Saturday, November 27, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap

My household is in the process of cutting back expenses. We really want to be able to buy a house soon, but also just want to be able to live more comfortably within our means. Cutting back can seem like a punishment, rather than a wise choice. Something to remember about cutting back is if you do it in the right way, you don't feel like you're sacrificing a lot for very little payout. Look at where your money is going and determine if it is worthwhile for you. We did that when deciding to cut the landline.

Laundry soap is something my family of 5 goes through a lot! The kids come home dirty from playing hard at school, the baby contributes to his own laundry (and mine as well!), my husband wears a uniform to work and changes when he gets home so that adds to the laundry pile as well. We don't like the overwhelming perfumes that are used in many detergents, so we go for the "Free and Clear" varieties. Even with coupons, these can be around $5-8 for 32-64 loads. Since the "loads" are determined by the smallest possible load- it really doesn't last long.

So after seeing how much was being used to wash our clothing each week, I finally decided to try to make my own. There are many recipes out there for liquid detergent, but since we are in a small home space is at a premium. It also looked like a lot of effort so I just never bothered. Then I found a recipe for a powder detergent! It was simple to make (took minutes to throw together!) and since you only use a tablespoon per load it did not take much to store it (a small tupperware worked perfectly for our batch).

I used:

1 Bar of Ivory Soap- grated (you may substitued Fels Naptha as well)
1 Cup Washing Soda (not the same as baking soda!)
1 Cup Borax (found in the laundry Isle)

Just mix it all together.

The initial investment was $1.29 for 3 bars of soap, $3 for a box of washing soda, and $4 for a box of Borax- Pretty much the same as my $8 for a bottle of laundry soap. I will get at least 3 batches out of this though, possibly more. If I only got 3 batches, it would still be like getting 2 free bottles of laundry soap and made the effort more worthwhile (since that would be a savings of about $16, plus I won't have to run to the store as soon as we were out).

The true test is if it works. I could be saving $50 a day but if it the product doesn't actually work, it really isn't saving anything. I tested it on the toughest laundry load my family can give- towels. We rarely use paper towels so spilled milk, dishes, cleaning, and drying is all done using the different towels we have. I thought that if this could make my towels fresh, then it was a keeper. I used 1.5 Tbs of the powdered mixture and a splash of vinegar in place of fabric softener. When I pulled them out of the washing machine, I didn't smell anything. It wasn't caked with a perfumey scent, but it also didn't stink either. It just smelled clean.

I have since washed the rest of my family's laundry with it and have been happy with the result. If you want something that'll scent your clothing- this isn't for you. If you want to cut the budget a bit and just want clean laundry then this is something you should try.


  1. How does it do with sensitive skin Valerie? Have you washed the baby's clothing in it? I think this could really help my family with as much laundry as we do!

  2. I have used it with the baby for almost a month now and it has been fine for everyone :)


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