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.