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You can save money by making your own household cleaning products. Simple products like Borax cleaning powder, washing soda, baking soda, and vinegar can all be bought very inexpensively from your average supermarket.

Laundry detergent is one of the most popular homemade household products in part because good laundry detergent can be costly. The suggested retail price of a 50 fl oz bottle for Tide brand liquid detergent, which cleans 32 loads of laundry, is $14.99. That factors out to about 47 cents per load, although the retail price will vary between stores. By making your own laundry detergent, you can cut that price significantly. 

You can find dozens of different recipes for homemade laundry detergent, but here is a simple one to try:

1 bar of soap (Fels-Naptha is a popular choice, but any will do)
1 cup of washing soda
1/2 cup of Borax powder

Grate the bar of soap into a pan of about four to five cups of near boiling water. Stir as the soap melts. Pour 3 gallons of hot water into a 5-gallon bucket. When the soap is completely melted, pour it into the 5-gallon bucket and stir well. Add the washing soda and stir well. Then, add the Borax powder and stir well. (Add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance, if desired.) Cover the container and allow the mixture to cool overnight. It will become gelatinous. Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry. This recipe makes enough for about 110 loads of laundry.

Some users vary this recipe by adding more or less of each ingredient according to personal preference. Depending on where you shop, all of the ingredients for this recipe cost about $6.50. (Fels-Naptha costs about $1.50 a bar, washing soda costs about $2.50 a box and Borax powder costs about $2.50 a box.) That factors out to about 6 cents per load, and you still have washing soda and Borax powder left over for other cleaning projects.

Here are some other recipes for household products:

Dishwasher Detergent
Combine two tablespoons baking soda and 2 Tablespoons Borax powder. Use in dishwasher detergent dispenser as normal.

Stain Remover
Dissolve 1/4 cup of Borax powder in two cups of cold water. Apply with a sponge and let it dry before putting it in the laundry.

Oven Cleaner
Make a paste out of three parts baking soda, 1 part salt and 1 part water. Spritz water in the oven and apply the paste to the surface. Let it sit overnight and the wipe it out with a damp cloth in the morning. Bonus: You don’t have to inhale those horrible (and sometimes toxic) oven cleaner fumes!

Glass Cleaner
Combine eight parts of water with 1 part of white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray on windows or mirrors and wipe off with newspaper.

Related stories:

DIY: 7 Home Items You Can Make for Less

7 Ways to Spring Clean for Less

5 Great Green Cleaners

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