Monday, March 5, 2012

The Science Behind Our Laundry

I have been making my own cleaning products for some time now. I got tired of the chemical smell and headache after cleaning. I hated the idea of putting all those chemicals into my environment. So I made the switch. Now with the wonderful world of Pinterest I have found even more recipes for homemade products. I also tried my hand at making my own detergent.

My eldest son goes to a private school and is required to participate in the science fair every year. He decided this would be a good chance to put our new detergent to the test.

His project consisted of taking 5 white rags and staining each with 6 stains. We chose grass, grape juice, oil, spaghetti sauce, make-up and soy sauce. We also tested Sharpie by default because we used it to mark the rags. The rags were left to sit for 24 hours and then washed in Tide, Arm and Hammer, Purex, My homemade recipe and for control we washed one in plain water.

My son hypothesized that my homemade detergent would work the best because "mom rocks", bless his heart! We were surprised when all the rags were washed and dried. Not one detergent worked on every stain. I was actually very disappointed at how much material was left on all the rags. Tide was a clear winner because all of the other rags had a dingy quality. The Tide Rag was white as new. The biggest surprise was that Purex (which is very inexpensive) was a close second to Tide. It actually removed more of the stain but the rag was not as white as the Tide model. My homemade was third. The stain removal was adequate but the dingy quality was disappointing. Arm and Hammer even had Oxi power and was the clear loser in our experiment.

As a result of our test I will not be making homemade detergent anymore. Not that I will need detergent in the near future. I bought 4 bottles for the experiment and I have three homemade bottles on the shelf. When I do need to restock I will be using Purex. With the money I invest in my clothes for such a large family (and the fact we love hand-me-downs)it is important to me to care for the clothes well. Purex just did a better job of cleaning then my homemade. Plus, it is just as economical as the homemade which made it a no brainer. "Wait," you might be thinking, "Tide won!"
The slight whitening Tide provided does not justify the huge price difference in my world.

So there you have the sciece behind our laundry!


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