It’s been a month since I started out the whole frugal thing. Overall all I’ve done pretty well, we’ve managed to get our food budget to $300 or below for the week (still room for improvement), and we are saving money on other things as well. One of those things is cleaning products.
If you’ll remember in my last post, I was super pumped and made my own laundry detergent. I got the recipe from the cheapskates.com.au website (I’m not a member, nor do I plan to be – there is more than enough frugal ideas online to get by). Hubby scoffed that such a cheap recipe couldn’t possibly be any good at cleaning clothes (I had my doubts too, to be honest).
So I thought I’d update you on my results.
After one month of laundry, does the cheapskates laundry detergent actually work? Is it effective at cleaning your clothes?
Yes, and no.
It’s a good basic laundry detergent, but has struggled on some of the more greasier clothing stains.
I’ve found it works best if you put your washing machine on the longest cycle. For me, that’s the ‘cotton’ cycle. Before this, I used to only use the fast ‘30 minute’ cycle because I hate waiting. It didn’t seem to wash clothes very well on the short one, but is pretty decent on the longer one.
My only reasoning behind why that might be so, is because the soap or borax (or whatever) needs time to do it’s magic in the water. Dissolve, soften, whatever it does to actually clean the clothes.
Other frugal sites use a similar laundry recipe but make a liquid version (same ingredients but they are put into water beforehand to mix up). I read somewhere that liquid laundry soap works much better than powder at getting out greasy stains. This would make sense if the cleaning power of the recipe needs time to ‘dissolve’ to work effectively.
I’m going to continue to use the powder version, on the longer washing cycle, as it’s just as good at some of the budget brands I’ve used in the past and, of course, way cheaper. A pre-wash spray (frugally-made, of course) may also be in my future).
How much to use?
The instructions on the cheapskates site, say to use one teaspoon for front loaders. I used that the first time, but I’ve been happier using two teaspoons (I don’t really know if that extra teaspoon makes any difference, but it makes me feel more confident).
It doesn’t sud (which is actually a good thing), and I hope I’m not wasting it by using so much (even though two teaspoons is still a scant amount), but it is what it is. I feel more confident with two, like it might cleaner better.
Other frugal cleaning recipes
I did try another cleaning recipe from the debtfreecashedupandlaughing.com.au website (phew what a web-title!). The miracle spray.
So far, this is excellent and cleans better than some of my other favorite cleaners.
I didn’t make as much as this recipe recommends (probably about one fifth of it, just enough to fit in a spray bottle). So adjust according to your needs.
1.5 litre water (1 cup boiled)
60ml dishwashing liquid
3 dessertspoons “Lectric” soda (washing soda)
Mix washing soda with about 1 cup boiling water to dissolve, add remaining ingredients, pour into a 2 litre bottle (I use the vinegar ones). That’s it folks!!!
This nearly fills the 2 litre bottle, then I decant (don’t you just love that word) into spray bottles for benches and laundry, and refill old toilet cleaner bottles to squirt under the rim in the loo etc. It’s also good to spray on the floor on tough stains, you know the stuff you dropped when cooking that dried. I originally found the recipe from another site and just tweaked it a bit. I love it, as I try to minimise the use of chemicals around the house. With the collars and cuffs, try to spray and leave to soak for a few minutes works best I’ve found, so I spray as I sort, then do the whites second rather than first load to give the spray a chance to work.