Hello! I was wanting to start making my own detergent for cloth diapers and was just wondering what you ladies had the most success with. Recipes and maybe some tips would be much appreciated :D Thanks!
I hope you get some responses, I'll be watching this too! I'm sure I use some detergent that I shouldn't because I can't follow the recommendations for north american brands, they're just not available in europe... and it seems complicated so I haven't put the energy into figuring out what is here. Homemade detergent would be perfect!
thinking of making my own. I want to use the standard
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1 cup sun oxygen cleaner (or whatever its called)
1 bar fels naptha and either 1 bar dr. bronner or ivory
will this work? I'm most concerned about the bar soaps........
Mother to 6
12, 11, 9, 6, 3, 1
Pray, Hope and Don't Worry
I did the Fels Naptha bar recipe and HATED the weird chemical smell. UGH GROSS!! And its full of nasty chemicals that are not nice. There are other recipes out there but havent tried them . I just use Charlies Soap Powder on all my clothes and never have a problem. Ive heard Castile soap or Dr. Bronners can cause build up on diapers. Just FYI.
my (previous?) recipe is/was:
1 bar laundry soap (fels naphtha; lyrio; zote; etc), grated w a cheese grater
1 c washing soda
1 c borax
you can use this as a powder or melt the soap in hot water, then add the powder & lots of hot water-- makes 5-10 gallons of liquid, depending how concentrated you want it-- it does not pour well if you make 5 gallons-- only scoops (old gallon ice cream buckets work well); it does pour well if you make 10 gallons. Either way, it is not smooth-- it looks like "chicken noodle SOAP." The only advantage I have found of the liquid is it can be used in cold water. I just use the powder & mix it in a bit of hot tap water first for cold loads.
I second what the PP said re fels naphtha! It didn't bother me 'til I got preggy, then it bothered me so much I researched what naphtha is-- not doing that again. My very favorite is Lyrio, but it's hard to find here-- oy! Most people I know love pink Zote; a few I know prefer white Zote. I can't think how much (& thusly how pricey) Dr B's you'd have to use to get it strong enough, but then again, you get 10 gallons of soap ~shrug~ so still cheaper than store bought. I don't recommend it, but I've heard ppl say they used unscented Ivory bar soap in a pinch & it worked ok, maybe not quite as strong as FN, but lots stronger than Dr B. SNIFF your soap before you buy! Once you buy, rub it in the crook of your elbow & wait a day to see if you react before making 10 gallons of soap you can't use!
Re recipe-tweaking: it's the borax that makes it thicken up the most! If you want your soap concentrated, like the 5 gal bucket, but want to pour it, then only use about 1/4 c borax & be sure to add a bit of borax to each load-- same soap results in the end (plus diapers LOVE extra borax, gentle & whitening). The washing soda seems to rev up the power of the soap-- not sure if it could damage fabric if it's overdone... it's very safe, long term at the levels given, but be careful adding extra-- it can be caustic & can eat cotton dipes if over-used.
Re buildup-- all soaps & even detergents eventually do build up (& detergents make your clothes STINK when they do, whereas soaps just make clothes look & feel dingy-ish). The best thing is plain vinegar in the rinse water, every load; makes a great fabric softener, too & whitens diapers slightly; you'll never have buildup this way. If you already have buildup, heat a bit of vinegar on the stove & pour over clothes w buildup or dunk them in, then wash. My mother used to wash on hot with borax only- no soap, then 1 c vinegar in the rinse to remove buildup, but sometimes this method takes 2 wash cycles.
SOME parents claim they wash dipes in nothing but hot water and 1/2 - 1 c white vinegar per medium load-- no soap or detergent at all... hmmm, I said... so I tried a load of grubby boy-sox & undies & soccer shirts (if we're testing for odor- removal, let's be thorough, shall we? I mean baby's not here yet & no one I know does cd, so I can't go borrow anyone's dirty diaper pail, yk?). Results are in: it actually works GREAT on items soiled today or yesterday, ONLY. Even very lightly soiled items that are more than 48 hours old NEED soap or detergent of some kind before the vinegar rinse, IME. ymmv & I'd love to hear about it! What a great thread.
(I love mdc-- every thread I see, I think, what a great discussion!)
Maybe you can find Lyrio brand soap if there is a Latino community/ grocery anywhere near you? My Latina mama friends claim they love that brand & it seems more internationally available than others...
If not, then ANY soap marketed as laundry bar soap will work to clean the clothes (& maybe some STRONG bathing soaps?), after that it's a matter of how natural you want it to be &or what your skin/ your family's skin will not react to.
Our only brand of borax I've ever seen in the states is "20 mule team borax." Chemically, it is sodium tetraborate, if that helps.
Similarly, the only washing soda I've seen is "arm & hammer washing soda." Chemically it is sodium carbonate. HTH
thanks all. This is great. I actually did use my old recipe with the fels naptha (I like the smell and no one in my house has reacted to it, hopefully new babe won't either) and threw in bar of doctor bronner's lavender. I've used this recipe exclusively in the past as I always make my own - and use the vinegar rinse - we'll see how this works on cloth.
I would buy the commercial stuff but it would be too expensive long term, so make my own it is.
Keep the comments and tips coming!
Mother to 6
12, 11, 9, 6, 3, 1
Pray, Hope and Don't Worry
I read recently to use that same borax/washing soda/oxyclean recipe without the soap for diapers. I have been using it with the soap (ivory or Dr. Bronner's if I'm not feeling too cheap) and the cotton prefolds seem to do fine. I think my microfiber may be getting a little build up. I'm going to strip them and try without the soap, see what happens....
Here is the link to the recipe I saw:
hi, Ruby, I have heard no oxygen cleaners bc some are too harsh, but have never heard that borax is an issue... so idk... ~shrug~?
I have a brand new method for soap powder if anyone's still interested...
into a 5 gallon bucket, I pour:
1 box borax
1 box washing soda
1 (4#) box baking soda
2-6 bars grated soap
(depending on what type I use-- if I could find some Lyrio, then 2-3 bars is enough, for Octagon I used 4 & seems ok, last time we did 3 or 4 of Kirk's Castile & it was weak & sorry-- which is a shame bc I like Kirk's smell better...I'm still too cheap to make it all Dr B's although when I'm independantly wealthy, I'd use 6 or so bars... I personally dislike Zote & it's everywhere, but 2-3 bars like the Lyrio is fine; for fels naphtha, I'd say 3-4 bars for this amount-- if anyone experiements, let us know!)
anyway, I just stir it up & scoop some into one of the borax or soda boxes-- my DC lost my handy screwtop soap thingy! It;s easier for me to make a large bucket-batch than to measure everything plus make soap more often. Of course, this assumes the vinegar rinse!
I've done borax, soap (fels naphtha, Ivory or Kirk's Castile) and washing soda, but I have only recently heard not to use borax.
I've had issues with oxyclean putting holes in diapers. But maybe that was a fluke because it only happened once.