Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DIY Laundry Soap

Sometimes there are pins out there that just work great for most people...and then the Pinterest Pixies decide they hate you and you get to be the unfortunate soul they are spitting upon. Poor Jolene ran into the wrath of the Pinterest Pixies as she was trying to save her family a little money by making her own Laundry soap. 

The Original Pin
http://beingcreativetokeepmysanity.blogspot.com/2010/11/homemade-laundry-soap.html 
Now this pin has some really great reviews in the comments; it does work for many people. We're not saying this is a bad pin at all...we're just saying the Pixies had it in for Jolene.  Here's her story:

The Pinstrosity
Jolene says, "Sorry I have no pictures of our unfortunate incident but I'm sure this story is appropriate regardless." 

"One day I decided to save myself some money by making the laundry soap mentioned above.  My husband and I purchased all the ingredients, mixed it all up in a huge bucket and thought to ourselves that should save us a few dollars.  Boy, were we ever wrong... The soap cleans well, however... about 2 weeks after we started using the detergent our plumbing backed up so we called a plumber who ran a snake down the drain and cleared it at the cost of $265, a few days later it backed up again, then again and again, and again... You get the point. We eventually bought our own auger at the cost of $375. This happened so many times I am sure I could quite comfortably take any job with any masterplumber and I know I would be a proficient employee, not that I have any aspirations to do so.  Finally we called another plumber who ran a camera down the drain (another $175) which showed a build up of white gritty material that he initially thought was grease but upon closer inspection was determined to be the homemade laundry soap...$815 later... I still have almost a full tub of this laundry soap that nobody wants."


The problem here is the laundry soap not dissolving all the way (obviously, or it wouldn't be clogging the plumbing). Not everyone is getting clogged pipes, so we know it works somewhere where the Pixies aren't mad. 

Sifting through the comments people said that at first they were worried that they didn't add enough soap because this laundry soap didn't produce suds like they thought. This won't produce suds...it just doesn't. If you put in too much soap it can have a hard time dissolving thoroughly. Because this laundry soap is more concentrated that the normal stuff you buy in the store, you don't have to use anywhere near as much. 

The author of the original post and some of the comments suggest double grating the soap and/or using a food processor after the initial grating to get a finer mix. This will help the soap to dissolve better. 

And then sometimes washers just get old and have an incontinence problem and they just can't hold everything in like they used to. 

So when you're trying out all of these marvelous DIY soaps and detergents...do take them with a grain of salt and remember to set out a peace offering to the Pinterest Pixies. Obviously some DIY soaps work for someone, but they may not work for everyone and with every contraption/machine. 

                     

54 comments:

  1. I use homemade detergent (probably the same or very similar to this recipe) and have for a few years now. I do use a food processor to get a fine powder instead of large soap chunks. Also, the detergent should not foam. Only use 1-2 TABLESPOONS of the detergent. I also use plain white vinegar in the fabric softener compartment. It cleans any residue off the fabric and out of the hoses and lines. My washing machine and pipes are cleaner now than they were when I was using store bought fabric softener and detergent, and my clothes look, feel, and smell better.

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    Replies
    1. Janelle-How much vinegar do you use (in HE)? Do you use it every time, or once in a while? Thanks!

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    2. I'm not Janelle, but...

      Always use vinegar. Like Janelle said, it makes sure the soap residue is removed from the clothes and doesn't clog the washer or the lines. You can use about the same as the amount of fabric softener you would use, so a couple of tablespoons. Regular old plain vinegar will do the trick quite nicely and the clothes won't smell of vinegar when they're dry.

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    3. Great idea....wonder if vinegar can be stored in an old fabric softener bottle and you can just measure it in the cap like you would softener?

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  2. Oh no.....I just made some of this yesterday. Eeek!!!

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  3. I grew up with homemade laundry soap, and never had a problem. There are a couple of things to know. First, you only need 1-2 TBSP per load. Second, it will NOT bubble. I have never made the liquid version, which might, but the powder will not. Just like when you use store bought powder. Third, if you load your machine: soap, start water, then add clothes; the soap will dissolve faster. With the homemade laundry detergent it is SUPER concentrated. So you do NOT need to use the 1/4-1/2 cup that purchased detergent tells you too.

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  4. Might this also be a hard versus soft water problem? Mineral content in water varies a lot around the United States so what might dissolve well in one part of the country might leave a lot of soap-silt in another. (The water where I live is terrible; I wouldn't risk this.)

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  5. I've been using homemade laundry soap for years, and I'm feeling very fortunate not to have had this problem.

    One other suggestion: it dissolves better in warm or hot water. If you've been using cold water, or if your hot water heater isn't getting your water very hot, it could be a problem.

    I also add vinegar to the rinse cycle, which I have read can help keep the machine clean.

    But that is crazy!

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  6. I start my water hot, add the soap, let it fill a bit, swoosh with my hand, then turn to cold & add laundry. Maybe that would work for you too?

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  7. We've been using for almost a year now - mixed thoroughly and my soap is grated in my food processor. We use one scoop (an old coffee scoop that holds just over 1 Tbsp) in each load.

    Works wonders! I have a house full of children who are all sensitive to different chemicals/additives in various commercial laundry soaps. Found this - and they are all in love - no more rashes or itchy skin. And our clothes are so much cleaner with no residue.

    Sounds like user error on this one...

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  8. Just another who hasn't had any issues. Using the Borax / Washing Soda / Bar Soap recipe for about a year now. I do use my food processor. Grater attachment with the blade in as well so it gets to a nice powder consistency. Never more than 1 TBSP in my HE front loader.

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  9. i tried this and i felt like it didn't dissolve well enough so i make the liquid kind now! it's basically the same recipe you just melt the soap in some water first

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  10. I've used homemade laundry soap for a while, and it's one of my most popular pins.

    Here's what I do differently- after mixing the soap, washing soda, and borax together, I put it ALL in my Vitamix (you could use food processor) and grind it ALL down. Then I add some oxiclean because I have nine kids and LOTS of stains.

    Here's my post:
    http://www.milehimama.com/tutorial/how-to-make-homemade-laundry-soap-for-an-he/

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  11. I made a similar recipe last year, and after about 4 months I became wildly allergic to it, and ended up having to break down and buy my hypoallergenic brand name detergent and wash everything I owned at least three times just to keep from breaking out in hives.

    No more laundry detergent experiments for me.

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    Replies
    1. The same thing happened to me, was terrible! My skin was a mess and started to burn, never again... I wasn't happy with the smell or the way the homemade detergent made my clothes turn out. It wasn't my kind of clean.

      I'm sticking with Pods, no skin irritation and nice clean clothes.

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  12. No thanks on this homemade soap stuff. It reminds of the Penny Pincher days where stuff was touted as great but was just okay. Read ALL the comments on the other blog about this and you'll see that many found it ineffective. I'm glad it works for some and they love it but it's just not for me.

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  13. I love the liquid version. Been using it for a few years now and never had any issues. Maybe trying that method would work better for many people, plus it's the better value :)

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  14. Yeah, this detergent did nothing for me! Neither did the liquid kind. The home made wipes and the Dawn and vinegar potion, on the other hand, work like MAGIC.

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  15. I saw this pin and started making my own laundry soap about 6 months ago. The problem I'm having is that it's leaving grease spots on my darks. I ground the bar soap as fine as possible in my food processor. Does anyone else have this problem? I don't know how to get the grease spots out so I feel like it's ruining my clothes.

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    Replies
    1. I only had this issue when my washer was overloaded and the bar soap couldn't dissolve properly. Try doing a smaller load to see if it helps.

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    2. Did you put the soap in first with the water? Try that. Vinegar is great for softening the clothes and helping with residue. I also add oxiclean to my mix. Never any problems with my darks or any other clothes. Grease stains are easy to get out of clothes. Mix one part dawn with two parts peroxide and scrup it onto the spot let it sit for an hour and wash. This is excellent for yellowed pit stains! I do not buy stain removers anymore.

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    3. I use the liquid soap and to keep it from leaving spots I add a couple Tbs of dawn to the mixture. It works wonders!

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    4. I have noticed the grease spots when using the liquid version too. They are on all loads (darks, whites, lights, etc). I went back to my store bought brand because of it.

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  16. I made this homemade laundry soap too and for a while I was loving it. My husband wasn't crazy about it because unless you add essential oil it doesn't really have a scent (which is why a lot of people with sensitive skin use it). It didn't smell bad...just didn't smell good like brand name laundry liquid. But we were saving so much money that I didn't really care. However.....after about a month or so I noticed tiny little holes showing up in our clothes. With the borax and the washing soda, this stuff was just too harsh on our clothes. Now, I will admit that with a family of five on one income, I do not spend a lot of money on our clothes and that may have been part of the problem. Anyway, in the long run, it was more cost efficient for me to keep buying cheap clothes and spend the extra cash on Gain. Glad it works for so many people though.

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    Replies
    1. AH I have been making my own laundry soap for about a year and recently have been having SO MANY holes in our clothes! I am also suspecting the laundry soap! I am changing soap! Thank goodness I read this post because I was headed to the grocery to buy more laundry soap ingredients!

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    2. I am so glad I read this post! I have been finding holes in my clothes lately! Have been making my own soap for over a year. We have been finding holes for awhile, but couldn't figure out why. It's getting really bad and I can only suspect the homemade stuff! Thank goodness I read this post because laundry making ingredients were on my grocery list for today! I'm going back to the other stuff! Hopefully that will take care of my problem!

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  17. I have made both the powdered version and the liquid version of homemade detergent and have found that I like the liquid much better, even though it is more work to make. With the powdered, I found that it didn't dissolve and would sometimes leave grease type stains on the darker clothes. Washing in hot water would be fine, but not practical for all clothes or our pocketbook! I stopped using it and went back to store bought for awhile and recently started making the liquid version and I couldn't be happier. It does take longer to make, but even a small batch will last several months in our house. It cleans well, is inexpensive and much more environmentally sound. The only compromise I have to make with the hubby is the smell- he says the clothes smell musty, I don't notice it, but he's pretty adamant about it. I tried essential oils, but it wasn't enough, so I now will add the downy unstopables or the purex brand's equivilant. I use about half of what they say and the clothes come out smelling great!

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  18. I have been using my own handmade detergent for over two years now. Never had a problem in the last. I use only 2 TBSP in my front load washer.

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  19. I use the homemade laundry detergent and have never had a problem. I use 1 tbsp. for a normal load and two tbsp. if the laundry is really dirty. It cleans well and when you add the purex crystals it leaves everything smelling wonderful!

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  20. I made this last February and have never gone back to regular detergent. I don't grate my soap, I pulverize it in my food processor. I think that helps it dissolve easier. But I love this stuff. One of the best things I have ever found on Pinterest. With 4 boys, we go through A LOT of laundry and this lasts me about 4 months. I probably use a bit more than I need but that works for me. I use the scoop from the oxy container. My mom and sister have also started using this detergent with no problems.

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  21. This is all I ever use anymore. I use the 'fine' part of my box grater to get those finer shavings. I love it and haven't had any problems.

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  22. I have decided to throw my 2 cents in about the laundry soap. I have been making it now for about a year. We use a tablespoon and a half for a super large or large load. Hubby has very sensitive skin and has had no issues with this at all.

    Some things that I do that might help. I take the Fels naptha soap out of the wrapping and I let it sit out until I am ready to shread it. Sometimes this is just a week or sometimes a couple of months. I have found that drying it out does make a finer mixture.

    I use a food processor as well for shredding and mixing. Hubby did want the laundry to "smell" like laundry without adding too much expense. I buy a large container of Purex laundry crystals. I add one cup for every bar of soap I am using. I recently made this using 5 bars of Fels, 5 cups of Borax, 5 cups of Washing Soda. I just used the entire large container of Purex since it was just a bit more than 5 cups.

    I have tried the Downy Unstoppable too. THis works just as well as the Purex but because it is so spendy I don't use it as often. I find that you need about 1/2 as much as the Purex so about 1/2 a cup for every bar of soap. Of course if you want a more laundry smelling soap using more won't hurt anything other than your pocket. Since we are on a very tight budget I use the Purex because it's cheaper in the long run.

    I make a bunch of this up every couple of months because I'm just lazy and don't want to be making laundry soap every few weeks.

    I have had no plumbing issues.

    For dissolving the soap mixture I generally start the washer on hot and add the soap to it before I put any clothes in it. Then I toss in the soap and wait a few minutes. Ususally I am sorting the clothing about now. I then toss the clothes in and turn the washer on to warm or cold and wash normally.

    The ONLY negative I can find is that I do have a soap scum ring at the top of the washing basket. I use a green scrubby about once every 6 months to get it off. Having said that, we do have very hard water here which might attribute to the ring.

    I use the dry powder version of this stuff, but my neighbor who turned me on to making this uses the wet version. For me, it means having a 5 gallon container to lug around and I don't have a laundry room so I use powder, but either way works really well.

    As for softener, I use vinegar. I put about 1/4 to 1/2 cup in each load. Especially towels. No vinegar smell, but make the clothes seem fresher.

    And lastly, I do like the smell of laundry sheets, but hate that they are landfill cloggers so I have switched to Bounce Dryer Bars. One 4 month bar lasts me about 6 months before it needs to be replaced. It doesn't make the clothes smell as much as a laundry sheet, but does a great job on controlling static. One bar costs around $6, but with all the laundry I do it really does save us a lot of money in the end.

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    Replies
    1. This EXACTLY.
      I'll admit that making my own in a mix of cost savings and the sheer fun of doing it... I also add the scent crystals or unstoppables depending on which i can get on the cheap with coupons. (and we use a dryer bar, too) :)
      I make fabric softener by mixing vinegar/water/and cheap hair conditioner.

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    2. I use homemade dryer sheets (I found the 'recipe'on Pinterest). I used an old pair of flannel pajama bottoms that were cut up as rags and store-bought off-brand fabric softener (it cost me about $3). All you do is soak the rags in the fabric softener and throw in the dryer with wet clothes. I've been using the same one for the last 10-15 loads. Sniff it before you throw it in the dryer, if it doesn't smell like the fabric softener anymore you just re-soak it for a few hours. Works well to give a "fresh laundry" smell when you're using homemade detergent.

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    3. I just started using the recipe you said. I use the Purex crystals, borax, washing soda, regular baking soda, fels soap and oxyclean. It doesn't leave a residue I have noticed on my clothes, but there is some grimmy stuff left over on the door of our HE machine. Every couple of loads I just run a 15 min quick cycle with hot water and its gone. I usually use cold water and it has dissolved almost 100% for me. I use 2 tbsp per load. I have a trap I empty every couple of loads too and there is never stuff in it.

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  23. It is a High Energy Soap - specially made to not foam so to save you money by not wasting money on washing out bubbles.
    I've been using a similar recipe for a year now - I love it.
    However you have to make sure to use small amounts 1-2 tbls at MAX.
    If you want a product that foams or add a strong scent to your clothes - don't use this!
    Its for frugal & Eco people who don't mind giving those up.
    http://garriscooking.blogspot.com/2012/04/home-made-laundry-soap-high-efficiancy.html

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  24. I use the liquid version, and have for almost a year. Like someone else said, it's the same recipe, you just boil the soap in water to dissolve it, then add the powders. We LOVE it! And have turned on over a dozen family/friends to the recipe. I use it as a pretreated, just scrub it in with an old toothbrush and have yet to meet a stain (except grease) it didn't work on as well as store bought soap. My hubby and I actually did a test comparing the two soaps with wine, bbq sauce, mustard, and ketchup I think. The homemade soap won. With the liquid version, you will have either a big bucket of it, or 10 milk jugs to store, but that is better for us than powder. We're too impatient to let it dissolve ;)

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    Replies
    1. Try using one part dawn and two parts peroxide and scrub it into the stain. Let it sit for an hour and wash as usual. Works for Arm pit stains on shirts, too! This has saved me (and friends) so much money on stain removers!

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  25. I use the liquid version which, after setting up overnight, resembles lumpy snot...this is less than desirable. I solved the issue by taking my immersion blender to it the next day before funneling the mixture into a reused coffee creamer container and its texture is waaay more tolerable.

    For the wholesale sized creamer bottle, maybe 32 ounces, I used 10 tbl of the dry mix, give or take and filled the rest of the bottle with super hot tap water and shook it...for a while...then let it sit overnight to blend with the immersion blender the next day. This seems to eliminate the pockets of hard lumpy swollen soap.

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  26. I used the sun crystals as well. I noticed that the batch as I stirred the components together had a heat reaction. I used it and the smell of the clothes for weeks afterward were great. Now here a couple weeks later I have noticed the mix still smells great, but my clothes aren't sweet smelling any more after they come out of the drier. Has any one had this problem, and does usiing oxi clean really matter apposed to the other sun brand. Thanks,

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  27. I've been making my own laundry soap for over a year now and have had no problems. My recipe is 3 cups Borax, 3 cups washing soda, and a bar of Fels Naptha soap-- grated with an old cheese grater using the smallest holes. I only use 2 tsp per load-- if you use more it could definitely cause problems with your pipes.

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  28. I use a laundry soap recipe I found on One Good Thing by Jillee - it is fantastic. 3 tbsp borax, 3 tbsp washing soda, 2 tbsp dawn dish soap, 4 cups boiling water. Mix all ingredients in a bucket, pour into containers (I use two old 1/2 gallon store-bought detergent jugs) and add cold water till it's full. I use about 1/2 cup per load. I love the stuff. Definitely doesn't make any suds but cleans my husband's (a mechanic) greasy work shirts...

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    Replies
    1. Trista, do you ever have a problem with your soap separating in the bucket? I just made 3 batches, one mixed well and doesn't separate, but the other 2 have the dawn dish soap floating at the top... any advice?

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  29. It is because she has a septic system. The soap flakes is what does it.
    Sarah D.

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    Replies
    1. We have a septic system, and we've been using this DYI detergent for over 7 months..so far no problem.

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  30. I make mine own and love it. We use Dial Basics for the bar soap that can be picked up at the Dollar Tree - 3 bars for a buck. it grates finely with just an old box grater. Our clothes are clean and my husband works in a machine shop. We have city septic and a HE Front loader. I do use store-bought fabric softner with a scent. VERY VERY important to us 1/8 of a cup or less (1-2 TBSP).I found that if I used Oxiclean liguid on my clothes I would get rings of little holes around the spot I treated and eventually a big hole. So, I started using Dawn with bleach alternative on all our spots and stains. Works great and is inexpensive.

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  31. Same thing hapened to me. Extensive plumbing issues and bills. I've been using vinegar to clear it all out and make my washer smell freshn This resulted in loads of gunk in my utility sink wherecmy washer drains. Still, the gunk needed to come out. I'm currently using a watery mix of Dawn, vinegar and Borax to wash my clothes. Seems ok so far.

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  32. I've been using this about a year and love it. I get my Fels Naptha to powder up nicely by microwaving it for about 2-3 minutes before starting. The soap will puff up and double in size. Let it cool COMPLETELY and it'll just break apart into powder.

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  33. I know this is older, but I use the same soap just in liquid form. Its already dissolved!

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  34. This is older, but this soap is good seriously , i personalCleaning systems
    use it :)

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  35. I've been using it for about 6 months, but instead of the Fels I use powdered sodium lauryl sulfate. It cleans everything and dissolves well with no soap scum. It's not as cost effective as the Fels Naptha, but it gets everything really clean, and is kinder to the environment than the liquids that are full of preservatives.

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  36. I've been making my own liquid laundry detergent for years.

    I've never had any luck getting the powdered (commercial) brands to dissolve properly.

    Ivory soap (1/3 of a bar) melted into about 10 cups of water with 1/2 cup of each washing soda and borax makes for a fabulous detergent.

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  37. Trista, do you ever have problem with your soap separating? I just made 3 batches and one is mixed well and the other 2 have the dawn dish soap floating on the surface? Any help for this one? Thanks

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  38. Well....I've pulverized. I've used boiling water on all recipes. The latest of my $5,000 plumbing issue....Baking soda. Yup it clogged my drain. Dissolved in hot boiling water. My home is newer. It's about 8 years old. This is the only plumbing issue I've had. We snaked from the washer to the "joint" where we were told was also connecting with the kitchen sink. That was also backed up. It was not the disposal. It was not the dishwasher. We snaked the drain from the kitchen sink. At the very end of the snake, as my husband re-wound. The water went sloshing down. White powder on the end of the snake. Yep. Homemade laundry detergent. When the washer runs, I can hear gurgling in the kitchen drain. I have boiled water. Used vinegar. Everything. It's still slow, but draining. What a mess.

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