How to Save on Laundry Detergent

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Save Money On Laundry Detergent

Demystifying the Great Laundry Detergent Dilemma – Save Money on Laundry Detergent

I grabbed the phone and answered it. It was my daughter chuckling on the other end. “We got another one,” she said, “Another laundry detergent e-mail.” For years now we have one reoccurring question. How can I save on my laundry detergent?

This may seem like an innocent enough question, but when we find out the writer’s story, laundry detergent is almost never really relevant to the problem. What we’ve found is that a person who asks about laundry detergent is usually on the brink of bankruptcy, divorce, or losing a job. It’s like some kind of code word or distress signal for “Help Me — I’m drowning in debt”.

Often these people have maxed out their credit cards, have fully mortgaged a quarter of a million dollar home and owe money on several expensive new cars. They have closets full designer clothes, purses and shoes and say ” How can I save on laundry detergent?”

For a person in this situation, asking that question makes as much sense as saying, “My home is burning down — I must go back in and save that $3 carton of milk I bought today!” If it were me, I would say, ” Forget the milk I going to save the family heirlooms, my gold jewelry and the good silver.”

I have tried to understand why in a financial crisis so many people want to learn how to save money on laundry detergent when there are so many more obvious ways they could be saving. Here is what I have finally concluded:

First, by focusing on a trivial issue they don’t have to look at the real, more serious problem. It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a scratch on your finger while you are bleeding profusely from an artery on your leg. They don’t want to acknowledge the real spending problem because then they would have to deal with it.

If you are in this situation and you want to be free of it, YOU HAVE TO ADMIT THERE IS A PROBLEM. You are spending more money then you make. It is important to realize that spending impulsively beyond your means is almost as bad as doing drugs. You get instant gratification and pleasure but over the long haul, it will destroy you.

Second, saving on laundry detergent gets rid of that nagging guilt for a little while. As long as they keep trying to save pennies on unimportant things, they don’t have to feel guilty about spending thousands on the fun things. The problem is that if they are spending beyond their means, it will catch up with them eventually, which will make the stress and damage all the worse.

For those of you who have your finances under control and really do need a way to spend less on detergent, here are a few suggestions. At first I wondered how I could help anyone save money on detergent when a person uses so little of it? For a family of four, a 40-load box of detergent would last me one to two months, which doesn’t give a lot to save on. It isn’t the laundry detergent that people need to save on but the amount of laundry they are doing. It’s seems as if people’s laundry has turned into some kind of monster that is taking over their homes. It’s everywhere. Piles of it on the floor, chairs, tables, and beds. Almost every horizontal surface in the house is covered with laundry — dirty laundry, clean laundry and folded laundry.

By cutting back on the amount of laundry you do, you can save quite a bit on detergent, dryer sheets, fabric softener and hot water.

Here are a few ways to help you cut back:

  • Have the kids wear the same pair of pajamas every night. Before you get upset and say there is no way you would allow them to do that think about this: You bathe your kids before they go to bed so their pajamas go on a clean body. How dirty could those pajamas get while they are sleeping? Most people don’t change their sheets more than once a week. What is the difference between sleeping on the same sheets and sleeping in the same pajamas?
  • Assign each person his or her own towel to use a minimum of two to three times instead of just once. In the case of young children let them use the same towel. Up to a certain age most people toss their little ones all in the bath together so if they can share the same bath water they can share the same towel.
  • When you get home from church or someplace where you didn’t wear the outfit all day, change out of your good clothes and hang them up to wear again.
  • If it doesn’t look dirty and doesn’t stink, don’t wash it. We usually use jeans for a week at our house.
  • Don’t be lazy. So often we get undressed and, instead of putting our clothes away, we throw them on the floor in a heap. We don’t want to iron, fold or even hang them up, so we just throw them in the wash. This makes more work later because we still have to iron, fold and hang them on wash day, but we also use more detergent, dryer sheets, fabric softener, hot water and time.


Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

Homemade Laundry Detergent Video

Can You Save Money Making your Own Laundry Detergent?

What is Washing Soda?

For more easy laundry, cleaning and homemaking tips to make your life easier, check out our Keeping It Clean e-books.



  1. says

    I feel better now after reading this. I have automatically been doing all of those things. I guess I have my mother to thank as when we were growing up we had to rely on rain water and the clothes line to get things dry so there was no way things could just be constantly washed. We use our towels for a week – though sometimes my husbands ones get washed more often if he has been particularly filthy and showered quickly. Same as the pj’s, they go on clean bodies so of course they last the week. After school clothes get worn for the week because they are only being worn for a few hours and now that I have teenagers in upper high school they are sitting at home in them doing their homework. Wow I was actually already doing things I just didn’t realise it

  2. mildred lane says

    I have found when wearing the jeans for a week-you can spray the crotch w/ antiseptic spray,let dry before wearing.

  3. Angela says

    I would like to mention that if you are going to reuse your bath towels several times before washing, you should hang them on a clothesline in the sun, or toss them in the dryer to get them dry. Any damp towel left hung up in the house to dry will breed 1,000 of bacteria within a few hours. I just toss mine in the dryer…in about 10 minutes they are dry…cheaper then washing and drying each time you use them…but it kills the bacteria which can then get on their hands and then into their mouths. Something to think about with hand towels and especially kitchen towels!!! If you want to reuse a washcloth in the kitchen, place the washcloth in a non metal bowl in a small amount of warm water with about a 1/2 tsp. of bleach…this keeps bacteria from growing, and then you can simply rinse out the washcloth and reuse it to wash counters or dishes.

    • says

      While that is a good idea, it will just cost you more money. Just hang drying them will be fine. If you open the towel to dry on your towel rod it will still dry and when it’s not wet bacteria don’t grow.

      • Jamie says

        Sorry, but they don’t dry completely for days sometimes, here in the humid south. We don’t have central air conditioning, and the humidity is always high, especially in the 1 bathroom shared by 6 of us! I’ve taken them into the living room where the air conditioning is, and they will dry there, but who wants wet towels in their living room? So I toss them into the dryer also.

        • Ron says

          Sorry to get off the subject of towels, clothes etc. when and how often people need to wash. However, I do have a question for Jamie…what does living in the south have to do central air. I live in the south and have had central air everywhere I have ever lived. My family grew up with central air so please do not give people from everywhere not all southern people know what central air is. If you and your family are able to use just one bathroom, I can imagine you have many dirty towels at the end of the day.
          Being you have such a large family, I would assume you could hang your towels in the sun on a warm day. If its winter and you have a basement, you can always hang them in your basement. Although, the basement will get quite humid in the summer, and you will be forced to go outdoors.
          People do what they have to, and I realize this is a site with ideas on how to save money. However, I could not imagine using a towel more than once, or wearing the same clothes for more than one day.
          When I was a child one of my grandmothers was very poor, but she always seemed to have money to wash her clothes etc. She did make her own laundry detergent, and the clothes always came clean. She was so poor she was still using a ringer washer when I was born and part of my childhood. In addition, I was not born until 1977, and the washer still worked. However, it was a lot harder than using an automatic washer. All of her clothes dried on a clothesline and in the winter in her attic.
          My reason in putting this bit in about my grandmother being poor is that I felt certain someone might use the poor excuse for not being clean.

    • Maria says

      We each have two towels, one to use while the other is in the wash. We use them 3-5 days before washing and have never had any adverse effects. We have done this for years. They are also color coordinated so we each have a specific color.

  4. Alison says

    We have a high-efficiency washing machine. Will this homemade detergent work with the he machines? If so, how much should I use per load? Thanks.

  5. Cathy K. says

    I have 8 children and made my own detergent using these recipes, years ago. Even gave it another try later on. I don’t like it as it doesn’t clean the clothes well enough. I chose to use coupons and get Tide when it’s on sale. I am not loyal to name brands, however, I found that Tide works the best. P.S. Maybe it’s because I have well water?

    • says

      Yes they type of water you have makes a big difference in the type of detergent whether bought or made. If anyone needs more info I wrote a huge laundry e book with info on how to do everything with laundry starting with how to get the kids to put the clothes in the hamper, stain removal, differences in water, what is washing soda, Borax etc., how to hang out clothes, fold clothes, dry clothes with and without a dryer,irons, ironing boards, ironing, starch, folding clothes, putting them away, how many clothes do you need and even a bunch of recipes for things if you need them.

  6. Megan says

    Something I do in between washings, is I hang clothes for the first time with all of the hangers facing one way, then if they are not dirty, I hang them back up and face the hook of the hanger in the opposite direction, so then I will know I have worn it and will throw it in the laundry when I take it off for the second time, except for jeans (which I usually wear 3 times before washing). Also I sometimes spray a little of the off brand fabreeze (that after I use a little, I add just a little bit of water to, doesn’t make the smell so strong and makes it last longer) on certain clothes to make the inbetween washings last longer.

    • says

      Good idea Megan. You I can tell know the real secret to saving on laundry and that is do less. Wear your things when you can more then once and more important you don’t just drop them on the floor letting them get wrinkled so you will have a good excuse just to dump them in the hamper instead of bothering to hang them up.

      It is one of my pet peeves that I write about in my laundry e bookhow so often clothes are drop on the floor and left because when it gets dusty or wrinkled it is a good excuse to just throw it in the hamper and not have to bother to hang them up not realizing having to launder them takes so much more time.

    • Vicki Thomas says

      I usually wear my blouses and dresses twice before they go into the hamper. When I re-hang my items I have worn once, I turn the iteam inside-out to remind me that after I wear the item again, I know that it will need to go in the hamper. The pants, jeans, and capris I will wear a few more times unless I have really sweated when I wear them.

  7. Linda says

    I use a lot of your tips. I used to make my own soap. A year ago, I started using Charlie’s Soap. We really liked it so we bought a 5 gallon bucket at a great price with free shipping. Since you only use a tablespoon at a time, we haven’t even used up 1/2 the bucket in a year. We rarely need stain remover with it. It washes completely out so clothes are soft and you don’t need fabric softener.

    • says

      One thing which I mention in our laundry e book is you can save a bunch on regular laundry detergent by just watching how much you use. Often people just pour some in not really measuring and use too much. Plus I always use 1/2 the amount it says to use which means a 40 load container will do 80 loads.

      If you do 5 loads a week for a family of 4 that is 20 loads a month so one 40 load container should last 4 months (using 1/2 the amount). Which means you should be buying about 3 – 40 load containers of detergent a year. That isn’t that much. We buy and spend way more on coffee, ice cream, pop etc.

      As I mentioned in the e book too watch out for ultra detergents, softeners etc. Companies have switched over to these and you need much, much less but people still pour as much as they would regular.

      One last thing. I have never been able to figure out why everyone is so into saving on laundry detergent. I don’t use that much even when I had a family I used very little. Part of the problem is once again we are washing more laundry then we need to. Wear things until they are dirty not just once, don’t let kids (or parents) get by with being lazy and just throw something in the hamper to save them have to put it away or stop putting something in the hamper when it is clean but wrinkled because you don’t want to iron it etc.

    • says

      Looks interesting but even though it goes a long way it doesn’t appear to cost less per load. I might try it just because I do have to pre-treat most of our clothes and if it did get most stains that would be worth it.

  8. Angie M. says


    I absolutely agree that I don’t know why saving on laundry detergent is such a concern. It’s about the least of my budgeting concerns when I head to the store.

    I buy Purex because it’s reasonable and I like the quality and the scent. I buy the largest container I can find and save just by buying a larger size. Even with a family of 4, a large container will last a long time. I also use a little less than suggested. I do this with most things though…shampoo, toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, etc. I just find I don’t usually need as much as the suggestion.

    I buy a couple of spray bottles of Shout a year for pre-treating stains. Sometimes, I use Dawn for greasy stains or set-in stains. I spend very little on laundry products.

    Now, I need to focus my energies on saving more on my groceries overall. I do better when I shop alone but when I take the two boys they want so much junk food.

    One tip I read here that really helped was how Tawra buys x amount of chips or cookies and her kids know they get x amount per day and if they are gone sooner, they do without. I also read how Tawra has her kids use their own money to buy treats if they really want them.

    My boys get an allowance now for doing chores. I do buy some treats at the grocery store but now if the boys want something extra, I tell them they may buy it with their allowance money.

    My 14 year old is getting to the point that he will save most of his money and just do without junk food. He knows he can always have some form of treat at home. Not an unlimited supply but I always some popcorn and crackers. Then I usually make cookies, brownies or a cake a couple of times a week. I buy limited soda but he knows he can have it every now and then so he rarely spends his money on junk food anymore.

    My 9 year old is still buying Oreos, gum and candy weekly with some of his allowance. We make them put 1/2 in a savings account and he spends most of the other 1/2 on junk food. It’s his money and his choice though.

    This has really worked for me. I make a grocery list/budget and stick with it for the most part. If the boys start asking for treats, I say ‘buy it with your allowance’. Perfect. :-)

    Angie M.

  9. says

    I don’t usually bother trying to save on laundry stuff. I just wasn’t worth the time and hassle of figuring it out.
    I used to buy purex because it is the only one in town that doesn’t have any scent at all. Unfortunately they stopped getting it in so I was stuck for a while. Don has asthma and the scents really set him off.
    Last month a department store had a new brand of unscented for $2. a gallon I bought 2 and still have about 3/4 of on bottle and a full one left. Just heard this week it is $3.45 I would buy another bottle but with Don sick I don’t want him out while I price shop so will have to wait for that price or better another time. Purex is $9 for the same size bottle.
    Now to treats.
    When you are married to a junk food junkie there are always treats and snacks in the house. I would just add them into the cost of groceries and not an added expense.
    Chips for after supper, pop for any time. The boys would have kool aide more than pop because they found the pop too sweet. One did not like chips and to this day hardly buys them. The other one liked pop corn so that was his treat of choice and still is. I liked that they got the treats at home and that way I could keep an eye on what they were having instead of them taking money to the store and pigging out on the bars and bags of snacks.
    I usually ended up with 3/4 of their halloween candy in my freezer along with the easter stuff as well. We are not big sweet eaters it was more salty things we liked.
    I made fish sticks and chicken fingers from scratch and burgers the same. Pizza was almost always home made and they both make fantastic pizza.
    I made healthy meals but with the treats tossed in to the meal in a healthy way.
    Lots cheaper and since I was at home all the time and loved to cook it was fun for me and teaching them was a great family activity.

  10. Jemkallen says

    Another good reason to wear clothes longer between washes : the clothes last longer because the fewer washes cut down on the wear and tear of the clothes.

    • says

      You are right about the clothes lasting longer. I have a section on this in the laundry e book and talk about where do you think all of that lint in your dryer is coming from it is from the clothes hitting each other and that is the fiber wearing off of your clothes. This is too another example why line drying clothes also will help your clothes last longer.

  11. Liz says

    I recently switched from store bought cleaning products to making all of my own. I have to say I love the laundry soap and fabric softener. I just ran out of fabric softner and it felt so good to run to the kitchen to quickly make up a new batch. No running to the store to buy an expensive product. Whoo Hoo! I think everyone should switch to making their own. The savings is incredible especially in this unstable economy

  12. Elizabeth says

    I remember first reading this article some time ago. It still makes me chuckle when I read it because I get a little obsessive about the details (like saving on laundry soap) when my family took several trips to the local restaurant each week and impulse bought things all the time.

    I did start making my own laundry soap with your recipe and still do. I found I just enjoy making it. It makes me feel triumphant every time ….I know, I know…whatever floats my boat, right?

    Anyways, enjoyed the read (again) and I do give the recipe two thumbs up and recommend it for whatever reason a reader might feel compelled to do so.

  13. Shirley says

    Okay, I’m not in debt; not going through bankruptcy or divorce; I and my off-spring re-use towels and re-wear clothes; we’re careful to use the correct amount of soap. But . . . I am a busy massage therapist with LOTS of sheets to wash so my laundry detergent costs are quite sizeable. Big enough to rate its own line in my Overhead budget.

    I’ve thought about re-using the sheets, which would undoubtedly make a huge difference — mainly because I would soon be out of clients — but that would cause other (larger) problems. So I’m on the look-out for a way to save on laundry detergent.

    The water here is pretty hard, and the massage cream residue doesn’t come out easily. Bleach might work, but some folks have sensitive skin. Leaving them with an itchy rash seems kind of counter-productive. Besides, I’m afraid of what would happen to my lovely chocolate-colored flannel sheets. :-)

    • says

      Shirley I don’t know if you have tried making our homemade laundry detergent or not. That is a lot cheaper but the main thing is it has washing soda and borax in it. Both are really good at softening water thus making things like the cream or oily things come out easier. It really isn’t to hard to make and you can even watch a video we made on how to make it on you tube if you want to just see how to make it first.
      How this maybe answered your question some.

  14. Shirley says

    Jill ~
    Yes, I’ve read about your homemade laundry detergent, but it seemed like the consensus was that it didn’t save much — only pennies. Did I misunderstand?

    • says

      It costs about $.40 per gallon give or take a few cents where you live. Most people love it because of it’s price and is so inexpensive. I think what you read was the fact there are a few people who live in far out places, tiny towns and in some cases a different country and have trouble finding washing soda so have ordered in on line.

      But that isn’t the norm most of the time. You can find it at Wal Mart usually in with the laundry detergents usually on the top shelf. If for some reason your wal mart doesn’t have it you can get it at many hardware stores. I have seen it in almost all the places I have lived including no mans land where I lived in Idaho but then I know what and where to look too.

      Also you only use like a 1/2 a cup of the washing soda and borax so people sometimes think they paid a lot of money for just 2 gallons of detergent (which is what the recipe makes for 1 batch) not realizing they have enough ingredients left still to make up many more batches.

  15. Michelle says

    I have been frugal with laundry for at least 30 years..and have developed a system that worked well for the 3 of us……first I line dry pretty much everything.I have lines in the basement and out side I will be moving from a house to an apartment ( Sr living!)in the future as I tour apartments I look for a place to string a line to dry clothes…I own a dryer but rarely use it….and am not about to start!
    Secondly I have never used the recommended amout of any detergent…I use about 1/4 for a full load…and will wait to wash till I have a full load….purchased with coupons only when its on sale….
    2..when the family was home I used to say every body has to have enough clothes to get through 10 days…as it can be that long for me to wash that particular load…colors, whites, blacks, sheets. throw rugs, toweles ect….I only washed one load a day …after we were done with diapers which I soaked in borax and washed…..and hung….with tide and borateem….I had the whitest dittys in town and the cheapest…the paper ones had just come on the market…and they were EXPENSIVE!
    I use a product called DeSolve It for stains…crayon magic marker paint, car grease you name it it comes out with this..type it in the browser and it will come up on line…I dont see it in the home improvement stores any more….it started as wall paper remover….
    .when you put the item into the wash when you take it off spray a little on the stain…let it sit..untill you get round to doing that load and just wash with everything else….stains just come out…never try to remove the stain with anything not even water first…just do this..and laundry room or hamper will have a lovely citrus smell while waiting to be washed….
    Lastley when I use fabric softener…I use about 1/4 recommended amount….unnecessary to use more….clothes are soft enough, and no static cling which we hate….if using dryer sheets…and yes I do occasionally I cut the sheets in half…a box of 20 does 40 loads…I cant tell you how infrequently I purchase it…..

  16. kathy says

    Why do the liquid laundry detergent measuring cups make it so hard to see the measuring lines?? I like to think I have half a brain, but for a long time I filled the cup all the way up. Only recently did I realize how much I was wasting!! Surely I am not the only one who made this mistake? Even now that I know about the lines, I can barely make them out. I shudder to think how much money has literally gone down the drain from my ignorance.

      • says

        Good idea Sheila. Most people could cut the amount they spend on laundry detergent in half or more if they would just measure it properly. I usually use way less then what they say to use too and that helps a lot.

  17. Deb Vaughn says

    I realize some people don’t have the time I have to make their own laundry and dishwashing detergent, but with the prices of things going skyhigh, I think every little bit helps. My hubby travels and brings me all of his little travel soaps and shampoos. I grind the soap bars up in my food processor, mix with the borax/soda according to the recipe and make fantastic laundry soap! So none of the soap tidbits are wasted. I ofen don’t like the hotel shampoos, but I mix them all together and use them in my kitchen soap dispenser for handwashing. Soap is soap and I don’t like antibacterial anyway. Dawn is my one splurge for greasy stuff. We have hard water and I found using the homemade dishwasher soap I no longer have white build up in my dishwasher and my dishes are just as clean. I do use jet dry just so my dishes dry faster. I believe I save quite a bit and it doesn’t really take that long to make and I’m cutting down on all the different cleaners because I use the borax etc. for other recipes and cleansers as well. I’m really into using what I’ve got, but it isn’t for everyone! Love your site!

  18. Michelle Ferrandino says

    I also have had the heating element on every dishwasher I have ever owned disconnected….dishes dry any way especially if you just open the door…it keeps plastics and small items from melting too..I try to never pay for what mother nature can do.

  19. Bea says

    Jill, I thought you might like these recipes.
    Homemade Bleach Alternative
    1 cup hydrogen peroxide
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    15 cups water
    Mix and keep in a large marked plastic jug.

    Homemade Spray Starch
    3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    4 cups very warm water
    Mix until no more lumps remain and keep in spray bottle after cools.

    Simple Gel Face Soap
    2 oz grated soap (like Ivory or Castile)about 1/2 bar
    2 cups hot herbal infusion made of 1/3 cup dried herbs such as Lavender or Rosemary or Chamomile, added to the water and heated, and steeped like tea, OR use just plain water with no herbs and heat.
    Combine grated soap and herbal infusion, you can strain out herbs if wanted or leave in, OR use plain heated water in a jar and let sit overnight so soap dissolves.
    When cool it will become gel like. To use massage a little into skin or put on washcloth to exfoliate skin.

    About 5 drops of essential oil can be added to the plain water if not using herbal infusion if you want.

  20. vickie says

    Does the homemade laundry detergent get out sweat smell, my husband’s work causing him to sweat alot and it is hard to get his clthes really fresh.

    • says

      It is one of those things that is hard to tell without trying. I know most people say it gets their laundry very clean and fresh smelling but if you are having problems with other detergents then I am not sure. I knew a woman once no matter what she used her clothes always smelt. Some people just have a different make up in their body chemistry but for your average person I think it works fine. It really is pretty much like detergent it’s just that you make it yourself.

  21. rose says

    yes .. it does get out the sweat smell .. last summer, when i lived in our old house and had my washer, i used the homemade version (powdered version with the zote soap instead of fels naptha) .. and after the first wash, i def couldnt smell the sweat in my son’s clothes .. but bc of the way i am, i washed them twice .. he works outside all day long ,, he’s a sign spinner .. so his clothes smell horrible ..
    my son in law swears by the homemade soap ..esp for his socks! .. they stil look new after all these years! ..

  22. rose says

    hehe ,, the first time i used the powder version i washed his clothes 4 times~! .. hehehe .. he works outside .. so i told him to wear the same clothes for 5 days straight bc i was making some for his cousins (who are electricians, plumbers and mechanics) .. and i wanted to test out the soap for people of those jobs .. and yes! .. after 4 washes! .. his clothes were so clean that even the older stains he had on them came out .. and they smelled so nice too .. nice and fresh! ..
    we were all shocked bc i didnt expect his clothes to look new again .. i knew they would be clean but to look practically new again? .. hehehe.. even my duaghter and son in law were impressed .. my son didnt like it but i told him it was for science! ..hehehe .. (of course he took a bath daily during that time but didnt wear any deodroant for those days) .. after the last day he told me to burn his clothes .. i told him i didnt think that was necessary .. even he was impressed ..
    thought i would share ,, hehehe ,,, i wish u were there to see the look on his face when his clothes were dried .. and yes i dried them on the line, i didnt have a dryer ..
    not sure if that made a difference ..

    • says

      Oh Rose too funny. How is the new place still doing? Are you keeping organized? I love your stories about the laundry detergent. New comers don’t have a clue what you have gone through with it do they? LOL

  23. Chris says

    You should amend your post to include a paragraph about farm families. I’ve been making homemade laundry detergent for years and it DOES save a bundle with the filthy laundry at our house! No way my kids clothes are wearable for a week, although they might try! They do put dirty jeans back on to go do chores, but riding horses trashes a pair if jeans in one day.
    There’s a huge difference in kids who work and play outside and those who play video games from the couch!!

    • says

      Of course this post is to the “general” public which as we all know now is not mostly farming families. You have to adjust all things to fit your family.

  24. Terrie says

    I agree that the lines on the measuring cups are hard to read. I draw a line with a Sharpie marker on the measuring cup to show where to fill to for full loads. Much simpler and easy to see! Since my detergent has not changed recently, I swap the old cup to the new box each time I open one. You could also do this with a liquid detergent lid, as long as they do not change the bottle size or shape.

  25. Barbs says

    We are empty nesters, so I put out one towel, hand towl and face cloth. In the Kitchen we use 1-2 depending. I rewash our sponges weekly and rotate them. We use our clothes for a longer time, rather then we didn’t feel like handing them up! Yeah, lazy!

  26. Karen says

    I just made your homemade soap for the first time. My question is:

    It is not purely liquid. There are lumps of soap floating in it. Is that normal? When I put it in the washer will it stay on the clothes since I use cold water wash?

    I’m sorry for the silly question but I followed the receipe to the letter.

    Thanks, Karen

  27. Mary Jane says

    Thank you for the insight on what may really be going on when people are trying to save money on something that is really a drop in the bucket compared with other real expenses. This clears things up for me. I recently heard a story of a lady who bought close to $20.00 worth of ingredients to make a batch of laundry soap (NOT a recipe from your site), that will in the end probably cost her more than buying good detergent on sale. I could never figure this out. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for saving pennies to take care of dollars, but only if you really are saving, and are looking out for the dollars as well! My tip for doing laundry with savings may have already been mentioned, but my friend told me that some loads of laundry need no soap at all. I tried a few small loads of bath towels, and found that they come out just as clean and fresh smelling as they do when I use detergent. I always use considerably less detergent than is recommended, on most of my laundry. Years ago, my sister was living in a low income housing project and learned from some other frugal moms, that a simple squirt of ordinary dishwashing liquid will clean a load of laundry in a pinch. The liquid of choice seemed to be Sunlight.

    • Free says

      It is the action of the water moving through your clothes that gets them clean, which is why you shouldn’t cram your washer full. Leave space for the water to do it’s work and you can use way less detergent than recommended by the manufacturer. I know several people who cram their clothes in, fill the caps to almost overflowing with detergent, then let the clothes sit in the washer for a day or two and complain that their laundry detergent sucks lol.

      A tip that I haven’t seen mentioned yet, to help save money on energy and reduce drying time, throw a clean, dry bath towel in the dryer with your wet clothes. Especially if you have to use the Laundromat.

  28. Karen says

    My hubby works at a glass plant and my son works as a fry cook at a fast food place. Both of them get really dirty. I have tried to use the homemade detergent, but it doesn’t even touch the grease or dirt. Any hints for these kinds of ground in smelly clothes?

    • says

      My dad was a car and airplane mechanic and painted vehicles for a living so his stuff got pretty bad. My mom had the best smelling, clean and brightest clothes I have every seen. What she always did was spray the really bad spots with Shout then sprinkle or pour some of the laundry detergent right on the spot before she put it in the wash. She also uses warm water when washing them.

  29. Jeanne says

    It’s not so much saving money I am after, but allegies (or at least sensitivities) to most commercial laundry products and their overpowering scents (even the “unscented” versions). Also, in my ongoing emergency preparation quest, I want to be able to stock fewer items, that have many uses. We live in what most Americans would consider a small town, with a single road in, access otherwise by boat or plane, weather permitting, in Alaska. In all seriousness, in a large-scale emergency, we are NOWHERE on any relief worker’s radar. So I’ve learned to make all kinds of things from scratch, including laundry and other cleaning products. And the homemade stuff works just fine for me. For stains I use either Fels soap or Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds (which also makes awesome hand dishwashing soap).


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