Cheaper Alternative to Super Washing Soda

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that last minute congressional decisions in 2012 resulted in a 2 percent cut in everyone’s take-home pay beginning 2013. That hurts!

I immediately began thinking where ordinary households could cut the cost of goods and services they’re paying for now to make up for the loss of income. You may already know what I’m thinking: Laundry detergent. No, really. Laundry detergent!

Cheap alternative for washing Soda

By reducing your per-load cost for detergent from $.35 or more to just $.03, you’ll have made a good start in recovering the lost income.

I recently wrote about my Homemade Laundry Detergent recipe, including photos and an update here. The ingredients are still the same: washing soda, borax and Blue Dawn. I make three gallons at a time, for about $1.50 total. Because it is not concentrated I get about 48 loads (1 cup per load) from three gallons.

I’ve learned that washing soda (sold for years by Arm & Hammer as Super Washing Soda) has become increasingly difficult to find. My supermarket stopped carrying it, and I can no longer get it at Target or Walmart. Still available online, Super Washing Soda is no longer cheap. But not to worry. I’ve got you covered.

Washing soda contains just one all natural ingredient: sodium carbonate (which is not edible and should never be confused with sodium bicarbonate which is baking soda). Soda ash, used in swimming pools to raise the pH, contains just one all-natural ingredient: sodium carbonate. Bingo!

I stopped into a local pool supply store and picked up 10 pounds of soda ash for $1.89 per pound. The product is identical in all ways to washing soda because, well, sodium carbonate is just sodium carbonate!

Even at $5 per pound for washing soda, making your own laundry detergent is still incredibly cheap. But why pay more for washing soda when soda ash is so much cheaper? You can easily order soda ash online in 5-lb. quantity or save big on a 50-lb. bucket. Or, just find a store that sells swimming pool supplies in your area.

I will let you know when I discover cheaper alternatives for borax and Blue Dawn. While both can be found online, for now they remain available in most supermarkets and discount department stores.

Question: It’s been two months since the 2-percent pay cut took effect. What are you doing to make up for the loss of income? Share your ideas here

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53 replies
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  1. Lan
    Lan says:

    I’ve always been a “from scratch” cook. Breadcrumbs are an essential part of my cooking. I used to bake, but we eat less bread now, so we buy day-old whole grain loaf with seeds — it’s almost as cheap as baking it myself. I grind the smallest pieces, add a T of oat bran or wheat germ, and make several bags-full flavored with different herbs and spices — for fish, burgers, and chicken. Freeze the bags and use the crumbs to quickly put dinner together. One of my faves is oven-fried chicken, all skin and fat removed. Grease a cookie sheet with a light coat of olive oil, and bake on high. The tasty coating enhances the flavor better than fat does. Now fatty chicken feels too heavy and greasy to me.

  2. Binkyfinder
    Binkyfinder says:

    If you don’t want to buy pool supplies to use in place of washing soda, one can make their own ash out of baking soda. I realize that for the most part, baking soda costs the same as washing soda. HOWEVER, I live near a farm supply store that sells 50 pound bags of Arm & Hammer baking soda for $9 – $12. I live in an average-cost area in a suburb of a small city, so this may be an option for others. This baking soda can be baked in a thick layer at 400 degrees for one hour so it converts.

  3. GotToHurry
    GotToHurry says:

    Please correct the discussion about Sodium Carbonate’s effect on pH. Sodium Carbonate is used to INCREASE pH!! Look at the label of this pH increaser:

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