52 Weeks: Laundry Products

There are zillions of special products for laundry. In addition to detergent, we have fabric softeners and a vast array of specialized stain removers, brighteners, bleaches, color-catchers, stain sticks, bleach pens, and on and on. Everyone has their favorites. For every product, there’s a homemade alternative, and the internet has them all.

There are many recipes for homemade laundry detergent. They all involve some kind of soap or detergent, and laundry boosters such as Borax or washing soda. Some call for grating a bar of soap into a pot with washing soda and Borax on the stove and cooking it like Granny Clampett. Some omit the cooking and have us mix them up in a food processor, being careful not to breathe in the dust it generates. For liquid laundry detergent, the recipe calls for dishwashing liquid, washing soda, and Borax in a jug with water.

“In a gallon jug combine three tablespoons of Borax, three tablespoons of washing soda (not baking soda), and three tablespoons of Dawn dish detergent. Add four cups of very hot water and swirl or shake until they are all mixed. Then fill it the rest of the way up with cold water. The amount to use will vary with the hardness of your water. Try one cup, and if that’s too much, then next time half as much.”

Or, I could just add dish liquid, washing soda, and/or Borax to each load without mixing it up beforehand.

On the other hand, by the time I buy all that, I could just go to Big Lots and pay $2.79 for 75 ounces of Sun brand liquid detergent. That’s five and a half cents per load if I use the recommended amount. Often, I use less.

If you Google homemade laundry detergent, you’ll find a variety of recipes for both liquid and powder detergents. One of them may suit your needs.


Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.



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