So I've been really curious about homemade laundry soap for a long time. Like, a long, long time. Years.
This weekend I finally went for it. Detergent is pricey, peeps! Is homemade cheaper? I'm going to find out. Does it work? So far - and I've only washed 5 loads - the clothes seem clean.
I will admit that there were a few moments, as I sat on my basement floor grating a bar of soap into a recycled yogurt container, when I wondered if I'd gone off the deep end. But then I felt super awesome scooping a tablespoon of my homemade mix into the machine.
I used 2 cups of Borax, 2 cups of washing soda, and one grated up bar of Dr. Bronner's castile soap in tea tree (chosen both for scent and anti-bacterial properties of tea tree oil). Some recipes say use 1 tablespoon per load, some say 2...so I split the difference and have been using 1.5 tablespoons in large loads. I knew it wouldn't make suds, but I still watched for them anyway. Nope, no suds. But the clothes do seem clean, they have only the faintest scent of the tea tree oil when they come out of the machine, and really don't smell much after the dryer.
I noticed the towels seem slightly less "fluffy" - I can see the individual loops in the towels more when I am folding them. Also, the whites are slightly less blinding because homemade soap is just that...soap. It is not detergent and lacks the surfactants and whiteners of commercial detergent. But then I thought about the kids my daughter goes to school with, and how I've noticed they often have two different socks on, or one sock inside out, or dingy socks from being washed with darks and colors. And I relaxed about it, because who cares if her white socks don't blind you when you look at them?
I still have a small box of Tide for the tough jobs that my soap won't handle...and again, I just started this experiment so we'll see how it goes. My son has an oral-motor weakness that results in a lot of drool-soaked shirts, which, after sitting in the laundry basket for a few days, can really stink. I've found, up to this point, that only super-expensive Tide gets them back to wearable condition. But who knows? Maybe I can come up with something better (and less expensive).
So far I've spent 10 bucks. But I've only used a fraction of the Borax and washing soda. I'll have to purchase new bars of soap once in awhile, and I'm keeping a rough tally of how many loads I wash so I can see if this is a savings or what. (I'm a stay-home mom of two kids, one of whom is in school...I can manage to keep count of my loads with a scrap of paper and pencil next to the machine, it isn't hard.)
I know, I sound like such a weirdo. Bear with me...I'll report back with my findings.