Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dirty Laundry? Part 1

Okay since I’ve had laundry on the brain (okay, who am I kidding, I ALWAYS have laundry on the brain…it’s all consuming) this article on laundry detergent caught my eye.

So as we know from my last post, I am a laundry freak, so I felt compelled to read the article. You can check out the article for yourself, but I was horrified when I read it. It actually suggested that you DON’T NEED TO USE DETERGENT!!!!!! What? Are they kidding? Wouldn’t that really be like showering without soap? Brushing your teeth without toothpaste? I am not impressed.

Ahhh, but not to worry (apparently), the article suggests trying to make your own laundry detergent in case you think it’s icky to not use soap (umm, hello?!!!! Yes it’s icky!). Now, it must be because Earth Day is this week (which in case you haven’t noticed, has turned into Earth week). I’m all for being more eco-friendly and saving the environment (and saving money), but really? Making your own detergent, can I possibly add one more thing to the list when I’m about to give birth to my third child?

I have seen this whole make your own laundry detergent on 16 17 18 19 kids and counting. I understand why they do it. They would spend a FORTUNE on laundry detergent if they didn’t make their own. I spend a fortune on laundry detergent, and there aren’t even 5 of us yet!

Coincidentally, I have been doing a laundry experiment since the beginning of the year. I keep track of how much laundry I do. Every load. I mark it down. It goes on the calendar. I want to know EXACTLY how many loads of laundry I do in a year, and subsequently how much detergent I use. I’m curious. I REALLY want to know. So at the end of my year-long experiment, I will let you all know how it turned out. I’m sure it will make everyone a little nauseous.

I decided to do a little research, just to see if I could find one for do-it-yourself powder. As you know from The Great Laundry Debate, I use powder, not liquid (I find it completely ridiculous to pay for water in a jug). I did happen across a site that lists 10 detergent recipes, only 2 of which were for powder. They seem pretty straight forward, but I’m worried about my patented “Bethy fresh” smell of laundry! My husband gave it this name many years ago, back when he discovered your pants didn’t have to be stiff as a board (helloooo, fabric softener) and your clothes didn’t have to have static cling (thank you dryer sheets).

I looked at the recipes and decided it would be SO much easier just to use LESS detergent (if possible). I did a little searching on that too…that I got nothing on. I suppose that I could experiment with the amount of detergent I use, but here’s the thing, do I want to risk having to wash a load of clothes twice because I didn’t use enough detergent? I think not.

So I’m torn. Do I try to use less, or do I continue to keep Tide in business? Tide has never failed me. I don’t want to give up on it. Can I really save money by using LESS detergent and still have my clothes come out CLEAN? I don’t know. I’m afraid to try, but seeing as how the BIG BOX of Tide at the Sam’s Club is $20, and I use a lot…A LOT…of detergent, I’m guessing it would be worth a try….maybe.

So, as the laundry continues to collect, and I continue to dutifully fight stains, I will contemplate the usage of detergent….the heaping scoopful, or not. Hmmm, I don’t know. I’ll keep you all posted.


  1. Is it possible you can separate your laundry and have a load or two of just *lightly* soiled laundry - the one in which you experiment with less laundry soap...
    is it the smell that leads you to believe they are clean or dirty? if it's the smell, wash with no soap at all and just rely on the great scents of fabric softener and dryer sheets.

    Me, personally.. I prefer my clothes to NOT have a perfume-y scent. I use unscented, dye-free detergent and portion my dryer sheets by cutting them up. Since I'm lucky enough to live in an apartment complex that has front loading washer/dryer units, I'm not really worried my clothes won't get clean.

    Either way, I'm curious to see how your experiment turns out.

  2. I think that I will try the less detergent experiment with the lights load. That way I will be able to tell if less soap really does clean the clothes. If it does, then the big box will last twice as long (which is really quite exciting).
    I will let you know what I find....maybe we ALL can save a little money on detergent!


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