If you've active on Pinterest, you've probably seen tons of pins for making your own cleaning products. Our only New Year's resolution was to cut back on our expenses, so I decided to try making our own dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, and foaming hand soap since those are the three cleaning products where we spend the most money.
We typically run our dishwasher two times a day. We'd been using Ecover's Dishwashing Tablets for a long time and were happy with its eco-friendly ingredients and how clean they got our dishes. But I knew I could get the per wash cost down by making our own dishwashing detegent.
I did a ton of research on all the different ingredients and recipes for creating your own dishwashing detergent like borax, salt, baking soda, etc. I came across a great post on Little House in the Suburbs that dissects the ingredients in most commercial dishwashing detergents. While I saw borax as an ingredient in most DIY dishwashing detergent formulas, according to that post, no commercial detergent contains borax, and there is some debate whether borax is completely safe to use on dishes (though it is considered a safe household cleaner).
I decided simple was best otherwise there's no way I'd keep up with making our own detergent. I bought a 5 pound bag of citric acid from Amazon for $18.07, but you may be able to find Lemi-Shine Original instead at your local grocery store. I also purchased Super Washing Soda from my local grocery store for $4 because it was way overpriced on Amazon.
This is the formula I used:
- 1 tsp citric acid (or Lemi-Shine Original)
- 4 tsp Super Washing Soda
- vinegar in the rinse cycle compartment
Tip: You have to keep the super washing soda and citric acid in separate containers like I do in the above picture because they clump if you combine them.
This has been getting our dishes just as clean as the Ecover tablets. We get about 85 loads from the Super Washing Soda + Citric Acid for around $7 (or 8 cents per load), whereas it cost us $13.60 (or 16 cents per load) with the Ecover Tablets. Sure $7/month savings doesn't sound like much, but every little bit adds up, and I like knowing exactly what ingredients are in our dishwashing detergent. Since it's not really not much extra work to DIY our own dishwashing detergent, we'll continue to do it!
D I Y L A U N D R Y D E T E R G E N T
We'd been using Method Free + Clear laundry detergent. I love the Method brand and I especially love that their detergent is super concentrated -- 4 squirts from a small bottle is all it takes per load. It cost us about 19 cents a load, and we do about 7 loads of laundry a week (it's amazing how much more laundry a second child generates)!
After reading up on a lot of different formulas for DIY laundry detergent, I used the following recipe:
- 1 cup Super Washing Soda
- 1 cup Borax
- 1 bar of grated soap (I used Kirk's Original Castile Soap because of its all-natural ingredients, but Fels Naptha and Zote laundry bar soaps are more popular options. Other natural options include Dr. Bronner's.)
I added two tablespoons per cycle, but I don't think it was enough because the stains were not getting as clean as when I used Method laundry detergent. I think perhaps I just wasn't using enough because some recipes call for using 1/4 - 1/2 cup. I'm just not sure how much I'd actually save when using that much detergent, and I also don't really have the space to store a lot of extra detergent. But what turned me off to DIY laundry detergent is that all the recipes include borax, and it smells horrendous. I dreaded opening the jar I keep my DIY laundry detergent in because it smells so bad!
So for now we're back to using Method Fee + Clear, but I'm fascinated with soap nuts and want to give them a try next! Soap nuts are a fruit of the berry family (not actual nuts), and are a completely natural way to wash your laundry. Check out this awesome post where a blogger applies various stains to clothing and washes them with soap nuts and commercial laundry detergent. The results are amazing! These are even better than making our own detergent because it's all natural, I don't have to make anything, and they don't take up any space!
D I Y F O A M I N G H A N D S O A P
We've been using Method's Sea Minerals foaming hand soap for years because I love the scent and I love foaming soap! I know that it's mostly comprised of water, so making our own foaming hand soap was a no brainer.
All you need is:
- an empty foaming hand soap dispenser (regular soap dispensers will not work)
- any liquid handsoap (I used Dr.Bronner's Pure Castile Soap because it's all natural)
Fill the empty soap dispenser about 10% full of soap. Slowly fill the rest of the bottle with water.
That's it! I can definitely tell you that I am never buying foaming hand soap again!
I've been using vinegar to clean just about everything for years, but I didn't know how easy and cost-effective it was to make so many common household cleaners.
Would you or do you make any of your own household cleaners?