Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent - "A Success"

In my efforts to save money, I've decided to try making my own laundry detergent. I thought it might be a chellenge but I gave it a shot. I only have cold water hook-ups to my washing machine and my daughter has sensitive skin so I was afraid it may not suit us, but I was wrong. It's perfect. It works beautifully! It works the same if not better than store-bought laundry detergent.

I never knew that you can actually do this until I saw an episode of TLC's "19 kids and Counting". I'm not a huge fan of this family's life style choices, but they have some great money saving ideas. I guess when you have a family of that size you have to cut down and be creative wherever you can. My family of 4 is nowhere near the size of their family, but we do need to save money in the same respect. Our bills still cost more than our monthly income and with rising gas prices, all I can do is cut back wherever I can. Even if it means making laundry detergent for pennies on the dollar and having it last for months.

Here's my story...

Normally, I would spend about $1.99 every 3 weeks on laundry detergent for 32 loads. It's not a whole lot of money but if I can reduce spending in any way I can....I will! Here is the recipe I followed:

2 gallons Water (hot)
1 bar Soap (grated)
1 cup Baking soda (yes baking soda–not washing soda)
1 cup Borax (20 Mule Team Brand)

    * Melt grated soap in a saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently until soap is melted.
    * In a large pail, pour 2 gallons hot water. Add melted soap, stir well.
    * Then add the baking soda and borax, stir well again.
    * Use 1/2 cup per full load, 1 cup per very soiled load.


I've seen some homemade laundry detergents made with washing soda, but I've been to 3 different stores and still have yet to find "washing soda". So I decided maybe I could find a recipe without it. I was successful in finding one. Baking soda serves as a substitute. In the old days, they used it in their laundry, so why wouldn't I use it now. Also, Arm & Hammer makes a laundry detergent with baking soda so...Why Not?

Luckily, I had Borax on hand so I didn't have to buy that. The price is usually between $2 and $3 dollars. I paid about $2.63 for my box. It's useful for so many things. Here are a few:

  • Cleans Porcelain Surfaces (tubs, toilets, sinks) 
  • Hard Water
  • Cleans and Deordorizes Trash Cans
  • Cleans Refrigerators
  • Cleans Fiberglass
  • Gentle on baby clothes
  • Fine China
  • Deodorizes Humidifiers
  • Getting rid of fleas
  • Cleaning cookware
  • Cleans spills and stains and pet urine
So it's not a waste to buy it. It never goes bad so you can keep it on hand for years!

I bought a 3 pack of soap (Ivory) for $1.50 at Family Dollar. This amount of soap will be for an entire year of laundry soap for my family of four.

I purchased the baking soda at Family Dollar for 80 cents.

Some people prefer to add essential oil (like lavender or citrus), but I like the clean fresh scent of the Ivory soap and it makes my laundry smell extremely clean.

It was easy to make and now I don't have to run out to the store midweek to buy laundry detergent ever again!


Annual Cost of Store Bought Laundry Detergent: $51.74

Annual Cost of Homemade Laundry Detergent: $5.73


It's not a huge savings, but that is definitely $46 that I didn't have before and desperately need.

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