12 New Things – 1b and 1c: Diaper and Dishwasher Detergent

This is part of the 12 New Things projects I’m doing this year.

Homemade Dishwashing Detergent

Goal:
Frugal homemade dishwasher detergent that really gets the dishes clean and doesn’t leave a film.

Experiment:
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
borax: .05/oz
Optional: few drops of dish soap
Optional: vinegar in rinse dispenser
Cost: 5¢ to 8¢ per load

Conclusion:
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)

Goal:
Frugal general-purpose laundry detergent.

Experiment:
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).

Conclusion:
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)

Goal:
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.

Experiment:
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.

Conclusion:
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.

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About GirlDuck

I am a wife, mother, and homemaker who loves Jesus. I am married to an amazing man, Aaron, and I have three fantastic kids. I write this blog mostly to share information with others, record things for my own future reference, and pour out just a bit of my heart.
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4 Responses to 12 New Things – 1b and 1c: Diaper and Dishwasher Detergent

  1. Annette says:

    Where do you get washing soda?

  2. GirlDuck says:

    I got it at winco. It’s in the cleaning aisle and with the fels naptha, baking soda, etc.

  3. tbiggers says:

    I’m looking for “cloth friendly” detergent as well. I was thinking of Dr. Bronners (1-2tsp) per load and the same above dry mixture.

    QUESTION: Adding 1/2 c of Vinegar in the rinse wouldn’t prevent buildup of the Dr. Bronners?

    • GirlDuck says:

      I don’t think you need both Dr. Bronner’s and the dry mix. Plus I’ve just heard a lot of problems with Dr. Bronner’s causing buildup. If I were you though, I’d test it out. With cloth diapers, results vary for everyone, it seems. 🙂 I would try using Dr. Bronner’s without the vinegar wash. If it starts having problems with absorbency, wash them with vinegar a few times to strip them and try something else. Perhaps try doing vinegar with each load and see if that works. For me, I don’t see a reason to bother with Dr. Bronner’s or a vinegar wash each time if I can cheaply and effectively wash it with the dry mix recipe. I’d be interested to know how it works out for you!

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