Frugal Diaper Washing: Cutting Down On Detergent

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Thursday, September 14, 2017 | 0 comments
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Image: Reusable diapers, by Michael Coté on FlickrMy husband made some more of our laundry soap last night, and I did some calculations. Over the last month, I've been experimenting, and discovered that I can use much less than I used to and still get great results.

My recipe uses one bar of Fels Naptha, grated (about 2 cups), and 1 cup washing soda. The total yield is roughly 52 cups detergent. Since I only use 3/4 c. per load, I end up with nearly 70 loads. So, that means that each load contains roughly 2/3 teaspoon washing soda, and 1 1/3 t. soap.

Now, the reason for all this? I've been reading that washing soda causes pilling for many people, yet I haven't had a problem with that. Perhaps this is because I have hard water; I don't know.

However, I also wonder if it is because of the tiny amount that I use in each load? I see people using anywhere from 2 Tbs. per load to 1/2 cup per load. And the same thing applies to the soap - I read of people using 1/4 c. grated per load, yet I get great results with just 1 1/3 t. soap.

Now, Fels Naptha IS a concentrated soap, but I wonder if I'd get the same results if the soap were not pre-dissolved, together with the washing soda, as it is when I make my soap recipe. It may be that the soap does it's job better when first dissolved together with a boosting agent (the washing soda).

I wonder if it isn't so much the washing soda itself that causes problems, as the way it is used? Many of you may be familiar with Don Aslett - the cleaning guru? He talks of how many people misuse cleaning solutions, by using them in the wrong proportions, and not applying them correctly.

There's the idea of if a little bit works, a lot will work better, and Mr. Aslett disputes this, by explaining that the products are designed to work a certain way, and if we overuse them, they will either not do their job properly, or will even cause damage. I wonder if what actually causes diapers to pill is TOO MUCH washing soda?

By the way - I've been washing my dipes this way for 16 months now, and not one has any pilling. Maybe I've been lucky; maybe it's because of the hard water (although it isn't excessively hard); I really don't know. But I thought I'd throw these thoughts out there - anyone else have any input on this?

Thanks to Amy for this Frugal Baby Tip!

Photo Credit: Reusable diapers,
by Michael Coté on Flickr
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About Catherine: I have been writing my Frugal Baby Tips since 1982, when I was a young divorced mom of two - for my baby product company, Born to Love. I am now mom to three grown up sons, and a grandma - and happily married to a wonderful man. We have rescued two little dogs, Denny and Dexter - and a rescue cat, Bella.

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