-->



Follow Me on Pinterest

Friday, April 06, 2012

My Daughter's Homemade Laundry Detergent Science Project




Store Bought Vs. Homemade Laundry Detergent

My 5th Grade Science Experiment

{From Amy's 5th Grade Daughter}


Question:
Does Homemade laundry detergent work better than store-bought laundry detergent?

Hypotheses:
My Hypothesis is that the home made laundry detergent will work better than the store bought laundry detergent.


Experiment

To Make Homemade Laundry Detergent:

1. I grated 1 bar of soap.
2. Then I brought 1 gallon of water to boil in a large pot.
3. Then, I put the grated soap into the pot, and stirred until dissolved.
4. I added once cup of Borax Powder and 1 cup of Washing Soda into the pot.
5. I turned the heat down and stirred until combined.
6. Once cooled, I stirred it again and put into containers.

 Materials

A large spoon, large pot, measuring cups, grater, containers to store detergent, labels, water, borax, powder, washing soda, bar of soap.

Constants:
1. Both shirts were stained with 3 stains.  Strawberry jelly, BBQ Sauce, and Spaghetti Sauce.
2. Both shirts were washed in hot water on the same washing cycle.

Variable:
The second shirt stain set longer, due to the amount of time the first shirt took to wash.

I washed the 2nd shirt in 'All' Clothes Detergent.




Research:

According to Why Not Sew, the estimated cost is $6.00 for 576 loads.  That is quite the savings!

"Using a bar of Ivory soap makes our cloth diapers come out so white!  You'd think I'd bleached them.  They have no odors, no dinginess, just super bright whites."--Pinterest Reader Who Used This Recipe

Conclusion
My hypothesis was wrong.  Store bought laundry detergent works just slightly better than homemade laundry detergent, at least on the stains.  Homemade laundry detergent seemed to make the shirt as a whole whiter, though.  My mom and I decided that due to the savings, and how easy it was to make, that we would continue to make our own homemade laundry detergent!

_____________

Recipe For Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent
from Why Not Sew {click through for step by step pics}

1 bar of soap (any kind you want, I used Ivory)
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda
a big pot (that holds more than 2 gallons)
2 empty gallon jugs/containers


Grate your bar of soap into your pot.  Fill one gallon jug and pour water into pot with grated soap. Cook until the grated soap dissolves. Add the Borax and washing soda. Bring to a boil. It will coagulate. Turn off the heat. Add 1 gallon of cold water. Stir well. Pour 1 gallon of your detergent into each container.


Now you have 2 gallons of homemade laundry detergent. I use 1/2 cup per load. With the prices of detergent being outrageous, I feel really happy every time I make a batch of this.


This won't make many, if any, suds. Suds don't equal clean. It took a while to get that into my head. This detergent cleans wonderfully!


Hints From Why Not Sew:


* I now just keep my detergent in the pot I cook it in with the lid on. When I run out I make up a new batch in that pot and it's ready to go. I like saving the step of transferring into the jugs.

*if the detergent becoming too thick, try using 1/2 of a bar of soap instead.

*the detergent should thicken / coagulate when it cools. Usually within 24 hours! 
 

More From New Nostalgia


93 comments:

  1. YAY!!! I was just looking at my almost empty container of store bought detergent and thought "I should really make my own when I run out"... I already use home-made dishwasher detergent! I will definitely give this a try!

    I love that you captured the quote about cloth diapers b/c I'm planning on using them when my little one comes in July and was wondering if home-made detergent would be ok to use!

    :) Thanks a lot!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! Love knowing that it helped!!

      Delete
    2. How did you make homemade dishwasher detergent?

      Delete
    3. why couldn't you add peroxide to the laundry detergent for that stain removing effect?

      Delete
  2. Does this work in HE washers too?

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a great science experiment! I give her a 110%!

    ~elaine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My girl read your comment and was like "Ummm-hmmmm, 110%! :) Thanks for the comment, Elaine,made my girl smile!

      Delete
    2. Did it win?

      Delete
    3. I, too, loved your daughter's experiment. She's also learning VALUE at a young age :) GREAT IDEA!!!!!

      Delete
  4. Great science project! Any idea how this works in HE machines? Use more or less than half-a-cup?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd start with 1/2 cup. It is low sudsing which is good for HE washers.

      Delete
  5. I've been using the liquid version in my he machine for several weeks now after reading several posts saying it was safe. HE machines require low sudsing detergent which this recipe is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use the DRY version for the past 6 months in my HE and low suds is the only difference between HE and NON-HE.

      Delete
    2. I've made a dry version too, this version seemed easier to make.

      Delete
  6. Thanks for the info. Using the dry now. Smells great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Im doing one to

      Delete
  7. I would be curious (and grateful!) if your daughter did a further investigation to determine if these results hold true (i.e. the All-washed shirt came out cleaner) if the three stains were pretreated with a stain remover like Shout. For that matter, does Shout work better than the homemade stain remover you referenced here: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2011/12/homemade-shout-stain-remover.html ???

    ReplyDelete
  8. Made mine a few months ago. It is super thick! Any suggestions on how to thin it out?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ours thickened up quite a bit, too. I've see the suggestion of using 1/2 bar of soap instead of whole. I just use a little less detergent since it is thicker..like 1/3 of a cup instead of 1/2. It thickened after sitting all night. I'd rather have it too thick than too thin!!

      Delete
    2. The recipe I have uses a half bar of soap (Fels-naptha) and has you add another 2 gallons of water after it thickens. I still use 1/2 cup in my front loader. I tried using more to see if it made a difference, but not that I could see. The next time I make a batch, I'm going to try not adding the extra water and just using less. It would be easier to store!

      Delete
    3. I have actually increased the water by half a gallon and after it cools down a lot I add a half a cup of softner and it make the consistancy perfect without affecting the way it cleans! I love this stuff and will never use store bought again.

      Delete
    4. My recipe is nearly the same as yours but we make 5 gallons of the detergent by adding the dissolved bar to a 5 gallon bucket and adding water to the top. It gels completely too. Then we add the detergent to empty laundry detergent bottles up to half full and fill the rest of the bottle with water. It works quite well, and I only have to make it a couple times a year. I also use white vinegar for fabric softener, but since it washes away traces of soap, I do not add it until later in the wash cycle or I use a Downy softener ball. Using a half bar for your recipe would not harm it at all.

      Also, I keep a bottle of the undiluted mixture to use as a stain-treater. If it doesn't work on stains, I use Dawn dish detergent.

      Great project by the way...your daughter did an excellent job.

      Delete
    5. Add more water to the mix, I have made my own laundry soap for about 3 years. Same recipe different measurements. :)

      Delete
  9. Now that is a truly educational science fair project! Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  10. we use the same recipe, but dry...and only 1 tablespoon. i just coarsly shop the soap, and then throw it all in the food processer:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I buy it at Walmart. It's in the laundry isle right by the Borax and the washing soda. Watch out because the big boxes of Baking soda look very similar to washing soda:-)

      Delete
  11. I do pretty much the same as Mandy. 1 bar Ivory soap, grated. 1 cup Borax. 1 cup Washing Soda. Mix it all together use 1 T for HE machines. (I can't remember the recomended amount for non-HE machines--it's either 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup.)

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is so great, Amy! I make both the liquid and dry versions and would never go back to store-bought again - as your daughter concluded, the savings are just too much to ignore! As an elementary school teacher by profession (and SAHM by choice), I just love seeing our young people bringing the natural, homemade lifestyle into the classroom to share with their peers. Your daughter has done something amazing by choosing this as her science project and we're all very proud of her! You've done a wonderful job :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Would Fels Naptha work better??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use Fels Naptha - and make the dry version....works wonderful!

      Delete
    2. Denise C. Brenner7/30/12, 7:02 PM

      Fels Naptha would have helped the stains along a lot better. It has cleaning agents in to specific to laundry. It also is a great home remedy for poison ivy. :) :)

      Delete
    3. It might, I just don't care for the strong scent of Fels Naptha

      Delete
    4. I agree with the scent :( I don't like it at all. We use Dr Bronner's unscented bar.

      Delete
    5. I add essential oils to the liquid, covers the smell of Fels-naptha

      Delete
  14. Been using this recipe(but with Fels Naptha) for 3 years now and I love it! I am a stay at home mom and it has saved us so much $. My husband is in construction and his clothes are super dirty- so I use a homemade stain lifter of proxide and dawn dish soap. The savings and natural aspect far outway the chemicals and dyes! Great project! I think it is so great to teach our children that you can make so many things we take for granted and just buy.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a great idea for a science experiment with some usable data for the average person at the end.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Amy-
    This is a really cool science experiment. It's fun and actually useful! Great job your daughter did :)
    xo Erin

    ReplyDelete
  17. For those stains I use Dawn dish soap! It works wonders!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great science experiment! I'd like to try this --but where do you get washing soda??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can buy it at Walmart in the Laundry Asile

      Delete
  19. most grocery stores carry it. Walmart has it, too.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Your daughter did a wonderful job! I'm going to make some myself can't wait to start saving money! store bought is just way to expensive.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I used the Same amount in a 5 gallon Bucket & get the same result....our soap is Fels-naptha..I use an immersion Blender to make it smooth and pourable...My Laundry container is a 1 gallon LOCK-Lock Pitcher & we have been useing it for 4 years...So your going to enjoy the Long term benefits of this Exsperiment!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have started making homemade detergent...love it. To add a nice fragrance I add Purex Crystals to my mixture. Smells great! I pick a fragrance ...then go find a soap that compliments the scent of the crystals.

    ReplyDelete
  23. If you use Ivory soap for this and don't want to grate the soap (especially if you're making a large batch) pop the bar of soap in the microwave for a couple minutes on a piece of parchment paper. It puffs up like crazy (great to do with little kids, my 3 year old loved it). When you take it out it will crumble into a powder. This is what I use to make my liquid detergent. The Girl gets entertained and I don't have to grate soap. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if that would work with fels naptha soap too?

      Delete
  24. Sounds amazing to save that much! I'm curious as to what store bought detergent did she compare it to?

    ReplyDelete
  25. it was ALL brand laundry detergent

    ReplyDelete
  26. If you use Fels soap instead of Ivory it will work better on stains.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise C. Brenner7/30/12, 7:05 PM

      I believe so. It has been awesome in my homemade soap. been using it for two years now. I also keep a 1/2 bar in an old peanut butter jar to pretreat stains. just wet the bar a little, rub over the stain, wet the stain a little and rub. comes out every time. :)

      Delete
    2. I keep a spay bottle full of just water to spray the stain then rub the fels naptha bar on it.

      Delete
    3. I fill a spray bottle with water to spray on the stain then rub with the fels naptha bar. it works great

      Delete
  27. A woman scientist in the making! Awesome experiment! Maybe someone else mentioned this, but there sure are a lot of homemade stain remover recipes out ther (Pinterest), so your recipe with that = clean! :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. I used Dr.Bronner's Tea Tree oil bar soap to help my kids' clothes detur ticks and other biting insects. So GLAD I finally tried making my own--Will NEVER go back to overpriced store-bought!

    Great Job on the experiment--And THANK YOU for doing it! I wondered myself how it stacked up, in a scientific sorta way. :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. I make the dry version with fels soap have to say im loving everything about it the smell and stain removing powers and my whites look.much whiter! I deff want to try this sometime but I just made a batch of dry which lasts a yr so it'll have to wait till then

    ReplyDelete
  30. I just noticed that on the experiment recipe, you said to only use 1 gal of water, but below that, is the same recipe useing 2 gal of water. which is the correct amount?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is 2 gallons total, but you use just one gallon to dissolve the soap in, and add the second gallon later. It is a bit confusing, but the directions in the recipe make it more clear.

      Delete
  31. If you use 1/2 c of detergent per load - how do you possibly get 576 loads out of 2 gals of detergent?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The 567 loads number came from estimating cost. One recipe does not make 576 loads, but the amount of recipes you can make from just one box of borax and one box of washing soda equals 567 loads.

      Delete
  32. Where do you buy the Fels soap? This is a great experiment Im going to make this and give it a try

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wonderful experiment! I notice the experiment was done on white shirts and people commenting about it making their whites whiter (sounds great!!). Is this alright to use for colored clothing as well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, totally is...we use it everyday!

      Delete
  34. In this economy, anyway to save money is good, especially on detergent! I am interested in the Fels Naptha...I have never heard of it, where do you buy it?? Also, i think I read above that you only use 1 tbsp per HE load, is that amount correct? Great job on the science project, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.felsnaptha.com/store-locator/ there is a list here of places to buy the Fels Naptha soap.

      Delete
    2. The link no longer works?

      Delete
    3. You can google fels naptha & their page will come up.

      Delete
  35. A couple years ago I gathered laundry detergent recipes from across the web, and then I tinkered with it a little to come up with a recipe that I think is great. Besides the fact that I make a larger quantity than you do, there are really only two differences between your recipe and mine. I always use Fels Naptha as my bar soap, because it's a proven laundry soap. I've read a few blogs like yours that say any soap will work, and I've read others that say Zote is a good choice. I've only used Fels Naptha and have been very happy with the results. The other thing might be a more important difference -- IE, I add Sun Oxygen Bleach to my mix, to give my detergent a real cleaning power that some other homemade detergents don't have. Sun Oxygen Bleach is similar to OxyClean -- it's not like chlorine bleach, so you don't have to worry about fading colors in the laundry. I have used my detergent for cleaning the upholstery in our car, for removing stains from the carpet, and even for cleaning our tile floors. It's amazing to me what a good job it does on the laundry AND all these other cleaning needs. You can find my recipe on my farm blog at http://tenmilefarm.com/?p=363 -- There's even a link to an easy-to-download PDF for printing.

    By the way, I have found all of the ingredients at my local Walmart store.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Can I make this to wash cloth diapers besides buying the rocking green soap? What soap to use for that? Any bar soap?

    ReplyDelete
  37. i did my own experiment similar to your daughters. there was a slight edge for store bought on the chocolate stain. mustard,ketchup and coffee stain were same or slightly better for homemade. if i had any of these stains i would pretreat and they would (and have) come out with the homemade.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I used the fels naptha bar soap and although it had a very powerful smell when grating and mixing, it leaves virtually no smell in the clean laundry.

    ReplyDelete
  39. God bless your sweet daughter. Children are our future, and I know she will make our world a better place to live in, with interest like this.
    Now, I have a dumb question...What is an HE and a non-HE washer? I have a front-loader which uses less detergent than a top loader. What amount of detergent would be used for this?
    Thank you for taking the time to answer this. Have a blessed day! <><

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HE stands for high efficiency washer.

      I am not sure what the perfect amount would be. I would start with cutting it in half, so maybe 1/4 cup? If that doesn't seem to be cleaning well, add more.

      Blessings back to you!

      Delete
  40. I'm apparently a little late on jumping on the bandwagon with this homemade washing detergent, but with 5 kids I will try anything. I am using Dial soap as opposed to ivory, I cannot stand the smell of it ( probably too many times of having it in my mouth as a kid lol.) I will leave another post as soon as I get a chance to try it, which as you can imagine with as much laundry as I have, it will be in about 2 hours lol. thank you for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Is this a good option for those of us with super sensitive skin? I use only 2 brands of detergent out there because of my sensitivity and can only shower with Dial hypoallergenic bar soap. If i just used the Dial soap in place of the Ivory Soap would that be ok?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our whole family has sensitive skin and I use the Fels Naptha as my bar soap and none of us have ever had a reaction! And we react to just about everything.

      Delete
  42. I would love to make this but I have Eczema and my doctor told me to use unscented laundry soap. I have noticed my skin has been clearer since I switched. Would Fels Naptha irritate my skin? I think I will like this version better than the dry one if I can make it for sensitive skin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For those with sensitive skin, from wiki:
      [The original Fels-Naptha, developed by Philadelphia manufacturer Joseph Fels around 1893, was used as a home remedy in the treatment of contact dermatitis caused by exposure to poison ivy, poison oak, and other oil-based organic skin-irritants. Washing the skin directly with the soap helps wash away the toxin. However, in its own caution use sheet, Dial Corp. stated that Fels-Naptha is a skin irritant and not to be used directly on skin.] Edit: I'll bet Dial's attorneys had them add that caution part.:)

      Delete
  43. I'm a chemist and a patent examiner and see many patents for laundry detergents. Great job with the experiment. I love to see the curiosity of kids in action. As a scientist, I just thought that your daughter may be interested to know that the reason that the clothes look whiter with the store-bought detergent is that companies add "blue-ing" agents to their detergents to make clothes look whiter. It's not a dye, but intended to add a blue hue to counteract the yellowing of white fabrics. A whiter looking shirt doesn't necessarily mean a cleaner shirt.

    ReplyDelete
  44. My friend adds bluing to her homemade laundry soap. It's sold at wal mart as well

    ReplyDelete
  45. i make powdered homemade laundry detergent and it works GREAT

    ReplyDelete
  46. Great science project! And she did an awesome job of presenting her experiment. I also make laundry detergent and use a similar recipe but no water - just the soap, borax, and washing soda. One thing to note is that different soaps wash better/worse. I use Fels Naphtha, which is specifically a laundry soap. It would be interesting to further compare two homemade soaps using a different bar of soap.

    ReplyDelete
  47. If You Use FeL Nephta Soap As Your Bar Of Soap, It Works A Lot Better Than Store Bought Detergent! :)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Try making laundry soap with kirk's coco coconut soap instead of ivory bar soap. Love it! Also, add a cup of regular baking soda to your recipe. For easy storage and ease in production, I skip the liquification step. Grate the soap, then blend it in the food processor. Add the other dry ingredients and continue blending. To stop the fine powder cloud that occurs with dry soap making, add a few drops of non-staining oil. Liquid coconut oil works well. I actual use a food flavoring oil, like jasmine oil, normally used in baking. I just like the smell. This recipe is great for HE washers and it's fabulous for cleaning clothes, even smelly boy clothes. I do have to use 3 or 4 tbls for my boys' clothes.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Amy, you did a great job on your project! I would like to say, though, that you did NOT prove your hypothesis "wrong." You proved it to be false - you were not wrong! A statement cannot be right or wrong, only true or false. You did a fantastic job and don't make it seem as if you did something incorrect.

    As a science teacher who just retired this year, I wish most of my 7th graders could have done half as well!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I did not read through all the comments here, so I don't know if someone already made the suggestion. But, hot water sets stains, washing stained clothing in cold water is a better choice than hot water. I use an anti-bacterial soap in my home made detergent (half regular soap, half anti-bacterial), so washing cold is not something I worry about when it comes to bacteria on my clothing.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I put this formula (I use a felspar (sp?) bar) in a shout bottle with a scrubber on the end and pretreat stains.. It works great.. takes out stuff the shout and spray and wash would not.. even after being dried and rewashed!

    ReplyDelete
  52. How does this work foe HE washers?

    ReplyDelete
  53. This is awesome! Thank you all so much! I use amonia for stains, etc. It works great and doesn't bleach your colored clothes.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for your lovely words to me! Due to the number of comments I receive, I cannot respond to all of them - but know that I read and love every word. If you have a question in need of a response, please e-mail sponsornewnostalgia@gmail.com and either Robyn or I will get back to you.