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Laundry Detergent/ Methods of getting clothes clean

 
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Location: Florida
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I've been struggling for a while to find the best method in keeping clothes clean. Wondering if anyone has any ideas on what to use besides chemical ridden laundry detergents? I've heard of soap nuts and essential oils. Thinking this might be the best way to go for now? I'm using a conventional washer and dryer since drying on a clothesline isn't very efficient in humid Florida. Also, I'm curious to see if anyone here has created a solar powered dryer, or at least knows how to build one? 
 
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There are a few discussions in the Frugality forum that deal with making your own laundry soaps.  I'm about ready to try a recipe found here.  https://permies.com/permaculture-forums/6224_0/frugality/cheap-laundry-soap-recipe-
 
                              
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I've not found anything good yet, I just use a low toxicity powder from the health food shop.

I tried soap nuts but wasn't impressed. Essential oils are not good for the environment in many ways (growing as well as anti-bacterial impact. They're a refined chemical too).
 
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I have been using a well known biodegradable liquid soap for laundry and washinf up and have found it to work superbly. Using that, whie vinegar and bicarb covers everything I need in the home.
 
pollinator
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I made a detergent lard soap this summer and we've been using it every since for laundry, dishes, house cleaning, and hands.  It's water, borax, lard, and lye.  You can make a couple gallons of it at a time with a couple pounds of lard.  It's fantastic stuff. Strips out grease and tree resin and all kinds of junk.  Before this we used  vinegar and baking soda, which did a fair enough job but it didn't really remove grease.
 
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We just switched to dr bronner liquid soap for both the dishwasher and washing machine. I can say that it has done well with dishes, but it is rainwater supplied so we don't generally get spots.

As far as washing machine, its too early to report as we just used up the old detergent. We maybe ran 2 loads but no complaints that i am aware of.
 
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I used to make that 'homemade' laundry soap with borax, grated bar soap and baking soda or washing soda? seems like there was something else?  It just seemed like too much work and now I use a little borax (we're not using the grey water) and/or washing soda on most things, sheets, towels, husband's clothes, etc.  
My clothes are fine with soap nuts or sometimes just a couple rinses with plane water.

We do have a jug of ECO brand laundry soap for when things need some extra cleaning power.

...and sometimes use some vinegar or peroxide.
 
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another option is to begin living with clothes which are dirty/stained even though they might have come out from the laundry machine. I have clothes which are for working in and they are quite stained and i honestly wear them out and about. I see many members of my community wearing there work clothes out and about. When it is a social gathering out come the clothes which are only used for social events.
This might save the need to have many different washing liquids/powders, because the clean clothes stay clean and the dirty clothes stay clean/dirty.

Another thing we do is we soak our clothes for at least a day before we wash them. This seems to help with loosening dirt.

Another thing would be airing out your clothes after you have worn them for a few days and switch to another shirt or pair of pants or socks. this way they can air out and can be worn longer, which would mean using less soap because the clothes get more use before they become washed. I do this quite a lot.

just some ideas.
 
pollinator
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I've found baking soda and vinegar work surprisingly well at getting clothes clean. Dissolve some baking soda in a cup of warm water, and use that the way you would detergent. Then add vinegar to the rinse water (or put it in the "fabric softener" compartment if using a machine). The reaction forces dirt and odors out of the fabric.

It might not work on something truly filthy, but for most things it'll do just as well as the detergents.
 
pollinator
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Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds is their household soap that is good for laundry, dishes, and general cleaning. It's a stronger soap than their regular liquid soap for body use. With our rainwater cistern we only need a tablespoon of the Sal Suds to do a load of laundry as the soap is quite concentrated.
 
pollinator
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Jen Fan wrote:I made a detergent lard soap this summer and we've been using it every since for laundry, dishes, house cleaning, and hands.  It's water, borax, lard, and lye.  You can make a couple gallons of it at a time with a couple pounds of lard.  It's fantastic stuff. Strips out grease and tree resin and all kinds of junk.  Before this we used  vinegar and baking soda, which did a fair enough job but it didn't really remove grease.



Hi Jen,

Would you be willing to share your soap recipe?

Thank you.
 
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Crappy looking website magneticlaundry.com and I made my own magnet holders, but the concept seems to work really well on things that are not greasy. I have been putting soap on the greasy stuff still, just because, so I don't know what it will do.
But for regular "I wore this a couple of times" type wash, it works well.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:I made my own magnet holders, but the concept seems to work really well on things that are not greasy. I have been putting soap on the greasy stuff still, just because, so I don't know what it will do.
But for regular "I wore this a couple of times" type wash, it works well.


Pearl, would you mind sharing with the class exactly which sizes and type magnets you used, and how you covered them, please? 😉
 
Pearl Sutton
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I used two of these magnets (harbor freight) and a lotion container (it's what I had) per laundry thing. After a couple of variants, filled them tightly with aquarium gravel (it's what I had) and epoxy glued the lids on.  
Made two of them, they just stay in the washer. Sound horrible as the washer runs, bumping around, but they work.

:D

Things I made laundry magnets out of
 
Carla Burke
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Ooohhhhh, ok! Thank you! I have an idea, now. My only concern with the lotion container is that in our front-loading washer, it may not hold up for more than a load or two. But, if I use a couple of smallish (think tennis ball size) cheap kid's balls, from the dollar store and cut a slit in the side, I can stuff the magnets in, with a handful of something for weight, seal them up, and try that. It might even be a tad quieter. Another option might be to make a couple bean bags, from dead jeans and weight them with cherry pits or even small pebbles...

 
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