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Since I've now got a huge stockpile of laundry detergent, it seems like everywhere I look someone is posting about how much cheaper it is to make your own. I thought I'd do a quick calculation to see if it's true for me, and invite you to do the same!

First - how much do you pay for a bottle, and how much is it? I pay approximate $1 per bottle and it's 45 oz. I use Xtra, and it's $2.99 normally at CVS, goes on sale for $1.49, and with coupons and ECB's I figure I pay on average $1 per bottle.

Secondly - how much do you use per load? Well, I use about 1 tablespoon, that's 1/2 an ounce. Note that the bottle suggests using 1.5 oz per load. I'll add that I have a front loader, so I can get away with using a lot less soap.

So - I get 90 loads from one bottle that costs me $1. That's a little more than $.01 per load.

Next question - how much is HM laundry detergent? It largely depends on the recipe, but I just googled and found a few online blogs that had calculated how much it cost per load. The cheapest I found was - wait for it - $.01 per load. Most were closer to $.02-$.03 per load.

So for me, making my own laundry detergent is NOT worth it.

I always find doing the math interesting because I think many times people throw out frugal tips without taking into account people's personal habits. What if I was allergic to most detergents? What if I can't get the ingredients locally and have to order them online and pay shipping? What if I did one load of laundry per week instead of 3 loads per day? In my case, the two biggest factors that make it not worth it for me are that I can use super cheap laundry detergent (no allergies or sensitivities) and that I have a front loading washer that lets me get away with using way less detergent.

I guess this feeds into a larger point of mine - which is DO THE MATH. Sometimes it's not cheaper to follow a frugal tip. Or, I've occasionally found the opposite - where I figure something small won't save that much, and it turns out to be a bigger money-saver than I thought.
 

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i agree i get the 64 oz bottles from dollar tree so i wont make my own when i get buy it for a $1
 

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i have been doing the same thing for year ,
u also find ometime people use outdated cost equation from the tightwad gazette which i well over 10 years old.

i also figure my time into things

if i can fix something that would cost me 15$ new in 15 minutes - thats 1$ a minute or 60$ an hour " pay "

if it takes me an hour to make something that saves me 2$ a week - not worth it to me at all and i also with my FM have to take the labor intesnity - wear on my body or mind into it all also.
 

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oh and if something doesnt come out to a great hourly wage for time spent - but you enjoy doing it or really love the outcome that overrides the fact it doesnt save a huge amt
 

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Yup, there are many ways to look at things. Sometimes it comes down to how much someone wants to justify something.

I don't make things just because I can anymore. I've reached the point where I just want to lessen my work load and get caught up on some of my projects. I don't have anything to prove anymore.

We buy the cheap detergent. It's just the two of us and we don't have dirty jobs, so we don't do all that much laundry anymore. I tried the homemade stuff and it didn't work for us. Our clothes got dingy and smelly. So even though I do have sensitivities to detergents, it's still not worth it to us.

What I'd like to know is how people can make homemade soap and have that come out cheaper than buying soap ready made.
 

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Or, I've occasionally found the opposite - where I figure something small won't save that much, and it turns out to be a bigger money-saver than I thought.
And along with my time, I also figure in the convenience of doing of some things.

IE: washing out zip loc bags............I don't do it. I DO wash out the 'freezer strength ones' and my food saver bags........most of the time, as these are more expensive. But sandwich strength? NOPE.......but I DO put them in my garage and use them to scoop poop..........so re-use can be a good thing too. I use quite a few of them and don't want them drying all over my kitchen............convenience!!
 

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Yeah, convenience can be a wonderful thing. I don't usually wash bags either. But we use reusable storage containers most of the time, so don't spend much on plastic bags anyway.

I use a ton of plastic bags when we camp or travel though. Stuff squishes into odd spaces in the coolers much better, and it's a lot more convenient (there's that again) to be able to just toss stuff when there's no good way to wash a dish. But it's inconsequential in the total cost of our vacations, so I don't really think much about it.
 

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Stuff squishes into odd spaces in the coolers much better, and it's a lot more convenient .
THAT is the exact reason I use them in the house..........my pathway in the kitchen is such that I can't really have much more than an 18ft. refrig. and that is
just TOO SMALL. So I use them a lot for refrig. items............the odd tomato slice........the pieces of bacon I didn't eat yet, meat........and don't have to use a plate or ???............only use the containers for "liquids" that go back in my refrig. I use a lot of the produce bags from the store too (saves me buying all the baggies)..........put the cut cantaloupe and watermelon in them and back in the frig. they go.

but the one thing I do............that my friends don't/won't do.............I use the folder over sandwich bags A LOT..........cheaper. They want the bag with the zipper!
 

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I know what you mean...i was making my own fabric softner a few years ago. While it was fun for me and DD, it didn't save me a bit of money in the long run.
 

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~An advantage to homemade though is that it removes the old detergent build-up from your clothes. After about 2 months using only homemade our clothes were so soft! They even dried faster.
I came to pretty much the same conclusions you did when I made detergent in 2010 and 2011. Even though it saved very little money, I felt better knowing I was more self-sufficient in this area. Never having to look for a sale or keep a stockpile was nicer than I expected. Plus I saved almost 20 bottles of detergent from being manufactured, shipped, and ultimately disposed of for recycling in the time I was making it. I shared the prepared detergent with my mom so that's why it's so much. 1 box of borax, 1 box of washing soda and half a dozen zote/fels naptha bars take up less than 10% of that in weight and volume which is nice when hauling home or finding places to store in your home.
Here's a link to my results, post 50: http://www.frugalvillage.com/forums/laundry/111389-duggars-laundry-soap-recipe-2.html ~
 

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I found that making my own detergent has saved lots of money. I use the Duggars family recipe. Instead of spending nearly $10 a gallon (dollar general cheap brand) I am spending 25 cents per gallon.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value - Duggar Recipes - The Duggar Family

4 Cups - hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

When you buy these ingredients, they usually last for several months. I am doing laundry for myself and three other people. Borax, a bar of Irish Spring, and baking soda are extremely cheap. Overall, these ingredients are very effective for removing stains, plus it smells great. I don't use fabric softner.
 

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I have done this and yes it saved me when I didn't have any coupons or stockpile. But for now I do and it's pretty much the same cost.
 

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By the time I factor in locating the ingredients, and then doing the mixing, it's not worth it to me. The cost difference is only about .04 a load, which isn't enough. Especially since I only do 6 loads every 2-ish months.
 

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By the time I factor in locating the ingredients, and then doing the mixing, it's not worth it to me. The cost difference is only about .04 a load, which isn't enough. Especially since I only do 6 loads every 2-ish months.
OK, I have to ask. How do you get by doing only 6 loads every 2-ish months? I typically do at least 2 loads every week for just me.
 

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time is money imho...i just look for coupons and sales...and, to remove residue on clothing or towels or whatever, do the load in vinegar with a bit of borax and its done! again, my opinion...there are other ways to save..i wouldnt even dream of making detergent...i always have a stash anyway w/ cvs eb and coupons, etc...we use only cheer tide or all free for clothing and arm and hammer free for towels sheets rugs...and i only use downy free dilluted w/ vinegar for softener.
 

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OK, I have to ask. How do you get by doing only 6 loads every 2-ish months? I typically do at least 2 loads every week for just me.
I have enough clothes to last 6-7 weeks. It only takes me about 6 loads to wash those clothes and towels. If my father and brother in-laws continue getting fatter, or my buddy continues buying jeans without trying them on, I'll be able to stretch it out to 8 or 9 weeks' worth of clothes.
 

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I use purex or arm and hammer liquid. It's often on sale for $1.99 or less. I figured that was cheap enough.

I did make some homemade laundry soap about a month ago. I did notice my towels were much softer and my whites were whiter.

I have all the supplies in my stockpile to make homemade, so if things ever get so bad that I can't get out to buy laundry soap or I don't have money to buy it, I can make homemade.

I'll continue to buy soap when I find a good deal.
 

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Frugalfranny; I use the fold over baggies. They are cheaper & work just as well. I don't wash out the large plastic bags expecially if it's something greasy.
 

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For dh and myself, El Cheapo laundry detergent is fine. But our 23 year old dd has found the homemade detergent is better for her, store bought detergent makes her itchy. I do like mixing up the detergent, it's kinda fun. It does clean well. But the price of El Cheapo vs homemade...probably not much different.
 
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