With the economy as it is, any time one can save money but not give up the necessities is a good thing. One of those most basic necessities is doing the laundry. Whether your doing laundry at home or at a laundromat, you can save money making your own detergent and dryer sheets. Not only is it cheap and anyone can do it, it doesn’t take long to make either one.
There are several different recipes allowing you to make your own dryer sheets. Each works. However, the easiest, cheapest and most convenient method is as follows.
1. Buy a refill bottle of fabric softener. Cheaper is obviously cheaper. But if you want to maintain a great scent and not just ‘softening’ your laundry, buy something that smells good too.
2. Take an empty and clean spray bottle. Fill it with the fabric softener.
3. Find a few old dish cloths floating around (we all have them somewhere). Put them to good use.
4. Spray each cloth about five times. Let them dry. Voila, usable dryer sheets for a pennies per load.
Again, there are recipes all over the Internet explaining how to make your own laundry detergent. Unlike the dryer sheets, the initial cost of making your own laundry detergent can be a little pricey if you don’t already have all the ingredient, but most people have most of these items floating around.
What you need:
1 Box of Borax
1 Bar of soap (anything will work but I recommend one with less fragrance like Lever 2000, Ivory, or Fels-Naptha)
1 5 gallon bucket
1 Box of generic Oxiclean (Oxiclean is just sodium percarbonate and some soap. You can find sodium percarbonate at any hardware store. Its loads cheaper than Oxiclean)
1 Empty laundry detergent container
1. Grate the bar of soap any way you can. A box grater works well, but any way you can turn that bar of soap into small pieces will work just fine.
2. Fill a sauce pan with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil then turn down burner to a simmer.
3. Add soap shavings a little at a time and stir until all the soap is melted and fused with the water.
4. Fill the 5 gallon bucket with about 3 or 4 gallons of hot water.
5. Add soapy water the the bucket of water. Stir.
6. Stir in about a cup of Borax and about a cup of sodium percarbonate. If you still have some Oxiclean laying around, don’t hesitate to use it instead of hunting down the sodium percarbonate.
7. Cover the bucket and let set over night.
Depending on the exact ingredients you use, the consistency of the water can vary from really watery to almost gelatin. Stir the mixture up and you are ready to go. Fill your empty bottle of detergent with your homemade detergent.
I have not entirely figured out how much of the mixture to use per load. However, its not the ultra-concentrated version you buy in a store. I’d advise a little experimentation, but I usually use a little more than a full cap (using a large cap from a cheap brand of laundry detergent). If you already have the bucket and grater, the cost of your homemade detergent costs almost nothing.