Well, I finally ran out of my 5 gallon bucket of liquid laundry detergent (Duggars' Recipe). It lasted me over a year, and that includes a time when another family of 4 was living with us and using the detergent. I also didn't dilute it nearly as much as the Duggars suggest because I felt like I needed more cleaning power. My final review is that, while it definitely costs very little compared to store-bought, I felt that our clothes got a bit dingy after a while. ESPECIALLY the whites. Frustrating. Also, I missed that "laundered" smell. It's one of my favorite smells in life, after all! It wasn't a big deal, but I also wasn't fond of measuring liquid. It just seems messier than it needs to be, whether store-bought or homemade.
I didn't want to make another 5 gallons of the liquid without first trying a powder form. Some people seem to caution away from powder because of it "wafting in the air" posing a problem to breathing health. Others said they had trouble with caking in their dispenser. It does cost a bit more than homemade liquid, but still not nearly as much as store-bought. And powder? Just so much easier to measure! So I researched, chose a recipe, and went for it!
I used Liz Marie's Laundry Soap recipe. I had 1 leftover bar of Fels Naptha, so I only did 1/3 of her recipe - yes, math was involved to figure out how much of the other ingredients to use. Good brain exercise! I also thought it would be good to only do 1/3 just in case I didn't like the recipe or it wasn't effective. Here are my notes from making it:
- I left out the scent beads because of cost and non-necessity.
- Microwave the soap bar(s) on a plate. It makes it SO much easier to grate or powder-ize. After breaking up the pieces as much as I could by hand, I put it in a big ziploc bag and went to town with my rolling pin. I figured, "The finer the bits, the better they dissolve" to avoid the caking issue.
- I picked up a simple plastic snap-top container from Target - plastic is cheaper, lighter, and IF per chance it falls off of washer/dryer/shelf, you'll only have to clean up detergent. I use a 2 Tbs measure (harder to find in store, though not impossible...Amazon will rescue you). Normal loads use 1 Tbs (half a scoop). Bigger or more soiled loads use 2 Tbs (whole scoop).
- I. Love. It. After the FIRST load, I thought I was seeing things. The clothes seemed brighter - especially a particular green shirt my boys wear. I called my boys into the laundry room and asked if they thought the shirt was a brighter green. Even they agreed! I'm pretty certain it's the oxyclean. And if you keep extra on hand, you can add a little to any load you want to have an extra punch of clean! I usually do this for whites and wash on warm. They have revived a bit from the dingifying effect of the homemade liquid. But new socks we've gotten recently are still perfectly white! No dingifying!
- Laundry smell! It's back! I think because the Fels Naptha isn't so diluted down with water as in the liquid recipe, the smell is able to shine a bit more. I imagine the powder version would smell like whatever soap you choose to use (Fels, Zote, etc.). The smell is not incredibly strong like store-bought, but you might catch me with my nose in clothes. Maybe frequently. If you were a bug on a wall in my sunshiny laundry room.
- Measuring? LOVE. Super easy. Mess free. Unless you bump your hand or the measuring spoon or just completely miss your dispenser. But that's user error. ;-)
- Wafting and breathing powder in? Not with daily use. I did notice some of this action when pouring the batch into my plastic container, but I'm the only one around when doing it. So no worries for my kids, namely my asthmatic boy.
- Caking? I have had no issues with this at all.
Ps - I would have pictures for you, but I believe my superhero power of spastic static ruined the memory card drive of my computer...... Apologies. You'll just have to imagine my little container filled with powder and measuring spoon!