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The Update on Homemade Laundry Detergent

February 19, 2013

Homemade Laundry DetergentIt’s been over six months now, and I figured it’s about time I give you guys an update on the whole homemade laundry detergent experiment, as there have been some pros and cons to it.

Initially, I had no qualms with any of it.  If anything, clothes seemed to be even cleaner than using the expensive commercial grade stuff bought at the stores.  This was proven true with the husband’s uniforms.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out why, but his ACUs have this smell to them.  It is not dirty, it isn’t clean, it isn’t negative and it isn’t positive.  I’m not sure if it’s from his many deployments, just being out in the field, or just the material itself.  It is a very distinct Army smell.  Regardless, I have found that this detergent is the only thing that removes it and keeps the clothes completely clean.

But that’s just it!  There is no smell.  And it’s almost like they are so clean, the clothes are very quick to pick up any smell it is near.  As a result, I am having to do laundry a little more than usual.  And to be honest, I miss it.  That fresh, smell of clean clothes with a hint of fragrance.

So I have been experimenting, and this is what I found:

Using vinegar as a form of fabric softener works amazingly well.  Once the clothes are completely dry, you cannot smell it at all.  And for approximately $2 a gallon, I will stick with it.

Using baking soda in your laundry detergent works well, but it is not a sure thing.  After 6-8 months, your whites will get a little dingy.  I have broken down and used some bleach in a whites only specific load, and it all popped back to usual.  I wasn’t happy over giving in, but I felt it was necessary, as it was all looking a little gray.  I really don’t think that this is necessarily a bad thing though, as using bleach on your clothes 1-2 times a year still seams more healthy to me.

A side note to the bleach – I have seen some homemade bleach recipes out there, however, I am hesitant to have chemicals like that in the house with the little one and fur babies.  I haven’t tried it, and it may work.  I don’t mind buying a bottle of bleach every 1-2 years so it might not be worth the ingredient investment to me personally.

Also, it doesn’t matter what smell or fragrance you put in your laundry detergent.  If it’s 100% natural it won’t last more than a couple of hours.  I’ve used handmade soap, ivory (both scented and unscented).  I’ve even gone so far as to put drops of essential oil on a facecloth and have it in the drier along with my clothes.  Nothing is permanent and if anything, I feel it is a waste of materials.

The static cling in the drier was driving me crazy!  Everything I read said to just moisten your hands with a little bit of water before pulling the clothes out of the drier, or to use a spray bottle and lightly mist them.  It helped, but it didn’t help with the lint problem.  Although we have plenty of the lint removed out of our trap, little bits of pieces would still invariably cling to certain articles of clothing.  Especially my husbands PT pants and shorts.  I was having to use a lint brush on them at one point.

So, last night, I snapped and bought some lavender drier sheets.  At the store.  Part of me feels really bad, but part of me feels like I can only go 100% organically natural only so much.  I feel somewhat better in the fact that the box read “100% biodegradable ingredients” but I still feel guilty.  I will let you know if this makes the difference in my homemade laundry detergent quest.  In the meantime, I will still look for an all natural alternative for drier sheets that actually work.  Stay tuned!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2013 11:09 pm

    Interesting. We are hoping to buy a house in the next few months, and once we have the storage space I definitely want to try making my own cleaning products.

  2. February 26, 2013 3:39 am

    I would recommend it. Initially it’s a little bit of an investment, but if you gradually make the swap as you run out of things, it makes it an easier adjustment. Plus, a lot of the recipes are very similar to each other, it’s just finding what works for you!

  3. October 27, 2013 4:37 am

    You got me curious about alternatives to dryer sheets, especially in regard to static cling, so I googled and found this interesting remedy for static cling: balls of aluminum foil! Apparently it works.

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