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Why Homemade Laundry Detergent Rocks!

Frugal Dad recently wrote a post about why he doesn’t make his own laundry detergent [3]. He wrote that there are some things he refuses to give up, and store bought laundry detergent is one of those things. To his credit, he correctly stated that frugality is an individual thing, tailored to each person’s priorities in life.

I, on the other hand, proudly make my own laundry detergent (here’s my homemade laundry detergent recipe [4]).  While saving money on homemade laundry detergent is nice, it’s not the only reason I take the time to make it.

I Know What’s In It

I have two children. I have sensitive skin. Too many times I’ve bought detergent that irritates somebody’s skin. By making my own detergent, I control what goes into it. There are no unnecessary perfumes. The detergent is as strong or weak as I make it. The first time I made homemade laundry detergent, I put too much Fels Naptha soap into it. The second time, I cut it in half, and it was perfect. My clothes were clean, and my skin wasn’t irritated.

Do you ever wonder why new mothers are encouraged to wash their babies clothes in pure soap, rather than laundry detergent, for the first month? It’s because laundry detergent is harsh. And if it’s harsh on skin, it’s probably harsh on clothing, too.

I try to take this attitude in all areas of life. I make dinner from scratch, because I know what goes into our bodies that way. I don’t want to be eating dinner made of stuff I can’t pronounce!

It Gives Me a Sense of Accomplishment

Instead of running to the store to buy something my family needs, making it from scratch serves as a reminder that you don’t need to buy something for every need you have.

Too often in our society when we need something, break something, lose something, (insert your reason here), we run to the store to purchase a replacement. Making my own laundry detergent reminds me that often what I need is at my fingertips, if I use a little creativity.

The other day I was making crockpot macaroni and cheese. Too late, I realized the recipe called for two eggs, and I didn’t have any. Instead of piling the kids into the car to run to the corner (and expensive, I might add) market, I thought about what else I could use as a binder. I ended up using a little corn starch and water, and it turned out just fine.

Making my own laundry detergent is just one step in my effort to see what I can reduce, reuse, recycle, or do without.

It’s All About Attitude

I like knowing that I’m able to do things that companies tell me only they can do for me. I make laundry detergent, household cleaners, and even my own mochas. I somewhat enjoy going against large retailers and doing things myself.

I’m not a total killjoy, though. There are things I splurge on from time to time. Clothes, dinner out, and yes, every once in a while a mocha from Starbucks. But I know when push comes to shove, if the economy tanks and we’re in a dire financial situation, I know how to do for myself.

Homemade Detergent & Cleaners Recipes

Simple Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

If you’re interested in making your own laundry detergent, my favorite (and the easiest) recipe is for powdered laundry detergent.

  1. Grate 1/2 bar Fels Naptha soap (or you can try other soaps) in a food processor.
  2. Add 1 cup Borax,
  3. 1 cup Washing Soda, and,
  4. 1 cup Baking soda.
  5. Process until mixed.

That’s it.  It takes 5 minutes. Use about 2 tablespoons per full load of laundry. You’ll be surprised at how little detergent it takes to get your clothes clean!

Simple Homemade Bathtub Cleaner

My favorite bathtub cleaner is super-easy, too. Besides being easy, it works better than a lot of commercial cleaners!

  1. Put 1/2 cup regular Dawn dishwashing liquid (or 1/4 cup of the ultra kind) into a spray bottle,
  2. Fill the rest with white vinegar.
  3. Give it a good shake to mix and you’re ready to go!

Now you can spray it on the bathtub and wipe off. It’s as easy as that!

If you find you enjoy making your own cleaners, there are tons of cleaning recipes on the internet. Just google “homemade [insert whatever you want to make]”, and you’re sure to find tons of options!

(Photo: Lall [5])