DIY Laundry Detergent

Gentle Readers,

Like many before me, I don’t understand the costs associated with keeping my clothing clean. Dry-cleaners believe that women’s shirts are more expensive to clean than men’s shirt. No one has dared tell me that my sweat is tougher than a man’s to treat. And yet, my fancy professional clothes that cannot touch water must receive a costly treatment after so many wears.

A few years ago, I stopped using dryer sheets in favor of wool dryer-balls. You only purchase the product once, which means less packaging in the world. I also like that they have no scent. Many of my friends are highly allergic to any fragrance and I want my clothing to not impact their health. The environment, my budget, and my friendships all win.

I have been itching to make my own laundry detergent for a few years, but I could not justify it until my detergent ran out. I use less than the recommended amount, because my clothes come out clean with far less than the manufcaturer suggests. I finally finished a container of oxyclean and thus had the space I needed to create my first batch.

There are lots of recipes online, and most of them are the same. For my ratios, I looked here.

You don’t need much for DIY Detergent

I purchased 5 bars of soap (you need one bar, but it was cheaper in bulk), 1 box of washing soda, and 1 box of borax.

Per above, I don’t like scents, so I ignored the advice to add essential oils. I did purchase a microplane after checking out my local hardware store for a suitable alternative. I don’t have a dishwasher, and didn’t want to use my small food processor and end up with soapy pesto later.

Steps to making DIY Laundry Detergent

Once I had the materials and the room in an airtight container to store it, I pulled out the microplane and one bar of soap and grated it while watching music videos on YouTube. It took longer than I anticipated, but was not onerous. I think I was done in 15-20 minutes. Per usual, I knicked one knuckle on the microplane twice. So I will refrain from giving myself a manicure for a few days while I heal. Happy to report that no blood ended up in my detergent.

Then I added one cup of washing soda and one cup of borax. I briefly stirred everything together, while being careful to not get things on my skin as two of the ingredients can be drying.

That’s it. I now have very powerful, much cheaper detergent. Most people advise using one to two tablespoons per load.  I immediately did one load of laundry with this detergent; it included a flannel shirt from my dad who was a hardcore smoker living in a moist apartment. It had smelled of mildew and smoke. No longer. The load came out and appeared far cleaner than my expensive store-bought detergent ever achieved.

One final bonus was learning that the friend who hosted me for dinner and games Sunday night is also interested in making her own detergent, but had not been able to procure washing soda. The box is huge and you take so long to go through it one cup/tablespoon at a time. It will be easy for me to put some in a baggie to share with her.

Have any of you ever made your own detergent? Did you like the results?


My Frugal DIY Hair Routine

Gentle Readers,

You know that I have a frugal face-routine, and you will not be surprised to learn that my hair routine is similarly personally tailored and low-cost. I spend less than $2 a year on the products I need to look fantastic.

I have a very short hair-cut and was frustrated at the amount of money I was spending on shampoo and conditioner and products. It felt wasteful. It was also just silly since none of the products did precisely what I wanted.

I have very clear vanity needs. I want to look a very particular way. I like that women stop me on the street to tell me how much they love my hairstyle. I even had a woman at my podiatrist’s office ask to take photos of my hair, because she is a stylist and wanted to try and replicate it.

Everything that touches my head is created by me.

I ditched traditional shampoo and conditioner nearly two years ago. I read around and asked my friends, and learned about the No Poo movement (a horrible name).  I thought it was worth a shot since the ingredients were simple and were things I had around my house. I was also intrigued at the idea of washing my hair once a week. Shorter showers means less water waste and more time sleeping in.

On Sundays, I wash my hair.

I have a little container I bought at CVS that holds some baking soda and water. I use a squeeze bottle with a lid that closes so it does not dry out. That’s all you need. I personally add tea tree oil,  which is good for my scalp since my hair is so thick. I don’t like the smell of tea tree, so I add in some mint oil  to have a smell I like that adds a little scalp tingle.  I pour some into my hand and scrub it into my scalp. I leave it in until I feel the tingle and then rinse it out. After that, I use a bottle that is 1/4 apple cider vinegar and 3/4 water as conditioner.  I make sure to rinse thoroughly because I don’t want to smell like a salad. Once I’m out of the shower, I warm a tiny bit of coconut oil in my hands and put it through my hair as a deeper conditioner. That’s it. My hair is clean for a week!

I like my pomade to have a little bit of shine, but mainly I want it to just let my hair’s glory come through.  My current favorite version is easy to make and much cheaper than buying a product that someone else made for me.

I use a glass bowl and a pot as a make-do double-boiler. In the glass bowl I put some Shea butter or coconut oil and then half as much Beeswax.  It melts quickly on a low heat. I stir it and watch carefully to prevent burning. Once it is all melted down, I put on my potholders and carefully transfer into a little metal one ounce container. I let it sit with the lid off until it solidifies. That’s it. My pomade is ready for 8-12 months. You only need a little when your hair is short.

The shea butter version feels a little greasier, but is nice in the winter when my hair just wants a little more love. The coconut version is my go to in the summer when looking crisp is my greater goal.

Sometimes I add an essential oil for a little scent, but not much, because I don’t want to cause anyone to have an allergic reaction around me. I try to have so little in that only someone who actively tried to smell my hair would know.

Do you make any of your own hair products? Share your recipes below.


My Frugal DIY Face Routine

Gentle Readers,

Part of my path to financial freedom involves keeping my product-game frugal. For the past two years I have experimented with making my own face wash, pomade, no-poo and ACV conditioner, and recently added face masks.

I make my own products partially because they are cheaper than the store-bought versions, but I also like that there is less plastic in the world due to my beauty regime. I use a few base products to make everything I need. It has also allowed me to have my products individually tailored to my skin, and I’ve never looked better. Vanity gains are happy in my book.

I’ve been very happy with the Oil Cleanse Method of face washing that I found all over the internet. I personally mix castor oil and either olive or almond depending on what I have closest to my hand at the time. I put it in a small bottle and pump once in the shower. I spread it all over my face with my fingers. Then, I wipe it off with a hot rag. This process has eliminated the need for moisturizer. My skin is clear and soft.

I still have the same bottles of castor and almond oil I began with, because it takes an incredible amount of time to go through these products even though I use them for other frugal beauty purposes. I keep some almond oil in a tiny spray bottle and use it for extra moisture in a spot or to remove makeup. 

In the winter, I use avocado oil on my face at night to decrease headaches from my skin drying out in the winter heat. I don’t need such a thick oil in the summer at my age and with my skin type, which I would not have learned without playing around.

Recently, I tried a mask that my girlfriend had and wondered if I could make one of those as well. Per usual, I asked my friends what they are doing in their diy-mask routines. Many of my friends suggested a bentonite clay mask with apple cider vinegar. I had some leftover Aztec Clay from previous pomade endeavors and keep ACV around as part of my hair conditioning routine. So I was ready to go!

It’s really simple. You combine the two ingredients in a plastic dish until it is your desired consistency, and then you apply it to your face. You let it dry for thirty minutes before using a hot rag to wipe it off. Simple. Cheap. I was willing to try.

On a recent Saturday evening, I gathered my ingredients and did what I was told. I used my finger to mix the clay with the ACV, because the internet is convinced that using metal will ruin everything. I have no idea about the science of the thing, but I love having one last thing to clean and my fingers were going to apply the mask to my actual face anyway.

I put the first of the mask on my face.

My eyes burned with rage.

They were not fans of having the ACV so near them. They were fearful of the assault on their senses. Thankfully they calmed down after 5 minutes, but I had 25 minutes to go after applying all of the goo to my face. I went to my room and read until the timer called me back.

I entered my bathroom with a new, clean washcloth and gently removed the mask from my face.

ALARMINGLY my face was red and hot. It was fine when the clay was still on, but the removal caused it great distress. I consulted my friends and they said it was normal. Just wait, girl.

I waited.

It took thirty minutes for my face to calm down. I was not pleased. I don’t believe that beauty should hurt. This was confusing.

And, then, something magical happened.

My face was so soft. They promised me radiance, but they did not think to promise me the only thing I want in my face – SOFTNESS.

Armed with this knowledge, I performed the same routine a week later. My eyes were less than civil with the NEARNESS of the ACV, but everything else went well.

And my face grew softer again.

I have found the ultimate my face routine for me. Home-made face wash calibrated to my skin type and a homemade mask all for less than the cost of the average store-made face wash. And I am as soft as I want to be. It’s been a wonderful learning curve.

Have you tried to make any personal products? How did it go?