March 05, 2014

{Suzy Homemaker} Laundry Detergent

Before kids Paul and I had no problem going to the store and buying anything we felt we needed. I can guarantee that some of the things we bought were not really needed but we bought them anyways. Then we had 7 kids and shopping is no longer as much fun. We are at a point in our life where instead of spending money on things like groceries we would rather have that money going towards retirement or our savings account. Over the last nine months we have besides finding ways to cut back on expenses we also changed the way we eat at our home. You will still find boxes of mac and cheese and cans of cream of mushroom soup but we are filling the fridge and our plates with lots of fresh veggies, fruit, meat and cheeses which adds up that grocery budget. We have done this to try and cut out the amount of processed food we give to our kids. We have even noticed a reduction in our weekly garbage once we stopped buying boxed food. With trying to stick to a tighter budget and eating healthier we have started making more products at home rather than buying from a store. Some of the things we now do is make our own peanut butter, buy milk in bulk and then freeze until ready to use, and recently we made our own homemade bread.

Over the next couple of months I am going to share some of our cost saving methods because I love learning new things from the blogs I read. The first thing I want to talk about is laundry soap. Do you have any clue how simple it is to make your own soap at home? I had no idea and only wish someone would have shared this with me oh say 15 years ago when I moved out of my parents house and had to buy my own detergent.

I use to spend about $50 every six months on detergent. We have bought soap from Amway for the last couple of years because I love that is does not have any extra fillers in it. It also has been great on Isabella's sensitive skin but I hated shelling out $50 every six months. Some of my fellow quad moms had mentioned they made their own soap for $.05 a load. With all of the laundry we do I knew I needed to try this. When I ran low last time I didn't have the time to spend a day making laundry detergent so I ordered another box of Amway. If I would have only known it would take me less than 30 minutes to make six months worth of soap I would have saved enough money for a pedicure!

This time when I was down to enough soap for 4 loads I sent Paul out to pick up the three ingredients need to make detergent at home. Yes THREE things is all it takes (& a cheese grater or better yet a food processor)!! You need a bar of Fels Naptha, a box of Borax, and a box of washing soda (at Wal-mart all of these items were sitting side by side on the shelf).

A cute kid or 2 is always essential to any project at our house.
We ended up multiplying the recipe by six because we like doing everything in multiples at our house. It cost us a total of $15 and the amount that it made is the same amount of Amway we use to get which would last us 6 months. If you were making a single batch of soap it would cost you about $8 but then your next batch would literally only cost you a $1 because all you would need to buy is the Fels Naptha.

The first step is to grate your bar of soap. I used the food processor with the grating blade and in 30 seconds had the Fels Naptha grated to look like shredded cheese. A cheese grater would work if you do not have a food processor. Paul has decided this is what they use in commercials when they want shredded cheese to look perfect on the top of pizza or a bowl of chili!

Next mix 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of washing soda together with your grated bar of soap. If you do not have a food processor your detergent is done.

I did not care for the grated pieces of soap so after I mixed all three ingredients together I put it all back in the food processor with the mixing blade and gave it a couple whirls to create a granular powder.

I then took my powder and poured it into my container I keep just for laundry detergent. No need to keep it air tight. When it comes time to wash clothes I simply pour 1 TBSP into my washer and push start. I just did a load of whites yesterday and was amazed at how white everything came out. It even took the yellow underarm stains out of Paul's white t-shirts.

I was amazed how easy and inexpensive it was to make my own laundry detergent. I will never buy another box of soap again. I also have stopped using fabric softener a couple months ago after researching how to get the funky smell out of towels. While searching the internet for a solution I read about people using vinegar in their washing machine to rid their towels of this musty smell and also using it as a replacement for fabric softener. A fourth of a cup in your softener dispenser is all you need. It doesn't leave your towels as soft but I will trade soft towels for non smelly towels any day. As long as they dry me off after a shower I will forgo some softness. And don't worry it does not leave your clothes or towels smelling like vinegar. You can also use vinegar to set color by adding 1/4 cup to your laundry detergent for that cycle.

Let me know if you decide to try making your own detergent and I would love to hear what you think. I would also love if you have any money saving products you make at home. Over the next couple of weeks we will be trying homemade Nutrigrain bars, Cheez-its, and yogurt. I will be sharing the success or failures of these and a couple other things we already make from scratch without all the extra preservatives you find in their counterparts at your local grocery.


  1. I hope you love your detergent as much as we do! I forgot to tell you, when grating your soap, use the small part of the grater so it makes a fine powder. If you do that you can skip the food processor part =)

  2. Love the idea. I'll definitely try this. Let's hope I find similar products here in Austria.

  3. Thanks so much for this post! Trying this today instead of buying our regular Tide. Wondering if it works well with a high efficiency washer? Also, curious about using this on cloth diapers. We use Charlie's Soap right now, but it's pretty expensive, especially since we double wash a load of diapers every day!


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