From Suds to Success: Making & Testing Homemade Laundry Detergent
Updated: Dec 1, 2023
Are you tired of spending a fortune on laundry detergents packed with harsh chemicals and in bulky plastic bottles? Well, it's time to take matters into your own hands and discover the amazing world of homemade laundry detergent powder! Not only will you save money, but you'll also have full control over the ingredients that touch your clothes and the environment. In this blog post, we'll dive deep into creating your own laundry detergent powder from scratch. Get ready to unleash your inner alchemist and transform your laundry routine into a sustainable, cost-effective, and eco-friendly experience!
Ingredients to use
When you step into the fascinating world of homemade laundry detergent, there is a diverse array of ingredients that awaits your creativity. From cups to grams, ounces to measuring units of all kinds, the varied measurements can be perplexing. But fear not, for I have delved deep into the realm of homemade detergents, scouring through countless recipes to unlock the secret to a universal masterpiece. In this blog post, I will unveil a magical recipe that transcends measurement barriers, allowing everyone to embark on their own laundry adventure. No matter where you are, rest assured that this recipe will empower you to create a laundry detergent that suits your needs perfectly. Say goodbye to confusion and embrace the joy of a universally accessible homemade laundry detergent recipe!
When it comes to creating your very own homemade laundry detergent powder, the soap you choose plays a vital role in achieving cleaning excellence. Not all soap bars are created equal – from shampoo bars to hand soaps, the variety of ingredients can be overwhelming. Beware of using glycerin soap, as it's not suitable for dishwashing and can actually leave stains on your clothes (bubble blowers can attest to this, thanks to glycerin). Similarly, using a foamy shampoo bar for your homemade laundry detergent can hinder your washing machine's efficiency. So, what's the secret? Opt for a traditional soap, one that has undergone the magical process of saponification. In my quest for the perfect soap, I use Aleppo soap, crafted with a blend of nourishing olive oil and aromatic laurel oil.
There are several reasons why we use washing soda in our homemade laundry detergent. First and foremost, its alkaline nature works wonders in breaking down stubborn stains and grime, leaving your garments fresh and spotless. Washing soda also acts as a water softener, combatting the effects of hard water and allowing your detergent to work more effectively.
I don't recommend using Borax as it is not a water softener but a detergent booster while it may help to get your laundry clean, it may not be beneficial to use when you live in an area with hard water. In this case a water softener is recommended. Softer water is not only better for your washing machine it also makes your detergents more efficient.
Also where I live Borax is not sold due to safety issues so instead I used Calgon as a water softener in my homemade laundry detergent.
Why I am not using Essential oils?
Let's take a deep dive into the intriguing world of essential oils, where opinions may differ. While some love them, I find myself on the other side of the spectrum for two compelling reasons. The first reason lies in the wastefulness that often accompanies essential oil production. The astonishing numbers speak for themselves - imagine, a staggering 242,000 rose petals sacrificed to produce a mere 5 mL of rose essential oil, or 30 kg of melissa per 5 mL bottle! Though sustainable alternatives have emerged, such as utilizing fruit waste for citrus essential oil production, the majority of essential oil production remains marred by excess.
And that leads us to my second qualm: the ever-shifting nature of essential oils. Like the seasons themselves, the plant matter from which these oils are derived contains different active compounds influenced by factors such as climate, farming practices, and even the age of the essential oil. Such variability can result in a wild ride of properties with each new batch purchased, potentially leading to unexpected skin reactions. With these considerations in mind, it's important to approach essential oils with caution and a discerning eye. While their allure may be undeniable, it's vital to recognize the drawbacks and make informed choices that align with our values and well-being.
Why I don’t use dishwasher soap (dawn) in my recipe
The inclusion of liquid dish soap in your homemade laundry detergent may seem like a tempting solution, but a word of wisdom begs your attention. Liquid dish soap, designed for conquering greasy dishes, may not be the ideal companion for your laundry adventures. Why, you ask? Dish soap, crafted to tackle oils and fats, contains ingredients that may leave a residue on your clothes, compromising their softness and texture. Additionally, the surfactants found in dish soap are tailored to disperse in water quickly, which may limit their effectiveness in the prolonged cycles of a washing machine. Furthermore, the pH balance of dish soap differs from that of laundry detergent, potentially leading to fabric damage or discoloration over time. And lastly, dish soap creates bubbles. Lots of bubbles. These suds are filled with air. When there are bubbles with air in your washing machine, there is no water with detergent to clean your clothes. In short, more bubbles reduce the effectiveness of your detergent.
Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe
I created this very simple recipe after researching many I found.
1 part soap (Aleppo Soap)
2 parts washing soda
2 parts Calgon (or any other water softener)
In my case, I used 100 grams of soap with 200 grams of washing soda and 200 grams of Calgon, but the beauty lies in its flexibility. You can adjust the quantities to fit your needs, whether it's 50 grams of soap, 100 grams of washing soda, and 100 grams of Calgon, or even 2 ounces of soap, 4 ounces of washing soda, and 4 ounces of Calgon. Just remember to maintain the same ratio, and the recipe will work like a charm. I must warn you, though, volumetric measurements may lead astray, so I highly recommend the precision of weighing your ingredients. Get ready to embark on a laundry revolution, where simplicity meets accuracy, and experience the extraordinary results of this homemade laundry detergent powder recipe!
How to make homemade laundry detergent
The creation of this homemade laundry detergent is very simple. Grate up the soap so it has a similar structure to the water softener powder and the washing soda. This way it mixes well with all the other ingredients. Weight the remaining ingredients and mix them all together. Store it in an airtight container.
Does homemade laundry detergent work?
I have tested this laundry detergent on grass, wine, and tomato stains. I used a washing cycle that I would also use when I used a regular detergent meaning a 40°C cotton cycle with full spinning.
I have been pleasantly surprised that my homemade laundry detergent was able to completely remove all the stains I created. This was completely unexpected as even store-bought eco-friendly detergents were not able to remove all the stains I had made.
Why homemade laundry soap is bad?
Homemade laundry detergent may not work for everyone. If you live in an area with hard water it may not work for you as hard water may reduce the effectiveness of detergents (even store-bought ones as you often need more detergent when you live in an area with hard water). But there are several more reasons why homemade detergent may not live up to its lofty expectations. Firstly, the lack of professional formulation expertise can lead to ineffective cleaning power, leaving your clothes less than pristine. Additionally, the absence of specialized ingredients found in commercial detergents means that tough stains and odors may linger, diminishing the overall cleanliness of your laundry. Moreover, homemade detergents often lack the necessary enzymes and additives that target specific fabric types, potentially causing damage or premature wear and tear. Lastly, the absence of rigorous quality control and testing in homemade recipes means that you may unknowingly compromise the longevity and appearance of your favorite garments.
Whether or not you want to use homemade laundry detergent remains a personal choice and if you don’t have extremely dirty laundry (like cloth diapers) it may work for you.