Monday, September 15, 2014

A DIY Experiment: Homemade Laundry Detergent

I'm sure you've seen all the "homemade" pins on Pinterest: homemade Febreze, homemade shampoo, homemade fabric softener, etc. Most of the time I don't pay much attention to these pins, because I am happy with convenience and the effectiveness of the products I use.

Only one product has recently failed me: my laundry detergent. The failure came as a surprise, because I have used this particular brand for a long time and always liked the results. However, after moving to Florida, my skin suddenly decided to become sensitive. It probably has to do with moving from a very dry climate to a very humid one, but whatever the case, I have been miserable! My legs would get so itchy, it would keep me up at night. It got so bad, I would leave gouges in my skin just trying to get some relief. 

I changed my razor, my body lotion, everything! I noticed I would get especially itchy after sitting under a blanket for awhile or after crawling under the sheets. After experimenting for two months, I narrowed my problem down to my laundry detergent.

Since I already used a nice laundry detergent, I didn't think switching brands would help. So I thought this might be a good opportunity to try one of those "homemade" laundry detergent recipes. I read a lot of different recipes for both the powder and liquid versions, trying to decide which might be better. I liked the ingredients found in the powdered versions the best because most of them were all-natural, which I thought would be best for my sensitive skin.

Finally, I stumbled across Shandy's version of homemade laundry detergent on her blog Aprons 'n Pearls. I liked how she addressed a lot of the concerns you might have with homemade detergent, like how much do you use or will it dissolve in cold water. I decided to indulge myself in a DIY Adventure and give it a try!

I followed Shandy's recipe exactly, which I encourage you to check out! Some recipes call for you to grate the soap, but Shandy had a great suggestion to grind it up instead in a food processor. When I followed her recipe, I found it was easier to grind the Fels Naptha in batches rather than all at once.

Another suggestion I would make is to mix your detergent in a heavy-duty garbage bag, or at least double bag it! I made a HUGE mess on my kitchen floor because my garbage bag couldn't stand up to the weight of all the ingredients. Fortunately, it was easy to sweep up : ) You live and learn when you DIY!

Now the most important question...does it work? I am happy to say I am VERY pleased with the results. My sensitive skin has loved this detergent.

Will homemade laundry detergent change my life forever? No. The results aren't earth-shattering. In fact, if my former laundry detergent hadn't failed me, I would probably not bother to make my own. But I do think the baking soda in the recipe makes your clothes brighter and removes odor much better than other commercial detergents I have used (we sweat in Florida, y'all...). 

A bonus is this detergent will last for months before it only takes two to three tablespoons depending on the size of your load. If this DIY experiment keeps giving me results like these, I'm going to make it again when I run out.

So tell me...have you tried any "homemade" products? What did you think? Would you try any?