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Four Ways to Save Money on Laundry Detergent

How do you get good deals on laundry detergent? I have found the occasional good deal, but this seems like the one product I struggle
to really save on. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! -A reader

1) Don’t Be Brand Dependent

One of the easiest ways to save money on laundry detergent is to stop being brand dependent and start buying whatever brand you can get on a great sale with a coupon.

My target price for laundry detergent is $2 for a 48-load bottle or larger. By watching for sales on the store-brand at Dillon’s or by pairing a coupon with a great sale on a name-brand, I rarely pay more than that for a bottle of laundry detergent. Aldi and Costco also have good everyday prices on their store brands if you don’t want to mess with watching sales and clipping coupons.

If you can afford it in your grocery budget, stock up when the price is low so that you don’t ever pay retail for laundry detergent again!

2) Use Half of the Recommended Amount

I’m not sure who decided you have to use a full capful of laundy detergent in order to run a load of laundry, but I’m not buying it. In fact, I pretty much always use half the recommended amount–and I think our clothes are plenty clean.

Maybe this is going to sound over-the-top frugal, but it was a trick my mom taught me: when the bottle has almost been used up, add some water, put the lid back on, and shake it up to get the last remains of laundry detergent cleaned out of the bottle. I can usually stretch the bottle to last for another load just by doing this.

3) Only Wash Dirty Clothes

One of the best ways to cut down on your laundry detergent bill–and your water and electric bill for that matter!–is to just stop washing clothes which aren’t truly dirty. We’re not always 100% perfect about this (especially since my 2-year-old has discovered the joy of changing her clothes multiple times throughout the day!), but we try to re-wear clothes whenever we can.

I can often make a pair of jeans last for two to three days without needing to be washed. I just spot-clean them and re-wear them. (I know some people think that is terribly unsanitary, but seriously, who made up the rule that you have to wear an entirely new outfit every single day? If you’re bathing everyday, I really don’t see what’s the big deal. It works for us and it saves us time and money.)

4) Make Your Own

Truth be told, I tried making my own laundry detergent once and it was a total fail. The goopy, baby-spit-up-like solution was not only icky, it did a horrible job of getting our clothes clean. So I gave up that idea and decided to go back to buying detergent on sale with coupons.

However, I have friends who think homemade laundry detergent is the best thing ever. And when I’ve seen the cost breakdowns, I would wholeheartedly agree that it’s very inexpensive to make your own.

Tammy has a great tutorial on making your own laundry detergent. Or, if you’re a visual learner, check out The Simple Dollar’s step-by-step video below:

How do you save money on laundry detergent? I’d love to hear your ideas! (And anyone want to “fess up and tell me that you also re-wear your clothes?!)

photo credit: Pixel Drip

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  • jan says:

    I do #2 and #3 all the time! 🙂

  • Amanda says:

    I tried making my own, and it just wasn’t worth it to me. I hated shredding the soap, so I just decided that detergent on sale with coupons was a better deal when I considered time, money and frustration factors! I try to get the more natural, fragrance free detergent at about 2 dollars for 25-30 loads. I just picked up the new Method detergent for that price yesterday, so I’m excited to see if it works well.

  • Shelly says:

    I have also started making my own detergent, but I make dry and it’s not at all a messy process, and it’s fast! I had ALWAYS used liquid detergent prior to this and was concerned about how/if the homemade powdered detergent would work, but it does work very well. I’ve had no problems at all. I use the following formula: 2 cups grated Fels-Naptha or castile soap, 1 cup Borax, 1 cup Washing Soda. Use 2T per load.

    • Christy says:

      @Shelly, I use this same recipe, plus one other ingredient. The recipe I use calls for 1 c. all-fabric bleach or oxy-clean. I find that this helps to keep the whites whiter as I have hard water!

      • Kathy says:


        I pretty much use the same thing. But mine has 2 cups borax, 2 cups washing soda, 1 bar of grated Napatha & 2 cups baking soda.

        Our clothes and pet bedding come out very clean, fresh smelling and they don’t have that greasy residue that the store bought gunk leaves. I will never go back.

  • Lisa says:

    I’ve been making my own powdered laundry soap for the last few months. It’s quick, easy, does a great job on the clothes, and smells nice too. Here’s the recipe I use:

    3 cups finely shredded bar soap (3 bars if Ivory or other similar soap shreds to 3 cups)
    3 cups 12-Team Borax
    3 cups Arm and Hammer washing soda.
    Combine in a large container. Shake to combine.
    Use 2 T per large load.

  • Jennifer says:

    I just started making my own, but I use a powdered laundry detergent recipe. No goop, doesn’t take up much space (I actually store about 3-4 months worth in an old icecream pail). You can scent it with whatever bar soap you like too! And, white vinegar works wonderful as a fabric softener. You can scent it with essential oils. I haven’t done that and my clothes don’t smell all vinegary, and come out nice and soft. The only actual laundry supply I buy now is dryer sheets to get out the static cling.

  • Cindy says:

    I thought everybody re-wore jeans. Really. Why would you wash something that’s not dirty? I wash after 2 or even 3 wears. If I’m going somewhere where a spot or two matters, I’ll be wearing something besides jeans anyway!

    • Jaime says:

      @Cindy, I totally agree! I rewear jeans unless I got dirty or sweaty. Also nice (delicate) clothes. If I dress up for an event and am only wearing my nice blouse or skirt for a couple of hours, I’m definitely going to wear it again rather than putting the wear and tear on it by washing it an extra time. 🙂

    • Jennifer says:


      I thought most people rewear clothes. I wear my jeans 3-4 times before washing. Same goes for pjs, sweaters, dark pants. Washing dark clothes less often preserves the color. Unless the article is really dirty (which my toddler’s clothes usually are) it gets reworn at least once.

    • Sonjia says:

      @Cindy, I wish I could re-wear my clothing, but I live in Orlando, FL and it’s just too hot to re-use clothing most of the year. I enjoy the winter/early spring season because I am able to re-wear my clothing, but in the summer when it’s 97 degrees and 95% humidity you just stink too much to even think about it!

    • @Cindy,

      I agree! I also re-wear clothes, especially jeans. Plus it helps darker wash jeans from fading so quickly.

  • Jen says:

    I usually lmake my own (from The Simple Dollar’s tutorial) especially since I use cloth diapers which can only take some types of detergent. But, thankfully Purex is a brand I can use so I got 4 free bottles a few weeks ago at WAGS.

  • Kara says:

    I started making my own laundry detergent using the Simple Dollar Method almost 6months ago. I love using it! I use Ivory soap and usually warm water to wash unless I know the clothes being washed are not super dirty. I do use stain spray on the kids clothes when there is something on them. But in my opinion its so much easier than trying to budget in laundry detergent from the store. Making it is not hard at all takes maybe 15min tops! My other big concern is the environment…I just think of all the plastic bottles I am saving each month. Makes me feel good to do something a little eco friendly.

  • Abbygail Mendoza says:

    You aren’t the only one who rinses and shakes up the bottle!! Not only does this use up all of the remaining detergent, but cleans the bottle for recycling! I do this with all product bottles (shampoo, body wash, etc) and can usually get 2-3 more uses out of it! And rarely do I not wear clothes more than once (everything but undies and socks)! You wear undies so you CAN wear jeans again right?? 🙂

  • Kristi says:

    I am pretty brand loyal because I find that many “cheaper” brands tend to fade our clothes. My favs are Tide, Gain & All Free & Clear.
    When using fabric softener sheets, I cut them in half because I only use for static control & it doesn’t take much. I use what ever I can get for free with coupons!
    When washing clothes, do not wash your clothes & towels together as that will cause your clothes to not only pill, but to wear out as well.

    • Emily says:

      @Kristi, I use dryer sheets 2 or 3 times before I throw them out. Sometimes, instead of throwing them away I put them in my sock or underwear drawer (or any clothes drawer) to make things smell nice longer.

      • Carla says:


        Ooo. Don’t throw them away. Use old dryer sheets to clean your shower or bathroom sink. They remove soap scum like nothing else. Just wet and rub!

    • Angie says:

      I am pretty brand loyal too, I think Tide, followed by Wisk are a lot better than other brands, so here is what I do to save money…..I stock up on my favorites when they go on sale, but I only use those for outerwear……hubby’s dress shirts, dress clothes, school clothes, jeans, etc. Then I use cheaper brands to wash other items like towels, pajamas, play clothes, etc. I cut my dryer sheets in half too!@Kristi,

    • DeAnn says:

      I am very brand-loyal to Tide. It is one of the few household items that I always buy a name brand of. I have always been paranoid about how my clothes smell, and Tide always make them smell great. Although rinsing clothes in vinegar actually removes odors (the vinegar smell disappears when it dries), and is a good alternative to bleach, if you want to be more eco-friendly.

  • Lindsay says:

    We make our own. This recipe works great for us:
    1 bar fels naptha
    1 cup washing soda
    1/2 cup borax
    Melt the shredded soap, mix everything together in a 5 gal bucket and fill to the top with water. Let it gel overnight then stir and put in empty containers. We rinse with white vinegar and do add an oxygen cleaner to our “whites” loads.

    • Samantha R says:

      That’s the same one we make and it works great! With the really dirty boys’ jeans/work clothes, I just add extra and sometimes use Shout for tough spots.

  • Tisa Joy says:

    I make my own too! It’s super easy, SUPER cheap, and has always worked great. I dance ballet, and one day I got terrible blisters on my feet that bled into my tights. With no pre-washing, my home-made detergent got the blood out! I love it!

  • Jen says:

    My husband and I regularly re-wear shirts and pants/jeans a few times assuming they are still clean. I think the fact that they are not subject to the constant washing/drying makes them last longer too. But for some reason we have let our kids get in the habit of tossing their clothes right into the dirty laundry pile at the end of the day. I don’t know why I never looked at that more closely. Especially on school days when they have not romped around much or gotten dirty at all- thanks for making me think!

  • Mama Laundry says:

    I couldn’t agree more with these tips. Especially about re-wearing clothes that aren’t dirty. And not filling the cap to the fill line with detergent – there is just no need. I implement all of these daily!


  • We’re loving soapnuts right now. They work super well on cloth diapers if you use those too, and hubby’s construction work clothes and everything. I just paid $30 for about 6 months’ worth- family of 4. I think that’s a pretty good deal.

  • Rebecca says:

    I do 1, 2 & 3
    I buy what is on sale and I have a coupon for.
    I only use 1/8 cup of detergent for a full load of laundry at the most.
    Try this: wash your clothes. Then rinse them again and again and again. See how many times you have to rinse your clothes till the water comes out CLEAR & CLEAN with NO SOAP RESIDUE. Then you will realize how much laundry detergent you really need or DONT NEED to wash your clothes. If you have the new machines you will need even less. I think my mom said 1 TABLESPOON per full load.
    Remember.. SUDS dont make your clothes clean… and when you use TOO MUCH soap in the end it breaks down the fibers in your clothes and causes fading AND… if your one who is sensetive to detergents… did you ever wonder why…. YOUR WEARING DETERGENT BAKED IN YOUR CLOTHING !…

    Andrew 22 US ARMY
    Bella 3
    Liam 2

  • Alyssa says:

    I haven’t tried making my own yet. Had a hard time finding all the ingredients but the last 4 bottle of detergent I purchased for less than $2. 2 I got for $1.97 each then this week I purchased B1G1 free at $3.97 for a bottle so I got those for half that. I was thrilled. Either way I feel like I’m saving big on it.

    • Alissa says:

      @Alyssa, I couldn’t find washing soda at walmart and assumed it was non-existent, but i found that kroger carries both washing soda and borax, which are the only two ingredients i use other than bar soap (simple dollar recipe).

  • susan says:

    I totally agree about wearing clothes a second time. I can’t do it with shirt as I sweat waay too much, but pants? Absolutely! I always had to do that when I worked and had to dryclean clothing. Can’t imagine my dry cleaning bills if I hadn’t worn my pants more than one time. Would have been out of control!

  • VirgiLia says:

    I put water in all my bottles to get a few more uses out of them.

  • Rachel says:

    We love making our own! It takes a few min a month and costs less than 10$ for a year worth of detergent! Great stuff! And it doesn’t act up my kiddos excema- love it!

  • Paige says:

    I have had a good experience making my own laundry detergent. It is gloppy and looks weird, but it did the job. but then I ran out and just started using the stuff I had bought on sale again. I guess it’s time to make some more.

  • I tried making it once and it was one of the rare times that my time was worth more than the amount I saved. Plus, with clothes that get really dirty (i.e. teen boys, country living girls), the few extra dollars are worth it…and I rarely say that. 🙂
    I always rinse the detergent out. I do the same with the last bits of my soap, sauces in the can etc….not over the frugal….just smart living….hee hee. Over years and years, this adds up to quite a bit.

  • Jean says:

    I don’t make my own. I have everything I need to make my own except the bucket. We are a family of 6 so I do a lot of laundry. I have been using the same bag of Norwex detergent for about a year. We have a front loader so I only use between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon per load. There are no fillers or additives so you don’t have to use as much. I do add borax or a cheap (or free) laundry enhancer for whites. It does a good job abd I think that 22.00 per year for detergent is pretty good.

  • Merrilee says:

    I buy Tide when it’s on sale, and use it in my homemade soap instead of the bar soap. It doesn’t glob up, it makes nice bubbles, and smells nice. I measure 3 cups Tide and pour it into my “re-usable” 300-oz Tide container. Then I boil enough water to dissolve 1 cup washing soda and 1 cup Borax, and add it to the container. Then I fill the container the rest of the way with warm water, give it some good shakes, and we’re back in business!

  • I also use less than the recommended amount. In addition, we rewear clothes (shirts, pants, pajamas) unless they are obviously soiled or stinky. I figure, 100 years ago my great grandparents didn’t have the luxury of multiple changes of clothes and a machine to launder them in at their whim, so I don’t need to do that either!

    It also saves wear on the clothes and lets your clothes last longer.

    I tear dryer sheets into 1/3 and don’t get static. And I only put underwear, socks, fleece, bed linens and towels in the dryer. EVERYTHING else gets hung up on my drying racks in the basement.

    Oh, and I wash everything except bed linens in cold water.

  • Ann says:

    I re-wear jeans and things like sweaters or sweatshirts if they arent dirty. In the case of the sweater or sweatshirt lots of times they have a layering piece like a t-shirt or cami underneath them (I do wash those). My husband wears the same pair of khakis to work usually 3-4 times before washing them. (He calls it his version of recycling.) We also re-use our towels by hanging them on towel racks to dry out in between uses. All of these things are not only bulky in the wash, they also are slow to dry in the dryer. By not washing your clothing as much it helps prolong the life of the clothes themselves.

    I do buy my laundry detergent but I just keep an eye out for sales to match-up with my coupons.

    I rinse out my detergent bottle to try to get out every drop. I do this with body wash, shampoo, liquid hand soap, dish detergent, and things like spaghetti sauce. It also helps to clean them out before I put them in the recycling bin.

  • Kathy says:

    I have not tried making my own yet, several of my friends do though. I stocked up last fall when All was on sale B1G1 and with coupons it was only $1.87. As we have started getting a little low I was able to get Purex when they wear on the B1G1 deal at Walgreens a month ago for free! Two weeks ago All was on sale again B1G1 and with the $2 coupons I got them for $.85 each. For simplicity sake for now I will continue purchasing but I am open to trying to make mine in the future!

  • Ashley says:

    I used to think detergent was expensive, so I stocked up when I got a 32 load bottle for .50 at Walgreens. Since then, I have always been able to find GREAT deals, and now have more laundry detergent than I need. I had to give some to a friend. I shoot for .05 or less a load. I certainly like some brands above others, but I am willing to use a “cheaper” brand if it is really inexpensive. I was able to get Purex for less than a .01 a load the other day so I will use it rather than a nicer brand…but I have also found Tide for .04 cents a load. You just have to look and stock up when you find it!

    • Jaime says:

      @Ashley, I sent Purex an email about a month ago letting them know how handy their 3-in-1 detergent was when we went on vacation (way cheaper than what was at the hotel and easier to travel with than liquids or powders) and they sent me a couple coupons for free detergent! It was definitely worth my time to let them know how I felt about the product and they got some feedback! Win, win!

  • Kelly D says:

    I’ve been using homemade liquid detergent for almost a year and a half. We use cloth diapers and I have sensitive skin and we are trying to be environmentally responsible. I always do clothes in cold water. And we all rewear our clothes except socks and underwear. We don’t use dryer sheets any more because they make cloth diapers, towels, and cleaning rags less absorbent. Instead we use those nubby dryer balls. I make detergent 10gallons at a time. That lasted about a year with one kid in diapers and using rags instead of paper towels, since I use about 2 oz per load of clothes or 4oz for diapers in a front load washer. I use vinegar in the rinse on diapers too.

  • Jen says:

    We re-wear clothes all the time too! My boys love changing their clothes and I have a stack of clothes in their room that are “worn but not dirty enough to wash” – once they’ve been worn awhile they’ll get thrown in the laundry. And yes, my jeans get worn at least a couple days before washing. We don’t have a washer and dryer at home right now, so it made me think how much laundry I am creating to carry out and do elsewhere….. totally helps cut down on the laundry!

  • Shelli W says:

    Your re-wear jeans comments made me laugh. 🙂 I do the same thing and I figure 100+ years ago women only OWNED two maybe three dresses and only did laundry once a week so basic math tells you they were re-wearing dresses. AND they didn’t take nice hot showers every morning either. I say go for it. 🙂

  • Toni :O) says:

    I always use coupons on detergent, wear our clothes more than once or twice before washing so you certainly aren’t alone in that area either!

  • Leah says:

    Ditto those who make their own laundry detergent. I make dry as well because it’s so easy and cheap!
    I use: I cup borax (Marcs ~$3/9+ cups), 1 cup washing soda (Acme ~$2.50/9+ cups), 1 cup baking soda (Marcs ~$.25/cup) and a bar of grated soap (Marcs ~$1/3 bars)
    One batch washes about 30 loads (I use 1-2 tbsp/load depending on how dirty the clothes are), so close to the amount a small bottle of liquid detergent washes. It costs me less than $1.25/batch to make this, which is a deal that’s hard to come by on other laundry detergent! Plus, it’s way better for the environment than regular laundry detergent, and I can use whichever bar soap I like, so I have a variety of scents to choose from! Love it!

  • Jennifer says:

    I absolutely agree with only washing clothes that are dirty! My main reason is not necessarily the cost savings as much as it is that “worn” jeans feel 1000x’s better than jeans that have been washed. 🙂

    Another tip of mine is to only wash clothes when you have a full load. If you only have a few items that need to be washed, hold out until you can fill the washer to capacity so you aren’t wasting time, detergent or energy.

  • Elizabeth Horton says:

    I totally re-wear my clothes. Not usually tops, but jeans can defiitely go 2-3 days. Unless you spill something on them or drag the hems in the mud why not? I’ve tried to get my husband to realize that he doesn’t have to wear new jeans everyday, but it hasn’t caught on yet. I think he changes his clothes more times than our baby sometimes.

  • Julie says:

    I would think that most people re-wear jeans! I know I certainly do – 2 or 3 days! As for the laundry detergent, I’m getting all the ingredients together for the dry laundry soap. I have heard it works great. For those of you who had a hard time finding the borax and washings soda (as I did), sells both of them, and they deliver for free!

  • Cate says:

    I wash my jeans very irregularly. They hardly ever get dirty (and if they are, you can’t tell! 😉 ), and I find that they last much longer if I only wash them every few wears. I do sometimes toss them in the dryer for a few minutes between washes to regain the shape.

    • Katie says:

      @Cate, I read the word “wears” as “years.” LOL! I’m checking in as someone who only washes jeans when dirty, which isn’t very often.

      • Melissa says:

        @Katie, I did, too! Then I went back to read it again! Totally agree on only washing clothes when dirty. Last night, however, my youngest son (who is 5) wore pants that WERE dirty- to CHURCH! He’d been out playing and gotten his church clothes wet and, without my knowing, went home and changed into a pair out of his dirty laundry basket. (My husband is the pastor and we live right next to the church). Too late to go change again, so I endured the grass stained knees and hoped no one else noticed!

      • Ln says:

        I read it the same way and I was like “holy cow.” LOL!

        • Diana says:

          @Ln, I read the same thing! 🙂 Maybe something about the “y” on the end of “every” tricked our eyes? Ha Ha 🙂 Glad you don’t wait that long to wash them!

      • Cate says:

        @Katie, LOL! No…I think that would be a bit much!

  • Karen W says:

    We do the same thing with jeans in this house! 2 maybe 3 times. Especially my husband who only wears them for a few hours at a time if even that since he dresses up for work. And I do your little trick with shampoo too – add water, shake and use! Never thought to do it with the laundry detergent, duh! And I use half of what’s recommended as well.

  • heather says:

    We rewear jeans, shirts and pajamas too! I thought everybody did this. Our exceptions are my husbands work clothes ( he gets really dirty at work) and my three year old who manages to make stains appear out of thin air!
    We too try and look for deals on laundry detergent. I have found that some store brands are not as good for getting stains out as the name brand. Does anybody have any great tips for getting stains out?


    • Lucky says:

      @heather, Heather– I’ve found that there is nothing that won’t come out with an overnight soak in hot water and Oxy Clean.

      • Christie says:

        @Lucky, An overnight soak in Biz works great on my kids’ clothes (even if they’ve had a bloody nose!)

        • Colleen says:

          @Christie, Ditto! I always soak baby clothes overnight with a scoop of Biz and a half ‘cup’ of detergent. Soaking is the real secret to clean clothes!!!

      • Laura says:

        Sadly, I did find one thing. I pack my off-season clothes in bins and put them in storage. I recently discovered my favorite “Easter” sweater had grown mildew! I soaked it in hot water and Oxyclean for 24 hours. The ugly mildew spots lessened but are still visible. I’ve tried washing with vinegar, washing soda, everything I can think of except bleach. I may have no choice but to bleach my hot pink sweater to see if it is wearable again. Bummer! Any ideas?

  • Whitney says:

    I use Charlie’s soap for detergent – it’s marvelous and cheap per load. I like that it doesn’t add anything to the clothes, but just cleans them. And I’ve heard multiple people say online that it’s much more effective than homemade soap.

  • Jaclyn says:

    I hate to wash my jeans! Then I have to squeeze and “dance” back into them!

    • Heather says:

      @Jaclyn, I was scrolling through here wondering if I was the only one who hated washing my jeans because then they’d be tight again – not to save on my laundry!!

  • Susan says:

    The homemade recipe with the borax, washing soda, and Fels-Naptha works well! When I first made it, I took an old t-shirt outside and ground it into the grass, then smeared another part with chocolate. I let the stains set overnight without pre-treating, then washed it with the homemade soap. The chocolate came out completely and all but one little faint green part of the grass stain came out, and that was good enough for me! I have a front loader so the recipe makes about 640 loads. Using coupons from the Dial company and A&H the last time I made it, the recipe cost apprx. $1.40, so that’s .002 cents per load, or apprx. 10 cents for a 48 load container. Yay! (I hope my math is right, hehe)

  • Ashley R. says:

    I have to use certain kinds of detergent (free and clear – brand is less important), so I’m not always able to take advantage of sales. But, I watch for sales and coupons, and I recently got one of the gigantic jugs of Tide free and clear for around $9. They were on sale for $10.99 and I had a coupon for a couple bucks off. The 2x concentrated version goes a LONG way.

    My husband uses fabric softener on some of his clothes, and I got a coupon out of either the Redplum or Smartsource from Sunday for $3 off a bottle of Snuggle. The big bottle was $4.88 so I ended up paying $1.88 for enough softener for six months! The smaller bottle would have been $.88 after the coupon.

    • brookeb says:

      @Ashley R. I have severe skin allergies, so I have to go for the free & clear ones too, and generally stick to All free & clear or Method detergents. The All detergents go on sale quite frequently though, and have coupons, plus I tend to use a little less with each load too.

  • Katie says:

    For detergent I make a homemade batch (a dry recipe) and mix it half-n-half with Tide. I have really been liking this.

    I tried just homemade and my clothes just were not getting clean. I also tried the homemade liquid and it didn’t work AT ALL for us.

  • Holly says:

    Soap Nuts are super cheap and get everything (including our cloth diapers!) clean. You can google to find out about them or look at the website. The only (semi) drawback is you have to wash in warm water to use them as-is.

  • Amy says:

    I’ve thought about making my own, but my boys have very sensitive skin and eczema and I think the Borax would be too harsh. We always get free and clear detergents. I thought $2.50 for a 32-load bottle was a decent price; looks like I need to raise my standards! 😉
    And funny; there was just a thread last night on the Bump about re-wearing jeans. Looks like most people do! I do re-wear clothes if they’re still perfectly clean.

    • Heather says:

      @Amy, We thought the same thing when we made our own but it has actually helped my daughters condition. There are no dyes or anything that you don’t add yourself. When I ran out we had a bottle of tide free to use up and the flare up came back so now we always make our own saop.

  • Debbie M says:

    1. I only like the fragrance-free brands, so I used to get the cheapest one and stock up on sales. And yes, I did rinse out the bottle for the last load or two.

    2. I wouldn’t say I use half the recommended amount, but I do look for the actual level marks inside the cap and use the lower one. I do have hard water.

    3. There are some clothes I will wear two or three times.

    4. I just started making my own. I do the powder kind because it’s quicker and takes less space. It’s not that quick for me, though; it does take a while for me to grate the soap. I consider that to be my arm workout for the day. Yes, I do switch back and forth between my two arms. Even with my hard water, it seems to work just as well as my old detergent (maybe slightly better–a dried stain I didn’t expect to come out did once). (I used Shelly’s recipe, #3 above, with the (unscented) Castille soap–one bar made two cups!)

    5. Another hint is to wash things only once:
    * I always check pockets for tissues.
    * I get the clothes hung up right away before they start smelling mildewy.
    * Whenever something spills, I try to clean it or get the garment soaking right away so that the stain comes out the first time.
    * For really dirty loads, I leave the washer lid up so that the washer will stop and let the clothes soak for a while. This makes them much more likely to get clean the first time.

  • Jordan says:

    When it comes to re-wearing jeans, I’m pretty sure I’m a pro. I have two pairs of jeans that I wear regularly and I only do laundry about every two weeks. You do the math (I wear jeans just about every day)

    • Julie H says:

      @Jordan, I do the same thing. One pair of jeans that I wear, and laundry once a week. I just wear ratty pants or shorts and stay home when washing my jeans.

      I’ve never thought of making my own laundry soap. Wonder if hubby would let me.

  • Paula says:

    You definately don’t have to use the recommended amount of detergent. Our washer recently needed to be repaired, & my repairman specifically instructed us not to use the full cap! He said it’s too much for most loads, and can cause buildup in your machine.

  • Fiery says:

    We so wear our clothes more then once. If it doesn’t have a spot on it and it doesn’t smell then why not wear it again. I usually don’t do this for underwear or socks but pants, shirts, pj’s and especially sweatshirts and sweaters we do wear a second time. Even my 2yr old has learned which clothes go in the laundry and which ones go in the re-wear pile. Though she is now in the pick out her own clothes and dress herself stage so there have be days she has re-worn something that should likely have gone in the laundry. We also tend to forgo changing out of PJ’s if all we are doing is hanging around the house, no need to dirty clothes to stay home. I’ve also been known to let her go out in her PJ’s if we are just making a quick run to the store, saves clothes and time in the long run.

  • Lindsey says:

    I always rewear clothes, especially jeans. We just had a new baby, and I can’t tell you how much more laundry I’ve been doing – the spit up on my shirts makes it impossible to rewear!
    I have given serious thought to making my own laundry soap, but I don’t have a hard time finding FREE or extremely cheap laundry soap every 1-2 months. So I think I’ll wait until I run out of what I have (none of which I’ve paid more than $2/bottle for).

    • Barbara says:

      @Lindsey, it might help if you try to use a cloth diaper to catch the baby’s spit? I have a baby that spits up pretty bad too & I can’t imagine how much more laundry I’d have if I wouldn’t use burp rags all the time!

  • I completely agree with the not washing clothes that aren’t dirty. I wear my jeans 2-3 times before washing. I try to grab my kids’ pants for them to rewear (depending on what they were doing that day). My now 3 year old is also famous for mid-day clothes changes. Must be a girl thing!
    However, due to skin sensitivity I have to stick with All and Tide free and clear detergent, but I’m usually able to stay at the $2 a bottle range as well.
    I also wash my clothes in cold water, except for towels and sheets to cut costs.

  • Chelsea says:

    Wow, this is why I love your blog! I would have never thought to make my own laundry detergent until reading this. Thanks so much for the idea, I can’t wait to try it!

  • sahar says:

    Actually using less detergent goes a long way. Too much detergent breaks down clothing fiber making clothes stiffer, using less is gentler and actually cleans just as well. Our modern washing machines use less water so we don’t need as much soap. It’s eco friendly to cut down and detergent is actually harsh on your washing machine as well so you’re helping your appliance last longer.

    Here are some tips and tricks to use less laundry detergent

    Use the amount of laundry detergent recommended for a light load of laundry when you’re doing a full or even a heavy load.

    Half is max. Do not use more than half the maximum recommended amount, even with heavily soiled loads.

    Mark the cap. The recommended use lines are sometimes hard to read. Using a black permanent marker, draw a line at the halfway mark and you’ll always be able to see how much you should use.

    To add, I can’t believe there are people out there who wash jeans after one wear. It takes a day in jeans after they come out of the wash to get them unstiff and comfortably anyway. I couldn’t always wear stiff jeans.

  • Kari says:

    I sooo wear my jeans more than once, and my sweaters too! And pretty much anything that is dry clean only. If you haven’t spilled anything on it, and the baby hasn’t spit up on it, why wash it! Like you said, if you’re clean from showering who’s to say that your clothes are dirty after one wear.

    I do have a tip to share. I like to watch for sales on laundry detergent at my Family Dollar store. One week they had All detergent for $3 and I had $2 off coupons so I got laundry detergent (32 loads) for $1 a piece! Can’t beat that!

  • Jan says:

    Add me to the list of clothes rewearers! Haven’t tried making my own detergent, although I’ve thought about it. But I do use a minimal amount in my front-loading washer … less than half a cap. And since I scored 16 free bottles of Purex recently (BOGO sale + BOGO coupon = free!), I’m set for detergent for some time 🙂

  • Courtney says:

    Thank you for posting this!

    I also rewear jeans–seriously, why wash them after one wear? My husband is also really good about wearing his Sunday clothes again on Monday. We usually come home from church services and change into “play clothes” for the afternoon, so he gets 2 wears out of those nicer clothes. 🙂

    I haven’t added water to the end of a bottle, but I will be doing so now! I do try and stock up when I see a sale, but I don’t always have a lot of extra wiggle room.

    Thanks so much for the tips!

  • Judy says:

    I also make my own – the powdered kind. And I find it super-easy to use the food processor.
    I first use the shredding blade and shred 1 bar of Fels Naptha soap. Then I put in the normal cutting blade and add 3/4 C each of borax and washing soda, plus 5 to 10 drops essential oil (lemongrass right now – smells like a lemon jelly bean). Process until it’s an even consistency and everything’s well mixed; you may need to turn it off and scrap the bottom and sides once or twice.
    I make two batches in a row, store it in a small plastic container, and only need 1 T per load (2 if it’s really dirty). I keep a measuring spoon in the container, to make sure I don’t go overboard. For me, it takes about 20 minutes to make and works out to less than 5 cents per load.
    And then of course, be sure to wash the food processor thoroughly.

  • Rebecca says:

    When my husband and I first got together he thought I was INSANE..
    * 1 hair towel all week. Hang it up when done each time.
    * 2 bath towels a week, I have them up and alternated between uses.
    * purchase car clothes from Sams & Costco and use them as my paper towels & cleaning towels.
    * old worn towels – turn into cleaning rags & dusting rags
    * re-ware my jeans, sweat pants, sweat shirts, sweaters. I only put OUT OF THE HOUSE clothes just before I leave as long as I didnt go in a smoke environment I take them off the minute I get home and hang them back up to wear again.
    * recycle wear my daily lounge or sweat pants (stay at home mom of IrishTwins)
    The only things that make it to the laundry daily are sock, undies, wash clothes from bathtime.

  • Julie says:

    I never tried making my own laundry soap. I do stock up when a coupon matches a sale.
    Another tip is to look for sales at stores like Big Lots. They don’t accept coupons, but you can price match at Target or Walmart as long as you are buying the same size product.
    Sometimes my husband helps by starting the washer for me first thing in the morning. Since he has a tendency to fill the cap all the way to the top, I started outlining the fill line (the lowest one) with a sharpie marker.

  • Erica says:

    I usually stock up when Walgreens has bottles on sale for $1.50 or $1.99! Its a brand I’ve never seen anywhere else before and they may not have your *favorite* scent but it smells fine and gets the job done! And I think it does around 30 or 40 loads!

  • Bethany says:

    I do #2 and #3 but the last time I changed detergents I broke out in hives so I’m a little leery about doing that … I’m also not very good at mixing stuff together so making the detergent is a no-go. I do look for sales on my brand and pair it with coupons .. its not the cheapest way to go but the hives were no picnic

  • Amy says:

    Great post! I would caution anyone about wearing any underwear (even fully packaged) without washing it first. It can cause a fungal infection.

    Amy Gabriel
    Pediatric RN

  • Lissa says:

    Using too much detergent can actually make your clothes and your washer LESS clean. Here is an interesting article from Consumer Reports:

    This article, however, does not address an issue I have seen brought up lately on a couple of TV news segments: the fact that if you use the recommended amount of detergent, you are usually using too much. One tip to find out if you are is to put a load of towels in, do not add any detergent, then see if there are any soap bubbles when it starts agitating.

  • Christine says:

    Your suggestion about using less detergent isn’t insane – it’s right on! Here’s an article from the NY Times 2 weeks ago:

    The article talks about how we use too much soap in both our dishwashers and our washing machines and that this is not only a waste of soap ($$ down the drain) and a pollutant to our waters, but it makes our machines more likely to break and it wears out our clothing faster. You’re absolutely right, the best way to save money on laundry detergent is to use less, way less. It will save you soap, save you repairs on your washer and keep you from having to replace your clothing as often!

    There’s a tip in the Times article as to how to know when you’re using too much soap. I don’t remember exactly, but it involves washing towels without soap and looking for suds. It should help anyone figure out if they’re using too much soap.

  • Beeb says:

    I always re-wear clothes that aren’t dirty! I’m a big priss/germ-conscious, and I see nothing weird about it – if I change out of a piece of clothing and it’s still perfectly clean, why would I throw it in the hamper? Oh, and I totally add water and shake up the bottle – for detergent, fabric softener, dish soap, hand soap, etc. 🙂

  • kimberly says:

    The washers in my building are “high efficiency” and we are supposed to use the way more expensive HE laundry soaps. High efficiency really just means low-sudsing and I have found that making my own powdered (not messy at all) soap has worked out marvelously! I bar grated Ivory soap to 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda. I have also substituted baking soda when washing soda was not available and I had no problems at all.

    A good thing to keep in mind though is that if you are using a HE machine and you use cold water, there are sometimes little chunks of soap that didn’t dissolve left on my clothes, so I always use at least warm water.

    I also choose to hang dry pretty much all of my clothes except for jeans, t-shirts, socks, sweats, etc. instead of paying for the dryer. I think my clothes also last longer this way as well!

    • Ruth says:

      I was wondering about the HE machines. My mother bought an HE machine several years ago was using regular detergent with it before she realized it was HE (not a front loader so not as obvious). She always ended up with splotchy soap issues after the clothes were clean. When I bought my house I ended up getting a front loading HE washser and have been curious about how to save money on that HE detergent since it SO DARN EXPENSIVE. Sometimes I’m lucky and I can find Purex HE which when combined with a coupon and a sale is cheaper but that isn’t always…

  • Adriane says:

    Laundry detergent is one of the few things for which I’m very brand loyal. For allergy reasons, we only use All Free & Clear. When it was on sale at Big Lots a couple of months ago, I had it price-matched at Walmart and used coupons to get 10 (32 load) bottles for $1.00 each! This will last us well over a year, and helps me not to feel guilty about being brand loyal.

    After reading some of the other comments, though, I know I’m using too much per load. I can probably cut my usual amount in half, and stretch that $10 for several more months!

    • Ann B says:

      @Adriane, Costco has their brand (Kirkland) of free and clear that is pretty good.
      We used to use only Free and Clear brands because the kids would get rashes every once in a while. I’ve tried scented brands again and it seems that they have grown out of that sensitivity.

  • Kara says:

    We also rewear clothes. I will wear a shirt a couple times unless it gets sweaty or stained, and jeans 3-4 times. Dress outfits can last even longer if you wear them a few hours, and hang them up immediately afterward. Pajamas especially can be worn 3-4 days without feeling yucky… unless you go to bed yucky. My toddlers don’t usually wear play clothes more than once because they play in the dirt so much, but they wear their pjs at least 3 nights in a row (unless there’s an accident).

    Towels and sheets only get washed once a week or week and a half… this isn’t a hotel. Even my sweaty, oily-haired husband is okay with this arrangement.

  • Jessica says:

    Re-wearing jeans is the only way to go. I mean really, the first time you wear jeans after washing them is the worst! It takes at least 1-2 times of wearing them until they stretch back out and get nice and comfy again!

  • Jerilyn says:

    My husband and I rewear all of our clothes. We change our underwear and undershirts and that’s what gets dirty- unless, of course, the baby spits up on it!

    My kids are still at the age that their clothes need to be washed everyday- spit up, pee, dirt, you name it! 🙂

  • Esther says:

    I tried making our own detergent and it worked great. However, I still used bleach with the whites or Clorox 2 with the colors. I gave it up though during my pregnancy b/c the smell made me nauseous. Oh those pregnancy hormones!
    As for re-wearing clothes…we totally do it. My kids are in daycare, so they come home pretty filthy. However, since my husband and I both work full time outside the home, we only end up wearing our running pants/yoga pants for maybe 2 or 3 hours before going to bed. There’s no point in throwing those in the dirty laundry when we can just wear them a few more times.

  • Amy says:

    I have been using the exact same dry recipe as Lisa for over a year now. I think is it easy to make and lasts a long time. I never buy detergent unless it is only a buck or 2 a bottle. I am curious about dollar store detergents though. Are they any better worse? Sometimes I like to use harsher stuff with bleach on the cleaning towels…you know …kids…pet messes….

  • Eulaha says:

    The only problem I have with some of the cheaper, non-name brand detergents is that they are mostly water, and not much soap. They tend to be thin, and not as thick as the name-brand varieties. What do you all think? I used to use Purex years ago, and it was quite thin. I’ve been using Arm and Hammer for almost 5 years, and I try to buy them when they are BOGO (live at CVS this week).

  • Ann B says:

    I’ve decided to try Borax as a laundry booster since it is one of the ingredients in the homemade soap and it is much less expensive than OxyClean. I just purchased it and haven’t washed anything too filthy yet, so I’m not sure how well it works. Does anyone use it as just a booster like OxyClean

    • Rebecca says:

      @Ann B,
      I had seen something on our local TV that talked about using NATIONAL BRANDS vs DOLLAR STORE BRANDS.. and they had said with all their expert and tests that they did the same…!

      The only think I would beg to differ on National vs Dollar Store cheappy is Liquid Fabric Softners.. Otherwise.. We use LOTS of Dollar Store brands of cleaning products..even body soaps..!

  • Angela says:

    I’m in the same boat as Adriane. We have lots of dermatology issues in our family, and so the only thing that we can use is All Free and Clear. But…I can get really good deals if I cut coupons and watch for sales! Just a couple of weeks ago, I was able to get 50 oz bottles of All Free and Clear for 99 cents a bottle! We go through a lot of detergent for our family of 7, but I try to stretch it out as much as I can–using less than the recommended amount and always pre-treating stains with sale Shout; washing clothes after a at least a couple of wears (this is a constant battle around here-my kids go from one extreme to another!) I tried making my own detergent thinking it would be fine for our skin; after all, it’s all natural….didn’t work for us! Turns out 3 of us are very allergic to Borax! So we’re back to All Free and Clear. My dermatologist really knew what he was talking about when he said this was the absolute only thing I could use!

  • Laura says:

    I just bought some det at Sears for $.09/load. Sears had the best price I found when I bought my front-loader 10 years ago. I haven’t priced det since! I am ready to try to make my own and save some money. Thanks for the recipes!! Do these work on suds-sensitive front-loaders?

    I always add baking soda to my powdered detergent to stretch it. It is a good softener and sanitizer too. In WA it was difficult for me to find washing soda. WalMart didn’t have it. Found it at Fred Meyer (Kroger.) If I have a challenging load, I’ll add Borax and/or washing soda and Oxyclean (I get the equivalent at the dollar store).

  • I have some jeans that I’ll wear twice and others that I won’t…I have a pair that is slightly too big to begin with and by the second day, they’re WAY too baggy. Now, the ones that are on the smaller side are more comfy the second day! lol

  • Shanna says:

    I, too, rinse out the laundry detergent bottle! But then, I also add a little water or milk, as appropriate, to BBQ sauce/salad dressing/mayonnaise, etc., bottles to capture every last bit 🙂

    As for re-wearing clothes, I have done that regularly since I don’t have small children at home and have an office job. Unless I’m outside working in the garden or exercising, I don’t get dirty or smelly, especially in the winter when I’m just sitting around the house. It does help extend the life of my clothes, not only saving detergent but also water and electricity.

  • tamika le gare says:

    kristi, i agree with you all the way. unfortunately, the only brand detergents that my daughter is not allergic to are all free & clear and arm & hammer unscented. i use whatever is on sale or has coupons. i cannot use the make it yourself, my daughter is allergic to whatever was in the one i tried. i cannot use any generic except publix free & clear. just stock up when the detergent’s on sale!

  • Julia says:

    I’m quite sure that in the days before automatic washing machines, people had fewer clothes and wore them until they were truly in need of washing. So I think that re-wearing clothes and having dirty “playclothes” that my kids wear in the back yard saves on three fronts: 1) we can buy fewer outfits 2) playclothes save nicer outfits from getting stained and 3) I can spend less time washing clothes, because the laundry piles don’t multiply so quickly. Bonus: Families that homeschool or have a parent stay at home with preschool children have much less pressure to have picture perfect outfits every day.

    Now that I have a daughter attending public school, we spend more money on clothing for her, and I get more upset about stubborn stains that won’t come out!

  • Mickie says:

    I definitely rewear my jeans and sweaters. Actually the only thing that I change every day are socks, undies. Other than that, if a dirty hand isn’t wiped on my pants or shirt or if I don’t have splatters from cooking, I wear it again. Especially in the winter months when we don’t sweat much anyways. For laundary, I add plain baking soda to any detergent I use (I usually use less than half of the recommended and compensate with the baking soda). Great for clothes and for the wallet. 🙂

  • Jamie says:

    I use the charlie’s soap powder detergent. I buy the giant 5lb tub for around $150 but it lasts forever! I love it too cause it doesn’t give my laundry a smell or affect any of our sensitive skin! Plus we use cloth diapers and even all free and clear causes build up…not charlie’s soap!

  • I *always* water my detergent down in the bottle! I always think, for every capful of water I put in the bottle, I’m extending it for at least one more load. I’m mindful of the approximate amount of water I’ve added, and then I also relax a little bit when someone else wants to throw in a load of laundry because I know they’re conserving detergent without knowing it! (Can you tell I’m a bit Type-A?)

  • Ann Su says:

    We use Charlie’s Soap too. And we use swagbucks to redeem Amazon cards and buy them almost for free online! great stuff!! You can use one detergent for all members of the family, including newborns

  • Ann Su says:

    in fact for those who has allergy issues, you should give Charlie’s Soap a try. Cos it doesn’t leave any residue.

  • Aubrey in SA says:

    I am surprised not to see anyone comment on what I use:
    I buy a 1280 load, 5 gallon bucket for $150, every 13-15 months (I have 6 children) and never have to think about laundry soap!
    Their soap is safe for ALL kinds of washers, environmentally friendly, and perfect for sensitive skin. We love it!

  • Rebekah says:

    Ideas for sensitive skin.

    I was never brand loyal until my daughter was born. She has VERY sensitive skin and will breakout if we change in laundry detergents from one “free and clear” to another “free and clear.” So I started looking for cheaper options for sensitive skin. Soapnuts have been the cheapest choice for us. Our clothes really come clean (if I have stains, I soak them with Dawn dish detergent, or Oxiclean like I normally would), they just don’t have a fragrance smell. This is okay for me since we didn’t get a fragrance smell with the “free and clear” detergents either. We spend about .06 a load. This is a little bit more then we would spend if I spend $2 a bottle, but I found it very hard to find “free and clear” detergent consistently at that price. If I can find them for that price I will still pick up the detergents that my daughter can handle (All Free and Clear or Arm and Hammer Free and Clear).

  • TJ says:

    I found that the brand Xtra is very effective at cleaning my husbands oily and gross Carharts, and it is also mild. I can often find it on sale for $1.50-$1.75 for 48 loads.

    We also rewear what isn’t dirty, however my husband’s clothes are always dirty after one wear to work, and my clothes are more often now that I have 2 babies to spit up on me.

    I also use less, thoroughly rinse the container to get every last drop of detergent, and always try to make sure the load is full, but not too full.

  • Amanda H. says:

    We re-wear our jeans as well. I also will re-wear shirts that have been a top layer. Unfortunately, I usually don’t get an extra wear out of any of my son’s clothes because they are usually pretty dirty by the end of the day. Our bath towels are also hung to dry and re-used. I usually wash them once or twice a week.

    My husband has somewhat sensitive skin when it comes to detergent so I am loyal to All Free and Clear. I keep my eye out for good deals on it and if a very good deal comes up, I stock up the best I can.

  • Amy says:

    I rewear clothing all the time. This is not unsanitary at all!

    One tip on the dryer sheets is to reuse them multiple times and also cut the sheets in half!

  • Sue K says:

    WARNING: This not washing clean clothes all falls apart when teenagers are involved. How do teenagers clean their rooms? Throw everything in the laundry – dirty or not. I’d like to throw all the clothes right back at them but, unfortunately, they are old enough to do their own laundry (dirty or not) and have lots of time to do so while I am at work. I would like to think my laundry use will go down when the youngest leaves for college in a few years but I have learned from my oldest two “children” that those little birdies who leave the nest still find their way back to the washer & dryer!

  • Julie says:

    Don’t forget the savings of using a clothesline!

    I posted pictures and instructions to make liquid laundry soap on my blog:

    There’s also a version for HE washers:

  • Just like Amanda H., we reuse towels a few times before washing (they only dry off clean water after all!) and we rewear jeans and “top layer” clothes like hoodies or sweaters. Socks, underwear and anything that has been sweated in of course go right in the hamper. My baby daughter wears a onesie under her pajamas, so I try to reuse her PJs twice before washing if they are not dirty. As for detergent, I love Gain but usually can’t afford it. My husband works outside and so his clothes get filthy. We generally use Arm & Hammer and have been happy with it. They often go on sale B1G1 and A&H puts out a lot of coupons. I also tried the Purex 3-in-1 for the first time with their free sample they gave out… I think it’s pretty decent!

  • Rae says:

    I do one, two, and three. Making my own is not worth the time or effort for me when I can make store bought last so long (tip 2) and get it for free or darn close. I love the free Purex from Kroger this year and from CVS last year. And those high value Surf detergent coupons scored me some $1 boxes also and we’ve been using the same box for almost 2 months with a family of 4!

    As far as “extra” products, I don’t use them. I have the dryer balls that I bought on clearance at cvs one time and I’ll occasionally use stain treatment if needed. But I don’t use dryer sheets (for the most part) or fabric softener. I do have one box of dryer sheets that lasts me a few years (yes I said years, 25 sheet box). I only use about 1/3 of the sheet, reuse it a few times, only use them on static prone fabric, and only use them at all in the middle of winter when static is crazy.

  • Hannah says:

    Yes I do re-wear clothes!
    The only trouble I’ve had with detergent…
    My son has extreemly sensitive skin and even with using the “free” detergents, his skin still would be so bad. (Even trying all different kinds of lotions, etc too…nothing would help his poor legs and arms) One of my friends bought me Tide Free and told me to try to use that on his clothes only…and what would you know…his skin cleared almost up. So for the extreemly sensitive ones, I don’t think there is too much we can do to avoid using the “name brand” detergents. For the rest of the family, I’ll use anything that I can get for cheap. I do stock up when I can get a really good deal on Tide. Lately we have gotten some great deals on Tide products!

  • Lauren says:

    I’m a shameless clothing re-wearer. And we ALWAYS reuse our towels. We all hang our towels on our doors after showering, and they get nice and dry with no smell for the next use. We can keep towels going for a couple weeks, and I still feel like they’re clean (is that gross? Oh well, we don’t stink, lol)

    I just bought Rockin’ Green laundry detergent, and I don’t regret it at all. I bought the Hard Rock variety, since my water is really hard. It has cut out buying extras, like Borax and Oxy-Clean, and it is still relatively inexpensive per load, and can be used on cloth diapers, newborn clothes, and still gets the grime out.

    We also use tennis balls in the dryer and some inexpensive ec0-friendly softener from costco. Static has finally been eliminated, and for almost nothing per load!

    • Rae says:

      @Lauren, lol well I don’t think it’s gross because we use our towels atleast a week also since they are drying clean water off of clean bodies lol. As long as they get hung up right away, they dry completely and do not stink. Now if my 6 year old would only remember to hang it up! He frequently forgets and it does smell sour if it is left in a pile (or if it is lazily hung up bunched up on the bar) so I have to change it. I told him he is going to start doing the laundry if he can’t remember to hang it up. And if he doesn’t start putting his socks in the hamper! He can’t sleep with socks on so he leaves them sitting up in his bunkbed and after a week or a week and a half, he’s completely out of socks and doesn’t know why!

  • Kelly Hess says:

    I buy the really cheap off brand stuff and use that for only our rags and rugs. I then buy a better brand (on sale of course) for our normal laundry.

  • ksenia says:

    I definitely rewear everything (except for undershirts, underpants, and socks). I have a close friend who is very into designer jeans (the ones that cost around $300) and she says that it’s a known rule in the design jeans community that you only wash your jeans once every few MONTHS (unless there is a spill or obvious dirtiness). I think those of you who wash jeans after 2-3 wears are still washing way too often. If you shower and change your underclothes then they don’t really get dirty.

  • Chris says:

    For those who make their own dry detergent, I have been doing this also but could not find the washing soda and read somewhere that if you bake, baking soda for about 30 minutes ( I used a baking stone) at about 400 degrees, it turns into washing soda. This is what I do all the time now. You can get a box of baking soda at Walgreen’s for 50 cents sometimes.

  • Heather says:

    Does anyone else hang dry their clothes? We have found this cuts the eletric bill and the clothes last longer. We also make our own soap. It is great because our family has sensitive skin and this does not bother us at all. Alot cheaper than the “free” products which is what we used to buy.

    • Laura says:

      One thing I realized about ‘free’ products is the amount of tax I pay on them. I paid over $1 tax on 2 tubes of toothpaste a couple weeks ago. Nuts!

      • Heather says:

        @Laura, We are lucky being in Colorado we have no tax on food in certian counties and a lower tax rate than some states. I agree with the tax thing but if there are alot of food items I travel 20 mins down the road and pay no tax.

  • CountryMama says:

    Ha Ha!! My mom taught me the same trick!! (adding water)… and I also use the same trick with spaghetti sauce in the jar!! Oh, and yes, we re-wear our street clothes…not unders, of course!!

  • Sarah Z. says:

    I always rewear jeans! They always fit better the second day anyway, right?

  • Denise C. says:

    I completely agree on using less. Most detergents are concentrated these days, so less is needed. Since my family has sensitive skin, I use one that is “free” from dyes, scents.
    Costco had a great deal awhile ago on ALL FREE. I bought 4 containers!

    I also agree on wearing clothes as much as you can. My husband and I stretch out our jeans 3-4 days. My kids clothes are a different story, they tend to make a mess when they eat, so I usually have to treat and wash before stains set in.

  • MamaHen says:

    I re-wear my jeans and skirts several times before I wash them. I thought everyone did. And I always just use half the cup to wash with!

  • Patti says:

    I make mine exclusively; I’ve done it for 7 years now. Similar recipe to your video. And we re-wear ALL. THE. TIME. Except for undergarments, I rarely wash something the first time I wear it. I only do 4-5 loads of wash each week for a family of 4, and that includes a bunch of towels, washcloths and napkins (no paper towels or paper napkins in this house). And I’ve never had anyone say we smell bad. We bathe daily, and look and smell just fine! And we have two teenagers in the house, who are at the stage where they are obsessed with cleanliness (this stage follows close behind the stage where …. shall we say… they are not obsessed with cleanliness – LOL)!

  • Judy says:

    I make my own powdered. I’ve found Fels Naptha to be more concentrated then other bar soaps, and so 1 Tablespoon of detergent suffices for most loads.

    I use:
    1 bar Fels Naptha, grated
    3/4 C borax
    3/4 C washing soda
    5 to 10 drops essential oil (right now lemongrass – smells like a lemon jelly bean)

    And I use the food processor to get the grating done quickly. First use the shredding disk to get ribbons of soap. Then I put in the regular cutting blade, add the other ingredients, and run until everything is an even consistency and well mixed.

    Just be sure to clean the food processor well!

  • I buy whatever is on sale, if it’s fragrance free. I’ve learned the hard way that many detergents are heavily scented and make my allergies go crazy. It’s not a good deal if you only do two loads and then have to give it away. (And then have to do those two loads three more times with a fragrance free detergent to get the scent out of them.)

  • Canaan says:

    Great post! Thanks for all the commenters with the recipes. QUESTION – can these recipes, both dry and liquid, be used with the high efficiency machines?

  • elizabeth says:

    I buy the huge plastic tub of WindFresh from Sam’s Club. It costs about $11. I write the date with a sharpie on the top, on the day that I open it. I use half the recommended amount, ALWAYS. I go through 2 tubs a year. Actually like 1 3/4 tubs. So about $20 for a year worth of laundry detergent. Not bad in my book.

  • Andi says:

    I always use half and pour water in the container when it’s almost empty. I also do it with shampoo bottles and anything like that. Ohhh, and who washes their jeans after one wear?!

  • Crystal B. says:

    We make our own. There are tons of recipes out there, just have to find one you like! I also use very little, only do full loads that are dirty (but with a 2 and 3 y.o….) And to save even more, I’ve totally cut out fabric softener. Honestly, after the chemical residue washed off the clothes (about five washes total) my clothes are now softer than when I used the stuff.

    And yes, I rewear my jeans. But when you only have one pair that fit, you don’t have many options in that regard 🙂

  • MVB says:

    I just recently started making my own detergent since I use cloth diapers and special detergent is always recommended. It is incredibly simple and incredibly cheap. check out my blog here for instructions:
    I do put it in the water to dissolve well before adding the clothes. It smells great and gets the clothes very clean. Borax is my new favorite detergent enhancer. I still have some of my kirkland liquid (we use the free and clear b/c my boys have sensitive skin) left and I add Borax to help get my husbands t-shirts much cleaner than ever before.
    We also reuse towels all the time. I only wash them once a week or so. And I am also a big fan of re-wearing clothes, i.e. jeans, jammies, sweaters, dresses, skirts, dress pants. Its a little tougher for three boys under 4, but I at least try to have them wear their jammies two nights in a row if possible.

  • Steph says:

    I had a repairman out to my place last month to check our washer. We recommended that for my front-loader (HE detergent required), I should use no more than 1 tablespoon of detergent per load. My 7th Generation soap is actually sneakily 2x concentrated, so his recommendation was no more than 1/2 a tablespoon!!! He thinks that too much soap is a very big problem, esp. with front-loaders. It’s a great tip that should help us stretch all of our detergent for even longer!. (he says that soap companies just want to sell more product, so they have very large recommended amounts per load). sneaky!

  • Ashley says:

    I “rewear” clothes all the time! Shirts, not so much – they tend to stink after a full day of being worn. But pants, definitely! Jeans last me a week (or two if I lose track of time) and “around the house pants” (ie track pants, yoga pants, pj pants, etc) last 3-4 days.

    The kids’ clothes get washed after one wear, since they tend to mess them up pretty good throughout the day.

    I tried the “make your own” detergent, but after my husband pleaded with me to stop (it wasn’t really working), I’ve gone back to stocking up when I find detergent for less than $1 a bottle (w/ coupons) and/or buying the store brand.

  • Janeen says:

    I totally re-wear some of my clothes, especially pants. My shirts often get baby gunk (smeared with snot, food and who knows what else) but my pants are often re-wearable. Plus, after having two kids in 3 years, I barely have any pants that fit right anymore anyway!

  • If it isn’t stained, I re-wear everything. I do a “semi-homemade” laundry detergent – a 1:1 mixture of borax and washing soda, and I use a tablespoon of that with a drizzle of Tide. On Hubs’s extra dirty farm clothes, I double both. Works great!

  • Angie says:

    My husband and I always wear are clothes several times. The kids are still to messy for that, but I do stick their PJ’s back in the drawer every chance I get.

  • Lorraine says:

    I love the “Tandil” detergent from Aldi. We don’t have difficult stains (i.e., babies/toddlers), so it works really well about 95% of the time. Anything that’s tough I soak overnight in the hottest water possible in a solution — courtesy of The Tightwad Gazette — of 1 cup Cascade powder dishwasher detergent (!) and 1 cup of color-safe bleach.

    • SusanE. says:

      @Lorraine, We use Tandil too. It works just as well as Tide at getting stains out (we have a 3 year old and another one on the way). However, I found that the Sam’s brand of Tide actually works out to be cheaper than the Tandil and also works as well as Tide. I tried making my own soap and it didn’t seem to get things clean for us. My mom made some liquid laundry soap and it made my husband break out. For spot treatment, my friend gets the Melaluca Pre-Spot for me and it gets almost everything out. But it’s expensive so I only use it on clothes that I really, really want to save (some just end up as play clothes).

  • Whitney says:

    I make my own for less than $10 a year. It is goopy, gloppy but my clothes are clean. I do have to pre-treat stains. It only takes me about 15 minutes to make my own. The savings are worth it to me!

  • bberg says:

    We always rewear. Sunday clothes can easily be wore to work on Monday. I also use Sears detergent around here they run it for 1/2 off several times a year. That way I’m covered if I don’t find any great deals.

  • Debbie in PA says:

    I too rewear jeans all the time. We have hard water here, so I generally use the full amount of detergent–if we had soft water I would probably use less to stretch it. Thanks for mentioning your target price-I am sure I am over that, but at least I have an idea of what to try for.

  • Tim Wentz says:

    Keep it up your doing a great job 🙂

  • Chelsea says:

    You’re not the only one: I re-wear my jeans until they are visibly soiled! Everything else gets washed regularly.

  • Sarah says:

    I love the ideas for stretching detergent. Here’s one for fabric softener. I have found that the jugs are often cheaper than the sheets. So I “make my own” sheets. I take a wash cloth, and put a quarter-sized drop in the center of it, and now I have a homemade dryer sheet. I just keep reusing the washcloth. It won’t look pretty after a few uses, but you can just throw it in the wash and you won’t be able to tell what you used it for.

  • Amanda says:

    I read somewhere or saw on TV that jeans should NEVER BE WASHED!!!!
    Instead, you are supposed to spot clean them, place them in a ziplock bag and put the in the freezer overnight to kill odor causing bacteria.

    Have never done this myself, but could see how it could help avoid the “fresh from the dryer” fit problem. Also, the color would never fade.

    • @Amanda, Ewww. I don’t wash mine every time I wear them, but I can’t imagine NEVER washing them! Plus my freezer is so stuffed with bargain meats and veggies, I don’t know if I’d have room for our jeans!

      I wonder how I’d “spot clean” all the grease and other random stuff my husband gets on his jeans at work? 🙂 Thanks for posting that- it really made my day!

  • Melinda M says:

    1. Yep, not brand dependent here. Usually I get the best deals on Purex. But right now, I have 3 bottles of all to use.

    2. Oh absolutely add water and shake to get one more load done! And I use very little detergent (maybe up to 1/4 of a capful) and you can’t tell the difference.

    3. I wear my jeans 2 or 3 days in a row on a regular basis. They only get washed after one wearing if something is spilled on them. I do only wear tops once most of the time. My boys are rough on their clothes, so they are often ready after one wear (especially the 4-year-old). I am going to be even more proactive in not washing things that aren’t dirty. Not only does it save money in detergent, water and energy, but it prolongs the life of your clothes.

    4. I’ve thought about making my own, but I hear too many people say that whites get dingy over time. And I have a new HE machine and I’m not sure if it would mess it up.

  • RACHEL says:




  • carol says:

    Our plumber said only to use half the amount of laundry soap that is suggested otherwise you’re using too much. I have done this for years and our clothes are clean and don’t smell like a bottle of detergent.

  • Deb H. in Wisconsin says:

    We also re-wear our clothing ~ at least theoretically we do:) My teen/pre-teen boys at times will “clean” by throwing everything in the laundry – clean and dirty- but we are working on that!

    I also only use half the suggested amount as well as try to always wash full loads (rarely a half or small load). The greatest deal I’ve found was at Sears. Two years ago they had a deal that with a coupon you could purchase TWO of their 5 gallon pails of soap for the price of one ($25 at that time). I haven’t bought any detergent since then and I think I have about a year left! We are a family of 5.

  • Catherine says:

    I re-wear all the time and I do use Trent’s recipe. I am allergic to most artificial fragrances, so I like being able to control what goes into my detergent.

  • I’ve made my own, but I ended up pitching it. For me, it did not work nearly as well, and I did not like the smell. (It did not have a strong smell, but I did not like the smell it left!)

    I buy name brand detergent on mega-sale with coupons. I currently have a year’s worth, so I’m not buying right now. I only wash on cold (with the exception of sheets, towels, and my whites), I pre-treat my stains with Resolve, and we dry our jeans on an indoor clothesline.

  • Ginger says:

    I make my own- it lasts us for months!! Love it! Ginger

  • Marla says:

    My son and I have always been VERY sensitive to laundry detergent. We break out horribly if we use anything but Tide Free/Baking Soda or an organic kind. I would love to make my own, but I can’t find any washing soad around here. I may order it online eventually. Once, when my husband discovered what brand of detergent we use and how much I was paying for it, he made me switch to a cheaper brand. One wash was all it took for him to feel like a meany! My son broke out horribly from head to toe from the detergent.

    As for jeans, I hate to wash mine! I wear them several times before I do. They get all stiff and tight and then they aren’t comfortable anymore.

  • Viki says:

    I too wear everything except undies and socks multiple time. I have been making my own dry laundry soap for over a year now. To save time I grate maybe 4-6 bars of soap at a time using my handy dandy kitchen aid grater attachment, so when it is time to make more all the hard work is done and I just have to measure and mix the powders. I never use dryer sheets just vinegar and it works great.

  • Jay says:

    Has anyone used the Wonder Ball-Laundry ball? You are supposed to put it the wash and not use any soap at all. I tried it a couple of times but since baby has been born am too chicken to try it. It says it gets the dirt out but what about bacteria? I don’t know. I’ve been using it with a little bit of Dreft for the babies stuff.

  • Washing dirty clothes and making my own powdered detergent are the trick in my house. I can make about 30 loads worth of detergent for about $1.25 and it works great!

  • I’ll admit it – I will wear the same jeans for more than one day!

  • Carol says:

    Great post. Recently read a news article about dishwasher detergent and how little you should really use – if you use too much (which most people apparently do) you’re more likely to get clouding on your glasses etc.
    The bottom line is one dishwasher expert says to use 1/10th of what you’re currently using! We tried it, just a tiny smidge – and it works BETTER than the big blobs of detergent we were using. Unbelievable.
    Anyway, here’s the article on the detergent:

  • Rebecca says:

    Does anyone use Era anymore? I’m pretty brand loyal with my laundry detergent. It seems that when I use something else something happens, like bleeding, dingy/gray looking, or one of my kids breaks out with something. I never know what caused it for sure, so I go back to my trusty standby. It works really well for getting stains out too. I don’t usually buy a stain treating type product, just a little Era scrubbed straight into the stain.

    Also, I know what to expect from my laundry soap, so I feel like I’m saving myself money on replacing clothes that might get ruined with a brand I’m not familiar with.

    I usually buy in bulk at a warehouse store, but want to get more into price comparison shopping for it. Though I’ve almost never seen coupons for it… Anyone else see any good deals on Era?

    Oh, and yes, I do re-wear my jeans and so do my kids and husband along with shirts and my husband’s work clothes(desk job). I can’t imagine doing it any other way!

  • Okay – I can’t believe that no one has commented on the video yet?! (If you did, I missed your comment while scanning through). OMG, it was hysterical. You have to read all of the little comment bubbles. The comment about soap chunks and saying that in conversation killed me!

  • Mary says:

    Normally I’m a lurker – read daily, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented before. Here’s a secret: I own two pairs of jeans. I wear one pair for a week and then wash it and wear the other one for a week. I’m a SAHM mom with very little fashion sense and wear them every. single. day.
    Now you know my little secret!

  • Joanna says:

    We definitely re-wear! One way we save money on laundry detergent is to buy in bulk through Amazon (which means free shipping). We have to buy a specific, generally more expensive type of detergent because we use cloth diapers but we bought 4 10lb boxes and got free shipping through Amazon, which actually made it incredibly cheap!

  • Erica B says:

    Heck yes we re-wear clothes! I work 50-60 hours a week, and my husband works 60-70, both at high stress jobs… I’m also a cloth diapering, nursing mama and I would much rather spend the precious time we have as a family doing anything other than laundry! We wear our dress pants and shirts/blouses at least twice, as long as there are no stains. A 10 minute spin in the dryer when necessary and simply hanging them up after we change keeps them looking in good shape. A large diaper stash lets me do only two loads a week, and we do 2-4 other weekly loads between clothes and towels/bedding.

    We also use half the recommended amount of detergent although I am particular about what brands we use due to sensitive skin and cloth diapering needs being different. We no longer use dryer sheets though, and switched to re-usable dryer balls instead – also saving a few bucks.

  • Audrey says:

    I use the Sun powder detergent from the dollar tree. This lasts me probably 1 and a half months with a family of five and costs $1. Hard to beat that price.

  • Yasmin says:

    We’re a family of eight – hubby, self and six kids – so laundry is our biggest expense. Here’s my tips on saving money.

    FIRST TIP: Buy DOWNY liquid fabric softener WHEN ON SALE and use a $1 off coupon that comes in the P&G ad inserts every few months. I buy the 120-load bottle (103 ounces) @ Target for $6.49 to $6.99 after sale and coupons. I buy several bottles at this price. The bottle line is that per ounce the cost is roughly 6 to 7 cents when it’s on sale.

    MY cost is between 3 and 3 1/2 cents per ounce because what I do is take an empty bucket and an empty 103 ounce bottle, pour the fabric softener into the bucket and add exactly one bottle of HOT water to it. Mix it and pour back into the two bottles. So for $6.49 to $6.99 I now have 206 ounces of fabric softener!

    I found this works BEST with Downy since it’s a very concentrated fabric softener. One “watered” down capful = the same as one non-watered down fabric softener.

    SECOND TIP: Add your detergent (and possibly bleach) in FIRST, fill the tub to the LOWEST setting and let the washer agitate the detergent. Add your clothes and then reset your water to the appropriate amount you need.

    THIRD TIP: If you use DRY laundry detergent buy a large bag of baking soda (I get mine @ Costco for under $5) and in a large plastic tote mix the dry detergent (use gloves) with the baking soda. This nearly doubles the dry laundry detergent but it depends on the size of your dry detergent. I get Kirkland detergent at Costco OR Arm & Hammer from Target. Both cost around $15 for 200+ loads. By adding the baking soda I’m getting about 350 loads. From time to time I’ll buy borax (about $2.50 at WinCo) and add it to the detergent-baking soda mix and this will add on maybe another 50 loads. I RARELY have to use bleach when I mix in borax to the detergent mix. Total cost: Between $20 and $25 for 350 to 400 loads (that’s about 6 to 7 cents a medium loads). Because I double my detergent by adding baking soda I only have to buy detergent once a month to once every two months.

    FOURTH TIP: Got greasy stains? Skip the laundry detergent or even the stain removing products and use DISH SOAP such as Dawn, Ivory or even Sun on the stain. Put a small amount on the stain, let sit for a few minutes then toss in the wash. The stain should come out easily.

    FIFTH TIP: Wash by type of fabric and color. This is something I harp on my daughters because she’ll wash jeans with towels and of course nothing gets washed properly. Jeans should be washed only with jeans. Towels only with towels. Silks with only silks, cotton with cotton, etc, etc. Once you sort your clothes by type then sort by color.

    Darks, reds and brights – wash in cold
    Whites – wash in warm

    Very rarely should you wash clothes in HOT water because it will cause shrinkage AND will fade your clothes out faster. I admit I use HOT water for the first two minutes, when adding detergent, to “melt” the detergent but then I switch to cold and let the water fill to the lowest setting, agitate the detergent then add my clothes and let the water fill the rest of the way before washing.

    SIXTH TIP: Respin your clothes. Do NOT re-rinse but re-spin as this will remove more water from your clothes. The more water that’s removed the faster it takes to dry and the less heat you have to use.

    SEVENTH TIP: DRYING clothes. When possible air dry things like towels, jeans and blankets. Toss in the dryer for five minutes to fluff up. Make sure you clean the filter at least every other load unless it was towels then clean it out after every load. Clogged air filters = longer dry time = more money wasted.

  • Angel says:

    I do #1, #2 and #3! I don’t understand why anyone would wash clothes that aren’t dirty. That has always boggled my mind. It is extremely wasteful. Wasted time, effort, water, electricity, laundry detergent, fabric softener – sheesh, so much waste!

    Question, though. As far as brand loyalties, I have to use All Free and Clear because my children both have eczema. Anyone know of other brands that are “free and clear”?

  • Michaelene says:

    I used to re-wear clothes a lot more pre-kids. I think after they stop spitting up and pooping on me, I’ll be re-wearing clothing more often again. It saves on water, soap, and electricity, but it also extends the life of your clothes.

    I also use 1/2 the recommended laundry detergent, 1/4 the recommended softener when I use it, and don’t bother with dryer sheets at all. I too, rinse out the bottle for the last load. 🙂

  • Wendy says:

    I’m supposed to wash jeans every time I wear them??? Oops. I usually only wash if they have stains – generally every 2-3 weeks.

  • Lana says:

    If you have a family member with allergies and skin problems then you MUST be brand loyal-switching around is not worth it. I never pay full price even then. I typically only use 1/4 the regular amount and it works just fine.

  • Carrie says:

    I read your experience about trying to make your own soap. I used the recipe you linked to when I made mine about a year or so ago. Well, I tried to, but couldn’t find washing soda anywhere, so I used oxyclean instead. I use two bars of soap, I use any kind, not even actual “soap”(I use lever 2000, something I know my sensitive skin isn’t bothered by, plus it smells nice), about a half cup of oxyclean(generic), and 1/2 cup of borax. I fill the bucket up about half full of water, and mix in the borax and oxyclean. I shred the soap into the pan(I use a big pan with about 4-6 cups of water) of warming water, I let it warm on low until soap is melted, stirring occasionally(do not let it boil), then I dump it into the five gallon bucket and fill the rest of the way with water(I do leave some room for expansion, as it may fizz for a little while). I stir it really well, then once or twice daily for a couple of days. I refill used laundry detergent bottles, and use about half a scoop per load. It works great! I am one who doesn’t like to mess with laundry at all. I rarely pretreat, and the only things this hasn’t gotten out, are things that nothing else, even strong pretreaters, does either. I also only wash in cold water. It’s good stuff!

    • Maria says:

      Have you tried any recipe for dry laundry detergent soap?

    • Christy says:

      Homemade laundry “detergents” do not get your clothes clean because it doesn’t contain any enzymes which is what cleans your clothes. Homemade laundry soap only contains soap,additives, and softeners. This doesn’t clean. I highly recommend you strip your laundry and start using detergents.

  • Alison says:

    My mom’s appliance guy (yes, she has lived in the same neighborhood so long that she has an appliance guy!) says that you really only need to use about 1/8 to 1/4 the recommended amount of detergent. Also, liquid fabric softener is a complete waste. Our last washer needed a repair because we had been using too much detergent and there was a huge amount of soap gunk buildup, and we had only been using about 2/3 of the recommended amount! He told us this is one of the main reasons washing machines fail.

    If your clothes are really dirty or stained, go ahead and pre-treat, but for general laundry, you only need a touch of detergent.

    So, use a lot less soap, people! You’ll extend the life of your machine, you won’t get soapy buildup on your clothes, and go through a lot less soap in the process!

  • Kelly Webster says:

    Crystal, I re-wear my clothes 3-4 times a week. I do this mainly to save time. I used to work with several French people when I was working on EuroDisneyland for Walt Disney Imagineering and they wore the same clothes all week and didn’t bathe for several days (they believe it is unhealthy to put soap on your skin every day). After working with them for so long I picked up the same clothing habit. I don’t see any reason to spend time washing extra clothing when I am already doing several loads of clothes for my small children. 🙂

    All fessed up.

  • Kimberly says:

    I make my own powdered laundry soap and I love it! I also use vinegar as a replacement for laundry softener. A couple of tbsp of vinegar iwth an equal amount of water does great and also keeps my machine clean.

    • Kimberly says:

      @Kimberly, Oh, and I air dry all my clothing too. I have an awesome drying rack for that purpose. It holds 2 big loads of laundry and then folds up to sit next to my washer.

      • Debbie says:

        @Kimberly, I also air dry my clothes. I have two chrome racks and a wood rack. I’m looking to replace my wooden rack, but I’ll just have to wait to accumulate enough swagbucks so I can get it for free. The chrome clothes racks are excellent!

    • Jennifer says:

      Do your clothes one out smelling like vinegar?

      • Christine Rapley says:

        Jennifer I use white vinegar in my laundry and it does not smell like vinegar. It actually helps take odors out.

  • Amanda Y. says:

    We can only use the all free & clear or arm & hammer free & clear, so we aren’t as able to be brand-independent, but we do stock up like mad when there’s a good sale/coupon deal. We definitely wear most clothes (not underwear or socks) a few times (unless we get sweaty in them) and we use slightly less than the recommended amount of detergent too!

  • Challice says:

    I rotate our clothes, especially in the winter time. Most of the time you can wear outfits twice a week with no side affects if you know what I mean. 😉

    I will have everyone wear one outfit on Monday then fold it in a pile for another day this week. That way A) it doesnt look like we are wearing the same outfit every day but I dont have twice as much laundry every day.

    I havent made my own laundry soap yet. I figure when I have to start paying for it, then I will, but right now, I have 6 bottles of soap that I have gotten for free and I barely use any and they last a LONG time.

    However, I am a oxy-clean fanatic. I HAVE to have a scoop of oxy clean in my laundry. We’re in the desert. We need it. I did get 2 Tide Stain and Release bags this week and they work pretty well. I dont like the smell of Tide so I’ll stick to Oxy but I do have to say, they almost work better than oxy!

    • Challice says:


      Also, I have “outdoor” clothes. Clothes they can get all dirty in. When they are done, I lay them on a peice of board and hose them off, hang em up and voila. 😀

    • Yasmin says:

      @Challice, Did you know that all Oxiclean is, is hydrogen peroxide (see their website: Oxiclean is a complete waste of money, imho, because you can either use normal hydrogen peroxide found in the first aid aisle OR go to the beauty supply store and buy hydrogen peroxide used for hair coloring and bleaching (known as DEVELOPER).

      First aid hydrogen peroxide is typically 3% and is the same as a 10 volume developer.

      10 volume = 3% hydrogen peroxide
      20 volume = 6% hydrogen peroxide
      30 volume = 9% hydrogen peroxide
      40 volume =12% hydrogen peroxide
      50 volume = 15% hydrogen peroxide
      60 volume = 18% hydrogen peroxide

      The higher the volume the more hydrogen peroxide. BE CAREFUL when handling developer because it IS caustic and CAN cause chemical burns if too much is used.

      You can pick up a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide at a drug store for as little as 99 cents or buy a huge gallon of it as a beauty supply store for like $10 (if you do buy liquid developer and not cream).

      Depending on what kind of hydrogen peroxide you use (3% or 60 volume) that will determine how much you use in the wash. The stronger you use the less you need. With normal 3% you’ll use no more than 1/2 cup per load and with 60 volume you need to use no more than 1/4 cup per LARGE load.

      Personally, I wouldn’t waste my money on Oxiclean products because you’re spending $5 to $10 on a product that you can go to the first aid aisle and pick up for 99 cents.

  • Meegan says:

    Our whole family re-wears clothes, too, so you are not alone! And I look for deals on discontinued or overstocked laundry detergent at my local Albertson’s. I recently got several bottles of laundry detergent for $1 and $2 a bottle – not bad at all! After reading all these comments, my biggest change will be how much detergent I use per load. That will help us stretch it!

  • Connie says:

    I only use earth-friendly detergent and have found Costco’s Kirkland brand to be the best – so inexpensive (6 cents per load) and smells wonderful.

    I’ve used others, but I like the gigantic bottle Costco offers 🙂

  • Heather T says:

    Totally rewear ours here not so much the kids they do get pretty dirty but my husband and I do, and washing jeans too much is bad for them. We also hang up our towels after showering, since you are supposed to be clean when you dry off. We use vinegar in place of softner its much better for your clothes and no it does not make them smell funny. In the summer we, I mean I hang out all the clothes unless its raining and in the winter I put things like the kids pajamas on hangers throughout the house at least the load dries faster when there are 6-7 less items in there. I am not brand loyal the only detergent I don’t use is Tide it makes us all itch really bad, and that works out ok since its crazy exspensive. but I buy whatever is on sale and I have a coupon for. I bought $40 worth of Purex when they had their BOGO awhile ago and Wal-mart had them for $5 great deal.

  • Priscilla says:

    A friend passed this along last year, and we’ve used it ever since. It’s actually the reason I bought a food processor and it’s the only thing I use it for!! FOR POWDERED DETERGENT (SUPER EASY!!)

  • Naomi says:

    I have been deluting my liquid softener for years. I use half a cap and then I add water to the other half. And when the plastic bottle is empty I fill it with water and shake it. I also do the same for the liquid laundry detergent. I use the bottle up and then I add water to the whole bottle, shake it and use that. I even reuse the softener sheets a second time. I do not wear a pair of jeans only once. I usually wear them two days and then throw them in the laundry. My husband does the same. I cannot figure out why other people do not do this.

  • Susan J says:

    I’ve been making our laundry detergent for over a year now, and it’s so easy and seems to work fine! I stick with the “powder” form, however – 1 bar peppermint castile soap grated in our food processor, 1 cup borax, 1 cup washing soda. I make a triple batch, and it lasts us for a few months since we have a front-loader and can get away with one tablespoonful per load.

    With that said, I do keep some All Free and Clear on hand for really tough loads…but only end up using it once or twice a month at the most!

  • fiona says:

    I have just discovered Purex 3-in-1. The have detergent,fabric softener and static control all in one sheet. I cut them in 1/3 and my clothes still come out clean and smell good. This not only saves on having to buy three seperate products but when you divide the individual sheets it’s even cheaper! I got 4 packages on sale and after the math it comes out to .03 cents per load! I don’t think I could make my own for cheaper 🙂

  • Carrie says:

    I definitely wear my jeans more than once/wash! They are the most comfy the 2nd day. Things I won’t rewear – “skivvies” (underwear), socks, gym clothes. One thing I won’t even think about reusing after using, without washing – washcloths! I’m sorry, but that’s yucky!

    We bought some laundry detergent at Sam’s Club back a while ago. It has a nice Lavender scent. It’s environmentally friendly. I bought it because it was the cheapest/once, but it’s worked out well for us so far. Here’s a link –

  • Carrie says:

    Like others have said, I won’t re-wear underwear, socks, or sweaty clothes. Another thing I won’t reuse is my washcloth! That’s just plain gross!

    I’m of the mindset that jeans are worn until they practically fall off of you. They are the most comfortable that way! : )

    As far as Laundry Detergent goes, we use the Ecos® Liquid Laundry Detergent from Sams Club. It’s lavender scented. It’s earth friendly, but to be totally honest, I bought it b/c it was the cheapest/ounce. It’s really nice!

    Just my two cents!

  • Kerry D. says:

    I completely believe in re-wearing clothing, esp. jeans which are often good for several wearings. Shirts might make it a second day, sometimes not. And bath towels are good for a week, since we are clean when we come out of the shower. We wear fresh underwear/socks daily, but then again, they don’t take much room in the laundry.

    I also agree that a lot of soap products are unnecessary for bathing (an early post mentioned her French coworkers felt that too much soap on the skin was unhealthy.) With my dry skin, my doctor told me to” stop using soap all over” years ago, and just soap areas that really need it. Another opportunity to save time and money.

  • Sharon says:

    * I am going to stop filling up the cap….I’ve been wasting laundry soap! YIKES!!! Literally $ down the drain! Thanks! Ü
    * I totally agree with “@Kimberly”, I rarely dry my clothes in the dryer anymore, when it’s warm I hang them outside (I hope to get a “clothes line” this Spring) but until then I hang them on the deck bannister, deck chairs, etc. they dry in less than 2 hours (usually), then I bring them in & throw them in the dryer for about 5-10 minutes to “fluff”. If it’s cold out, I hang them from the shower curtain rod, door frames, dryer rack, etc.

    * Another way I save is, I use liquid fabric softner, I keep the bottle from the week before & pour half of the new bottle into the old & fill them with water. It’s thick enough & works just as well!

    * My favorite “trick” is…..I take an old wash cloth, sew a corner down with contrasting thread (so I can remember which one it is) then I dampen it with liquid fabric softner, and wha laa…..instant & REUSEABLE dryer sheet. When it gets “funky” I soak it in hot soapy water & it’s good as new!

  • Denise Gee says:

    We totally wear clothes more than once before washing them. If they aren’t dirty or stinky, why do they need to be washed?

  • Tiph says:

    Interesting! I have never made my own… but it’s definitely more cost effective than regular commercial brands. We use Charlies Soap, which I bought in a 5-gal bucket (1280)… it comes out to about 9.5¢ a load. Not bad… and it’s all natural! 🙂

  • Sandy K says:

    With all the coupons and deals available, I don’t pay for detergent or softener at all. So no need to skimp at all. In fact, just last night 7 free bottles of Snuggle were picked up. Don’t even have room for them, but they were free at KMart. Can’t beat that.

  • Zhan says:

    Our skin and clothing can not handle being washed after just one wearing. Just too sensitive (skin) and with Florida heat the detergents are reactivated with the humidity in the air. Wearing clothing 2 – 3 x over a 3 week period is fine for us. I always use the lowest line indicated on any detergent cup (never used a full cup in my life). We definitely have get dirty clothes for playing with the dogs at the park. We clean the washer monthly with vinegar. We use the cheaper detergent for all non-clothing items such as linens or towels and we save our mass sale stock of Arm & Hammer and Downy for our clothing. I bought 16 bottles of Arm and Hammer over 4 store trips when it was B1G1 long ago and used coupons and CVS dollars to pay for it all. Every two weeks I do a load of just small white wash cloths that replaced our use of paper towels for kitchen messes. Love those savings!

  • Jessi says:

    When you say “half the recommended amount” do you mean half the amount people say to use (a cap) or half the amount the bottle says to use. I always fill it to the #1 line- and that seems like so little- but it works. Could I really get away with using half of that?

  • Cynthia says:

    I only use Norwex Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent. It’s earth friendly, I can use it for both my kids clothes and my husbands clothes who’s a mechanic. My husband also has Crohn’s, so he has very sensitive skin, and has no problem with Norwex stuff! It’s low sudsing, and a quarter of a tablespoon is all that’s needed in a front load washing machine, it’s about 3 tablespoons for a top load machine. I can get over 120 loads with 1 bag of soap with my top load machine (I also use the Norwex Magnet Ball which allows me to use less than regular since the Magnet Ball softens my water). So for $26.99 it’s worth it!

  • Emily says:

    my husband and I re-wear clothes all the time. The 3, 1 1/2, and 2 week olds don’t really rewear….they usually get filthy by the end of the day. Usually it’s peanut butter and jelly all over them, but soon it will be the sandbox. 🙂

  • Julie says:

    That’s so funny! I am constantly telling my kids, “don’t put that in the dirty clothes. It’s not dirty!” I will definately start using less detergent! Thanks for the info!

  • nicole says:

    I rewear pants all the time and am not ashamed to admit it 🙂
    Our daughter has sensitive skin so we cant use certain brands of detergent, but anything that says “free and clear” without additives is good for us. I often buy generic products, and most of the time you cant tell the difference (except with certain cereals, ie Cheerios. Hey, you have to be picky every once in a while).

  • Michelle says:

    My tutorial has lots of pictures and links! I’m fairly satisfied with the homemade stuff & we all have sensitive skin issues. (You can make it with Ivory.) I can see how it wouldn’t get really dirty clothes clean.

  • liz says:

    I used to make my own laundry soap when I lived down south, and it worked great. But then I moved to an area where the water has a very high mineral content, and the home made detergent didn’t seem to do a good job in that type of water.

    I line dry when I can, and just toss the clothes in the dryer for about 10 mintues to fluff them up and suck off any lint/cat hair. Everything comes out crunchy and stiff if I don’t let them rumble around in the dryer for a few minutes.

  • Traci says:

    Yes, we re-wear clothes! Especially our “around the house” clothes that we change into after school & work – we usually only wear them for a few hours per day anyway. I also hang up our bath towels so they dry out, and use them a few times. The only thing that gets on them is clean water, so what’s the point in washing after one use?

    I also use only cold water, run full loads or set the washer to the “small load” setting if I must wash something without a full load. (Sometimes necessary to have clean uniforms!)

    For the dryer, we don’t use dryer sheets at all – waste of money IMHO and they are full of chemicals I’d prefer to avoid. We clean the lint screen EVERY load so the dryer runs at peak efficiency. You can also dry clothes quicker if you throw a clean, dry towel in the load with the wet clothes. Just make sure you don’t use a white towel with a dark load or you might get everything covered in white lint.

  • Erika says:

    I couldn’t resist putting in my two cents here. I make my own detergent also, but don’t spend half the the time as the guy in the video! The key is making DRY washing detergent. There’s absolutely no need to boil anything, or add any water. Not only was I lazy, but I didn’t want buckets of dangerous stuff around for my toddler to get into and have a drowning hazard.

    Soooo, I Googled how to make the dry stuff. It is also .02 per load, but you are only supposed to use ONE Tablespoon! I just can’t seem to use that much, so I put in TWO, and it comes out to .04 per load, compared to about .30 for the cheaper brands I was buying at the store. Here’s how you make it:

    1 cup of Borax
    1 cup of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (this is NOT baking soda- the only store I have ever found it in was Albertsons here in So. CA, and it sits right next to the Borax in the laundry section.)
    Grate 1 bar of Ivory soap (can be found for $1 for pack of 3 bars)

    I usually grate the soap on a flexible cutting mat, then just lift it up and dump it into the container. For a container, I use an old re-sealable OxyClean container. Be careful with the Borax- it is toxic if it gets into your lungs, but is perfectly safe in the laundry. So I smash up the little lumps in a measuring cup before I CAREFULLY pour that in.

    Once the lit is on, I just toss it around and around until it’s all mixed up! And I use a little 2 Tablespoon scoop I had lying around. Works as well or better than the bought stuff, and my kids don’t suffer allergies from it! Also safe for septic systems. Borax is naturally found in the ground, and is not toxic, unless ingested or breathed in. Hope this helps!

  • Dani says:

    I’m VERY brand loyal. I’ve tried the cheap detergents, and they do not get my clothes clean.

    I only buy powdered Tide detergent.

  • Dani says:

    Oh, and we don’t re-wear clothes. Kids get too messy, and I change their clothes right away. And hubs and I, wear our clothes once then they are washed. I even wash my clothes before wearing after buying them. The thought of dead skin cells from other people is just icky!

    • I cannot do the wearing clothes over and over trend. I have been around people who wear their jeans over and over and they have an odor and they don’t even know it because they get used to their own smell.

      I have a lot of clothes and they are inexpensive and I wash after one wearing too. Want to smell fresh and look clean at all times.

  • Susan says:

    I was thinking about your post as I rinsed out a Purex bottle and poured the suds into my laundry today. Doesn’t everyone do that?? No, I realize that everyone does NOT.

    When my husband was stationed overseas as a “geographic bachelor”, he took to looking around the barracks laundry room and picking up discarded detergent bottles and boxes. He found a lot of detergent that way! But more than that, he rinsed out the BOXES the way I do my bottles at home. I never would have thought of doing that – but it worked for him.

  • Michelle says:

    I am with you on this. I buy my detergent at Big Lots. Not sure if everyone has this store near them but I love it! They have name brand items for a lot less. I actually have found my favorite detergent there. It’s Sun brand and it’s there Free & Clear concentrated 50 load bottle. It’s $2.95 there.
    I also agree that you should definitely rewear clothes. I had to convince my daughter of this with pajamas.

  • Chris says:

    instead of pouring water in, you can reach in and pull the plastic piece out. Theres usually a slot on it that you can shove a flat screw driver into. Then just pour it into the cap. I prefer this method since it ensures theres nothing left, since that plastic piece makes it impossible to get it all out.

  • Marsha says:

    I purchase an inexpensive brand of powder detergent, like Foca, and mix it with Borax and A&H Washing Soda. I do at least a load each day,and my detergent lasts for several months!

  • Jennifer says:

    I wear my jeans 3 or 4 times before washing but that’s it. I think I will start doing this with my work pants too though. I work in an office so it’s not like I’m sweating or getting dirty. I can’t do it with shirts though. Re-wearing them with deodorant residue seems gross to me. lol

  • Anna says:

    Thanks for the nice post, I mix my hand & dish soap with 1/3 of water. It was first because I was thinking my son do not rinse his hands very well, but then I noticed it works even better because it gets bubbles faster. This will save both water and soap, and put less pressure on our environment as well.
    I am wondering if anyone knows how to make a toilet balls, I mean those blue ones. They always seems expensive to me!

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