May 8, 2009

Frugal Friday

Frugal Friday is hosted over on Life As Mom. Check it out for great frugal ideas!

My frugal tip today is for laundry detergent. Being pregnant, I prefer to buy those big jumbo bottles of laundry detergent and fabric softener. You know the ones:

I keep mine on the shelf above my washer for easy access, and because if it drips, it goes right into or on the washer for easy clean-up. I don't have to pick a heavy bottle up over and over, straining muscles best left unstrained at the moment. Besides, it has always hurt my wrists to pick up a big bottle of detergent. They're too heavy for my carpal tunnel to manage.

To cut down on our costs, and because it's more environmentally friendly, I reuse our big jumbo-size bottles. When we get low on detergent or softener, I buy a regular or medium sized bottle at the grocery store. The bottle is normally big enough to fill our jumbo bottle up halfway. I then fill our bottle the rest of the way with some water.

It's a thrifty way to fool the guys. They don't know my secret. My reason behind this is, no matter what size load they wash, they use the same amount of detergent and fabric softener. Also, I have a Downy ball and Tide Kick we use in the wash for dispensing detergent and softener. The guys will fill each dispenser all the way up, no matter how soiled or large the load of laundry is. This keeps them from using too much.

Only I know the secret of the detergent. My husband caught me during the watter-adding step of refilling our bottles this way once. He thinks it was because we were almost out of detergent, and I was tyring to make it stretch until grocery day! In reality, I do this every time we open a new bottle! I have trained the guys to not throw away my big bottles when they empty. Doing this has seriously decreased our consumption of laundry products.

I used to wonder why we ran out of detergent so fast. I started keeping track of the number of loads we were getting out of one bottle of detergent and fabric softener, and secretly watched them do a few loads of laundry. That's when I figured out what was happening. We weren't washing that many loads of laundry, they were using almost waaaaayyyyy too much detergent each load! We now get the "recommended" amount of loads out of a bottle before I have to buy another one. So far, so good. I just make sure the guys are all gone or outside when I refill our big dispenser bottles. If they catch on, my great idea might not work anymore! Also, I try to do this after all my laundry is done, so the soap bubbles inside the bottle have time to settle down before I need to use the detergent. Just a personal preference of mine, I guess. I've never noticed any difference if I use the watered-down version right away or the next day.

Another thing to note, I don't know if they've ever noticed the difference in the thickness of the detergent or not, but I started this about the time Tide swapped around their formula and started charging almost twice the old price for the same amount of loads. I think that if they noticed, they may be under the impression that the "formula swap" in Tide may have something to do with the detergent looking a little thinner than it used to. It isn't much of a difference, just a little thinner looking after everything gets mixed together thoroughly in the bottle. I end up with about a 70/30 mix of detergent and water, so there's more cleaner than water in there, which helps keep it slightly on the thicker side.

Yes, I know, I'm crazy. Nutty as a fruitcake, right here baby. But it works on my guys. That's all that matters. :) Some days, you have to be on your toes around here to keep ahead of the guys.


Melissa said...

Good idea! I've been making my own laundry detergent, but your way of saving is even easier!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...


I've been known to do this too.


Lenetta @ Nettacow said...

I love this idea! (Don't mind me - I'm a bit behind on last week's frugal Friday since my little one was under the weather.)

If you're interested, here is a post I did about stretching our laundry detergent. I love this method and I think it will be 2025 before I run out of my gigantic bottle of Tide! :>)