For many years I have diluted my dish soap with water since a certain member of my household (me) tends to over-squeeze the bottle. Well, this year I started adding white vinegar to it as well. I fill a bottle with 1/3 detergent, 1/3 vinegar and 1/3 water. (If you have larger loads with more water in sink to dilute it, you might want to cut down on or eliminate the extra water.) Not only does it save detergent, it works soooo much better than the straight dish soap. It cuts through grease, removes hardwater film and makes my dishes nice and shiny! It is harder on hands, so especially in the winter I use rubber gloves.
Speaking of adding water, cheap laundry detergent is usually watered down so you end up needing to use quite a bit more which often negates any savings from buying it. I bought a cheap detergent because I needed to wash clothes and it was the only kind they had. I ended up having to wash the load three times and it still didn't get my clothes as clean as my normal detergent. I wasted detergent, time, and all that change for the washing machine! (One good thing that came from that is that I put my more expensive detergent in that little bottle when I go to the laundromat.)
An easy and often overlooked way to save is to be sure you're using only the amount they call for. While some do say you should fill up the cap, others only need 1/3 of a cap for a regular load.
Better laundry detergent not only cleans your clothes better but also helps them last longer. When you add up how much you probably spent for the clothes in a single load, for most of us, that is quite an investment, even if we didn't spend a lot on the individual pieces. Multiply that by the many loads you'll do with a single bottle and the few extra dollars you spend for good quality detergent doesn't seem like that much in comparison.
I know many people on here have special recipes for homemade detergent and a lot of people also add vinegar to the wash as a fabric softener and mildew smell remover, which I think is great.
Primarily due to the following story, I plan to stick with my favorite brand though. I never thought much about the difference in laundry detergent or its long-term effect on my clothes until I lived in the city with P&G's world headquarters and got to know some of the engineers who worked on Tide. They regularly told me how much better it was than others, and to be honest, I thought their talk was much the same as "our team is better than their team" until I did laundry with one of their wives. I had a shirt that had gotten splashed with a little mud. I dutifully rinsed and pre-treated it right away, and then used the name brand detergent I'd used all my life. It did not come out, even with multiple washings, so one of my favorite shirts was ruined. In the meantime, she was washing the clothes that her little boy brought home from camp--caked with mud, grass stained, stuffed in his bag for most of the week, and obviously not pre-treated. Once through the washer with Tide and they all came out as good as new! If I hadn't been there I wouldn't have believed it. I have been a loyal customer ever since! While that was amazing to me, the husband was not at all surprised considering how hard he and his co-workers worked every day to create the best possible product. I think I mentioned this once before and someone mentioned that one of the newer, stronger Tide products can be harder on clothes (I wish I remembered which), but in the 18 years I've been using the normal kind at the suggested amount, I have consistently had excellent results. I'm giving away clothes this week that look as good as new after YEARS of washing simply because they don't fit anymore.
I use coupons during sales so I get some excellent deals. Just this past week at CVS the Extra Bucks deal let you get three 100 oz bottles for about $7.50 each before coupons. I'm also on the P&G e-mail list so I get notified when their inserts are coming out in the paper each month, and I've noticed that the good sales on P&G products tend to be the following week.
I didn't plan to do a Tide commercial when I should have been sleeping tonight, but hopefully it will help some out there (especially those with cute and very messy little ones) to save time and more of your clothes!
"...for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil." Proverbs 15:15b-16 NLT
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.--Winston Churchill