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Homemade Laundry Soap and Smell in Clothes

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Okay, before I get fed up and throw away my 5 gallon bucket of homemade laundry soap, I'm asking for help! I made my own soap using the Duggar recipe (Fels Naptha, Washing Soda and Borax). However, that recipe wanted you to dilute your soap in order to yield 10 gallons. After washing a few loads, I cannot imagine diluting it (I made 5 gallons and stopped adding water). I started washing loads with about 1/2 cup of soap, but now I am adding about 1 cup of soap AND Oxyclean to each load. I have also added essential oils (grapefruit) to help with the smell.

My problem is that our clothes do not really smell different when they come out of the wash. In fact, I can still smell deodorant in the underarms of t-shirts, and no one in our family has an order problem! So you can imagine my frustration. Sure, I would love for our clothes to SMELL clean, but really, I just want to feel like they are actually GETTING clean.

Am I doing something wrong? How can I get my homemade laundry soap to actually clean my laundry?

Thank you for any help you all can offer!
post #2 of 11
Do you have hard water? With hard water, we have a harder time with homemade laundry soap, although we use it almost exclusively. I add a water softener, but I've heard that just 2 T of salt added to each load can soften the water.

Try that, or just double the amount of soap you use!
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
This may sound really silly, but how do I know if we have hard water?
post #4 of 11
Check your shower head, taps, kettle for calcium buildup. It will be white and scratchy.
post #5 of 11
Do your clothes actually smell bad or do they just not smell "clean"? If you're used to fragrances from commercial laundry detergent, then that might be what you're looking for. Clean clothes don't smell like anything, period. I think your idea of adding a few drops of essential oils is good if you want some kind of smell to your clothes.

As for deodorant, I'm sure it's hard to wash out of clothes, considering it's made to last through sweat.. If no one in your family has an odor problem, why use deodorant? We don't use it in my house because we're not a stinky family. There are also some natural alternatives.
post #6 of 11
I did not have success with the Fels-Naptha. It did not dissolve well in the wash cycle, and the clothes were not getting clean. I knew it wasn't a lack of cover up smell, b/c we were using unscented detergent to begin with.

I am looking for a different soap to use...tweaking the recipe, and adding some kosher salt or citric acid.
post #7 of 11
You may be using too much soap. If they said to dilute it and you didn't it may be too strong. I buy my soap already made. But I only use one tiny scoop, about a tablespoon, per load. If I use too much, it does leave an odor. I would try diluting your soap before you throw it out.

Kathi
post #8 of 11
I use what sounds like an almost identical recipe and I think if I *didn't* dilute it down so that it made 10gallons, it would be about the consistency of a solid wobbly jello . I have been adding a bit of eucalyptus oil to mine before it 'gels' and giving it a few good stirs as it cools, to make sure it stays evenly mixed etc. I have found that I have to hang the clothes out pretty quickly because of the lack of fake 'clean' smells though.. a load of laundry used to be safe sitting in the machine all day till we got home to hang it out, but with this it really needs to get hung out shortly after it is finished or it starts to go funky.
post #9 of 11
I make my own detergent with the same ingredients but not the liquid version. My clothes definitely come out smelling clean. No odors left at all.
We live in the south and sweat alot so I always check my laundry to make sure it smells clean. Maybe it is your water- ours is soft. I tried making the liquid but find the powder better for me. The liquid was clumpy and more work. Good luck!
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for all the posts. I have a few things to think about now. Maybe we could try tweaking the recipe, or making a dry mixture.

And in answer to some questions:

I don't think we have hard water.

And we used fragrance-free detergent before, so we aren't really used to any sort of good-smelly clothes, just that nothing-smell. I think that our clothes are just not getting clean at all right now. And that is frustrating.

Are there any other recipes that you all like?
post #11 of 11
This is the recipe I use from another MDC mother. I add the oxyclean in after -only w my whites. Going to make some this morning again. This is the recipe she gave me below . I generally do one part fels naptha. I measure it when its grated large and that seems to be enough. Like I said everything smells fresh. I have tried other soaps but like Fels Naptha better. Hated the ivory smell w the Ivory soap.

Dry Recipe

When I use oxygen bleach, I tend to use:

1 part oxygen bleach, plus
1-1/2 parts soap, plus
2 parts borax, plus
2 parts washing soda

The amount of soap I use depends somewhat on the soap - i.e., I'd use less with FelsNaptha.
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