Monday, May 11, 2009

More Dirty Laundry

It all started with my cloth diapers. When I washed them, I was incapable of using a small enough amount of detergent to still get them clean but not so much that it produced mountains of bubbles that refused to rinse out. We got a new front-load washing machine, and since I still had a huge jug of regular Tide left over, I mixed it with HE Tide . . . and had enough bubbles that I knew I still had too much detergent. If I backed off too much, though, my diapers didn't seem clean enough.

Enter the internet. I read up on a number of recipes for homemade laundry detergent, including one here on The Simple Dollar and a number of ones mentioned on Frugal Fridays when it was still hosted at Biblical Womanhood. The type of soap used varied from recipe to recipe, but the borax and washing soda did not. It seemed that the borax and washing soda helped the soap work better. Would it do the same for my beloved Tide? I decided to experiment.

First I had to locate borax and washing soda. Borax was easy enough, but I checked the area big box stores for washing soda with no luck. I called a toll-free number I found online (I believe it is 1-800-524-1328, and you need the UPC code which is 33200-03020) to see where it was sold in my area and came up empty. I had found it on, but upon checking again, it was no longer available. It is now coming up as available via, but at a pretty high price. [A web search indicated that it might be available via the above toll free number, and shipping may be free if you purchase multiple boxes. Worth a shot if you can’t find it!] [Or, if you are a bit stubborn like me or Amy, please look a bit more closely at your local store. Or at least ask a clerk.]

Then one day, I turned down the cleaning aisle at my local grocery store in a town of about 3,000 people. I usually avoid that aisle because I can get most things cheaper at Wal-Mart, and I can wait to get cleaning products until my next trip to the “city”. Lo and behold, there they both were on the top shelf! And the prices weren’t too bad, either.

So outside I went, with a measuring cup, my newly purchased borax and washing soda, and a clean small bucket. (As you pour the powders, they release a bit in the air.) I alternated pouring in a cup from each box into my clean bucket, figuring it would help me mix it up more easily - both powders look pretty similar to me. I tried to break up with my fingers any chunks I found, although I didn’t worry about it too much.

But would it work? I put about a tablespoon of the mixture in the detergent cup of my washer, and added a drizzle of Tide. The clothes came out smelling as sweet as when I used MUCH more Tide – I was convinced! I have learned that when washing hubs’s work clothes, I at least double the Tide and I sometimes double the powder, too.

Go here for my post on line drying - I'm a huge clothesline nerd, so there are tons of tips!


Unknown said...

I was just talking to my husband about wanting to make my own detergent. You must have read our minds! Thanks for the links; now I have no excuse for procrastinating about this.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your blog! Elena-Central Nebraska Bargain Blog