Laundry Wars: The Great Soap Test

Remember last week when I sent my kids out to get their socks dirty? Really Really dirty. I shared at the time that I planned to test my home made laundry soap against Tide.

I have started the test. So far, it’s a tie.

There are four sets of stuff for testing. Each set contains

  • one filthy sock
  • one brand new pure white sock
  • one pure white washcloth stained with coffee, cherry juice, spinach juice, chocolate, and tomato

Each item was stained as identically as I could make it be. The socks stains were allowed to set over the weekend. The washcloth stains set for 20 minutes before being rinsed out with cool water. The socks were not rinsed, but I did beat the caked on dirt off of them into the trashcan. I don’t think my blogging budget includes replacing our washer!

Here’s a look at all four sets of stuff before they hit the washing machine. I also have a fifth washcloth that has never been washed. I will place it in photos for a “pure white” test.

I then did a pre-wash of all items together. No soap. This let everything get evenly dingy. These were NOT DRIED afterwards. All of the stains were still visible, although some (the coffee) were hard to see if you did not know where to look.

Dingy grey, evenly stained. White washcloth for contrast

At this point, the sets are being treated differently.
Set A – tucked into a drawer and will not be washed again
Set B – washed and dried repeatedly with just water
Set C – washed with my normal amount of homemade laundry soap
Set D – washed with the recommended amount of Tide

Sock B isn’t pictured, but it looks the same as the other two. It got dark outside and the photos would not have been comparable. Honestly, I could not tell the difference between the three sets. None of them were what I would call “white” compared to the original white washcloth. I’m having to re-think my whole stance on not sorting laundry (or pre-treating, or using bleach) based on the laundry grey I am seeing.

I understand that photos of socks are boring. I have about 50 more if I need to provide the documentation. But photos of dirty socks aren’t exactly blog worthy. What is exciting to me is having actual proof that my homemade laundry soap works as well (or better) than Tide at a fraction of the cost! And if it isn’t, then I have some thinking to do. If I didn’t think you would find THAT part exciting, I would have never shared the project online.

I intend to keep repeating the wash and dry cycles each day for the next week. I will NOT bore you with the photos. If you are interested, you can follow my twitter feed @happymomsusan for daily updates. You are also welcome to contact me via email if you need additional information. (susan (at) thishappymom (dot) com).

Note: this is something I am doing purely to satisfy my own curiosity and that of my friends. I am also using it to teach my kids about running experiments. It’s summer, I’ll do stuff like this to keep them away from the television.

Have you ever tested a product at home? If so, what did you learn? Would you do it again?

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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