DIY Laundry Detergent

By now you’ve probably figured out that I’m fairly friggin frugal.  🙂  I came to the decision to start making and remaking my own clothes when I walked by an expensive dress shop and thought, “Hey…I can do that!”  Since then, I’ve been looking at other things I think I pay too much for that I could probably make for myself.

One of these things is Laundry Detergent.   I used to pay just under $10 for a bottle of Tide about every few weeks (I used to do a LOT of laundry when I was living with my now-ex).  This is silly!  I don’t need to be tossing my hard-earned dough out the door!

I’ts just not working out.  :/

As an avid couponer (ah yes…there is no end to my cheap-assedness!), I can tell you, there really aren’t that many great deals on laundry soap out there.  :/  Plus, I didn’t have space to stockpile the stuff.

What’s a gal to do?!

I started researching different ways to make my own.  I opted out of making a liquid detergent.  All that soap boiling and slime making didn’t sound that fun.  Plus, I’d have to find a place to put FIVE GALLONS of the stuff!  I decided to go with the easier powder detergent recipe that could make a smaller batch.

Here’s what you need.

You’re looking at:

1 box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

1 box of Biz Stain Fighting Enzyme Cleaner

1 bar of Dial Soap

If you’re doing this at home, make sure you get washing soda, not baking soda.   Washing soda has a higher alkaline content.  Make sure you don’t get the Biz detergent, but the stain fighter.  Here’s where I deviated from most recipes: I used Biz instead of Borax, because I thought it would be less harsh on my clothes, but still fight any stains (Since first making this, I’ve used borax as well, and have been just as happy). I used a bar of Dial soap instead of Fels Naptha laundry soap because I liked the smell better (Mmmmm!  Springtime Fresh!).  The only thing you’ll want to remember is if you’re substituting soaps, don’t use the kind with moisturizers in it, as you don’t want to lotion your clothes!  🙂

So now what?

The first step in this process is to grate the bar of soap.  I used my awesome food processor, so this took about 5 seconds.  Here’s what it will look like when you’re done.

Mmmmm! Looks like shredded Mozzarella!

Next, add 1 cup of Washing Soda and 1 cup of Biz to the shredded soap in your food processor (or blender, if you don’t have a processor) until all the bits of soap have been ground into powder.

It will look like this:


That’s it!  You now have your own laundry detergent!

You’ll want to use less of this soap than what you’re used to.

Small Loads:  1 Tablespoon

Medium Loads:  2 Tablespoons

Large Loads:  3 Tablespoons

If you’re like me, you’ll want to peer in your machine to see how your new detergent is working.  Don’t worry when you don’t see any suds.  This detergent is sulfate-free (it’s the sulfate that makes the suds in the store-bought stuff), so you won’t see any.  Don’t fret!  Your duds don’t need suds to get clean!  🙂

So…How does it work, you ask?  Great!  I did a big load of darks to test my new soap, and they came out super-clean and smelling great!  I wash everything with cold water, and there was absolutely no residue on anything.  I would definitely say it works just as well as the expensive stuff.

Broke losers don’t get to have fancy packaging.  😦

I’m really excited about how well this worked and how easy it was.  For $6 in supplies, I have enough detergent to last for months and months!  AND it doesn’t have as many additives as store-bought detergent.  🙂

What fun things have you learned to do for yourself lately?

This is why I’m Broke

Since I’m writing a blog about being broke in Columbia,  perhaps I should explain why I’m broke in the first place.

I call bullshit.

It’s all due to a cornucopia of shortcomings and personal failings, my friend.  I majored in Theatre with an English minor, for starters.  Which, as this list will tell you, probably isn’t the most lucrative combo.  :/

With a few exceptions,  I’ve just about always ended up dating guys who are even broker than I am…which is just sad.  Having a penchant for starving artists hasn’t left me poised to marry into wealth.  In fact, it’s usually left me worse off financially than I would have been on my own (“Hey baby…can you spot me 60 bucks for some gesso?”).  Which, given my lack of math skills, was probably my only option for escape from my poverty.  :/

After a series of terrible-paying retail and food service jobs in college, I somehow managed to get a not-terrible paying job at the SC Arts Commission.  Don’t be fooled, folks…when I say not-terrible, all I mean is I don’t have to ration my ramen noodles or make “tomato soup” from ketchup packets and hot water anymore.    Now, I’m sure some of you are even broker than I am (you literally poor bastards), but let’s avoid any “broker than thou” pissing contests, shall we?

Oh…here’s another reason why I’m broke:

Wipe that smile of your face, missy. You’re about to start replacing your sweet ride…one (expensive) part at a time.

See this cute lil 1988 VW Cabriolet?

Cuteness has a cost, friends.

I fell madly in love with this car and bought it on the cheap.  Little did I know I would end up spending more maintaining/restoring it than my wealthier friends spend on car payments for their new cars.   And I can’t give it up now.  The ship of Theseus parable comes to mind.

You’re gonna replace ’em all, loser!

But enough of this self-depreciation!  Despite my complete and utter failure to be a successful grownup, I still somehow manage to lead a pretty fun life where I manage to do cool things and still keep enough money in the bank to pay for this week’s emergency car repair (This week:  New brakes).  After years of abject poverty and struggle, I’ve learned many tips and tricks.

So, shake the dirt off your ragged clothing; you starving, filthy beggars!  It’s time to rise above our humble incomes and live the good life…or at least one that sucks a whole lot less.  🙂

Thumbs Up
Don’t worry! Be happy!