Homemade laundry soap worked for me!
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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Default Homemade laundry soap worked for me!

    So far, so good.

    I'll freely admit how skeptical I was about homemade laundry soap. I've tried the baking soda/borax mix in the dishwasher and it was pretty horrible, so I didn't expect much from the laundry soap.

    I mixed up a very tiny batch, just enough for one load, using equal parts borax, washing soda, and Ivory soap flakes made from a soap bar. I shaved the soap using a vegetable peeler. I didn't try a grater but I watched a couple youtube videos about making laundry soap, and from that, I concluded using the vegetable peeler did a better job and was easier and less messy. YMMV.

    I then used a tiny blender container and ground the mixture down to a fine powder. If I was making a regular batch, I would definitely use a food processor.

    I washed a load of normally soiled clothes (nothing greasy or really, really dirty) in my Kenmore washer that has an oversized tub. I used only 2 tablespoons of soap for that big load. There was really more in that load than there should have been. We have very hard water and normally wash in warm water with a cold water rinse.

    The soap dissolved just fine, except where it got caught in the fold of a pants leg, which I think was due to the washer being too full more than anything. As others have reported, there was no sudsing.

    The clothes have been dried now and they smell clean and fresh, and appear as clean as if washed with a commercial laundry soap but without the nauseating fake perfume smell. I intend to make enough more soap for a few more loads and experiment further.

    I'm really hoping this works out. For me, the fact that it's cheaper is really immaterial, although that's a very nice bonus. I just want to be able to wear my clothes without them making me itch and I think this soap might just do the trick.

    Thanks to all who have posted in the past about what worked for you in making your own laundry detergent. I learned a lot reading the threads and also researching elsewhere online.

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    Registered User onencgirl's Avatar
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    I've used hm laundry soap for over a year and am still happy with it. I make the liquid tho. I use vinegar in the last rinse and my clothes are so soft.

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    Registered User DJ1972's Avatar
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    I'm glad it has worked for you. I make the liquid/gel. It works well for most of our clothes. With DH's work clothes I usually add an extra squirt of Dawn in there due to the grease on his clothes.

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    I thought about making the liquid/gel version and still might sometime, but after watching the videos of that process, it just seemed like too much fooling around if I could avoid it, so decided to give the powder a try first. Assuming that continues to work, there will be no need for me to go any further. Storage is also an issue since my laundry room is basically a hallway and the only place I have to put things like detergent is on a shelf over the washer and dryer. Powder is lightweight and I have a really nice clear Tupperware container to store the powder in, so for our purposes, if it works out, it'll be a more convenient option for us.

    I do intend to try making the gel version of dishwasher soap though. Even though I had bad luck with the powder before, I'm still hoping to find a good recipe that will work with our hard water and not leave a nasty, gritty film on our dishes.

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Well, the second load didn't go as well, so I may have to resort to making the liquid version.

    The second load contained a pair of dark-colored pants, which started out at the bottom of the washer. They came out of the washer all full of white marks from the soap. Since they were at the bottom of the washer to begin with, apparently the soap didn't fully dissolve even though I had ground it down to a fine white powder.
    Last edited by Spirit Deer; 03-18-2009 at 02:04 PM.

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    Thanks for the feedback!

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    Registered User Debbie-cat's Avatar
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    I made the liquid and I love it! I am now going to make the powdered for my Mom and SIL for Christmas gifts. I got two really cute glass airtight jars at Goodwill and that is what it will go into. My Mom has always gone by Nanny rather than Grandma and one of the glass jars says Nanny's Laundry on it in the glass! I thought how perfect is that?! Thanks for the idea of using a blender to fine ground it. I will definetely be doing that to it to mix it well.




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    Moderator mauimagic's Avatar
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    Spring break is only two days away!! Making powdered laundry detergent is on the list of must dos.... Appreciate all the comments. I read once where the writer made sure to dissolve the soap in hot water first, then switch to cold and then add the clothes....makes sense to me.

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    The pants that had the white on them were fine when they came out of the dryer, so I'll try using the powder a few more times and see how it goes.

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    Moderator Ceashels's Avatar
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    I usually let the water and soap dissolve before putting in my clothes, that helps with the soap marks. Are you able dissolve your soap powder in hot water before adding it to the machine? Its and extra step, but it might be worth it since it will allow you to keep a light weight tub above your washing machine.

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    Super Moderator Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Putting the soap and water in first wouldn't work very well for us. We usually don't sort clothes but just throw them in the washer as they get dirty and then turn the machine on when there's a load. As I said, we have a small laundry area so no place to store dirty clothes.

    I may try mixing the soap in hot water first, but I haven't had another load to do since yesterday. Thanks for the tip. That might work for us because the washer is convenient to both the kitchen and the master bathroom. I have an extra shaker bottle from Tupperware that's for making pancakes and stuff, and that would probably work great for mixing the soap.
    Last edited by Spirit Deer; 03-19-2009 at 09:16 AM.

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    Registered User PrairieRose's Avatar
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    I use the liquid when I'm not too lazy to make a batch (or too busy doing other things) but one thing I've learned is to keep some store bought on hand for really dirty, ground in greasy type stuff. It just gets that out better. Otherwise the H.M. works pretty darned well.

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    That sounds like a reasonable plan.

    We rarely have super-dirty, greasy clothes, so except for rugs, most of our stuff shouldn't need heavy-duty dirt-busting powers. So I'm hoping the homemade version will work out well for us. We do have a lot of boughten detergent on hand at the moment, but I'm experimenting now in before we need more, in case the homemade doesn't work out and we need to wait for a sale.

    I do plan to add vinegar on a regular basis though, because this makes sense to me. Since vinegar will break up the minerals and lime scale on hard surfaces, it seems like it might do the same for the hard water in the washer and in our clothes, too. Worth a try anyway.

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    Registered User CrazyCat's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback. I've resisted making HM laundry soap because of our hard hard water.~I'm going to post a link asking for directions for the liquid stuff~maybe that will work.

    My dh and older ds both get pretty grimey~I'm hoping this will work though.

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    Homemade laundry soap information:

    1. It takes about a month of repeated washings to get your old detergent/softeners out of your clothing. After that, you will begin to see the effects of homemade laundry detergent.

    2. There are trade-offs you should be aware of as well. You may enjoy the low price, but it's harsher and soap cause fabrics to deteriorate. Detergents have corrosion inhibitors, enzymes (for lifting stains), and chelating agents in them. They are not present in homemade soap and will reduce the life of not only your clothing, but according to one "expert" I've read, it also reduces the life of your washing machine.

    3. Soap WILL cause a build-up in clothing over time. That's just the nature of soap. Enough build-up and you'll notice white clothing looking gray (especially if you have hard water). Be sure to use the hottest water recommended for the clothing type in order to get better results out of the homemade laundry soap. You may also need an extra rinse to reduce the soap build-up and use vinegar in the last rinse to remove soap. So you may be off-setting the price of the detergent with the price of extra rinses and the cost of hot water when warm or cold water could have been used.

    4. Neither soap OR detergents clean effectively in cold water if the temperature is below 65°F. Detergent manufacturers and care lables define "cold water" as 80°-85°F. You may also find you have to use more homemade detergent if you have hard water to get good cleaning results.

    5. Homemade laundry detergent may not be recommended in a front-loader or a HE washing machine because of the low water-use in these machines. You also have to be aware of the type of soap you use so that you don't get too much foam, which can damage some HE machines.

    These are some things I've learned after using homemade soap for many years. The price didn't always off-set other costs associated with doing laundry with homemade soap.

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