Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it


Please scroll to the bottom for an update – 9/29/2014 – After using for almost a year…

Working from home gives a person much-needed time to take care of things around the house and sometimes, when business is slow it even allows for hobbies, crafts, or whatever you may choose to do in your spare time. I’ve so enjoyed working from home and here’s one thing I did with my spare time…

Last month I had a bit of down time and began to search on the internet again for DIY projects and penny-pinching budgeting ideas.  (I’ve always been a penny pincher, so this is nothing new for me. I’ve always been a couponer, but not to the extreme. I compare cost & value of the return before buying anything. I guess this comes from years of necessity and became a lifestyle overtime. I’m the gal that signs up to get free samples from various companies and will send out a tweet or make a status update to receive a free roll of toilet paper. It’s habit. It’s also saved me thousands of dollars over time if you add it all up though.)

My husband knew I was pinching pennies and saw a post on Facebook about making homemade laundry soap. He piqued my curiosity. After he left for his business day and I completed the necessary office work I needed to do, I began to browse the internet to learn more about this concept.

I kid you not, I found over 200 websites, articles, posts and write-ups about making homemade laundry detergent (soap) before I ever thought about going to Pinterest! I also found many articles indicating that people got upset when the word “detergent” was used instead of “soap”.  Amongst the many articles, I was able to identify a common trend. Although many people had written about this subject, there were only about 40 different recipes for liquid laundry soap and 37 for powdered. People were sharing the same recipes over and over again.

The reviews, comments, articles and posts were pretty straight forward. People either absolutely loved using this type of laundry cleaner or they hated it with a passion! The one aspect of this concept that captured my attention was the money-saving factor, so I wanted to put this theory to the test using my family’s usage and budget for laundry care.

Below are the results. It is important to know that at this time, I have only used the dry/powered form of home made laundry soap. I opted for this method because it is more cost effective and time saving than the liquid recipe.

Our family unit:

  • 2 adults, 3 teenagers wearing adult sized clothing = 5 people wearing adult sized clothing

Our family usage/dirt/stain/category levels:

  • 3 teenage boys that are heavy sweaters, 1 of which plays football – uniforms and all 3 regularly have grass stains, ground in dirt, and are very rough on their clothing. Each of these 3 boys creates 1 load of laundry each per day for 5 days and 1 load for the weekend = 6 loads per boy per day. Together they create 24 loads of laundry per week.
  • 1 man who regularly comes home covered in grime from work. Grime is defined by (Tar, sweat, shingle dust, sawdust, dirt from ground, goo from gutter cleaning, bark, silicon – caulk – foam insulation, dust from drywall, paint: all kinds such as latex, oil & water-based, ink {lots of ink stains}, and all types of other junk that may cling to him from someone’s attic or crawl space. Plus…and this is a bonus: he also comes home with mystery stains!   Aren’t I a lucky woman? Although he is the most stained member of our home, he only creates about 2 loads of laundry per week.
  • 1 woman (we all know what types of stains those are…) I create 2 loads of laundry per week.
  • Bedding = I wash 1 set of bedding per week. = 2 loads (Comforter washes by itself)
  • Towels = With 5 people showering daily, we create 3 loads of towels to wash per week.

Total loads washed per week on average: 30 large loads and 3 regular loads = 33 loads

What I normally spend on store bought detergents, stain removers, and additives= $40.96 monthly. Divided by 4 weeks = $10.24 per week.

$10.24 divided by 33 loads = $0.31 per load.

Home made laundry soap recipe and costs: (brand names omitted)

  • All Natural Super Washing Soda (NOT BAKING SODA) 55oz box powder = $3.53

    Washing Soda

    Washing Soda

  • All Natural Detergent Booster & Multipurpose Household Cleaner 76oz box powder = $4.32

    Detergent Booster

    Detergent Booster

  • 1 bar of Laundry Soap & Stain Remover (located in laundry aisle of retail or grocery store) = $1.09

    Laundry Soap

    Laundry Soap

Make it – Mix in a large bowl (that you’ll never eat out of again) 2 cups of Washing Soda, 2 cups of Detergent Booster. Smooth and de-clump powder mixture. Getting all lumps out is important. Mix together well. (I used my hands). Last, using a cheese grater (that you’ll never use for food again) grate 1 entire bar of laundry soap into itty bitty flake pieces directly into the bowl of the powder mixture. This was time consuming for me, so I did it while watching television with the kids. Stir to mix up the entire product when finished grating bar of soap. Store in an airtight container. This mixture makes approximately 1 quart of laundry soap. (I make 2 batches at one time so I only have to do this once a month.)

Usage: 1 tablespoon for small or regular loads. 2 tablespoons for large or heavy loads. Definitely use 2 tablespoons for very very dirty clothes.

The Results

I read that this recipe would create enough laundry soap for 64 loads. I discovered that the 1 quart mixture listed above actually only washed 48 loads of our laundry. We do tend to possibly have more heavily soiled clothing than most people (description above).

The cost break out:

1 box of washing soda will make 4 batches. $3.53 divided by 4 = $0.88 per batch. 1 box of laundry detergent booster will make 5 batches. $4.32 divided by 5 = $0.86 per batch. Each batch needs one full bar of laundry soap. $1.09 per bar.

$0.88+$0.86+$1.09 = $2.83

$2.83 divided by 48 loads of laundry = $0.06 per load

So after doing the math, it truly is a cost saver!

But, how effectively does it clean?

Below are my ratings on a scale from 1-10. (1 = not effective at all  10 = very effective)

  1. Removing smells from clothing: 10
  2. Removing standard dirt and stains: 9
  3. Color fade: 7
  4. Whites: 1
  5. Whites after adding bleach: 9
  6. Hard to remove stains without pre-treating: 2
  7. Hard to remove stains after pre-treating: 8 (pre-treat by using left over bar of laundry soap rubbed directly on stain on clothing while dry)
  8. Fragrance: 10 (it has no smell after it comes out of the dryer!
  9. Softens clothes: 9
  10. Static removal: 0 – you’ll still need to use dryer sheets
  11. Skin irritation: 10 – No skin irritation detected after using for 1 month

Time and Effort

Making this formula did take a little time and effort but was far less effort than used in making the liquid recipes I found.

Was it worth it?

So far, I have already noticed a difference in our laundry care budget. But since using this method, I have also worried about our utility bill. I use to wash our laundry on the cold cycle when possible to avoid using our water heater, but used it on the warm cycle when needed for stain removal.

With this recipe for laundry soap, it is most effective to run hot water into the basin of the washer long enough to effectively dissolve the powdered mixture before adding clothing. Our utility bill actually came in a couple of days ago and it has not been affected. Actually it dropped down from what it has been, but I attribute this to the changes in the weather and not running the AC unit. Fall is such a lovely time of the year 🙂 So, I cannot truly calculate a cost analysis yet to factor in utility usage. However, things are looking good so far!

I plan on using this recipe and soap until I run out of ingredients. I have been told about some other great alternative products that are cost saving also and I want to try those too. I’ll compare the actual cost of those products after I’ve tried them and share with you.

If you’ve had an experience making and using homemade laundry soap, I’d love to hear from you. Many of my friends I asked about this (before I tried it) had very distinct reactions. They either loved or hated it…well, most of them hated it honestly.

I’d love to hear from you and what you think!

Love always

Chrissy 🙂

UPDATE – 9/29/2014

After using the homemade laundry soap for almost year, we have switched back to other commercially produced products. Here’s why: I noticed that even running a natural cleaning solution (such as vinegar) through the washing machine weekly, the homemade laundry soap caused a terrible build up of stinky scum in the washer. After resorting to the commercially developed washing machine cleaners, the scum and smell were successfully removed by running it through the machine 6 times. 

Did you read that? I had to run harsh chemicals through the machine 6 times (or washes) in a row to remove the build up!

So in the end, I like the homemade laundry soap, but it was a terrible mess in the washing machine and since I had to resort to running the cleanser through 6 times to get the machine truly clean somewhat defeated the purpose of saving money using this method.

I’m not going to say that I’ll never use this method again, but I am saying that I am no longer using this method primarily.

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