In my constant quest of saving money, I’m always looking for ways to cut down my spending. And when I went grocery shopping and saw that the most expensive item on my list was laundry detergent, I knew I had to do something about it.
I went to my favorite library – Google – to see if I could find a cheaper alternative and quickly found hundreds of recipes to make your own laundry detergent. Since I’m a big proponent of Do-it-yourself I decided to give it a shot.
I first decided to make a liquid laundry detergent and even though I liked it a lot, it took too much space, it was very heavy to carry, and it took longer to make. That’s why this time I decided to go with the powder kind, which takes about five minutes to make, it’s easier to carry to our laundry room (located outside our apartment), and it doesn’t take too much space. If you want to know how to make liquid laundry detergent, check out this recipe at Frankly Frugal.
Making your own laundry detergent will not only save you money, but it is also better for your health. Brand name detergents are full of nasty chemicals that are not too good for you. The recipe below contains only three mostly natural ingredients that don’t pose a health hazard.
I found all of the ingredients in the laundry aisle of my local supermarket, but you could also order them online.
Washing Soda – Is just sodium carbonate and it is made from common salt and limestone or it is found as natural deposits. I bought a 55-oz box (makes about 6 batches) of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda for $2.99. **The link to amazon is just so you can see what it looks like. If the price is more than $2.99, buy it at the store.**
Borax – Is a naturally occurring mineral made up of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water. I bought a 76-oz box (makes about 16.5 batches) of Borax 20 Mule Team Detergent Booster for $4.49.
Laundry Bar Soap – It’s just that. A heavy duty laundry bar soap. I bought a 5.5 oz Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap (makes one batch) for $1.29.
The recipe below makes enough laundry detergent for 64 loads.
- 1 bar Laundry Soap (grated)
- 1 cup Washing Soda
- 1 cup Borax
Homemade Laundry Detergent
1. Grate the bar of soap using your typical cheese grater.
2. Combine grated soap with the washing soda and borax. Mix well.
3. Store in a closed container.
I wish I could tell you there’s more to it, but there isn’t. It really is this simple.
After grating the soap, I combined all the ingredients in a food processor to turn them into a finer powder that’s easier to dissolve. If you do this, let the dust inside the food processor settle before opening. You don’t want to inhale laundry detergent.
Use 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) per load. You might want to use 2 Tbsps for heavily soiled clothes.
Cost per Load
Since this is a personal finance blog and saving money is our main theme, let’s break down the cost per load of the homemade laundry detergent vs. a brand name.
For this comparison I chose Tide Original because it is one of the most popular brands and it is not the most expensive (not the cheapest either).
Tide Original = $19.99 for 96 loads, or $0.21 per load
Now we have to do some math for the homemade laundry detergent. Each batch = 64 loads.
Washing soda = $2.99 for 6 batches (6 x 64 loads = 384 loads), or $0.008 per load.
Borax = $4.49 for 16.5 batches (16.5 x 64 loads = 1,056 loads), or $0.004 per load.
Laundry Soap = $1.29 for 1 batch (1 x 64 loads = I’m not even), or $0.02 per load.
Total per load = $0.008 + $0.004 + $0.02 = $0.03 per load. That’s a difference of $0.18 per load!
Does It Work?
Hell yea, it works.
I previously used the liquid recipe with great success and have been using the powder form for over two months now. Granted, my clothes are not heavily soiled because I don’t have children and I don’t get dirty at work, but I sweat and get as dirty – if not dirtier – as most people.
Even Kate, who is super picky about smells, likes the smell of the detergent and the freshness of the clothes. And nobody at work has complained that I smell yet, so that’s good.
This homemade laundry detergent is so inexpensive and easy to make that everybody should at least give it a try.
Have you ever tried to make your own laundry detergent? If so, how did you like it?