I had recently been smitten with making my own household, environmentally friendly cleaners (more in another post to come) when I decided to take the leap and try homemade laundry detergent. I researched many blogs and recipes and decided on this one, more friendly for hard water than others:
1 bar soap grated, such as Ivory or Fels Naptha or Zote
1 cup Borax
1 cup Super Washing Soda
1 cup Baking Soda
I used Ivory, and another time tried Zote but preferred the scent of the Ivory. I grated the bar into a food processor, then poured in the powders and let it run with the blade inside to further pulverize the soap bits with the powders. I used about 2-4 tablespoons for extra-large load, using warm or hot water to dissolve it, and use vinegar in the rinse. I would actually make a double batch that would last me about a month.
Yes, it was cheaper than using even cheap detergent. Our clothing was clean, did not smell dirty, but ended up dingy. The whites just did not get that white. The hard water was no match for all the softening agents and vinegar, and we ended up with what I guess was soap scum on the clothing. In fact, the diaper soakers made of microfiber started to repel from what I can only guess was a build-up of the waxy tallow in the bar soap, and I had to buy new soakers. The flannel part of the diaper did still absorb, and the diapers looked and smelled clean. I did not really mind the dingy whites at all until I started using regular detergent again with brightening agents (one of the homemade things I gave up to lighted my load while expecting my last baby).
Now, I just don’t think I can go back to the homemade stuff all the time, even though it gave me great satisfaction to grind and use my laundry concoction. I’ll make more and use it in a pinch, in a heartbeat, but while deals still exist on Purex and All, I’ll stick to the commercial made stuff.