One of the easiest ways that I cut costs and make the most of our budget is by making some of our own household cleaners.
This homemade laundry detergent is easy and frugal — costing only 4 cents per load! It’s by cutting costs on these everyday expenses, as well as the rest of my budgeting tips, that I am able to afford to homeschool my daughter as a single mom.
This homemade laundry detergent works in my high efficacy washing machine and has kept our clothes in great condition since we switched from commercial laundry detergent when Ella was about 8 months old.
Ingredients for Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe:
- 1 bar castille soap (2 cups if using liquid castille soap)
- 1 cup washing soda (if you can’t find washing soda, you can make your own from baking soda)
- 1 cup Borax
- 6 cups water, or 5 gallons if making all at once
- Essential oils, optional
I’ll first start off by saying that some people may have an issue with adding Borax to their homemade laundry detergent, and if you choose to omit it, there is no big impact on the final product. It is a natural deodorizer, but not essential. I personally have read a lot of the scientific research and don’t have an issue with it — the concern was that it effected young male reproductive systems, but research has laid those claims to rest.
If you can’t find washing soda, my friend Blythe shared this awesome tip with me that you can actually make washing soda by baking baking soda at 400 F for about an hour, stirring occasionally to break up lumps. You will know when the baking soda has converted into washing soda when it becomes flat, dull, and grainy but not clumpy.
Making your own washing soda from baking soda is a bit more frugal (about a third of the price not taking into account energy costs), and you can be more confident that no unwanted additives are making their way into your homemade laundry detergent!
Grate your bar of soap (or have the kids do it!) and add it to a big saucepan on the stove with 4 cups of water, and heat gently over medium heat until dissolved.
Now, if you have access to a giant plastic tub (you can get them from restaurants or bakeries – you should see the size of their cheese tubs!) you can fill that with 4.5 gallons of hot tap water, and add the melted soap mixture, borax, and washing soda. Stir and leave overnight before using or portioning out. This is also a great option if you’re splitting supplies with friends.
If you’re a bit tight on storage, you can alternatively make a concentrated laundry detergent that you can water down as you go.
To do this, you add the borax and washing soda to the soapy water mixture along with 2 more cups of water and allow it to cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Please do not do this around children and take precautions as the mixture can bubble over if allowed to superheat.
You will get the above gelatinous substance which you can use to make new batches of homemade laundry detergent whenever you run out. Simply add 1/2 cup of this mixture to 6-8 cups of hot water overnight, and then use like normal laundry detergent.
I like to store my concentrated mix in one repurposed laundry detergent bottle, and then water it down in a second bottle.
I tend to use 4-5 oz of homemade laundry detergent per load. This recipe will yield approximately 136 loads for $5, working out to under 4 cents per load.
What do you think? Would you make your own homemade laundry detergent?