There are lots of ways to save the planet and tons of ways to be environmentally correct. And everyone wants a good deal, so how about combining the two?
If you’ve chosen to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, and you want to save some money in the process, one of the easiest ways to do so is by making your own laundry detergent. You can mix up a batch that’s liquid or powdered on the cheap, and keep it safe for the planet.
If you’ve ever read the label of your detergent, you’ll find things like alkyl phenoxy polyethoxy ethanols, diethanolamines and subtilisin. Aside from the fact that no one can pronounce these toxins, they’re bad for the environment. When you make your own detergent, you know it’s better for the planet and for your family—not to mention your wallet.
Aside from the harmful ingredients, a recent report by Consumer Reports found that many of the mass-produced and so-called green cleansers on the market aren’t doing the job. So it may be your best bet to just make your laundry detergent yourself.
The recipe for liquid laundry detergent:
- 1 quart boiling water
- 2 cups grated bar soap
- 2 cups borax
- 2 cups washing soda
Turn the heat down to low. Add the finely-grated soap to the boiling water and stir until the soap is melted. Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the borax and soda. Stir well until dissolved.
Keep the pail covered, or you can transfer it to smaller containers. Use 1/4 cup per load of laundry. Be sure to stir the soap before each use, since the mixture will gel.
The recipe for powdered laundry detergent:
- 2 cups finely grated soap
- 1 cup washing soda
- 1 cup borax
Mix well and store in an airtight plastic container. Use 2 tablespoons per full load.
If you’ve got hard water, add a half cup of baking soda or vinegar to the wash. For tough stains, pre-soak your laundry with one cup hot water, a half cup each of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, then wash as usual.
If you do choose to make your own detergent, keep in mind that:
- You can use Fells-Naptha, Ivory Soap, Sunlight bar soap, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile and Zote brands. Don’t use a heavily-perfumed soap.
- Washing soda and borax can be found in the cleaning and laundry aisles at your local grocery store.
- Save a couple of your old store-bought laundry detergent bottles to store your homemade soap in.
- If you find the soap isn’t rinsing clean from your clothing, or if you find a soapy buildup in your washer or hoses, add some vinegar in a fabric softener ball with each wash.