Thursday, October 27, 2011

Banking Moolah: Putting Our Elbows to Good Use

I have no idea where the term “elbow grease” came from, and now that I think about it, it sounds pretty gross (I suppose not as gross as ear grease or armpit grease would sound, but still gross nonetheless), but this weekend I definitely used a lot of it!

You see, we are trying to cut costs wherever we can, but we hate sacrificing quality in the process.  For most of my life, I have used cheap, generic brands of laundry detergent to wash my clothes and honestly, I never thought twice about it most of the time.  However, during college, I would find that food spills on my clothes were not coming our or my purple shirts (my college has purple as one of its colors) would mysteriously come out with pink splotches.  I thought the culprit was the college washing machines, but after trying the same soap in other high-efficiency, quality washers and dryers, I realized it was the soap.  I switched to Tide, which is definitely more expensive, but is also worth the money compared to the generic brands I was using.  Normally, generic brands are my best friends, but detergent is one area they are not.

However, as much as I liked the clean clothes I was getting, I did not like paying so much for laundry detergent, so I scoured blogs and websites for an alternative.  Apparently I am not the only one who hates paying a lot of money for detergent!

I went out an bought myself some materials to make my own powder detergent.  Note: Perhaps I am stupid, but I could not find anything but the Borax at Target which I thought was odd.  The Fels Naptha soap and washing soda were bought at the grocery store.


Three cheap ingredients.  I can’t complain!  I also wanted a reason to buy a pretty glass container for $5.


I could have used ivory soap, which I probably will switch to since I bought a huge pack of it when I couldn’t find the Fels Naptha at Target, but man is this soap pretty.  I love how vintage it looks!


This is where the elbow grease came in.  It took me over 10 minutes to grate just one third of the bar and it got everywhere!  All the tutorials I found online said making this would only take 5 minutes (and they used a whole bar of Fels Naptha)!  I work out, my arm muscles are not that weak, yet I found myself sweating as I grated it.  I can’t imagine doing a whole bar.  Maybe this is a part I will corral Mr. Converse Sneakers into doing. Heehee


Other than grating the bar of soap, I simply added half a cup of washing soda . . .


. . . and half a cup of Borax into our blender with the grated soap.


Then I went to town.  So, blending this little money-saving concoction did not work.  It all stuck to the bottom and only the middle would blend.   I used a spoon after to mix it up.  I probably lost a fifth of the mixture due to the dust that started flying out.


The awesome thing is that a tablespoon per load is all the is required.

When I do this again, since it is definitely worth the money saved, I will pour the Borax, washing soda, and grated soap into three separate containers and put 1/2 tbsp of the soap, 1/4 tbsp of the washing soda, and 1/4 tbsp of the Borax into each load.  this way I won’t need to blend anything, I will get a perfect ratio with each load, and I won’t have to store the extra boxes in our storage room which already has enough packed away.

Do you make your own laundry detergent?  Maybe you DIY some other cleaner that is normally expensive.  Please spill your secrets!

1 comment:

  1. I am a person who LOVES good cleaning supplies. Over the years I have been very disappointed in products advertised as great that turn out to be duds!! Obviously they put more into their advertising than they do into making a great product! Glad to see you have found something that works for you! I think putting all of your ingredients into a plastic zip lock bag then tossing it around would have worked better for mixing it. Love the heads up!


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