Sunday, January 8, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I just finished my 3rd trial bucket and it has failed miserably.   I am returning to the old store bought stuff until I have no other choice but to make it.

I guess our water must be too hard for it to clean properly or either all of us get our clothes dirtier than most people who rave about the stuff.  I used the original recipe of  1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap, 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax.  The next bucket I doubled the washing soda and borax.  The third bucket I doubled the washing soda, borax and used an entire bar of Zote bad mistake there.  The entire bar made the batch like a very, very, thick jello instead of a gel.

If anyone has tweaked the detergent recipe and made it work for you....please let me know what you did.  At least I have a lot of ingredients in storage if I can't get to the store for the powdered stuff.  I did like the light scent that was left in the clothes.  At least they didn't smell dirty!


  1. I trust Tide and other brands over "Home made" when it comes to soap.

  2. Well that's interesting. I am fully stocked to make detergent in the future. I already had stocked up on store bought detergent so I haven't used it all up yet.

    I'm sad to hear of your dilemma. I hope I don't face that. What method of cleaning are you using, like washer or bucket? Are your clothing not clean or are they that dingy color that makes it look dirty?

    I've read about clothing coming out dingy and the person added vinegar or Mrs. Stewarts Bluing and the clothing came out bright.

    Hope it all works out for you.

  3. Sassy....I am using a washing machine. The clothes smell clean but they are dingy. Stains that would normally come out in a regular washing (with my old detergent) now have to be pretreated with spray and wash and then sometimes would take two washings to finally get them clean. If I washed white t-shirts or white sweatshirts in with the white socks, the shirts would pick up the dirt from the socks and no longer looked a nice white, bleach did not help at all. I did try the vinegar. From what I understand it just helps neutralize odors and softens to an extent. At any rate the vinegar did not help my problems....Maybe it is my water.

  4. Rob....I just bought a big box of Tide from the markdown table at Sams Club. I haven't opened it yet. After I ran out of the 3rd bucket of my homemade stuff I went to the Dollar Store and bought a box of Arm and Hammer with Oxy Clean. Saw a big difference immediately. It may take several washings of our white items to get them back to normal.

    I am really sad I can't get the homemade stuff to work in our favor.

  5. I have hard water so I add 1/2 cup white vinegar to my rinse cycle.

  6. Thanks Kim... I tried the vinegar but it did not help with the dingy look of the clothes. Maybe adding it to the wash cycle? I just don't know.

  7. MammaB - your recipe looks right so i am thinking it must be your water. we use home-made laundry detergent, very similar to yours, but we wash the clothes in a big bin and then rinse them in a bin with vinegar.

    sorry this hasn't worked for you!

    your friend,

  8. I went through the exact same thing, and I felt like such a failure because everyone else raved about how great the stuff was. I went back to store bought soap because I felt like our clothes had been ruined by the homemade stuff. Months later I was still reading how everyone loved homemade, so I looked into it more - what I ended up trying (and liking) was adding some color safe bleach/brightener to the mix. I've also found that it doesn't take much of the store bought stuff to work when mixed with just the soda and Borax. I've done up to about 75% soda and borax with 25% store bought and had good results.

    It is frustrating though when it seems like everyone else has such a great experience and you don't. Currently I have a box of Tide - but I only bought that because of going to the laundry mat and not trusting the machines their to really get our clothes clean. Now that I've found a laundry mat that I like and I know the machines, I think I'm going to go back to the homemade stuff. Good luck to you!!


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