This simple recipe only requires three basic ingredients and costs about five cents per load. That means you’ll only need to spend about $25 per year on detergent (maybe less, if you take the whole “smell test” thing to heart). When compared to the cost of store-bought detergent, that amounts to about $300 saved each year!
Safety Note: While borax is an all-natural substance, it can irritate some people's skin. It can also be toxic if ingested, especially by small children. Make sure you keep your borax in a sealed container that’s out of reach for kids and pets. If you’re not comfortable using borax, you can substitute it with citric acid powder, instead!
Finely grate 2 cups of bar soap. We don’t suggest using the same grater that rubs against your favorite cheese (soap and sharp cheddar don’t pair well). But an old or cheap cheese grater is perfect for this!
Measure 1 cup of borax (or citric acid powder) and 1 cup of washing soda. You can find these items in the detergent aisle of most grocery stores and some hardware stores. You may want to call ahead first just to be sure, because they’re not always in stock. Optional: Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, like lavender or eucalyptus!
Mix all three ingredients together and store. A re-sealable, airtight container such as a mason jar works best.
Use 2 tablespoons per load. This detergent is low on suds, which is perfect for high-efficiency washing machines. Because of its low-suds count, you might be tempted to add more soap, but there’s no need! As long as you pre-treat tough stains before washing, you’ll do just fine.