Thursday, April 12, 2012

Testing homemade laundry detergent and softeners update

About a week ago my friend Heidi  gave me some homemade detergent. I tried it out on my husbands work clothes. He works on fighter jets so he comes home smelling of jet fuel.  I had a hard time getting the jet fuel out of his coveralls .  Not any more, it did great!  Even in the stores I never found anything that works this good. I was so happy with it,that I decided to look up more recipes. These are the best that I found. I have tried everyone of them out before writing this post. I don't think I have one dirty item left in my house.( That's a first for me.)

                                                    Heidi's recipe ( great for oil, fuel, and tough grim)
2 cups borax
2cups Arm & hammer Super Washing Soda
1 bar Zote
1 bar Fels-Naptha
1/4 cup baking soda

Grate your bars of soap very fine. Mix with the other ingredients and place in a quarts size canning jar. Make 3  jars. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons a load depending on your machine. I have a large high capacity washer, so I use 2.

UPDATE:  I  found if you add a cup of oxi-clean to the mix it works Great for whites also. I also added Purex Crystals.About 1 1/2 cups to the mix. It makes my clothes smell so good. This is optional.

                                              For Whites

 Although Heidi's worked great on the fuel and dirt, I didn't care for it for doing my  whites.  This worked out better for me. The ingredients in the dial soap made the clothes come out whiter. How I don't know, it just does. It also smells great.
2 cups Borax
2 cups arm & Hammer super washing soda
1/4 cup baking soda
1 bar Zote
1 bar Passion fruit Dial (or any smell you like)

Follow the directions from the above recipe.

                                                            Liquid Landry Detergent

 Love this! It makes so much. For so little ingredients it work really great. I will still use Heidi's for the jet fuel.  There is nothing better. I wrote all my recipes on the side of the bucket. That way I won't lose them. ( I tend to lose things )

1 cup Arm & Hammer
1/2 cup Borax
1 bar grated Fels-Naptha
4 cups water
 ( 5 gallon) buckets with lid

Grate your bar of soap finely. You can use a food processor. Put 4 cups water in a old pan and melt soap over a med-high heat. Do not boil. Stir on and off until it melts . While your soap is melting, fill one of your buckets half way with hot water. Pour in the washing soda and borax. Stir until dissolved. Add your melted soap mixture. Stir together. Then fill the bucket up with hot water. Leaving room to stir. Cover with lid and let sit over night. Next morning  stir your mixture. Spit it evenly between the two 5 gallon buckets. Fill both with water. Stir
  Will make 10 gallons. Use  1/2 a cup of detergent depending on your machine. I use a little bit over a 1/4 of a cup. I put mine in empty laundry bottles. Shake and use just like I would if it was store bought.

Update:Recipe calls for 2 five gallon buckets. I only used one bucket the second time I made it. ( didn't read my own instructions ) . It came out thicker but works great. I think I'll keep doing it this way. If your family doesn't play in dirty or jet fuel like mine, you may want to use the two buckets. For white, I wash them in hot water with a little oxi-clean . My family loves wearing their sock outside. So by the time I get them their black. Added  a bottle of  Purex Crystals to the mix. I line dry my clothing so with the Purex I get that great smell you get from dryer sheets.
                                                                Fabric softener

3 cups hair conditioner
1 and 1/2 cup vinegar
9 cup water
1 gallon jug
1 downey ball
Place conditioner, vinegar and water in a gallon jug. Stir or shake really well. Let sit overnight for foam to settle. Use as you would any softener. For HE washers you can use the downey ball. Makes one gallon
Update: love this!!!!
                                               Fabric softener dryer sheets

2 cup hair conditioner
2 cup water
spray bottle

Mix the ingredients in spray bottle. Spray a wash cloth till damp ,throw into dryer. This makes one bottle.

                                             Flannel dryer sheets

 No this is not chicken livers. I made them for dinner ,so I cleaned and used the tubs for my flannel dryer sheets.

4 tablespoon liquid softener (  I used my conditioner. It works just as well)
10 tablespoons water.
flannel fabric squares. ( I used scrap flannel from a quilt I made. )
plastic tub

Mix water and softener together. Place flannel in the plastic tub. Pour mixture over it. Let it sit for 2 to 3 days. Pull one out. If to wet, ring out excess liquid. Throw in dryer with your clothing.

All the detergents and softeners are safe for a HE washer. I found that spraying a wash cloth will make the clothes soft . However It has a real light smell. I couldn't smell the flower sent from the conditioner. If you want a stronger smell use a stronger smelling conditioner (it may work better for you).

 Here is a run down of every thing I bought and the cost.

2 bars Fels-Naptha  .87 cents each
2 bars Zote  $ 1.00 each
1 bar Dail .75 cents (on sale)
1 box Borax (4 lbs 12 oz) $2.25
1 box Arm & Hammer super washing soda  (55 oz) $ 1. 69
1 small  bottle of vinegar $1.00
5 bottles of conditioner. $ 1.00 each
1 box baking soda (I had it)

TOTAL $14.43

This is what I got for $ 14.43 

6 quart jars full of the dried detergent.
10 gallons of liquid detergent
A gallon and a half of liquid softener
3 spray bottles  full of softener
Two tubs of dryer sheets.

What I have left.
1/3 of a box of borax
1/4 of a box of super washing soda
2/3 of my bottle of vinegar  

 I have tried all these recipes. I only have one more bit of advice. If you want a strong smell use a heavy smelling conditioner. No matter what conditioner or softener recipe you use, your clothes will come out nice and soft.

One last thought . If you don't want to use softener, just use vinegar in your rinse cycle. No Your clothes will not come out smelling like vinegar. Measure as you would softener.


  1. Wow Michelle!
    You're a cleaning tornado this week... Awesome post. I love how you wrote the recipes for everything on the side of the bucket so you can't lose them. LOL. I think I'll borrow that one. I am looking forward to soaking flannel scraps in the clothes softener to make dryer sheets. Way to go!!! BTW- your fabric softener spray works great, but you're right, no smell. I don;t need smell though, they're so cuddly soft, that's enough for me.

  2. I have the flannel dryer sheet plus some liquid softener for you. Will try to bring by this weekend.

  3. I have been using the liquid detergent recipe for about 2 yrs. now and just love it. I haven't tried the liquid softener yet, normally I just use vinegar in the rinse cycle. Great post!

  4. My washer is a front loading HE (high efficiency). Has anyone used this with a front loader HE???

  5. Yes you can use these in a HE washer. They are low sudsing. I have a HE washer that I used to test the recipes. I also found people on the net that have HE washers and asked they advice. The detergent and softener recipes are safe for our machines. But they did advice not to use homemade detergents that have oxe-clean in them. Because it foams up and can clog stuff.

  6. Thanks for the very thorough reviews! Maybe I should try the liquid detergent, I didn't have much luck with the powdered stuff. It's probably my water...

  7. Candy
    If you have hard water like we do. you can use baking soda or vinegar to soften the water. That will help the detergent to work better. Put in a 1/4 of a cup of vinegar in your wash cycle with your detergent. I also add 1/4 cup baking soda to my dry detergent. You can add a another 1/4 cup if your water is really hard.

  8. candy
    When I use the liquid I don't have to add vinegar. But I do have to add baking soda to my dry because of our hard water.

  9. I have never tried the fabric softener...interesting to use hair conditioner...thanks for the new tip!
    have a great weekend.

  10. These are all good; have you noticed the washer detergent doesn't suds up? At first, that puzzled me but the clothes are clean so now I don't care (smile). I used 2 bars Fels soap as I couldn't find any other kind and always use white vinegar if I use a rinse...especially if one of the animals has had an accident.
    I'm visiting from A Farmish Kind of Life.
    Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm

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