View Full Version : Re: Questions about Homemade Laundry Detergent

July 20th 03, 09:49 PM
"Soap" and "degergent" are two different critters. I won't attempt to
explain the differences, as I don't 100% understand it myself, beyond
knowing that detergent is synthetic and handles dirt and grease differently
than soap, which is salt(s) produced by the interaction of an alkali and
fatty acids.

So. Detergent works well in all water types and doesn't leave a residue
behind; this was Zest's big selling point back in the 70s, iirc. Soap works
best in soft water; it DOES leave a residue behind (soap scum) in hard water
and may not do a good job of cleaning whatever it is you are trying to wash.

I use SOAP 100% in the bath/shower. Because I've got hard water, I have to
do one of two things occasionally: use a vinegar rinse on my hair to cut
buildup, or use a detergent-based shampoo to achieve the same result. I
also have to scrub my tubs quite vigorously to keep the soap scum down.

I tried and gave up on home-made laundry soap flakes because of the hard
water issue.

"Kathy" > wrote in message
> I recently experimented with homemade laundry detergent and I am
> somewhat discouraged with the results. Can anybody tell me where I
> went wrong?
> Here is the recipe I used:
> 1 bar Fels Naptha soap
> 1 C washing soda
> 1 C Borax
> a tiny bit of lemon-verbena oil for scent ( ~ 1/4 tsp )
> 2 gallons water
> The original recipe called for 3 gallons of water but I don't have a
> container that big so I figured my version would be more
> "concentrated".
> I used 2 C of this solution to wash the first load and I noticed a
> couple of things:
> 1) My "concentrated" version is quite solid once it has cooled.
> I felt obliged to mix it with water before I added it the wash. I'm
> hoping that adding the full amount of water will fix this problem.
> 2) Some articles did not seem as clean as possible even though I
> had used the maximum recommended in the recipe ( even more if you
> consider my version to be more "concentrated" ). For example, one
> shirt still had distinct body odor on the armpits ( not sweat stains -
> just the odor ). The rest of the shirt and indeed the rest of the
> laundry smelled faintly of lemons so I assume it's not a "lack of
> fragrance" issue.
> So my problem is this: if I have to add more water to keep the
> solution "liquid" and I have to use more of the solution in general to
> get the clothes clean, I'll be up to about 5 cups per load. I'm not
> concerned about the volume or even the cost per se but this is more
> than double what everybody else is using on the message boards. Am I
> doing something wrong?
> Also I am concerned about using "soap" versus "detergent" and running
> the risk of clogging my pipes or harming my washing machine. Does
> anybody have any information about this? Will vinegar in the rinse
> suffice to protect the hardware?
> Thanks for any help-
> Kathy

July 21st 03, 04:34 AM
> I tried and gave up on home-made laundry soap flakes because of the hard
> water issue.

Did it leave a noticeable residue on your clothes? Did you try the
vinegar rinse to no effect?