A few years back, when we were just starting our path to better health and more natural living, I had a very uncomfortable and itchy allergic reaction to a popular scented fabric softener sheet. It took us a couple of tries to figure out what product was actually causing my reaction, but when we did we promptly eliminated it. That left us with some other questionable products in our laundry room, and lots of new questions about their safety and our choice to use them. Was it really safe for us to use some of these products? In short, we found that the answer to that question was no.
Ever since that experience, we’ve been buying bio-degradable laundry detergent, non-chlorine bleach, eco-friendly fabric softeners, and other safer cleaning products. The environmental working group, http://www.ewg.org, has some great information about brands and their ingredients if you’re just starting out.
They’re more expensive, but definitely worth it. (I didn’t particularly enjoy the feeling of breaking out in hives every time I washed my clothes) This worked well for us for years, but as prices kept increasing, we needed to come up with a different alternative.
I’ve played with the idea of making our own laundry detergent in the past, but I always brushed it aside with the excuse that I didn’t have enough time. Obviously making something like laundry detergent must take a lot of time and too many ingredients for it to be truly worth it. (That was my thought anyway)
I couldn’t have been more wrong. We’ve been making our own laundry detergent for about 6 months, and I honestly feel silly for not having tried it sooner. It’s incredibly simple. It takes no more than 5 minutes, and it has very few ingredients. I also like it more than the expensive detergent we bought for years. For us, each batch lasts just over 2 months, but we have quite a few loads on a weekly basis, in large part due to our very active 2-year-old. Try it out and tell us what you think.
Homemade laundry detergent recipe:
- 1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap (I like the unscented type, but Mr. AJ prefers the scented ones, so we alternate)
- 3 cups of washing soda
- 4 cups of baking soda
- 6-10 drops of your favorite essential oil (I skip this part, especially when using a scented Dr. Bronner’s soap)
Now for the easy part:
- Grate your Castile soap using either a cheese grater or your food processor (my personal choice).
- Process your grated soap in your food processor until it has a powdered soap consistency.
- Add in your washing soda and process them together.
- Move your mixture into a large mixing bowl and add in your baking soda. Make sure that it’s all evenly mixed. (Baking soda is a free-flowing powder, so it doesn’t require any extra processing)
- Mix in your essential oil, and you’re done.
You just made super easy and effective powder laundry detergent!
Using The Detergent
I store ours in an extra glass storage container that we already had at home. Depending on your laundry needs, this batch will last you between 2.5 to 3 months. I usually use 1.5 Tablespoons of detergent per large load for our top-load washing machine. It’s just the amount that worked for us, but anywhere from 1-2 Tablespoons seems to work pretty well.
Feel free to double or triple the recipe according to your needs and storage capacity. For now, this is the total amount that we can comfortably store in our small laundry room. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to make larger batches as we build in some more storage. (hint hint…Mr. AJ)
For the time being, try out the recipe. It’s super easy, super green, and you’ll save money while having the satisfaction of having made it yourself.