Homemade laundry detergent has a lot of pros: It’s ridiculously cheap, easy to make, and free of all the weird-sounding and potentially harmful chemicals that are in conventional detergents. On the other hand, some folks insist that natural detergent doesn’t actually work to clean your laundry.
To find out whether the natural detergent journey is worth it or not, I followed a typical DIY recipe to make my own, then did a load of sheets to test it out.
This experiment is purely for the pursuit of knowledge. Laundry science. I prefer natural detergent — Mrs. Meyers in the honeysuckle scent, mmm! — but it’s really expensive, so I usually just buy conventional detergent, which works for me just fine. However, conventional detergent is often full of perfumes, dyes, and other chemicals that can irritate some people’s skin or cause breakouts — which is a major problem, since these ingredients stay coated on your clothing long after you’ve washed them. But I don’t suffer from that problem.
I do, however, suffer from what some folks call “environmental guilt.” I know that my regular, $5 laundry detergent is full of ingredients that are harmful to the environment, like solvents and phosphates. And that’s not to mention the carbon footprint of laundry detergent, which is not doing our atmosphere any favors.
So. If you can make your own detergent and save your money, clear your skin, and clear your conscience, why not do so?
Because DIY detergent doesn’t work very well, some folks claim. Homemade laundry detergent recipes don’t actually contain proper detergent, which is impossible to make at home. Instead, they contain soap, along with other cleansing ingredients. But some people insist that, by using soap instead of actual detergent, you run the risk of not fully cleaning your clothes, and also might leave soap buildup in your washing machine.
Despite the naysayers, the internet is FULL of folks who use and love homemade laundry detergent — er, I mean soap — and have been doing so for years. They say it gets their clothes squeaky clean and that one batch lasts for ages.
So what’s the truth?! The only way to find out is to make my own and take it on a test run.