I started making my own laundry detergent about 6 months ago after seeing several recipes on Pinterest and it has been a journey. If you have made homemade detergent before, you know that it isn’t as pretty as the store-bought kind. Actually, it’s pretty ugly. It separates. It has lumps. It changes color. Some of the ingredients crystallize and never re-dissolve no matter how much you shake it.
The first recipe I tried (grated soap) didn’t smell good, was annoying to make, and didn’t clean as well as I liked. I tried another recipe (using Dawn dish soap) that cleaned a bit better, but our clothes smelled funny. Like partially washed sweaty gym clothes funny. They went in smelling okay, but came out stinky. Not good.
I tried hotter water. I tried vinegar in the wash water to kill bacteria. It didn’t make a difference. I could use Downy Unstopables to hide the smell, but sometimes it was still there. Besides, that offset any cost savings from making my own detergent. And, our clothes still weren’t as wonderfully clean as I liked. I almost gave up. Okay, I did give up for a bit, until we realized that the cheap bottle of detergent we grabbed from the store was even worse and I threw it out.
So I researched. And I learned that in areas with hard water, Dawn dish soap itself can create a funky smell. Loyal Dawn users started complaining about this a few years ago when the formula changed, probably due to some of the new environmental regulations. So I decided to try a different dish soap than Dawn. I picked up two to try that I knew worked well and that smelled good and, in my experiments, Palmolive Pure+Clean was the winner.
I also saw several recipes that used an oxygen bleach (oxy-clean) to oomph up the cleaning power. But I couldn’t add it to the liquid detergent because liquid activates the oxy-clean. And adding detergent and oxy-clean separately to each wash is a bit of a pain and I knew that hubby wouldn’t do it. So, I needed a dry recipe, but wanted to use liquid dish soap. Hmmmm…