A Recipe for Saving on Laundry Costs

Tracey HeslipMy girls tell me this is a boring first blog, but I figure if I can get you on the road to saving money then the sooner the better!

Raising a family in today’s economy sometimes calls for drastic measures. About 2 years ago I Googled “living frugal” and it brought up numerous ideas for being creative while providing for your family on a budget. One of the things I found was making homemade laundry soap. It’s easy, cheap and fun…and it WORKS! I can make 10 gallons of soap for just $3!

My husband, Jim, is a mechanic and this laundry soap works on his greasy uniforms. If you have stains, keep a bar of Fels Naptha in your laundry area for pre-treating. Also, for really ground in dirt or things like red wine, soak clothing in equal parts of water and laundry soap. I did this with my girl’s canary yellow soccer uniforms that had been worn while playing in the rain right after the field had been mowed. They had so much ground in mud and grass stains I thought I’d never get them clean…and waalaa…canary yellow showed not one stain.


  • 1 Fels Naptha soap bar, grated
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup Borax

Other Things You’ll Need:

  • Small Saucepan
  • Hot tap water
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Smaller laundry detergent container (with a lid)

Grate the bar of soap into a small saucepan. Cover with hot water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continually, until the soap completely dissolves. Do not walk away from the pan; if it boils it will make a mess of your stove. I learned the hard way!

Put washing soda and borax in a 5-gallon bucket. I put the bucket on a chair next to the kitchen sink to make for easier handling and less mess. Pour in the hot, melted soap mixture. Stir well, until all the powder is dissolved. Fill the bucket to the top with more hot tap water. Stir, cover, and let set overnight. If you let it stand longer it won’t hurt. The next morning, stir the mixture. Mix equal amounts of soap concentrate and water in a smaller laundry-detergent dispenser or container. Shake before using. At first, I used milk jugs but they don’t hold up very well, so now I use windshield washer solvent jugs that Jim saves at work. They have a good locking lid and last for many uses. Think of how green that is!!! 

Directions for Use:

  • Use 1 cup per load for top loaders
  • Use 1/3 cup per load for front loaders

Now, For Fabric Softener!
Buy your favorite fabric softener and a pack of cello sponges. Cut the sponges in half. Get an empty baby wipe container or something similar. Put 1 part fabric softener to 2 parts water in container with sponges. When putting a load of clothes in the dryer, take a sponge and gently squeeze it and put it in the dryer like a dryer sheet. Use your fingers or plastic tongs that you can just leave in the laundry area. When the clothes are dry put the sponge back in the container. The sponges will hold up for 6 months to 1 year depending on how much laundry you do. This stretches your fabric softener saving you $$$$!!!!

I LOVE sharing these recipes with people. Why pay money for something you can make. Also, this is a GREAT project to do with your kids!!!



4 responses to this post.

  1. Wow – these are super saver tips! Thanks for sharing.


  2. this is a great blog and i love it!


  3. I have seen this recipe before but you stating it works on a mechanic’s uniforms then I’m sold.



  4. Thanks for sharing these money saving recipies Tracey!!


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