Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dirty Laundry: Going Green and Saving Money

Being a family of FIVE on one income, I am always on the lookout for ways to save money.  I buy generic groceries, use coupons, do "price matching" on produce and meat at Wal-mart, we use energy efficient appliances, try to keep lights off, things unplugged, eat most of our meals at home and the list goes on and on.
So when a good friend of mine told me her husband made his own laundry soap and that it costs only 5 cents a load, I knew I needed to make my own soap too!  We have LOTS of dirty laundry around here (did I mention there's 5 of us?!) so being able to save money on something that I use a lot of is really going to help out the ol' pocket book.     
Not only are the ingredients easy to find but they are cheap and All Natural!
Here are all the ingredients:   
Borax ($2.99), Arm & Hammer Washing Soda ($3.79) and a bar of ZOTE $.99) for a total of $7.77 before tax.  You can even use Ivory soap if would like!
I found the Zote & Borax at several places (Home Depot, grocery store, Wal-mart) and the  Washing Soda at an Ace Hardware Store since my Wal-mart was out of it or no longer carries it. Also, Fels Naptha is another good laundry bar to try and I actually think it smells better than the Zote.  However, Zote is a lot bigger so you can actually cut it in half and make two batches and it's the same price so it's actually cheaper to use the Zote. Plus it's pink and my daughter thinks it's pretty!

So the first thing you need to do is grate up the laundry bar.  You can use a cheese grater or a food processor.  I chose to use my food processor because I'm lazy efficient like that.
I used a saw and cut the Zote into 3rds so it would fit in my food processor.
I used the slicing blade to chop it up but it just turned it into a giant pink ball.  I really don't know how to use my food processor that well and all of it's little intimidating accessories but I wasn't about to give up!
So I went with plan B and used my cheese shredding blade (I'm sure there's a proper name for it??) and it worked perfectly.  So now I have what looks like pink shredded cheese.     
Then I changed the blade again to the slicing blade and it grated it into a finer texture similar to little tiny bb's.  (That's bb's not boobies)  Can you see the difference below?

After I got the bar grated into a fine texture I began adding the powder mix which is the Borax and Washing Soda.  Normally you would add 1 grated bar to 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda but since the Zote bar is so big, you can actually double the batch or even triple it.  I decided to triple it because I'm cheap frugile.  So my batch consists of 1 bar of Zote, 3 cups of Borax and 3 cups of Washing Soda.  If you use a normal size bar like Fels Naptha or Ivory Soap, your batch would be 1 grated bar, 1 cup of Borax and 1 Cup of Washing Soda.  Confused?  Good.
So that's it!  This is what it looks like all mixed together.  It's a beautiful pink powder that smells very fresh and clean.  Each batch yields approximately 32 ounces (between 32-64 loads based on how many Tbsp used per load).  You only need 1 tablespoon per load but you can adjust it however you need to if your laundry is extra dirty.  
You know like if you have 2 year old twin boys that like to dump bowls of cereal on their heads or play in the mud or eat spaghetti without a bib!
If you have a front loader HE machine you just put it in the dispenser where you would normally put powder detergent.  It's also safe for septic systems.  I've been using my home made detergent since May and my clothes have come out clean and smelling fresh without any soap residue.
I had a ton of questions about this soap and using it in my HE front loader so if you're like me and need to know everything about everything, go to and go under the "Cleaners" tab and you will find the answers to any questions you may have.

Here's the website cost comparison between store bought detergent and the home made version:
  • Arm & Hammer® liquid 100 ounce detergent – $6.79 – 32 loads = $0.21 per load
  • Tide® with Bleach powder 267 ounce detergent – $20.32 – 95 loads = $0.21 per load
  • Homemade powder 32 ounce detergent – $2.98 – 64 loads = $0.05 per load
I actually found my ingredients cheaper than the guy on the website so I'm actually saving more!  
If you are into saving money or making an all natural laundry detergent then you should give this a try!  It's so easy y'all and get your kiddos involved too, they'll love it!  Get them to grate the bar of soap for you with a cheese grater they will think it's fun and it's the hardest part, he he.

Have you ever made your own laundry soap?? Know anyone else who has made their own?


  1. Have used this recipe a couple of years now in well water and we love it! Fels Naptha is the soap we find and we use white vinegar in place of fabric softener-works well and things are always fresh!! I also add a cup of oxyclean to the detergent mixer for brightening.