Friday, May 4, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap for Cheap People

Since I've been spending so much time messing with clothing and fabric, I thought I'd share one of my more brilliant money-saving moves with you. Have you tried making your own laundry soap?? It saves SO much money and is so ridiculously easy. I have been trying different recipes and concoctions of various types for a couple of years now and finally came up with a mixture that works really well for me. I will share it with you -- with the caveat that I developed this for my front loader (your machine's warranty may be voided and/or the machine damaged by using homemade laundry soap...please do your own research first) , super hard water (laced with lovely red clay) and ingredients available near me. What works for you and your situation may be completely I suggest you do a little research yourself.

This recipe cleans like mad...but hasn't done much to prevent my whites from turning dingy (which happens no matter what storebought detergent I use, too) - so I am still working on that part.  I also do not use this for my baby's cloth diapers - I use Rockin' Green for that.  For all I know, Rockin' Green could be made of the same ingredients in different proportions, but its working as is, so its staying. I should also mention that since I have a septic tank -- I have looked up all the ingredients separately and they all *appear* to be septic safe. Use at your own discretion...

Anyway... here ya go. Let me know if you try it and how it works for you.

Homemade Laundry Soap for Cheap People with Hard Water:

Ingredients (all can usually be found at a typical grocery store):

1/3 Fels Naptha soap bar, grated (other recipes online use castille or other soap - I haven't tried any of those, since I didn't want to spend $5 getting a $2 bar of soap shipped to me...)
1 c. Washing Soda
1 c. Baking Soda (note that these are different sodas...find washing soda in the laundry aisle, with the borax and fels naptha...baking soda in the, you know, baking aisle)
1 c. Oxi-Clean (cheapest in bulk at Costco or WalMart)
1 c. Borax
A couple drops essential oil (optional) - I like lemon and lavender for the smell and natural anti-bacterial properties


1.) Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until it blends together into a fine powder.
2.) Don't open up your food processor right away - wait about 10 minutes for everything to settle so you don't end up breathing in the detergent dust (just trust me on that one...).
3.) Put into a container with a lid and wash clothes with it.

That's it.

I use 1 Tablespoon (yep - ONE tablespoon) per load for my front loader. I would estimate a regular washer would probably use 1/4-1/3 cup, but I really have no idea, so you'd have to experiment there.

Now that you have the recipe, let's compare costs. You can buy all the ingredients to make at least 3 batches (plus leftovers of some ingredients) of this stuff for around $10 ($3 or less per batch). I've found that 1 1/2 batches is pretty equivalent to the amount of loads I can do with one of those big liquid laundry jugs from Costco, which cost $15-20. So...we're talking $10 versus $40 for 3 batches. Yeah. I'm in.

$30 savings ...think of all the awkward clothes I could buy at the thrift store to refurbish for that :)

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