This is part of the 12 New Things projects I’m doing this year.
Homemade Dishwashing Detergent
Frugal homemade dishwasher detergent that really gets the dishes clean and doesn’t leave a film.
Here’s some great recipes and discussions. I tried the washing soda and borax one. Adding the vinegar rinse and the few drops of regular liquid dish soap made a big difference in getting them clean and not leaving a film. If you have concerns with borax on dishes, try the washing soda and dish soap one.
Sun dish detergent by itself (1 – 1.5 tbsp per load)
$1 for 30 oz.
Cost: 3¢ – 5¢ per load
Homemade Dish Detergent (1 – 1.5 tbsp per load)
washing soda .05/oz
Optional: few drops of dish soap
Optional: vinegar in rinse dispenser
Cost: 5¢ to 8¢ per load
Don’t bother. The dollar store carries 30 oz boxes of Sun detergent for a buck and it works great. That’s 5¢ a load. Can’t get much cheaper than that.
Homemade Laundry Detergent (Non-Diaper)
Frugal general-purpose laundry detergent.
Here’s the recipe I used for all non-diaper clothing. It is super easy, doesn’t take much time at all to make, lasts forever, and is VERY cheap.
- 4 cups hot tap water
- 1 Fels-Naptha soap bar ($1.50)
- 1 cup washing soda (40¢)
- 1/2 cup borax (20¢)
Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda, and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover, and let sit overnight to thicken. Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel).
Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil. [I like sweet orange or lemon]
Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons. Top Load Machine- 5/8 cup per load (approximately.180 loads). [I’ve found that 1/4 – 1/2 cup works just fine, increasing the number of loads considerably.] Front Load Machines- 1/4 cup per load (approximately 640 loads).
Worth the effort! For the prices and reduced amount of detergent I use, this comes to 224 – 336 loads (1/2 cup or 1/4 cup), which is .009 – .006 per load. Less than a penny! The generic Kirkland (Costco) brand is 7¢ per load.
Homemade Laundry Detergent (for diapers)
Frugal detergent that won’t reduce absorbency of diapers. In theory, it’s a bad idea to use soap on cloth diapers because enough of a residue is left that, over time, the diapers become less absorbent. This has happened to me before with some store-bought detergents and I had to strip the diapers with vinegar or bleach a few times to get them back to best absorbency. Admittedly, I haven’t tried the regular homemade laundry recipe on the diapers, so I’m not 100% sure I’d have the same problem. But I found a recipe for diaper detergent that works anyway.
Here’s a non-soap detergent recipe that seems to work well.
Equal parts baking soda (.021/oz), washing soda (.05/oz), and generic oxi clean (.033/oz).
I bought the generic oxi clean from the dollar store along with a 2-quart container for the detergent. I mixed two cups of each ingredient and use 2 tbsp total per load. That comes to 3-4¢ per load.
Probably worth it. Worked great! Although it’s still cheaper than the 7¢ per load Kirkland brand, it’s not nearly as frugal as the all-purpose detergent recipe above.