I make my own laundry detergent using Fels Naptha bar soap, Borax and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. I was able to find the ingredients at my local market. If you can't find them there, they are available online, through www.soapsgonebuy.com but the shipping cost will eat up any savings. What I can buy locally for $11.35 would cost more than $30.00 if I bought it online.
Before I started making my own detergent, we used detergent in 40-load containers for $2.89. That's slightly more than 7 cents a load. Since we were using cheap-o detergent and Las Vegas has very hard water, we always add Borax to the wash, about a cup per large load, for an additional 26 cents. Bringing the total to 33 cents a load.
Ruby, our baby, has very sensitive skin and cannot wear clothes that have been washed in this way. The cheapest baby detergent I've found is All for babies, which comes in a 25 load bottle for about $4.00. Or, 16 cents a load, plus the 26 cents for Borax is 42 cents a load.
To make enough laundry detergent for 100 loads of wash I would need three bars of Fels Naptha soap, one box of Borax and two boxes of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. That's eleven cents a load, a savings of half over cheap detergent with a Borax booster.
All the ingredients in the homemade detergent are safe to use on my baby's clothes, even with her extra sensitive skin. The homemade stuff is an even deeper savings for her clothes.
The is also the extra bonus of the stain removing properties of both Borax and Fels Naptha. If I have an item that is stained or yellowed, I can stop my washer and let the whole load soak right in the detergent. Or just rub some detergent right into the stain before washing. No more Spray N' Wash.
And, lastly, if I buy Fels Naptha in bulk from www.soapsgonebuy.com I can get each bar for about half of what I would spend at the grocery store. Bringing my total cost down to 9 cents a load, with an initial outlay of $45.00 for 40 bars of soap (that's a LOT of laundry detergent!)
The verdict? The homemade detergent is a savings over what I was doing. And, if I buy the soap in bulk the cost will come down to about the same as the very cheapest way I can think of.
To make homemade laundry detergent, grate a bar of Fels Naptha. Mix in an airtight container with one cup each Borax and Washing Soda. One tablespoon is enough for most loads, use two tablespoons for tough loads.
About The Author: Shaunta Alburger publishes The Penny-Wise Journal, a print newsletter for those who want to use a short period of very intense thrift as a means of getting out of debt and building savings.
Arm and Hammer has a toll free locater line dedicated to locating their washing soda is your area. Number is on the box or maybe you can access them via internet. (02/17/2006)
I don't know that I'd go so far as to make my own laundry detergent but I do like that Fels Naptha for stains. I bought a bar at Wal-Mart I think. It's a big bar too and I think will last a long time. I tried it today just as it recommends. You just wet the area, rub the bar on it and then I worked it in a little by rubbing together, then wash as usual. I did not have any remaining stains. It worked great! I just put the bar in a ziploc snack bag so that I open and then hold onto half of the bar while still in the bag and don't have to actually touch the soap. (02/17/2006)
I started making my own laundry soap when my son was diagnosed with eczema. I grated pure and natural soap from the Dollar store then. now that I know that detergents and such don't make it any worse, I use Zote soap from the grocery store. They sell it for 69 cents for a huge bar, which is much cheaper then their Fels or Kirks. I grate about 3 at a time and add several cups of washing soda (I even used plain baking soda when I couldn't find washing soda) and borax. Just 2 tablespoons a load makes them smell very clean and my whites stay white. (02/18/2006)
I buy the Zote bars to wash out my undies in the shower. Once when I had none to wash with. I put the zote bar in my machine while the water was filling up with lemon juice and shampoo (suave). They came out clean (11/15/2006)
I called Arm & Hammer for suppliers of A&H Super Wash (UPC#33200-03020) in Las Vegas, they said Smith's only one that carried. Went there and don't carry-had 4 lb box baking soda box next to 20 Mule Borax. Smiths was over $1.00 more than Wal-Mart ($2.12). Went to 99 Cent store for 7 oz bars of Zote @ 50 cents each. Also, thought about grating the little leftover pieces of bar soap and mix in. Good? Bad? Suggestions. (05/20/2008)
You can find where Fels Naptha soap is sold in your area. Choose laundry care, then Fels Naptha soap bar, 5.5 oz. then put in your zip code. Walaaa! it is so close to my house! who would have thunk it! :0) (08/13/2008)
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