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Homemade Laundry Detergent Not Getting Clothes Clean

Has anyone had trouble with homemade laundry detergent? I made a batch using the recipe: 1 bar of shredded soap, 1 cup washing soda, and 1 cup borax. It called for using a tablespoon in the wash. I have been using 2 tablespoons and it does not seem to be getting my clothes clean. Does anyone have a suggestion?


By pcheflm from MA

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June 25, 20090 found this helpful

I have made my own laundry soap for almost a year. I make a liquid soap rather than the powder. My first batch I used a Zote bar and my clothes were clean and smelled nice. Then I switched to Fels-Naptha soap to make it and no matter what amount of soap I used my clothes were never clean and my husband complained that they smelled after working in them only a few hours. So I switched to Ivory soap and wasn't happy with it either. I then went back to using a Zote bar to make my detergent and my clothes look great and smell great. The only place I was able to find the Zote bars was at a local Latino foods grocery store. You can also adjust the amount of borax used according to how hard your water is. For my husband's stinky work clothes I also add 1/4 cup of Simple Green. It gets the greasy smell out of them! I hope this helps!

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February 22, 20160 found this helpful

I use this laundry soap all the time. 1 bar of Zote soap

1 cup borax

1 cup washing soda

Grate, soap, melt on stove, pour in 5 gallons of hot water, . stir, sit , and I use 1/2 to 1 cup of soap in the washer. Its the amount of soap you are using. Mix the soap in a 5 call on bucket of hot water and use 1 cup in each load. You will love it.

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June 25, 20090 found this helpful

When you make a batch of the powdered laundry detergent add 1/2 cup Oxi Clean. You might have to use 4 tablespoons instead of 2 tablespoons. Also if you are using warm water, switch to hot water.

The problem might be that you're not using Oxi Clean and hot water for your laundry.

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June 25, 20090 found this helpful

After I fill the washer with water, soap, and the clothes, I allow to agitate a while, then shut off and let everything set to loosen the dirt. A while later, I turn on again and run through the full cycle. Everything comes out nice and clean.

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June 25, 20090 found this helpful

Good idea susanmajp, I never thought of shutting off the machine and just letting the clothes soak in the detergent for a while.

I'm still using up my liquid laundry detergent that I purchased and will be making my own powdered laundry detergent in the very near future!

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June 25, 20090 found this helpful

I am not having any trouble, but it could be because I use 1 cup of white Vinegar in the wash load and 1 cup in the rinse cycle. So trying this may help.

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June 25, 20090 found this helpful

Well, I have not made laundry soap yet, but I found that 3 squirts of liquid dish soap like Ajax works great in a large load of clothes.

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September 9, 20090 found this helpful

I've made the same detergent, but being liquid. My recipe called for me to use 1 cup in laundry instead of tablespoons. may try to use a little more product. Good luck. Oh also I used Dove soap, can have a tendency to have skin irritated with other soaps. Have used dove bar soap all my life so I figured that would be best for my laundry too. Happy Washing

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July 12, 20100 found this helpful

My recipe-A bar of laundry soap 400g(14 oz) or 2 -7oz bars, the white or pink ones or high fatty acid bars from the "ethnic" stores are great. 2 cups of borax, 2 cups of washing soda. Grate soap into flakes on stovetop melt in large pot of hot water. Add powders and melt till completely dissolved. you might have to use two pots if yours are too small. Pour liquid and soap into a 5 gallon plastic bucket after the liquid has cooled a bit. stir with a wooden or heat resistant long handled spoon until you do not feel any grit. Set aside 24 hours until a gel forms. Use a half cup with a medium load, a cup or slightly less with a large or very dirty load.( the liquid can be used for clothes that are not too soiled such as sheets , light colors and so on. Use one cup or a half cup of the liquid that separates for these loads). For white clothes use hot water plus 1-2 scoops of oxi-clean.

If colors with heavy soil use warm water, otherwise cold is fine. Let soak a couple of hours if whites are very soiled. I also scrub the cuffs, soiled areas, or stains by hand right in the machine. You can use the bar soap as a stain remover so buy an extra bar. I pre-soak my kitchen linen with a bit of washing soda if using the regular strength detergent or filthy underclothing with super hot water and dump the wash fluid right into the machine and wash as usual, For underclothing, sheets, and kitchen towels throw in a capful of mouthwash to disinfect. Courtesy of Dr. Oz. For colors and clothes that are not so dirty cold water is fine and oxi-clean is not necessary. for greasy clothes or filthy work clothes toss in an extra half cup of washing soda. Hand scrub cuffs, collars, stains , like you would with stain removers, but use the wash water from the machine. In other words you do not have to add anything extra except elbow grease.

Most recipes are for general laundry, not heavy duty stains or dirt. so I have learned to make a heavy duty version for whites, work clothes and heavy soil. Melt (7oz or 200g) of bar soap with a half bar of fels naptha, 1 cup of washing soda, 1 cup of borax and 1 gallon of water. Very concentrated so you do not have to add anything but oxi clean for whites, towels, and kitchen linen, and use the mouthwash. Use half cup for medium loads, three quarters for large loads. Soak a couple of hours if needed. Add a quarter cup of vinegar, half cup for large loads to rinse water( I always do this for my whites and heavy duty detergent but not always for my regular loads) this removes residual soap.

If you hand scrub your white or sport socks a few times you will see them come cleaner because even with commercial detergent the dirt builds up. They will also be softer. Just hand scrub with bar soap and a little washing soda. Sounds complicated, but it comes to be second nature after a while. Line dry or hang on inside clothes hanger racks, the wooden ones or the new plastic ones they make now and save electricity. your clothes will be softer because of the bar soap if you shake them out first. Let me know if you have any questions. The gel will last for months and the gallon of heavy duty will last a long time too.

you can also use either as an all purpose cleaner and save money. Add some vinegar and clean tubs and tiles and remove bathroom and shower scum. Great for greasy stove tops. Bon Ami cleanser is for if you need some abrasion- it is safe and biodegradable too. All natural and non-toxic.

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April 14, 20110 found this helpful

I always use 1/4 cup of the homemade liquid laundry detergent and I have no problem with my clothes coming clean and sometimes I also add about 20 drops of essential oil to the laundry detergent while it is in the bottle and when I do the rinse, I use 1/4 cup of white vinegar that also has the 20 drops of essential oil to the gallon and it leaves my clothes smelling fresh and clean.

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