Thursday, March 19, 2009

Laundry Quandary

Cute title huh? I can't claim credit for it as it was the title of an article in the Tightwad Gazette! However, that article was about powdered detergent vs. liquid and how to know how much you are paying per load since the cap sizes are different for every bottle!

My Laundry Quandary is if I should spend the time to make my own laundry detergent or just buy it at Costco! I have to say, I much prefer liquid detergent, but the liquid stuff you make not only takes a lot longer to make, but it also settles meaning you have to shake it before you use it. I just don't think I would take the time to shake it, so it's kept me from ever making the liquid detergent. Recently a friend of mine made the powdered version and really likes it.
(If you are interested in making it yourself, I'll put the link to the recipe here.)

Now for the nitty gritty of price comparison. I would guess that to buy the three ingredients needed (as said the in the video link above) that it would be around $9.00. However both the box of Washing Soda and Borax make more than one batch of laundry soap. In fact the Borax makes six. So let's say the Washing Soda does too, and you buy six bars of soap (adding another six dollars to the price.) This brings your total up to $15.00. One batch of homemade laundry soap can give you approximately 40 loads of laundry, since you only use one Tablespoon of powder per load of laundry. So we have approximately 240 loads of laundry for around $15.00 making it about 6 cents per load!
(after further investigation I found the borax for as cheap as $3.00 a box, the soap for 2 batches was $1.00 and the washing soda, I was unable to find at the particular store I was at, but I'm guessing its not more than$5.00 making your actual total around $11.00 not $15.00~ and making it more like 4.5 cents a load!)

How about the soap that you purchase at Wal Mart or Costco? How much is it "per load"? I really couldn't tell you off the top of my head, so either take the time to figure it out next time you are shopping or check back here and I'll let you know! (The cheapest liquid soap was 6 cents a load, but I know for a fact it doesn't smell very good! And it is not concentrated so you have to use more to do the same job!) Another thing to keep in mind is the amount of waste involved in purchasing the large plastic jugs of detergent. Could we possibly keep them out of the landfills by making our own? And does it clean better or worse than the stuff you buy? What if you add Oxy Clean, this adds more cost, but does it boost the performance? All questions to keep in mind! I'll experiment and let you know my findings!
Happy Laundering!

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