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10 Ways On How To Save Money on Laundry Detergent

10 Ways On How To Save Money on Laundry Detergent
Justin Stewart Oct 20, 2019
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The average person has to wash their laundry every week or so, and there’s a good chance that you once you’ve conjured up all your dirty laundry you wash it either at home or at a pay-per-load laundromat.

This process can be much easier at home because you can avoid the costs of , but regardless of where you wash your clothes, you most likely use a liquid detergent that is formulated to clean your clothes effectively.

These bottles of laundry detergent can last you a good amount of time, but the prices of the laundry detergent can be high depending on whether you have specific needs such as watching out for reactions on sensitive skin.

Buying specially formulated laundry detergent or general use laundry detergent can be expensive, and finding ways to save a few dollars on your laundry detergent can add up over the years.

Many people look for tips and tricks to cut down on the cost of their laundry detergent because it is a necessary expense but it can be one that costs you more than you’d think every time you’ve got to purchase it.

Depending on the size of your family and how dirty their clothes get throughout the week, you may find yourself doing laundry more than a few times a month, and finding ways to cut down on the price of laundry detergent can help keep a few bucks in your wallet.

Ways to Save on Laundry Detergent

If you’re looking for a few ways to diminish the cost of your annual laundry detergent purchases, here are some great ways to cut a few corners and keep the overall prices of your laundry detergent purchases down.

1. Make Your Own Detergent

If you’re one of the many people looking to cut down on the price of laundry detergent, then one of the best ways to do so economically is to simply make your own right at home!

This is an especially smart idea if you are concerned about dealing with common skin problems like psoriasis that can react to dyes and fragrances or if you have allergies that are specific to your contact with chemicals in your laundry soap.

Making your own laundry detergent gives you the ability to know exactly what’s going into your laundry detergent while practicing using some of your DIY skills.

One good part about making home-made detergent is that each of the ingredients for making your own laundry detergent are either already in your home or very cheap and easy to acquire.

The greatest part of making your own laundry detergent at home is that when you go DIY for this household product, a single load can cost you anywhere between $0.02 and $0.04 cents a load!

That price is incredibly low compared to the price of name-brand laundry detergent which costs you anywhere between $0.20 to $0.50 cents a load.

Those numbers may not seem like much, but if you’re doing two or more loads a week, these cents start to add up over time.

Making your own laundry detergent will eliminate dyes, fragrances, and other chemicals that are in store-bought laundry detergent, and you’ll realize that you don’t need to clean your clothes with these things.

Clean clothes don’t have any scent, and when you use fragrances in your laundry cycles, they can interfere with your body chemistry and cause allergic reactions.

If you choose to make your own laundry detergent, you can add or eliminate things that will react with your skin in an adverse way and substitute the ingredients for less irritating ones.

You’ll also be able to create laundry detergent that is biodegradable, making a green home something you can strive to achieve.

Making your own laundry detergent can be super simple with all of the available recipes that you can find online.

Here is one very basic recipe for laundry detergent that you can easily follow at home.


  • 1 Bar of soap
  • 3 gallons and 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup of washing soda
  • 1/2 cup of Borax
  • Essential oils of your choosing


  • 1 Cheese Grater
  • 1 Glass bowl
  • 1 Large Pot
  • 1 Extra long mixing spoon
  • 1 Large 3.5 gallon temperature-resistant bucket

For the bar of soap, choose something that you normally use.

If you are allergic to fragrances or dyes, use a natural soap that has no added scents or unnecessary chemicals.

If you don’t mind using any kind of soap, a regular bar of any kind of soap will do.

Something like dove, Irish spring, or Dr. Bronner’s bar soap will suffice!

For your essential oils, you should choose a pleasant natural fragrance like lemon, orange, geranium, rose or lavender.

Use 100% pure organic essential oils for your laundry detergent.

You can also mix different scents together to make a custom laundry scent.

Choose to mix smells like rose and geranium together because they compliment each other well.

Instructions for making your own detergent:

  1. Boil four cups of water in a large pot.
  2. Grab the bar of soap and grate it into the smallest curls you can and keep them in a glass bowl while the cups of water are boiling on your stove. When the water comes to a steady, rapid boil, throw the grated soap into the pot.
  1. Stir the soap inside the boiling water until it is completely dissolved.
  2. Once the soap is dissolved, pour the boiling soap and water into a temperature-resistant bucket with the cup of washing soda and the half cup of borax.
  3. Add the 3 gallons of water into the large bucket. Here you will add the essential oil of your choosing, and you should add at least 30 drops to your mixture. Stir all the ingredients together in the bucket and cover it for 24 hours.
  4. After 24 hours, uncover the bucket and mix the ingredients together once more.
  5. Your detergent is ready to use.

To measure out the correct amount for your loads of laundry, approximate about 3/4 of a cup of laundry detergent for a full large load of laundry.

For smaller loads, use a half a cup of detergent or less.

Using your own laundry soap will cost you cents per load and save you a total of over $60 a year.

2. Use Less Detergent Per Load

If you’re not interested in spending the time making your own laundry detergent, there are other ways to cut down on the costs of your laundry detergent.

Simply using less laundry detergent when you wash your clothes can help you cut down on the cost of your detergent over the course of a year.

The fact of the matter may be that you use too much laundry detergent every time you wash clothes.

Modern washing machines use an agitation process that can clean clothes enough on its own if they’re lightly soiled, so using an amount of laundry detergent that just supplements the agitation process can save you some money.

Using half the amount of laundry soap you normally use can be just as effective in cleaning your clothes as opposed to using the full amount that you normally use.

Chances are that you use so much soap in one wash, that your clothes may still be saturated in the soap after you’re done washing.

You’ll find that overusing laundry detergent actually makes your washing machine very dirty very fast and causes your clothes to become stiff with left over soap residue.

Lessening the amount of soap you use in each wash will conserve money and also reduce the amount of soap residue left in your washing machine and on your clothes.

Store bought laundry detergent tends to be strong, and there is usually a marker on the cap that shows how much you should use for one load.

Fill the cap of your store bought laundry detergent below the fill line by half and test to see if this amount does the same job that a full cap would.

You will be pleasantly surprised that you don’t need to add much laundry detergent to your washing machine to effectively clean one full load.

3. Wash Less Often

Another way to save on laundry detergent is to wash your clothes less often.

On average, a single large load of laundry a week can be enough to clean all of your clothes effectively and keep you properly stocked up on the essentials like underwear and socks for your entire family.

If you have a large family, prioritize the clothes that need to get washed frequently and are soiled heavily before the end of the week and try to keep your washes to two loads or less a week.

Consider re-wearing outfits that aren’t particularly soiled more than once during the course of the week.

Hang up your clothes when they come out of the dryer and place them back on there once you’ve worn them the first time.

Encourage your kids to wear the same pajamas at night and assign everyone one towel to use until it’s the day to wash your towels.

Do your diligence to keep track of what needs to get wash and put off spending the extra time, money and energy washing clothes unnecessarily.

This will help you save money on laundry detergent by simply cutting down on how much you’ll need it during the year.

4. Skip The Detergent Altogether

If you’re so inclined, cutting the detergent from your laundry regimen completely is another viable option for washing your clothes.

You may think this means that you clothes won’t get clean, but with the agitation process a washing machine goes through, it can effetely clean your clothing of simple soiling without too much of a hassle.

If you want to make sure that your clothes are deodorized, soften, brightened and whitened, add some distilled vinegar to your wash for a miracle cure during the last rinse cycle.

Vinegar works particularly well on clothes that have a mildew smell to them.

If you’ve left wet towels or clothes in the hamper for a while and they have an oder that is noticeable when you throw them in the wash or after you go through a wash cycle, add vinegar to your washing machine to completely eliminate that smell.

Any type of vinegar can be used during your wash because all vinegars have the same amount of ascetic acid, which is the agent in vinegar that brightens, whitens and softens your clothes.

If you’d like to avoid natural plant dyes that are used in different kinds of cider vinegars, stick to cheap distilled white vinegar.

If you decide to go with rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar, dilute it with some water before you use it on your clothes.

Using vinegar in your washing machine will also clean your washing machine!

If you don’t have vinegar on hand, baking soda can also work in similar ways for your load.

You won’t spend money on laundry detergent but you’ll still be able to deodorize and clean your clothes effectively with the agitation of your washing machine and simple household products.

5. Go Off-Brand and Buy Generic

Most of us know all of the big names in detergent- Gain, Tide, Arm & Hammer and Purex are all well known in the world of laundry washing.

These brands are well advertised and well known, and you can easily purchase them in big name stores like Target and Walmart.

You may be inclined to purchase brand name laundry detergent simply because you see commercials and advertisements for them everywhere.

If you do a little research, you’ll quickly find that there are numerous other brands to choose from that do the same amount of work as big name laundry detergents but cost much less.

One great way to cut down on the cost of overly expensive laundry detergent is to use generic brands or store brands instead of big name soap.

Brand name detergent may have nice packaging and be presented in a way that often catches your eye, but the truth is that these soaps all do the same job, including the off-brand soaps that cost less at the store.

Whenever you pay for brand name laundry detergent, what you’re dealing paying for is all of the marketing, packaging, and brand recognition involved with the name.

Instead of paying for form, pay for function.

Off-brand laundry detergent is equally as cleansing, comes in scents that are pleasing, and don’t have any alternative chemicals that aren’t in big brand laundry detergent.

Of course, you can easily forgo the price of store brand or name brand laundry detergent by making your own.

Opt in for store brand laundry detergent if you don’t have time to to make your own at home or prefer having the simple packaging of bottled detergent in your laundry room.

6. Wait to Wash Only Full Loads

Looking at a growing pile of dirty laundry can be the kind of thing that gives you anxiety when you glance at it.

This is not an uncommon feeling, as dirty clothes can carry all sorts of bacteria and hold gross stains and body oder that kicks even after you’ve thrown the clothes in the hamper.

This isn’t something pleasant to deal with and it’s understandable that this can lead you to feeling like it’s time to wash your clothes almost as soon as they’re dirty because you can’t stand the sight or smell of them.

Although this sentiment is easily understood, this is the least economical way to deal with your laundry because it’s a waste of money in numerous ways.

Instead of dropping a load into the laundry machine every other day, wait until your laundry basket is full to run your clothes through the washing machine.

If the potential problem of odor is keeping you from waiting until you’ve got a full load of laundry to throw into the washing machine, get a laundry basket with a lid that can close off your dirty clothes from open air.

If clothing items are especially soiled, separate them into a pile that consists of extra dirty clothing and wash that smaller load separately to make the wash cycle more effective.

Try to keep the time between laundry loads as long as possible, and you’ll start to see the savings in your water bill, electricity bill, and laundry detergent costs.

7. Avoid Laundry Pods

As nice as it may be to buy a dual action laundry pod to wash your clothes with, this is not at all economical and doesn’t necessarily clean your clothing more than other kinds of detergent.

When you purchase something like laundry pods, you’re not paying for the quality of the product or some extra fast acting ingredients in the formula.

Laundry pods are expensive because you’re truly paying for packaging and novelty over anything else.

These laundry pods are also pre-portioned out and do not give you the ability to conserve what you don’t need for a load.

It’s best to purchase generic detergent and use that in place of laundry pods that promise to do more than they might actually be capable.

8. Buy the Right Kind of Laundry Detergent

If you’re set on purchasing store brand or brand name detergent over making your own at home, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to the label.

A lot of detergents today are made at a higher concentration, which means that you don’t need a ton of detergent to run your washing machine successfully.

In fact, if you already purchase high-concentration laundry detergent, there’s a good chance that you overuse your laundry detergent, which is wasting you money every time you wash your clothes.

Instead of just grabbing whatever you see on the shelf at the store, pay close attention to the labels as you shop.

Some detergents are concentrated 2x, 6x, 8x, or more!

That means you may be paying for detergent and using it improperly.

If you pay close attention to your laundry detergent label, you’ll probably realize that you can use much less detergent per load, you can dilute the detergent so it lasts you longer, or you can purchase your detergent concentration by it’s strength and price per load.

Buying the right kind of laundry detergent can easily save you money if you figure out how read the labels for its proper use.

Depending on what kind of laundry machine you have, you’ll want to purchase the kind of soap that works best with the wash settings on your machine.

Take a look at your owners manual and keep those details in mind when you’re shopping for your next bottle of laundry detergent.

9. Buy Powder Laundry Detergent

When we watch laundry commercials on tv or see advertisements in the street, the laundry detergent that you see is usually liquid laundry detergent.

Some of you may be surprised to know that liquid soap isn’t your only option when it comes to purchasing laundry detergent.

As a matter of fact, liquid laundry detergent wasn’t invented until the 1950’s and wasn’t developed for American markets until the 1970’s by Procter & Gamble, which means that powdered laundry soap predates modern liquid laundry detergent.

This means that you can count on the wisdom of your parents and grandparents and use powder laundry detergent which is equally as effective and much cheaper than liquid soaps.

Although liquid laundry detergents are the most marketed and well known kinds of laundry soap, powdered soap is a tried and true household item.

The best part about using a powdered laundry detergent is that you can easily portion out what you need and conserve what you don’t need to use for a long time, and it’s also less messy to deal with.

Powder laundry detergents can fight mud and grass stains easily because it’s far more stable than liquid or pod versions of detergent..

You can easily use powder detergents in untreated hard water because the powdered laundry soap can be easily distributed evenly within your washing machine’s water.

Another thing to note is that most powder detergents come in boxes instead of plastic bottles, which makes the packaging for powder detergent more environmentally friendly.

10. Buy Larger Quantities of Laundry Detergent

As you may know from purchasing groceries and other cleaning products for your home, buying necessary items in bulk can help you save money quickly.

Going to a major bulk store like BJ’s, Sam’s Club, or Costco can save you a lot of dollars on things that you consume and use constantly throughout the year.

Buying your laundry detergent in bulk is no different than buying toilet paper or bathroom cleaners in bulk.

You will save a considerable amount of money by buying larger quantities of products that you use consistently.

If you have time to go to a big bulk item store, you should take the trip and, if possible, bring some coupons with you.

If you buy your detergent in bulk, you’ll be able to lower the price per load for each of your washes, easily stock up for months at a time, and save money!

An even better idea than buying brand name laundry detergent in bulk is to buy bulk laundry detergent that is store brand.

Places like Sam’s Club will carry their own brands of household products that you can purchase directly from their bulk stores that’ll be much cheaper than products like Tide or Arm & Hammer.

Combining a bulk purchase with a store brand, you’ll be able to save a lot of money on laundry detergent if you’d like to avoid making your own.

The Bottom Line

Buying laundry detergent is a necessary expense for every household, but it doesn’t have to be an expense that breaks the bank.

Buying cheap laundry detergent can save you money in the long run, and you can expect cheaper detergent to do an equally good job with your clothes.

Try to buy detergent in bulk or test out making your own so you can compare and contrast the effectiveness of home made detergent and the price per load versus store brand or name brand detergent.

You’ll be surprised at how much money you’ll be able to save each year with frugal laundry detergent options!

Justin Stewart

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