Tips and Tricks

Homemade Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener

2013-01-06 16.23.06


It amazes me how expensive laundry detergent is. What is even more amazing is how much fabric softener is. A few months ago, I started researching alternatives. It had to be something that would not fade our clothing, since we tend to wear a lot of dark colors. It had to be something that didn’t cause reactions to my husband’s sensitive skin. Finally, it had to be something that didn’t cost a small fortune. I found my solution.

2013-01-06 15.58.43


What you need:

1 bar of soap (I use Dove sensitive skin), grated with a box grater
1 cup Borax
1 cup washing soda

Yup. That’s it. Mix the three ingredients in a mason jar or other container. Add two tablespoons per load. I put it right into the laundry detergent slot in my washing machine. I have a high efficiency washing machine and have had no problems with this detergent. It costs me about 6 cents per load, compared to 21 cents per load for the All Free and Clear I was using. It does an amazing job getting stains our of our clothing without pre-treating.

What about fabric softener? The stuff I was using was bothering my husband’s allergies. I wanted something that didn’t make the clothing smell flowery. I just wanted something to keep the clothes soft. My solution? White vinegar. I just pour it into the fabric softener thingy (the technical name for it, of course) in my washing machine. I promise that the clothing will not smell likeĀ vinegarĀ once they are dry. The clothes just smell clean.

I have also stopped using dryer sheets. I purchased a set of wool dryer balls. Yes, they are more expensive than dryer sheets, but they dry my clothing about 25% faster which lowers my gas bill and I don’t have all those dryer sheets to throw away. They do a great job eliminating wrinkles from our dress clothes so there is less ironing wearing wrinkled clothing.

I have been using this system for four months now and am really pleased with the results. I’m never going back to the old system again. By the way, in four months I have used about three batches of laundry detergent. I still have over half a box each of borax and washing soda, so the boxes last a long time.