Clean Clothes On The Cheap

Posted by idawrites on December 15, 2008 in Chores, Frugal, Frugal Tips, Going Green, Recipes |

I haven’t seen too many good deals on laundry detergent recently, and I NEVER find deals that excite me on fabric softener. With frugal laundry supplies a little difficult to come by, I got pretty excited when I found a series of articles about homemade laundry detergent and fabric softener from our friends over at OurPolyLife talks about their normal “store bought” supplies:

“With our usual products we spend every two weeks approx, 2 boxes of laundry soap at $15 per box (64 loads each box), 3 bottles of fabric softener, $24 (95 loads) and 1 container of laundry booster, $12 (25 loads). Our monthly total for over 100 loads of laundry ( yes we do that much laundry) is $66.00 per month. That averages out to .66 cents per load. ”

And then gives the recipe for their home made detergent:

  • 1 bar Fels Naptha soap, Dove or Ivory is acceptable also
  • 1 ½ cup Arm & Hammer washing soda (NOT baking soda)
  • 1 cup 20 Mule Team borax powder

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load.

After a week, they updated us on their findings:

After a week of using the soap exclusively and vinegar as fabric softener we are beyond happy to report to success of our experiment.

The white clothes are amazingly bright. The Colors are clear and crisp. The stains don’t stand a chance. The laundry smells AMAZING and clean. And the softness is so far beyond what you get with Downy or any of the other commercial softeners. As an added bonus towels are soft with the added benefit of being thirsty. There is nothing worse than a soft towel after bath that doesn’t dry the water on your body.

The Laundry Goddess swears she’ll never go back to store bought detergent again. That’s a pretty large endorsement for family that goes through 100 loads of laundry a month!

By the way… I’ve been very very very disturbed by the thought of fabric softener since Mark read an article from Wired magazine to me that shows that animal fat is one of the primary ingredients in Downy. I’ve been leaning VERY much toward the Do It Yourself method since the words “horse fat” were thrown into my everyday laundry conversation.

1 Comment

  • Heather says:

    Hey… I am impressed! I have been interested in using vinegar as a softener, but am usually not near my clothes when the rinse cycle hits. I have to admit I never thought of putting it in a downy ball!

    I need to check out possible skin allergies to Borax and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda – but I seriously might try this.

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