I’m about to make a radical statement. Are you sitting down? This frugal, crunchy mama is about to spill it: Why I don’t make homemade laundry detergent.
I wrote on this topic a few years ago after several good, solid trials into homemade laundry detergent making adventures.
Why don’t I make homemade laundry detergent?
I’m so glad you asked.
I had the same problem when I tried vegetarianism. I can barely get enough to eat when I am consuming animals, much less when I’m not. But may I never be accused of being closed-minded and not giving life hack experiments a fair shot.
I don’t know why some people love their homemade laundry detergent.
Perhaps their water rinses cleaner than mine (although I have soft water, so this is unlikely).
My guess is that some people want it to work so badly (because homemade laundry detergent looks so pretty in those big glass jars on Pinterest!) that they ignore the signs that it isn’t. For example, their family is complaining about stinky shirts. Perhaps they’re covering up the stink with so much essential oils so noone’s noticed yet.
I see a lot of bloggers who extol homemade laundry detergent. Perhaps all those posts and pins bring them so much traffic that they’re afraid to lose credibility by circling back around and admitting the stuff doesn’t work!
Or something. I dunno.
I just know that the Laundry Fairy hasn’t blessed me yet with a homemade laundry detergent recipe that works for more than a few months. This is just long enough for every article to be washed several times and the ill effects (smelly, dingy, grey clothing) show up.
Thankfully, I’ve found a ton of bloggers and even some scientists who say the same thing I’m saying here.
Why I don’t make homemade laundry detergent:
- Homemade laundry detergent doesn’t dissolve well, even using warm water. I can use COLD water for EVERY load of laundry with a commercial product and stuff gets cleaner. If you use the super-diluted “Duggar recipe”, the amount of any actual cleansing ingredients is so small as to be useless, making your recipe as useful as water. See this.
- Since it’s made of SOAP, not detergent (a very important distinction), it leaves a soap film that kills absorbency on towels and cloth diapers. Which defeats the purpose of those items.
- … the soap film also makes clothing dingy and grey.
- Everything will smell funky after a while. Soap, made of FAT, is a food source for mildew…
- … so everything will get moldy eventually. Maybe not right away, but on the next hot day or the next time something isn’t washed within minutes of being taken off your body.
- It leaves a ring around the washing machine (just like bathtub ring, which is caused by body oils + soap). Gross.
- Homemade laundry detergent clogs your plumbing!
- I can get laundry detergent for .04 a load by combining store sales and coupons, so homemade isn’t always a frugal choice in the end.
Laundry detergent is one of those modern inventions we can be thankful for.
Pictured above is the cabinet in my laundry room. On the left are 6 containers of Purex Free & Clear. I snagged those for pennies on the dollar by combining a store sale with coupons I printed online plus a cash-back app. The two containers of Clean & Care detergent I won from a giveaway.
If a great deal hasn’t come my way, I buy powdered original Tide and use one tablespoon in my front loader. Even in cold water, everything comes out clean and smelling fresh. I also use a bit of Tide in hot water to clean most everything in my house, a la @goCleanCo style.
How does homemade laundry detergent work for you?
More: another post with dirty little secrets of homemade cleaning products.