Saturday, April 9, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent = Domestic Diva?

Yes, you read the title correctly. I have been reading alot about homesteading, living simply, being frugal, thriving on one income (you get the picture) for quite some time now. I've been slowly making changes around here. You know... using coupons, only buying if it's on sale, shopping thrift stores, making do, using it up, finding new uses for old items... those sorts of changes.

I've also been trying to simplify. Cleaning out all the clutter and stuff in my house. You know, getting rid of the stuff that just sits around here and never gets used. Amazing how many bags and boxes of "stuff" I've taken to the mission store over the last few months!

Well, back to the issue I wanted to write about! Yes, I made my own laundry detergent this week! I found a website that instructs you in making your own cleaning supplies (at a fraction of the cost, I might add). I hesitated for a while, because honestly, I thought 1) Do you really save that much? and 2) Is the savings worth the effort put into making your own?

Well, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I mean, really what else do I have to do with my time? (HaHa) You know when you're a stay-at-home mom that's what everyone else seems to think anyway! ;-)

Okay... so I thought I'd share it with you (in pictures of course)!

Here's what you need to get started: 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of Washing Soda, and 1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap. I found all three on the detergent aisle in Wal-Mart.

Directions for making the laundry detergent:

Step 1: Grate your block of cheese (er... I mean your bar of soap). I used my food processor, and it really looked like I was grating cheese!

Step 2: Add 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda.

Step 3: Mix in food processor (until the soap pieces are powder fine).

That's it. Not hard at all. I made up two batches at one time, and I stored mine in a Rubbermaid container.

This stuff is super-concentrated so you only need to use 2 tablespoons per load of laundry. I must admit I was very suspicious at first, only 2 tablespoons? But I tried it and it really works. It smells so fresh, even my washing machine was left with a fresh scent. The real test was the load of towels. It passed the test here too. My towels came out smelling clean.

Now, how much money did I save by making my own detergent? I can get 7 batches of detergent from the boxes of Borax and Washing Soda. The soda costs $2.77 per box and the borax costs $3.36 per box. But I have to buy 7 bars of soap, too, at 97 cents per bar for a total of $6.79. That's a grand total of $12.92. Each batch of detergent washes 28 loads. That's a total of 196 loads. The cost comes out to a little over 6 cents per load. I normally buy the big box of Arm & Hammer laundry detergent that does 95 loads for $12.47 per box.

So basically this means I am getting a little over twice the amount of detergent for the same price. Like a BOGO... and who doesn't like BOGOs? 

Will I continue to make it? Well, it definitely wasn't hard to do. I mean, it took all of about 10 minutes (as long as you use a food processor). And I do enjoy the challenge that comes from finding ways to save money. Next, I'm going to try making some general household cleaners.

Does that qualify me as a domestic diva? You be the judge ;)


  1. I believe you are a DIVA! Wow... now make your own bread.... and grow your garden. YAY!

    love ya!

  2. Baby steps! I do occasionally make my bread. I need to invest in a grain mill and really make it healthy! I would like to try gardening again. Maybe I will try container gardening...


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