Sunday, March 01, 2009

Saving money in the laundry room

Saving money is on everyone's mind right now so I thought I would share how I save a little money by making my own cleansers.  
The first one I started out making is my own laundry detergent.  I got the recipe here.  My first batch of this soap cost me about $14.  I spent about $4 on a box of Borax, $3 for a box of Washing Soda, $1 on a bar of Fels Naptha, $1 on a dedicated measuring cup that I only use for measuring out the detergent when I am doing laundry, and $5 on the 2g bucket with lid.  You only use 1/2c of the borax and washing soda and a third of a bar of the Fels Naptha so that $14 will make me 6 gallons of laundry detergent.  At 128 ounces per gallon that is 768 ounces total.  You use about 1/2 cup (4 ounces) per load that means you get 192 loads of laundry for the $14.   That's $0.073 cents per load.  Compare that to Tide at $9.99 for 50 ounces (30 loads) which is $0.333 per load.  If you didn't have to buy the bucket then your cost drops to $0.0417 per load.  Your next six gallons of this detergent would only cost you another dollar because all you would need to buy would be another bar of Fels Naptha.  You will have LOTS of the borax and washing soda left.
Tide was just an example that I chose because it is a brand I know is commonly available.  Your savings will vary based on the brand of laundry soap you use but I am positive that you cannot buy laundry detergent anywhere for as cheaply as you can make it if you are willing to spend just a little bit of time.
The laundry detergent is really easy to make but the website did leave out the fact that it is a bit odd looking.  After it sits for the 24 hours it looks like jello on top but is watery underneath.  This is normal, just take a long handled spoon and break up the solid mass into smaller pieces.   Once you mix it good it will stay mixed and you just scoop out half a cup of lumps and liquid and put it in your washing machine.  The mix dissolves just fine in hot or cold water so there is no need to try to dissolve it prior to adding it to the washer.  I am now on my second batch of soap and have found it to be just as good as any of the premade detergents I've tried.
The other thing I do to save money in the laundry room is make my own fabric softener.  This one is stupidly easy - 1 gallon of vinegar and 10-14 drops of your favorite essential oil.  That's it.  The essential oil isn't even a requirement, I just like to use it to cut the sharp scent of the vinegar.  Using plain vinegar will not make your clothes smell like vinegar, I just add the oil to make it more pleasant for me to dispense the vinegar.  I use this in two different ways.  For clothes I spray a white cloth with the vinegar solution and toss the cloth in the dryer with the clothing and dry it as normal.  When washing my towels and sheets I pour the vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser of my washing machine and do not use the white cloth in the dryer.   When spraying the cloth I make sure the cloth is heavily dampened but not dripping.  When adding to the washing machine I use about 1/2 cup in the dispenser.
Again, the vinegar works just as well as any store bought fabric softener sheet or liquid I have tried.  It also has two big advantages over store bought fabric softeners, your clothes don't come out of the dryer smelling perfumy, and you don't have the film build up on your lint screen which is common when you use a dryer sheet. 
I can't do a final cost analysis on the vinegar fabric softener because I haven't used up my first gallon yet so have no idea how many loads I will get out of it, but a 70ct box of Bounce at $6.49 is $0.093 per sheet.  My gallon of vinegar was $2, the essential oil was something I've had forever so I don't know how much it is.  I've gotten 30 loads out of my gallon so far (spraying the cloth uses less than filling the dispenser) so I am at about $0.667 per load at the minimum.  I have quite a bit of vinegar left so the price will be much lower when all is said and done. 
That is how I save money in the laundry room.  Let me know if its been helpful and please feel free to share how you save money as well.
And regarding the site I shared with you.  I have not tried their all purpose cleaner and glass cleaner recipes yet but as soon as I use up the store bought stuff I have I will be trying them out and I will be sure to let you all know how I like them.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog! I also make my own laundry detergent and last time I added a bottle of Dawn to it and it came out looking just like laundry detergent. Helps cut the grease too. Next time I'm just going to do a half a bottle and see. Didn't add any cost to mine since it was free after coupon.