Glimpse of Yesterday

Glimpse of Yesterday

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Back to Basics

It seems as though frugality is the buzz-word of late. Due to our economic recession, I think more people are returning to 'the simple life'. What I mean is, people are figuring out how to save money. I think convenience products that we've been paying through the nose for are really not all that inconvenient for us to make ourselves.

Now, I've always been a pretty thrifty person. We've been a mostly one income family of four for the past 15 years. When the kids were small my weekly grocery bill was $80. Now that I have two teenagers, I'm happy to say that I can do quite well on a weekly budget of $130 - $150 for groceries.

One thing I absolutely hated having to buy (seemingly constantly) is laundry detergent. As I have mentioned, I have two teenagers, one being a girl. Even though both of the kids do their own laundry, inevitably, there would be the days that I heard "I have to do laundry but we don't have any more detergent!". I was always adding water to the detergent bottles to get every last bit I could for one more load. And the empty laundry bottles kept piling up in the laundry room.

A couple of months ago I began to wonder if there was a cheaper, homemade alternative to the store brand detergents. I wanted to save on gas from running into town, also. So I found a great recipe for homemade powdered laundry detergent. I prefer the powdered because I reasoned that it's easier to measure dry powder and easier to over measure liquid detergent.

So here are the ingredients: one bar of Ivory soap, one cup of Borax laundry booster, and one cup of Super Washing Soda.

I use my Pampered Chef cheese grater to grate the Ivory soap into flakes (the smaller the flakes the better). To the flakes I add a cup each of the Borax and super washing soda. I keep the mixture in a plastic tub, on which I wrote in a Sharpie the directions for everyone. The measuring scoop we use is one from a container of ground coffee (if you're like me, your kitchen drawers are full of them). We use one scoop per large load of laundry.

Now I have to say that I do believe that our clothes are much cleaner using the homemade recipe. Our whites do seem brighter. I love the clean scent of the detergent. And being as that most of my family has extremely sensitive skin (including psoriasis), we have not had any adverse reactions to this recipe.

The only drawback I have experienced is that some of the soap flakes do not completely dissolve in the wash and get stuck to the clothing. The small flakes come off in the dryer, or I merely remove what I do see. I feel that this is a small inconvenience to me. The flakes do completely dissolve in warm and hot water, though I usually use cold temp. in most loads.

I haven't bought laundry detergent from the store since the end of last year. I don't miss it one bit. It takes me minutes to make a new batch of laundry detergent, when needed. I've haven't tallied any figures yet, but I'm sure I'm saving quite a bit of money, too.

If you're interested in making liquid homemade laundry detergent, please check out my sis Robin's post here. If you try either method, please let me know how things turned out.

I'm working on using homemade fabric softener too, but haven't had much of a chance to use it yet.

Have a blessed day!



  1. Hi Lee!! I linked to you in my post in case anybody wanted the dry recipe.

    I am running around like crazy today..I'm off to the post office and then Kai has a performance tonight so I have to have dinner ready early.

    Talk to you later!

  2. Liane, I keep thinking I'll make my own laundry detergent again. I used to do it all the time, but lately I've just been so busy! Thanks for the reminder!


  3. Love this post! I've been wanting to make detergent for some time now. Recently, I saw a recipe for softener using vinegar and lavender oil.
    Approximately how much does your coffee scoop hold. I don't have one and I have no clue how much detergent to use per load.


  4. Thanks, Mary! The recipe calls for about 3 tablespoons of the detergent, which I figure is pretty close to what the coffee scoop holds. I have made the fabric softener out of water, vinegar, baking soda and lemongrass essential oil, but I haven't had the opportunity to use it consistently to know if I like it or not.