Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Homemade Detergent Lab Trials, Part 2

As promised, here are the results to my detergent trials, presented in classic lab report style for easy comprehension and grading.  I think I deserve at least a 7 out of 10, if not an 8 out of 10 for neatness.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Lab
Chem Study/Mr. Busse/Hour 7

Hypothesis: The homemade laundry detergent will work as well as Mrs. Meyers laundry detergent, but it will not smell as good.  (As an aside, what was the point of writing hypotheses? Do kids these days even have to write them?)

Purpose: To test the efficacy (love using that word ever since seeing the movie "Side Effects" with Katherine Heigl.... I realize I am mis-using the word here) of homemade laundry detergent in comparison to the always perfect Mrs. Meyers Clean Day laundry detergent.

1 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
4 loads of dirty clothes
3 loads of sheets and blankets
1 front loading HE washing machine
1 clothesline
1 blustery, partly sunny day

1. Make homemade laundry detergent according to this recipe, but omit the Oxy Clean (for no other reason than I am cheap and I remember a very annoying Oxy-Clean ad from the past and therefore refuse to buy it).
2. Do laundry, lots of laundry under usual conditions.  "Normal/Casual" cycle.  Warm/Cold temp.  Vinegar rinse.  Clothesline dry.
3. Take care to note differences in outcomes.  Smell, feel, stain removal, etc.
4. Fold and put away laundry.

Well, I gotta say, I can't tell the difference between loads I did with the homemade and the loads I did with the Mrs. Meyers.  Both detergents got out all the obvious stains.  Neither detergent got out stains that had always existed.  After line-drying all loads smelled the same, that sort of line-dried sort of smell (which some people love, but I can go either way dependent upon whether it was a sunny day or a cloudy day).  My icky, back of the throat feeling I got from grating the Fels didn't exist after the clothes came out of the washer, in fact they smelled pretty good, like good and clean.  One thing I did notice was that the clothes that were washed with the homemade detergent felt softer, but this is hard to quantify and may just have been because I was using a cordless drill right before folding the clothes and therefore had a bit of that numb finger thing going on that makes everything feel softer.  Because of the fact that making homemade detergent is super cheap (Modern Cottage has figured it out to be about 5.7 cents a load, whereas Mrs. Meyers, as much as I love her, is about 40 cents a load) I think I will continue to make my own, but use Dr. Brommer's soap in place of the Fels Naptha to avoid the issues I had yesterday.  Though I did just visit the Mrs. Meyer's site and got sucked in by all the pretty things and packaging and the fact that they have a new line of baby-friendly products.  Swoon.  

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