It’s been many years now since I switched from commercial laundry detergent to making my own powdered and liquid homemade laundry detergent. The ingredients are simple, the process quick and easy. But the real reason I made the switch? Money.
It costs between 30 cents and 50 cents a wash using store-bought, name-brand laundry detergent — but only about a nickel per load to make it myself.
From time to time, I’ll hear from a reader who has been warned that homemade detergent is not safe to use.
Dear Mary: Today, a Sears repairman came to put a new part in my washing machine. He saw soap residue on the inside and told me I was using way too much detergent. Also, he didn’t like that I was using a homemade detergent that contains Dawn liquid.
He said borax should never be used for laundry in modern washing machines and that dish detergents, especially Dawn, should never be used because those products do not rinse out completely.
Modern detergents, he said, should be used at the rate of one tablespoon per load. The water level should be medium, large at the highest, and never the super or plus level I often used. That leads to spillover, which results in soap residue in various unreachable parts of the machine (unreachable unless you take the machine apart, as he did). He also recommended that I use Affresh washing machine cleaner.
Now I’m flummoxed as to whether or not I should continue to use your homemade washing