Monday, March 10, 2008

Counting the cost of Homemade Laundry Detergent

Kim and I have been lurking on the Supercinski & Kramer blogs checking out their laundry detergents. Now Kim has made them and used them and she likes how the clothing is nice and clean. Kim and I are not green, unless by green you mean we keep an eye on our green! My first concern is my budget we cannot go over budget, something simply would not get paid! Accordingly, Kim (the perfectionist side of the friendship) worked out the exact cost of each of the cleaners we made.

We would save some money but not enough to get us to add laundry making to cleaning & cooking from scratch. But they also mentioned liquid detergent as an option so with a quick Google search I came upon this liquid recipes from Thrifty fun for a liquid detergent formula:

You will need:
Bar of Ivory soap (.33 per bar)
1 cup of washing soda (Arm and Hammer for example) (.35)
1 cup borax (.28) (Kyle added Borax to the recipe!)
Price = .96 for 24 loads! (So 1.92 a month for my family!)

  1. Water Directions:Fill large bucket or container with 3 gallons of hot tap water. Grate the bar of soap into a saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the soap, and heat, stirring constantly until soap is dissolved.
  2. Add soap/water mixture to the hot water in the bucket. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup of washing soda & borax and stir (do not mix up these steps). As this cools, it will turn into a white gelatinous soap. Thickness depends on the size of bucket used.
  3. Use 1 1/2 to 2 cups per load of laundry. You can add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the load as well.

As a testimony to my cheapness you will notice I am using the cap from my old detergent bottle I just measured the amount of liquid (1/2 cup) that would fit in it and am happily using it!

I have now washed my clothes with this gelatinous laundry soap and they have come out very clean. The only thing I do not like is the fact that the clothing has absolutely no aroma. I really enjoy the smell of freshly cleaned laundry. I am going to try some essential oils in the mixture to see if they will impart a smell on the clothing. But in the meantime I am going to start using Downy or Snuggle fabric softener.

Final Price Comparison @ 110 loads

  • Arm & Hammer $8.47 or .07 per load
  • Powder $12.10 (1/4 cup serving) or .11 per load
  • Powder $29.70 (1/2 cup serving) or .27 per load
  • Liquid Homemade (1 1/2 cup serving) 4.40 or .04 per load

So I will save $4.07 each month/batch & $48.48 each year. Now I have $4 more $ in my budget for food for Big Baby!

Now if you use Tide or some other high dollar laundry soap then you will have an even greater savings in every category. I do not use Tide because I found other laundry detergent that does a great job for a lot less money. But let me tell you something about Tide I learned this summer while living in a travel trailer, now remember I am not green (I am not anti-green but I am not green) They use Tide to clean out the portable potties they use on construction sites! I do not know what is in Tide but that is scary strong!

By the way Kim is still working out the prices on the dishwasher soap.

Now as for the other cleaners they have mentioned on their blogs. Kim and I were already happily using soap, water and vinegar spray. Now we are trying all of the other products that they have created. This is so great! Not only can we clean our homes well with these things they are very economical! I'll see if I can get Kim to break down the prices on the various cleaning solutions and post that also.

In Martha Stewart's Home keeping book she talks about a clean house has no odor at all. Most of these products are somewhat odorless unless you add essential oils, which again I am frugal, is unlikely for me. So my candles will really shine as my home is cleaner and yes Lyns & Rachel greener because of these wonderful ladies! So thanks so much to Lyns and Rachel for being the pioneers and getting me to think outside of the box...the laundry box that is! On the side of my blog is a link to Rachel's cleaning products!

Finally, I'll put my first post for the Making your Home a Haven by Sunday! I hope all of you new homemakers are reading this book and finding it to be very helpful.

Happy Homemaking!


Rachel said...

Yeah! I'm so glad you guys are enjoying them. It's so much cheaper and better for YOU and the environment. Everything is much easier than I ever imagined it to be, too.

Has Kim happened to work out the cost of the powder laundry detergent? I am too lazy to make the liquid and don't have a container big enough. I guess I could do it, but if Kim already did...

texasmcvays said...

Yes, the powdered laundry detergent the way you use it is like .11 cents per load! Not as cheap as some pre made but there is no way you are going to find a green detergent anywhere near that price! I missed you at the food co-op put your order in now that way you won't miss it!

Rachel said...

Looks like the next batch will be liquid for me! Thanks for figuring out the costs.

Jennifer Bacak said...

I want to do this! Can I do this? This is cool.

Unknown said...


I started using this exact recipe a while ago. My favorite scent is using Aloe Ivory soap. It is just heavenly. So that's what I use, but you can totally use scented oils too. Check out Heather's blog on that. Happy Laundering!! ;)

Unknown said...

PS - I store mine in a big 5 gallon paint bucket with a lid. I think I got it at the dollar store or walmart for a couple bucks. I have a huge pot I can make a ton in at once - it lasts forever and is the cheapest laundry soap ever!! When I make it, I just use my old Tide bottles to keep what I'm currently using right above the washer. The rest stays in the bucket.

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