Table for Five

Tightwad Gazette Recipe for Laundry Stains

Have any of you read the Tightwad Gazette books? A  They are a compilation of six years of newsletters written by Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced like “Decision”), who called herself the Frugal Zealot. A housewife living in Maine with her husband and their four (?) children, Amy’s newsletter dispensed tips on ways to REALLY save money, to really stretch a dollar.

In her newsletters, Amy wrote about everything from taking a mostly empty jelly jar and filling it with water, shaking, and pouring the liquid into popsicle molds for homemade popsicles, to tearing colored-in pages out of garage-sale or trash-picked coloring books before presenting them as birthday gifts.

All six years of newsletters were compiled into one big book, The Complete Tightwad Gazette for around $16.00, which is a great deal for so much info.

I didn’t subscribe to the newsletter, but when the first compilation book came out, I bought it and preceeded to dog-ear just about every page. She did extensive tests on which was cheaper, homemade popcorn or discount grocery store microwave popcorn, showed how you could make something new out of just about anything you would normally throw out (six pack soda can rings stitched together for a volleyball net, for example), and explained how she fed her family well without resorting to overpriced commercial snack foods (her kids ate cinnamon toast for snacks and didn’t complain that it wasn’t a pop tart, go figure!)

Of all the tips I picked up from the books, the one I have used the most is the recipe for laundry stain remover. When you’ve got something really stained, like for example, when you are potty training a three year old who refuses to poop on the potty, you mix up this formula and soak the stained clothes in it. My experience has been that the clothes might not look brand-new, but the stains are significantly lightened. This is the formula:




5 gallons of hot water

1/2 cup of powdered dishwasher detergent (like Cascade or the store brand)

1/2 cup of liquid Clorox 2 Color-safe bleach (or the store brand)

**according to, the dishwasher detergent and color-safe bleach sold at dollar stores works just as well**


In a big bucket, mix all of that together well. I use the handle of my long dish brush to stir it. Then drop in your stained clothes, and let them soak overnight. In the morning, dump the whole thing into your washing machine and run a regular cycle, don’t add any additional laundry soap. I throw in dirty towels or t-shirts or underwear, whatever else is waiting to go in.  When the washer stops, I recommend running it through the rinse and final spin cycle one more time just to make sure all the dishwasher powder is out.


Have you used this formula or something similar? Share your laundry tips in a comment! And for heaven’s sakes quit spamming me. I’m sick of it. You are not getting your comment approved unless you use a real first name or blog alias and leave a comment relevant to the post.  /end rant.

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Elizabeth (1821 Posts)

I'm Elizabeth, a 40-something Michigan wife and mother of three. I created Table for Five in 2005 as a way to connect with other Moms, and I've been blogging ever since. Please click the About tab at the top of the page to read more about me and my family! email:

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