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Saving Money and Going Green with Laundry Costs

Updated on February 1, 2014

Hard Times = Saving Money = Frugal Living

During economic trials with costs increasing and job loss along with the unemployment cuts some of us are forced to figure out ways to cut back on spending. As I personally am going through this with my family I have resorted to find ways where I can cut back on the grocery bill utilizing my money to spend more on food and less on household supplies. It was a post on Facebook that made me realize it was time to “go green” in some areas. One of these areas is laundry supplies.

Name Brand Laundry Soaps

Tide Pods
Tide Pods

Laundry Soaps

I have used the low cost laundry soaps at the store in the past only coming to a realization that the off brand and low cost laundry soap is so diluted you end up using more of it and buying more of it than just spending money on name brands such as Tide which is concentrated and actually cleans your clothes. I started buying Tide in the large containers because buying in bulk actually saves versus buying the smaller containers making more trips to the store thus spending more in gas. It was recently over the past year or two that Tide came out with these nice pods which I was skeptical of but tried them out. I realized buying the pods cut back on spending even more because you don’t over use them like you may do with the liquid by adding the soap above the recommended line or thinking you need more when you do not. In using the pods I realized we were saving even more money because you drop one in and actually have the amount of loads that the container states you do.

Name Brand Softener

Downy Fabric Softener
Downy Fabric Softener | Source

Name Brand Dryer Sheets


Fabric Softener & Dryer Sheets

After purchasing soap you then have the added costs of liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets. For those with hard water you end up having to use both, or for those who like softer clothes or just the smell of using both you end up buying both. Using off brand softener and cheaper softener you realize those too are so watered down you use more like the soap and go through it quicker resulting in more costs and more trips to the store. Then you end up buying the name brand or concentrated liquid fabric softener so your clothes actually have the affect from the use of it in the first place. Same with dryer sheets. I don’t mind buying cheaper sheets or off brand but I find myself again using more of them to get the smell and softness you are looking for, same as the soap and fabric softener you end up again buying the name brand sheets to use less and get the desired results.

All in all you spend more but buy less frequently in purchasing the higher quality soaps, softener and dryer sheets. It is then when you go grocery shopping with your budgeted amount that you end up with less food at home when you do have to purchase laundry supplies. When you are on a tight budget every penny counts and when you have a family less food equals less meals and everyone is hungry and grumpy all over the fact you had to purchase soap, we all have to wash our clothes.

Water, Liquid Softener, Sponges & Container

Two simple ingredients, lasting freshness and extreme softness!
Two simple ingredients, lasting freshness and extreme softness!

Homemade Dryer Sheets

I have found and tried the following homemade recipes for both dryer sheets and laundry soap and I have to admit I was skeptical about both more so about the laundry soap. After using both of the following I will admit that even when our family is back on our feet, I will not be purchasing laundry soap or dryer sheets again. Using the following has made me realize how much better they work plus how much money you can save in a few simple ingredients.

The first thing I tried was creating my own dryer sheets. I found this article on Facebook and thought to myself, I am currently out of dryer sheets; I do not like doing my laundry without them because my water is hard and there is so much static. In the summer I do not use dryer sheets as I hang my clothes on the line but for winter purposes this will be something I will definitely continue as it not only makes your clothes smell good it makes them so much softer than any dryer sheet I have ever tried. All you need for this is a container, liquid fabric softener of your choice, sponges and water. I purchased my container at the Dollar General in our town as well as a 4 pack of cheap sponges spending about $4.50 to get started – of course if you have a container with a lid and large enough to put sponges in as well as your hand you won’t need to purchase a container. The recipe is:

1 Cup of Liquid Fabric Softener

2-3 Cups of Water

To fill the container just use a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio, repeat the recipe until you fill your container to the desired amount. As for the water amount whether you use 2 or 3 cups per 1 cup of softener depends on how thin you want the mix or how soft you want your clothes. I split the difference and used 1 cup of softener to 2.5 cups of water. When you are done just shake the container to mix the liquids, place your sponges into the liquid so that they absorb the softener. When you are ready to use the sponges just squeeze the liquid out of the sponge and place them in the dryer with your clothes. I personally have been using all 4 sponges per dryer load only because of the softness it creates and the smell it leaves behind. Our clothes have never been so soft. Not only is this extremely cheaper than buying dryer sheets it is also environmentally friendly. I cannot remember the exact amount of the cost of making these but it is considerably less than buying sheets and if you are already using liquid softener you are purchasing it for two uses instead of buying two separate items.

Some people may ask - Does the liquid fabric softener in the sponges leave marks on your clothes? My answer is it does not; I have not noticed any spots from the fabric softener. Remember you are squeezing out the liquid before placing the sponges into the dryer so it is not dripping in any sense onto your clothes. I have been doing this for over a week and my husband even told me to never buy dryer sheets again because of the difference - even he has noticed.

What are the benefits to making your own laundry soap? (not this specific product - geared to inform of the risks and health benefits)

Borax & Washing Soda

3 Tablespoons per gallon
3 Tablespoons per gallon | Source
3 Tablespoons per gallon
3 Tablespoons per gallon | Source

ULTRA Dawn Dishsoap

The great thing about dawn is it comes in a variety of fragrances to choose your favorite smell for your clothing!
The great thing about dawn is it comes in a variety of fragrances to choose your favorite smell for your clothing!

Combo Ingredients in Bulk, Free Prime Membership Shipping

Homemade Laundry Soap

Onto the laundry soap, this is where I was extremely skeptical. I am not skeptical anymore as the results, the smell, and the ease of making this has changed my perspective of any brand laundry soap on the shelves. You do need to buy three ingredients however reading the blog from the person who told me about this they had calculated that making this laundry soap is equivalent to $.07 a gallon!!! As for those who are sensitive to soaps, my family is and so is the person who shared this recipe and neither their family nor ours has had any issues with sensitivity of this recipe to your skin.

The three ingredients you will need to purchase are: borax, washing soda, and dawn ultra-dish soap. You will also need a gallon sized container. You can purchase these or reuse a container you have such as from your fabric softener container, milk jugs, or juice jugs, even a regular pitcher you may have in your kitchen will work.

The recipe for this is as follows:

3 Tablespoons of Borax

3 Tablespoons of Washing Soda

2 Tablespoons of Dawn Ultra (concentrated dish soap)

After adding your ingredients take some very hot water, hot tap water will work and swirl the ingredients until the powders have dissolved. When this is completed just add cold water to the container until you reach just to the top of the container. Put the lid on and mix it all together. Just a note some suds may come out of the top of the container once you reach the top, this is ok it is normal. This will not be a thick solution like you would buy in the store; it is very thin but you can trust me it works great! When you use it in your laundry measure out about a cup in a regular size load, you can add more or less depending on your load…I use 2 cups in a super load only for my peace of mind.

One other upside to using this recipe is if you want to add fragrance to your soap Dawn ultra comes in a wide variety of fragrances and you can use whichever one you would like as long as perfumes/fragrances do not affect your skin. Dawn has been used on animals, especially during the oil spills, so it is verified to be safe on your skin as it was on the animals. It cuts through grease and grime and I believe it works better than Tide. My husband is a restaurant manager and has to wear white shirts. The ultimate test for me was whether this homemade soap would get his shirts clean, not only did it get his shirts clean but they are whiter than they have been, especially with our hard water.

Various varieties of ultra dawn in larger quantities on Amazon, cheaper than in stores!

Homemade Laundry Soap

What your laundry soap will look like, color depending on which ultra dawn you use
What your laundry soap will look like, color depending on which ultra dawn you use


I know that it is hard to change your ways and that most of us have standards to certain things we use at home especially for laundry and cleaning supplies because I myself always said I would never buy any other soap than Tide. I am thankful that I was told about this recipe and had the assurance from the woman that shared it with me on how well it works and that her family having sensitive skin like mine would be ok switching and using this. During these hard times I have learned a lot and am thankful for any suggestion to save money to put more food on the table as well as more money in the budget for bills. Even if you are skeptical make a small amount and try it, even if you don’t want to try it on your clothes at first, try it on your throw rugs or something so that you can see and smell the difference in how clean the laundry soap makes your clothes and how soft and full of smell the softener works in your dryer, you won’t be disappointed. There are other things that I have made to help save money but will write other hubs about those in the near future.

The credit for the laundry soap recipe came from the following source; it is only fair to recognize the original source for sharing and can find the link here:

Also - Thank You Holly!

Sampling these recipes wont hurt...

Would you be willing to try this to save money, even out of curiosity?

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