Wednesday, July 16, 2008


With gas, food, and utility prices being at an all time high we are trying to live as frugally as possible. Honestly, it hasn't been that bad, but we've never been ones to rush right out and buy the latest gadgets, clothing, or snacks. Our children have never been given new toys unless it's Christmas or their birthdays.

My family loves meat. I've cut the cost of the meals where we do eat meat by cooking just enough for everyone. Don't get me wrong, no one is going hungry, but instead of cooking 16 pork chops for seven people, I now cook nine. Two for Verne, two for Mac, one for everyone else. Also, we're eating mostly out of the garden right now. Lots of zucchini! Check out Mama's Fixins for loads of great recipes that include zucchini. We've only been eating meat as a main dish one or twice a week.

I ask Verne to stop at the store rather than driving the eight miles to town myself. I go only when someone has an appointment or a lesson.

And last but not least, I made my own laundry detergent last week. I read forum after forum. Recipe after recipe. There are so many skeptics out there! Anyway, I decided on a powdered version for my first time around. It takes all of the same ingredients, and less room to store.

The recipe that I decided to try is as follows:

1 bar Fels Naptha Soap soap, grated
1 c. Borax
1 c. Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
1/4 c. Oxy-clean

Mix all together, and use 2 level tablespoons per load.

I have a Bosch HE front loader, and this recipe works wonderfully in it. It is a no-suds recipe which is great for the high efficiency machine. The clothes look and smell very clean. We do not have a water softener, and I have no problem with dingy whites using this recipe.

Let me note that I could not find the Fels Naptha or the washing soda at Wal*mart near me, but had to go to Kro*ger instead. Check around. These are inexpensive items!

As for fabric softener, I keep reading about using white vinegar. I tried it. For several loads. I don't find that it takes static cling away if loads are machine dried. Other than that, it's fine. My solution? Half liquid softener, half white vinegar. It works for me. Any other suggestions?

Next time, I'm trying the liquid (gel) laundry soap.


Dianne said...

Terrific idea on ways to cut back costs on both groceries and laundry detergent.

I will look for these ingredients and see how they work!

Thanks for the tip,Tracy!

~~ said...

I use to make a detergent similar to this! Please share the liquid recipe with us after you try it.
It is amazing how much food we actually do not need to make isn't it? Beans make a good meat replacement! Love zucchinni...


Becky said...

I can't believe we posted on the same topic today. How fun is that?

lady jane said...

Thank you for your review of using home-made laundry detergent, Tracy. I've read many blogs that featured this idea but haven't known anyone (known to me) to actually try it. So, you've tried it and it's hunky dory. Cool. The recipe goes on my planning list as I'm intent on trying this out.

I have front loaders and currently use half the detergent and softener generally 'required', with excellent results.

As to cutting back on driving - me too. I'm saving gas and spending less as a result of careful planning when I *am* out. Lizzie is riding her bike to work now, unless she works at night, so that's helping as well even though she works a mile away.

Jodi said...

Hi Tracy ~ I used to make the liquid version of this recipe all the time. I guess I just got out of the habit while we were moving and never have taken the time to find a store that carries these items in this area. I probably - no, I do -- need to go back to it. I found it cleaned very well. The Fels is really a key ingredient though. I tried the version with Ivory Soap. Yuck! I never could get the Ivory to dissolve .. what a mess!

The liquid version has a slightly odd gel like texture to it that can get runny with time. There is an ingredient that can be added to stabilize the liquid (I think it's Glycerin). If I can find my notes on this, I'll email you the ingredient.

Now you've got me all energized to go make a batch! :o)

Mrs. Rabe said...

I have made both and they both work really well!

randi---i have to say said...

I am definitely going to check out your link for the zucchini recipes. We picked up our CSA share and now I have about 16 of them laying on my counter. We have made zucchini muffins and sauted zucchini, but I need more inspiration. The bad part is that I have a zucchini plant in my own garden that will be ready to pick very soon!

Karen said...

I have been using this for a while now, except I've never added the Oxi-clean. It does just fine without it on our things.
As for the fabric softener, my new washer instructions suggested not using it, as it gunks it up over time. I've been using plain old baking soda- 1/4 cup - added to the rinse cycle. Then just dry in the dryer, or hang on the line.

Sharon said...

Tracy, you sound like me. I made my first batch of homemade laundry detergent which uses the same ingredients (except I couldn't find the Fels Naptha soap, so I used Ivory)and it is a gel. I saved a couple of my liquid Tide containers and use that to store the gel in. It is really lasting me a long time and find that the clothes are clean and fresh. I haven't tried the vinegar yet.

I'm planning to research making homemade dishwasher detergent. I've heard people say they put vinegar in the little rinse container to help during the rinse cycle instead of buying that expensive stuff!

A little savings here and there certainly add up over a year's time! :)

Short Stop said...

It's crazy how expensive everything has gotten. We're trying to save in every way we can.

I had no idea you could make your own detergent. Once I get the boxes unpacked around here, maybe I'll try it.

Susan said...

I also make my own laundry detergent. I use to use Ivory or Zote, because we couldn't find the Fels Naptha anywhere around here. Now I'm using my own homemade soap made from 100% Coconut oil. That works great. My husband is a welder and his clothing is always really greasy and dirty and the homemade detergent cleans better than any other detergent I've ever tried. And believe it or not, the detergent is working even better with the homemade 100% coconut oil soap!

mommy to four j's said...

I am going to try this I JUST GOT IRRATE AT THE STORE ON how expensive soap has gotten it is insane char

Kostman Family said...

I have made the home made laundry detergent and love it. When I make it I use a 5 gallon bucket and then grate up the soap really fine and cook it on the stove with 4 cups of water till all the soap is melted. I then pour it into the bucket and add 1 1/2 cups of washing soda and 1 cup of borax. Stir it really well. Then I add enough water till the 5 gallon bucket is full. I will even use my hand to stir it up just so I get all the lumps out and to make sure everything is mixed up well.

You can find a great laundry soap recipe at The Simple You will see that I have changed the recipe a bit because I like to make a large amount at one time so it last me a while. Hope this helps anyone interested in making there own laundry detergent.

Anonymous said...

Neat post. I love knowing how others are living frugal. It gives me a lot of ideas to incorporate in our family!

~~Deby said...

I have bought everything to make this using Bev's recipe at Christian Homemaker,her's is a cooking one and makes a 5 gallon bucket (Bought at Home Depot)....think we are all looking for ways to save $$$$

Beck said...

We've actually utterly stopped using fabric softener, and it's been fine. Things were static-y for the first little while but they're not anymore.

Anonymous said...

I have always preferred powder laundry soap to liquid--not sure why, I just do. I am going to try your recipe for making it myself. I've always been curious about it but haven't tried yet.

I have been using white vinegar as fabric softener for over a year now and have no trouble at all with static.

Cyndy said...

I just posted on the same thing! Economizing seems to be on a lot of people's minds these days.

I've heard (but not tried yet) that if you soak an old clean wash clothe in fabric softener and let it dry it can be used just like a fabric softener sheet. I'm going to put my wash clothe in some Downy right now! Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Tracy; I have tried the powdered laundry soap and found it to work quite well. I would like to try out the liquid one and see how it would work. Thank you for sharing :)



Christian Homekeeper said...

Hey Tracy,

I've been using the liquid one for years and we love it. I only spend $10 a year for detergent (the supplies). We make a batch every 3 months, which is just 4 times a year. I did a video on how to do it too if you are interested, just check out my youtube its on there.


Domestically Inclined said...

Hello Lady, foudn you through Home Living, I have used a homemade version of this soap but found that oxyclean is the same thing as washing soda, but more expensive. I also foudn that just a small squirt of Dawn dishwashing takes dried chocolate out of a white blouse.
Blessings, Lady at Domestically Inclined

shelia said...

thanks for the recipe!
Would you mind if i shared it on my blog and linked it back to you?
I'm compiling some house hold recipes and i've enjoyed this one!!!

Thanks for considering
blessings shelia

Tracy said...

Feel free to grab the recipe for your blog! Thanks for asking first!