One of the things I have been passionate about lately is ways to save our family money. I am trying to make changes little by little that will have a positive effect on our savings. Part of striving to be more like a Proverbs 31 woman to my husband is being a good steward of the money for which he toils day after day. In the process of saving money, I am also trying to find ways to return to a more "simpler" lifestyle...one that isn't always easier, but simpler in terms of being able to do many things for ourselves. One small step to doing this has been to make my own laundry detergent. And it truly is quite economical.
Here is the recipe I use:
2 cups soap flakes (I use Ivory soap because of it is so economical, especially when bought in bulk)
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Powder
Get a cheap cheese grater from Wal-Mart. Grate the Ivory soap. Then add the Borax and the Washing Powder. This is Washing Powder, not Baking Soda. I found the Borax at Wal-Mart, but I bought the Washing Powder from the commissary. I did not find it at Wal-Mart, so locating it might prove difficult. However, if you ever buy anything from Amazon, you could always buy the Washing Powder there and then get your total to $25 and you will not have to pay shipping charges. Mix all in a bucket and use two tablespoons per load. One thing this will not do is create suds. That is okay...it gets my clothes clean and smelling clean. The smell is not as strong as other detergents on the market. You could however help that by adding a few drops of essential oils to your wash, but since they are so expensive, I thought that defeated my goal of saving money. You can also use healthier soaps (those without chemicals) like Castille...or you could get the Fels Naptha soap. However, we use Ivory for washing and it does not effect us negatively, so I chose that for the cost effectiveness. My loads of laundry now cost me a little under 10 cents a load! And that is a real savings when dealing with a family of seven.
One other tip: instead of buying fabric softeners, use a little bit of vinegar. It works to help soften your clothes and it does not come out with a vinegar smell. It also aids in getting your clothes cleaner.
I have a front loader washer and this recipe has worked well for me. So, if you are looking for a more economical way to wash clothes, give it a try and let me know what you think! Happy washing!