Cutting Expenses

3 Great Reasons to Start Making Your Own Laundry Detergent

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Are you sick of paying an arm and a leg just to do laundry?  There are a lot of ways to cut down on this expense—you can use a high efficiency machine that uses less water, wash everything on cold to save on your power bill, or even hang your clothes on the line on a nice day instead of using the dryer.

However, if you’re looking to save some serious cash, try ditching the detergent.  This is the one expense that hits you in the wallet on almost every trip to the grocery store.  Even if you try switching to a more inexpensive brand, you will really notice a difference in how clean your clothes are, and you will be tempted to wash the same load of laundry more than once just to get them clean.  I have been there, done that, and I have found a better way!

If you have kids and are on a budget, you really can’t afford to get that big orange tub of blue gold (*cough*Tide*cough*).   My husband and I switched to DIY laundry sauce a year and a half ago, and we will never go back to detergent.  We love it!  Here are 3 reasons why you need to ditch the big name brands and try making your own laundry detergent.

3.  Laundry sauce is really easy to make.

Head over to Budget 101 to get the Mom’s Super Laundry Sauce recipe.  This is the one I use, though there are different variations floating around the web.

It takes about 30 minutes to make and needs to sit for 4 hours before you whip it in the blender.  The first 30 minutes will require your full attention because you need to stir constantly (this can easily be squeezed in during an average toddler’s nap time!).   Then, it needs to cool in Mason jars for 4 hours before being whipped in your blender. Easy!

Most of the ingredients are easy to find at your local grocery store (20 Mule Team Borax and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda are sold at most stores), but the Fels Naptha can be hard to find.   I am lucky that it is sold at my local Food Lion, but when I lived in Northern Virginia, I could only find it at Ace Hardware.  It can be purchased online, but it is challenging to find it for less than $2 when you have to shell out for shipping.

I always double the recipe to make 6 months of laundry sauce at a time, and I sometimes add Purex crystals to give it a stronger perfume now that I know my child doesn’t have sensitive skin.  If you have a new baby and feel like you are stuck using Dreft due to sensitivities, give plain laundry sauce a try (without Purex).

2. Laundry Sauce gets our clothes squeaky clean.

The first time I used DIY laundry sauce, I was shocked.  The only difference in the results between laundry sauce and Tide was that our laundry didn’t smell as strongly of perfume when it came out of the dryer.  Honestly, it works just as well as (if not better than) Tide!

And boy, have we tested it out!  We use cloth diapers in our house to save money, so we have a fair amount of stinky diaper laundry to do every week.  Laundry sauce cuts through any baby mess and leaves the diapers looking clean and smelling great with only one wash. Honestly, if you can put a cloth diaper up to your face and smell nothing but a gentle detergent scent, you know it works!

We also use it for clothes, of course, and we have never had a problem with our clothing not being clean and fresh every time we wash.  Laundry sauce is awesome!

1. It is dirt cheap!

I have to admit—generally speaking—that I do not like DIY projects.  I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, and I find that creating a Pinterest fail for something I do not need is not cost effective.  However, when you can save a ton of money on something you have to buy anyway (like with laundry sauce), I am all aboard!

If you are a family on a budget who goes through loads of laundry, you can’t afford not to try making your own laundry sauce.  At our local Food Lion, a big container of Tide (72 loads’ worth) costs $17.99.  Ouch!  That adds up quick when you have kids!

I priced out the cost for the batch of laundry sauce I made today, and I was surprised to find that it is 1/10th the cost of Tide!  

At the Food Lion down the road, I bought:

Fels Naptha bar for $1.59

20 Mule Team Borax—65 oz for $5.29 – 8oz for $.65

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda —55 oz for $4.59—8 oz for $.67

This works out to $2.91 to make enough for 128 loads of laundry!  In other words, it costs you just over 2 cents to run a load with laundry sauce.  Compare that to 25 cents per load of laundry with Tide!

In our house, we do 6 (yikes!) loads of laundry a week—312 a year.  With laundry sauce, we only spend $7.18 on detergent for the entire year!  It would cost us over 10 times that amount if we were stuck on Tide—$78 dollars a year.

Budget 101 cites cheaper prices for the laundry sauce ingredients, but where I live the ingredients are a little more expensive—however, they are still way cheaper than the big name brands!

If you grumble to yourself every time you put a big plastic jug of laundry detergent into your shopping cart, or if you are tired of having to budget especially for detergent, it is worth giving laundry sauce a try.  I don’t have a knack for DIY, but I still found the recipe quite easy to make.  You will be shocked how clean and fresh your clothes are after washing, and you will really enjoy saving 90% of the money you used to spend on detergent.

What are you gonna spend that money on?  As for us, we are planning a trip to Disney!

Do you make your own laundry sauce or detergent?  How do you like it?

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