a batch of towels.  I figure they don’t touch my kids skin as long and I don’t want crispy towels.

So, here is my run down:

It is easy to make

It is very cheap to make (read this article for some more tips and a cost breakdown.  Also, for more information and input read the comments.  The recipe is slightly different as he uses regular bath soap…don’t use a whole bar of Fels-Naptha with this recipe.)

I am expecting it to be a lot better for allergies and sensitive skin

And it just feels good to be using something I made…and to be decreasing the chemicals that are overrunning the house these days.


  • Meagan

    That is so cool that you made your own laundry soap. I may have to try that sometime too. I have been thinking lately about all the chemicals in our home and wondering if it is really safe to have so many around and on all of our surfaces.

    One thing about Oxyclean: Matt has reactions to it (think red rashy armpits–GROSS!) and he isn’t sensitive to any other laundry soaps I have ever used so be careful using it on the kids’ stuff if they tend to have sensitive skin. My mother-in-law loves it but we can’t use it at all .

  • whim

    Thank you! That is good to know about Oxiclean. I will have to try it on a batch of my shirts first before I try it on the kids…if I ever remember to get it and try it!

  • Wow, I am so impressed with the idea of this. My husband is allergic to regular laundry soap, so we have to pay a fortune for the fragrance-free stuff. It has never occurred to me that I could make my own. I love the idea of less chemicals in our lives though.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your kind words. Your blog is great. I’ll definitely be back!

  • whim

    Thank you Christie and welcome to my blog! I just found your photo blog and have spent the last twenty minutes ooohing and ahhhing and laughing. You are a great photographer.

  • That is so cool! I need to try my own too, my boys have sensitive skin too. Do you mind if I add your blog to my list on mine?

  • whim

    Not at all Shantel! I hope you like the laundry soap. I am going to do another review after I have used for a month or so and hopefully I will have some experience adding a little bit of scent to it.