My next Suzy Homemaker experiment is going to be making my own laundry detergent.
Some of the benefits of natural laundry detergent:
1. No artificial scents that can aggravate allergies and asthma.
Clothes are naturally deodorized by the washing soda so that they come out smelling clean. If you want the detergent to have a scent, you can add natural scent by adding a few drops of an essential oil. For instance you could add lavendar or chamomile oil. These oils are used in aromatherapy products to promote calm.
2. No synthetic chemicals. I don't know about you, but the more I think about it, the less comfortable I am about drenching my clothes and bedding in synthetic chemicals and having them against my skin 24/7.
3. Cost savings. It's estimated that homemade detergent costs about six cents per normally soiled load of homemade detergent. It only takes one tablespoon of homemade detergent to wash a load of clothes, so each batch lasts a long time.
4. Less waste. Think of all the resources used just to create the packaging for laundry detergents. In the case of liquid laundry detergents, they're poured into big plastic containers and packed in boxes to be shipped to the store. Basically, all of that packaging is created to ship something that is mostly water. It just seems silly and wasteful.
Recipe for homemade laundry detergent:
1 bar of natural soap*, finely grated.
1/2 c. Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda** (this is NOT the same as baking soda)
1/2 c. Borax (a natural mineral and laundry booster)
Grate the soap (you can use a food processor or grate it by hand) and mix in the washing soda and borax. Store in a container with a lid.
Use 1 Tbsp. per load of clothes. You can use 2 Tbsp. for a load of especially soiled clothes if you need to.
The detergent will NOT make suds. This is normal. The suds you see in commercial laundry detergents are caused by the synthetic sufacants that are added. You don't need those for clean clothes.
*These soaps are derived from plants rather than being manufactured in labs or being derived from animal fats. They can be a little bit tricky to find. I found a bar of Kirk's Castile Soap at Cracker Barrel for $1.40. You can also find these soaps at SoapsGoneBuy.com.
**Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Washing soda is sodium carbonate. It is also used as a PH regulator for swimming pools. If you can't find it in the laundry aisle, you might check the pool care aisle. You can also use this toll free number to locate stores in your area where it's been sold in the last 90 days. I found mine at Harp's/Price Cutter.
NOTE: NATURAL IS NOT THE SAME AS NON-TOXIC. You'll still want to keep this detergent out of the reach of children and pets.
My laundry detergent manufacturing adventure starts tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.