I have an admission to make. (yes, another one) My clothes stink. Well, they did. They stank no matter what I did to get the stink out.
I tried numerous laundry detergents – even the expensive HE ones. I used a little soap. I used a lot of soap. I added a little bit bleach to EVERY load – not good for black socks, by the way. I used vinegar in the rinse cycle. I used extra fabric softener. I added Borax to every load. I tried baking soda too. Nothing stopped my clothes from having a sour smell to them. The most annoying part of it was that when the clothes were just out of the dryer, they smelled fine, but after a few days in the closet or drawers, they started to smell sour again, so I would have to re-wash them. And heaven forbid that I sweat a little bit! Immediately, my clothes would stink like I had run a marathon in them. I live in South Florida, and constantly working on some project outside, so this was especially not pleasant.
This went on for about a year. Just as long as we’ve been living in our new house. So, of course, I thought it was because the water system was messed up (we have a well, not city water). Called the water guys out here ten times. I’m not kidding. TEN times. They love me. $4000 and two “upgrades” to our system later, it wasn’t the water.
After a few months, I ever asked my doctor if I could be sick or something, like rotting from the inside and the smell was escaping from me. He assured me that this was not possible. Whew! I was worried for a bit there. But I made him test me anyway, you know, just in case. Turns out, he was right, it wasn’t that. Let’s be serious for a second here: I don’t think there really is a “am I stinky on the inside and it’s coming out of my pores” test, but he humored me. But, I am inching towards high cholesterol though – gotta watch my butter intake. Fabulous.
What it came down to is that we have a front loading washer. It was supposed to conserve water, use less soap, be kinder to your clothes and be more efficient. Yet, somehow this translates into longer wash cycles and stinky clothes. I clean it faithfully, wiping down the rubber seal once a week or so. I also run it twice a month through the “cleaning cycle” with a bucket load of bleach. I keep the door open when we aren’t using it. Nothing helps.
Hmmm… that’s not quite how fabulous I thought it was going to be in my head BEFORE we bought it.I thought it was going to be the end to fifty small loads of laundry and the beginning of just two HUGE loads a week. I was going to be saving the earth’s natural resources. And Kelly Ripa and I would bond over our washing machine talk if we ever met on the street one day. Sadly it wasn’t like that at all.
So after trying about thirty different soaps, I was going to try yet another. I’ve been seeing a million pins all over Pinterest about homemade laundry soap, and never did I think it would HONESTLY work! I mean, come on! Those were the soaps my grandmother used! Only “crunchy” mommies use homemade soap, right? Modern science has made laundry soap and washing machines so much better now. Right? Uhm. No.
So, after all this time, I did it. I went and bought the following items…
I grated the Fels-Naptha, yes, with a cheese grater. Then I put it in the glass jar previously containing some other random powder soap that didn’t work, but did give me hives. Yep, that was fun. Not really.
To each full size load of laundry I add one-half tablespoon of Fels-Naptha, one-half tablespoon of Borax and one-half tablespoon of Super Washing Soda. Some of the other blogs say to mix the ingredients together in hot water to dissolve into a liquid, but I don’t. I just put it all in dry, in the detergent drawer’s spot for dry laundry soap. Some people also mix the three dry ingredients together, and just use one and a half tablespoons of the mixture, but I don’t do that either.
I do add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle, which makes your clothes softer. Don’t worry, your clothes won’t smell like salad. They will smell clean. They will smell fresh. They will NOT STINK!! And my washer smells better too. And I still use bleach for the whites.
I do admit that I still use dryer sheets, because I love the way they smell. Some people add Dr. Bonner’s Rose Castile liquid soap or essential oils to their mixtures to make it smell fragrant. I don’t, mostly because I’m too cheap to use it on laundry – essential oils stuff can get costly, and I have no idea where to get the Dr. Bonner’s soap.
I don’t know why it works as well as it does, but it is like a laundry miracle.
Oh, and it’s way, WAY cheaper too! The Fels-Naptha is $0.97 a bar, Super Washing Soda is $3.24 and the Borax is $3.38 a box. And I get a ton of loads out of it all.
The only thing I would warn about is that some people with sensitive skin have mentioned that the Borax bothers them. I have not had that problem, and neither has anyone else in my family, so I can’t attest to that. If you know you are sensitive to Borax, then please don’t use this recipe.
I hope you give it a try. Even if you aren’t crunchy. Even if you don’t have a front loading washer. Because the bottom line is: it works. Really.
Random Question: Do you by any chance know how to get the sticky stuff off that lid??
Have a great day!