Laundry on the Cheap

In “these tough times” I’ve been looking into any household option that saves money.  So a few weeks ago when my aunt-in-law mentioned that she makes her own laundry detergent I begged her for details.  As it turns out, making your own detergent is not only cheap but it’s easy too.  It took me about 5 minutes to grate the soap, swirl together the ingredients and voila, instant detergent!

DIY Laundry Detergent
laundry2 C finely grated soap (just use a cheese grater)
1 C washing soda
1 C Borax

Mix well and use 1-2 Tbsp per load of wash, depending on the load size.

The ingredients: Washing soda is naturally-derived, environmentally-safe sodium carbonate. Borax is also a naturally-derived mineral compound. They can both be found in the cleaning or laundry supplies aisles at most grocery stores for around $2.50-$3.50 for large boxes.

You can use any basic soap bar, like Ivory or Fels Naptha, or spend a few extra bucks for a particular scent you like. I used Whole Foods’ brand French-milled soap in a lovely “Milk” scent for around $3.99. Do be careful not to get too perfume-y as it can be irritating to sensitive skin. And like most detergents or cleaners, keep your new detergent on a high shelf away from kids and pets to avoid ingestion.

The verdict: My laundry is totally clean, fresh-smelling and cheap.  It even lifted a stubborn patch of dirt from one of Bill’s scummy fishing shirts!

DIY Drycleaning
laundressUgh, drycleaning.  An annoyance to the schedule and the wallet. Well luckily, as long as your home or apartment has a sink or tub you can “DIY” drycleaning too!

The Laundress’ Wool & Cashmere shampoo seems a bit pricey at around $18 per bottle but since you only need a squirt or two per “load” the bottle seems to last forever, making it significantly cheaper in the long run.  Plus it’s made from biodegradable and non-toxic ingredients and has a yummy woodsy scent.

Check out The Laundress ladies’ video on how to properly wash your wool items before you get started. You’ll want to invest in a cheap wash bucket and drying rack as well.




Filed under DIY

3 responses to “Laundry on the Cheap

  1. Alison

    Great laundry tips… Did you need to pretreat the stain by rubbing additional DIY detergent in? Can you purchase the Wool & Cashmere Shampoo in stores or only online? Nice that they are natural, biodegradable products!

  2. Katie

    We didn’t do anything special to the stain actually, although I’m sure pretreating wouldn’t hurt. I bought the Wool & Cashmere online on their site but I know Jcrew sells it as well.

  3. There is a lingerie boutique in St. Paul called Flirt that sells the Wool & Cashmere shampoo, and other things from that line. I think it’s on Snelling and Selby? 🙂

    I hate dry cleaning. Got a pile in the backseat of my car as we speak, and meanwhile am missing those items as options to wear. Ugh!

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