Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Home-Made Laundry Detergent (stain tests), Fabric Softener

Home-Made Laundry Detergent (stain tests), Fabric Softener

People tend to hate or love home-made detergent.  It get a bit gloppy, but that's normal for the home-made liquid stuff.  You just have to shake it up.  I think a lot of people don't like it because it is a low-suds detergent.  If they don't see lots of suds, they think it isn't working; but it is the ingredients that clean the clothes, not the suds.  It's a lot less expensive.  I made two different recipes, but they are very similar.  I made the first recipe a few months ago and then tried the Duggar one today.  I've done stain tests on both of them.  

Liquid Laundry Detergent
1/2 cup washing soda (not baking soda!)
1/2 cup Borax
1/3 bar of Fels-Naptha soap
(These are normally found in the laundry aisle.  Wal-Mart has them in the same spot.)

Grate the Fels-Naptha bar and melt it in a pan with 6 cups of water.  
Add the washing soda and borax and stir to dissolve.
Put 4 cups hot water in a bucket and then pour the soap mixture in and stir well. 
Add a gallon + 6 cups water and stir well.  
Let it cool and cover it.
You want to let this sit for 24 hours to let it cure.  It will get thicker. 
If you think it is too thick, add some hot water and stir.  If you want it thicker, just grate some more bar soap and melt it in.  
Shake before every use.  I store it in very large kitty litter bottles but pour it in a smaller detergent bottle as I need it.  Use 1/2 cup per load.

 This was the batch I made a few months ago before you shake it up and after.  

This is the recipe the "Duggar's" use (you know, the ones with tons of kids!), just slightly modified. It has the same soap ratios.  I cut the recipe in half and added all the water by the end as opposed to adding some later.  I was concerned it would get too thick, specially since it will sit a while because  I really don't do a lot of laundry.  I'd rather mix it all together now.  It makes a 5-gallon bucket.  Of course, you could cut it in half again for a smaller batch and so on.
For their page, click here.

Liquid Laundry Detergent
4 cups hot water in a pan
1/2 Fels-Naptha soap bar 
1/2 cup washing soda
1/4 cup Borax

Grate the bar of Fels-Naptha and add to the pan of 4 cups of water.  Stir continually over medium to low heat until the soap melts.  Turn the burner off.  Add the washing soda and borax and stir until dissolved.  Fill a 5-gallon bucket  half full of hot tap water.  Add the soap mix.  Stir well.  Fill the bucket to the top with more water, hot or cold.  Let it cool.  Stir, cover, and let sit overnight to thicken.  Again, if you think it is too thick, add some more hot water and stir and let it sit a bit more.  If you want it thicker, grate and melt a little more of the bar soap to add.  Shake well before each use.
You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons, lavender oil etc. 
Top load machine - 4/8 cup per load.
Front load machine - 1/4 cup per load.
(Works well in traditional or HE machines.)
Per ounce, not load.
It cost 86 cents for 5 gallons of home-made detergent, 640 ounces = .0013 cents an ounce.
The Era I used in the stain test - .07 cents an ounce.
Regular Tide at Wal-Mart - .12 cents an ounce.

Grated Fels-Naptha. 


A 5-gallon batch of laundry detergent for only .86 cents! 

Stain Tests
The two batches are very similar, but here are the two different tests I did.  
I used Era for the brand name detergent.  First recipe:
Ketchup, Chocolate, Steak Juices (blood), Ketchup

Ready to go in for a soak. 


Kind of mixed results.  Home-made did better on the mustard, they both got out the chocolate, brand name did better on the blood and much better on the ketchup.  

This is the test I did today on the Duggar recipe.  I used a dropper again to get the 
same amount of stains (except the dirt).  For the grass stain, I actually whipped up 
some grass in my trusty Magic Bullet blender with water to make grass juice.  lol  Again, I 
soaked them the same amount of time and rubbed them the same amount of time. 

Chocolate, Mustard, Dirt, Grass


Home-made is on the right.  Both got the chocolate out again, 
home-made did better on the mustard again, they 
did similar on the dirt, brand name did much better on the grass. 

For me, with the price difference, I'm sticking with home-made detergent now.  If I get a stain, I'll pre-treat it; and it will still cost a lot less.  :)  I've been using it for a few months now, and it has been working well.  

Here is a web site that has a list of many variations you can try and a list of FAQ. (click here) 

(Note, washing soda gets hard in the box after a while, after you open it, so I'm going to try storing it in an air-tight container this time.)

Home-Made Dry Laundry Detergent
1 to 1-1/2 cups Washing Soda
1 to 1-1/2 cups Borax
1 bar of Fels Naptha, Zote, or Ivory soap grated

Grate the bar soap.  You can mix it in the blender to make it more fine.  (blend at least part of the dry soap with it to keep it from sticking and then mix it all together).

2 Tbsp per load
(1 for a small load, 3 for heavy duty)

Grate the bar soap.

You can blend it to make it finer.

Home-Made Fabric softener:
1 cup conditioner

1-1/2 cups white vinegar

3 cups hot water

Coming soon.... edible birch!

Please feel free to leave a comment, tip, or suggestion below.   :)

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