Monday, November 12, 2012

Why I Went Commercial

A few months ago (well, maybe it was last year?) I posted about making my own laundry soap.  You can find the liquid recipe here and the powder recipe here.
I found a recipe online for some detergent in the hopes that it would make for a fun, relevant, hands on experience for my students when we were in our laundry unit in class (I am a Sewing teacher, in case you are new to the pool.  We do a 3 week unit on textiles and learn about laundry).  It was.  It was fantastic.
I decided to post about it on my blog and use it at home.  I had a ton of fun making it and loved that it was a fraction of the price of commercial detergent.
It worked pretty well.  I did have to train myself to use the tiny amounts it called for, but it did the job.

Fast forward a few months.
After using it over and over again for months, I started to notice our clothes were deteriorating.  I wear a lot of cotton, and it was starting to dinge up and get holes.  I had to pre-treat everything.  I told myself I could live without the clean-laundry smell (it leaves clothing odorless), but truth-be-told, I missed it.

So I kicked my borax box to the curb and went back to commercial detergent.  I buy Aldi's version of "Tide"- I think it is called Tandil.  I use their "Downy" with it, and I found myself breathing in (along with the classic "laundry" smell) a sigh of relief.

My clothes are softer.  My clothes smell better.  My clothes are lasting longer.

Am I noticing my pennies leave the bank?

Here's the thing:  Yes, making your own detergent is a lot cheaper.. on paper.  Compared to the price of Aldi's detergent, I think the DIY detergent is about 1/3 of the price (which is still half of the price, if not more, of regular Tide).  But, in all honesty, I'd rather have better smelling clothing and clothes that last longer for the extra $2.  If I have to mend or {gasp} throw away clothing because of my detergent, I'm not really saving money anyway.

I am a lot of things- a lot of bad things, really (selfish, jealous, and discontent to name a few)- but one thing I am not is dishonest.  If I post something and it doesn't work- I'm going to tell you.

The laundry detergent did not work for my family.  That doesn't mean I am against it or think you are a liar if it works for you- it just didn't work long term for us.

What are some DIY remedies you ditched along the way?


  1. I ditched the homemade laundry soap also ,my whites became so dingy and there was a sour smell to my towels ,even with oxy clean added it wasn't white .Hello Tide ,it's nice to have fresh white clothing again .

    1. Agreed! If you are desperate to save money, it's a great idea. Not in that boat right now. My whites were almost grey, even with oxy clean, too (even tried bleach! Tried everything!) Thanks for the comment!

  2. I had to ditch it as well - the whites were so, so dingy. I'm using the costco version of tide - but I'm going to give the aldi version a try next. Didn't know they had a version.

    The fact is that we really need the bluing to keep the whites white. And, we had the same issue with stuff just wearing out faster.

    Glad to know that I'm not the only one that cross back over.

  3. I agree! I used it for about 8 months, and my clothes started getting a smell and were dingy. I'm back to Sam's brand, and I love the fresh clean smell!

  4. Hi Everyone.... I started to use the Cherry Almond Alcohol found at Sally's as an every day cleaner. It is great smelling and a little expensive $17 a gallon but it sanitizes, deoderizes, cleans and shines all in one. Great for glass and wood. I used it on our curio cab. and it looks better than it did the day we bought it. The almond makes everything shine and conditioned. Great thing is that it lasts forever.

  5. I have had the same experience...not the clothes "deteriorating", but it just didn't seem to work after a while. I used the Duggar's recipe, but I don't use it up fast enough, I guess. I am trying to figure out what to do with the 2 gallons of concentrate I have left.

    It was great at first, though! I even tried adding extra washing soda to the last load I used, to freshen it up, but I don't know if it made much difference.

    I like Wisk from Big Lots for $4.50 for 32 loads. I know it is pricey, but I try to just go longer between washing. Until I started doing my own laundry, I thought I could only use a towel once (I do just use washcloths once---I figure they are more full of dirt and bacteria and dead skin cells to feed the bacteria)and I had to wash all my clothes after one day of wear. (I do wash my underclothes and socks after one wear. Skirts and pants can go a several wearings. I try to treat my washable clothes as if they were dry clean only and I only wash when I need to. I haven't tried Aldi's brand detergent.

  6. I just found your blog while "Pinteresting"! I have been a little leery of switching to a DIY Laundry Detergent BC I don't want to ruin my clothes. I did some research a while ago and found out that those measuring cups that come with the laundry detergent are making us waste a ton of detergent! You could probably throw your clothes in the washer without any detergent and still have enough detergent in your clothes to make bubbles. I know mine did. Since I figured this out and looked everywhere online a container of Tide lasts us MONTHS! and that's with 8 peoples worth of clothes (washer is going all the time!). We use 2 to 3 TABLESPOONS of detergent per load. Clothes are spotless and smell good, too! Saves me so much money! We used to buy two of the huge containers of Tide a month. Now I can't remember the last time I bought it. Bonus is no more icky, smelly soap buildup in your washer! Anyway.... I'm going to go poke around some more. Hope this helps (save $) :-)

  7. Well here it is February and I just made my first batch of homemade laundry detergent....will see how that works...I love what April said about so much soap in our clothes, will try the Aldi's brand also...and sure love the new scent crystals that the stores have now that you put in with the wash...makes everything smell so nice.....wonder if it is good for your clothes??? Probably not!! SIGH!!

  8. I've had the same problem with my homemade detergent; graying whites, and stinky towels. I'm switching back to store-bought detergents and am looking around for good prices and great detergent performance. My family prefers unscented detergents so I tried the Wisk unscented brand and love it but it's not on shelves in stores around here. I have to order it online. I looked at the Aldi liquid detergent this week and thought about trying it. I'm so happy to see your review. I'm going to pick up a bottle next week and give it a try. Thanks!

  9. I am not sure what is happening with all of your soaps. I use absensitive skin derivitive of your recipe. 1 bar Iivory grated and melted with 4 cups water. Add 1 cup baking soda (skin friendly and whitens), 1/2 cup borax all of this added in with enoigh HOT tap water to fill a 5 gallon pail. Sit overnight. I also add a few downy sent crystals to each small jar as well as a few drops of tea tree oil. These fix the scent issue and make clothes soft as well as musty oders. I shake beforebusing and use A little over 1/2 cup. My laundry is soft, smells great and is whiter and brighter than ever. All I can say is don't give up and keep trying until you find a eecipe that you are happy with or change one to suit you. Thats what I did and will never buy commercial again.

  10. Thank you for the Tandil review! We are normally a whisk family but I did not feel like going to two stores today, so I bought the Tandil. I was hoping to find positive reviews on the Internet! Also, on another note, perhaps the reason why your clothes do not feel as clean with homemade detergent is they don't not actually have any detergent in them. They are made with soaps that are used on your body and are not formulated to break up oils and dirt trapped in fibers. I did not know this and I was very close to making some when I came across this article. It is related to washing cloth diapers, but I feel like it would be true for any garment. Thanks again for the review!

  11. I know this is an old post, but I figured I'd throw in my 2 cents here too. I had heard all of these bad things about DIY degergent, so I've never even tried it. I use Ecos brand, a natural commercial detergent that is pretty inexpensive and satisfies my desire to be friendlier to the environment and my body. But I digress. DIY laundry detergent is generally bad not just for your clothes, but also for your washing machine and your septic system as well. It can actually void your warranty on your machine because it's that harsh and harmful. Just some additional points to think about!

  12. I ditched it too. I did the powder version and it wasn't dissolving or cleaning very well unless I was washing everything in hot. This wasted money, and I already had spent a lot of time making it. It wasn't worth it.

  13. I just came across this old post while searching for information about Tandil to pass on to a FB group, and I'm glad to see that I wasn't the only one! My story is exactly the same...the deteriorating clothes, the dingy whites...and now using the Tandil from Aldi. The first day that I did a load of laundry with Tandil I was giddy with excitement at how suddenly much cleaner my laundry was! I was so excited that I actually went on a big laundry binge and got caught up with everything (which never happens). I was ecstatic.

    I also found that I ultimately wasn't saving that much money over time anyway, because I kept having to buy more laundry products to make my homemade products work better, such as bluing for extra whiteness, then I started added the little scented bead things, etc. I also found that I spent a lot of time and money running around trying to find all of my ingredients. Sometimes Walmart would be out of washing soda, and I'd run around looking for it.

    And I really felt like I was losing money when about three of my favorite and not very old outfits were literally falling apart. For comparison, I bought a replacement item for one of them, and have had it over two years now with no deterioration at all.


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