Cutting back on the amount of laundry detergent you use does save you quite a bit but at $8.00 for a box of the cheap stuff, that is STILL too much for me. I researched home made laundry detergent and soap (not the same thing!), and here is what worked for me. I will never go back to regular detergent. I LOVE how my clothes feel now that all the commercial detergent crap is gone.
1 bar of Zote soap
2 – 3 cups of Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
1 cup of Borax (Optional! it may fade dark clothes over time)
How to make it:
Grate one bar of Zote with a fine grater (or a food processor),
Mix in washing soda and borax if you like.
Really hard, huh?
Yield: approx 30 loads of laundry
How to use it:
Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons per load of laundry.
If you have an especially dirty load, add a bit more more washing soda, you don’t need more soap.
Add 1/3 cup of white vinegar to the rinse load as a fabric softener.
What it cost me:
78 cents per bar of Zote soap, found in the laundry aisle.
3.50 per box of Washing Soda, also in the laundry aisle (88 cents per batch)
2.75 per box of Borax, surprise… laundry aisle! (45 cents per batch)
That breaks down to: .78 + .88 + .45 = $2.11 per batch.
Approximately 7 cents per load of laundry!!!
Figure in the white vinegar and you’re still only spending about ten cents per load.
Look online for other home made laundry recipes, you may prefer making this in liquid form (but you have to have big buckets to do it!). I prefer it this way because I have limited space.
Other notes on making this recipe:
Do NOT use just any kind of bar-soap!! Many of them contain oils and perfumes that can stain and otherwise ruin your clothes .
If you live in a humid climate (like I do) you may have trouble grating the bar of laundry soap, it can be sticky and moist. You might have to make it in liquid form if it is too sticky. 2010 EDIT: Just throw the bar of Zote in the freezer for a while, it will firm up. Grate till it is gooey and put it back in the freezer, etc I have to do this every summer.
In a dry climate, the soap grates into a fine powder and you must be careful not to inhale it.