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Is homemade laundry soap really a good idea?

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Shaylyn Valdez

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As part of my soapmaking journey, I have been very interested in making my own laundry soap, HOWEVER... while doing my research I’ve discovered that many believe homemade laundry detergent to be something to avoid, claiming that when you use homemade laundry soap, it builds up on clothes and does not completely rinse off, and encourages the growth of bacteria. This is said to be because detergent and soap are two different things, and soap does not wash off clothes well. My question would be this: Is there any truth to this? Perhaps a possible workaround? Would making liquid laundry soap maybe make it easier for it to wash off?

What are your thoughts or ideas on this? I would love to hear them!
 

shunt2011

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I make and use my homemade laundry soap. But not all the time. As I don't make it as frequently or in as large a batch as I could. I add Oxyclean and washing soda to mine when I make it.
 

BattleGnome

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The last time I saw an article claiming homemade laundry soap was no good the writer immediately turned it into a sales pitch for her young living Castile+essential oil soap. I took away from the article that the homemade stuff is no good because you could just as easily spend more money buying from her.

That being said, if you don’t know your water type and how to adjust your recipe you may be in trouble. I knew we had hard water but I didn’t realize how hard it was until we bought a washer in April. We either need to use a ton of oxyclean or get laundry pods with water conditioners in one of the sections. I haven’t experimented with borax or washing soda yet, it may help. I don’t make laundry soap but imagine I’d have the learn this same balancing if I started. If you go the laundry soap route be prepared for trial and error to figure out these concerns.
 

lsg

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I have tried it and it doesn't work well with our hard water.
 

Gaisy59

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I dont know what Dahila’s water is like but she uses her own homemade laundry detergent and likes it. I haven’t tried making it myself yet and i can’t decide if i want to try liquid or powder. Becky’s Homestead has a youtube for the liquid recipe that looks very interesting.
 

Ladka

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My daughter used to make some sort of homemade soap and I remember the recipe included some soda (don't remember whether washing or baking).
 

DeeAnna

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If your water is hard and you don't do anything to soften it, it is true that lye-based soap will form soap scum and that scum will build up in the fabric. The fabric will look yellow and feel stiff and harsh.

But you can use washing soda or other water softening additive to soften the water and maintain a high pH so the soap stays effective. If you use a sufficient amount of washing soda, that works pretty well. (Baking soda is a waste of time in this situation -- washing soda is really what's needed.)

Liquid soap is lye based soap. Solid soap is lye based soap. Lye based soap reacts with hard water minerals to form soap scum. Whether the soap is liquid or solid makes no difference.

(Yes, I know "lye based soap" is redundant. I'm using the phrase because too many people call synthetic detergent cleansers by the name of "soap" when they're not actually soap. Just trying to be abundantly clear here.)
 

Dahila

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I dont know what Dahila’s water is like but she uses her own homemade laundry detergent and likes it. I haven’t tried making it myself yet and i can’t decide if i want to try liquid or powder. Becky’s Homestead has a youtube for the liquid recipe that looks very interesting.
mine is hard but the detergent works awesome, especially on my hubby clothes which has a lot of stains when fixing cars. I also use Enzyme to each load ;)
1 cup grinded soap; powdered to be honest, 1/2 washing soda, 1/2borax , 1/3cup of oxyclean and all is powdered in food processor, To each load a bit of 1 tbsp, Enzyme; https://www.voyageursoapandcandle.com/products/enzyme-concentrate-liquid
 

gloopygloop

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I make my own laundry soap and have not used detergents for a couple of years, my water is very hard but with the addition of washing soda and oxybleach as its called here in the UK the results are IMHO far superior to any detergents whith all of their claims, and which I did not find worked so well. I make about a 3 kilo batch and that gets ground up into a fine grated cheese look alike. Again IMHO its far superior to detergent and gives that proper clean feel and aroma. The only down side is you have to make it and grate it!
 

Gaisy59

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shunt2011

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Yes, as all water has some minerals in it. It's just the nature of soap. Soft water helps as do chelators.
 

DeeAnna

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What about soft water makes it more effective?
Lye based soap reacts with hard water minerals to form soap scum. Have you ever seen water turn milky white after adding some soap? That white stuff is soap scum. It doesn't clean and it doesn't lather.

Soft water is soft because it doesn't have hard water minerals. So soft water means there's less soap scum, and less soap scum means the soap can cleanse better.
 

Arimara

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I switched back to detergents after making my own laundry soap. I just don't like my clothing looking extra dingy. Even when I had the enzymes, the oxiclean, the washing soda and borax.
 
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