October 18, 2011
DIY: Homemade Laundry Soap
We have been doing a lot of new things in an effort to save money. I've done the basic things since I was little- always bought the generic, store brands, looked hard for sales, compared sizes, or bought used. After everything that's happened recently, we needed to save even more money, but it's been hard to see where else we could cut back.
Now that we're using cloth diapers (again, for money-saving reasons), I do a lot more laundry. My mom mentioned making some homemade laundry soap, so I thought this was a perfect time to try.
I made the soap based off of this recipe I found. I saw so many on Pinterest for liquid detergent that involved a lot of melting and boiling, but I decided to search for powdered detergent that would be much easier and faster. I also didn't want a recipe that used Borax (most of them do), so this seemed more baby-friendly to me. It made my kitchen smell like the Fels-Naptha soap for a few hours, too- kind of a clean, lemony scent. There was a tiny bit of that scent that came though during the washing cycles, too.
1 cup Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Baking Soda
1 bar of soap, grated (I used a bar of yellow Fels-Naptha, but you can also use pink Zote soap, Ivory soap, or any brand of castile bar soap)
1. Grate soap to very tiny pieces. (I used an old cheese-grater on the smallest shredding.) If needed, you can dice up the grated bits with a butter knife. We grated it onto a wax paper sheet to make things easier.
2. Mix the grated soap, washing soda, and baking soda. Pour into a lidded, airtight container.
Keep a measuring spoon or plastic spoon handy for laundry days. You'll use 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) per load. For heavily soiled clothes, use two tablespoons (6 teaspoons).
The Fels-Neptha was $0.97, the super washing soda was $3.24 (both at Walmart, by the way), and the baking soda I already had (although it's only a couple dollars, I believe). I'll be able to get several mixes from the baking and washing sodas, so this laundry detergent is only costing me a little over a dollar for several loads. (The recipe I read said 100, but I'm guessing a little less.) Not too shabby!
The same day I tried this laundry soap, I also made the homemade Febreze I saw on Pinterest. It's even better than Febreze, too- because it uses fabric softener, it repels static. Although buying a bottle of real Febreze just isn't in the budget anymore, I will be able to make dozens and dozens of the homemade kind for the price I'd pay on one bottle. (It's mostly water, anyway!)
So here's what I want to know: do any of you have tips or ideas you use to be more frugal? Whether you have been doing something for 10 years or just tried it once, I would love to hear all your suggestions. How do you creatively save money?
**Update- we did start using Borax in our recipe, and didn't notice a difference on Millie's skin at all. If you'd like to use that recipe and stretch it even further, you just add 1 cup Borax to the recipe above. We also sometimes add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance, but it is completely optional.**