One of the frugal and simple living things that you can do at home is to make your own laundry soap. I've been making my own for over a year and it's only cost me about $15 in materials. For the soap flakes I grate castille (vegetable oil) soap that I get at the supermarket for 1.25 a 4 oz. bar. I use a little over 2 bars per recipe. The washing soda I purchase online at Alice.com but some stores still carry washing soda and you can find it next to the borax in the laundry aisle.
Washing soda is NOT baking soda.
The recipe I use follows. I got it from down---to---earth.
CONCENTRATED LAUNDRY POWDER
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store in a plastic container with a lid. Use 2 tablespoons per wash. This powder will not make suds and this is perfectly okay.
- 4 cups grated laundry soap, homemade soap or soap flakes (Lux)
- 2 cups borax
- 2 cups washing soda
While I haven't made a laundry liquid, it's just as easy if you prefer that. Here's the recipe that I'd like to do.
Laundry Liquid -
- 1½ litres water
- 1 bar Sunlight or generic laundry soap or any similar pure laundry soap, grated on a cheese grater OR 1 cup of Lux flakes
- ½ cup washing soda – NOT baking or bicarb soda
- ½ cup borax
- 10 litre bucket
- Slotted spoon or wooden spoon for mixing
Into a medium sized saucepan add 1½ litres of water and the soap. Over a medium heat, stir this until it is completely dissolved. Make sure the soap dissolves properly or the mixture will separate when cold.
Add the washing soda and borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat.
Pour this mixture into your 9-10 litre bucket then fill the bucket with hot water from the tap. Stir to combine all the ingredients. The laundry liquid will thicken up more as it cools. When cool, store in a plastic container. I use one of those 10 litre flat plastic box containers with a lid. Use ¼ cup of mixture per load or monitor to see what works well for you. I keep a ¼ cup measuring scoop in the box to measure the mixture into the washing machine.
I have a few other tricks for laundry day. I don't use commercial fabric softener (at least not in the way you think). Every load I use a Fabric Softener release ball filled with 1/2 c. of white vinegar. This works great for softening your clothing and the vinegar smell is gone by the time the wash is done!
I love static free clothing but think it is insane to buy dryer sheets and then toss them. I used to cut them in half or reuse them and decided I wanted a different way. If you buy the refill carton of generic fabric softener you have a full year's supply of homemade dryer sheets. Fill a spray bottle with the half water and half fabric softener. Take an old wash cloth and spray it 4-6 times with the mix and dry it with your laundry.