Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday: Laundry Detergent

I am going to share some things that work for me. Some of them might seem weird but some might be helpful. For years I’ve struggled with the fact that some fabric seem to get a hold of a smell and never let go. It seems that for certain fabrics you could wash them and pull them out of the laundry and they smelled fine but as soon as your body temperature increased they began to stink.

I would get very frustrated when this happened with something I really liked. Hubby has very oily skin and sweats a lot so the collars of his shirts could get rather grungy and stiff. He has always worn t-shirts under his shirts so the armpits of his shirts would be fine but the t-shirts would get kind of stiff and weird.

I’ve tried many things. I’ve finally come up with something that works very well. It eliminates odor except in the very worst cases (stuff that has had the problem for a while but I couldn’t bear to part with) and has eliminated the stains and stiffness of hubby’s clothes.

It started when I used cloth diapers with the girls. I was told rinse with vinegar. So for years, I’ve been using vinegar for my fabric softener. Then I read that hair soap would get rid of the oil build-up on clothes. It didn’t work but the idea stuck.

I tried homemade detergent, it works but I got tired of making it and it still didn’t help with the stench. I read somewhere that liquid laundry detergent can go rancid and make clothing odor problems worse. Then I read that athletes and people who sweat a lot sometimes used ammonia to wash their clothes to eliminate the odor in their clothes.

I bought some ammonia and read on the bottle where it suggests to use it as a laundry detergent booster. I discovered it really boosts bubbles and it eliminated odor. Now I needed to figure out what to do about body oils. I decided to try Dawn. It works.

My formula. I use about a quarter of a cup cheap powdered detergent (haven’t quite convinced myself to try Dollar Store detergent) mixed in hot water to help it start dissolving. Then I add Dawn and ammonia. I use applesauce cups to measure. I squeeze enough Dawn into the applesauce cup to just cover the bottom then I fill it the rest of the way up with ammonia. I use one applesauce cup of vinegar for softener/rinse.

Why applesauce cups? Because I hate how liquid soaps build up on things and so I just throw the cup in with the load after I measure. If the cup is ruined, it is no big deal because the girls eat tons of applesauce.

A Couple Of Interesting Notes:

  • Vinegar neutralizes ammonia so it makes the perfect rinse for my ‘laundry detergent.’
  • You can buy a half-gallon of ammonia at the dollar store for a dollar!
  • If you want scent on your clothes, consider ironing them and using a spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil to spray them before you iron. I use lavender.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. We mostly make our own or use liquid free and clear whatever is cheapest due to allergies but adding ammonia is a GOOD idea.