No Chaos No Order

May 22, 2013

Experiment: Home made laundry detergent

Filed under: health, home — fairyguts @ 4:57 am

I’ve been using home made household cleaners for several years now.  I got tired of my lungs getting irritated every time I cleaned.  Now, I mostly use some combination of baking soda, vinegar, castille soap, and/or borax.

Recently, I have gotten sensitive to our usual laundry detergent and all the blogs/articles I’ve read about laundering baby cloths and diapers have recommended some form of home made laundry detergent.  I could easily see how it’s less expensive to make your own. I could believe the claims of greater environmental friendliness, but I had to wonder: did it really work as well or better than what was offered in the detergent aisle?  Experiment time!!

Hypothesis:  Home made laundry detergent cleans as well as “regular” laundry detergent.

Prediction: Home made cleaners have been observed to effectively clean other household items (windows, oven vents, cupboards, tubs, etc). I predict this laundry soap will clean as well as regular laundry detergent.

Independent Variable: Detergent type (Home made and regular detergent).

Dependent Variable: Three types of cloth soiling (Baby feces, grass, and strawberry stains).


  • Home made detergent (2:2:1 borax:washing soda:oxyclean)
  • Regular detergent (ALL)
  • Two new, pre-washed and dried (without fabric softener), 100% cotton flannel cloth wipes.2013-05-18 16.38.44
  • Washer (top loader) and drier (both are old!).
  • Baby feces.
  • Grass.
  • Strawberry.

Procedure: Soil each cloth with equal amounts of each baby feces, grass, and strawberry. I applied each item to one wipe, placed the second on top of it, and rubbed them together until the soiling amounts appeared equal.

2013-05-18 16.48.08

I washed one cloth with home made detergent and the other with ALL. (Too bad the lighting is poor on this one!)

2013-05-22 06.18.38


  • Neither detergent got all of the grass stains out. DRAW
  • The home made detergent did not get as much of the strawberry out as ALL did, but (despite this picture) ALL did not get all of the strawberry out. DRAW
  • Both detergents removed any visible trace of the baby feces. DRAW

Conclusion: This home made laundry detergent cleaned as well as regular laundry detergent. Further tests need to be conducted to determine if other detergent recipes with a variety of ingredients and their ratios are more or less effective than regular detergent.

I would like to be able to find out if either one had any bacteria on them, but I do not have the equipment available to test that.  I have decided that the home made detergent is effective and I will use it on my family’s cloths.

This experiment and some of the reading I’ve been doing about borax (there is debate about whether it is safe or not) and all purpose cleaning recipes has me designing a second experiment! Yay!  Stay tuned!



  1. The homemade detergent costs a ton less–a win for homemade detergent! We’ve been making our own from the Duggar family recipe for several years and many people have asked for the recipe from us–I assume that if we smelled, they wouldn’t be asking!

    Comment by Aimee Bruno — May 28, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

  2. […] my research and experimenting with home made laundry detergent, I decided I needed to test my all-purpose cleaner.  As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been […]

    Pingback by Experiment: all purpose cleaner | No Chaos No Order — September 26, 2013 @ 1:15 am

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