August 24, 2013

Frugal Friday #1 - Homemade Laundry Detergent

I am setting a challenge for myself for the next 52 set up a budget and live within it.  You may know that I have been off work since November 2011 due to illness (I suffer from bipolar disorder).  Well I was recently given an ultimatum from my employer.  I had to return to work or retire.  As I am unable to work, my only choice was to apply for medical retirement.  So I have started that process and hopefully, it will all work out.

What it means to me is living on 70% of my regular earnings now with a great reduction at age 65.  While I have been receiving a reduced wage since November 2011, I haven't been living as if it is a permanent state.  Now that my savings are depleted, it's time to take control of the situation and become a little creative.  I have enough money to pay off the essentials each month but we all need some of "the nice to haves as well"; a little treat now and then so I'm going to see what I can do to cut the costs wherever possible.

To that end, I am going to share every Friday a frugal tip that I am using to save money.  Please feel free to add any of your suggestions too.  I'm not sure that I am creative enough to come up 52!

My first tip came from Elaine at Sunny Simple Life.  It didn't actually start out as a financial incentive but that was a nice added side benefit.  I'm allergic to most laundry detergents and the local store stopped carrying the one I could use.  I tried buying 2 or 3 "sensitive" detergents but they were just a waste of money.  I remembered Elaine mentioning one her kids had allergies so I tried her laundry detergent recipe and bingo, it worked.  It cleans really well, it's easy to make and it's cheap!!!

Here's the ingredients.  Eilish is checking them out.  One bar of a pure soap like Sunlight, Borax and Arm and Hammer detergent.

Grate one bar of soap into a bowl.
Add one cup of Borax and 2 cups of Arm and Hammer detergent.  Mix well.
I like to store mine in an old Mason jar.
I use 2 Tablespoons for each load of laundry.  I estimate that a year of laundry will cost less than $35 for a family of two.  Doesn't take long to spend that on ready made detergent from the store.
See you next Friday for another frugal tip!


  1. I have to use detergent with no scents etc so something like this would work for me. I don't have to do laundry for my kids anymore though...I think that I just buy one laundry detergent bottle a month at this point, thank goodness! : )

  2. I made my own laundry detergent several months ago. Recipe is basically the same; Borax, washing soda, baking soda and grated bar soap. (I used Zote laundry bar, because its pink and sometimes I am weird like that ) We farm - trust me -my husband gets filthy! If it can clean up his messes, it will clean anything ;)

  3. For a minute there, I thought we had to grate a cute, little cat into the mix. Luckily, I have 3 small cats and a huge cat for bigger amounts. LOL Making my own laundry soap has been on my list of things to try and you've motivated me to get going on it!

  4. That's a good place to start!


  5. Hi Julie, I love Elaine's recipe too...Good for you to do this, it does save money.
    I've been making my own laundry soap for quite some time since I am allergic to most of them also.

    Can't and won't use Sunlight in any form, I've read about it's toxicity, cancer causing ingredients, so I have switched in Dr. Bronner's Castile soap which is natural.

    Using DR. B's soap I can make either liquid, or dry versions for us..and it's a great safe product. Looking forward to your weekly tips. And I certainly hope that everything works out all right for you in the future.


    1. Hi Jen - where do you buy Dr. Bronner's soap? I haven't heard of it before. J


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