My Favorite Things: My unbeatable laundry concoction

I thought it was time to share more of my favorite things with you! Remember, while some are steals, others are well worth the investment. This tip is definitely worth the investment in my book!
My 16 month old had a stomach virus for 2 weeks. Any parent out there knows what that means…
Puke, and poop.
A lot of it.

I did more laundry during those two weeks than I have done in the last two months combined!

In our successful effort to get out of debt I learned a valuable lesson:
While it's important to save money wherever possible, whenever possible, there are times where it's much more important to pay a little extra to get QUALITY items that will last AND work well!

My laundry concoction (as I call it) is an absolutely lifesaver. It's full of mostly higher-priced items, but here's why I love it anyway:

  • I can let stains sit on our clothes for weeks before washing, and they ALWAYS come out. Blood, grass, food, juice, you name it. 
  • I tend to buy “cheap” clothes (sometimes cheap quality, sometimes cheap in price only). I want them to last, and this concoction is gentle and effective.
  • It doesn't fade colors.
  • It smells great.
  • It's high efficiency, so it lasts forever because I barely have to use any!
  • I buy them in bulk from Costco, with coupons.
  • While my washer/dryer is only 4 years old (pretty new), it's not the top of the line in any regard. This works great even with my budget appliances.

I love my laundry concoction so much, I just had to share with you as one of my favorite things!

Here are my unbeatable laundry favorites:

Tide Advanced HE + Bleach Alternative liquid detergent

I get it from Costco (they always have coupons). This is my #1 big hitter. It's the most incredible detergent!

The thing I love most about it is that no matter how large the load, I pretty much always do it to line 1 (the smallest line on the cup) and it is ALWAYS enough. I never have to use very much.

I wash most of my loads on warm/cold and on normal cycle with a medium spin. I wash my darks and delicate fabrics on cold/cold, and my whites on hot/hot.

I don't use this for loads I don't really care about, like old towels, rags, and sheets. I use cheap detergent for that (see very bottom).

This doesn't fade my clothes, gets stains out, and smells good. I noticed a huge difference the very first time I washed a load with it, and never looked back!

Clorox 2 Stain Fighter and Color Booster
This is the best invention on the planet. 

I put a little in with every load (except for when I'm washing old towels or something that I don't care if the colors fade) and it keeps colors vibrant (“boosts” them, if you will) and gets out any and all stains. 
It's honestly a miracle worker. I wash my son's clothes A LOT, but they all look brand new still! No fading, no stains, it keeps things bright and sturdy just like when you first buy them.

Once again, I rarely ever go above Line 1 on the cup; a little is all you need, even with a big load!

I also buy this at Costco, they always have coupons. In fact, they have a coupon for it this month, $3 off I believe. Stock up!

I also don't use this for loads I don't care about like old towels, sheets, and rags.

Fabric Softener

I have used many different kinds of fabric softener, I don't think I have found one that I love more than any other. The kind I use right now is Ultra Downy, just whatever is on sale at Costco.

Regardless, my tip is that I ALWAYS use fabric softener, for every single load. Always. Even the old towels, sheets, and rags that I use the cheap detergent for (see bottom).

Once again, I don't have to use a large amount for each load, but I use it for every load. Even jeans. I line-dry most of my personal clothes, so fabric softener is a must. And even with the clothes I dry in the dryer, fabric softener makes all the difference in the world.

It makes them smell better, stay fresher longer, and makes them WAY softer. I am addicted to fabric softener.

I actually don't use dryer sheets any more! I tried NOT using them (because I use fabric softener) and it works great without them! If I do a load of towels or sheets I will use 1/2 a sheet, but for my normal loads, I don't use any and notice NO difference.

Dryer Sheets

Once again, I have used many different kinds, I am pretty impartial to one particular brand. However, I insist on using them. I use the Kirkland brand right now. They aren't the best smelling sheets in the world, but they do the job well enough.

Yes, I know some people think it's redundant to use them AND fabric softener, but I notice a big difference in my clothes when I don't use a dryer sheet! I use them for every single dryer load, even if it's a load that I don't care about.

They help with static, keep my clothes less wrinkled, and makes them smell better and makes them softer.

Remember my tips with dryer sheets?? My biggest tip: I ALWAYS RIP THEM IN HALF. ALWAYS! You do NOT need an entire sheet, even if your load is huge!

Spray ‘n Wash with Resolve Power stain remover
This is the key in getting out stains that have already set in. 
The other day I pulled out my newborn clothes bin from the garage. It hasn't been touched in 1.5 years! I got out a sleep sack that had spit up stains on it. I guess I forgot to wash it before I put it in the bin (gross!). 

I sprayed it with Spray ‘n Wash, threw it in with my Tide and Clorox 2, and ta da! Good as new! All the stains came out and you'd never know it was disgusting only 30 minutes before.

I buy this from Costco also. It comes with a huge refill gallon jug, and a sprayer. I bought one and it's lasted me for 2 years now. Trust me, it's worth the investment.

I am a bleach lover. I know it's harsh and you have to be careful when using it, but I think it's an absolute must for whites.
I usually use Clorox because I buy it bulk from Costco, so I don't know if the no-name-brand stuff works as well. Like I said, I'm very particular about my laundry and don't really chance it with the no-name stuff very often. All you need is one bad wash for your clothes to fade, and you can't undo damage done from that one bad load!
I use bleach for all my white loads. 
I wash them on hot/hot, and fill my bleach cup in my washer to the very brim. I'm never afraid of using too much. I then add Tide, I leave out the Clorox 2 (you don't need both), and add fabric softener. My whites are super white!
For socks, underwear, and really grimy things I:
  • Fill my sink with piping hot water, 
  • add a cup of cheap detergent (see next), 
  • add a bunch of bleach (eyeball it)
  • add my clothes, 
  • stir it all up, and let it soak for quite a few hours. 
  • I empty the sink, then throw the clothes in the washer with my Tide, a little more bleach, fabric softener, and wash on hot/hot like normal. You can't believe how brown and gross my sink water is after letting my whites soak, even if they don't look that dirty!

If you have a top loading washer you could also have them soak in your washer. Mine is front-loading so the soak cycle isn't very good and it doesn't let me control it. That's why I opt for the sink.
We moved, and I got a new front-loading washer. It has a “whitest-whites” setting where it pre-soaks it for me. It's been working great, so I actually don't soak my whites in the sink any more, so I guess it just depends on your washer. Regardless, soaking is great with whites!

Cheap Detergent
I think cheap detergent is handy too. I buy the cheapest stuff from Costco, usually the Kirkland brand. (*Update: The current cheap detergent I use right now is “Ecos” all natural detergent from Costco. They had a HUGE container of it on sale for $10 so I bought it, and it works fine.) One container lasts me for at least 1 year.
I use cheap detergent when I just don't care about the load! Old towels, rags that I use to clean with, sheets (we don't have fancy sheets), and other things that 
  • A) aren't that dirty or 
  • B) I don't care if the stains don't come all the way out or 
  • C) are old and stained and no one sees them anyway!
I like to preserve my “nice stuff” for the more valuable items, so cheap detergent is nice to have! This is a great opportunity for you coupon-ers to use up that cheap detergent that you get for free with coupons.
So that's it! Those are my tricks! Once again, I think buying the “nice stuff” is very important from time to time. I used to use cheap detergent for everything and my clothes got faded and worn much quicker. What type of laundry tricks do YOU use?
Hope this helps!


  1. AvatarLeah says

    I love the Costco fabric softener. We don’t use dryer sheets because of the buildup they leave on the vent, we had a friend’s house burn down because of that. I also never use fabric softener on towels because they loose their absorbancy over time. I am still using my wedding towels 10 years later and they look great!! Thanks for the fantastic tips Jordan!

  2. AvatarHele says

    A tip or two for you ; vinegar is the best fabric softener to use and it takes off residue left from detergents, etc. Your clothes will not smell like vinegar once they are out of the dryer but you can always put a few drops of essential oil if you prefer. Never use vinegar with fabric softener though!
    I have been using vinegar for over six months and no complaints from my family. Even my two teenagers use it (i also make our detergent, will not go back to store bought)
    Kirkland brand detergent is Tide so while it is cheaper the quality is still there 🙂

  3. AvatarSarah says

    the clorox 2 and tide you use up to line 1? i had a repair guy out to fix my front loader and he said to only use a tablespoon of soap

  4. Avatarfuncheaporfree says

    Nope! It's a bleach alternative, so it's not actually bleach. In fact, my clothes have never looked better or brighter. But I'm guessing that's mostly thanks to the Clorox2 color booster. I don't know how they do it, but it really does boost colors! So no, doesn't fade or bleach out color at all.

  5. AvatarCat says

    Just an FYI….Storing clothes in container seems to make the protein stains (SPIT-UP) re-apper…it was not you…I don't know the scientific reason, but it happens to everyone

  6. AvatarHele911 says

    not sure where my comment went but I will try and post again.
    Vinegar is the best fabric softener you could use. It takes out any residue left from detergent and hard water. Your clothes will not smell like vinegar once they are dry but if you are unsure, add a little essential oil with the vinegar. Even my two teenagers don't complain! I also make my own laundry detergent so I no longer buy it but as an FYI, Kirkland brand detergent is the inexpensive version of Tide. Many warehouse store brands are made from the same companies you pay higher prices for.

  7. AvatarElaine says

    Do you put the tide and Clorox2 together in the detergent slot, or do you split them up into the bleach and detergent slots?

  8. AvatarHayden says

    I love your blog! I wanted to share an idea for all my minimalist friends that may be reading your blog also. My husband and I live in a "tiny" home and live an extremely minimalist lifestyle, some even call it cheap. 😉 I also tend to be a laundry snob but wanted to share my "recipe" for washing towels as I save free and clear tide for clothes. We use 1/2c. baking soda with 1/2c. of seventh generation dish liquid (lavender)…my mother in law uses dawn. We also line dry and this recipe makes my towels so bright and incredibly soft. Also very cheap and eco friendly…you can't beat that!

  9. AvatarHilary says

    I like the ALL Free and Clear for my kids clothes, its cheap and cleans good and doesn't make the kids itch. I usually always use Tide, but this is the best cheap alternative I've found.

  10. AvatarJessica says

    So what is your "new" washing machine? I'm in the market for one but I don't have a sink in my laundry but I really would like a front loading washing machine!

  11. Avatarfuncheaporfree says

    Jessica – it's a Whirlpool Duet. We actually bought it from a guy who buys and re-sells Costco returns…so we got it for a great deal because someone bought and returned it! It's worked really well so far, no complaints 🙂

  12. Avatar1ofeach says

    Yes, this is an old post, but I wanted to thank you for turning me on to Tide pods. (I guess I lived under a rock till I saw your video on YT, lol.)

    What stain remover do you use now? The one mentioned in this post either doesn’t exist or got rebranded.

    Love your blog and look forward to your videos every week!

  13. AvatarLisa Persinger says

    Hi Jordan! I just read the article on your unbeatable laundry concoction. I have read many reviews on laundry products and am trying to decide which products to go with for the cleanest, freshest whites and colors. After reading your outstanding article my search is over! This concoction is what I need and you did a wonderful job explaining how and why you use the products. This is truly an unbeatable concoction and I appreciate your article very much! Going right out to buy this combo of products today!

  14. AvatarAndria says

    Hi Jordan,
    I love doing laundry and ur concotion is cool, but what do u recommend for people that have sensitive skin and can only use free and clear products

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