How Well Does Homemade Laundry Soap Really Work?
I’ve seen many recipes for homemade laundry detergent. So many, in fact, that I decided to take the initiative myself and make a batch.
I whipped it up in less than an hour, and as I admired my 5 gallons of laundry detergent, I decided to text my accomplishment to a friend. His response was simple. “How much did it cost? And does it work?”
That stopped me in my tracks. Yes, I knew how much it cost, but I had no idea if it would work. This sweet, Southern, but clearly pragmatic friend of mine really got me to thinking. Did I just waste my time and money? Would my laundry detergent work? Could it possibly work better than something I purchased at the store? For that matter, does store-bought laundry soap even work?
Surely, I’m not the only one who would have these questions. So, I took it upon myself to test it out so that others who had the same questions could see for themselves if homemade laundry soap really works.
I decided to use common everyday stains on three cloth diapers. All three would be washed alone in cold water.
Diaper #1 would be thrown into the wash with no laundry detergent. This is the control diaper. It will show how clean the diaper gets just by agitation in the washer in a normal wash cycle.
Diaper #2 would be washed with store-bought laundry soap. I won’t disclose the brand of the laundry soap. Just that it is a name brand detergent that can be purchased at any discount or grocery store. I used the amount of soap the manufacturer suggested for a small load.
Diaper three would be washed with laundry detergent I made using the Easy Laundry Detergent Recipe. I used a ¼ of the soap as suggested by the recipe.
Assorted markers: I used some that touted the words “washable” and some that did not.
Make up: I selected various eye shadow colors and some blush. The blush is in the center and is surrounded by the eye shadows.
Spaghetti Dinner: The center of the circle is spaghetti sauce. I also added some margarine to the top and bottom of the circle to see how well the soaps get out oil based stains
Lipstick: I took the worst colors in my collection for this one making sure to use a variety of brands.
Grass Stains and Ground in Dirt: A parent’s worst nightmare, no laundry soap test would be complete with out it.
Ink: Both blue and black ink were used in this circle.
After washing all three diapers the next day, I was a little surprised at what I found. All three pretty much looked the same. There were a few differences, but nothing earth shattering. In fact, in the pictures, you can barely tell the difference. Below, I’ll detail what small findings I did have.
- The diaper with no soap used had residual from the pink sharpie used to make my circles. In fact, the whole thing has a pink tint to it which the two washed in soap did not have.
- All of the marker stains came out on all three except the purple. The homemade laundry soap took out the purple marker the best.
- The homemade detergent got out the make-up completely, but there was very little left on the other two.
- The store bought detergent removed the spaghetti sauce the best, but the stain was still pretty bad.
- All three of the diapers still had a massive amount of lipstick left on them.
- The dirt came out on all three diapers.
- The grass stains didn’t come out on any of them.
- The ink was still very prominent on all three after the wash. It did fade a little. There was about the same amount of fading from the store bought and the homemade detergent.
I honestly thought I would see more of a difference between the diapers washed in soap and the one that was not. I guess that just the agitation in the water goes a long way in cleaning clothing. As far as the two different soaps are concerned, they both cleaned different items better. In all honesty, if I saw any of the stains I used on my clothing before I washed it, I would use a pre-treatment product. Until now though, I never really realized their importance.
So, really, if you're looking to save a few bucks...might as well make your own Homemade laundry detergent. Now...the quest is on to find a great recipe for a homemade laundry pre-treatment product....