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How to Boost the Cleaning Power of Homemade Laundry Detergent

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By Rick

My Laundry Question

I've been making laundry detergent for about a year for my friends and family. The biggest complaint is that it just doesn't remove stains all that well. I use grated soap, washing soda, baking soda, and borox. What could I buy and add to this formula to increase the strength? - I want to remain somewhat "green". Please help.

Share a Little Background Info

My laundry is very soft, softer than with brand name detergent' but my recipe so far is weak on stain fighting - what can I add? ............

I have been making my own detergent, my own recipe (of sorts) that's all natural, and unscented. I make this for my family and friends on a regular basis because its sooooo cheap to make. And plus its kind of rewarding to help people save money.

Lessons Learned

  • I've tried to add more soap, and washing soda and still same results - low grade stain fighter. I need a stronger ingredient.

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)

Anything; clothes, towels, etc.

Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

Commercial detergents that remove stains well contain enzymes that work on different types of stains - protein, oil, tannin. Unfortunately, there isn't an enzyme shelf in the local hardware store! Sodium percarbonate, one of the main ingredients in oxygen-based bleach like OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach, will significantly increase the cleaning power of your homemade detergent.

You may find it best to add a powdered version of a product like OxiClean to your detergent "recipe". Also be sure that your recipe has the correct amount of cleaning ingredients. Perhaps it would be simpler to just pretreat stains with a commercial enzyme-based stain remover like (Shout or Zout.

Another step to improve the cleaning results of your homemade detergent is to presoak clothes overnight in the wash solution before completing the cycle.

Good luck!

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