Squeaky Clean (and Super Cheap) | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Squeaky Clean (and Super Cheap)

Making your own laundry detergent is a cheap, easy way to get into DIY cleansers.

Making your own laundry detergent is a cheap, easy way to get into DIY cleansers. Photo by Kathleen M. Mitchell

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I've been intrigued by the do-it-yourself cleaning products trend for a while now. I definitely believe the products we buy to clean our home—not to mention hair and beauty products—contain way too many extraneous ingredients.

I've been intrigued by the do-it-yourself cleaning products trend for a while now. I definitely believe the products we buy to clean our home—not to mention hair and beauty products—contain way too many extraneous ingredients.

What finally got me to dive into the DIY cleaning-product pool was a co-worker who raved about her homemade laundry detergent. With only a few ingredients, she said, I could make a huge amount of laundry detergent for only a few cents per load.

Although recipes are out there for a liquid detergent, which involves melting the soap, I went with the dry soap, simply because it seemed easiest to try first. The liquid form of detergent, made in large batches, can reduce the cost of laundry to around 3 cents a load. The dry stuff is a bit more expensive—15 cents a load—but is a great gateway DIY.

I tried it out on some towels we had used to clean the house when we moved, so they were quite filthy. They came out clean, with really no lingering scent at all. I've read that do-it-yourself detergent can reduce or eliminate the need for fabric softener or dryer sheets. I can't attest to that, yet, because I don't use those things on towels anyway (did you know fabric softener, especially in the form of dryer sheets, can build up a film on towels that lowers their absorbency?).

Overall, I'm happy with the DIY detergent, but I'll probably still keep specialty items around (bleach or detergent for delicate items) for specific jobs. I can't wait to try more homemade cleaning products.

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