PSA about using homemade detergent


Laundry expert issues PSA about using bar soaps in your washing machine after woman makes homemade detergent

'You run the risk of ruining your machine.'


Phil West


Posted on Sep 30, 2023   Updated on Sep 30, 2023, 3:44 pm CDT

A concerned laundry expert is warning people about the disadvantages and even dangers of using homemade soap in your washing machine to do laundry.

The advice comes from Toronto-based TikTok creator and author Melissa Pateras (@melissadilkespateras), who brands her channel “Laundrytok.” The video starts with a stitch from a creator encouraging people to use homemade soap in a washing machine, and even grating a bar soap in a food processor. Pateras starts her stitch with an exasperated, “And here we go again with the homemade soap.”

It turns out, according to Pateras’ lengthy discourse, there are several reasons why using homemade soap in a modern washing machine is bad, and it starts with science.

@melissadilkespateras #stitch with @Brandi.faulkner homemade soap #laundrytok #laundry #diy ♬ original sound – Laundrytok | Melissa Pateras

“These bars need three types of energy to work,” Pateras notes. “Number one is chemical. That’s the soap. Number two is mechanical. That is scrubbing the heck out of an item with it. And number three is thermal. Yes, heat, because these bars need hot water in order to dissolve.”

Pateras points out, “In a modern washer you run the risk of ruining your machine and clogging the parts and your pipes. Most of these are not septic-safe because they’re made from fats and oils. Any recipe that includes these bars will void the warranty on your machine.”

And what’s more, she says, “The fats and the oils will make your clothes feel sort of greasy within a few months and the dirt will actually be attracted to them. I just don’t see the savings. Or how the reward outweighs the risk.”

She points out that while it might be 20 cents a load to wash with Tide or Persil, a brand like the Costco-associated Kirkland detergent works out to about 11 cents a load.

Commenters had thoughts on Melissa’s PSA.

“Blew out a washer using the ‘homemade’ stuff… super fun,” a user commented. “Never again.”

Pateras replied, “This is why I worry that so many people are doing it.”

That person added, “It was so gross too. We had to rotorooter the main drain too from the buildup. Was def NOT worth the savings on the soap.”

Another pointed out another issue with trying to do DIY laundry soap, writing, “I looked in to making my own laundry soap, did more research and quickly decided not to waste my time.”

Pateras replied, “It really is such a waste.”

“I’m so happy I came across this content!” someone else enthused. “I bought those bar soaps because of the tiktok diy laundry detergent trend and started grating it into my laundry along with my regular detergent. I’m glad to hear that’s unnecessary.”

Pateres offered, “It’s great for stains but not the machine.”

And finally, another shared, “I used to make homemade laundry soap. It destroyed all of our clothes.”

Pateras noted, “I wish people would listen to stories like yours.”

Update, Sept. 30, 3:40 p.m. CT: The Daily Dot reached Pateras by phone, who noted she did this video as a follow-up to an earlier video she did on the topic. She said she was alerted to the video she stitched when she was tagged in that TikTok.

She remarked, “These companies have never sold so much of this bar soap before. They can’t keep it on the shelves. And even Amazon is selling homemade laundry kits, right? Which is all the ingredients just in one-stop shopping, because they know it’s a huge trend. And most of it is people that are trying to either save money or the environment. I mean, that’s essentially where it comes from. But the problem is, there actually is no savings. Because in order for that soap to work, it needs hot water. And therefore, it’s getting the opposite effect.”

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*First Published: Sep 30, 2023, 8:45 am CDT