A great way to save money is to make your own laundry detergent.  I know, this sounds nuts, but it is extremely simple to do, and very economical. For our family of five, we spend an average of fifteen dollars a month on store bought detergents. That’s one hundred and eighty dollars a year! This amount could of course be more or less depending on your laundry habits. The ingredients for your homemade soap can be purchased for $15 to $20 from your local Walmart. One batch of soap lasted us about 12 months. In fact I had about two loads worth left over. That makes a one hundred and sixty dollar savings over the year. Not too shabby if you ask me. Here is your shopping list.

1- 4 lb 12 oz Box of Borax

1- 3 lb 7 oz Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

1- 3 lb Container of OxyClean- Found in the detergent aisle.

2- 14.1 oz Bars of Zote Soap or Fels Naptha

1- 4 lb Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

2- 55 oz Bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener

Most of these items are found on the detergent aisle. The baking soda is found on the baking aisle. You will need a big container to mix and store your detergent in. I use a container that was made to hold dog food. It works for the size of my laundry room.

Step one of your detergent making is to cut your bars of soap in half, and allow them to dry out for a day or two. Drying them out helps them turn into a more uniform powder, which makes them dissolve better in your washer. After they have dried out a bit use your food processor with the grater attachment to grate the soap into small bits. After I have finished grating, I like to but the chopping blade back in and give it a few pulses. Then put everything into your container. It helps to make your life easier if you sort of layer the ingredients a bit. My husband liked mixing it all up with is grout mixer attachment to his power drill. He liked that because he is, well, a man. I didn’t mind just using a wooden spoon to get the job done. Whatever works for you.

Once it’s all mixed together you are ready to get washing! The best part about this detergent is that you really only need one (maybe two) tablespoons per load. This detergent does it get sudsy, like you might expect, but I promise it will work wonderfully! The Purex softener crystals are completely optional to the mix, I just like my clothes to smell fresh and clean, so I went with it. This detergent dissolves in both cold and not waters, so you have nothing to worry about there. My kids have slightly sensitive skin, but have had no reactions to this whatsoever. Everyone is different though, so keep that in mind if you have sensitive skin, just like you would with any other soaps. I have not had any issues with my fabrics fading, and have actually noticed some spots that I thought were hopeless disappear. This detergent also works wonders on my husbands undershirts.

The original recipe can be found here: http://www.howdoesshe.com/cheaper-and-better-diy-laundry-detergent

-Stephanie Wright

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