Inexpensive Replacements For All Your Laundry Needs.

4 years ago
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Everyone who writes blogs about saving money eventually writes a blog about laundry soap. This is one of the most popular subjects. I swear that I am asked about laundry soap more than any other money saving idea. I have written at least 3 posts on it. The questions are usually because people want to know how to save money and be kinder to the environment. Why shouldn't this be one of the most asked questions? The cost of a bottle of 50 ounce Tide at is $14.89. Now consider how much pre treater, all fabric bleach, fabric softener, and even fabric softener crystals cost and the subject of laundry becomes a huge financial expenditure. It has been so long since I bought any of these that I really have no idea what these items cost anymore.

I decided that I would write a post that gives you replacements for all of the above. Over the past 5 years I have tested and used each of the following recipes and ideas. As I said, I have not purchased laundry soap, pre treater, all fabric bleach, fabric softener, and fabric softener crystals in years. I still purchase dryer sheets, but at some point I will make my own reuseable dryer sheets.

Like most people I started out making my own laundry soap. The items I use have to pass the water test. The well water we have is incredibly bad. If it does not clean and work with our horrible water here in Palm Bay then the recipe or idea is discarded until it can be reworked or ignored.  I think laundry here in Florida is it's own special kind of challenge.  Heat, humidity, rain, and really hard water when you are on well water all add up to tough, tough cleaning issues.

As I previously stated, the very first laundry item I learned to make was laundry soap.  I could not justify the expense of purchasing laundry detergent when I knew I could make it so much cheaper. I  was a liquid laundry detergent kind of girl.  Our water was hard in Michigan and powder detergent never seemed to dissolve completely.  So the first attempts at making laundry detergent were painfully involved and just so much mess for me.

I eventually watched a television segment on our local Fox affiliate showcasing how easy it was to make laundry soap.  The expert just grated the soap and mixed the other products.  I realized her recipe was basically the same as mine, but no water involved. A light bulb must have come on over my head because that was the way I made laundry soap the next time and that was amazing.  I have processed this down to 3 different ways to make laundry soap.  My absolute favorite is the one that should last for a year.  My post Three laundry soap recipes that work can be found at this link :recipes  This post has all the recipes you may ever need for making you own laundry soap.

Laundry soap reconsidered.

The next item I have had great results with is my pre treater.  This normally takes care of grease stains and most other stains I have had in our clothing.   I have also found it to be a pretty good replacement for all fabric bleach.  I do have to admit it did not do as great of a job this last time I used it on Chris' uniforms.  To be clear I believe this is because our water softener has not worked for months and the water here is unlike water anywhere else unless you are on city water. I found this on One Good Thing With Jillie. 

Home made Shout Pre Treater

  • 2/3 Cup of Dish washing Liquid Dawn or Gain
  • 2/3 Cup Ammonia
  • 6 TBSP Baking Soda
  • 2 Cups Warm Water

Mix together until the baking soda dissolves.  Pour into a large bottle with funnel. This will expand so make sure it is a large bottle.  Pour onto stain.

To use this as an all purpose bleach first test on fabric prior to using. I have found this safe, but you never know.  Once you have determined it is safe go ahead and add a 1/2 Cup to your wash water.  I have a top loader, but I would think you could use it in you soap dispenser.

**A couple of notes on this.  1. the baking soda does not stay dissolved and needs shaken before each use.  2.  I won't use a spray nozzle as it clogs up.

We have this thing called humidity here in Florida and unless you have lived here you have no clue what it can do to your clothes.  Once you wash them and then sweat they can stink to high heaven. This is absolutely not a joke!  It is a musty odor and very embarrassing to smell.  So I do use Fabric Softener Crystals.  I use these on Chris' work clothes and my workout clothes to get rid of these odors.   This is also an ingredient to my favorite laundry soap recipe. Jillie has another post on this

Fabric Softener Crystals Like Purex or Downey
1 Cup Epsom Salt
10 drops of essential oil. I used Lavender and Mint. 5 drops each
Put into a bowl and mix together. That is it! Use 1/4 cup per load. The fabric softener crystals are put into the washer with the laundry soap.

The next item in the washing process is fabric softener. This was the second item I learned to make. The ease and simplicity of these items amaze me. I have no idea where I found the recipe. It may have came from One Good Thing By Jillie. I just don't remember. It works well and you can choose the scents.

Fabric Softener

6 Cups hot water
3 Cups White Vinegar
2 cups or 18 ounces of good smelling cheap conditioner.

Whisk water and conditioner in a bowl until conditioner is dissolved. Pour into a gallon container, like a gallon vinegar container. Add Vinegar, place lid on container. Hold the lid onto the container and shake until combined. The recipe states to use 2 TBSP per load. I use a Downey ball and fill it to the fill line with my home made fabric softener for each use or each time I remember to use it.

Home made Fabric Softener

There are many ways to save money on laundry. I can think of wool dryer balls that my mom makes, aluminum foil formed into a ball for the dryer, and even a tennis ball for use in the dryer. White vinegar works as a cheap and awesome fabric softener. In fact I prefer to use it in my towels. White vinegar softens fabric and allows the towels to continue to absorb water. Fabric softener does not.

I also hang my laundry outside on a line. It saves a lot on electricity. I wash 5 to 6 loads a week. If I use the dryer for each load it means 7.5 to 9 hours total in the dryer. If I hang them on the line it means 60 minutes on medium or low in the dryer. I have a routine for hanging laundry to keep my dyer time to a minimum. The towels are always the first to be washed. the whites are next. The towels and the towels in the whites are put into the dryer for 20 minutes. I then wash Chris' work clothes and darks, then the brights, and then the dedicates. Each load is hung up to dry, once dry I take them down and separate the clothes that are softened and ready to be hung up in the closet from the rest that need to get softened in the dryer. The second dryer load consists of darks and brights. Both loads are for 20 minutes each and on medium heat. The final load is the delicate. Again, it takes about 20 minutes and it is on low heat.

These are the ways I save money and continue to live the life I enjoy. The home made laundry cleaners are more environmentally friendly and less expensive. Hanging the clothes out on the line has the same benefits and one more. That benefit is exercise. I stretch and bend as I hang the clothes and I bend and stretch as I take them off the line

One idea I am still working on Chris to do is get line or a wooden clothes rack to dry out clothes on in bad weather. We will have to see how to convince him this is a good idea. You would think just the money saved on electricity would be enough. 

As I say a million times, every saving money idea comes with the cost of time. It can be very time consuming if you are not organized. I can promise you that if you choose to use these ideas you will not miss using the store items ever again. It will be a shock to your system each time you have to purchase the actual product.  Good luck and enjoy!!!!

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