Save money by making your own laundry detergent

Save money by making your own laundry detergent

Tired of shelling out cash for name-brand soap every month? Make your own, and you could save hundreds of dollars each year.
Jun 01, 2010
By staff

Dr. Robin Mundt has a recipe that could save you close to $1,000 per year. But her special formula has nothing to do with food—the only thing she’s cooking up is a smarter way to do laundry.

Dr. Mundt, associate at PetMed Animal Health Center in Dubuque, Iowa, makes the clinic’s laundry detergent from scratch using a few simple ingredients. The detergent works better than store-bought soap, according to Dr. Mundt, and a 5-gallon bucket costs less than $2.

Here’s Dr. Mundt’s recipe:

1 bar of Fels-Naptha (This is an old-time, heavy-duty laundry bar soap. Any bar soap will work, but Dr. Mundt says Fels-Naptha works best.)
1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax

Shave the bar of soap into small pieces using a cheese grater or a food processor. In a large saucepan, heat a gallon of water to boiling. As soon as the water boils, turn the heat down and add the soap pieces. Stir occasionally until the soap dissolves, then pour the mixture into a clean 5-gallon bucket. Stir in the borax and washing soda. Fill the bucket the rest of the way with warm water and stir. Place a lid on the bucket and let it sit overnight. After 24 hours, you’ll have a giant gel clot of detergent. Break it up with your hands to make it easier to pour out of the bucket.

Use about 3/4 cup of detergent in a regular washing machine and about 1/4 cup in a high-efficiency machine.

Try it out in your clinic, then head to our message board and tell us how it worked for you. You can also use the detergent at home, just like team members at PetMed Animal Health Center have started doing.

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