Have you ever thought about how super-moms like Kate Gosselin or Josie Dugger are able to keep up with all of their children’s dirty laundry? According to a study done by MSN, Americans spend on average $80 a year on detergent, washing almost 400 loads of laundry. And that’s the average household. The Gosselin’s are cleaning up after 8 little rascals and the Dugger’s are currently at 19 (and counting, as their television show suggests). So how are they able to afford it? Well, in addition to the money made on their television shows, these families make their own laundry detergent.
You may be thinking that $80 over the course of an entire year is not that much money. If you divide that by the 52 weeks in a year, it only comes up to about $1.50 on laundry. Chump change to the average middle class household.
Let us, for just a moment, consider the alternative-- making our own detergent. According to blogger Karrie, from Happy Money Saver, you can spend a total of $20.27 on ingredients and make your own detergent at home. Your $20.27 purchase will buy you 504 loads of laundry. Do the math and that comes to $0.04 a load! After a few more calculations, you’ll find that means only $16 worth of laundry a year, saving you $64. In five years’ time you could spend $400 on buying your laundry detergent, or you could spend $80 on five years’ worth of laundry making the detergent yourself.
Homemade laundry detergent can benefit your wallet, as well as the environment. For one, making detergent at homes eliminates a lot of the waste involved in mass producing, packaging, and shipping laundry detergent. By creating your own detergent, you are able to reuse the same container, which cuts down on plastic waste. In addition, you are using less fuel and lowering the carbon emissions that would have been released from shipping detergent to nearby stores. If you include the supplies for the detergent on your weekly shopping list, you can grab it on your next trip to the grocery store and save further on gasoline emissions.
Another great thing about homemade detergent is that it has significantly fewer chemicals than the average store bought brand. The chemicals used in detergents eventually make their way to local waterways, causing ecological problems such as eutrophication and the poisoning of aquatic habitats.
While this quick little trick may cost more upfront and require a bit of initial work, it will save you loads (money, not laundry—we haven’t found a solution for that one yet) in the long run. A fast and easy way to save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and protect local waterways? Count me in!
Click here for a link to Karrie’s homemade laundry detergent recipe.