Friday, July 3, 2009

Frugal Living Friday: Homemade laundry detergent

Welcome to Frugal Living Friday! Each week I will feature a tip that can help us stretch our budget and live more frugally! If you have a tip that you want shared on Frugal Living Friday, let me know and you could become a guest blogger for a day.

Have you made homemade laundry detergent before? I must confess I have not. But recently I have had a few people tell me how FABULOUS it is, and CHEAP too!

Today's FFL post is from Tricia, over at Jacobson's Journaling and Jibberish. She emailed me about her recipe for homemade laundry detergent. I have to try it! Thanks for sharing with us Tricia! Here is what she has to say:

With this front loader I've recently acquired, I didn't want to have to buy the expensive front loader detergent that it "requires". But I wasn't sure how much I could use of the regular detergent and have it NOT suds up too much. This recipe is the one that the Duggar's use... you know, the "18 kids and counting" family on TV? They've got more front loaders than I have kids, so I figure if they trust this recipe then I sure can!

I bought: new 5 gallon bucket $4.64
lid: $1.27
Borax: $2.98
Baking Soda: $1.00
3 bars of Ivory soap (any non/low-sudsing soap will do): $1.07

I grated one bar of soap into an old pot, added 4 cups of hot tap water, and melted it on the stove. Then I poured that into my bucket, and added 1 cup of baking soda, and 1/2 cup of Borax.

When it looked like that was all stirred up and dissolved, I added more hot tap water to fill my bucket and put the lid on. I'll let that sit overnight, and when I run out of my super-expensive Tide detergent made especially for front loaders, I'll use that empty container and funnel this in!

Update: I bought an oil essence at my favorite bead store for $3.50 and added HALF of it to the bucket. LOVE the smell, and can't wait to see how well it cleans!

I wanted to see how much this costs per bucket, so I measured out the Borax and baking soda I bought. You get 12 cups of Borax = 24 buckets, and 4 cups of baking soda = 4 buckets. So I'm spending 74 CENTS per 5 gallon bucket, and thinking this will last me more than a month with a family of 6. I usually buy Surf powder detergent for about $12, and it's gone within the month.

NOTE: See Tricia's full post at her blog for more detailed pictures and info on making your own laundry detergent, and other laundry tips! Do you have any laundry tips to share?



Holly said...

I made this twice. The first time it turned out ok. The second time it was really clumpy and it wouldn't dissolve. I have since made it dry and actually prefer it.

The recipe I use:

Grate 1 bar soap (I've used Ivory or even generics alone and a mix of Ivory/Fels Naptha)
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax

Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container. I pulse it all in my food processor to make it a little finer.

Use 2 tablespoons per full load.

I think it cleans really well. I do prefer the smell of Tide though!

I also stopped using stain removers. I mix equal parts water and dish soap and put it in an old shout bottle. It works just as well. I spray the item, and take a wet toothbrush dipped in Biz and make a paste and rub it into the stain. It works great.

Marne said...

Thanks for the tips Holly. I like the stain remover idea!

angela said...

I just made my first batch (the recipe was a little different) of homemade detergent, a couple of months ago. We do laundry all of the time and I think it will last us about 6 mths and was $2 for the entire huge batch. So while I love the smell of the other stuff, too, this cleans just fine and is well worth it. I haven't tried the essential oil thing though.

Sara S. said...

what is washing soda?

Holly said...

Washing Soda different from Baking Soda. My understanding is that baking soda should not be used in place of washing soda.

Arm & Hammer makes washing soda. Here's a link that explains washing soda:

It should be found on the laundry aisle of your store. My local Walmart never has it, but you can often get it at Albertsons or Fred Meyer. Our local Idaho store, Pauls Market usually has it. It comes in a yellow box. This is a great link that shows how to make the dry stuff:

I've never used baking soda in my homemade soap. Even when I made the liquid soap, I used washing soda.

Hope this helps!

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