Save Money on the Wash!

Dirt, grease, ketchup, and salsa! Washing clothes for a family of six was a daily task when my four boys were young. Successful budgeting meant that expensive laundry detergents were left on the store shelf. Homemade laundry detergent provided my family with a cost-effective alternative to high priced detergents. With just four ingredients, you can make your own detergent for pennies per load! The ingredients listed below are available in the detergent section of your local grocery store.

Ingredients for laundry detergent
½ cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda®
½ cup Mule Team Borax®
1 Bar of Fels-Naptha® or Ivory ®Soap
20 cups of Water

Pour 8 cups of water into an 8-quart pot. Use a hand grater and shave the bar of soap into the pot of water. Place the pot on the stove and heat on a medium setting until the soap dissolves. Gently stir with a whisk to help blend the shavings and water. Avoid boiling the mixture or whisking it quickly (creates bubbles and foam). Once the soap shavings are melted, remove the pot from your heat source. Add ½ cup of washing soda and ½ cup of borax to the pot. Gently stir until blended. Add 4 cups of cool water and gently stir again. Do this twice more until you have added a total of 12 additional cups of cool water to the mixture of soap, washing soda and borax. The mixture will yield 20+ cups of detergent.

If the detergent is still hot, allow it to cool before transferring it to storage containers. Choose a plastic container that has a lid for easy access. To save money, repurpose plastic, gallon-sized, ice cream buckets to store the laundry detergent. Be sure to mark the container with a label to identify the contents as Laundry Detergent. Include this instruction, “Add ½ cup per load.”

After the detergent has rested overnight, it may appear gel-like. This is normal. You may wish to “squish” it up with a potato masher or by hand. This is optional. For a full-sized load, use ½ cup of the soap mixture. Add the soap to the water as the unit begins filling or inside the barrel. Not for use with automatic dispensers.

The box of washing soda and the box of borax will yield 14 batches if mixed according to the recipe (½ cup each ingredient per batch). Store a couple of bars of soap on your shelf with the boxes of washing soda and borax for quick access to make your detergent.

Homemade cleaning products are often made from simple ingredients and can save you money! Check out the publication, Homemade Household Cleaners, for other money saving tips.



Happy Washing!


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Posted: April 29, 2020

Category: Home Management, Money Matters, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Diy, Hamilton County, Household Costs, Laundry, Save Money, Savings


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Beth Kerr

November 11, 2020

Glad you like the suggestions! Have a wonderful holiday!

Mary Elaine Vickers
November 11, 2020

Great ideas! I am printing this off and saving it. Thanks!

Joseph Hopkins
October 31, 2020

Hello Ghicks, This is a very Good story the student are planted two trees it's very good work for our nature. Thank you for share this article.

Beth Kerr
August 10, 2020

Thank you, Tracy! There are many great simple and inexpensive cleaning ideas that can save us money at the stores!

Tracy Fedor
August 7, 2020

Beth Kerr is a awesome advocate for the best things in life are simple and good. Thank you .

Yvonne Florian
June 24, 2020

I recently had to remove a Red Rat Snake from my home. I had the doors and windows open and 13 newly hatched chicks peeping in the dining room. I think she smelled the chicks, came in under the screen door and got lost under my bed, where she spent the night. I found her in my bathroom next day and was able to catch and release her back out in the yard, after a photo of course. Mom the snake catcher. She was over four feet long!

June 23, 2020

Thanks! Just came across a six-foot snake in my backyard. I didn't stop to identify it, but this will be helpful if we ever cross paths again.

May 24, 2020

Well said Thank you for the great information.

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